Food Not Bombs: Charity Chow or System Smasher? Radio Debate!

 

Title: Food Not Bombs–Charity Dispenser or Justice Seeker: Radio Debatee
START DATE: Sunday August 31
TIME: 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Location Details:
101.3 FM….streams at http://audio.str3am.com:5110/listen.pls

Call-in number: 831-469-3119

Event Type: Radio Broadcast
Contact Name Robert Norse
Email Address rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Phone Number 831-423-4833
Address 309 Cedar St. #14B Santa Cruz 95060
Food Not Bombs Co-Founder Keith McHenry and long-time socialist, labor and justice activist Earl Gilman will cross swords over the impact of the Food Not Bombs organization: Another Charity or Revolutionary Agency for Change?

If the call-in line isn’t working, e-mail your comments and questions to rnorse3 [at] hotmail.ccom during the show and I’ll read them to the two speakers.


COMMENT AT https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/08/27/18760800.php

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HUFF Squeeze in a Meeting 11 AM Wednesday 8-27

HUFF will be hustling to cram its usual chatter into a more limited time due to the events happening tomorrow:

9 AM  Department 6  County Courthouse:  Hearing to Recuse D.A. Bob Lee from the SC-11 cases (see “Santa Cruz Eleven back in court ” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/08/26/18760708.php )
1 PM  Resource Center for Non-Violence SCCCCOR meets at 612 Ocean–perhaps to finally focus on specifics of racial profiling in Santa Cruz.
7 PM  Circles Church at Woodrow and California  Sin Barras meets–concerned with prison abolition and police abuse.

On the HUFF agenda:  Copwatch Downtown, Klieglights on Officer Barnett, Staking Out the Trollbusters, ResourceGuide for the Wretched; Fencing Off the River at the Tannery, and more the usual sniping, snarling, singeing and occasional singing.

And later today, if you happen to get this e-mail on Tuesday the 26th:

Killer Cops Not Welcome — Salinas Police Chief in Santa Cruz
Protest  6:45 PM – 9:15 PM  Bookshop Santa Cruz  Downtown Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz City Council Candidates Forum  Panel Discussion  7 PM  Louden Nelson Center Continue reading

ACLU Board Meeting Tonight (8/25) at Louden Nelson 7 PM

Title: ACLU Board of Directors Meeting
START DATE: Monday August 25
TIME: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location Details:
Louden Nelson Center at Laurel and Center Streets in Santa Cruz
Event Type: Meeting
The ACLU’s 2-hour long monthly chat-and-fundraise Board meeting features a 10-minute “oral communications” period.

The public may be given a slightly longer speaking period than at City Council. This really seems to depend on the mood of Chair Peter Geldblum and how timid the rest of the Board is feeling in challenging his “rulings”.

Depending again on Geldblum’s mood, if you’re not an ACLU member, you may be excluded from the rest of the proceedings. Joining costs $10, though fees may be waived in some cases, as I understand it.

Vice-Chair Steve Pleich has told me he’ll be informing the Board that he, MHCAN’s Sarah Leonard, and an out-of-town attorney will be working to prep and file a class action lawsuit to stop the seizure of homeless property. Pleich’s “Homeless Legal Assistance Project” is raising this issue.

He spoke at last Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors hearing (See “ACLU Santa Cruz Brings Statement of Principle to Board of Supervisors” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/08/19/18760282.php

He’s also interested in a presentation to City Council in September to suspend all sleeping and camping laws at night.
As well as a press conference to announce the ACLU’s active interest in pressing this issue. (See “CLU Santa Cruz County Adopts Landmark Statement of Principle” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/08/06/18759670.php)

He tells me the Northern California chapter of the ACLU–the regional chapter (far more active and liberal than the Santa Cruz local) has vigorously supported the ACLU’s recent “don’t bust homeless sleepers” resolution.

Pleich can be reached at 831-466-6078 for more details. He also can be found buttering bagels at the Red Church (Calvary Episcopal) at Cedar and Lincoln 6 PM-6:45 PM on Monday nights. As can many homeless people–who have plenty of concerns for the ACLU, if they take the time to listen and muster the energy to act.

