Correcting the Record on Analicia Cube’s Take Back Santa Cruz

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/09/30/18744094.php

Missing from the S.C. Weekly Puff Piece on Take Back Santa Cruz Co-Founder Analicia Cube
by Robert Norse ( rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com )
Monday Sep 30th, 2013 2:11 PM

The Santa Cruz Weekly published a lengthy chitchat boosting the public image of Take Back Santa Cruz’s public face Analicia Cube. Hopeful as I’ve been for Georgiana Perry’s writing, this one has a sweet stench to it and prompted me to write an extensive reply in the on-line comments section. Though it’s not exhaustive, it summarizes some of the major concerns I have about Analicia’s group and those who cater to it and its mythologies. At http://www.santacruz.com/news/2013/09/24/take_back_santa_cruz_leader_pulls_no_punches , there are 35 comments as of this writing, most of them praising Cube, but a number are worth reading. I reprint mine for indybay readers and invite them to share their thoughts.

Analicia Cube is a high-spirited,strong-voiced, effective activist whose TBSC agenda and actions menace poor and homeless people in Santa Cruz and empower the darkest elements of our community.

Missing from G. Perry’s article are some key accomplishments of her Take Back Santa Cruz and allied or infiltrated groups, now grown in power with their leaders in significant government positions.

TBSC accomplishments: They and their needle-rattling allies have closed down the only Needle Exchange in Santa Cruz—doing so without public hearings or evidence of any real problems at the Barson St. site. They have stopped a second marijuana club from opening in the Harvey West in another medieval anti-mariuana move. They’ mobbed a court to keep the innocent Ken Maffei in jail for three weeks (the guy who brought his own flowers to the SCPD memorial and was then falsely accused of stealing posies).

They raised the temperature of anti-homeless sentiment, serving as a forum for those who want to defund the very limited homeless shelter services that currently exist. Their clean-up’s for years have not advised their participants to respect homeless campsites (the only shelter Santa Cruz’s 1500-2000 homeless have).

They have spread the hateful and false broadside that sleeping and camping are crimes (something currently being entrenched in the Public Safety Citizens Task Farce). This has resulted in harassment and assault against homeless people, as documented in the famous (but frequently suppressed) video of Clean Team activists bullying a homeless camper (See http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/05/15/18736901.php ).

They have colluded with and encouraged the most reactionary and dangerous higher-up’s in the SCPD (such as Deputy Chief Steve Clark—notorious for his ceaseless attacks on activists, homeless people, and “liberalism” in Santa Cruz).

Additionally they have driven previously sympathetic critics who disagree with their obsessive and futile Drug War posture from their website. T.J. Magallanes, the founder of The Clean Team website, has repeatedly noted that TBSC activists kidnapped his site and their hostility made his presence in town uncomfortable. (See http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/05/22/18737249.php )

Those who come out for medical rather than police solutions to social problems created by the illegal status of methedrine, cocaine, heroin, and other drugs are reportedly removed from their website and discussions. The futile enforcement of these laws, of course, funds police departments nationwide and gives politicians a boogeyman to intimidate and co-opt politicians. The toll in ruined lives and wasted money is immense here—yet that is one of their main “law and order” selling points.

What’s really depressing is how these clear issues are ignored not only in Perry’s article but in the mainstream media generally. In response liberals like Lane, Posner, and Pleich surf this sick tide and buy into the Public Safety mythology in order to ride the wave of groundless hysteria that Cube’s group and related ones have created.

THE FULL ARTICLE AND FOLLOWING COMMENTS CAN BE FOUND AT http://www.santacruz.com/news/2013/09/24/take_back_santa_cruz_leader_pulls_no_punches  .  The article is also the cover story for the current Santa Cruz Weekly.

