Calling for Santa Cruz to Declare a Sidewalk Safe Sleeping Zone at Freedom Sleep Out #14 Tuesday 10-13

Title: Safe Sleeping Zone at Freedom SleepOut #14? Why not make it official!
START DATE: Tuesday October 13
TIME: 3:00 PM – 3:00 AM
Location Details:
809 Center St.–In and Around City Hall During and After the Tuesday City Council Meeting

The actual time will be Tuesday afternoon, evening, and Wednesday morning–with coffee to be available in the morning.

Event Type: Protest
Contact Name Keith McHenry (posting by Norse)
Email Address keith [at]
Phone Number 575-770-3377
For more than 3 months, Freedom Sleepers have held weekly food-sharing and sleeper protection to mobilize the community to end the City’s institutional hate crime of criminalizing homeless people if they fall asleep at night or seek to protect themselves with camping gear.

In a City with 1000-2000 homeless (and a County with far more), the Comstock-Mathews Santa Cruz City Council majority has declined to reopen closed shelter space and kept sleeping for the poor at night a crime–in vehicles or outside.

Repression against protesters and city-wide citations and stay-away orders against homeless sleepers continues in spite of Department of Justice statements that such behavior is unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment (Bell v. Boise Statement of Interest).

The threat of HUD funding cut off for cities that don’t decriminalize homelessness may have some impact, but even liberal Councilmembers have remained silent instead of inspiring support to end Santa Cruz’s Legacy of Shame.


The 14th Weekly Freedom Sleep-Out will invite the community and City Council to declare the sidewalks around and near City Hall “Safe Sleeping Zones”.

Perhaps to avoid a blatant record of repression around the specific MC 6.36 which criminalizes homeless survival sleeping at night, police have notably given out no citations for camping or sleeping at the protest.

They have ticketed for “being in a park after closing hours’, ‘jaywalking’, “failure to sign a ticket”, and other such harassment “crimes”. But almost without exception folks sleeping on the sidewalk have not been cited.

This has led Freedom Sleepers to invite the Community and City Council to officially declare the sidewalks around City Hall a “Safe (from Citations) Sleeping Area”–since no such area currently exists for hundreds and hundreds of people.

We invite housed (and unhoused) folks to join us Tuesday night in solidarity, to witness, and to document the proposed Safe Sleeping Zone.

City Council’s afternoon agenda impacting folks outside includes Preparation for the Winter Storm Event–El Nino (Item #11); Banning RV’s From Parking in Any Spots the City Engineer Cares to Designate (#12), & Endorsing Rental Profiteering in the Summer (#13).

Around 5 PM those who oppose discrimination against the houseless outside are invited to bring sleeping bags and signs and speak about the issue during the Oral Communications session.

During the evening session,the City’s Parks Master Plan Study Session is up. It includes reference to “illegal” activities (i.e. the visible presence of poor people at night, homeless gathering day or night, smoking, drinking, yelling) See “Safety and Illegal Activities” at (p. 4) .

Here the apprehensions and prejudices of middle-class NIMBY’s are being raised as a new “public safety” standard, as done by the hand-picked Citizens Public Safety Task Force of 2013. There Deputy-Chief Steve Clark portrayed citations given to homeless people for sleeping, being in a park after dark, and smoking as constituting a “crime wave”.

Dannettee Shoemaker, Parks and Recreation boss, used similar scare tactics to push through the first-in-the-state No-Court-Necessary Stay-Away laws in 2013 and 2014, which ban poor people from the parks without court appeal, trial, or even formal charge. These unprecedented powers are proposed to remain permanent.

Building on the Needlemania hysteria of those years, the report validates the Hyper-Drug Warrior mindset that prompted City Council to destroy the City’s Needle Exchange program behind closed doors in 2013–providing real estate agents and property owners dramatic pretexts to clear away the poor and gentrify the area.

Recent fencing and locks at Grant Avenue Park (not to mention the Homeless Lack of Services Center itself) as “security measures” are an ominous sign of the growing class war being waged against those outside. Increased appropriations for First Alarm and P&R patrols funds and fuels the advancing police state. More policing means more citations justifies a bigger threat justifies more appropriations…and so on.