 

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It’s a mystery! The Disappearing Records of Bob Lee’s $34,000 Wells Fargo Loan

NOTE BY NORSE:   The use of prosecutorial terror to chill activism in Santa Cruz after the decline of the Occupy movement in the winter of 2011-2012 is particularly significant to homeless people.  It was at the courthouse and adjacent San Lorenzo Park campground that homeless locals, community activists, and travelers established a Sanctuary Village of their own.  It was makeshift, grubby, struggling, and plagued with all the problems homeless people usually face.    It wasn’t Middle Class Pretty.   However it provided a refuge for more than a hundred homeless folks at its height for two months (including toilet facilities–now scarce to non-existent in most of Santa Cruz).  See “Occupy Santa Cruz Helps Those Fallen Through the Cracks” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/11/20/18700516.php  &  “Occupy Santa Cruz Addresses Sanitation Concerns” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/11/15/18699622.php?show_comments=1#18700006     It was trashed by police who gave refugees no place to go–since sleeping is illegal at night and “lodging” illegal all the time.  See “Police Raid and Destroy Occupy Santa Cruz Encampment in San Lorenzo Park” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/08/18702101.php .

by Becky Johnson (posted by Norse)
Saturday Aug 23rd, 2014 10:10 AM

One of D.A. Bob Lee’s principal demands in the Santa Cruz Eleven cases has been “restitution” to Wells Fargo Bank. Why are there “no records” of a $34,000 interest free loan to DA Bob Lee’s 2010 re-election campaign from Wells Fargo Bank? On Wednesday August 20th, Judge Steven Siegel held a hearing on a motion by attorney Alexis Briggs to uncover the records of Wells Fargo’s 2010 loan to Santa Cruz District Attorney Bob Lee. Lee has been relentless pursuing 11 activists at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars for a peaceful occupation of a 5 year-vacant Wells Fargo-leased bank building. 7 of the defendants, some of whom lost jobs, housing, and health because of this vendetta against the Occupy movement, had all charges dismissed after a grueling year of merry-go-round court appearances. The Final Four defendants still being hounded have been to court nearly 50 times, according to defendant Brent Adams.

Wednesday’s hearing in Judge Steven Siegel’s courtroom was a continuation of a hearing from the week before. Alexis Briggs, attorney for Cameron Laurendau of the Santa Cruz Eleven filed a motion on behalf of her client to recuse District Attorney Bob Lee from the case & have the State Attorney General take over the prosecution of the remaining four defendants.

At that hearing, a well-suited representative from Wells Fargo, Hani Ganji, appeared before the Judge to provide records, if any, of any financial relationship between the Bank & Bob Lee in the past 5 years.

In 2010, Bob Lee was running for re-election for his District Attorney for Santa Cruz County position. He submitted papers to the County elections board as required by law that he had taken out a loan from Wells Fargo Bank for $34,000. About six weeks later, he filed an addition affidavit claiming that $32,000 of the original $34,000 loan had been paid off. He also checked the box indicating that zero interest had been charged. This possible preferential treatment by the bank towards Lee prompted the motion.

DA Bob Lee was not in court, despite being the subject of the motion, and sent County Counsel, Mr. Sheinbaum, to court on his behalf, who explained that Lee “was ailing.”

The Hani Ganji told the Judge, “Wells Fargo has searched for any loans in the last five years and we didn’t find any records.”

Sheinbaum told Siegle that Lee had no records of the transaction, either, but that there was “a perfectly innocuous explanation” for the lack of records.

Siegle admitted he was “not clear how that works.” “Not only do we have no record of that loan. We have no records of any loan in the last five years.”

“It’s a mystery,” admitted Sheinbaum, “but there are several perfectly innocuous reasons for the lack of records.” When asked for even one such reason by Briggs & Defense Attorney Lisa McHaney, he did not offer a single response.

So did Lee submit fraudulent records to the County Elections department? Did Lee get a $34,000 interest-free loan from Wells Fargo and they have destroyed the records? Or even worse, did Lee get the loan & upon his victory, was gifted $32,000 8 months before he charged 11 local activists and whistle-blowers with felony charges and sought over $25,000 in “damages” from them for occupying an empty bank building, leased to Wells Fargo for three days and turning it into a community center.

Is Lee lying? Is Wells Fargo lying? Are they BOTH lying?

Upcoming, defense attorney, Brian Hackett has another hearing seeking to recuse DA Bob Lee for “misdemeanor shopping,” when Lee revealed to three defendants “There were $30,000 in damages! Come up with the money and we can talk” about reducing the felony charges to misdemeanors.”

Siegel set a continuance of the hearing for next Wednesday, Aug 27th and 9:00 AM in Department 6

(Full Disclosure: I am one of the Santa Cruz Eleven defendants. My charges were dropped in 2013 for lack of evidence)

MORE NOTES BY NORSE:

Alexis Briggs provides more details of the hearing in a interview at http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb140821.mp3 (56 minutes into the audio file).

