Anchorage Way Ahead of Santa Cruz ACLU

Civil libertarians challenge Anchorage sidewalk-sitting ban

By Yereth Rosen | Reuters – January 31, 2013

 

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – Civil libertarians filed suit in Alaska on Thursday to challenge an Anchorage ban on sitting or lying on public sidewalks they said was enacted partly as a response to one man’s prolonged protest outside City Hall.

The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska, called the 2011 ordinance a violation of the right to free speech and peaceful assembly. The suit also targets a related ban on panhandling in downtown Anchorage.

Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Alaska, said both prohibitions chill traditional political activity, such as union pickets, as well as artistic expression.

“We don’t want Alaskans to have to wonder, if they go out on the sidewalk to engage in fundraising or to engage in political speech, if they’re going to be arrested or not,” he said.

The exception to the sidewalk-sitting ban – for commercial activities such as street-food vending – is evidence of the law’s flaws, Mittman said. Courts usually grant broader protections to political speech than to commercial activities, he said.
The suit was filed on behalf of a local street musician and performance artist, a 95-year-old peace activist, labor unions, an Alaska Libertarian Party leader and other politically active individuals.
“They wish, as part of their expressive conduct, to be able to sit and lay on the downtown sidewalks and to seek donations free from the threat of municipal sanction,” says the complaint, which seeks an injunction to block the law.
Not represented as a plaintiff is the person whose actions inspired the ordinance, John Martin, who spent much of the past two years camping on a downtown street corner to protest what he said was Mayor Dan Sullivan’s insensitivity to homeless people.
Martin’s critics, who at times included the mayor, said he was creating a public nuisance and hazard to sidewalk traffic.

Anchorage Municipal Attorney Dennis Wheeler said he could not comment immediately on the claims made in the lawsuit. “We just got the copy. We haven’t had a chance to analyze it,” he said.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh)

Council Committee Forwards Bag of Bigotry to Full Council to Rubberstamp What SCPD is Doing Anyway

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/29/18730942.php?show_comments=1#18731013

  on the Public Safety Committee meeting of Tuesday Night by Robert Norse  (See web story above)

Wednesday Jan 30th, 2013 9:13 AM

I spent half my time outside the meeting interviewing folks–interviews to be played Thursday 6-8 PM (some of them anyway).

So I missed the final vote, but it seems from the (often questionable) coverage of the Sentinel that not only did the Public Safety Committee rubberstamp the staff’s homeless-hostile and “more cops, less sanity” hysteria-happy agenda, but the City Attorney on secret vote from the Council

I assume the vote was unanimous, though I won’t be sure until I speak with others who were in the room when it was taken (or when I play the tape on Thursday evening and/or Sunday morning).

Quite slimey was the secrecy of the Committee and other members of the Council (like Micah Posner) who didn’t mention the key fact that the Council directed Posner in closed session to shut down a residential needle exchange site. I assume no one in the crowd was aware of it–though it happened yesterday according to the following Sentinel article.

This kind of “creeping criminalization”, which sounds like it’s out of the playbook of Deputy-Chief Steve Clark, and may be a form of abusive “reefer madness”-style Drug Warrioring which is a real step backwards.

I regret that indybay chose to remove a comment critical of me, whose author was straightforward enough to give his name. I encourage those who are not just trolling, but seriously in dispute, to leave comments on the HUFF website under the comment sections at http://www.huffsantacruz.org .

I also appreciate the support from those who like my reporting.

It’s true I mix opinion and fact in my commentaries–but I don’t hide that fact and don’t apologize for it either. Someday when I grow more skillful (probably never), I may be able to use the “facts speak for themselves” approach.. Trouble is that I feel so strongly about my conclusions, that I always have to stick them in, if not lead with them. Still I think these articles are helpful.

The Sentinel story is at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_22478511/santa-cruz-shuts-down-longtime-needle-exchange-site

New Attack on Homeless Slated in City Council’s “Public Safety” Committee Meeting

Title: New Attack on Homeless Slated in City Council’s “Public Safety” Committee Meeting
START DATE: Tuesday January 29
TIME: 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Location Details:
809 Center St.
City Council Chambers
Event Type: Other
Contact Name Robert Norse
Email Address rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Phone Number 831-423-4833
Address 309 Cedar PMB #14B Santa Cruz, CA 95060
The right-wing “Public Safety” Committee meeting, normally a tepid “figleaf-for-the-SCPD” affair that meets in a smaller room back of the Council chambers, will be out again in full frock in the larger City Council chambers where the usual Tuesday Council meetings are held.

TOXIC AGENDA
A long and toxic staff report recommends, among other things:

***Authorize new (and costly) police expansion.

***”Oversee” needle exchange (making its use more problematic)

***More First Alarm and SCPD patrols to destroy homeless survival camps

*** Funding in the short-term for more SCPD arrests, citations, and property seizure along the railroad tracks and in the Pogonip of homeless survival campers

***Triple-fine zones for littering, smoking, and other “illegal activity” in parks, beaches and other areas. (Normally this is reserved for New Year’s, Halloween, and 4th of July crowds–now it may be applied to areas where homeless folks hide or gather).

The agenda and full staff report can be found on the City’s website at http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/index.aspx?recordid=4709&page=440 .

FLOODING THE CHAMBERS
Homeless-hostile groups like Take Back Santa Cruz are expected to attend in force as well as nervous city officials eager to “manage” the recent outrage over trash, needles, and inadequate city bathrooms (one of the legitimate concerns being pressed).

Other groups sending out mixed messages about the homeless like The Clean Team (see their facebook page for the latest) will also be there.

NO RECORD MADE FOR SUBSEQUENT PUBLIC VIEWING
Last month’s meeting took over 3 hours and was held in packed chambers. I’m hoping to have the whole thing taped.

The conservative chair of the committee David Terrazas has refused to make sure the meetings are taped and publicly accessible afterwards. City Council meetings are now not only audioed, but videoed and stream on line.

The membership of the committee includes Cynthia “no food for the homeless at the Red Church” Mathews and Pamela “co-founder of Take Back Santa Cruz” Comstock.

ACTION RECOMMENDED
Come and speak up or get shut up.

Probabilities are the crackdown will continue anyway, however, I encourage people to stand up and speak out.

You can also contact the clowns running the circus–Mathews, Terrazas, and Comstock to express your concerns at 420-5020 or on line with contact info at http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/index.aspx?page=436 .

HUFF will meet tomorrow at 10 AM Sub Rosa Cafe 703 Pacific Ave. to discuss a response.

Report abusive SCPD , P&R, First Alarm, and other goonsquad behavior on this website or to HUFF at 423-4833.

Added to the calendar on Tuesday Jan 29th, 2013 5:38 AM

iCal Import this event into your personal calendar.

§Delayed Update

by Robert Norse Wednesday Jan 30th, 2013 9:13 AM
I spent half my time outside the meeting interviewing folks–interviews to be played Thursday 6-8 PM (some of them anyway).

So I missed the final vote, but it seems from the (often questionable) coverage of the Sentinel that not only did the Public Safety Committee rubberstamp the staff’s homeless-hostile and “more cops, less sanity” hysteria-happy agenda, but the City Attorney on secret vote from the Council

I assume the vote was unanimous, though I won’t be sure until I speak with others who were in the room when it was taken (or when I play the tape on Thursday evening and/or Sunday morning).

Quite slimey was the secrecy of the Committee and other members of the Council (like Micah Posner) who didn’t mention the key fact that the Council directed Posner in closed session to shut down a residential needle exchange site. I assume no one in the crowd was aware of it–though it happened yesterday according to the following Sentinel article.