There is no reference to using any of the Pogonip as vitally needed campground area for those outside.

While there is no specific proposal, the staff report suggests (p. 4.) that one of the “community concerns” which it apparently takes seriously is to “limit food giveaways”. Since Parks and Recreation has city-wide authority as far as the City manager may designate not just in parks, this may mean renewed attacks on Food not Bombs-style operations.

Last week, police gave out no citations by my reckoning (though there were fewer sleepers), came only once, and made no arrests.

On Saturday, Freedom Sleepers held a dusk Portapotty Parade through the downtown lasting half an hour. It drew active supporters and encouragement from the evening crowds (as well as the occasional heckle). Cries of “Stop arresting the homeless! Sleep is not a crime” were met with smiles, thumbs up, and an occasional new marcher.

At a time to be announced–a showing of the Exodus from the Jungle film documenting the resistance of San Jose urban poor (i.e. unhoused) to the displacement of the largest encampment in the country last fall….along with a KNOW YOUR RIGHTS training for those seeking legal tips to beat back the Sleeping Ban.


Editorial Note: The views expressed here are mine and in my view likely shared by many of the Freedom Sleepers. It is not an official statement however.

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Denver Dumps Panhandling Punishment; Santa Cruz Sticks It to the Poor

NOTES BY NORSE:   Santa Cruz’s abusive and overreaching ordinance criminalizing peaceful sparechanging in most places at most times downtown has little to do with real abusive behavior and everything to do with giving the police “tools” to “move along” or (if they resist) punish those who insist on their rights.  Day before yesterday I witnessed an officer giving a $300 panhandling citation to a homeless man who had gotten 49c from a friend of mine sitting at the Del Mar Cafe.   The officer didn’t even bother to ask if my friend was disturbed or inconvenienced by the mild solicitation–which he wasn’t, but simply wrote up the ticket in robotic fashion.  My friend apologized to the guy afterwards when he learned that his act of charity had resulted in punishment, but the officer was gone.  I made a few loud comments about harassing the poor as the cop concluded writing her ticket, and a few other homeless folks gathered round–which seems to me an appropriate and immediate way of addressing this kind of commercial fascism downtown.

Our local ACLU has reportedly been cleansed of the participation of former Mayor Mike Rotkin–whose presence there has been a roadblock to homeless civil rights activity.   The Pleich-led ACLU has recently called for its parent organization–the Northern California local–to sue Santa Cruz for the cruel and unusual punishment of its 11 PM – 8:30 AM Sleeping Ban, and its camping ordinance generally–given the absence of even the pittance of shelter with the Paul Lee Loft closing in June.  Boss Jannan Thomas of the Homeless (Lack of ) Services Center has also decided to leave her job after spending a year with the new prison-like atmosphere of the place with bathrooms, laundry, shower, and meals closed to the general homeless population.

Freedom Sleepers continue to assemble at City Hall every Tuesday night in what has become a de facto “Safe Sleeping Zone” on the sidewalk.

Denver police ordered to stop enforcing city’s panhandling ban

An American Civil Liberties Union victory in Grand Junction prompted Denver police to make this enforcement

By Elizabeth Hernandez
The Denver Post

Posted:   10/02/2015 02:11:51 PM MDT94 Comments | Updated:   5 days ago
Jeff Wise flies his sign on the 16th Street Mall in Denver on February 05, 2015.

Jeff Wise flies his sign on the 16th Street Mall in Denver on February 05, 2015. (Denver Post file)

After a federal court ruling in a Grand Junction case, Denver police officers have been instructed by the chief of police not to charge citizens for violating the city’s panhandling ban.

The Wednesday court ruling came down after the American Civil Liberties Union fought Grand Junction for about a year and a half on its enforcement of a panhandling ban that ACLU legal director Mark Silverstein said was a violation of the First Amendment.

“This Court believes that panhandling carries a message,” said Judge Christine Arguello of the Grand Junction court decision. “Often, a request for money conveys conditions of poverty, homelessness, and unemployment, as well as a lack of access to medical care, reentry services for persons convicted of crimes, and mental health support for veterans. The City’s attempt to regulate this message is an attempt to restrain the expression of conditions of poverty to other citizens.”