Eugene Activists Force City to Act on Homeless Sanctuary Camps

NOTES BY NORSE:  Eugene pioneered the Safe Parking/Camping Zones, in part because of pressure from homeless activists there two decades ago and recently from SLEEPS (Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep) as well as an active leftist and anarchist community.
Meanwhile Santa Cruz drops deeper into paranoia and anti-homeless hysteria with the Take Back Santa Cruz-inspired Needle-Free Zone homeless-aphobiacs.  The repression contagion has spread—now street performers, vendors, artists, and political activists are under attack downtown.
New laws go into effect in Santa Cruz October 24th that will limit performance spaces to a 12′ square area and make traditional assembly and political activity illegal on 95% of the downtown sidewalks.  These laws follow earlier ones that make it illegal to hold up peace signs on city medians (to outlaw panhandling there) and empower park officials to issue 1-day stay away orders prior to trial for “crimes in the park” like “trespass after dark” “smoking” and “sleeping after 11 PM”.   An expansion of the Smoking Ban downtown targets homeless people (in a recent New England Journal of Medicine study, 17% of the general population smoke as distinguished from 75% of the homeless population).
Instead of opening existing bathrooms for 24-hour use, authorities are setting up a fenced off segregated portapotty as well as funding a $100 “Security” gate and fence around the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center.  Activist Brent Adams has put forward a Sanctuary Camp plan disdained by the City Council majority.   Instead Mayor Hillary Bryant’s  band of bumbusters is backing  a “Citizens Public Safety Task Force” which defines homeless survival activity like sleeping outside, camping in parks, and urinating and defecating in the woods as “criminal behavior”.
Though the City has announced multi-million dollar surplus in their budget this year, none of it will be going to fund campgrounds or restrooms or showers for the most needy.  Eugene soars on, while Santa Cruz descends into a darker period.

Eugene Government

City OKs homeless camps

If the first 15-person site works out, others could be added on lots approved by the City Council


Legal camping advocate Alley Valkyrie speaks to the Eugene City Council in support of a proposal to create legal camping sites in Eugene on Monday, September 23, 2013. (Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard)


By Edward Russo

The Register-Guard

Published: 12:00 a.m., Sept. 24


A proposal that could allow Eugene to establish small homeless camps on yet-to-be-­chosen sites was approved by the City Council on Monday night.


Councilors voted 6-2 to pass an ordinance recommended by City Manager Jon Ruiz that would allow the council to authorize more than one volunteer-­run homeless camp of up to 15 people apiece — if the first camp works well.

Councilor Claire Syrett — who represents a ward that includes the Whiteaker, River Road and Santa Clara areas — said the proposal, which would allow camps to operate until next March, is not a cure for homelessness in Eugene.

But the camps will be better for some of the “hundreds of people” who have been sleeping for years in city parks and other public land, she said.


“It won’t fix all of the problems,” Syrett said. “It won’t fill all of the need, but it’s better than the status quo.”

Joining Syrett in voting for the proposal were councilors Alan Zelenka, Betty Taylor, George Brown, Chris Pryor and Greg Evans. Voting against were Councilors George Poling and Mike Clark.


Under the proposal, volunteers or nonprofit groups would manage the camps, and they would provide garbage service and portable toilets at no cost to the city. The council would control the number and location of camps, with the expectation that there would be little or no other costs to the city.


Potential sites could be located on city-owned parcels in commercial or industrial areas, or those offered by religious institutions, nonprofit groups or a business located on commercial or industrial-zoned property.


Until Monday, the council had been considering a proposal introduced by Zelenka to let the council authorize a single “rest stop” or overnight camp for up to 15 homeless people.


Under that proposal, the first camp would have been tried for 90 days to see how well it worked before other sites could be started. The proposal also would have required campers to pack up their belongings and leave the site each day.


But the concept was criticized at previous council meetings by homeless people and activists. Critics said a single site isn’t enough for the many homeless people in Eugene, and that requiring homeless people to pack up their belongings each day is impractical.


Ruiz, the city manager, on Friday made changes to a draft ordinance that could allow the establishment of more than one camp in the near future. He also added flexibility to the ordinance so that, depending on the site, campers wouldn’t necessarily have to pack up their belongings and leave each day.


Poling said he objected to the rest stop proposal being changed so that homeless people could stay on a site all day and night.


