HUFF is doing its thing again tomorrow–looking forward to adding a little Truth Through Sarcasm at the next City Council meeting which may be (a) criminalizing people in the parks for up to a year without trial, and (b) setting up the promised performer cages on Pacific Avenue. I’ll also be seeking volunteers for an End Police State in Santa Cruz protest at Center and Laurel at 2 PM. We’ll be reviewing the latest contortions of the City Attorney’s office around the Camping Ban. And more!
|Title:||October 22nd “Say No to Police Abuse” Day Protest Against Racial and Homeless Profiling|
|START DATE:||Wednesday October 22|
|TIME:||2:00 PM – 3:30 PM|
|Cop Corner at Laurel and Center Streets across from Louden Nelson Center.|
|Contact Name||Robert Norse|
|Email Address||rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com|
|Address||5749 Hiway 9 #A|
|October 22nd is a Day of National Concern and Protest against police violence. (Seehttp://www.october22.org/
In Santa Cruz, a collusive City Council prepares to hand greater enforcement and banishment powers over to individual officers and rangers with it steroid-enhanced expansion of Stay Away Orders (See “Nasty Anti-Homeless Stay-Away Laws to Get Exponentially Worse” athttp://www.october22.org/)
Recently there have been reports of an SCPD assault on Oliver Howard on October 11th (“Witnesses Report Excessive Use of Force by SCPD during Arrest near Court House” athttp://www.indybay.org/
The review of the citation records of Community Service Officer B. Barnett has revealed a disturbing pattern apparently targeting homeless persons and disproportionately citing African-Americans.
Nearly 3/4 of Barnett’s citations in his ignoble career downtown have involved citing homeless people for essentially victimless crimes (sitting, smoking, skateboarding). Nearly 10% of his citations were for African-Americans in a county that is 1.4% black by a recent census.
Other recent incidents of alleged racial profiling written up on this website include
“Santa Cruz Police and First Alarm Brutalize and Arrest People for Being Black and Homeless” athttp://www.indybay.org/
“Selective Enforcement of Smoking Ban, Obstruction of Video Reporting–Report to the Chief!” athttp://www.indybay.org/
A prior protest is shown and described here: “Protesters Demand Faster Response from SCPD Regarding Record’s Requests” at
The ongoing attack on homeless people is intensifying as winter gets closer as church programs are cut back, city council rubberstamps harsher laws, and the SCPD continues in its role in an ongoing Class War.
The SCPD continues to seek more money for surveillance software (license plate readers), declines to provide records of its contacts with other agencies re: military-style equipment and other forms of prepared repression against political protesters such as those in the Occupy Movement.
We will continue to be organizing volunteers to defend the rights of homeless people (Homeless Encampment Defense) as well as co-ordinate Copwatch efforts city-wide.
Come on down for “Don’t Beat ‘em, Eat ‘Em’” brownies and Mid-Day Coffee. Hoist a sign to defend the rights of all of us in public spaces sick of a militarized downtown.
Added to the calendar on Tuesday Oct 21st, 2014 6:25 PM
Thursday Oct 16th, 2014 2:08 AM
Last month, I requested all the Parks and Recreation Department [P & R] citations for MC 6.36 (the camping ordinance) during the 2013-2014 period and was simply given bundles of all citations for all offenses to look through. Apparently this department does not index its citations or at least did not provide them to us on request.
Interestingly enough, the SCPD initially insisted it too had no such index. After repeated prodding and showing up in person to view the tickets, the department eventually provided us with a listing of all citations in the downtown area.. It took repeated requests to get the addresses of the people cited (so as to calculate the attention given to homeless folks). You can view an example of the SCPD’s matrix–for Officer Barnett’s citations–below. This something the P & R won’t or can’t provide requiring us to examine the citations individually. I’ve also requested Micah Posner request staff to make this information available, but similar requests in the past have fallen on deaf ears.
It seems pretty important in creating an ordinance this severe and unprecedented to get some sense of what the cost, the extent, the target, and the effectiveness of stay-away orders has been over the last year. Stay-away orders are traditionally issued by a court after a conviction and only from a very particular place. Given P & R’s broad authority over much city property, these orders could be issued routinely and repeatedly with increasing severity for the most minor offenses.
Considering that most homeless people smoke (70+% compared with less than 20% of the general population), it’s no wonder that the “crime rate” is rising. Creates more demand for more cops and more enforcement. Since more is illegal. Not to mention sleepcrime citations.