The permanent injunction in Grand Junction prompted Police Chief Robert White to send a bulletin to officers notifying them that “effectively immediately,” officers may not charge people for panhandling.

“Denver did a commendable thing taking prompt action to suspend enforcement of a panhandling ordinance that violates the First Amendment rights of a people who ask for charity in public places,” Silverstein said.

Days earlier, the Colorado Springs Police Department ordered police to stop issuing panhandling citations “on or near streets or highways” after the ACLU accused the city of illegally enforcing panhandling ordinances.

The police department also stated that “passive solicitation is lawful everywhere in the city.”

On Friday, Sgt. Nick Smetzer with the Boulder Police Department said he didn’t think the Grand Junction ruling and resulting Denver police response would affect the way Boulder officers handle panhandling.

He said officers didn’t have an issue with people asking for charity “as long as they’re not bothering anybody doing it.”

Silverstein believes that this ruling will cause ripple effects throughout the state.

“I believe that all or almost all of the panhandling ordinances in Colorado will need to be reviewed and many will need to be repealed or dramatically amended,” Silverstein said. “Denver is commendable for getting out in front of that.”

There are still conditions in which officers could charge someone for panhandling including things like using violent or threatening gestures, touching others, blocking a vehicle or pedestrian and soliciting from someone in a vehicle, according to the bulletin given to Denver officers.

The order from White is a suspension, meaning that city council is considering formal amendments to the ordinance to “bring the law into compliance with recent court rulings,” the document said.

Elizabeth Hernandez: 303-954-1223, or

Judge rules Grand Junction panhandling law unconstitutional

The Associated Press
Posted:   10/01/2015 01:45:03 PM MDTAdd a Comment
Updated:   10/01/2015 01:45:03 PM MDT

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A panhandling ordinance in Grand Junction has been ruled unconstitutional, with a federal judge saying it’s not OK to stop people from asking for money after dark.
The decision Thursday from U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello means that Grand Junction will be barred from enforcing its 2014 ordinance limiting panhandling.
The judge ruled that Grand Junction’s panhandling ordinance was too broad and curbed constitutionally protected speech. She wrote that Grand Junction was using a sledgehammer to solve a problem that could be solved with a scalpel.
The city argued the ordinance limited aggressive panhandling, not passive panhandling. Among other things, the ordinance banned asking for money at night.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued Grand Junction last year. Grand Junction never enforced the ordinance, pending a legal decision.

City dismisses panhandling citations after ACLU complaint

The Associated Press

Posted:   09/30/2015 09:58:26 AM MDTAdd a Comment | Updated:   9 days ago

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Colorado Springs is considering changes to its panhandling ordinances after a complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union led to citation dismissals.
The Gazette reports ( City attorney Wynetta Massey said in a letter to the civil rights group that some actions have been dismissed as officials continue reviewing cases, and changes to the ordinances will be presented to city councilmembers.
Colorado Springs exempts passive solicitation in its ordinances, which prohibit individuals from approaching people in public to ask for money or other items of value.
The ACLU said enforcement has targeted impoverished individuals who are passively soliciting.
ACLU Legal Director Mark Silverstein says the police and city attorney have acknowledged citing, prosecuting and convicting innocent people.
A City Attorney’s Office spokeswoman said Massey declined to comment.
Information from: The Gazette,


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Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides Show Tonight Will Flash Back to 2007: Homies for the Homeless Protest


Title: Flashback to 2007 –Homies for the Homeless on Free Radio Santa Cruz
START DATE: Thursday October 08
TIME: 6:00 PM8:00 PM
Location Details:
Broadcasts on 101.3 FM
Streams on around 6 PM–lasting about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
No call-in’s–we have no studio! ($500 Reward if you find us one)

Show archives at

Event Type: Radio Broadcast
Contact Name Robert Norse
Email Address rnorse3 [at]
Phone Number 831-423-4833
Address 309 Cedar PMB 14B S.C. CA 95060
Free Radio Santa Cruz (101.3 FM and is still broadcasting and streaming, but since we are homeless (or studio-less), the shows are all previously recorded, and so far I’ve not yet acquired the skills to make new shows.

