HUFF Agenda Suggestions: How to Address the City Council Elections This Year, Coastal Commission Update and Strategy on Stopping the County RV Ban, Disability as a Club to Crush the Sleeping Ban, Connecting Up with Santa Barbara and Venice activists, Salinas Flagpole Community Updates, and a swig of coffee or whatever you’re drinking…
An 11 PM to 8:30 AM ban on the act of sleeping outside or in a vehicle on public property has created a nonsensical, costly, and cruel conflict forcing unhoused vulnerable people to hide in unsafe areas, avoid well-lighted spots, and disperse from larger (safer) groups.
Without formal organization, unhoused folks have gathered every Tuesday scrunched on the sidewalk in front of City Hall (as the City has made it illegal to be in the Council “park” after 10 PM). They share company, security, and food compliments of “Jumbogumbo” Joe Schultz of India Joze. Join them to share your blankets, watching eyes, documenting cellphone recordings, and support.
COUNCIL DELAYS CITY RV BAN APPEAL
After the Coastal Commission’s defeat of Councilwoman Richelle Niroyan’s anti-homeless midnight-to-5 AM ban on RV’s in the city, the City Council last Thursday placed the item on its agenda for today’s 12:30 PM Closed Session. By Monday (perhaps earlier) it had been struck out. When asked why, Councilmember Posner neither offered a reason, nor expressed any interest in finding out.
Assistant City Manager Scott Collins has been e-mailed with the same questions. Collins is the same staffer who declined to verify the Freedom Sleepers’ claims that they were regularly cleaning up the protest area after use last fall. Instead, McHenry reports, Collins leveled criminal charges against Freedom Sleeper and Food Not Bombs co-founder after McHenry yelled at him as Collins fled the scene. In a deal to protect another Freedom Sleeper, McHenry pled to a lesser charge in the Shouting Incident as City officials went after him last winter for restoring and expanding the “blue boxes” on Pacific Avenue with do-it-yourself paint and stencils. Collins and his associate Julie Hendee are regular presenters of anti-homeless measures to City Council.
COUNTY RV BAN STRUGGLE CONTINUES
The new crackdown on poor folks in RV’s in the broader County area was reviewed last week in “Freedom Sleep #58 In the Midst of Struggle Over RV Rights: COUNTY RV BAN ENFORCEMENT IN PROGRESS? ” at https://www.indybay.org/
On August 12 the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office wrote on this thread: “No Overnight Parking zones will remain No Overnight Parking Zones with or without a permit. As for obtaining the permit, you must have permission from your friend or family who lives directly adjacent from your RV.” A rather straightforward interpretation here is that ALL overnight parking on ALL County roads are currently technically “illegal” under the County’s Ordinance Section 9.70.620 passed in March. There has been no discussion on this thread dated later than August 12.
However, Santa Cruz Fulltimers founder Julie Schaul–an activist concerned with the rights of poor families living in RV’s in the City–reports no citations have been given out since the Sheriff’s Department announced it began enforcing the ban on August 1st. Schaul has a facebook page that covers the RV struggle.
County staff and Coastal Commission staff, though questioned about the legality of the County’s ordinance and the Sheriff’s enforcement announcement, have declined to apply the Commission’s August 10th ruling against the City ban. They have also declined to clarify an appropriate appeal procedure on the issue. E-mail and phone exchanges continue. If you wish to express your concern, contact Sharif Traylor, staffer at the Coastal Commission, at 427-4863 or sharif.traylor [at] coastal.ca.gov or Paia Levine, planner, at County Planning at paia.levine [at] santacruzcounty.us 454-5317.
Though Sharif has noted he reply by e-mail, it’s still useful to create a paper trail. The issue is whether the County March law violates the Coastal Commission’s clear statements on August 10th that there must be real public access for folks of all incomes. Neither Santa Cruz County nor the City provides places for poor people to park their RV’s, nor have they shown a real “crime” problem.
Please cc all such inquiries and responses to rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com .
DEMAND THE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES SPEAK UP AGAINST THE SLEEPING BAN AND ANTI-HOMELESS LAWS
Contact the 9 Council candidates running by e-mail or phone to insist they raise the issues of Sleeping Ban Repeal, Access to public spaces at night, security for homeless persons and property, as well as restore the meager social services. These were some of the original demands of the Freedom Sleep-Out. The protests began as a Community Sleep-Out under the “Homeless Lives Matter” slogan last summer as services closed down at the Homeless Lack-of Services Center.
