Judge Timothy Volkmann denies dismissal for ‘final four’ in River Street bank occupation

NOTES  BY NORSE:   Former Santa Cruz Eleven defendant and photojournalist Alex Darocy covered the hearing below at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/03/12/18733496.php?show_comments=1#18733512 .  I presented my own take with links to the motions filed to dismiss at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/03/07/18733298.php .

Regarding the trespass charge, it was selectively enforced and seemed to be done as a political sop to anti-Occupy authoritarians as well as a form of  SCPD face-saving.  Plus it seemed a pretty convenient opportunity to go after activists long-publicly critical of police misconduct and alternative media whistleblowers.  If there was a real concern about “trespass”, it should have been a timely bust, done within 24 hours of the occupation and uniformly applied to everyone there.  Clearly this was a combination of tokenism, scapegoating, and intimidation against other direct action critics of Wells Fargo and large corporate criminals.
Free  speech and free assembly considerations also play a significant role–not to mention the community reality that the building was long-vacant (and has remained so).  Prosecutions in a dozen other cities have led to acquittals or been dropped for similar occupations.  First Amendment protections are an explicit part of the 602 trespass statute which were ignored (by both prosecution and defense).
In terms of harm-reduction, the vacant bank could have provided shelter for a population that has a far higher death rate than the terrified mob that shows up at City Council ranting about needles, drug addicts, the homeless, and “crime”.

Regarding the “felony vandalism” charge, prosecution witnesses agreed there was zero evidence of explicit documented vandalism by any of the four (not to mention the eleven originally charged).    Nor were any vandals identified.

The discredited assistant D.A. pursuing this case (Rebekah Young) was already sanctioned $500 for repeatedly violating court orders and keeping evidence from the defense.

To justify this  prosecution, Young presented a tenuous torturous “aiding and abetting theory” which suggested “aiding and abetting the trespass” meant that the “natural and probable” vandalism consequences made the defendants responsible for $23,000 in vandalism and subject to 4 years in prison. 

Defense attorneys pointed out that courts have never ruled that vandalism is a “natural and probable” consequence of the crime of trespass. This is a novel new doctrine apparently trotted out to respond to the lynchmob mentality stalking Santa Cruz (which masquerades as some kind of public safety “protection”). Or perhaps for D.A. Young to magically transform a discredited prosecution into a “win” so she can get a passing grade on her homework, somehow, after having already flunked.
150 “trespassers” alleged (none arrested at the scene), 139 unknown. 0 known vandals. A massively overcharged butcher bill by Wells Fargo. According to defense attorney Bryan Hackett, (a) there has to be someone that the defendants “aided and abetted” in the original trespass (and no such showing was made—only that the defendants either were in the building and/or communicating with those in the building), (b) there has to be a someone they aided (no one was identified), and (c) it must be shown that action led as a “necessary and probable” consequence to vandalism (also no evidence other than broad claims that it was a tumultuous situation.
The issue is likely to be appealed to a higher court once a transcript is available—which must be done within 15 days of Judge Volkman’s decision. That should be happening shortly.

Previous occupations in Santa Cruz (such as that of the Heiner House in 1992, or the Campbell St. House in 1996, have never led to felony charges (there were originally two felonies and two misdemeanors charged).  The current form of judicial terrorism against activists does further damage to a First Amendment already diced and shredded by the Obama/Bush demolition team.

Judge Timothy Volkmann denies dismissal for ‘final four’

in River Street bank occupation

By Cathy Kelly
Posted:   03/11/2013 04:41:37 PM PDT
SANTA CRUZ — In a courtroom full of activists, Judge Timothy Volkmann on Monday denied a motion to dismiss trespassing and vandalism charges against four remaining defendants accused of the takeover of a former Wells Fargo Bank building on River Street.
Gabriella Ripley-Phipps, Franklin Alcantara, Cameron Laurendau and Brent Adams are among 11 people originally charged with trespassing, vandalism and felony conspiracy for a high-profile occupation of a vacant former bank on Nov. 30, 2011.
Summarizing the 350-page preliminary hearing transcript, Volkmann described Ripley-Phipps as the group spokesperson and said the other three were seen inside the building at least twice. He then noted “it appears the major tussle centers on the felony vandalism charge” and whether that was a “natural consequence of the (misdemeanor) trespass (charge).”
Volkmann said his colleague, Judge Paul Burdick — who presided over the preliminary hearing — found that the vandalism was a natural and probable cause of the trespass due to the size and emotionally charged nature of the crowd, the stacking of furniture against the doors and other barricading behavior, the length of time they stayed inside, and other factors.
As prosecutor Rebekah Young put it, “They were in there for the long haul.”
The defense challenged Young’s theory that the four are guilty as aiders and abetters. In other words, that if they entered the bank with the crowd, and if the damage to the building was a “natural and probable” result of that entering, they are guilty of vandalism even without direct evidence of their part in the destruction of property.
Volkmann listened to Santa Cruz defense attorneys Lisa McCamey, Jesse Ruben, Bryan Hackett and Alexis Briggs argue that there is little or no direct evidence of who damaged the bank. They also argued the vandalism charge could not hold under the aiding and abetting theory without more proof of the circumstances surrounding the entering of the building.
“There is no evidence they agreed to trespass,” McCamey said. “Their mere presence is not enough for this theory.”
Volkmann ruled against them, noting there is a lower standard of proof the District Attorneys’ Office must meet at the preliminary hearing stage. He said the defense attorneys’ arguments “may be applicable” at trial.
Trial is set for May 13, but Ruben said he anticipates a conflict due to a homicide trial he is taking part in.
The group is due back in court April 8 for a status hearing.
A group of supporters and activists came to court for the afternoon hearing, as they have several times, with flyers urging “Drop the Charges! Santa Cruz Eleven: The Final Four.”
The case began after people swarmed into the former bank after an Occupy Santa Cruz march, causing damage now estimated at about $25,000 and sparking a tense situation with police. Three days later, the group walked away.
The four remaining defendants are out of custody.
Earlier, Burdick dismissed charges against seven people due to insufficient evidence. He also dismissed a conspiracy charge the group had faced and fined the District Attorney’s Office $500 for failing to provide evidence to defense attorneys.
Follow Sentinel reporter Cathy Kelly on Twitter at Twitter.com/cathykelly9
For more info: santacruzeleven.org