All is not lost, however, for here’s a show–previously aired on August 16, 2007 about a week-long campout which came to be called “Homies for the Homeless” at City Hall. It began as a one day/one night sleep-out attended by activists from Los Angeles and ended up as a week-long sleepout run by unhoused folks.

Freedom Sleepers are preparing their 14th Tuesday night sleepout for 10-13. The Homies for the Homeless sleepout of 8 years ago took place after weekly protests in front of then-Councilmember Ryan Coonerty’s Bookshop Santa Cruz.

You can also find info on line about Homies for the Homeless at

Sunday August 12th Know Yr Rights, Feed, Film, and Sleep-Out at City Hall” at

“Sir! No Sir! and Sleeping Ban Protest at City Hall” at (numerous comments follow the story)

“Trash Orchestra & “Santa Cruz Sit Ban” Video Tonight at Homeless City Hall Sleep Zone” at

I am still gathering material to broadcast some contemporary if prerecorded shows, and hope to be doing so soon.


HUFFling and snuffling: Wednesday 10-7 at ye olde Sub Rosa Cafe 11 AM

Weary HUFFsters, straggling in from Freedom SleepOut #13 will find a dose of coffee and cantankerousness at the weekly HUFF-orama.  Rumors that Cal Tran or other badged bozos are giving “littering” tickets along the tracks (but not for litter, rather–clean up and move or have your stuff confiscated) , city attorney seems to confirm that zero camping tickets are being dismissed under the ‘on the waiting list’ exemption,  new informational flier on getting your name on the River St. Waiting List by phone to avoid tickets, and, possibly a more restive than usual SleepOut #14 coming up on October 20th.     Sleep out and then force your eyes open for the HUFF meet…!

Sarasota Homeless Strike Back; Santa Cruz Freedom Sleepers at City Hall for Round 13 Tuesday Night


NOTES BY NORSE   It looks like Santa Cruz police, rangers, and city attorney are adopting the same deaf-to-reason, blind-to-compassion approach that Sarasota authorities use, as described in this mainstream article.  One woman at the Red Church reported tonight that police and rangers have begun using littering tickets instead of camping citations, under a state code which allows for arrests and jail to frighten homeless people into cleaning up areas and moving out.  She also reported railroad authorities using leaf blowers to harass homeless campers near the tracks.
Meanwhile the City Attorney’s office confirms that no sleeping ban citations were dismissed under MC 6.36.055 (the “get on a waiting list, get your camping ticket dismissed” provision) this summer.  That means hundreds of $157 citations went to court and then probably to “Failure to Pay” status with hundreds of dollars of extra fines added.   At the same time City Council declined to fund closing emergency shelter services (which were serving only a handful for shelter but more for food, showers, laundry, and bathrooms).  Santa Cruz city, the courts, et. al apparently have no decriminalization plan and should lose HUD funding (See “Local Officials Have Pushed To Criminalize Homelessness For Years. The Feds Are Starting To Push Backat ).
Freedom Sleepers continue their spotlight on injustice tomorrow night at Santa Cruz City Hall (See “
Freedom Sleepers 13th Community Sleepout ” at .

Homeless sue Sarasota, police

Sarasota Police Officer Daniel Furner checks IDs of two homeless men at Centennial Park in Sarasota.
Published: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 at 8:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 at 8:01 p.m.
SARASOTA – A lawsuit filed late Wednesday by six homeless men against the city of Sarasota, its police department and the police chief alleges cruel and unusual punishment in the enforcement of ordinances that criminalize sleeping outdoors and thus violate their Eighth Amendment rights.

They also allege that the city unfairly enforces its panhandling ordinance by restricting the practice to certain locations in violation of their First Amendment rights of free speech, specifically, to solicit charitable contributions in a public forum.

The men seek a court order banning the city from enforcing those ordinances, unspecified compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs and any other relief deemed appropriate.

The complaint was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida in Sarasota County circuit court.

It’s the latest move in a years-long debate about Sarasota’s treatment of, and response to, the roofless residents who live in the city once named America’s meanest by the National Coalition for the Homeless.

City attorney Bob Fournier hadn’t yet seen the lawsuit but said he had anticipated it based on conversations with Michael Barfield, vice president of the ACLU of Florida. Fournier plans to discuss the matter with the City Commission on Monday.

