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).

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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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Albuquerque “Trollbusters” Wrack Up Gruesome Toll; What’s Happening in Santa Cruz?

NOTES BY NORSE:  A tip of the hat to Colin Campbell Clyde for passing on this story.  Yesterday at the Food Not Bombs meal, a man claimed he and a female friend had been accosted by five youths (all white and male) as they came back from the Boardwalk and headed for San Lorenzo Park.  The men had baseball bets and threatened the two with beatings if one of them didn’t give up his bike.  He claims he refused and was able to leave without further injury.   This guy is not always credible.

However another woman reported on my Sunday Free Radio show that several nights before she saw several policeman using what she considered excessive force on a man who appeared homeless to her at Ocean and Water St. near a bus stop there.    She was driving in her car, she reported, and heard the victim screaming help.  She stopped the car, got out and watched, and was concerned that a third police officer a woman–had her knee on the back of the prone man behind held down.

I am concerned to hear (and particularly to see, if anyone has video or other documentation) accounts of threats, assaults, and similar intimidations that are happening.  Please call me at 831-423-4833, e-mail me at rnorse3@hotmail.com, or post an account at www.indybay.org/santacruz .

Photo

Alex Rios, 18, is one of three suspects being held on $5 million bond in the killing of two homeless people. He was arraigned by video from jail. Credit Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal, via Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE — Jerome Eskeets’s last sight before he fell asleep on a soiled mattress late on Friday, on an empty lot speckled by shards of liquor bottles and discarded syringes, was the stars that glistened up above — “a beautiful thing,” he recalled this week, drunk, already, at 9:30 a.m. A cousin lay next to him that night, their bodies warmed by the cheap vodka they had shared. It had been “a good night,” Mr. Eskeets said, until he felt a dull pain on the bridge of his nose, a punch by one of the masked assailants that surrounded them.

 

“Cowards,” Mr. Eskeets exclaimed on Tuesday as he stood by the scene of the crime.

 

The assailants kicked and beat them, Mr. Eskeets said, using their hands and whatever else they could find — a metal pipe, wooden sticks, cinder blocks. Mr. Eskeets eventually broke free and ran away. His cousin, whose name he said was Al Gorman, and another homeless man he knew only as Cowboy, ended up dead. The police said they had both been disfigured beyond recognition by the thrashing, which included having their heads smashed repeatedly with the cinder blocks.

Photo

Two men were beaten to death in a litter-strewn lot in Albuquerque, attacks the police said were staggering in their brutality. Credit Mark Holm for The New York Times

Someone directed the officers to a stucco house on the other end of the lot, where a 15-year-old boy came to the door wearing shorts splattered in blood. Later, the boy told detectives that he, his 16-year-old half brother and their friend Alex Rios, 18, had taken turns assaulting the men. According to a criminal complaint, the teenagers had been “randomly attacking homeless people for over a year” and, by the 15-year-old’s estimates, they had beat up more than 50 since moving to the stucco house some months ago, as if it were a distraction, or a sport. As far as anyone could tell, though, this was the first time the beatings had resulted in deaths.

 

The killings exposed some of the profound social ills — alcoholism, abject poverty, neglect — that have long plagued New Mexico, a place best known for its stunning landscape. Since 1997, the state has led the nation in the number of alcohol-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is a large homeless population and, in a strange twist, a man named Victor Prieto, who identified himself as the father of the two boys, told KOB-TV in Albuquerque that he and the boys had been homeless at one point. (No one came to the door on Tuesday or Wednesday at the apartment where the family lives.)

 

Still, for all the dangers of living on the streets, the police said that such a vicious attack by teenagers was staggering and callous in its brutality — the only motive the teenagers supplied for the attack was that one of the boys was angry because he had just broken up with a girlfriend. According to the complaint, the 16-year-old threw dirt on the victims’ faces and said, “Eat mud.” When speaking to the police, the teenagers could not agree on how long the episode lasted: One said it went on for an hour, another said 20 minutes. After it was over, they went home and fell asleep, according to the complaint. The 16-year-old told the police that “he looked at himself in the mirror and saw the devil.”