Fresno Homeless Camps: Official Lie vs. Activist Truth

The Fresno Bee article about the Press Conference held yesterday at Ventura and F street is below and at this link:
Note that at the end of the article City Council member Oliver Baines blames the lawsuit for their problems.  Just when they get some momentum going to keep the streets clean, they get sued. . . according to Baines.  For some reason, The Bee did not mention that the Community Alliance is able to put 8 portable toilets and 3 dumpsters at the encampment without incident.  If we can help keep the encampments clean without destroying homeless peoples property, why can’t the city do the same thing?  Maybe they should call me up and ask for our secret.
Mike Rhodes
Community Alliance Newspaper
PO Box 5077
Fresno Ca 93755
(559) 978-4502 (cell)
(559) 226-3962 (fax)

Residents near downtown Fresno urge faster city action on homeless trash
By BoNhia Lee – The Fresno Bee
Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013 | 06:30 PM
Residents who live south of downtown Fresno know the homeless problem in their neighborhood won’t be solved right away. But they think the piles of trash that come from the homeless are an easy fix.
Members of the Golden Westside Planning Committee and residents who live in tidy houses near Ventura Avenue and E Street held a news conference Wednesday to urge city officials to clean up their neighborhood.
Late Wednesday, city officials said they’re working on a solution.
The group gathered in front of a small alley on Ventura Avenue, between E and F streets, where trash had accumulated over the last four months.
Capri Sun juice packets, restaurant takeout boxes, clothes, blankets, hangers, soup cans and more were scattered on the ground.
The trash “carries feces, it carries roaches, it carries rats, it carries all kinds of things as our children walk through the neighborhood,” said Debbie Darden, the group’s chairwoman. “It’s an ongoing problem. We feel it’s the responsibility of the city of Fresno to act on it quickly and on a regular basis to get it cleaned up.”
The trash is what you would see in Third-World countries like Pakistan and Nigeria, said Kevin Hamilton, deputy chief of programs for Clinica Sierra Vista.
“When you have piles of trash sitting around for months, it gets wet, the elements start to work on it and it becomes a place where bacteria live,” Hamilton said. “This is truly a health hazard to our community.”
The committee and resident Jeff Tapscott said calls to Council Member Oliver Baines, who represents the area, the mayor and city manager since January have not resulted in a cleanup yet.
“The trash never seems to leave,” said Tapscott, who has lived in the neighborhood for 17 years. “I pick up what I can pick up.”
Their suggestion: put Dumpsters in the alleys and on the streets.
When contacted on Wednesday, city spokesman Mike Lukens said in a written statement that the city will put trash bins in the neighborhood.
“The city will cooperate with residents in the neighborhood and place trash bins there, but we’re also working on an overall cleanup of the area,” Lukens said.
Baines said residents should expect to see the trash cleaned up within a month.
“I share their frustration,” Baines said. “They’re right. It’s an issue that needs to be taken care of.”
But the process takes time, Baines said. The city has to figure out whether the property that needs cleaning is publicly or privately owned. Then there are the lawsuits.
The city has been sued by homeless advocates twice before for destruction of property after cleaning up homeless encampments.
“It really slows the process down and almost stops the process all together,” Baines said. “That has been a big hinderance. Just when we get the momentum going we get hit with the lawsuit and we have to of course work through all that.”

180/180 Program–Hope or Hoax? Unanswered Questions

Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2013 13:22:52 -0500
From: phil.kramer1@gmail.com
To: rnorse3@hotmail.com
Subject: UPDATE: “Homelessness” Leadership Council formed

We’re excited to report that the Leadership Council has been formed. The selection process was difficult because so many people – nearly 80 – expressed an interest in joining. This was a good problem to have, though we then had to focus on establishing a group that balanced stakeholder and geographic criteria with the need to have a workable size. We believe we’ve come close to accomplishing this with the twenty-five people who have been initially selected to kick off this important new community working group.

The group selected comprises a broad base of stakeholders, representing all parts of Santa Cruz County, from the San Lorenzo Valley to Watsonville, and places in between. There may be additional and ongoing efforts to recruit specific stakeholders to fill any gaps, but that will be a decision for the new “council” to make. For now, this group of twenty-five committed community members will hold their first meeting on March 13. One of the agenda items for this meeting, as promised, will be to review feedback gathered from the Summit, and a discussion on what to do with this valuable input.

And, we’re making fairly good progress on the other “next steps” that were outlined in the previous update (Jan. 17), though we’re running a little bit behind our original ambitious timetable.

  • We are ready to move forward on education and advocacy work and want to invite all of you, especially everyone who expressed an interest in community (public) education and advocacy, to join us on Thursday, April 18 at 7pm at United Way in Capitola for a discussion on both these topics and areas of interest. Please RSVP if you plan to attend by emailing info@smartsolutionstohomelessness.org.

