Last Council of the Year Takes a Bow Over the Bodies of the Poor
City Council meets today ignoring the national and local crisis around police class and race profiling. Ignoring foreign militarism, national police scandals, and local police profiling, they will be patting themselves on the back as they vote on a final escalation of the War Against the Poor. Here’s a reiteration of some items that are coming up.
UNTOUCHABLE CITY ATTORNEY AND CITY MANAGER
At 1 PM in Council chambers, City Council will be following a unusual procedure in holding the open interval of its closed session in this larger room. It will then retire to the smaller City Council Conference room behind the chambers where it usually meets behind closed doors in “Closed Session”.
What’s peculiar here is the process being followed. Two of the most powerful and well-paid officials in the City–the City Attorney and the City Manager are up for “performance evaluation”. The on-line agenda suggests that it will be behind closed doors with the public excluded.
BERNAL CONTROLS VOGEL
City Manager Martin Bernal controls the hiring and firing of the Police Chief Kevin Vogel.
The SCPD refuses to open its records of use and display of force, tasering, pain compliance holds, choke holds, gun drawings, baton use, and so forth (See “SCPD: No Disclosure of When People were PepperSprayed, Choked, Tasered, Gun-Bullied or Shot” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/12/04/18765028.php).
Unaddressed claims of racial profiling also hang over the department (See “Race and Class Bias in the SCPD: What’s the Real Story?” at http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2014/12/03/grand_jury_protest_updated.pdf).
City Council is legally required to open its closed sessions–however briefly–for public comment. Of course, Mayor Robinnson (and in-coming Mayor Don Lane) haven’t cared much for that in such matters as allowing unimpeded recording of City Council meetings (See “Video of the False Arrest at Santa Cruz City Council for Audio Recording ” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/05/03/18755258.php)
“RESCUE TANKS” IN SANTA CRUZ?
Consent Agenda Item #13 is titled “2015 Homeland Security Grant Funding – Budget Adjustment (PD/FD)” This is likely to come up shortly after 2:30 PM.
See “Santa Cruz Police to Procure $250K ‘Rescue Vehicle’” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/12/08/18765238.php
Could be another Steve Clark special (he’s our reactionary Deputy Police Chief) rushing to amp up the department’s aggressive image? With anger against police abuse rising all around the country, it’s a good time
I’ve asked Councilmember Posner to pull this item from the agenda for discussion rather than a rote vote. The public has been banned from pulling items and requiring they be more fully discussed and individually voted on. Other City Councils, our Board of Supervisors, and past City Councils have had this rather elementary public process, but it was removed at the behest of former Mayor and incoming Supervisor Ryan Connerty some years back. Neither Posner nor Lane have moved to restore this process.
Cafe HUFF will be serving brownies and brew (that is, coffee) as well as Jumbogumbo Joe Schultz’s soup, hopefully as early as 2;30 PM
The time for this item is uncertain but probably between 3:30 and 4:30. Come early to be sure.
This is the latest anti-homeless eruption from the Public Safety Task Force/Public Safety Committee. It’s aother step demonization of the poor outside and follows on a long train of anti-homeless laws and policies.
The law that vastly increases the discretionary power of rangers and cops to arbitrarily ban people from large areas of the city (not just parks) for any infraction, no matter how minor with no court injunction, conviction, or charge.
To paper over this homegrown Constitution-shredding, the City Attorney came back with an “administrative review” process that would have the stay-away order dissolved if a city employee appointed by the city manager finds the infraction “unjustified” “by a preponderance of the evidence”.
The new wording of the ordinance is at http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/e5y2okfjeqxksdpkhmfsya0i/396073312092014110820380.PDF . Or go to http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=574&doctype=AGENDA and click on item #18.
All correspondence received by City Council has urged the law be voted down. But it is likely to pass 5-2 or 6-1.
The one-day stay away law, passed last year, and equally un-Constitutional and abusive passed unanimously. Councilmembers Posner and Lane have yet to apologize for this travesty which has been used 1000 times by Homeless Deportation squads in uniform, according to their own figures.
Steve Pleich has said he will appeal the proposed expansion of the law but probably not the current law.
ORAL COMMUNICATIONS AT 5 PM (OR SO)
Want to raise issues that others are raising on the streets (and that are planned for a Saturday day-long rally at the Town clock)? Come and speak out demanding fundamental changes in the SCPD. (See http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/12/04/18765028.php for my thoughts on the issue). HUFF will review the record of the Council and the SCPD.
QUAFF CAKE AND BEVERAGES AFTER THE CORONATION
At 7 PM outgoing Council blowhards will make speeches celebrating their wonderful terms in office and the in-coming Council elected people will do the same. Around 8 PM or soon thereafter, the whole jolly crew will cross the street to the Civic Auditorium where the public is invited to mingle and munch with them on various pastries and pies. It’s a tradition.
Fortify yourself for the Wednesday storm. Bring some homeless friends. Confront the privileged in public. While chowing down at the same time.
HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) meets Wednesday morning at the Sub rosa Cafe 11 AM to plan for protests and express solidarity with those in other cities.
FOR FLYERS AND FURTHER COMMENTS, GO TO: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/12/09/18765278.php . Continue reading