This kind of “creeping criminalization”, which sounds like it’s out of the playbook of Deputy-Chief Steve Clark, and may be a form of abusive “reefer madness”-style Drug Warrioring which is a real step backwards.

I regret that indybay chose to remove a comment critical of me, whose author was straightforward enough to give his name. I encourage those who are not just trolling, but seriously in dispute, to leave comments on the HUFF website under the comment sections at http://www.huffsantacruz.org .

I also appreciate the support from those who like my reporting.

It’s true I mix opinion and fact in my commentaries–but I don’t hide that fact and don’t apologize for it either. Someday when I grow more skillful (probably never), I may be able to use the “facts speak for themselves” approach.. Trouble is that I feel so strongly about my conclusions, that I always have to stick them in, if not lead with them. Still I think these articles are helpful.

The Sentinel story is at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_22478511/santa-cruz-shuts-down-longtime-needle-exchange-site

§Further Update

by Robert Norse Thursday Jan 31st, 2013 1:18 PM
REPULSIVE SENTINEL EDITORIAL
A noxious Sentinel editorial today endorses an ignorant and prejudiced position on needle exchange at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/opinion/ci_22484641/editorial-step-forward-needle-exchanges . The noxious and futile moralizing of the editorial and subsequent comments recalls the propaganda of the Anti-Saloon League in its drive to create Alcohol Prohibition in the early years of the 20th Century. That it has taken on an anti-homeless color also makes it particularly off-base and fascistic.

Pretty sad, of course, and recalls the right-wing solutions to abortion and unwanted pregnancy: “abstinence”. Why not call out the cops to go after moms and doctors? Oh, wait, isn’t that now the law in some states?

COMMANDER STEVE CLARK ON STEROIDS
Deputy-Chief Clark’s “more cops and crackdowns” and “ramp up the war on drugs” approach is a proven failure. His “cut off the needles and they’ll go away” nonsense feeds and feeds off a widespread form of magical thinking in the community that blames “excessive Santa Cruz tolerance.” Looking at the Drug War racket that funds cops, courts, jails, and prisons (and, of course attorneys) it’s been clear for years that Prohibition is the real problem. One doesn’t even have to be “compassionate” to understand the common sense that a black market will always find profiteers and customers. And create new criminals, even as the old ones, are stuffed into overcrowded pens. Pretty crazy stuff.

A RESPONSE FROM PLEICH?
I’ve asked Steve Pleich–a long-time needle exchange volunteer to write an informed response and also to speak about the issue on tonight’s Free Radio Santa Cruz show between 6 and 8 PM (streams at http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/ , broadcasts at 101.3 FM, archives at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb130131.mp3).

SENTINEL “CORRECTION”
Today front-page story on the shutting down of the Lower Ocean Needle Exchange “corrects” the Sentinel story the day before that I refer to in the previous update. That Sentinel story claimed it was a unanimous secret vote at the Closed Session of City Council to authorize the City Attorney to threaten and initiate “cease and desist” actions against the landlord allowing needle exchange in his parking lot. Today’s Sentinel comes out with a different tale:

“Barisone said he had not heard about the exchange before this week but said a majority of council members — not a unanimous number as initially reported by the Sentinel — approved beginning code enforcement activity after Lower Ocean neighbors raised concerns about the needle exchange.”

The full Sentinel story (though what the truth is, I don’t know) can be found at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_22485020/city-attorney-santa-cruz-property-owner-called-end .

MEANWHILE BACK IN THE REAL WORLD…
To find real solutions, you’ve first got to abandon the hype and hysteria and look closely at the effectiveness (or not) of medical approaches in other countries like Injection Rooms, Inhalation Rooms, for hard-drug users.

Unless they choose to hold a special session, there’ll be no City Council meeting until the second Tuesday in February (the 12th).
Sane folks better get ready to deal with a tide of Drug War Insanity.

§Small Correction

by Robert Norse Thursday Jan 31st, 2013 2:25 PM
The paragraph in the original story reads: “Quite slimey was the secrecy of the Committee and other members of the Council (like Micah Posner) who didn’t mention the key fact that the Council directed POSNER in closed session to shut down a residential needle exchange site….”

It should read “directed BARISONE in closed session to shut down what apparently is the only residential needle exchange site, at least the only one in the Lower Ocean neighborhood.” [Capitals added for emphasis]

Sorry for any confusion.

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the latest comments posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by website visitors.

TITLE AUTHOR DATE
I’ve heard say there’s gonna be… RazerRay Thursday Jan 31st, 2013 7:57 PM
Santa Cruz moving towards a Final Solution John E. Colby Thursday Jan 31st, 2013 5:06 PM
This needs a state DOJ investigation Leigh Meyers Wednesday Jan 30th, 2013 12:27 PM
Really, H? S. Rubio Wednesday Jan 30th, 2013 6:55 AM
Specific words Robert Norse Tuesday Jan 29th, 2013 2:43 PM
Thanks for the clarification H Tuesday Jan 29th, 2013 2:23 PM
Clarifying Robert Norse Tuesday Jan 29th, 2013 1:52 PM
Heartless Bastards H Tuesday Jan 29th, 2013 1:02 PM

Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs Returning to Post Office In Spite of Past Police Surveillance & Threats

With possibly rainy weather this Saturday and to because those who eat its meals have come to expect it at the Main Post Office, Food Not Bombs is reportedly planning to return to serve its 4 PM meal under the eaves of the Main Post Office (but out of the way of the entrance).

Police have appeared several times as well as a postal employee unhappy with their presence there.   Though I’m in no way a spokesperson for the local Food Not Bombs, I believe the information in the posting below is correct and urge people to show up there to offer support whether as servers, future food preparers, food donators, reporters, witnesses, or just plain sympathizers.

Speaking for myself, it’s important that people feel entitled to use the public space in ways that benefit the community.  This includes those putting out a political message against the criminalization of poverty and the militarization of the country (Bombs Not Food).  In the past earlier incarnations of Food Not Bombs in Santa Cruz have doggedly stood for those principles, and it’s my understanding that the current group shares these sympathies.

Coming to this feeding in no way commits one to any kind of civil disobedience or confrontation with authorities.   Nor does it exclude  that possibility.  But the more people who  are willing to cook, feed, witness, and eat, the less likely authorities are to try to repress this movement.

Robert Norse

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/24/18730745.php

Title: Food Not Bombs To Serve at the Post Office This Saturday
START DATE: Saturday January 26
TIME: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Location Details:
On the steps of the Main Post Office in downtown Santa Cruz where Pacific, Front, Mission, etc. intersect.
Event Type: Other
Food Not Bombs serves weekly every Saturday with what I understand is both a political message and a damn good meal.

In recent weeks police have arrived with the apparent intention of pressing the group to move.

Food Not Bombs met last night and will be serving there again this week.

I am not a spokesperson for Food Not Bombs, but an interested member of the community.

Those interested in joining Food not Bombs, helping to cook or serve should check their Facebook webpage: Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs.

Food Not Bombs encourages supporters to come to their meals.

I think it’s particularly important at this crucial juncture. It would likely be helpful also to bring cameras, video and audio recorders, and friends.

Food Not Bombs needs folks to cook and serve as well as publicize the meal.

To read more about the recent behavior of the police and postmaster around the weekly Food Not Bombs meal go to
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/19/18730563.php .

Police and Postal Bureaucrats Crack Down on Food Not Bombs in Santa Cruz

Today at the Meal

by Robert Norse  Sunday Jan 27th, 2013 12:00 AM

POLICE AND POSTAL OFFICIALS DEMAND FNB MOVE OFF “POST OFFICE” PROPERTY
Briefly, two SCPD officers and two postal officials approached the group and demanded they move off the post office property, while proclaiming “concern and appreciation” for the feeding of homeless people. After initially trying to continue feeding at the original location under the eaves of the post office, the FNB workers picked up their tables and moved to the sidewalk.