  • Significant progress has been made on engaging the business community. On Friday, Feb. 15, twenty-three business people gathered at United Way for a discussion on “The Business Case for Smart Solutions to Homelessness”. This group plans to meet again, to work on identifying specific areas where they can have the greatest impact. There is great potential for synergy and partnership, with the leadership council, as a few of the business leaders are also on teh newly formed council.

  • A great number of you also expressed interest in volunteering. While we’re not able to provide a comprehensive list of all volunteer opportunities here, or to personalize them based on your area of interest, here are a few excellent resources and opportunities to get involved, including the huge one-day event in Santa Cruz called Project Homeless Connect, on Tuesday, April 9. Click here to sign up.

A great resource for a multitude of volunteer opportunities is The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz. And, here are just a few of many other volunteer opportunities with organizations that work on issues related to homelessness:

If there are other volunteers you’d like highlighted in the future please email info@smartsolutionstohomelessness.org.

We look forward to working with all of you on our shared goal to reduce and end homelessness in Santa Cruz County. By working together as a community we can make it happen!

The Summit Planning Team

©2013 Smart Solutions to Homelessness | c/o United Way / P.O Box 1458 / 4450 Capitola Road, Suite 106, Capitola, CA 95010

This email was sent to rnorse3@hotmail.com. To ensure that you continue receiving our emails, please add us to your address book or safe list. View this email on the web here. You can also forward to a friend.

Powered by Mad Mimi ®

Philip Kramer
Project Manager
(831) 334-4976

On Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 10:44 AM, Robert Norse <rnorse3@hotmail.com> wrote:

Who’s in the group?


Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2013 18:41:36 -0800
Subject: Re: UPDATE: “Homelessness” Leadership Council formed
From: phil.kramer1@gmail.com
To: rnorse3@hotmail.com

Hi Robert,
I don’t have time to type in the 25 people right now. When the group meets for the first time we’ll ask them about how they want to present or publish their names and affiliation.

Thanks, Phil

On Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 8:33 PM, Robert Norse <rnorse3@hotmail.com> wrote:

Phil:  This sounds neither transparent, accessible, nor respectful to the many people who came to the early December meeting.  People who put their energy into this affair need to know who has been chosen by the chosen few, don’t ya think?  And before the event, not after.  Looks like your paid position here has left Occupy far behind.


Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2013 20:40:58 -0800

Subject: Re: UPDATE: “Homelessness” Leadership Council formed
From: phil.kramer1@gmail.com
To: rnorse3@hotmail.com

CC: ctconnor@pacbell.net; spleich@gmail.com; gailpage@gmail.com; becky_johnson222@hotmail.com; lrevans@ecocentricdesignco.com; jeanpiraino@gmail.com; compassionman@hotmail.com; alex@alexdarocy.com; kimisheo@hotmail.com; killerleslie@yahoo.com

Whoa! Not appreciated Robert. I think it’s only fair that I ask the Leadership Council how they want their names and information shared. I’m helping the group through the process of formation and organizing, that doesn’t mean I make decisions for the group.


On Sat, Mar 2, 2013 at 8:08 AM, Robert Norse <rnorse3@hotmail.com> wrote:


First you write that you “don’t have time to type in 25 names”.  It’s hard to believe you don’t have a list of those names that can be cut and pasted.

Then when that seems flimsy, you move on to suggest that you need to seek the permission of people who were publicly at a meeting.   Skepticism turns to cynicism turns to amusement.

Come on, Phil.

I’m not too enthused about a project that ignores 95% of the homeless population to please merchants who want to eliminate from public view the most irritating group (and then likely ignore or criminalize the rest).  And that ignores attacks on the survival camps of homeless people who are being attacked daily by police and TBSC vigilantes.

Enough with the excuses.  Show respect for the people who spent their time attending the last conference.  Let’s have the list of who the “chosen few” are.

And,while we’re at it, please provide transparent figures on your salary and how much money has been coming in to this project and from what sources.


Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 17:36:11 -0800
Subject: Re: UPDATE: “Homelessness” Leadership Council formed
From: phil.kramer1@gmail.com
To: rnorse3@hotmail.com
CC: ctconnor@pacbell.net; spleich@gmail.com; gailpage@gmail.com; becky_johnson222@hotmail.com; lrevans@ecocentricdesignco.com; jeanpiraino@gmail.com; compassionman@hotmail.com; alex@alexdarocy.com; kimisheo@hotmail.com; killerleslie@yahoo.com

Dear Robert,
You brought up a number of points that I’ll try and answer here. As of March 1st I’m working as a volunteer for the Smart Solutions effort. There will be a new person hired by the United Way in the very near future to take on the staffing role for the project.

Since the entire project in a volunteer effort, a couple of folks I checked with who have been quite involved suggest that I wait until the first meeting and let the group decide about publicizing the membership list. Since that group of about 25 people will be making decisions for the project, that seems like the right way to handle it. I am happy to let you know that I am one of the members of the new leadership group, representing the 180/180 campaign. I am also happy to give you an idea as to the makeup of the initial group (which could be expanded after the initial meeting). There are currently 6 “formerly homeless” or self described “advocates”; 5 representatives from local government; 3 from the business community; 3 from faith-based organizations; and 5 representatives from “service provider” organizations.