“I expect the city and the Salvation Army to defend our practices vigorously,” said Doug Logan, Sarasota’s homeless services director.

At issue is Sarasota’s lodging ordinance, which prohibits individuals from sleeping outside on public or private property without the consent of the property owner. It also requires police to offer violators transportation to an available shelter. Those who accept the offer avoid arrest or citation; those who refuse face sanctions.

Police made four arrests and issued 175 complaint summons under the ordinance in 2014, and made one arrest and issued 50 summons so far this year, Police Chief Bernadette DiPino said.

“Our officers have offered every person they encounter resources and services, and they get turned down all the time,” DiPino said. “It’s not a crime to be homeless, but they can’t break the law.”

The lawsuit cites different numbers. It says Sarasota criminally prosecuted 192 individuals for lodging outdoors in 2014 and 62 so far this year. It also cited criminal prosecutions of individuals found in a park after hours — 139 cases last year and 40 so far this year.

In 2013, the lawsuit says, the city prosecuted 354 people for lodging outdoors and 127 for being in a park after hours for total of 882 people prosecuted under the ordinances since Jan. 1, 2013.

The lawsuit further alleges that police officers cite individuals even when the community’s primary homeless shelter, the Salvation Army, is full and can’t accept individuals.

But Salvation Army local Commander Major Ethan Frizzell said the shelter never refuses to lodge individuals brought in by police, even when they’re intoxicated.

The lawsuit claims current accommodations at the Salvation Army don’t meet the minimum standards for shelter and thus the city can’t reasonably enforce the ordinance.

The shelter can accommodate 260 people nightly. Some sleep on regular beds. The rest sleep on overflow mats arranged on the kitchen floor.

Those overflow mats, the lawsuit claims, exceed the shelter’s capacity as defined in its conditional-use permit issued by the city. It also says the kitchen and hallway where the mats are placed don’t provide adequate emergency ingress and egress, and that people sleeping on the mats don’t have the minimum 35 square feet of space required by city’s current zoning regulations.

“The Salvation Army does fantastic work, but they don’t have the resources or the facility to meet the needs of the chronic homeless,” Barfield said. “Until there’s a solution by the politicians, the city must stop with the criminal prosecutions. It’s morally and legally wrong for the city to use the criminal justice system to solve the problem. That practice doesn’t work because you can’t deter sleeping.”

Sarasota Fire Marshal John Reed said Wednesday that he recently visited the Salvation Army at the request of a concerned individual but that he won’t have any information about potential code and zoning violations until after a follow-up visit later this month.

For the city’s panhandling ordinance, the lawsuit claims that because it selectively bans the solicitation of donations based on location and other factors, it unconstitutionally singles out the homeless.

It notes that the city allows people to ask for charitable contributions or seek political support and questions the difference between that and someone asking for a personal donation.

An estimated 1,460 single homeless adults live in Sarasota County, which has a shortage of at least 1,187 beds to accommodate them, according to a November 2013 report by a consultant hired by the city and county, Robert Marbut.

Although they had initially collaborated on plans to address the community homeless population, city and county officials have been at odds to find a common solution.

The county wants to build a come-as-you-are shelter, ideally somewhere within the city where most of the homeless people congregate; the city wants to implement a “Housing First” solution that finds homeless people permanent lodging.

They are set to resume the discussion after two years at a joint meeting set for Nov. 6.

Barfield said homeless residents don’t have time to wait. They need relief now.

“I’m pleased the community is going to have these conversations,” Frizzell said. “It may be unfortunate they’re having them in a lawsuit.”


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Santa Cruz Camping Ticket Dismissal Info: Spread It Around

The City’s camping ordinance MC 6.36 was amended in 2010 after successful protests by PeaceCamp 2010 to require dismissal of all MC 6.36 citations if one was on one of two Waiting Lists–the Paul Lee Loft or the River St. Shelter [or if the Winter Armory is full] Though both agencies refused to give those signed up evidence to show to the police that they were on these lists, the City Attorney’s office did dismiss some if not all citations for those who were on the Waiting Lists. The River St. Shelter is the only “emergency shelter” currently operating in the City of Santa Cruz. Paul Lee Loft still closed except to those taken into the program with a “path to housing” as part of what appears to be an intentional decision to “disinvite” homeless people not in programs likely to get state or federal programming. This has resulted in a cut-off of laundry, shelter, socializing, bathroom, and meal services to the majority of homeless people in Santa Cruz. The one “service” remaining is dismissal of camping citations.