I recorded some of the interaction between officials and FNB workers. I’ll be playing that tape tomorrow on Free Radio Santa Cruz at 10 AM ( http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/ or 101.3 FM). The show will archive at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb130127.mp3–about 2 1/2 hours into the audio. Call-in at 427-3772.

At the request of FNB workers, Steve Pleich took a leading role in facilitating the withdrawal of FNB from the post office steps to the sidewalk where it continued to feed without further molestation. Officials rejected my request to know the full name of the individual demanding we move and of his superior’s name. Police sergeant D. Forbas kept trying to shield his conversation with Pleich from the listening ears of my recorder and refused to answer questions which I put to him afterwards.

VICTORY,SETBACK,OR BOTH?
Some considered the day’s actions a success–with the meal continuing to be fed, folks continuing to sit on the steps of the post office and eat. Others wondered if this were the first step in a campaign to drive FNB from visible feeding in the downtown. The Food Not Bombs banner was visible, but I didn’t notice any literature present–the group willing for the moment to give up the right to serve and distribute literature in the unused area they had been at for the previous six weeks under threat of trespass arrest.

While the postal inspector insisted that the group was “violating federal regulations”, he declined to say which regulations except for vague claims that FNB was “conducting business”. The claim that FNB was violating the state trespass code seemed a strange one since the area is open to the general public.

THE ISSUES INVOLVED
Food Not Bombs groups in other cities has insisted that it is not simply a charitable organization serving food, but one presenting a clear message (with literature and banners). Such was an earlier FNB message in Santa Cruz in the late 80′s and mid-90′s when Santa Cruz FNB fed in different spots.

FNB workers and some supporters noted that FNB had only moved 20-30 feet, that it was not being told to disperse, that it would continue to “make poverty visible” and feed poor and homeless people, and address further hostile police actions if they arose as they arose.

Similar threats used against Occupy Santa Cruz [OSC] when it was in front of the courthouse in the fall of 2011 resulted in some citations and arrests, but no charges ultimately in court under the trespass code used to intimidate FNB workers today.

Unlike FNB activists decades before OSC activists did not return to reclaim the space in front of the courthouse once threatened with arrest. However, unlike the earlier attack on FNB in Santa Cruz and San Francisco which demanded the groups cease serving food altogether because they “didn’t have a permit”, the current attack so far is only limited to the post office grounds and supposedly has to do with location rather than food serving itself.

For some of the events in the history of the FNB movement, go to http://foodnotbombs.net/fnb_time_line.html .

FOOD SERVER HARASSMENT ELSEWHERE
However, a church group feeding in front of Forever Twenty-One on Thursday afternoon was reportedly the target of SCPD police action against clients sitting within 14′ of buildings.

Ronee and Scott Curry, who regularly conduct Sunday lunch on Pacific Avenue at Soquel and Pacific have experienced some harassment either directly under the “move every hour” ordinance or of their clients hassled for “sitting down”.

Father Joel Miller of the Calvary Episcopal Church experienced a strong attack from former Mayor (and recently reelected City Council member) Cynthia Mathews for his once-a-week Monday dinner at the Red Church, across from Matthew’s historic property (located between the Nickelodeon and Jack’s Hamburgers).

Pastor Dennis Adams was driven away from the downtown by merchant and police hostility several years ago, now doing his meal out at the Homeless (Lack of ) Services Center.

UPCOMING AND INAUSPICIOUS
On Tuesday the Santa Cruz City Council’s Public Safety Committee will be meeting 6 PM in City Council chambers to consider a further crackdown on homeless people among other “safety measures”. Agenda: http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/index.aspx?recordid=4709&page=440 . Staff report: http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=30533 .

DISCLAIMER
The opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent those of Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs as an organization, nor necessarily the views of any of the individuals associated with it.

by Robert Norse

Sunday Jan 27th, 2013 12:03 AM

The FNB meal began around 4 PM Saturday January 26th and was immediately approached by police. Workers moved the meal to the sidewalk within 20 minutes after police and postal officials began their threats. It continued for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on the sidewalk.

FNB is looking for volunteers and can be reached via its Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs facebook page.

Indybay Censoring Homeless Comments

Indybay.org does its own thing—I’ve complained over the years that comments should at best be put in a hidden status where they can be seen if folks want to see them.

However the new HUFF blog does not censor (hopefully).  It’s at http://huffsantacruz.org/wordpress/ .  You, Lee, Mayor Bryant–anyone who wants to can post there (shudder).

R


Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2013 17:23:48 -0800
From: walkabouting@yahoo.com
Subject: Re: FNB in Santa Cruz Under Attack
To: rnorse3@hotmail.com; foodnotbombs@earthlink.net
CC: becky_johnson222@hotmail.com; lemasterhearth@hotmail.com; jsmalkin@hotmail.com; compassionman@hotmail.com

It should be noted that the local commentary posted by local homeless is being removed from http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/19/18730563.php by the local censors (all too frequent a problem).  The general theme being the local ‘well fed’ using the local homeless as a PR tool in a staged confrontation.  Here is a taste…
I’m all for confronting and protesting unjust laws.  Drawing the uninformed into conflict, not so much (see pre-OccupySantaCruz commentary for a prescient warning).  Censorship, not at all.


From: Robert Norse <rnorse3@hotmail.com>
To: Keith McHenry <foodnotbombs@earthlink.net>
Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2013 12:38 AM
Subject: FNB in Santa Cruz Under Attack

Keith:

A police officer and his sergeant superior appeared at the main post office steps today shortly after 4 PM where Food Not Bombs was doing its weekly feeding.

The officer advised the FNBers that they were “trespassing”  (though the post office was open; people were coming in and out; the meal was set off too the side in an area not traveled by the usual customers; and FNB workers noted a previous encounter with Sgt. Azua had seemed to establish there were no violations of the law happening).  He took a number of photos of the workers, who continued to feed people  (30-40 people came through by my casual count in the hour or two that FNB was there).  Santa Cruz FNB had been serving at the post office for the last month.

A sergeant arriving afterwards sought names and information from the workers and stated they were “gathering evidence of trespass” at the request of the postmaster.

Several of the workers were upset by this police intervention.  A number of those served were scared or angry.  The meal continued, but with significant consternation.

The police seemed to indicate they would be returning.

I would encourage you to alert other FNB activists that this is happening in Santa Cruz and they may need support against legal or extralegal police action that seems to now be on the horizon.

I’ll be playing some audio of this on my radio show tomorrow between 9:30 AM and 10:30 AM at 101.3 FM, streaming at  http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/   , and archived athttp://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb121007.mp30120.mp3   (about 2 1/2 hours into the audio file).

Please all in (831-427-3772) if  you have any suggestions any time before 1 PM PST.
(831-423-4833)

Thanks,  Robert

Library Coughs Up Complaint Copies–Available at City Hall

Gail  et. al.:  Copies of the library complaints are now available for viewing at the City Council Offices at City Hall–see article below.  Please pass this info on to anyone you think would be interested, and also let me know if you check them out, what your thoughts are.  Thanks for coming to the December and January meetings.  Also, more important, if you hear or see anything in the Main Library, please pass that info along.  Also if anyone develops connections with library staff or a regular homeless library user as a contact, please let me know.  –R

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/12/29/18729056.php?show_comments=1#18730723

I wrote “Bruce Halloway, a member of the public in the audience at the December meeting, several times addressed the Board. On one occasion he remarked that Landers had refused to provide him with access to the previous meeting’s minutes, instead brushing him off and telling him to write out a Public Records Act request and wait 10 days.”