“That is no longer a rest stop,” he said. “That is a campground.”


Poling also faulted the proposal because the city would not be helping people to get out of homelessness.

“All we are doing is warehousing them and not working with them to end their homelessness,” he said.

Instead of establishing camps, Clark favored having the city act as a referral service to connect homeless people with property owners who would be willing to let homeless people camp on their property.


The camps proposed by Ruiz would be managed by “hosts” and the areas would be run according to site agreements between the site operators and the city. The camps could be terminated if the agreements are violated.


Previously, when city officials had begun working on the homeless camp idea at the direction of the council, they compiled a list of 19 possible sites that included undeveloped parkland in residential areas. That raised so much concern by nearby residents that the council eliminated potential sites in residential areas or those located close to a school.


On Monday night, several homeless advocates thanked Ruiz for developing his proposal.


Michael Carrigan, of the Community Alliance of Lane County, said people who want to help the homeless “are excited about this proposal and are ready to roll up their sleeves to make this work.”


Alley Valkyrie, a south Eugene resident who has been helping the homeless advocacy group known as SLEEPS, said she was “really stunned” by the city manager’s proposal.


“It’s a huge step in the right direction,” she said.


Valkyrie suggested that a camp be allowed on city land under the Ferry Street Bridge, where several campers have pitched tents. Another camp has been set up on city land at Broadway and Hilyard Street, which Valkyrie said is an excellent site.


The Rev. Dan Bryant, president of Opportunity Village Eugene, a newly formed housing area for homeless on Garfield Street, urged the council to approve the ordinance to get as many of the camps “up and running as quickly as possible, and we will work with you to help make that happen.”

 

 

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CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY INSTRUCTS STAFF TO MOVE FORWARD WITH SLEEPING ORDINANCE

4.25.2013 Eugene, OR The Eugene City Council, which had dawdled unmercifully in coming to the table to discuss Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to SLEEP for those who are unhoused, arrived at the April 22 Council Work Session table with unprecedented determination to take immediate and purposeful action.  The Councilors were brought to the table by Councilor Greg Evan’s leadership in calling for an official Council Work Session. Councilor Evans called the session following ongoing testimony from both housed and unhoused people affiliated with SLEEPS, CALC, Occupy, Interfaith Occupy, CLDC, Nightengale, ACT and other groups, stating that the testimony led him to believe that Eugene’s current policies were, at best, “counterintuitive”.
In a surprisingly bold move, in the early minutes of the session, Councilor Alan Zelenka made a motion to authorize city staff to draft an ordinance to designate temporary safe and legal place to sleep from 9PM to 7AM on non-park, city owned land.  The motion passed unanimously, with Councilor George Poling absent.  The Council also directed staff to call a special Work Session on the first date at which all Councilors can be present to review and approve an ordinance.  Once approved, a Public Hearing will be held and the newly authorized “Rest Areas” can become a proud part of Eugene’s dramatically changing policies addressing issues surrounding those who are unhoused.  The Council backed up their voiced support of finding creative, financially feasible and effective new solutions with a clear sense of enthusiasm and commitment….and action.  At the next Session the Council will also seek to approve some of the four options proposed by city staff, most involving relationships between the city, religious, not for profit and private land owners.  The Council indicated agreement that a whole continuum of small, partial and temporary solutions are needed to meet the emergency needs and buy time to find longer term answers.
The Rest Areas, as proposed by Councilor Zelenka, will be on several selected, specially designated, city owned non-park land parcels.  They will offer a safe place to sleep from 9PM to 7AM, toilet access, garbage collection and lockers so that individuals can secure their items during the day, facilitating their ability to find work, housing, keep health appointments and conduct other personal business.
A major benefit of the Rest Areas is that they will draw people who now sleep downtown or in public parks away from those areas and into areas that are especially designed to meet the basic safety and sanitation needs of those who sleep in the areas.  Insufficient bathrooms, especially at night, has been a major health hazard to all citizens in Eugene’s downtown and public parks and the new Rest Stops will improve the public health of all citizens.  It establishes a new, more realistic and businesslike approach that will better meet the needs of the downtown and parks as well as the needs of those who need a place to sleep.  The City’s long term failure to address the problem has put those needs unnecessarily in conflict.
Another major business benefit is that the Rest Areas should save a great deal of the current $300,000 per year the Eugene city government is spending to clean up deserted camps, often vacated as individuals flee under police orders.  It will be far cheaper to take this preventive approach:  placing toilets and garbage/recycling resources in the Rest Areas so that people can clean up after themselves.  Not only has the City’s previous approach been a poor choice from a business perspectivie, it has posed health hazards for all and failed to meet the goal of chasing the unhoused out of Eugene.
Activists who have long been trying to persuade the Council to provide better solutions than in the past were impressed with the Mayor and Council’s obvious determination to do something substantive and to do it now.  “It took a long time to encourage them to actually TALK about this really gnarly problem….but once they decided to take it on, they took it on with gusto.  It us up to the rest of us, both housed and unhoused, to be certain that we give the Council the support they deserve for having the courage to admit that what we’re doing isn’t working and to start proving out better solutions”, said one activist.