The candidates are J.M. Brown, Steven Pleich, Nathanael A. Kennedy, Drew “Dru” S. Glover, Martine Watkins, Cynthia Mathews, Steve Schnaar, James (Jim) P. Davis, Robert Singleton, Sandra (Sandy) L. Brown, and Chris Krohn. Their contact information is available at http://www.cityofsantacruz.
Only Steve Pleich has spent an overnight with the Freedom Sleepers and not recently.
To discuss RV pushback and electoral antics, check out the HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) meeting at 11 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe Wednesday August 24.
HUFF assembles in dwindling numbers at the Sub Rosa Cafe (703 Pacific) 11 AM Wednesday 8-17-16
On the agenda: the RV Ban issue–in the City and in the County. County sherriffs have announced they’ve begun enforcing the “no RV parking overnight in the County without a permit–which can only be obtained in connection with a county resident near their house. This is apparently oblivious to the Coastal Commission’s clear rejection of the current Niroyan “RV’s get out!” city RV Ban law at the August 10th hearing. We’ll be looking at ways to fight the County ban. Also we’ll discuss creative ways of raising real issues during the fall elections “outside the box”, a possible coalition of renters, workers, students, unhoused folks, elders, and ageing activists around the issue of rent control and restoration of civil rights for those forced outside. Be there and drink the coffee before it gets cold!
Regarding the recent Coastal Commission decision requiring a full-scale hearing at a future Commission meeting before they’ll issue a permit to allow enforcement of the nighttime RV ban in the coastal areas of Santa Cruz City.
Note that the County had already announced its own enforcement of a similar if not identical law impacting even a wider audience. The issue will be discussed on Free Radio Santa Cruz Sunday morning 8-21 at 10 AM at 101.3 FM (streams at www.freakradio.org).
Tue Aug 16 09:18:45 2016
Again, that link is http://www.cal-span.org/media.
TO COMMENT OR READ COMMENTS GO TO: https://www.indybay.org/
Date Tuesday August 16
Time 5:00 PM Tuesday – 9:00 AM Wednesday
Location Details Bring bags, blankets, and bellies to the sidewalk and brick area in front of Santa Cruz City Hall.
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (article written by Norse)
ANOTHER TUESDAY NIGHT, ANOTHER NIGHT ON THE SIDEWALK
City Council returned from its summer recess last week, unrepentant as ever, with nothing on the agenda that would increase shelter or homeless services or restore the homeless right to be free from police persecution for life-sustaining behaviors. Mercifully, there will be no Council meeting this Tuesday night.
Salinas activists have sustained a more recent, but more intense (nightly) protest at their City Hall. See “Following the Chinatown Homeless Sweeps, A New Tent Community Thrives at Salinas City Hall” at https://www.indybay.org/
Some local activists noted that the entire City Council candidate roguepack was present at the Association of Faith Communities Election Forum last Thursday night–though there was little if any talk about the Freedom Sleepers protest, the Sleeping Ban, or the criminalization of the poor.
Andy Carcello was evicted from the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center and reported getting pneumonia sleeping on the street in front of the HLOSC. Shortly thereafter he required heart surgery and reports being “dumped’ in Salinas. Lucero Luna, a fiery Freedom Sleeper, has been in and out of jail for repeated defiance of the “stay in your blue box” Downtown Ordinances.
City councilfolks and staffers can bullshit themselves, but it’s harder to bullshit the Coastal Commission. In Santa Cruz, staff word is usually holy writ, so they can spin whatever yarns they want with challenge only from the occasional critic that the Council ignores. The Coastal Commission staff initially advised the Santa Cruz Council staff that last year’s proposed 8 PM to 8 AM RV ban would be too sweeping to pass muster once I’d filed an appeal at the recommendation of Councilmember Posner. The Coastal Commission staff, after months of consulting with the Scott Collins City Council staff, agreed to a “compromise” midnight to 5 AM ban, swallowing whole Collins’ specious arguments. The CC staff then recommended upholding the “RV’s Get Out!” law and denying my appeal.
Though they had plenty of time to research, both staffs failed to include the particulars. For instance, the (lack of) availability of RV parking in the City. Or the miniscule number of churches that actually allow an RV to park (where they have to compete with vehicles). In essence, Collins’ failed to come up with specific parking alternatives for unhoused people using RV’s as housing.
He had no specific statistics clarifying what “crimes” required passing such a Draconian city-wide ban. But claimed he had. A few simple questions from the Commission itself exposed the how unsubstantiated these claims were.
We brought up these issues repeatedly before City Council but were ostentatiously ignored. Arrogant politicians in an echo chamber suddenly run up against outside observers who, whatever their political preferences, have to consider real facts. Like denying coastal access to a whole class of people to please NIMBY neighborhoods.