But I learned from Bruce in a later conversation (mentioned above by Bruce) on my radio show that he had actually been searching for earlier minutes–the minutes to recent meetings are on line. Apologies to Teresa and Bruce for this misunderstanding.

Also I was informed last week that a copy of all the complaints made by and to library staff last year in all branches of the library is now available for viewing at the City Council offices at City Hall at 809 Center St. Just tell them you’re looking for the Library Complaints Public Records Act information which Robert Norse requested.

As I understand it, these complaints will only be viewable for another few weeks before they’re returned to the storage archives and will then require another 10 days or more to secure. If anyone takes the time to go through them, please note your thoughts. I’ve only checked over a fraction of them so far.

Robert

Homeless Census – The Fresno View

The homeless census gets a suspicious review from Fresno homeless activist Mike Rhodes below.  If folks have any comments on the Santa Cruz version, please post them on the HUFF website at www.huffsantacruz.org  –R.Norse


To: FresnoHomelessAdvocates@yahoogroups.com
From: MikeRhodes@comcast.net
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2013 12:26:06 -0800
Subject: [FresnoHomelessAdvocates] Fw: Fresno Homeless Point in Time Count [2 Attachments]

[Attachment(s) from Mike Rhodes included below]

Somebody on this listserv was asking (recently) about the homeless Point in Time count.  The information about this count is below and attached.
As you might already know, I’m not a big fan of this Point in Time count.  My belief is that it is flawed and will not provide us with an accurate count of the homeless.  The methodology itself is such that you can not get an accurate count, so participating in it, to me, seems like participating in the gathering of data that will misinform the community.  It is set up to *under* count the number of homeless people in a city.  That said, if someone wants to participate to find out first hand what it is like, this is your opportunity.  I would be interested to know what you think after your participation.
Mike Rhodes
Editor
Community Alliance Newspaper
PO Box 5077
Fresno Ca 93755
(559) 978-4502 (cell)
(559) 226-3962 (fax)
editor@fresnoalliance.com
www.fresnoalliance.com
—– Original Message —–

Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 11:49 AM
Subject: Fresno Homeless Point in Time Count

Greetings Mr. Rhodes,

 

Every two years the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities to take a point-in-time census of their homeless populations to assist with local and national strategic planning.  The homeless census helps our community advocate for resources to preserve and expand our safety net and makes our community eligible for federal funding for homeless services. The count also informs strategic planning as we work toward an end to homelessness.

This year the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care (FMCoC) will be conducting the homeless Point in Time count for a span of 3 days on February 25, 26, and 27, 2013. As Chair of the Outreach and Engagement Committee, I would like to invite you to volunteer with our community as we take to the streets to count and survey our homeless neighbors.  Attached is our flyer providing more information about the Point in Time count and a volunteer application form. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

 

Regards,

Melissa Mikel

 


Melissa Mikel
Homeless Initiatives Coordinator
mmikel@fresnohousing.org

Fresno Housing Authority
1331 Fulton Mall
Fresno, California 93721
559-443-8400 ext 4109
(800) 735-2929 TTY
www.fresnohousing.org

Vibrant Communities. Quality Housing. Engaged Residents.

 

Homeless numbers: Workers fan out for census in Santa Cruz County

By Stephen Baxter

Santa Cruz Sentinel

Posted:   01/22/2013 05:50:28 PM PST

 

SANTA CRUZ — Workers in a homeless census fanned out in the predawn light Tuesday, tallying the homeless on the streets and in hidden campsites across Santa Cruz County.

The biannual census tries to provide a snapshot of the number of homeless in the county so programs and services can be geared toward them. The federal government requires the census for homeless service groups to be eligible for federal money.
This year, for the first time, census participants were asked to estimate age groups in three categories: 17 and younger, age 18 to 25, and age 26 and older.
“We’re trying to get everyone out on the streets,” said Susan Brutschy, president of Watsonville-based Applied Survey Research, which conducts the study.
Santa Cruz City Councilman Don Lane, who participated in Tuesday’s census, added that the federal government has pushed recently for more services for homeless youths.
“I think there’s a real interest in who’s in that category,” Lane said. He added that he appreciated the overall data. “Otherwise, it’s so anecdotal,” he said.
Full results of the census are expected to be released in spring. In the 2011 homeless census, about 2,700 homeless were counted in the county, down from roughly 3,370 homeless in 2005.
Workers in Tuesday’s census met at the Homeless Services Center on Coral Street in Santa Cruz — as well as in Watsonville, Felton and Aptos. Groups typically included a volunteer and a guide



who was homeless to help find sites with which they were familiar.

The groups were assigned areas and given maps before they headed out in cars.
Because there were fewer volunteers and workers this year than in previous censuses — about 50 — some groups were assigned two areas to cover before 10 a.m. Guides were paid $10 an hour.
A 50-year-old homeless woman was paired as a guide with Cheryl Ruby, a counselor at the River Street Shelter in Santa Cruz.
In the 39-degree morning, the two women peered into wooded areas such as the greenbelt between Highway 1 and Plymouth Street in Santa Cruz. They both recognized people they knew who lived on the streets and rode bikes or carried sleeping bags.
“To count the ones camping, you have to be up at 6 a.m. because they’re up,” the woman said. She didn’t want her name used because she has camped illegally.
Outside a fast-food restaurant, doughnut shop and gas station on Ocean Street, they spotted homeless men headed to an 8 a.m. breakfast provided by the Homeless Services Center on Coral Street.
Census workers were told not to talk to their subjects or to rouse them if they were asleep. Safety was the first priority, Brutschy said.
“This is an observational count,” she said. “And we have a lot of ground to cover.”
Ruby and her guide counted about 30 homeless men and two women in their area by about 9:30 a.m. Another group that went to downtown Santa Cruz counted about 150 homeless.
The woman who acted as the guide said she understood why city and Santa Cruz County law enforcement had recently cleaned up the camps.
“I can see why the city’s upset because they leave garbage everywhere,” the homeless woman said. “I don’t leave garbage.”
The woman added that she recently stayed at a shelter and worked in its laundry room — but she was still finding her way. Finding a shower, clean clothes and transportation to appointments are daily challenges.
“It’s hard to get a job when you’re homeless,” she said.
Follow Sentinel reporter Stephen Baxter on Twitter at Twitter.com/sbaxter_sc

By the numbers
Number of homeless in Santa Cruz County according to a homeless census.
2000 3,329
2005 3,371
2007 2,789
2009 2,265
2011 2,771
SOURCE: Applied Survey Research

Another Ridiculous Round of Arraignments

For the original article and extensive comments that follow go to – http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/23/18730704.php

by Robert Norse   Wednesday Jan 23rd, 2013 5:40 PM

The prosecution of Franklin “Angel” Alcantara, Brent Adams, and Gabriella Ripplyphipps is heading into its second year with a cost of over $100,000 if you consider the court time and expense spent on the Santa Cruz Eleven cases. Harder to calculate is the loss of reputation for courts, cops, and prosecution (which may actually enable people to view them more realistically), the injury to the defendants, and the chill this case has spread over the activist community. The focus has been shifted from the criminal banksters to the whistle-blowers who have exposed them. But D.A. Bob Lee shows on signs of quitting.

To view the PDF of the court order ordering the D.A.’s office be fined for D.A. Rebekah Young’s misconduct, go to http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2013/01/23/sanctions_against_rebekah_young.pdf .