 

Eugene council OKs small homeless camps operated by nonprofit groups outside neighborhoods

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 24, 2013 – 4:36 pm EDT

EUGENE, Oregon — The Eugene City Council has given the go-ahead for homeless camps for no more than 15 people each on land owned by the city, churches or nonprofit groups in commercial or industrial areas.


The sites haven’t been designated. Activists have been demonstrating for months in favor of allowing homeless people to camp on city property.


The Council’s action Monday expands the proposal it had been considering, which would have been limited to one camp. Campers would have had to pack up their belongings and leave every day.
Instead, more than one camp will be allowed if the first one works, and some camps could allow residents to remain during the day.


City Manager Jon Ruiz said they would be managed by “hosts” and run according to site agreements between the site operators and the city.


Volunteers or nonprofit groups would provide garbage service and portable toilets at no cost to the city.


The Council would control the number and location of camps, with the expectation that there would be little or no other costs to the city.


The camps could be terminated if the agreements are violated, Ruiz said.


Alley Valkyrie, a south Eugene resident who has been speaking for the homeless advocacy group known as SLEEPS, said she was stunned.


“It’s a huge step in the right direction,” she said.


Demonstrations for homeless camps have been marked by arrests in recent months and a legal dispute over a free speech area outside the county courthouse.

Eugene Homeless Camp Broken Up In Free Speech Plaza

AP | Sept. 05, 2013 7:56 a.m. | Eugene, Oregon

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A three-week-old camp-in protest at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza in downtown Eugene was broken up Wednesday after Lane County commissioners enacted an emergency closure of the plaza.


The Eugene Register-Guard reports the Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 on the emergency closure. Protesters were given until Wednesday afternoon to clear out the camp. Four individuals later refused to leave and were cited for trespassing by Eugene police.


Officials say the closure will be used to clean all of the areas and work on further restrictions.


The group behind the makeshift campsite, Safe Legally Entitled Emergency Places to Sleep, or SLEEPS, is protesting the lack of legal camping areas for homeless people in Eugene.
___
Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

Homeless camps dot Central Oregon

In this Sept. 5, 2013 photo, Mike Miller, of Bend, Ore., poses for a photo at a transient campsite, where he once spent several nights at during a year of living and camping outside. “This is survival for some people. I know it was for me,” Miller said. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Joe Kline)

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Mike Miller had hit bottom.

Roughly eight years ago, he and a brother from San Jose, Calif., moved to a house in Bend for work. About two years later, Miller lost his job and took up drinking. His brother left for Nevada, and Miller was left alone.

Before he knew it, he was scouting secluded places to put up a tent to replace his lost home.

“I didn’t want to camp out,” Miller said. “It’s a part of my life I didn’t think I would go through. But, the things I was doing and the choices I made brought me here.”