I think you made an incorrect assumption about the Smart Solutions project. It does not favor any one particular approach to addressing homelessness in the community – it simply stresses broad community engagement and evidence-based practices that are cost effective. It is erroneous to state that this approach only focuses on 5% of the homeless population. Most communities using this approach have elements of their overall plan that addresses the homelessness of a wide majority of homeless persons in their communities.

Regarding your request for transparency, since I’m a volunteer for the Smart Solutions effort at this point, I can report that I receive exactly $0. For approximately one year prior, I was paid a modest part-time wage by a local nonprofit organization to organize the Smart Solutions project but this is no longer the case.

From: rnorse3@hotmail.com
To: phil.kramer1@gmail.com
CC: ctconnor@pacbell.net; spleich@gmail.com; gailpage@gmail.com; becky_johnson222@hotmail.com; lrevans@ecocentricdesignco.com; jeanpiraino@gmail.com; compassionman@hotmail.com; alex@alexdarocy.com; kimisheo@hotmail.com; killerleslie@yahoo.com; rboysen@cityonahillpress.com; gperry@santacruzweekly.com; citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com; huffsantacruz@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Questions About the 180/180 Program in Santa Cruz
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2013 22:39:36 -0800


One has to admire your temperate tone.

Numerous HUFF members went to your 180/180 December sitdown with a lot more positive hopes and expectations than mine.  The general consensus following the meeting was that your program:

(a) had no interest in fighting the destruction of homeless camps and/or the provision of emergency shelter for homeless folks displaced by that pogrom.   For a fraction of the money spent on social services and costly housing, large survival campgrounds with adequate sanitary facilities could be established that would actually meet the needs of people here and now.  Why not lobby for this?  Ah, because the liberal NIMBY element wants nothing to do with it and we must be “smart” and consider what “is possible” rather than what is right and what is necessary.

(b) relied on the faulty notion that the dealing with the visible  (that is, “the most vulnerable”), most troublesome to businesses, and most costly to social services homeless (5% at most) would somehow encourage more money to be spent on the remaining 95%.   In fact, it’s just as likely that the money “saved” would be diverted to other projects.   Municipalities want to get rid of hard-core cases that run up hospital costs, frighten tourists, and clutter up the streets visibly.   But why not simply drive the rest out of town with more police sweeps, “no sleep” laws (on public property and in public libraries), sitting bans, vehicular harassment, and other favorite Santa Cruz tactics?

(c) had no interest in supporting strong civil rights legislation like Ammiano’s Homeless Bill of Rights, which would allow a larger fraction of the homeless to actually shelter themselves until there’s a meaningful change in the national, state, and local priorities.  Nor was there any interest in those victimized by serious political persecution.  Linda Lemaster was made a figleaf poetry speaker and denied any meaningful forum for talking about her upcoming trial. Could it be that Martinez, Lane, and other fear offending the new right-wing Council cretans running the show and seeing their funding cut or challenged?

(d) accordingly also tended to shut up and shut down any discussion of these more immediate shelter/housing issues (as illustrated by what happened at the WILPF meeting when Ed Frey tried to raise the issue).  This results, of course in the kind of elitist censorship, lack of transparency, and bureaucratic doubletalk that I’m surprised you seem to be indulging in.

(e) bleeds and diverts support from protest and alternate encampment projects that actually aim to deal with real homeless survival issues for the majority of homeless people.  This happens both because such projects fly against the agenda of right-wing pressure groups, city council staff, SCPD, and (in part) the social service bureaucracy–who can’t even seem to squeak up when fanatics are creating a health hazard by frightening City Council into banning needle exchange in the city limits, conflating trash, dirty needles, and “illegal camps”.

(f) raises suspicions that keeping the membership of the “leadership council” secret is a way of limiting access and participation to those who share the very financial special pleading that is going on here, to the broader detriment of the homeless community.

(g) seems sadly consistent with your personal policy of ignoring important questions like how much money has been taken in, from what sources, who is managing it, how much has been spent, and on what?   Your salary last year?   Activists are not as naive as they used to be, Phil.  You may have forgotten the lessons learned at Occupy, but I trust that others have not.

Still waiting for answers.

Thanks, Robert

Three Flyers & Two Petitions from HUFF [6 Attachments]

[Attachment(s)from Robert Norse included below]

These are recent flyers I wrote.

Two for the 180/180 program presentation by Councilmember Don Lane and Monica Martinez at the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom in Santa Cruz last Tuesday (2-19) which ignored all other abuses against the homeless to panhandle for more money for the very limited Housing First! program.  HUFF supports Housing First, but not at the expense of watching police destroy homeless survival camps and ignore the need for immediate facilities.

More recently, I wrote two flyers to distribute to homeless people at the Monday “Red Church” meal.  The flyers are self-explanatory.

I’m also including a rather weak “we’d like needle exchange somewhere in the city” petition presented by Councilmember Micah Posner.  It’s in two pages.

IF YOU HAVE DIFFICULT DOWNLOADING THE ATTACHMENTS, LET ME KNOW AT rnorse3@hotmail.com, and I’ll send you the text.

Needle Exchange Petition p. 1. – pdf
Needle Exchange Petition p. 2. – pdf
Flyer 2-16a. – pdf
Flyer 2-16b. – pdf
HLOSC Flyer. – pdf

Homeless man jailed until trial for stealing flowers from SCPD Cop Altar

NOTE TO READER: Judge John Gallagher sets bail at $5000 and orders homeless man held until trial

for stealing flowers from SCPD Baker/Butler memorial because he had money to ride in a taxi.