AVOID CAMPING TICKETS:  CALL 459-6644 (24-Hour Number)









Flier by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 423-4833 309 Cedar PMB #14B 10-3-15

On the plus side, River St. Shelter now allows folks to sign up for their Waiting List by telephone on a 24-hour answering machine (though the machine says their “office hours” are 2 PM to 8 AM, so it may be best to call during those times). You give to the machine your name and ask to be placed on the Waiting List. You can also ask for a call-back for confirmation.

Freedom Sleepers tested the process on Friday and found they got a callback when they called to get an unhoused person on the list. It’s not clear when they actually pick up the phones there. I say it’s “24-hours” because we actually called them outside their peculiar 2 PM to 8 AM hours (around noon) and got a call-back confirmation for the person we put on the list.

I was also told that at an earlier point that you must call back every three days to keep your name on the list.

On the negative side, it’s hard to physically access the River St. Shelter with the new prison-like gate, guards, and ID cards. The management there advised us by phone last week that they still won’t write letters documenting that their shelter is full on any particular night, even if it is. This does not serve the many–which includes those who just got into town, who doesn’t want to take up space which more disabled or vulnerable folks might need, or who simply believe in providing their own shelter (whether that be the stars, a tent, or a vehicle). In the past such a letter (usually from the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center’s Paul Lee Loft was sufficient “evidence” for Commissioner Kim Baskett of Dept. 10 to dismiss MC 6.36 citations.

If you find yourself one of the hundreds who get camping tickets every month in town, contact HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) for info on how to subpoena the records of the River St. Shelter into court to document that there was no legal shelter and so invoke what’s called “the necessity defense”. Our phone number is 831-423-4833. It’s not a cell phone so leave a message and/or come to our weekly meeting at 11 AM Wednesdays at the Sub Rosa Cafe, or check us out at Freedom Sleeper Tuesday nights at City Hall where we challenge the Sleeping Ban.

It’s best to get on the Waiting List even if you have no intention of using the River St. Shelter, feel you are likely to be ineligible for any reason (pets, partner, too much stuff, etc.),or whatever. Because simply being on the list means that MC 6.36.055 requires the City Attorney to dismiss your citation (if it’s a MC 6.36 citation).

For your own use, I include a flier to download and use or pass on to those who might find it useful.

The River St. Shelter number is 831-459-6644. Continue reading

Fighting the Sleeping Ban–in the past, present, and future–in Santa Cruz


NOTE BY NORSE:  Tomorrow Free Radio Santa Cruz will be broadcasting at 101.3 (and streaming at an older debate between former Mayor Mike Rotkin and attorney/activist Ed Frey on the Sleeping Ban (MC 6.36.010a)–the law that makes it illegal to sleep on all public and most private property between 11 PM and 8:30 AM.   Ed Frey (with the assistance of HUFF) initiated PeaceCamp2010 on July 4, 2010, five years ago to the day when the Freedom Sleepers began their weekly protests at City Hall.    If you missed the broadcast/stream (or it didn’t get broadcast for some reason–we still don’t have a studio), go to and spin ahead 2 hours and 36 minutes into the audio file.

PC 2010 was the 3 month long struggle 5 years ago that successfully created the MC 6.36.055 “nullification” provision of the Camping Ordinance.   This provision supposedly requires dismissal of all MC 6.36 (camping) tickets if a person is on the waiting list of Homeless (Lack of) Services Center’s Paul Lee Loft and/or that of the Encompass River St. Shelter,.  There is no more waiting list at Paul Lee.  However River St.’s list can be accessed 24-hours a day at 459-6644, though much of the time it’s an answering machine. However, at least yesterday when one Freedom Sleeper called in to put his name on the Waiting List (so as to get tickets dismissed short of court by the City Attorney), he received a call back confirming he was on the list.  So encourage homeless friends to call up and get on the list.