Note that race is not included in the SCPD records–except on the citations themselves (and presumably in the inaccessible police reports), so we will still be returning to the SCPD to examine more closely the racial component of the citations, which apparently the SCPD doesn’t think enough of to add to its matrix (strange, since I’d imagine such stats may be required by the FBI or other federal agencies).
For the matrix of Officer Barnett’s citations downtown–to get any idea of how heavily weighted they are against homeless people, go to http://www.indybay.org/
COUNCIL SLOUCHES ONWARD
The vastly expanded City Council law will be going into effect on November 28th or thereabouts if it passes again as it’s likely to on October 28th with a 5-2 vote.
Some pointed out at last Tuesday’s meeting (myself included) that their proposed law law mandates the stay-away’s prior to any court charge, hearing, trial, or conviction. What was not noted is that any stay-away is an additional action which is completely discretionary. This discretionary loophole allows rangers and cops to pick and choose who they’ll issue the orders to with no guideline as to when to do it. It is police state authorization in its purest form–leaving the matter entirely up to the officer. And, of course, completely beyond court review–even if the officer’s victim is never tried, had charges dismissed, or is found not guilty.
But the discretionary provision explicitly authorizes and hence encourages selective enforcement depending on the preference of the citing officer. Easy enough to decide that an homeless person sleeping gets a “stay-away” order while a more well-dressed smoker gets off without one (though a high fine for both).
HUFFsters meet and greet chatting about The Great Park Pagrom (City Council Votes 1 Year Stay-Away Orders Without Benefit of Court); Another Keep ‘Em Honest Records Check at City Hall after the Meeting or a Day Later; Upcoming: Going Dotty on Pacific Avenue–the Upcoming Performance Cages; and numerous other bits and pieces I’m too tired to sort out at this moment… Come on down and check ‘em out!
|Title:||Nasty Anti-Homeless Stay-Away Laws to Get Exponentially Worse|
|START DATE:||Tuesday October 14|
|TIME:||3:00 PM – 3:30 PM|
|809 Center ST. City Council Chambers Santa Cruz
At the afternoon City Council meeting. The item is the third of three other Public Hearings scheduled, so it may come up significantly later than 3, and perhaps (though it’s unlikely) earlier.
|Contact Name||Robert Norse|
|Email Address||RNORSE3 [at] HOTMAiL.COM|
|Address||309 Cedar #14B|
|CRACKING DOWN ON THE POOR
Agenda Item #21 is a staff-generated proposal to vastly increase the amount of time those given low-level infraction tickets in city parks can be forced to stay away from the park.
The ordinance expanded to monstrous proportions is MC 13.08.100 described as “ORDER TO VACATE ANY PROPERTY MAINTAINED BY THE PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT”.
STAY-AWAY ORDERS WILDLY EXPANDED
The proposed penalty for violating such an order is a misdemeanor conviction (up to a year in jail or $1000 fine).
Specifically, according to the staff report:
“The proposed amendment provides for incremental increases in time that a person receiving a citation in a City park, beach or any other property maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department must stay away from the property where the arrest was made or citation issued.
(a) First offense (existing ordinance): Twenty-four hours from the time of the citing/arresting officer’s order.
(b) Second offense within one week of the first offense: One week from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the second offense.
(c) Third offense within thirty days of the second offense: Thirty days from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the third offense.
(d) Fourth offense within six months of the third offense: Six months from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the fourth offense.
(e) Fifth offense within one year of the fourth offense: One year from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the fifth offense.”
HOMELESS REMOVAL–NO DUE PROCESS REQUIRED!
Note that one doesn’t have to be convicted of any offense, even charged in court with any offense, simply cited for an offense for this law to go into effect.
Since the original 13.08.100 was passed in 2013, many have been given one-day stay-away’s along with their smoking, camping, or “park closed” citations. This law is designed to punish and exclude homeless people without the need to go to court and actually prove a crime.
FUN FOR THOSE STALKING THE HOMELESS–NOT JUST IN THE PARKS!
Also note that the sway of this new law goes far beyond the city parks, since it also applies to “any other property maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department.”
This apparently includes, according to MC 13.04.0111,
“without limitation all city parks and greenbelts, all city park trails and roads, all city park facilities and buildings, including Lighthouse Field State Beach, DeLaveaga Golf Course, Main Beach, Cowell’s Beach, Steamer Lane, Harvey West Pool, the Beach Flats Community Center, the Louden Nelson Community Center, the Teen Center, the Civic Auditorium, City Hall Courtyard, Mission Plaza, the Town Clock, the Natural History Museum, the Surfing Museum, Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, Pacific Avenue, West Cliff Drive (Pelton Street to Swanton Boulevard), the San Lorenzo River Levee and bike path, the San Lorenzo Benchlands, the inner banks of the San Lorenzo River within the City limits, the Branciforte and Cabonera Creeks within the city limits, Jessie Street Marsh, plus any other facilities or areas assigned to the parks and recreation department by the city manager.”