HUFF testimony against the anti-RV law is slated for the Coastal Commission meeting at 9 AM at the Scotts Valley Hilton at 3001 La Madrona Dr. on Wednesday morning. The item may last until noon or may come up earlier.
As soon as the meeting is over, surviving HUFF members will meet at the Cafe Pergolesi since the Sub Rosa is closed for the morning.
On the agenda: Next steps in the struggle to restore rights for RV’s; Council Capers–HUFF strategy in the election campaign at the election forums; collateral support for Freedom Sleeper issues; and whatever you bring…
Date Tuesday August 09
Time 5:00 PM – 9:00 AM
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (post written by Norse)
Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
RV DWELLERS FACE BAN RUBBERSTAMP ON WEDNESDAY MORNING
Wednesday morning 8-10 RV dwellers may watch the final nail in their coffin as far as the right to park at night in Santa Cruz goes. The likely pro-forma hearing will take place at the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley 6001 La Madrona Drive to start at 9 AM 8-10. For details, see “Say No to the Nighttime RV Ban at the Coastal Commission Hearing ” at https://www.indybay.org/
ELECTION ANTICS BEGIN
Candidate forums for who’ll be warming City Council seats in November begin Thursday night 8-11 7 – 8.30pm at Peace United 900 High St. WARNING TO THE NEWCOMER: Such forums are usually highly controlled, though this one may be a bit more liberal. Usually more of a place to shmooze after the event than actually get a chance for meaningful public dialogue with the candidates.
Reportedly former Mayor Christopher Krohn has entered the race. While more liberal in rhetoric than most Councilmembers on many issues, he earned notoriety (and cost the City $200,000 in legal fees) for arresting a man at City Council for a silent protest involving a Nazi salute 14 years ago. He also declined to provide the promised independent voice against police abuse, for city council access, and for homeless civil rights.
SALINAS SLEEPOUT STILL GOING STRONG
Wes White, Salinas activist, reports the Flagpole Community is still holding its nightly (!) sleepout’s at Salinas City Hall as they enter their 5th month of nighttime beddown. As in Santa Cruz, the event is largely a homeless one, though White is an untiring (though very tired) activist and organizer. Contact him for information at 831-296-0042 or luckyagentwes [at] yahoo.com . Also check out Monterey County Homeless Advocates on facebook.
Four charged with Storage of Personal Property on City Property (i.e. setting down your backpack and tent while resting during the day) August 24th at 1:30 PM in Courtroom 7 facing misdemeanor penalties. White reports police have hit over 100 campsites stealing 4-5 tons of homeless property since they began attacks on March 23rd.
See Alex Darocy’s vivid coverage and narrative at https://www.indybay.org/
FREEDOM SLEEPER ARRESTED MULTIPLE TIMES ON PACIFIC AVE.
Longtime outspoken Freedom Sleeper activist “Let ‘Em Have It!” Lucero Luna has been arrested multiple times on Pacific Avenue–most recently at the Metro–according to Steve Pleich’s facebook page. At one point she was being held on $5000 bail for what jail authorities would only identify as “Municipal Code” violations.
Artists Joff Jones and Alex Skelton have purchased a vehicle and were displaying their artwork on Pacific Avenue posted there and so not subject to the “Vanish the Vendors” law limiting folks to the performance pens or “blue/brass boxes” along the sidewalk. Arrested five times since last year for displaying their paintings, the two face trial 1:30 PM August 30 Dept. 10 on two counts under the new laws in the basement of the County Building. More details at https://www.indybay.org/
HOMELESS MAN EVICTED FROM HOMELESS (LACK OF) SERVICES CENTER, GETS PNEUMONIA
Long time resident and volunteer Andy Carcello reported being evicted on August 1 from the Paul Lee loft in spite of a severe medical condition. On August 2nd he reports “[I was] laying outside the iron gates of SCHS; an ambulance was called for me; and I was immediately transported to Dominican Hospitals Emergency Room. I was dying from congestive heart failure, severe stenosis in two of my heart valves, and pneumonia. ” He reportedly went into heart surgery yesterday.
More info on the Freedom Sleepers is frequently available at https://www.facebook.com/
This calendar event description was written by Robert Norse, who is alone responsible for its content.
Say No to the Nighttime RV Ban at the Coastal Commission Hearing
Time 9:00 AM -into the afternoon
Location Details Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley 6001 La Madrona Dr.Staff advises that the item (#16e on the Agenda) may not be heard until 10 AM or later, but suggests people come at 9 AM “to be sure”. They also warn that meetings may take until mid-afternoon or even evening. However 10-11 AM was the estimated (extremely approximate) time.