Usually unseen or overlooked, homeless camps around Bend provide a temporary home for scores of homeless people. The camps may appear, be vacated and be re-established in a matter of days, according to Miller and others who’ve worked with or policed the homeless. Or they may quietly persist for months. They range from one person in one tent to several people in upward of 10 tents, according to Bend Police spokesman Lt. Chris Carney.

Nearly 2,200 people are experiencing homelessness in Central Oregon, according to the annual point-in-time count conducted in January by the Homeless Leadership Coalition. Of those 2,200 people, Miller feels most are down on their luck, just as he was.

But he knows that’s not everybody. Some choose to live that way, he said. “I was never threatened. But I know it does happen out there. I had one guy who watched my back as I watched his. It’s about surviving.”

Carney said the department deals with homeless camps all around Bend. For example, at least six camps lie within a five-mile radius of The Bethlehem Inn, a homeless shelter on U.S. Highway 97 in north Bend, according to managing director Chris Clouart. Most campers keep to themselves and hide from view, but sometimes events propel them into the forefront of public attention.

Saturday, Bend Police reported an attempted rape at a transient camp on Northeast Fourth Street. An alleged witness at the camp, Don Wichmann, performed a rare act and reported the incident to police. As a result, Jacob Schoenborn was held in Deschutes County jail on suspicion of first-degree rape, fourth-degree assault and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

“Most of the time, these people are camping because they want to be left alone,” said Carney. “Getting them to report incidents is always a tough thing to do.”

Crimes at these camps are not infrequent, Carney said. But they aren’t everything the camps are about. A fire in July that charred 4 acres in east Bend started with a homeless campfire. Two people — a mother and daughter — were cited in that incident. In addition, Carney said, stabbings and a shooting have occurred at homeless camps around the city within the past five years.

“It’s difficult to distinguish between the types of people who are out there,” he said. “Most of the people in these camps are people down on their luck — they can’t afford housing or something. But there are the others who choose that lifestyle and can sometimes cause problems.”

Residential camping in city limits is illegal, according to Bend affordable housing manager Jim Long. His department attempts to work with local nonprofits and businesses to find affordable housing for those whose income was diminished or demolished after the recession.

“Most people are one or two paychecks from tragedy anyway,” Long said. “If there’s 100 homeless people, there are 100 different stories. I don’t have rose-colored glasses — they aren’t all saints. But they aren’t all evil, either.”

He said the city attempts to move homeless camps as humanely as possible. Before calling the police, Long said, he would call the Central Oregon Veterans Organization or the Deschutes County Mental Health division in order to give the affected homeless a warning. If COVO and Deschutes County are unsuccessful, the police are called in.

“As a police department, we just go in there and tell them they have to camp outside of the city,” Carney said. “They typically pick up and move to a new spot. It’s about all we can do; we don’t have the time or resources to go out and force these people to move.”

Clouart said community calls to clean up homeless camps are routine following violent incidents like the one Saturday.

“It won’t solve anything,” Clouart said. “You’re just moving them from one place to another. To fix it, we need to become a society and a culture that doesn’t judge these people.”

Organizations around Bend attempt to keep judgment out of rehabilitation. The Shepherd’s House, a homeless men’s support shelter, offers a bed, food and shelter to applicants who are clean and sober. In emergency situations, it offers the same services to men for seven days. For those who need camping supplies, the shelter may provide them as well.

The Bethlehem Inn is open to men and women, offering the same “get back on your feet” services. COVO started a homeless outreach program, donating camping and survival supplies to ex-military men in need. “Feed the Hungry” hosts a breakfast and lunch at Bend’s Community Center every Sunday, and the center is getting ready to hand out survival gear to the “Keep Them Warm” program again.

Miller said he got so comfortable with camping that he was able to fashion a shower in his tent so he didn’t have to interact with people at camp showers. He said he notices others have taken up residence at the sites where he once camped.

“Some people just stay in that mindset of camping,” he said. “Some don’t want to stop doing that. I just realized that life wasn’t for me, and I was ready for a change.”