NO CASE BUT NO END TO THE PROSECUTION
The bogus, costly, and misdirected prosecution of the Santa Cruz Eleven grinds on. Charges against me and all but four of us were dismissed as of two weeks ago after eleven long months and endless court hearings.

Why? Judge Burdick was given no evidence that any of us (1) broke into the bank; (2) conspired to break into the bank; (3) committed felony vandalism; (4) conspired to commit felony vandalism; (5) refused to leave after a properly given police warning, or (6) “occupied” the bank–all “trespass-occupation” charges were dropped. Hence no one is guilty–among those charged.

Even more, none of us–especially those whose charges were dropped–should ever have been charged in the first place. There was insufficient evidence to go to trial and no connection with vandalism–a charge cooked up, it looks like, to shore up what was otherwise a massively overcharged political persecution.

There certainly were people who occupied and committed vandalism. Police chose not to act in a legal or timely fashion to actually deal with legally prosecutable trespass and actual vandalism. That was their choice at the time.

Instead the SCPD turned in reports that indicated a desire to use the case to go after high-profile activists, reporters, and whistle-blowers that they didn’t like. D.A. Bob Lee piled on with a host of ridiculous and unsupportable charges, mainly to act as bagman for Wells Fargo’s outrageously overstated clean-up costs.

ASSISTANT D.A. GONE WILD, GETS UNPRECEDENTED BUT ULTIMATELY MINOR SANCTIONS
He appointed the incompetent and mendacious Assistant D.A. Rebekah Young. Young refused and/or failed to provide the defense with the police videos and other information–in spite of repeated orders from Judge Burdick. For the first time I’ve ever heard of, the court actually (reluctantly) sanctioned the D.A.’s office to the tune of $500 (probably less than 1/100th of the costs to attorneys, defendants, prosecutors, and judges). A cost that is still rising.

Attached to this article is Judge Burdick’s lengthy documentation of Young’s misconduct. Again, Burdick refused to even consider fining Young personally even a fraction of the costs she created. Nor would he adopt an evidenciary sanction (withholding evidence that was not turned over to the defense), nor would he dismiss the charges outright–though her abuses were repeated and glaring. Burdick’s excuse for not doing so was that he didn’t want the State Bar to hear of Young’s misconduct (which would happen if it were over $1000). Prosecution lawyers apparently get the kid glove treatment when they cost tens of thousands of dollars and drag innocent people through the courts.

A STORM OF PROSECUTIONS AFTER A TWO MONTHS DELAY–WHY NO ACTION BACK IN DECEMBER?
Last February, sheriffs came to the homes of three defendants and hauled them off in handcuffs without prior notifications, requiring bail in several cases. A year later, all of these cases had been dropped for lack of evidence, indicating no probable cause for the charges in the first place–to say nothing of the arrests. There has been no explanation for this abusive process, much less apologies or restitution.

Why did the SCPD and D.A.’s office adopt the bizarre procedure of waiting two months to charge the group of activists targeted? The bank occupation had ended peacefully. Occupy Santa Cruz had largely dispersed. The purpose of the subsequent police action seemed largely vindictive and/or political–to “send a message” that regardless of the merit of the charges and the innocence of the defendants, this was a convenient time to chill any possible future protests. For all the activists, this was the first time felony charges–threatening a possible six years in prison–were raised.

Why didn’t the SCPD, if its real purpose was to prevent vandalism and penalize trespass, move on the activists a day or two into the Occupation?

Perhaps the SCPD recognized that this protest was part of a national wave of popular outrage…

(a) against a Wells Fargo leased property–Wells Fargo being one of the biggest thieves and home-wreckers as well as a multi-billion dollar welfare queen;

(b) It was taken as winter descended for 1000-1500 homeless people in a city with shelter for less than 10% of them while vacant bank buildings stood empty downtown year after year;

(c) Legislators and officials were doing nothing substantive to deal with foreclosure fraud and real estate speculation or compensate those swindled, except reward the swindlers with bail-outs. This is still the case. The community was peacefully but forcefully taking to the streets to empower itself to take real action.

(d) The SCPD may have recognized that the broader wave of outrage had broad and deep roots nationally. A hasty response might well have resulted at the very least in toxic publicity (as in the Davis pepper spraying) and successful civil lawsuits, and at the worst serious rioting downtown.

And the SCPD’s restraint did avoid both these dangers for its political and business clients.

They could have been content with this success and the subsequent withering away of the Occupy movement. But no. Instead of moving in with uniformed or undercover officers to document trespass and vandalism when the occupation was happening (after the first day when the danger of violence was far less), they chose to subsequently go after their least favorite activists and those who had been willing to talk with them candidly during the protest. A lazy and despicable tactic.

DEADLY CONSEQUENCES
Vindictive overcharging prosecutions and politically motivated police reports can lead to deadly results–witness the shameful Aaron Swartz suicide. The Santa Cruz Eleven almost lost one of their number the same way.

Obviously all charges must be dropped. Even for those who hate the activists involved, surely saving face for D.A. Bob Lee and Police Chief Kevin Vogel is not an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. Tying up the courts with this political sideshow takes time, energy, and focus away from real criminal behavior.

Those who equate a political protest against a known corporate criminal like Wells Fargo in a 3 1/2 year vacant building with a Mom-and-Pop home invasion are talking inflammatory nonsense.

Wells Fargo is the real criminal. Lee and Young, acting as bagmen for the bank and cover for the SCPD, need to be fired. The defendants and their lawyers should be fairly compensated for this lengthy and costly circus. In a just society such a witch hunt would have been swept aside long ago.

The Sentinel’s skeletal coverage of this ongoing kangaroo court hippity-hop can be found at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_22425154/remaining-santa-cruz-11-bank-building-takeover-defendants . My comments (a briefer version of this story) follow in the comments section.

A Sentinel letter by David Silva-Espinoza (no relation to David Minton Silva, the long-time Santa Cruz homeless activist) and comments is at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/opinion/ci_22372754/you-see-it-jan-15-2013.

The next hearing in the case is for Cameron Laurendeau on Friday February 1st at 8:15 AM in Department 6. For further updates check http://www.santacruzeleven.org .

Food Not Bombs Under Attack at Its 4 PM Saturday Feeding on the Main Post Office Steps (With Comments)

by Robert Norse
Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 10:43 PM

Arriving with warnings and cameras, two uniformed officers threatened Food Not Bombs workers with criminal actions today for staffing a table distributing meals to hungry and homeless people. The sergeant noted he’d be forwarding information to District Attorney Bob Lee’s office for further action and interrogated several of the workers there while photographing those eating, those serving, and those watching. I sent the following letter to Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry:

From: rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
To: foodnotbombs [at] earthlink.net
CC: …
Subject: FNB in Santa Cruz Under Attack
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2013 22:38:32 -0800

Keith:

A police officer and his sergeant superior appeared at the main post office steps today shortly after 4 PM where Food Not Bombs was doing its weekly feeding.

The officer advised the FNBers that they were “trespassing” (though the post office was open; people were coming in and out; the meal was set off too the side in an area not traveled by the usual customers; and FNB workers noted a previous encounter with Sgt. Azua had seemed to establish there were no violations of the law happening). He took a number of photos of the workers, who continued to feed people (30-40 people came through by my casual count in the hour or two that FNB was there). Santa Cruz FNB had been serving at the post office for the last month.

A sergeant arriving afterwards sought names and information from the workers and stated they were “gathering evidence of trespass” at the request of the postmaster.

Several of the workers were upset by this police intervention. A number of those served were scared or angry. The meal continued, but with significant consternation.

The police seemed to indicate they would be returning.