                                                          –Becky Johnson of HUFF

Man who allegedly stole flowers from fallen officers memorial appears in Santa Cruz courtroom

Posted:   03/05/2013 07:37:01 PM PST

SANTA CRUZ — In a tense hearing Tuesday — which drew a courtroom full of indignant Take Back Santa Cruz members — a 53-year-old man appeared to face charges for allegedly stealing a basket of flowers from the memorial to fallen officers outside the Santa Cruz Police Department.
Kenneth Eugene Maffei, a transient, stood in the “box” reserved for in-custody inmates during the short hearing. He was calm at times and other times somewhat frantic as he strained against his handcuffs while talking with his attorney about what happened Friday afternoon when he was reportedly seen picking up the flowers and walking away with them.
In a courtroom crowded with misdemeanor cases and other troubled inmates, Maffei’s attorney, public defender Jack Lamar Jr., made a careful pitch to have Maffei released from custody.
Conflicting Stories
Lamar told Judge John Gallagher that his new client had a good history of coming to court, except for one time.
Lamar said he was making the request respectfully and that there “might be some confusion” about why Maffei was at the memorial.
Maffei had been near the spot where Sgt. Loran “Butch” Baker and Elizabeth Butler were gunned down by suspect Jeremy Peter Goulet last week, intimating that was why he stopped at the memorial Friday, he said.
Maffei was carrying a floral arrangement he had bought for a “lady friend” from a vendor near Burger King on Soquel Avenue when he stopped at the memorial and set the flowers down, and then picked them up again, Lamar said.
But the prosecutor was quick to step in and refute that account and the bid to release Maffei.
“The people absolutely object,” prosecutor Jennifer Hutchinson said. “The people in this community are mourning the loss of these two officers … And Ms. Sparks here (pointing to a woman behind her in the audience) saw him steal the flowers and jump into a taxi.”
The witness, Leigh Sparks, stood and told Gallagher that seeing Maffei walk away with the flowers “broke her heart.” She said she followed in a car, while calling police on a cell phone, and saw him get into a taxi about 1 p.m. on River Street. She said he told police he was going to another memorial in Scotts Valley. He was unable to explain anything about that memorial.
The Judge rules
Gallagher said the information he had Tuesday showed Maffei has the ability to travel significant distances, plus an extensive history of property crimes, including a felony. He said Maffei has “a severe alcohol abuse problem.”
“And the conduct you exhibited in this case — which I can assume to be true for custodial purposes — is incredibly disrespectful to this community and the officers who gave their lives,” he said. “So you’ll stay in custody until the matter is resolved.”
“Yes, your honor,” Maffei said, sitting down and visibly agitated.
He sat back in his seat, drew a deep breath and said, seemingly to himself, “OK.”
Gallagher set bail at $5,000, the standard amount for the charges facing Maffei — a misdemeanor allegation of being drunk in public and a felony allegation that he vandalized a law enforcement memorial.
Maffei is due back in court March 21 for a pre-trial conference.
Outside court, Take Back Santa Cruz co-founder Analicia Cube and others gathered, cheering Sparks when she walked out of the courtroom. Before court, Cube said the group had researched Maffei’s background and found he had run-ins with the law in Arizona and Nevada and in Capitola.
“We’re tired of these criminal coming into town and doing things like this,” Cube said.
Back in Department 2, which typically handles misdemeanor cases, a man who appeared to be affiliated with a gang, with a large star tattoo on his neck and others on his face, twitched a bit while sitting there. He stood at attention when his case was called, speaking in a strong voice to Gallagher as they tackled his problems of violating probation on a resisting arrest charge and then “picking up” a new burglary charge.
A few seats over, Jason Matthew Gerety was facing the music for allegedly trying to head-butt a detention officer in County Jail over the weekend, after being arrested on suspicion of being under the influence. So Gerety “picked up” a possible felony assault on an officer charge too, though it appeared it would be treated as a misdemeanor battery. Per jail records, Gerety was “charged in the alternative,” meaning he is now charged with both crimes for that alleged attempted head-butt.
A prominent defense attorney offered a quick reply when an onlooker at the back of the courtroom mentioned the gang member’s appearance and behavior.
“You should be a nurse,” he quipped.

Still Unanswered Questions for Councilmember Posner


While I appreciate the quick response time, your willingness to address issues isn’t encouraging.

I’m not asking you whether you agreed previously to answer these questions.  I’m asking you questions as a City Councilmember who I believe has an obligation to be publicly responsive.  I believe the nature of your election campaign also led supporters to believe you would be clear and direct in your answers rather than “I didn’t promise”, “I’m working on it”, “somewhere down the road”, etc.

As a Councilmember, you have the power to refer these questions to the appropriate staff and get them answered more quickly and easily (and with less staff time spent than forcing the public to go through Public Records Act requests).

To summarize the unanswered questions:

Real Change meters:  How many new ones in the last year?  How much money generated?  How often vandalized and repaired?