Officer Simon Drobik of the Albuquerque Police Department said detectives had been combing through reports of assaults on homeless people to see if any may be linked to the three suspects accused of the weekend’s killings. He said that the younger boys had “minor stains” on their juvenile records, mostly for truancy and marijuana possession, and that Mr. Rios “had never been in too much trouble.”

 

“They just seemed to be lost kids,” Officer Drobik said.

 

The two juveniles had both dropped out of school — the 16-year-old after finishing eighth grade, and the 15-year-old after a middle-school suspension in February 2013, a spokesman for the city’s public school system said. Mr. Rios, for his part, was not enrolled in the school system, and it is unclear if he had been going to any school at all.

 

The half brothers lived with their father in one of the apartments at the stucco house, in a slice of Albuquerque’s west side known for its limited choices: Some struggle to get by, keeping their heads low and their mouths shut to avoid trouble, and some are lost to dysfunction and addiction. Chayo Perez, pastor at the Door Christian Fellowship, a Pentecostal church across the street from the lot, described his congregation as “a herd of exes — ex-drunks, ex-addicts, ex-cons.”

 

In court on Monday, the two juveniles confronted the accusations they face: Certified as serious youthful offenders, they could be tried as adults if a grand jury indicts them on first-degree murder charges, which carry a mandatory life sentence. Judge Linda Rogers of Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court set bond for them and Mr. Rios, who was arraigned by video from jail, at $5 million.
Photo

Jerome Eskeets was able to break free and run from the attack that killed his cousin and a man he knew only as Cowboy. Credit Mark Holm for The New York Times

In an interview, Mayor Richard J. Berry described the killings as “the saddest, most tragic thing I’ve seen” and said they “bring to light the plight of the homeless and just how dangerous it is out there on the streets.” The crime also highlights the confounding challenges facing the city, he said, like the lack of a centralized system listing the number of beds available in emergency shelters on any given night.

 

A survey by Heading Home, a nonprofit organization that has housed 328 chronically homeless people in Albuquerque since 2011, found that three in five of the 1,300 respondents had been assaulted at some point while living on the streets. Most, however, never notified the police, said the group’s director of development, Megan McCormick.

 

“There’s a fear of retaliation, a sense that the police sometimes can re-victimize them,” Ms. McCormick said.

 

Albuquerque has been struggling to overhaul its police department, castigated this year by the Justice Department for its excessive use of force. Particularly divisive was the police’s fatal shooting this year of James Boyd, a mentally ill homeless man. On Tuesday, officers fatally shot a man wanted on parole violations during a foot chase, making him the 27th person killed by the police since January 2010. One of those shootings, on Aug. 30, 2011, happened on the same lot where the homeless men were beaten to death over the weekend.

 

Mr. Eskeets — who said he was Navajo, like the men killed over the weekend — said that the teenagers had set upon him once before, last week or maybe the prior week, but that he had threatened them with an empty beer bottle and they had fled.

 

“I never told no one because no one cares,” he said flatly.

 

Since the attack, Mr. Eskeets has struggled to make sense of what happened. “Those boys knew me,” he said, his eyes filling with tears. “They called me Skeets.”

 

Officer Drobik said there was no evidence that the teenagers had targeted the homeless men because they were American Indian.

 

Pastor Perez said he held Christian music concerts and cookouts in the church’s parking lot on Saturday mornings, attracting addicts, prostitutes and homeless people, and also neighborhood youths. He recalled seeing the teenagers there sometimes.

 

Jesus Garza, one of the volunteers at the Church of Christ, not far from the lot, said he used to see them often, roaming the streets. “They didn’t carry themselves as if they were thugs or gangsters,” Mr. Garza said. “I always thought of them as average kids.”
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Current List of Santa Cruz Police Officers

For Santa Cruzans and visitors who wish to identify police officers, here’s the most current list.  These cops are the individuals most directly involved with surveilling, harassing, citing, and arresting homeless people who’s only crime is sleeping or being present in a public place (such as a “closed” area).