I would encourage you to alert other FNB activists that this is happening in Santa Cruz and they may need support against legal or extralegal police action that seems to now be on the horizon.

I’ll be playing some audio of this on my radio show tomorrow between 9:30 AM and 10:30 AM at 101.3 FM, streaming at http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/ , and archived at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb130120.mp3 (about 2 1/2 hours into the audio file).

Please all in (831-427-3772) if you have any suggestions any time before 1 PM PST.
(831-423-4833)

Thanks, Robert


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Z

Saturday Jan 19th, 2013 11:00 PM

We used to serve FNB on the levee next to the drum circle on wednesdays. Lots of people showed up for food, we got all the trash together in no time, and the pigs never messed with us then…
Maybe the post office isn’t the best venue for this? A place with benches or tables might work a lot better for feeding people. Try a park?

OFFICIALS TRY TO STOP FOOD NOT BOMBS ON MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. WEEKEND

Such an interesting way to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr’s weekend. Police are seeking to stop Food Not Bombs in Burlington Vermont and Santa Cruz California. If you live in either city please join them. Here is news from Santa Cruz.

Burlington Food Not Bombs meal
Sunday, January 20, 2013
12:00pm in EST
Burlington, Vermont 05401

Come to Church and Cherry St. for free food and to help us transform the space. There’s usually produce to take away along with hot soup and coffee.

http://www.facebook.com/events/488487241201931/

Arriving with warnings and cameras, two uniformed officers threatened Food Not Bombs workers with criminal actions today for staffing a table distributing meals to hungry and homeless people. The sergeant noted he’d be forwarding information to District Attorney Bob Lee’s office for further action and interrogated several of the workers there while photographing those eating, those serving, and those watching. I sent the following letter to Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry:
From: rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/19/18730563.php

CC: …
Subject: FNB in Santa Cruz Under Attack
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2013 22:38:32 -0800

Keith:

A police officer and his sergeant superior appeared at the main post office steps today shortly after 4 PM where Food Not Bombs was doing its weekly feeding.

The officer advised the FNBers that they were “trespassing” (though the post office was open; people were coming in and out; the meal was set off too the side in an area not traveled by the usual customers; and FNB workers noted a previous encounter with Sgt. Azua had seemed to establish there were no violations of the law happening). He took a number of photos of the workers, who continued to feed people (30-40 people came through by my casual count in the hour or two that FNB was there). Santa Cruz FNB had been serving at the post office for the last month.

A sergeant arriving afterwards sought names and information from the workers and stated they were “gathering evidence of trespass” at the request of the postmaster.

Several of the workers were upset by this police intervention. A number of those served were scared or angry. The meal continued, but with significant consternation.

The police seemed to indicate they would be returning.

I would encourage you to alert other FNB activists that this is happening in Santa Cruz and they may need support against legal or extralegal police action that seems to now be on the horizon.

I’ll be playing some audio of this on my radio show tomorrow between 9:30 AM and 10:30 AM at 101.3 FM, streaming at http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/ , and archived at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb130120.mp3 (about 2 1/2 hours into the audio file).

Please all in (831-427-3772) if you have any suggestions any time before 1 PM PST.
(831-423-4833)

Thanks, Robert

I was so pleased to received a call from one of the staff people at the Burlington Downtown Partnership. He called wanting to “work with us” saying he would wave the $2 fee for doing the literature table on Church Street but that we could not share food as ” it had caused problems in the past.” He explained that businesses sold food on Church Street and that places like the Salvation Army would be better able to provide services for the homeless like job referral. He seemed like a nice person but did use the same exact language that has been used by officials in other cities. He didn’t know how our sharing food was a problem but said an outreach worker would call to explain.

I seemed to have really frustrated him because I explained that if we didn’t share food with our literature the impact of our message would be diminished
Every time he said he “just wanted to work with us” I asked if there was a good place on Church Street where our sharing food at our literature table would not be a problem. In the end it was clear that working with him was to not share food and send people to the Salvation Army, COTS or share food someplace out of sight.

This person will come to talk with you on Sunday to see if he can get you to stop sharing your food or move out of the area.

While he also tried to make it out that Burlington is special (just as the other city officials have claimed in every other city that wishes we would stop) and that by speaking with you you will see the logic to ending the meal or moving it to a less visible location for me I would see about doing what I could to stay where you are.

From my perspective it has never been more important to reach the most people possible with the most impact we can about the need to change society so no one is forced to eat at the Salvation Army. Maybe it would be possible to move across the street or to the side walk at the commons I would support doing all you can to express the importance of encouraging change and suggest that it is already hard to encourage the public to consider solutions to our current economic and political problems.

The fact that this pattern is so universal across the United States and so many Food Not Bombs groups have moved to ineffective locations shows this is more than just a problem for your chapter.

I would support your efforts in any way. You may want to claim this Sundays meal or the meal after that as a rally for the right to end hunger. The staff person says he will email me so I will get you that email when he sends it. Again he might not know he was saying exactly the same thing word for word that officials in other cities have said to explain why we should not share food in a place where lots of people pass by but it sure seems like he was influenced maybe unknowingly by those organizing this nationwide campaign. Please call me if you have any questions. – 1-800-884-1136 or email me at keith [at] foodnotbombs.net

This is the number and organization that called.

Burlington Downtown Partnership.
802-865-7254
Address:
2 Church Street, Suite 2A
Burlington, VT 05401
Email: churchstmarketplace [at] gmail.com
Phone: 802-863-1648
Fax: 802-865-7252
TTY: 802-865-7142
The office is open for walk-ins Monday through Friday, 12 noon to 4 p.m. To purchase a Marketplace street entertainer or vendor license or non-profit tabling permit, contact the Marketplace office. The permits and licenses are available by appointment only. For information and to schedule an appointment send an email to permits and licensing or call 802.865.5384.

http://www.downtownburlingtonvt.com

Thanks Keith McHenry
co-founder of the Food Not Bombs Movement

This a one of many public statements reflecting a nationwide campaign to drive the homeless out of site. This one is from Orlando Florida and signed by the charities such as Salvation Army that received city funding.

…though we understand the motivation of those who wish to alleviate the suffering of the homeless in our community, solving homelessness involves more than a warm meal and a place to sleep. Homelessness is symptomatic of much larger issues.

Such public feedings may well contribute to homelessness and actually keep the homeless from the essential services necessary to get back on the road to self-sufficiency. One of the vital keys to assisting these men, women and families is providing comprehensive case-management services. This includes access to the tools needed to attain independence, truly giving them a “hand up” to a better life.

Hey Keith,

We’re all having a good laugh here. Something about imagining the very very serious mannered bureaucrats we dealt with last week calling up New Mexico is great. We had been dreading the upcoming showdown this Sunday. One comment was something like “they couldn’t have called someone better equipped”. I’d agree. It’s a happy coincidence they called you as we were researching and looking for guidance on what to do.

Our plan now is to be prepared and establish who is arrestable before meals and do some non-violent civil disobedience if there’s lots of people around. If it wouldn’t make a strong enough statement we may retreat to the edge of the park (not the middle) and come back later to see what happens for a second time. Maybe even just wait an hour or until the next week.

Our friends on city council in the progressive party have offered to do what they can. Not sure if that will amount to anything but its nice to know they’re watching and willing to make noise in council meets. We’ll see how it unfolds.

I’m going to send your message out to the listserve if that’s cool with you.

Solidarity,
Ethan

by John E. Colby

Sunday Jan 20th, 2013 8:19 PM

Because the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) officers didn’t arrest the Food Not Bombs volunteers, I do not believe the SCPD and the District Attorney’s Office have a good case that they violated any law. It seems like they are harassing them and trying to do some research to see what law they will try to use to shut them down.