In 2012, D.A. Bob Lee was quite candid in stating it would be “a whole new ballgame” if the defendants paid off Wells Fargo: See “Impromptu Conversation Between DA Bob Lee and Two of the Santa Cruz Eleven” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/07/18/18717774.phpContinue reading

Unanswered Questions for Santa Cruz Community & Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events and Unanswered Questions Flyer for Candidates & Public
by Robert Norse
Saturday Aug 16th, 2014 9:49 AM

With a load of forums, protests, and a court date upcoming, I’ve prepared a preliminary HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom)-ish series of questions for the public and the City Council candidates to consider. The Unanswered Questions flyer can be downloaded and distributed or picked up in hard copy at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific Ave. along with the accompanying list of events–possible distribution points for the flyer.

The Unanswered Questions flyer represents my opinions and not necessarily those of HUFF but I think most would agree. I encourage those with upcoming events linked to police or military abuse, human rights violations in Santa Cruz and elsewhere, or the political charades that go on around election time contact me by e-mail so that I can include them in future postings (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com).

§

by Robert Norse Saturday Aug 16th, 2014 9:49 AM

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More Barnstorming for D.A. Bob Lee’s BigTop Attack on the Occupy Movement: Hearings Resume August 13 and 27

 

D.A. Bob Lee failed to disqualify Judge Paul Burdick for bias in a motion filed this last spring in the case of the Santa Cruz Eleven. [See "Assistant D.A. Files Motion to Recuse Judge Burdick--Again" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/03/04/18751905.php & "A Week Later The Sentinel Does Drive-By Coverage of the Santa Cruz Eleven" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/06/10/18757167.php?show_comments=1#18757189 & "Santa Cruz Eleven Trial Postponed Indefinitely" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/03/01/18751723.php?show_comments=1#18751906. defense lawyers for the Final Four of SC-11 have responded with a motion to disqualify Bob Lee. Hopefully this will avert a felony trial that will cost taxpayers $100,000 or more and write an end to a political prosecution that has cooked up felony charges against activist reporters and local leftists.

 

Attorney Alexis Briggs has informed me of the following:

On Wednesday August 13th at 8:15 AM in Dept. 6 she will be appearing with her client Cameron Laurendeau to discuss whether Wells Fargo and/or Bob Lee are producing documents regarding their financial relationship. Wells Fargo reportedly contributed a substantial sum of money to Lee's re-election campaign--as did former Mayor Katherine Beiers (who admitted being in the building but was never charged).

On Wednesday August 27th at 8:15 AM in Dept 6, all four attorneys and the Final Four of the Santa Cruz Eleven will appear for a judgment on the earlier motion by all four that D.A. Bob Lee be removed from the case because of his financial interest or the appearance of impropriety (as I understand the issue). If he is, the matter willl be referred to the state attorney general to see if they chose to prosecute. Judge Burdick will decide that day or issue a ruling later.

Additioonally Jesse Rubin, Frank "Angel" Alcantara's attorney will argue other motions--which I'm still trying to secure a copy of.

In a videoed exchange from two years ago, Lee acknowledged he wanted the Santa Cruz Eleven to "pay back" the money that Wells Fargo claimed that other (uncharged and unnamed) activists created by "vandalism" in the bank. [See "Impromptu Conversation Between DA Bob Lee and Two of the Santa Cruz Eleven" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/07/18/18717774.php .] “Vandalism” is in quotes because while the bank was grafittied and some furniture damaged, the padding of the “costs” was rather obvious as was the political nature of the vandalism. In addition the disproportionate destruction wrought by Wells Fargo both locally and nationally was ignored.

TO VIEW THE RECUSAL MOTION AND EXXHIBITS, GO TO https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/08/10/18759840.php . Continue reading

Santa Cruz Mayor Stonewalls Transparency Demands

NOTE BY NORSE:   The demand for a Mayor’s meeting with lobbyists is an important part of knowing who she’s being influenced by.  Her public appearance calender provides critics and supporters alike to meet with her in public places and petition for a redress of grievances, if such is needed.  Robinson is probably the most explicitly anti-homeless Mayor in some years.  A lot of rhetorically pro-homeless Councilmembers steep themselves in pro-homeless rhetoric like former Mayor Don Lane, but then decline to take obvious measures to support homeless people

[https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/02/05/18706677.php?show_comments=1#18706748] .