(415) 407-3211.The full agenda packet for my appeal can be found at http://www.coastal.ca.gov/
Only those who spoke or wrote to City Council around the anti-RV ordinance previously will be allowed to speak unless the Commission decides that a “substantial issue” is involved.
TEXT OF MY APPEAL [See attachment below]
HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) opposes the proposed ban on RV parking city-wide during the nighttime hours of midnight to 5 AM. We believe it violates the City LDC as well as being part of a broader unstated anti-homeless policy of eliminating visible poverty from public areas without respecting the rights of the entire community to have access to those areas.
It limits public access unnecessarily to the Coastal Zone.
It discriminates against poor people (and indeed anyone) who live in or drive RV’s by denying them coastal access.
It puts a particular burden on those whose only affordable housing is a vehicle by making it illegal to park them at night. [See attachment below for the rest of the letter]
SPECIFIC WORDING OF THE LAW
10.40.120 No person shall stop, stand or leave standing any oversized vehicle on any public highway, street or city parking lot between the hours of 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. unless otherwise authorized under Municipal Code Chapter 10.40.120.
DEFINITION OF OVERSIZED VEHICLE [MC 10.04.106]
“Oversized vehicle” shall mean any motorized vehicle as defined of Section 670 of the Vehicle Code or combination of motorized vehicles and/or non-motorized vehicles or trailers that meets or exceeds twenty-two feet in length at any time or a combination of the two following criteria, exclusive of fixtures, accessories or property: seven feet in height and seven feet in width.
(a) To determine the height, width or length of the vehicles defined in this section, any extension to the vehicle caused by mirrors, air conditioners, or similar attachments as allowed by Section 35109, 35110 or 35111 of the Vehicle Code as may be amended shall not be included.
(b) Oversized vehicle does not include pickup trucks, vans, or sport utility vehicles, which are less than twenty-five feet in length and eight feet in height.”
ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS: City Council Staff was directed “to proceed with the Coastal Development Permit process with a no parking rule from 12:00 a.m. – 5 a.m.; and report back 3 months after the ordinance goes into effect with some options for additional measures in the ordinance that could possibly expand the hours, as well as a permitting option for RV parking.”
HEARING PROCEDURES AT THE COASTAL COMMISSION:
“New appeals undergo a two-step process before the Commission, known as the ‘substantial issue’ phase and the ‘de novo’ phase. At the ‘substantial issue’ phase, section 30625(b) of the Coastal Act requires the Commission to hear an appeal unless the Commission determines that no substantial issue is raised by the appeal.
If at least three Commissioners request to take public testimony at the substantial issue phase of the appeal prior to determining whether or not to hear an appeal, the only persons qualified to testify orally before the Commission are the applicants, persons who opposed the application before the local government (or their representatives), and the local government. Testimony from other persons must be submitted in writing.”
The appeal, in my view, is unlikely to get past the “substantial issue” phase, since Coastal staff, huddling with the City staff, has already found “no substantial issue” and its recommendation to defeat the appeal is being forwarded to the Commission. I am told the Commission rarely goes against the recommendations of its staff.
However, there seemed to be some confusion among the staff. One staffer was unaware that the law allows nighttime parking permits only to those who rent or own and not to unhoused people, van dwellers, and tourists unless local housed residents made application. Another knew about the exclusion of homeless from permits and apparently didn’t think its exclusion of those folks was significant.
To support those who are impacted by the “RV’s Begone!” law, those fighting gentrification and thinly disguised anti-homeless laws generally. This battle is likely lost (though you never can tell), but the struggle will continue. It may be a chance to meet and exchange contact information with folks living in RV’s or supporting those who do.
The fact remains that in Santa Cruz, affordable housing for the poor is often a vehicle. Banning nighttime RV parking is the yet another step in the continuing criminalizing process. For those who were (foolishly) hoping for real alternatives in the Presidential election, there are real struggles to be fought locally on a day-to-day basis that matter. Getting together with others may make that more likely.
Added to the calendar on Monday Aug 8th, 2016 9:26 PM Import this event into your personal calendar.
HUFFsters will be toasting each other with the usual free coffee.
Among the issues up for action:
Last Stand for RV Parking at Night at the Coastal Commission 8-10, After Freedom Sleeping, what next?, Storming the Council Candidate Forums, Homeless Lives Matter!–examining the Campaign Zero planks of Black Lives Matter! and applying them to Santa Cruz; come prepared to table downtown in soldarity with the vanishing vendors…and more!