Consequently, I am submitted the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request above — carbon copied to Congress and the mainstream media — asking for communications about Food Not Bombs feedings on the Main Post Office steps and the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS’s) most current policies about private (nonprofit) organizations using the steps of the Santa Cruz Main Post Office.

Often shaking the tree will glean useful information and put government agencies on notice that they are being watched.

by Robert Norse

( rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com ) Monday Jan 21st, 2013 5:54 AM

I received the following e-mail today from supporters up North:

Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2013 20:12:34 -0800
From: annet934 [at] yahoo.com
Subject: Re: [huffsantacruz] Ratcheting up the War on the Poor in Santa Cruz: Food Not Bombs Under Attack
To: right2survive [at] googlegroups.com; rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
CC: nanparanon [at] me.com; worldpeaz [at] yahoo.com; rtjheath482 [at] yahoo.com; jonathon.reed.80 [at] gmail.com; charlesorsbun [at] yahoo.com; jerbrojay73 [at] hotmail.com; tsluder [at] yahoo.com; carey.white64 [at] gmail.com; certifiedoregonic [at] riseup.net; olismarg [at] aol.com; mamachewy45 [at] gmail.com; chris.lee.ellingson [at] gmail.com

Robert:
I just got your email. I work with Right 2 Survive in Portland Oregon, helping out with the press and publicity here.

Maybe you already know this stuff, so feel free to ignore my ideas if it is old news to you.

I believe your situation falls under the “Please arrest us, we need the publicity!” category. ;.) What a great way to get publicity for the good work FNB does and expose the ridiculous harassment by the cops. You can definitely turn this into something that helps your cause.

You may want to write a press release about the harassment and send it far and wide (Be sure to include Associated Press Northern California E-mail them at: NorCal [at] apcalifornia.org I like to send releases to local columnists who may be sympathetic. Definitely send it to the WA Post writer below since they have covered it before.

Similar stories:
Link to a FNB page put together after arrests in Daytona last year. http://www.foodnotbombs.net/fnb_resists.html
Llink to a WA Post article about those arrests.WA Post article about Daytona FNB arrests
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/food-not-bombs-group-arrested-for-feeding-homeless-violating-orlando-ordinance/2011/06/03/AGufUBIH_blog.html

In Solidarity,
Anne
Right 2 Survive
Portland OR

I support fully, but don’t in anyway represent Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs. Those preparing and serving the food as well as those eating it will make their own decisions about the so-called “trespass” concerns.

It seems peculiar to suggest that particular group with a political message that is committing no crime other than using the public space is told it is “trespassing” while others come and go with the area clearly open to the public.

Occupy Santa Cruz voted yesterday to support Food Not Bombs. I encourage other groups to do the same and to show up at the next meal as well as offer whatever support they can from a distance if that is not possible.

Though not privy to the inner decision-making of FNB, I imagine they would appreciate as big a crowd of supporters at their next feeding which is currently scheduled for 4 PM Saturday January 26th. on the (public?) steps of the Main Post Office in downtown Santa Cruz.

I believe they’ll be considering how to best respond to the recent police and post office threats at their weekly meeting, which can be found on their facebook page.

According to Steve Pleich, one Food Not Bombs member reports Sgt. Garcia said the postmaster was threatening federal Felony Trespass Arrests. Pleich reports that according to that member a warning was given. As I was there at the time recording the conversation between Garcia and the activists, I didn’t hear any clear demand that everyone leave given by either SCPD officer.

I did arrive a few minutes after the first cop (Officer Bayani) arrived. And when I spoke to him and wanted to know if he was speaking as the owner’s agent, he backed off and said I should speak with his sergeant. In a subsequent discussion with another FNB member, Garcia said he was “gathering evidence” but gave no clearly audible warning to the group of people gathered there that I heard.

Still given the bizarre overcharging done by the Santa Cruz District Attorney in the case of the Santa Cruz Eleven (again due in court 8:15 AM Tuesday January 22nd D-6), that’s something to be seriously considered. See http://www.santacruzeleven.org for more info on that ongoing persecution.

This case obviously impacts many other groups and people and represents yet another ratcheting up of the governmental shutdown of public spaces for politically dissenters.

by John E. Colby

Wednesday Jan 23rd, 2013 7:51 PM

I called the Santa Cruz Main Post Office today to confirm that the Postmaster had received the fax of my FOIA request which I carbon copied him/her. The postal worker/supervisor I spoke to came back after lengthy silence and told me that I wasn’t “entitled”. I ask entitled to what? She replied that only the police officers are “entitled”. I responded that my FOIA request wasn’t to the Santa Cruz Post Office and that the Washington DC USPS FOIA liaison hadn’t made a determination so she had no place telling me what I was or was not entitled to.

This conversation suggests to me that the Santa Cruz Postmaster contacted the FOIA liaison and illegally requested information about my FOIA request. This does not bode well for the USPS FOIA liaison.

I plan on making many more FOIA requests about the Santa Cruz Postmaster to the USPS. I think the Santa Cruz Postmaster has a lot to hide.

by Robert Norse

Thursday Jan 24th, 2013 3:46 PM

by Zanga Zeit

Friday Jan 25th, 2013 8:30 PM

I am so disturbed at hearing this news about FNB! I do not live anywhere near the areas you mention in your articles, (I live in Phoenix, AZ) however, I am very active online and am in daily communication with many people at a global level as I am multi-lingual. I often serve as a translator for actions taking place in Spain, Mexico, and any other hispanic countries that are involved. I am writing to let you know that I would be very very happy to assist in any way that I possibly can. When “incidents” involving suspicious or dubious arrests, police brutality, etc, occur during the course of any action being Ustreamed or Livestreamed, I am the one who most frequently calls PDs across the nation to respectfully request that detainees be granted their (used-to-be) First Amendment right to gather in peaceful protest. Since I am bilingual English/Spanish, I am volunteering to help with any communications that are encumbered by “language barriers”! I can usually be found in the chat at Global Revolution livestream. Many people in OR know me very well, including RisePDX as well as all of the MODS and most of the chatters at GR. Please feel free to email me any time, or to come to GR and ask me to talk with you. Also my twitter is @ZangaZeit, feel free to contact me there! It is abhorrent to me that giving food to those in need is now under attack! How DARE “they” is my response! And as far as what the Salvation Army had to say regarding the “comprehensive” needs of the hungry, I will say this: I hold an MA in psychology and worked for 25 years in LA as a social worker. The Salvation Army is a religion-based organization, not a non-profit social work agency, thus I submit that their “assessment” of the “comprehensive needs” of the hungry is wholly and completely without merit. The idea that giving food to a hungry person “might actually encourage them to remain in the position of ‘victim’ ” is utterly and completely unfounded, biased, socio-economically prejudiced, and without any factual evidence to support that “claim”. FNB is not only providing food, but also information, social contact, and a platform where people come together and discuss the inequities that we all face today, as well as share ideas and make plans for further ways to combat the forces that would quash all of us. That, in my professional opinion, offers much more to a person than the “religion” based dogma that the Salvation Army would force upon them! I would also very much appreciate being informed as to whether there is a Phoenix, AZ Chapter of FNB, as I would like to become involved. Thank you so much for reading this email and for the wonderful work all of you are doing! Please know that I stand firmly in Solidarity with all of you and I wish you Peace and Love in this (ungodly) struggle! We are all brothers and sisters born to this Earth – it is long past the time we need to act as such – that applies to our current tormentors us as well, whether they choose to acknowledge this fact or not! Tierra y Libertad!! ~Zanga Zeit

by Robert Norse

Sunday Jan 27th, 2013 12:00 AM

POLICE AND POSTAL OFFICIALS DEMAND FNB MOVE OFF “POST OFFICE” PROPERTY
Briefly, two SCPD officers and two postal officials approached the group and demanded they move off the post office property, while proclaiming “concern and appreciation” for the feeding of homeless people. After initially trying to continue feeding at the original location under the eaves of the post office, the FNB workers picked up their tables and moved to the sidewalk.