The specifically stated crimes of “chronic violators” includes “smoking, possession of alcoholic beverages, camping,
public urination and entering a closed area”. Folks apparently commit these dangerous behaviors and return 24-hours later (which is the limit of stay-away orders under the current law).
The purpose–the report continues-is to give the police more tools.
There is no indication of any increase in real “crime” in the parks, simply a determination to drive travelers and local homeless people away.
The statistics provided claim
21 subjects violated the order returning to the park within 24 hour and were subsequently arrested.
77 subjects returned to the parks or beaches after to 24 hours were up however, were given a second order to vacate for continuous unlawful behaviors.
26 subjects received three orders to vacate.
12 subjects received 4 orders to vacate.
1 individual received 13 orders to vacate.
MISSING FROM THE REPORT
However they give no indication of what these people were cited for, whether they were actually charged in court, nor whether the individuals charged were actually convicted of those “crimes”.
Bathrooms in the parks close at dusk or earlier. There are, of course, no sleeping areas in the City for the vast majority of those outside where it is legal to be. And only one 24-hour portapotty in the downtown area (the Posner Pooper).
WHY BOTHER TO TALK TO THE VICTIMS OR INFORM THE PUBLIC?
It is not clear that any homeless or social service agencies have been consulted. I’ve not heard that any out reach has been done to the homeless community. This is the 21st century equivalent of Sunset Laws where blacks were told to be “gone by sundown” from many towns in the country.
There has been no mention of this proposed Council deportation of homeless people in the kept media (Sentinel, Good Times, City on a Hill.
READ THE REPORT, THEN ROAR BACK
Staff reports and ordinance can be found at Council’s agenda athttp://scsire.
City Council members need to be e-mailed at citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com . Individual council members can be reached by taking the first initial and last name of the Council member and adding @cityofsantacruz.com to it (e.g. mposner [at] cityofsantacruz.com.
Dannettee Shoemaker and Martin Bernal are two of the highest paid officials in the City earning over $200,000 a year (not counting their benefits). They have signed their name to this police state measure–need to be horsewhipped and put in the stocks for this latest attack.
The consequence of the massively increased policing downtown, expanded stay-away orders, anti-median ordinance, and authority-encouraged bigotry against those outside has been pressure on the churches who do provide services.
The Circles Church has closed down its warming center and some of its meal services. The Red Church no longer allows people on its lawns prior to the meal.
COST OF THE MANUFACTURED CRISIS? UNKNOWN.
There is no indication of the cost in manpower and tax expense for the increased “drive ‘em out” policies of the Robinson-Mathews City Council during the last two years.
Nor any estimation of how much the increased penaltes will cost–especially if contested in court. Already the city is facing a potential class-action lawsuit from activists gathering data about the amount of homeless property destroyed by police and rangers.
The repeated citations are obviously taking police and ranger attention away from other areas and aren’t free. Apart from the immorality and futility of the whole thing, there’s no indication of the expense involved.
REAL CRIMINALS ARE THOSE IN POWER
Dannettee Shoemaker head of Parks and Recreation and Martin Bernal, City Manager, are two of the highest paid officials in the City earning over $200,000 a year (not counting their benefits). They have signed their names to this police state measure.
The class war on the poor is advancing relentlessly under color of law.
To do this requires to look at occasions where citations and arrests were made on private property and what the circumstances were.
Committee member Coral Brune independently requested those records and forwarded them to me. I reprint them below.
I will encourage Brune to make a follow-up request to view the actual citations and reports. If she won’t, I will. The citations and arrests need to be examine individually to see if police actually did follow the law.
> September 25, 2014
> Contact: April Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206.321.3850
> Mayoral candidate Dan Siegel commits to doubling Housing First Investments
> Siegel outlines his innovative and compassionate approach to homelessness (Oakland, CA) – Today, Oakland mayoral candidate Dan Siegel released his 8th policy paper, detailing his agenda on homelessness in Oakland. The paper lays out four areas that Siegel will innovate in his approach to both increasing access to permanent housing and supporting people without shelter in their daily lives:
> Housing First: The simplest strategy is also proven the most effective: give chronically homeless people a home with no strings attached. Siegel
will double Oakland’s current investment in the Permanent Access to Housing program in order to serve twice as many chronically homeless individuals.