Police policies around homeless sweeps:  Do police instruct homeless people on a legal place to go?  Any spcific instructions, reports or written documents around this practice?  How much money and police time has been spent in the last year on this?  (And, for good measure, how much do they anticipate spending this year?)
Property confiscations:   Is property found vacant at homeless camps destroyed–yes or no?   How much property is currently in police impound from the sweeps?   What agency does the dumping, how frequently, at what cost, and how many trips have been made?
Targeted enforcement to determine if most of these offenses are charged against homeless people whose address is recorded as “transient” or 115 Coral St:  A report on police enforcement downtown of MC 5.43  (The Move-Along Law), MC 6.04 (The Smoking Ban), MC 6.36 (The Camping/Sleeping/Blanket Bans), MC 8.14 (Homeless Dog Ban), MC 9.10 (The Panhandling Ban), MC 9.20 (The Chalking Ban), MC 9.36 (The “Offensive Music” Ban), MC 9.40 (The ‘Amplified’ Sound Ban), MC 9.50.012 (The Sitting-on-the-sidewalk Ban), MC 9.50.020 (The Sitting on Most Public Property Ban), MC 13.04 (The “Entering Forbidden Zones Designated as No Trespass” Ban),  And whether the police make any exception for disabled people (not to do so arguably violates the ADA).
SCPD Freeze-out on Bike Distribution:  How many bikes have reached non-profits from the SCPD in the last half year, either through the Bike Dojo or anywhere else?
Documenting That You Have or Haven’t Made These Requests:  Sounds like this won’t be necessary since you don’t indicate any willingness to do any of them, but it would be more candid to actually make it clear that you are refusing to make these requests of staff.  So  I  ask again, are you?

From: MPosner@cityofsantacruz.com
To: rnorse3@hotmail.com
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2013 22:48:20 -0800
Subject: Re: Delivery Status Notification (Failure)

Dear Robert,
I don’t recall agreeing to do the below with the exception of number 2. I’m going to take up to 4 weeks to accomplish that, given where the city staff are at right now.
I mailed in my endorsement of the homeless bill of rights.
I am mostly working on supporting the police and other city staff and preparing to create a narrative around public safety through compassion and civility that can counteract the kind of fear based scapegoating that is sure to reach a fever pitch in the weeks to come.
Hopefully, HUFF can be part of this very different version of a reality for Santa Cruz.

On Mar 5, 2013, at 8:06 PM, “Robert Norse” <rnorse3@hotmail.com> wrote:


–Forwarded Message Attachment–
From: rnorse3@hotmail.com
To: micah@peoplepowersc.org; mpleaner@gmail.com
Subject: FW: Local Civil Liberties Issues
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2013 19:11:28 -0800

I’m going to a HUFF meeting tomorrow and would like to give an update on these questions and the ones in the companion e-mail.   Feel free to show up there and respond personally, or provide some written guidance.



From: rnorse3@hotmail.com
To: mposner@cityofsantacruz.com
CC: huffsantacruz@yahoogroups.com; steve@santacruzhub.org
Subject: Local Civil Liberties Issues
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2013 08:26:57 -0800

Councilmember Posner:

At the HUFF meeting, members asked you numerous questions.  This is a follow-up to those questions and to my previous e-mails and phone calls as well as your responsesIf you find the number of specific questions daunting–please indicate which of these you will  prioritize.  I believe they are all important and actually only don’t require extensive work on your part.

1  Have any new insulting “Imagine Real Change” meters been set up in the last year?  How much money has actually been generated by these meters since they were put in?   How often were they vandalized and repaired?

2 What is the response of the City Attorney to your question about whether the SCPD is being advised to respect the White v. City of Sparks decision protecting artists and writers selling their work downtown?  
3.  Please request a staff report on police policies around homeless sweeps–i.e. whether homeless people who they accost  in the middle of the night are given a legal place to go sleep.  Ask for the specific instructions given to beat officers, any written documents or reports around this practice, and how much money and police time is being spent on this.
     Additionally please request a report on property confiscation:  what the policy is, whether survival material found at camps left vacant during the day are stored or destroyed (the latter is what is being reported to me),  how much property is currently in police impound or storage, and how many trucks full of homeless property have been taken to the dump for destruction–by what agency, how frequently, and at what cost?

4.  I’d also like to see a report on the “addresses” of those cited in the downtown core around such ordinances as the Sitting Ban, the Panhandling Ban, and the Performing/Tabling Ban  (where ‘Ban” means severe restriction).  This would go a distance towards indicating whether the chief targets of these laws are homeless or disabled people.   The City, of course, faces legal vulnerability here, which would be a good motivator to halt such practices.

5.  What is the status of your public support for Ammiano’s Homeless Bill of Rights?

6.  Please ask to see the direction given SCPD officers in the downtown core regarding enforcement on MC 5.43.020 (“Move-Along Every Hour if you’re a political tabler, panhandler, artist, or performer”) &  MC 9.50.012 (Sitting Ban).

7..  Are any bikes being delivered to non-profits from the SCPD, either via the Bike Dojo, the Bike Church, or any other mechanism?  The response that this issue is “under discussion”–which has been the City’s line for the last year while poor people via non-profits are being denied bikes is not a helpful one.  Please provide specifics regarding how many bikes have been delivered in the last six months and then passed on as was previously the case at the Bike Church.

Please clarify  when and to whom you have made these information requests and send me a copy in writing of such communications.
Robert Norse

Santa Cruz Library Board Votes On Sleeping Ban Tonight


Sleeping Ban Back For All Santa Cruz Libraries: Decision Tonight in Aptos
by Robert Norse ( rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com )
Monday Mar 4th, 2013 9:33 AM

The Library Joint Powers Authorities Board meets tonight (Monday March 4th) at the Aptos Public Library at 7695 Soquel Drive to give another tool to the Homeless Haters.

Item 8F on the Agenda of the Library Joint Powers Authority Board is a deepening and darkening of the Patron Code of Conduct and Suspension Policy Update to reestablish a clear Sleeping Ban in all public libraries in Santa Cruz and the surrounding county.

The Agenda is posted at http://www.santacruzpl.org/media/pdf/ljpb/20130304_agenda.pdf . The relevant pages are 26-28.