I recorded some of the interaction between officials and FNB workers. I’ll be playing that tape tomorrow on Free Radio Santa Cruz at 10 AM ( http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/ or 101.3 FM). The show will archive at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb130127.mp3–about 2 1/2 hours into the audio. Call-in at 427-3772.

At the request of FNB workers, Steve Pleich took a leading role in facilitating the withdrawal of FNB from the post office steps to the sidewalk where it continued to feed without further molestation. Officials rejected my request to know the full name of the individual demanding we move and of his superior’s name. Police sergeant D. Forbas kept trying to shield his conversation with Pleich from the listening ears of my recorder and refused to answer questions which I put to him afterwards.

VICTORY,SETBACK,OR BOTH?
Some considered the day’s actions a success–with the meal continuing to be fed, folks continuing to sit on the steps of the post office and eat. Others wondered if this were the first step in a campaign to drive FNB from visible feeding in the downtown. The Food Not Bombs banner was visible, but I didn’t notice any literature present–the group willing for the moment to give up the right to serve and distribute literature in the unused area they had been at for the previous six weeks under threat of trespass arrest.

While the postal inspector insisted that the group was “violating federal regulations”, he declined to say which regulations except for vague claims that FNB was “conducting business”. The claim that FNB was violating the state trespass code seemed a strange one since the area is open to the general public.

THE ISSUES INVOLVED
Food Not Bombs groups in other cities has insisted that it is not simply a charitable organization serving food, but one presenting a clear message (with literature and banners). Such was an earlier FNB message in Santa Cruz in the late 80′s and mid-90′s when Santa Cruz FNB fed in different spots.

FNB workers and some supporters noted that FNB had only moved 20-30 feet, that it was not being told to disperse, that it would continue to “make poverty visible” and feed poor and homeless people, and address further hostile police actions if they arose as they arose.

Similar threats used against Occupy Santa Cruz [OSC] when it was in front of the courthouse in the fall of 2011 resulted in some citations and arrests, but no charges ultimately in court under the trespass code used to intimidate FNB workers today.

Unlike FNB activists decades before OSC activists did not return to reclaim the space in front of the courthouse once threatened with arrest. However, unlike the earlier attack on FNB in Santa Cruz and San Francisco which demanded the groups cease serving food altogether because they “didn’t have a permit”, the current attack so far is only limited to the post office grounds and supposedly has to do with location rather than food serving itself.

For some of the events in the history of the FNB movement, go to http://foodnotbombs.net/fnb_time_line.html .

FOOD SERVER HARASSMENT ELSEWHERE
However, a church group feeding in front of Forever Twenty-One on Thursday afternoon was reportedly the target of SCPD police action against clients sitting within 14′ of buildings.

Ronee and Scott Curry, who regularly conduct Sunday lunch on Pacific Avenue at Soquel and Pacific have experienced some harassment either directly under the “move every hour” ordinance or of their clients hassled for “sitting down”.

Father Joel Miller of the Calvary Episcopal Church experienced a strong attack from former Mayor (and recently reelected City Council member) Cynthia Mathews for his once-a-week Monday dinner at the Red Church, across from Matthew’s historic property (located between the Nickelodeon and Jack’s Hamburgers).

Pastor Dennis Adams was driven away from the downtown by merchant and police hostility several years ago, now doing his meal out at the Homeless (Lack of ) Services Center.

UPCOMING AND INAUSPICIOUS
On Tuesday the Santa Cruz City Council’s Public Safety Committee will be meeting 6 PM in City Council chambers to consider a further crackdown on homeless people among other “safety measures”. Agenda: http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/index.aspx?recordid=4709&page=440 . Staff report: http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=30533 .

DISCLAIMER
The opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent those of Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs as an organization, nor necessarily the views of any of the individuals associated with it.

by Robert Norse

Sunday Jan 27th, 2013 12:03 AM

The FNB meal began around 4 PM Saturday January 26th and was immediately approached by police. Workers moved the meal to the sidewalk within 20 minutes after police and postal officials began their threats. It continued for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on the sidewalk.

FNB is looking for volunteers and can be reached via its Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs facebook page.

by RazerRay

Sunday Jan 27th, 2013 9:54 AM

tom_morello_guitar.jpg
tom_morello_guitar.jpg

“Tommy, don’t you go fightin’ ‘em alone. They’ll hunt you down like a coyote. Tommy, I got to thinkin’ and dreamin’ and wonderin’. They say there’s a hun’erd thousand of us shoved out. If we was all mad the same way, Tommy-they wouldn’t hunt nobody down-.” Ma Joad

Either this link Staff report: http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=30533 is wrong or the Staff Report has been removed/relocated

by Robert Norse

Sunday Jan 27th, 2013 10:25 AM

The lead story in the Sunday Sentinel (on line and in print) is about needle disposal and the staff report and agenda of the Tuesday 6 PM Santa Cruz City Council Public Safety Committee.

It can be accessed (I hope) at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_22457610/discarded-syringes-santa-cruz-county-prompt-questions-about .

by RazerRay

Sunday Jan 27th, 2013 12:40 PM

From the absolutely UN-informative agenda which I viewed earlier, something about Regional responses to problems? A reminder that there’s a regional working group in the Bay Area including Santa Cruz, Berkeley, and other cities in regard to their homeless ‘problems’.

The Ghost of ol’ Tom Joad IS NOT happy.
http://auntieimperial.tumblr.com/post/41632028846

by John E. Colby

Tuesday Jan 29th, 2013 11:29 AM

After Food Not Bombs was coerced to move from the Santa Cruz Main Post Office steps in last Saturday’s feeding of poor and homeless people on January 26, 2013, I decided that more information must be gleaned from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to determine exactly what laws and regulations apply to the steps of the Main Post Office and who was responsible for the USPS campaign in Santa Cruz against Food Not Bombs. Please read my FOIA request as a downloadable PDF.

Therefore I asked for:

• All electronic and non-electronic written communications including but not limited to letters, reports, summaries, memoranda, emails, and notes written by employees of the Santa Cruz Main Post Office about or pertaining to Food Not Bombs feeding homeless people on the steps of the Santa Cruz Main Post Office at 850 Front Street in Santa Cruz, California, from between December 1, 2012 and today, January 28, 2013.
• All written complaints by customers of the Santa Cruz Main Post Office about Food Not Bombs from between December 1, 2012 and today, January 28, 2013.
• The most current organization chart for the Santa Cruz Main Post Office.
• The most current handbook sections, guides, rules and implementing documents describing federal regulations and laws governing the use of the steps of the Santa Cruz Main Post Office at 850 Front Street in Santa Cruz, California by both private (nonprofit) organizations and by private individuals.

Hopefully this will lead to a greater understanding of the USPS campaign against Food Not Bomb’s feeding poor and homeless people on the Santa Cruz Main Post Office steps, who is responsible for it, and whether Food Not Bombs can legally return to using the Main Post Office steps.

The best weapon against tyranny is to shine a light on it. We can open up undemocratic decision making processes to public scrutiny.

by RazerRay

Saturday Feb 2nd, 2013 10:32 AM

sfbay-web has been contacted. Expect Email.