                    I’m extremely ambivalent about the utility of attending City Council meetings (even before I was arrested for audio recording) since the deck is so stacked there.   The most pro-homeless activist Pat Colby has dropped out of the Council race, as has the rhetoric-heavy Steve Pleich.  City Council meetings have largely been a stage or an occasional platform to broadcast to the broader community the machinations of the 1%-dependent politicians.   Requiring the Mayor to keep the public advised of who she’s meeting with and when she’s appearing in public opens up other opportunities to raise issues that can be squelched by “decorum” demands and staff-dominated process at Council meetings.

Mayor Robinson Still Refuses Transparency, Won’t Reveal Appointments, Public Appearances
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Aug 5th, 2014 11:14 PM

Santa Cruz Mayor Lynn Robinson refuses to reveal the history of her meetings with lobbyists, her appointment book, or announcements of her upcoming public appearances. This is not unusual, however contrary to the public interest, as most mayors have done the same (with the exception of former Mayor Don Lane). Robinson was initially asked to come clean and public last March, but declined to respond. Three days after the request I was arrested at City Council for “unattended” audio recording (see “Video of the False Arrest…” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/05/03/18755258.php).

The following is the e-mail record of the requests for the documents:

From: rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
To: lrobinson [at] cityofsantacruz.com
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2013 11:50:07 -0800

Lynn: Thanks for your reply.

Requiring an individual to “attend” a recording device clearly limits their ability to speak with others, participate at City Council, and otherwise engage in traditional and constitutionally protected activity. It also particularly hampers independent media, who like to circulate among the audience and speak with them–often outside to avoid disrupting city council business.

I’m sure you intend no such thing, but have some good and sufficient reasons for changing city council practice. For the past decade or more mayors have had no difficulty with my inconspicuous use of a tape recorder to capture segments of the Council meeting for subsequent air broadcast.

I’ve requested all documents relating to complaints and problems with the traditional practice from the City Clerk. However, since I was advised that you personally are creating a new policy, please advise me of any actual problems and complaints you have that might justify such a fundamental and restrictive shift.

I’m including prior correspondence on this issue for your reference.

Thanks, Robert (423-4833)

P.S. When will you be available for an audio interview?

On Saturday, March 29, 2014 4:25 AM, Robert wrote:

Lynn:

Last December, as an addendum to our correspondence regarding audio recording at City Council under the decorum rules, I requested the traditional interview I do with the new Mayor. When will you be available for that?

I include a copy of the earlier correspondence below.

Additionally, previous mayors (though not all of them) have opened up their calendars to the public, noting in advance scheduled public appearances as well as contacts with lobbyists. When will you be doing so? I enclose below an e-mail demonstrating how Don Lane did so in this regard.

Thanks, Robert

From: rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
To: lrobinson [at] cityofsantacruz.com
Subject: Public Records Act Request for Appointment Calendar as well as Scheduled Public Appearances
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2014 13:09:54 -0700

Lynn:

Please make available for viewing (preferably in e-format) your appointment calendar since you became Mayor in 2013 detailing whom you met with, where, and for how long.

Please also make available similarly any documents announcing future public meetings at which you will be present during the rest of your tenure. Former Mayor Don Lane’s calendar is included as an attachment (and hopefully a good example and an inspiration).

I’d have preferred you do this out of respect for transparency and accountability in Santa Cruz government, but since you’ve declined to even respond to such requests in the past, this is a Public Records Act request which requires a timely response.

I include below prior requests for this information as well as for an interview with Free Radio, which virtually all over Mayors have not been afraid to do.

Thanks, Robert Norse

[For former Mayor Lane’s response, see “Mayor Lane Releases History of Community Contacts” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/02/22/18707952.php

Additional Note: Robinson’s arrest of me for audio recording on April may also have been a response to an e-mail I wrote her three days before asking her to clarify for the community that walking away from one’s tape recorder would not be the basis for her sergeant at arms seizing the recorder or punishing the reporter using it.   See “Robinson’s Revenge” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/05/03/18755258.php?show_comments=1#18759616 .

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Copwatchers in Santa Cruz Go to the Chief—Racial Profiling on Pacific Avenue?

Selective Enforcement of Smoking Ban, Obstruction of Video Reporting–Report to the Chief!
by John Colby (posted by Norse) ( rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com )
Saturday Aug 2nd, 2014 10:00 AM

Yesterday I received a phone call from advocate John Colby reporting his account of an incident of harassment downtown at Laurel and Pacific in the early afternoon. Colby noted he’d videoed some of the incident. He forwarded me his complaint and demand for public records addressed to SCPD Police Chief Kevin Vogel. His account seems to be newsworthy and instructive though I cannot vouch for its veracity. It does seem specific and credible if backed up by video and witness accounts. It also involves Officer Azua, who has never been held to account for prior reported violence, against a woman traveler Synthia Kennedy. We’ll see how Chief Vogel fields this one.

Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2014 20:45:34 -0700
Subject: What is the SCPD’s policy about “cop-watching”?
From: john.roncohen.colby [at] gmail.com
To: kvogel [at] cityofsantacruz.com
CC: rmartinez [at] cityofsantacruz.com; SClark [at] cityofsantacruz.com; lrobinson [at] cityofsantacruz.com;….

Kevin Vogel, Chief of Police
155 Center Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Dear Chief Vogel:

I am writing to serve you notice that the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) harasses “cop-watchers” protecting the civil rights of people in protected classes like people of color which has been witnessed by my sister and I — but today we were able to video record this harassment. To the point:

This afternoon around 1:30 PM SCPD Officer Bill Azua illegally cited an African American man — grouped with other African Americans — in downtown Santa Cruz for smoking while my sister and I observed that this man had not been smoking.

Officer Azua took this man aside and ran him for priors — also illegally — while he was citing him for smoking. I approached Officer Azua while he was detaining this African American man with my video camera. Officer Azua not only refused to identify himself, but also demanded that I move back. I asked Azua how far I needed to move back. Azua responded that I must move so that “I [he] couldn’t see me.”

Clearly this would prevent me from video recording the incident. I moved back five feet then asked Azua is that was far enough. Azua replied, “No.” I moved back five more feet. Again I asked Azua if I was far back enough. He refused to answer. Another officer came to Azua’s side and also refused to identify himself. This incident lasted for several minutes as captured on digital video. As the officers left I video recorded them. The unidentified officer pointed a video camera at me.

The African American men walked away. Azua followed them in his car to Laurel Street fronting the Taco Bell. He was then accompanied by SCPD Officer Ahlers from the Gang and Drug Task force. Azua and Ahlers took an imposing stance watching these men. I asked Officer Ahlers to identify himself. He ignored me. I asked Officer Azua to identify himself. He refused. Azua accused me of harassing them. I asked him if asking for identification constituted harassment. He replied that me talking to police officers when they didn’t want to speak with me constituted harassment.

A Pacific Ave, Taco Bell employee walked past Azua while smoking a cigarette. Azua did nothing. After I began video recording this employee, she became angry and began speaking with Azua while she had a burning cigarette in her hand. Azua did not cite her for smoking a cigarette — she was Caucasian. The manager of the Taco Bell demanded that I stop video recording his employees from the public sidewalk. I informed him this was legal. He implied that he would have Officer Azua take action against me if I continued to video record.

Minutes later my sister was on the telephone with SCPD Sergeant Jones. this sergeant defended Azua’s demand that I move out of sight while video recording. In response to my question about how far “cop-watchers” should be from SCPD officers while video recording, Jones replied 40-50 feet. I responded that this was too far, that it would prevent any audio recording. I asked Jones what statute or policy supported this. He said it was his “opinion”.

Officer Azua and another Police Officer in another car continued to circle around the area, following these African American men, apparently to harass them

To clarify the demands and opinions of Azua and Jones, I am making a request under the California Public Records Act (CPRA). I ask for: the most current documents which describe the SCPD’s policies about citizens (video) recording SCPD personnel. If these records are available electronically, then I ask that they be made available to me electronically. I am willing to pay a fee of up to $5 for this request. Thank you for providing me records which will shed light on what happened today.

Sincerely yours,

John E. Colby, Ph.D.
email: john.roncohen.colby [at] gmail.com

NOTE BY NORSE: Officer Azua has been accused in the past of excessive force. Synthia Kennedy reported a frightening experience in 2010 on Free Radio Santa Cruz. Go to,http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb100429.mp3 [1 hour and 3 minutes into the audio file] as well as http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb100415.mp3 [41 minutes into the audio file] to hear her account. When approached subsequently for his comments, Azua simply laughed.

