QUESTION: Boycott the Palm, homelessness in NYC

question / pregunta: 

Greetings Radical Reference!
Folks in Denver are organizing against the Urban Camping Ban, a 2012 ordinance that criminalizes homeless people. In part, this involves boycotting the Palm restaurant in downtown Denver (the Palm supports the Urban Camping Ban). Organizers there have reached out to folks in NYC and elsewhere in the US to organize a national day of action. People in NYC are planning to be involved, but wish to do so in a way that will also highlight the myriad ways homeless people are also criminalized in this city.

To do the best job possible, some of us in NYC are looking for resources on the following:
-How does one organize an effective economic boycotts (esp of restaurants/companies)
-In what specific ways are homeless people criminalized in NYC?
-All about the Palm restaurant (a national high-end restaurant chain with head office at 837 Second Avenue, NY) - how it is run, its affiliations, economic information, etc. --Also any links the Palm has to structures of power which criminalize homeless here in NYC.

Thanks so much for any help!


Answer posted by:
jim miller

For information on the Palm Restaurants, SEC's Edgar database may help, if the restaurants are owned by a publicly traded company - or even if they are privately owned but mentioned in a public company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Full text for the most recent 4 years might be a good place to start, to get more current information. The search: "palm restaurants" gets 4 filings for O'Charley's, Inc. including a 10-K report dated 02/29/2012. But you will need a tablet or PC which allows "find in document" or the Mac command-F or PC control-F feature, because these filings are often VERY long, and "palm restaurants" could very easily be just noted in passing as the former employer of one member of the Board of Directors of O'Charley's, Inc. With my iPad, I could not locate "palm restaurants" simply by using the table of contents to get to "item 10-directors..." and skimming to find it. But I could very easily have missed it in the many pages of director information. Also note that without the "s", the search: "palm restaurant" gets 96 hits in SEC's Full Text current 4 years search.

If you are near a state university library, or a large public library, it would be wise to get guest access onsite to business databases such as Ebsco's Business Source Complete or LexisNexis Academic. Business Source Complete gets 49 hits for the default author-title-abstract-subject search: "palm restaurant*". Note that Ebsco's excellent search engine allows truncation even in phrases, to get different forms of the words. For this search, it is best to "select a field" TX-All text, to look for more specific things about Palm Restaurants. But even allowing for words to be fairly far apart, it may take many tries to get useful information. The search: "Palm restaurant*" n40 homeless* gets only one short article: RIGHT WOMAN, WRONG JOB. By: Lumsdon, Kevin, H&HN: Hospitals & Health Networks, 10688838, 5/5/95, Vol. 69, Issue 9, and it only talks about Marjorie Gellhorn Sa'adah, executive director of Homeless Health Care Los Angeles. It says at one point: "The more celebrity dinners at the Palm Restaurant, the more money available for the agency's three-pronged mission: case management, education and advocacy..." The very broad search: "Palm restaurant*" and homeless* gets only 3 articles, and they all seem to mention benefit events for homeless programs. TX "Palm restaurant*" and camping gets only 2 articles, and both are very long book review sections - with the name and word many pages apart and unrelated.

In LexisNexis Academic, you can change the default search of "Major World Publications" to "All News", where the default full text search gets 19 hits for: "Palm restaurant" camping. You can change the title list of results to "expanded list", to see the search words in context, for example:

"2.Briefs. Denver Post, May 13, 2012 Sunday, DTW; Pg. 2B, 391 words
... ban on homeless camping. More than 30 people ...
... city's proposed urban camping ban.Denver's City ...
... homeless population said the camping ban would criminalize homelessness." ...
... marchers chanted as they moved from the Palm Restaurant, 1672 Lawrence St., ..."
But this only says the march moved from the Palm, and did not say that the protest was aimed at the Palm. The search in All News for: "Palm restaurant" homeless* gets 68 hits, but many are clearly from 2 unrelated news bites. LexisNexis Academic uses a more common proximity search: "Palm restaurant" w/30 homeless* gets 3 articles - all about benefit events at the Palm. Factiva is a very good news database, and uses similar syntax to LexisNexis, but its publisher is MUCH tighter about granting guest access onsite - at the University of Maryland, it requires student/staff passwords. But for this particular search, it seems to be getting no more results than LexisNexis got.


There are many parts to your question, I will point you to some resources to criminalization of homeless in NYC .
The National Coalition for the Homeless has a Civil Rights Project and many fact sheets available on their website. There are 2 reports about criminalization from 2009 and 2006.
A 2010 story titled How ‘Quality of Life’ turned Homeless New Yorkers into Criminals by Sam Lewis is here
The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness has a report on Alternatives to Criminalization as well as a lot of other information, reports, and statistics that may be helpful to you here

Below are some sources for Boycotts
The Community Toolbox on Organizing a Boycott

Co-op America’s
Boycott Organizer’s Guide

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