So far mostly MC 13.04.011 (being on the City Hall grounds after 10 PM) have been given out to those daring to exercise their right of peaceful petition and protest there at night.  The strategy being used by many Freedom Sleepers is to be on the sidewalks with bags laid out after 10 PM–where for the last month they’ve faced bright klieg lights powered by noisy diesel engines, and–one one occasion–rousting by police “for sidewalk cleaning”.  However we’ve generally found no actual camping tickets issued there on Tuesday night, so Freedom Sleepers has decided to declare the area a provisional Safe Sleeping Zone–especially during the day.  It is generally legal to sleep on public property–particularly parks and City Hall grounds–during the day (8:30 AM to 11 PM), though abusive First Alarm Security guards, paid by the City, are rousting people there [See “Waking the Freedom Sleepers” at  for photos of the 11th SleepOut on 9-22, and “Activists hold ground at city hall for 11th week in a row” at

Brent Adams has posted a brief video of pre-protest harassment right before Freedom SleepOut #12 on 9-29  at   Steve Pleich has posted a photo or three of SleepOut #12 at .     Sleep Out #13 is coming up–as noted by the generic but dutiful calendar posting at

Title: Freedom Sleepers 13th Community Sleepout
START DATE: Tuesday October 06
TIME: 5:00 PM – 5:00 AM
Location Details:
Santa Cruz City Hall
809 Center Street
Santa Cruz, CA
Event Type: Other
Contact Name Steve Pleich
Email Address spleich [at]
Phone Number 831-466-6078
Lucky Thirteen!

Join us for our 13th Community Sleepout!

To protest the criminalization of people experiencing homelessness and to work toward the repeal of the camping and sleeping bans!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

5:00pm – Sleepout begins
6:00pm – General Assembly
9:00pm – snacks & sandwiches
10:00pm – set up camp and sleep
7:30am – breakfast


Authorities continue to harass and cite members of the Santa Cruz unhoused community with citations.

This is happening even though there is no emergency walk-in shelter for the city’s 1500-2000 homeless; waiting lists are full and generally seem to require a “path to housing”, social worker, and/or disability check.


There will also be a set of proposed guidelines issued at the 6 PM General Assembly Tuesday, suggesting a “quiet for sleepers” and clean-up policy.

For articles about past sleepouts and the Freedom Sleepers go to

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Free Radio Santa Cruz Update

While Free Radio Santa Cruz is still on the stream and on the air, because we have lost our studio space and are still searching for another ($500 reward still!), we’ll be playing pre-recorded shows.  In my case, until I learn how to prepare shows via computer, these will be old Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides shows.

Thursday 10-1 the show will be a replay of an ancient 2004 show (selected somewhat randomly).  Specifically, the November 4th show of that year.  Which can also be heard at .

You can also hear a variety of shows (hundreds, in fact) by going to .

I’ll hope to be more selective until I can actually return to the air live or create and upload audio files that are more up-to-the-moment.  Patience, faithful listeners.

Offers of help are welcome.

Robert Norse

HUFF putters and sputters–11 am today Sub Rosa 9-30-15

In the wake of Freedom SleepOut #12 and the Blue Box Arraignment/Festival of the Streets this morning of Abbi Samuels and Keith McHenry, HUFF will be brooding on the latest Bell v. Boise court decision turning back the homeless lawsuit, upcoming Broken Windows forum in S.F. Thursday, the Exodus from the Jungle and homeless forum in San Jose Friday–and other coffee-drenched topics…

Festival of the Streets to follow Freedom Sleep-Out #12

Title: Food Not Bombs Resumes Feeding at Freedom SleepOut #12
START DATE: Tuesday September 29
TIME: 5:00 PM – 5:00 AM
Location Details:
In and around Santa Cruz City Hall at 809 Center St. across from the Main Library and the Civic Auditorium. Partially at City Council itself, which meets in the afternoon and evening, partially in the Council Courtyard, and partially on the sidewalks surrounding City Hall and across Center and Church streets. Police typically drive peaceful protesters away from City Hall and last week forced them off the sidewalk for an unusual and hours-late-in-coming “sidewalk cleaning”.
Event Type: Protest
Contact Name Robert Norse
Email Address rnorse3 [at]
Phone Number 831-423-4833
Address 309 Cedar PMB 14B S.C. CA 95060
Food Not Bombs activist Keith McHenry will be serving food at the protest at different points during the night and morning.