Updated List of Santa Cruz Police Department Personnel
by SCPD (posted by Norse) ( rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com )
Monday Jul 21st, 2014 12:18 PM

I received this updated list of SCPD personnel–buffed up considerably from the earlier posting (referenced below). For those involved in copwatching or using the police in any capacity, this is a list of badge numbers matched up with employees.

 

Badge ID List for SCPD

Since police are not held accountable by City Council, the City Manager, or the Police Chief, nor the “Police Auditor”, I encourage the community use its video and audio capabilities to record and post incidents to both encourage citizen pushback against police abuse as well as press authorities to respond to incidents such as the Officer Vasquez takedown of Richard Hardy (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/04/23/18735710.php ), and the “gun in your back” behavior of Officer Hernandez [http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/11/29/18746999.php ].

A previous listing of police numbers from a year ago is at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/11/01/18745758.php .

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“Liberal” L.A. and Scrooge-heavy Santa Cruz?

Notes by Norse:  One story does not make a saga and the LAPD are not known for a kindler gentler treatment of homeless people there.  Whether the L.A. Times is doing damage control for the LAPD after its recent court losses is unclear to me.  But they’re certainly ahead of Santa Cruz with its fencing off of under-the-bridges sanctuaries, stay-away orders from parks, & ongoing attacks on homeless survival sleepers.

In L.A., we have seen recent court victories by the ACLU, attorney Carol Sobel, and homeless activists throwing out the City’s anti-homeless “no living in a vehicle” law.  In Santa Cruz, vehicle-dwelling Kate Wenzell (“the scarf lady) was mercilessly pursued by Officer “Bumbasher” Barnett and other SCPD sleepsnatchers–with charges finally being dismissed many months later after a campaign of intimidation.

The Desertrain decision is currently going to an en banc panel for review at the behest of a reactionary judge.  It does not directly overturn Santa Cruz’s “sleep after 11 in your vehicle, get a $157 citation; do it three times, face a year in jail and $1000 fine” law–MC 6.36.010a.

Unhoused Santa Cruz’s under assault by the SCPD and Parks and Recreation continue to report ongoing ticketing, “move on to nowhere” harassment, and property seizure.  A local ACLU proposal for a moratorium on all camping and sleeping citations at night hasn’t even gotten to City Council here due to more stalling from ACLU’s anti-homeless chair Peter Geldblum and the timidity of the Pleich majority on the Board.  

City and county bureaucrats running the “Downtown Accountability Project” DAP (or Downtowners Against the Poor, as I call it) have yet to respond to Public Records Act requests.  These seek specific information on the particular “offenses” being targeted under the “100 Chronic Offenders” program.  This program is backed up by heightened security guard intimidation, “friendly fascism” from the ever-smiling “Hosts”, and back-up by packs of armed police officers who cluster quickly to deal with a yelling rebel,  but reportedly  decline to take complaints from homeless people.   

The DAP program with a phony compassionate funding and zero money for long-term housing is being used to clear downtown Santa Cruz of homeless-looking people caught in the tripwire of anti-homeless laws and enforcement practices while easing the conscience of those wondering what happened to the old Santa Cruz.

Can L.A. be more “progressive” than Santa Cruz?  Or have attorneys there with guts grabbed the city’s bigots by the balls knowing their “hearts and minds” will shortly follow?

Homeless activists and victims have begun appearing at City Council’s 5 PM “Oral Communications” period with video cameras, cell phones, and strong testimony.  At the last such protest, armed SCPD mediamasher John Bush confiscated four tape recorders and stopped an audible recording of the meeting under orders apparently from Mayor Lynn “Run em Out” Robinson.

Another such protest is slated for Tuesday July 22nd at 4:30 PM (809 Center St.).  Bring your friends.