Miller, now 27 months free of alcohol, has lived at The Shepherd’s House for almost a year. He’s getting ready to move to Portland soon for an internship with a religious homeless-assistance organization and hopes to go to school later for addiction studies. Miller said he hopes to use his future education to help others in his former position, paying forward the help he received.

But no matter what, he won’t forget his time in the tent.

“You just learn how to blend in,” he said. “In fact, at one point, you get comfortable blending in. Once you get that comfortable, you don’t have a desire to stop blending in. And, by then, you’ve run out of options to get out.”

___

Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

The Latest Street Menace–Chess

NOTES BY NORSE:  The suppression of sidewalk chess in San Francisco is a mirror example of what is being done in Santa Cruz–removal by edict of public assembly on the sidewalks though the behavior is innocent (indeed positive), traditional, and serves not only “homeless” people but the community as well.  The only people complaining (and its not clear whether any real presentation of complaints versus commendations has been made) are some merchants.
Ditto with Santa Cruz.   Performers, vendors, artists, political tablers–indeed anyone who wants to sit down on the broad Santa Cruz sidewalks (and don’t even  mention anyone who wants to peaceful, even silently sparechange)–already face an absurdly contracted space, high fines for sitting outside the designated areas, and huge fines for doing so (not to mention the threat of ail for repeated offenses).   The aggressors here are the same group of self-entitled gentrification maestros and economically-anxious merchants who are attempting to sanitize business districts throughout the country.
Liberal on the outside, homeless-ophobic and streetlife-hostile underneath, places like New Leaf Market, Coffee Roasting Company, Verve–to mention only a few–are banning backpacks and homeless-looking people inside and (in New Leaf’s case) supporting their removal even from the public sidewalks outside.  Streetlife is considered to be a “draw” or–in the current crypto-fascist language–”an enabling” or “welcoming” aspect to the sidewalk and so needs to be either regimented or removed entirely.  Ironically this “clean up” campaign threatens the vibrancy and color that actually draws tourists to the overpriced Pacific Avenue with its skyrocketing rents & knickknack shops.
Simply wailing the business blues isn’t enough in Santa Cruz (and SF), so merchants, cops, cranky conservatives, and paranoid residents hook up to generate the mythical “Public Safety” menace.  In Santa Cruz this takes the virulent and retrograde Drug War shape with politically resurgent groups like Take Back Santa Cruz, the Green Team, and the new Needle-Free Zone fear-mongers beating the drums for attacks on anyone who looks homeless (See https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/09/29/18744023.php ).  Deny them services; deny them space; criminalize them with absurd laws, and then use that criminal status to drive them away.
In Santa Cruz it will also become difficult if not impossible to play chess on the sidewalk without a permit.  Try and do it in 12 square feet and see.   Protests continue against these spirit-suppressing laws next Sunday (See https://www.indybay.org/uploads/2013/09/29/festival_of_fun_flyer__for_10-6.pdf and related articles at www.indybay.org/santacruz ).

SFPD Shuts Down Sidewalk Chess Games

sf-sidewalk-chess.jpg
Photo: goosmurf/Flickr
Well, this is a pathetic development in the War on Fun: The SFPD has confiscated all the game tables, chairs, and chess boards that have been used for at least three decades for sidewalk chess games on Market Street near Fifth. The claim is that “illegal activity” has spiked in the last six months, but this kind of sounds like bullshit given that we used to live in this neighborhood, and the entire five-block radius around those chess games has basically never not been a hotbed of illegal activity.
Says police Capt. Michael Redmond to the Chron, “It’s turned into a big public nuisance. I think maybe it’s a disguise for some other things that are going on.”
Oh, for god’s sake. It’s just a bunch of elderly, mostly homeless dudes playing chess!! Whatever else is going on around them, or whatever pills they may be taking on their non-chess-playing time, has little or nothing to do with the fact that they’re all just out their passing the time in a perfectly peaceful way, sacrificing pawns and taking bishops and rooks and shit!!
Sidebar: We gather that women passing by the daily games were frequently subjected to harassment, but that is another matter.
Our guess is that the row of chess-playing dudes runs counter to the image that the upcoming new tenants across the street, in what will become Market Street Place, the vertical mall formerly called CityPlace. And even though that is only barely under construction and not near opening, they want to get a head start on spiffing things up for the neighboring businesses that will reap the benefits of the retail gentrification to come.
They have their work cut out for them on Sixth Street. Baby steps.