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Metro Station Guards Try to Shut Down Video

Cops Claim Metro Bus Center “Private Property” To Shut Down Disabled Advocate with Video

by Robert Norse
Thursday Jul 31st, 2014 2:51 PM

I received a report yesterday from disability advocate John Colby. Colby observed SCPD Officer Scott Freeman and two First Alarm Security guards at the Metro Transit Center taking an intoxicated man to a squad car. Colby became concerned, having seen the video of last year’s “face first drop to the sidewalk” of Richard Hardy by Officer Vasquez (“SCPD Officer Vasquez Slams Drunk Man’s Face On Pavement” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/04/23/18735710.php). To document the incident, Colby pulled out his video device. He reports being denounced by a female supervisor who refused to give any ID. She and the guards booth insisted he stop recording because the Public Transit Center was “private property”. SCPD Officer Freeman made no attempt to protect Colby’s rights.

Colby noted that the incident began around 5:30 p.m. near the central “coffee shop” area the Transit Center where he was waiting for his bus. When he pointed his video device at the incident, a supervisor indignantly demanded what his business was in the Center and then advised him that videoing was not allowed. Colby asked what law was involved, upsetting her. After storming off, she returned with another security guard in tow. John explained to them that he was in an area open to the public and that it was public property. She then pulled out a smart phone, said “I’m going to take a picture of you”. John replied “go ahead” and smiled and waved into the camera.

Colby also expressed some concern that the one of the First Alarm Security guards began riffling through the man’s pockets and wondered if that wasn’t beyond the legitimate powers of private security. The angry supervisor and several security guards, he noted, continued to confer and gesture at him, gathering near the bus that he normally took home. “I felt intimidated,” he said, “I wondered if she was seeking more information or trying to make trouble for me with the drivers.

Out of fear of further harassment and delay, John put away his recorder under pressure from the security guard.

As well he might. But I’m glad Colby spoke up for everyone’s right to be at the Metro and document police behavior there. I’ve suffered arrest and conviction for doing the same in the past (See “Ticketing for Standing and Talking at the Metro Bus Stop Sunday” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/11/04/18548934.php /. However in spite of a false conviction, I have not altered my treatment of the Metro as a public space. Several weeks after I got my citation 6 years ago, I led a protest at the Metro which freely assembled and videoed. (See “Rotkin Claims: No Flyering Allowed at the Metro Center” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/11/25/18552885.php )

Later at home, Colby said he followed up by calling the police numerous times to request an informational report from Freeman to document any further misinformation to the public about “illegality”. After four hours and numerous calls, Colby eventually got a response from Sgt. Christian Le Moss Le Moss, Colby reports, was polite and agreed that he had the right to record, as did the other officer. Le Moss agreed to “educate” security guards on the issue to avoid future such attacks. Colby requested a copy of a report of the incident to document that promise.

One wonders why Officer Freeman didn’t advise the Security Guards and the Supervisor that Colby had the right to record, and to leave him alone. Or at least not to misinform him. Damage control later by Le Moss, however politely given, doesn’t mean Metro authorities won’t pull this nonsense at the next journalist or passing pedestrian who wants to capture a questionable incident on video or audio.

 

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Sacramento Stronghearts Challenge Panhandling Prohibitions; Santa Cruz ACLU Still Silent

NOTES BY NORSE:  The Sacramento ACLU has moved to challenge its anti-homeless panhandling prohibitions.   The legal eagles who put together the Sacramento County panhandling ban included an exemption for charitable groups which clearly discriminates against those begging for their own survival and/or that of their family and friends.  Local Attorney Mark Merin has a history of standing up for homeless people in Sacramento both in court and even personally supporting a homeless encampment on private property (that was ultimately shut down by city bigotry).  [See http://sacramentohomeless.blogspot.com/2009/08/mark-merin-property-leased-for-use-by.html ]

Santa Cruz’s panhandling law has had one successful court challenge: http://la.indymedia.org/news/2006/05/158965_comment.php.  However the law is massively overbroad and discriminates against the homeless [See full law below].  MC 9.10 severely restricts panhandling times and places.   MC 5.43 further restricts “display devices” (such as a donation cup).  MC 4.04.010 and MC 4.04.015 add additional penalties for not paying the outrageous fines of hundreds of dollars for each begging incident and deepen the criminalization of those charged (even if not convicted) of the MC 9.10.  An intensive campaign against “chronic offenders” has combined police, D.A., probation, and psuedo-social service workers in a  massive vendetta against the poor in Santa Cruz in the so-called Downtown Accountability Program.  The City has put in large prominent red change-collecting machines around which it is illegal to sit or panhandle within 14′.  These provide a cold steely “alternative” to panhandling (i.e. give your money to a machine and let bureaucrats decide who will benefit) are are marketed under the chilling label “Real Change Not Spare Change”.

The local ACLU has so far declined to make any public statements about this law, overtly abusive though it is to the rights of poor people (and those who want to donate to their survival).