There are no complaints on file as far as I can determine in the current monthly update of problems involving people sleeping in the library (pp. 45-48, 54-55). There are two complaints of people sleeping in the library parking lot (presumably the one in the back of the library) with their stuff “spread out”. It seems unclear why there is a need to make rules harsher in what has been one of the few remaining legal public places for homeless people to be unmolested.

A story on an Iowa library banning sleeping (pp. 49-50) has the usual omission of whether city law bans homeless people sleeping in public places generally–which Santa Cruz law does–and whether it has utterly inadequate shelter space (ditto with Santa Cruz).

Recently Berkeley has adopted a similar NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) policy regarding bringing property into the library (necessary for homeless people who have no place to store their stuff and need to bring it with them). See http://www.berkeleyside.com/2013/01/02/has-it-gotten-harder-to-be-homeless-in-berkeley/ and the comments that follow.

Currently if someone is blocking the stacks, or snoring, or impeding traffic through being sprawled out, all these issues can be (and presumably have been) addressed without sending around the “sleep police”. There’s currently a burly First Alarm Security guard who has been patrolling the library and surrounding grounds who creates what some regard as an intimidating presence (in all candor, some don’t).

In an unexpected pushback against the county-wide attack on homeless people (ranging from destruction of campsites to crackdowns on Pacific Avenue), the Board voted 5-4 in early December to specifically delete the Sleeping Ban from library policy. With nasty changes in personnel (MacPherson, Friend, Mathews, to name only a few), the blast of bigotry is chilling.

While the language seems genteel (“Refrain from sleeping in the library”), it is backed by a Draconian Policy of Enforcing Suspension.

That policy, made much harsher late last year, specifies that First Violation results in a reading of the rules, 2nd Violation a 1-day suspension, 3rd Violation a 30-day suspension, and 4th Violation up to 6 months. No formal hearing process for anything under 31-days (appeal to the mercy of Teresa Landers, the woman who pushed these policies). Even more telling, in all cases, a person so charged has only 1-day to file a written request for an appeal, or the appeal will not be considered. (See p. 31 E, 7: “To submit a written appeal, the patron must complete the “Appeal of 30-Day Suspension” document. The patron must return the completed form to the suspending library within one working day from the date the suspension is issued.”).

None of the incident reports are actually included in the Agenda. It took me over a month to get past such reports with a Public Records Act request.

There are no exceptions for children falling asleep. The law provides broad opportunity to be selectively enforced–either based on the desires of the staff to be “dutiful”, but also the prejudices of certain library users who want to “clean up” the library.

This looks like a slamdunk for the Bigot Bunch, but e-mail them anyway:


Contact the following Board members

Citizen Dick English
117 Union Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Home: 831-539-3299 rpenglish [at] sbcglobal.net

Citizen Martha Dexter
117 Union Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Home: 831-600-8834 mmdexter [at] gmail.com

Citizen Nancy Gerdt
117 Union Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Home: 831-335-3130 ngerdt45 [at] gmail.com

Councilmember Cynthia Mathews
City of Santa Cruz
809 Center Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Office: 831-420-5020
Fax: 831-420-5011 cmathews [at] cityofsantacruz.com

Councilmember David Terrazas Chair
City of Santa Cruz
809 Center Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Office: 831-420-5020
Fax: 831-420-5011 dterrazas [at] cityofsantacruz.com

Councilmember Jim Reed
225 Navigator Drive
Scotts Valley, CA 95066 Home: 831-461-0222 jimreedsv [at] gmail.com

Councilmember Michael Termini
Vice Chair
City of Capitola
420 Capitola Avenue
Capitola, CA 95010 Office: 831-476-6206 michael [at] triadelectric.com

Supervisor Bruce McPherson
County of Santa Cruz
701 Ocean Street, Room 500
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Office: 831-454-2200
Fax: 831-454-3262 bruce.mcpherson [at] co.santa-cruz.ca.us

Supervisor Zach Friend
701 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Office: 831-454-2200
Fax: 831-454-3262 zach.friend [at] co.santa-cruz.ca.us

More background on this struggle can be found at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/12/29/18729056.php (“Lost in Lander’s Library Labyrinth…” and http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/11/30/18726836.php (“Library to Consider Restrictive New Policies”).

There will be a meeting noon tomorrow at Laurel Park next to Louden Nelson Center (Tuesday March 5th) to discuss a Sanctuary Campground for the homeless. A second meeting on the subject will take place the next day at the Sub Rosa Cafe (703 Pacific) at noon after the HUFF meeting (10 AM to noon).

Olympia Activists Respond to Shelter Closing. What Will Santa Cruz Activists Do?

Breaking News: Homeless Shelter by Olympia Artesian Well

Yesterday · · Taken at Olympia Artesian Well.
Press Release for March 1st, 2013 Re: OMJP (Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace) organizes in response to the homeless crisis—hosts a Homeless Solidarity Rally & Community Pizza Party, builds an emergency shelter, and installs Olympia’s only 24 hour public restroom at the downtown artesian well. Attention! Our community is in crisis and the Mayor of Olympia has insisted that we not let it go to waste. On March 1st the Sacred Heart and Saint Michael’s men’s shelters will be closed for the season. The county-funded cold weather shelter at the Salvation Army is only sporadically open at best, and it too will soon be closed. Though shelter is a human right, there are hundreds of unsheltered houseless people in Thurston County. In response to this crisis, we have constructed an emergency shelter and installed Olympia’s only 24-hour public restroom at the downtown artesian well. It is our intention to maintain these facilities as a service to the community until an adequate alternative can be arranged. Furthermore, we draw attention to the fact that in January of this year, the Olympia City Council, with the sole exception of council member Jim Cooper, voted in favor of a reactionary ordinance which banned camping and camping related paraphernalia such as blankets from all city-owned public property. The criminalization of homelessness is a national worst-practice model which negatively impacts not only homeless persons, but also service providers, the criminal justice system, and the broader community. Olympia’s anti-homeless ordinances violate standards of fairness and raise moral questions about community values, priorities, and social and economic justice. They dehumanize the homeless, damage their health, and create even greater barriers to housing. These ordinances are a threat to the general health of the Olympia community and must be repealed.