> Tiny Houses: The potential of the “Tiny House” movement to address homelessness has been recognized nationwide. These houses, costing as little as $5,000 to build, require minimal amounts of land and need not be connected to the power grid.
> Homelessness is not a Crime: Siegel supports legislative approaches such as California’s Homeless Bill of Rights proposed by Senator Tom Ammiano. If the state is unwilling to outlaw discrimination against homelessness (Ammiano’s most recent attempt died in the legislature in January, 2014), the Siegel administration will propose a similar bill at the city level. “Oakland must also eliminate any ˜quality of life” laws that make life on the streets more challenging than it already is,” said Siegel.
> Shower Access: The City of Oakland, through its shelters and other facilities, should also ensure that shower and bathroom facilities are available for the homeless during the day, even if it is impossible to provide beds for all each night.
> The full paper can be accessed at http://siegelforoakland.
> Paid for by Dan Siegel for Mayor, 2014
> 499 14th Street, Suite 300
> Oakland, CA 94612
> (510) 839-1200
|Title:||Santa Cruz City Council Candidate Craig Bush on Free Radio|
|START DATE:||Sunday October 12|
|TIME:||9:30 AM – 11:00 AM|
|On the stream of Free Radio Santa Cruz at http://tunein.com/radio/
The show will archive at http://www.radiolibre.org/
|Event Type:||Radio Broadcast|
|Last week, due to mental mixup by the talk show host, Candidate Bush didn’t make it on the stream. This Sunday will hopefully be different.
Craig Bush is running for one of the three vacancies on the Santa Cruz City Council with voting due to start within a week. He is one of seven candidates running and the only one so far who has replied to an invitation to come on Free Radio.
His website is at http://www.
Bush’s platform extensive and specific. You can find it athttp://www.bushforsccouncil.
For a summary of his positions on Social Services, the Santa Cruz Eleven, and Law Enforcement go to http://www.indybay.org/
I will specifically be asking Bush to answer questions for the HUFF questionaire that other candidates (other than Leonie Sherman) have ignored. Seehttp://www.indybay.org/
Bush tells me he has lived in Santa Cruz since the 70′s, so I’ll be asking him some “then and now” questions as well as my usual “what will you do the day after the election results show you’ve lost?”–which I’ve asked of every candidate. I”m more interested in activism all the rest of the days of the year, than election results.
Tune in and call in. Or e-mail your questions to me at rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
“I have a candidate forum at Calvary Episcopal church downtown. [7 PM Thursday 10-9]”
“I would like to bring music that pays tribute to the street performing artists and musicians of SC. Move the story around the repression, bullying. ticketing that is forcing them out. I have stories of performing artists that have performed on our streets. Artists, dancers and musicians who sprung forth dance, music and theatre that has been performed on our stages here. When we crush the seeds of creativity we destroy our cultural heritage. I have a green light program that fosters creativity among our aspiring street performers. I have several specific solutions to improve social services here. I hope to get in some time to discuss them all.”
“I also have an economic stimulus plan that includes the organic permaculture corridor running on both sides of the rr track from Davenport to Watsonville. City formulated worker co-ops to manufacture hemp shopping bags with city logo. Provides long term unemployed 55 and over full time good paying jobs in a safe green working environment. A sustainable water system that will put us in a position to export water and lower our water bills. A system that produces the purest naturally alkaline water in CA. A water system that will enable the return of the salmon. This is what I bring to the table.’
Some items on my docket: Electoral Events & Forums–a HUFF response?; Officer Barnett–the Final Follow-Up; Measure K Meeting–A Look Back; Tenant Update; The Paula’s Cottage Protest–and the City Council Meeting That Followed…and more, as ever.
Monday Oct 6th, 2014 11:06 PM
The Measure K Committee, created by voter initiative in 2006 here in Santa Cruz, in Santa Monica, and in Santa Barbara was supposed to be the first step in holding the local PD and similar agencies accountable and moving to end Marijuana Prohibition. I detailed the agenda and some preliminary concerns about the Committee pro-police bias at http://www.indybay.org/
newsitems/2014/10/05/18762458. php . Marijuana enforcement was supposed to become the lowest enforcement priority for adults on private property–whether the marijuana was being used, bought, sold, transported, or simply possessed. The Measure K Committee was supposed to ensure that police were laying off. Instead it’s acting as a rubberstamp.