Homeless activists sue Sacramento County to block panhandling ban

By Brad Branan
bbranan@sacbee.com

Published: Thursday, Jul. 17, 2014 – 12:32 pm

Last Modified: Friday, Jul. 18, 2014 – 7:01 am

The Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging a new Sacramento County panhandling ordinance as unconstitutional.
Supervisors unanimously passed the ordinance in May, which prohibits aggressive panhandling anywhere in the unincorporated county and bans solicitation specifically at street medians, banks, ATMs and gas stations.

The advocacy group, which publishes a bimonthly newspaper dedicated to homeless issues, is being represented in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and local attorney Mark Merin. ACLU Legal Director Alan Schlosser said the plaintiffs want a hearing within a week for a temporary injunction to suspend the ordinance, which took effect June 13.

Schlosser said the new law violates the U.S. Constitution by allowing charities to collect money in public places but banning panhandlers from doing so.
Panhandling restrictions have been approved by local governments across the state, including Citrus Heights, Elk Grove and Sacramento. But Sacramento County appears to be unique in creating an exemption for a group of people, Schlosser said.

The exemption and a desire to stop the law from ever being enforced were reasons for the ACLU to challenge the law, he said.

“They were certainly not intending to limit aggressive panhandling,” Schlosser said. “They are trying to push the homeless out of town.”

County spokeswoman Chris Andis said it’s county policy not to comment about pending litigation.

However, Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan defended the ordinance.

“Staff went to great lengths to write a law that recognizes the constitutional right to panhandling, but also restricts its locations where people feel vulnerable,” she said.

Earlier this month, Rancho Cordova tentatively approved a similar restriction on “aggressive panhandling” that prohibits solicitation in places where people are a “captive audience” to pleas for money. The law must be approved a second time next week before becoming law.

A city staff report said the amendment is legal based on recent court decisions and “the regulations are content neutral, meaning the regulations do not treat individuals differently depending on their message.” The regulations must also “serve an important government interest.”

Pamela Poole, executive director of the Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee, said she and other homeless members of the committee are worried that the county law will prohibit them from collecting donations in conjunction with the distribution of Homeward, which has a circulation of 8,000 to 11,000. Homeless people get copies of the newspaper free or for a nominal fee and then seek a recommended donation of $1 for each paper, which they keep.

Billy Murphy, a plaintiff in the case, said he has largely relied on panhandling for income since becoming homeless in October. He said he has stopped panhandling in Citrus Heights after being cited there in March, and he worries that Sacramento County’s ordinance will have the same effect on him.

Murphy said he generally panhandles on sidewalks and doesn’t solicit people verbally. Instead, he just holds signs, such as “Homeless Will Work Have Bike Will Travel … Please Help.”

“I just want people to know I need help,” he said.

A county spokesman said last week that the county is spending the first two months educating residents about the law and has not yet issued citations. Under the law, violations would be cited as an infraction, with three infractions in six months resulting in a misdemeanor charge.

Representatives of the Watt Avenue Merchants Association, the Fulton Avenue Association and the Florin Road Partnership told the board in May that they support the ban. They said panhandling seems to be on the rise in certain parts of the county.


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/17/6563815/homeless-activists-sue-sacramento.html#storylink=cpy

 

SANTA CRUZ’S PANHANDLING PROHIBITIONS

MORE NOTES BY NORSE:  The especially egregious and unconstitutional sections of the ordinance are emboldened.  However the massive sweep of the law so restricts the place, time, and manner of the laws as to make illegal peaceful non-threatening non-obstructive forms of sparechanging.   The “forbidden zones”, for instance, created for panhandling both in time and space leave very little opportunity for making donation requests.   Asking a friend for  money is illegal, for instance (and has reportedly been charged in the past if the person looks homeless enough and the cop wants to drive the person away).  People have spent months in jail panhandling.  Particularly misleading is the title of the law “Aggressive Solicitation”.  Only 3 of the 28 provisions of the law [MC 9.10.040 b, c and d] can be reasonably considered restrictions on “aggressive” panhandling.  The rest seek to wash poor people from the sight of tourists and residents.