On Wednesday morning at 8 AM, McHenry and Abbi Samuels will appear in court at 701 Ocean St. They face a harassment charge of “vandalism” in connection with “blue dots” that appeared on the Pacific Avenue sidewalk some weeks ago.   Outside the courthouse, FNB will encourage feeding and frolicking.

The “blue boxes” expanded the small spaces city reactionaries have designated as “performance pens” for downtown artists, vendors, speakers, and tablers.

The unauthorized dots were promptly sandblasted away by city bureaucrats and until recently there have been no legal spaces to perform, table, or vend. Both police and performers have largely ignored this peculiar “no boxes but illegal to perform without boxes” situation.

Recently the “blue dot boxes” have returned, but artists such as Alex Skelton and Joff Jones have insisted on their right to display and sell their artwork outside the few constricted spaces. Recently their citations for violating MC 5.43 were struck down by Commissioner Kim Baskett, for unclear reasons.

More background from Keith McHenry & others at ["Defending Public Space - More on why driving artists off of Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz is a crime"]

A description of how a Freedom Sleeper protest generally proceeds can be found at ["No Council Meet But Freedom Sleepers Gather for SleepOut #11"]

Some coverage of last Tuesday’s Freedom Sleep-Out: ["Activists hold ground at city hall for 11th week in a row"]

Cops and rangers still enforce anti-sleeping laws in Santa Cruz such as the notorious MC 6.36 (which bans sleeping and covering up with blankets after 11 PM).

They harass, cite, arrest, and issue stay-away orders for homeless folks with no shelter seeking refuge in parks and other “closed areas” under MC 13.04.011 (which authorizes closing any public spaces without public hearing or comment).

The River St. Shelter now claims it will place those who call in (459-6644) to get on a Waiting List which will allow dismissal of Sleeping Ban tickets. Yet their records show no dismissals through July and August at the same time police issued hundreds of such citations. WE ENCOURAGE HOMELESS FOLKS AND THEIR FRIENDS TO CONTACT THE SHELTER AND GIVE THEIR NAMES BY PHONE.

We have also received reports of security guards turning away people trying to get in to sign the Waiting Lists at the River St. Shower. Showers at the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center have recently reopened during mid-day for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but meals, bathrooms, and laundry for the general homeless population remain cut off since June.

Even before the recent shelter shutdown and “no emergency services” makeover, Santa Cruz had no shelter for 95% of its homeless residents, clients were being required to show ID, and confronted with a prison-like fenced-in area there.

City Council will hold its last Council meeting of September. Councilmembers Lane and Posner still decline to put anything on the agenda to counter the increased criminalization of the homeless here. Vancouver, WA has ended its nighttime Sleeping Ban. L.A. is proposing a “homeless emergency”. San Jose is discussing proposals for safe parking zones. But Santa Cruz liberals and right-wingers alike continue to ignore the nightly abuses.

Those who wish to speak to the community (via the tv when addressing City Council) will have an opportunity around 5 PM Tuesday during the so-called Oral Communications period. At the last Council meeting, Lane delayed this period more than 2 hours to accommodate a reactionary attack on RV’s.

I received a report today of a man’s bike, bedding, and backpack being sadistically and/or capriciously confiscated by police as “abandoned” when he said he was only away from it momentarily,and so advised the officer–to no avail.

Picketers greeted Mayor Don Lane at his recent appearance at the Rio Theater for a “compassion” event [See “Freedom Sleepers Press Conference ” at] and found considerable sympathy among attendees. The actual press conference was postponed to ready more information for the media and the public.

The continued pressure at these weekly protests also provides a place for homeless people to sleep together in groups, documents how SCPD and First Alarm Security moves to repress protest as well as simple homeless survival behavior, and hopefully paves the way for future community, court, and federal government intervention.

Come on down and be a part of it!

Rabbi Phil Posner, the usual contact person for the Freedom Sleepers, is away on a social/religious journey and will be returning in November. The perspectives expressed in this story are mine.

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