L.A. leaders are crafting new plan to help homeless on skid row

Skid row homelessness

In their latest census, Los Angeles police counted more than 1,700 people living in tents and cardboard boxes in the 50-block skid row area. Above, people sit and walk on South San Pedro Street. (Jabin Botsford / Los Angeles Times)

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4:30 PM Speak-Out and Protest Against Sleeping Ban at Santa Cruz City Council 7-8

Title: Homeless Take ACLU Sleeping Ban Suspension Resolution to City Council
START DATE: Tuesday July 08
TIME: 4:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Location Details:
809 Center St. Santa Cruz City Hall Courtyard
Event Type: Meeting
Contact Name Robert Norse
Email Address rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Phone Number 831-423-4833
Address 309 Cedar St. #14B Santa Cruz 95060
Speak-Out Before and At Santa Cruz City Council Celebrating a Homeless Rights Victory at the local ACLU Board of Directors on June 30th.

Presentation of Petitions and Demands to City Council to Overturn the City’s Anti-Homeless Sleeping Ban.

We’ll meet to prepare a presentation at 4:30 with coffee and snacks outside City Council and then go in to speak at Oral Communications around 5 PM inside Council Chambers

LETTER TO MAYOR LYNN ROBINSON
I sent an earlier version of the folloowing letter to Mayor Robinson at the beginning of the week:

From: rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
To: lrobinson [at] cityofsantacruz.com
CC: jyork [at] santacruzsentinel.com; jpierce [at] santacruzweekly.com
Subject: ACLU Action Urging A Moratorium on the Sleeping and Camping Laws
Date: Mon, 7 Jul 2014 14:55:39 -0700

Lynn:

On June 30th, the local ACLU passed the following resolution:

“Statement of Principle: The Santa Cruz County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union supports in principle a limited time moratorium on enforcement of camping ban laws and ordinances within the City and County of Santa Cruz on the grounds that such laws and ordinances selectively criminalize the homeless community.”

“While the chapter is mindful that such a moratorium raises practical problems within the community at large, we believe that the benefits of such an approach in terms of the opportunity for civic leaders, policy makers and stakeholders to reassess the efficacy of these laws and ordinances outweighs any temporary adverse impact.”

I, other HUFF activists, and homeless victims of the City’s Sleeping Ban will be coming to Oral Communications tomorrow to support this statement and ask that the Council take immediate action to implement it.

There is a clear lack of shelter space. There are the safety problems created by the criminalization of the homeless–more for the homeless themselves than for those who fear or blame them. Lawsuits in other jurisdictions have been successful in overturning anti-homeless laws.

I encourage you and your fellow Council members to act swiftly to restore basic civil and human rights to the homeless community here.

One of the most basic, of course, is to be able to sleep at night and to be secure in one’s property. If one is in danger of having it confiscated because sleeping is “illegal” after 11 PM, then one has no such security.

As a Free Radio Santa Cruz reporter, I will be audioing the meeting for broadcast. I assure you this will be done in a non-disruptive manner as has been the case without exception in the past.

I encourage you to respect the rights of the media, even those critical of your positions on various issues, to audibly make their own record of the meeting, as guaranteed by state law and the Constitution.

Robert Norse
(423-4833)

Earlier story on the historic homeless victory forcing an ACLU Bo to protect the homeless right to sleep in Santa Cruz: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/07/01/18758158.php

Earlier story on Mayor Robinson’s false arrest for “unattended audio recording at City Council” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/05/03/18755258.php .

Street Spirit story by Steve Pleich describing one version of his proposed moratorium on Sleeping Bans in Santa Cruz: http://www.thestreetspirit.org/santa-cruz-activists-call-for-moratorium-on-laws-that-criminalize-camping-and-sleeping/

Added to the calendar on Monday Jul 7th, 2014 10:46 PM

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by Robert Norse Monday Jul 7th, 2014 10:46 PM

 

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