Chapter 9.10   AGGRESSIVE SOLICITATION

Sections:

9.10.010    Definitions.

9.10.020    Time of solicitation.

9.10.030    Place of solicitation.

9.10.040    Manner of solicitation.

9.10.050    False or misleading solicitation.

9.10.060    Misdemeanor.

9.10.010 DEFINITIONS.

For the purposes of this chapter:

(a)    “Solicitation” means any verbal request, or any non-verbal request made with a sign, by a person seeking an immediate donation of money, food, cigarettes or items of value. Purchase of an item for an amount far exceeding its value, under circumstances where a reasonable person would understand that the purchase is in substance a donation, is a donation for purposes of this chapter. A person is not soliciting for purposes of this chapter when he or she passively displays a sign or places a collection container on the sidewalk pursuant to which he or she receives monetary offerings in appreciation for his or her original artwork or for entertainment or a street performance he or she provides. This chapter does not apply to peddling and soliciting activity governed by Chapter 5.40.

(b)    “Person” means any individual person, group of persons or organizations.

(Ord. 2009-05 § 3, 2009: Ord. 2002-51 § 1, 2002: Ord. 2002-39 § 1, 2002: Ord. 2002-32 § 1, 2002: Ord. 94-10 § 1 (part), 1994).

9.10.020 TIME OF SOLICITATION.

Any person who solicits after sunset or before sunrise is guilty of an infraction.

(Ord. 94-10 § 1 (part), 1994).

9.10.030 PLACE OF SOLICITATION.

Any person who solicits in any of the following places, or any person who solicits when the person solicited is in any of the following places, is guilty of an infraction:

(a)    At any bus stop;

(b)    In any public transportation vehicle or facility;

(c)    In any vehicle on the street;

(d)    On private property, unless the solicitor has permission from the owner or tenant;

(e)    Within fourteen feet of any building other than those buildings referenced in subsection (f). Where any portion of a building is recessed from the public sidewalk, the fourteen feet shall be measured from the point at which the building abuts the sidewalk;

(f)    Within fifty feet of any bank building or other financial institution buildings, including their outdoor automatic teller machines;

(g)    In the parking lot of any bank, savings and loan, or other financial institution;

(h)    Within fifty feet of any ATM machine or cash disbursal machine, or any other outdoor machine or device which disburses or accepts coins or paper currency except parking meters and newspaper vending machines;

(i)    Within fourteen feet of any fence that abuts a public sidewalk;

(j)    Within fourteen feet of any drinking fountain, public telephone, public bench, public trash compactor, information or directory/map sign, sculpture or artwork displayed on public property, or vending cart;

(k)    Within fourteen feet of any street corner or intersection;

(l)    Within fourteen feet of any open air dining area or cafe extension; or

(m)    Within fourteen feet of any kiosk.

(Ord. 2009-05 § 4, 2009: Ord. 2002-39 § 2, 2002: Ord. 2002-32 § 2, 2002: Ord. 94-10 § 1 (part), 1994).

9.10.040 MANNER OF SOLICITATION.

Any person who solicits in any of the following manners is guilty of an infraction:

(a)    By coming within three feet of the person solicited, until that person has indicated that he or she wishes to make a donation;

(b)    By blocking the path of the person solicited, or other pedestrians, along a sidewalk or street;

(c)    By following a person who walks away from the solicitor;

(d)    By using abusive language as part of the solicitation or following a refusal that is directed at the specific individual or individuals being solicited;

(e)    By soliciting in a group of two or more persons;

(f)    While under the influence of alcohol or any illegal narcotic or controlled substance; or

(g)    By soliciting while in the immediate possession of a dog, by leash or otherwise.

(Ord. 2011-08 § 9, 2011: Ord. 2006-06 § 1, 2006: Ord. 94-10 § 1 (part), 1994).

9.10.050 FALSE OR MISLEADING SOLICITATION.

(a)    Any person who knowingly makes any false or misleading representation in the course of soliciting a donation is guilty of an infraction. False or misleading representations include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1)    Stating that the donation is needed to meet a specific need, when the solicitor already has sufficient funds to meet that need and does not disclose that fact;

(2)    Stating that the donation is needed to meet a need which does not exist;

(3)    Stating that the solicitor is from out of town and stranded, when that is not true;

(4)    Stating that the solicitor is homeless, when he or she is not;

(5)    Stating that the solicitor is soliciting on behalf of an organization which does not exist or which has not authorized the solicitor to seek donations on its behalf.

(b)    Any person who knowingly solicits a donation stating that the funds are needed for a specific purpose and then spends the funds received for a different purpose is guilty of an infraction.

(Ord. 94-10 § 1 (part), 1994).

9.10.060 MISDEMEANOR.

Any person who violates one or more of the sections of this chapter twice within a six-month period is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(Ord. 94-10 § 1 (part), 1994).

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