Responding to the Destruction of Homeless Survival Camps in Santa Cruz

“Less is More” Leslie responds to an anti-homeless article from the Boulder Creek Bulletin  titled “Local Environment Gets Impacted by Homeless in SLV [San Lorenzo Valley]; Law Enforcement Sweeps Shanti Towns & Encampments”.

The original article is posted at http://www.mountainbulletin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Issue_2_Vol_2_BC_Bulletin.pdf  (pp. 1 & 3).

Leslie’s reaction:

What Kind of Community Do We Have?

Perusing the very local newspaper produced in Boulder Creek, my ire was aroused by a top of the page headline on the trash produced by “the homeless” in the community.  I am moved to ask, “What kind of community do we have here in the San Lorenzo Valley?  Does it only care about trash, or does it care about people?”

I want to try to tell my homeless neighbors up in the redwood forest here that they are not alone.  Not everyone wants them to disappear without a trace.  In my small circle of acquaintances in town, one had a family living in a motor home in their back yard, and another was helping his son “get back on his feet” after a car accident by having him live on his property in a small outbuilding.  We have folks who need a little help, and we have compassionate community members helping them by offering them a place to sleep at night.  We have church and community programs helping in organized programs as well.

Providers of homeless services have been promoting a new vision of service for the people that need the most help: permanent supportive housing for those chronic homeless, many of whom have untreated mental health issues or substance dependencies or both.  Many people support this model of providing help, but it is more expensive than another model that homeless advocates are now discussing.  If there were enough community support, either through charities, government, or private entrepreneurship, this community could house people in a campground where trash could be collected, sanitary facilities provided, and a sense of interdependency could be created, with peers helping peers.  Other communities have found that this helps people “get back on their feet.”

Currently, we have many paths leading nowhere.  People sleep in their cars.  People sleep in the woods.  Those who have drawn attention to the problem in creative non-violent political protest have been sent to jail or fined.  A fraction of the homeless population are sheltered at night in the city of Santa Cruz, another fraction in spare bedrooms and backyards all over the county.  The community can do better by coming together, finding those that agree with our project, creating new partnerships amongst those that are already caring for people in need, listening to our critical rivals, and finally by taking action.

Occupy Santa Cruz will be discussing a “Sanctuary Camp” this Saturday in front of the downtown Santa Cruz Post Office.  You may meet at 4 PM for a vegan meal shared by Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs, and stay for the General Assembly at 5:30 PM.  Decisions are made through a consensus process open to all.  I look forward to seeing you there.

NOTE BY NORSE:  A follow-up meeting will be held Tuesday March 5 at noon in Laurel Park next to Louden Nelson Center and another meeting noon Wednesday March 6 at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific Ave.–both locations in downtown Santa Cruz.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) meets 2-6 10 AM to noon at the Sub Rosa as well.

Encampments in Operation–Fresno-style


The City of Fresno, though also attacking homeless encampments, has also been set back by successful lawsuits.  Plus the sheer volume of homeless people setting up camp in these houseless times because they have to.  In response Mike Rhodes and the Fresno Homeless Alliance has been providing TP and dumpsters as well as servicing to deal with the public health crisis that the City will not.  Santa Cruz activists, contemplating encampments here, might cast an eye Fresno-wise.

To: (lots of folks)
From: MikeRhodes@comcast.net
Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2013 17:01:50 -0800
Subject: [FresnoHomelessAdvocates] We are out of TP

This afternoon I delivered the last 30 rolls of donated toilet paper to the homeless encampments in downtown Fresno.  As you may know, we have seven portable toilets in 4 different encampments and they go through a lot of TP.  I have hired a homeless guy to supply each of the portable toilets with TP each day.  He puts 3 rolls in a locked dispenser and keeps the portable toilets free of clothing and other trash.  It is really working out great, except that now we are completely out of TP. 
If you can help, please drop off packages of TP to my office at the Fresno Center for Nonviolence, 1584 N Van Ness (on the southeast corner of Van Ness and McKinley).  We are open Monday – Friday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.  You can also call the center at 237-3223 – Richard Gomez is often there before or after regular hours (and weekends) and can let you in to drop off the TP.
Alternatively, you can send a check to The Eco Village Project of Fresno, C/O Mike Rhodes, 4773 N Arthur Ave, Fresno Ca 93705 and we can buy TP in bulk at wholesale prices.  Either way works, but we need to do something soon.
Also, we have placed a couple of large trash bins at 2 of the homeless encampments and that is helping to keep them a lot cleaner.  Again, I’m hiring homeless people to do the difficult work of clearing the garbage from the encampments and putting it into the dumpsters.  This has been going on for a couple of weeks now and you can see a big difference in the encampments where we have located the trash bins.  You can help support this effort by sending a check to the above address.
Mike Rhodes
Community Alliance Newspaper
PO Box 5077
Fresno Ca 93755
(559) 978-4502 (cell)
(559) 226-3962 (fax)