TICKETS OUTNUMBER COMPLAINTS 8-1 BUT COMMITTEE NOT INTERESTED IN SEEING THE CITATIONS
None of the Committee was interested in actually looking at the statistic around marijuana arrests. Why were the police doing 8 times more ticketing/arresting for marijuana than there were calls for service around that issue? Member Coral Brune couldn’t get a second for her motion to ask to see the actual fifty marijuana citations and arrest reports. Before rubberstamping the summary and conclusions of Assistant to the Assistant City Manager Scott Collins that the SCPD were “in compliance”. In essence they took the SCPD’s word for it.
However, MC 9.84.060(1)(e) actually reads: “Responsibilities of the committee shall include: submitting written reports semi-annually to the Santa Cruz City Council on the implementation of this ordinance, … These reports shall include but not necessarily be limited to: the number of all arrests, citations, property seizures, and prosecutions for marijuana offenses in the city of Santa Cruz; the breakdown of all marijuana arrests and citations by race, age, specific charge, and classification as infraction, misdemeanor, or felony; the percentage of all arrests in the city of Santa Cruz that are for adult marijuana offenses.”
The only provision that was actually followed was the final section which requires the reports to include “any instances of law enforcement activity that the committee believes violated the lowest law enforcement priority policy”–where everyone took the SCPD’s word that that number was zero.
I couldn’t figure out whether most of the Committee members were being cagey, cowardly or just clueless in willfully ignoring the requirements of the law (passed by the voters after being rejected by City Council back in 2006). I suspect that exaggerated respect for and/or apprehension of the police played its usual role.
VICTIMS OF POLICE ABUSE CAN CONTACT THE COMMITTEE IN SIX MONTHS
One member afterwards–the only one who actually stopped to talk with me–actually told me that he didn’t want to examine police records unless he received credible reports of violations. When I told him that as a radio broadcaster I’d received such reports of homeless people being ticketed for marijuana on private property (though admittedly outdoors), he suggested they “come to the next meeting” That would be in six months, I told him. No, he insisted, we meet ever three months. I showed him the minutes of the last meeting–since the Committee meets twice yearly. On several occasions the members don’t bother to show up or City Council members left their seats vacant.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY
To his credit, at Coral’s request Collins arranged to have a recording of the meeting–something David Terrazas–head of the Public Safety Committee twice refused to do. Terazzas’s committee excreted one anti-homeless law after another last year.
To his discredit, Collins suggested that getting the police to release the 50 marijuana citations from the last six months would be “burdensome” and “costly” and “time-consuming”. The Committee ignored my testimony that I regularly got such information from the police department–which didn’t seem to bankrupt them or prompt wails of dismay.
HOW MUCH MONEY IS THE SCPD USING FOR MARIJUANA ENFORCEMENT? DON’T ASK!
Other motions presented by Brune were dismissed as “beyond the purview” of the Committee that “might require an opinion of the City Attorney.” These included a request to find out what grants or funding sources the SCPD gets that are used for any kind of marijuana enforcement. This is actually explicitly authorized if not required by MC 9.84.050(2) (e) of Measure K which states: “Responsibilities of the committee shall include…the estimated time and money spent by the city on law enforcement and punishment for adult marijuana offenses.”
Another one turned down without a second or a vote was “how much is spent for marijuana arrest and citations?” Another action authorized by the law.
ARRESTING HOMELESS PEOPLE? NOT INTERESTED.
Brune also asked that Collins provide a breakdown of arrests that include marijuana as an additional offense and the number of citations given homeless people in their campers (private property which the SCPD is supposed to give lowest enforcement priority to.
Brune also called for researching the proportion of service calls (i.e. marijuana complaints) to marijuana citations. The latter outnumber the former by a factor of 8 to 1, indicating that the SCPD is doing such citing without a complaint in most of the cases. This was ignored.
A PRIVATE PERSON HAS TO DO WHAT A CITY-FUNDED COMMITTEE REFUSES TO DO
Brune noted she’d filed her own Public Records Act request to get the stats, which I’ll ask her to post publicly so the community can do the job that the Measure K Committee declines to do.
Collins and other Committee members hastily moved to distance themselves from her action–suggesting that any criticism of our armed Drug War Enforcers was just not cricket.
HASSLED IN CONNECTION WITH MARIJUANA ON PRIVATE PROPERTY IF YOU’RE OVER 21?
Please contact me with any instances of harassment for marijuana use, possession, transportation, sales, or purchase on private property. That means on any piece of private property whether open to the public or not, as far as I know. E-mail rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com or call me at 831-423-4833. I will pass on these concerns to the Committee (via Brune) as well as make them public on Free Radio Santa Cruz.
The “Semi-Annual” Report which the Committee approved can be found at http://www.indybay.org/
To read further critical background on the Measure K Committee, follow the links at http://www.indybay.org/