Endgame: S.F. police shut down sidewalk chess

Neal J. Riley Updated 11:32 pm, Tuesday, September 17, 2013
      Marvin Boykins, sitting on Market Street between Fifth and Sixth, is the last sign of street chess in downtown San Francisco. Boykins, 57, learned to play chess when he was 7 years old. Photo: Lacy Atkins, The Chronicle

 

Street chess, that institution of young, old, rich and poor mentally duking it out over a checkered board in the open air, thrives downtown in nearly every big city of America – except, now, San Francisco.

For more than 30 years, chess games have been a staple near Fifth and Market streets, but earlier this month, the San Francisco Police Department confiscated the playing equipment, chairs and tables from where dozens of people, mostly homeless, would gather every day to play.
Police said that regular chess players weren’t the problem but that the area had become a hotbed for illegal gambling and drug use.
“It’s turned into a big public nuisance,” said Capt. Michael Redmond, contending that complaints from nearby businesses and arrests for sale and possession of narcotics have increased over the past six months. “I think maybe it’s a disguise for some other things that are going on.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the only sign of street chess was at the feet of Marvin Boykins, 57. Across from his latex chessboard, a friend moved chess pieces at the command of a smartphone computer game set at the grandmaster level, which Boykins refused to listen to after it warned him that he’d made a bad move.
“I’ve been playing since I was 7 or 8 years old,” said Boykins, who has been playing at the spot for decades. “Chess is a true San Francisco tradition.”
His friend, Hector Torres Jr., said chess saved him from a gambling addiction when he moved to San Francisco from Las Vegas more than 20 years ago. He said the chess games are a discrimination-free zone that has welcomed everyone including San Francisco Giants players, millionaires and people who have been in prison for decades.
“They’re being mean for no reason,” Torres Jr., 42, said about the police. “To me, it’s a scapegoat.”

Decades of history

Pinpointing exactly how the games began on Mid-Market is difficult, but what is clear is that they have been a fixture since at least the early 1980s.
The people supplying the tables, and the rules for play, changed periodically, but the basic premise was always the same: A steady core of chess devotees, many of them homeless, sat at the tables all day, and pretty much anyone who wanted to play could take a seat.
Sometimes the winner won $1, other times it was just a straight fee to play. At one time in the early 2000s the players who ran the tables charged 50 cents for three games. Boykins charges $2 for people to rent one of his boards.
The tables were sometimes supplied by avid players with homes and sometimes by homeless people – one penniless man in the mid-2000s dragged them there every morning from his storage place south of Market Street.
San Francisco resident Vivian Imperiale, walking down Market Street on Tuesday, said she saw police officers telling chess players a few weeks ago to get rid of their equipment.

Businesses relieved

“I was walking out here and I was thinking ‘how charming,’ although I think there’s money involved – it’s probably not all squeaky clean,” she said. “It seemed innocent.”
But employees at several nearby businesses said they were relieved the tables are gone.
“It’s an excuse for illegal activity – period,” said Dimitri Madrid, manager at Beauty Supply and Hair Salon, which has sent four letters to Mayor Ed Lee complaining about drug and alcohol use, violence and barbecuing that has taken place by the tables.
Now that the tables and crowds are gone, Madrid says he no longer sees people walking by with their purses clutched tightly in their arms, or just crossing to the other side of the street.
“It’s like night and day,” he said. “Sales have been up.”
At CeX, an electronic entertainment exchange, people have come in and asked where the chess went, said Ryan K., a store manager who didn’t want to give his last name.
“Since it’s been gone, it’s been a lot quieter,” he said, adding that he thought that was an improvement.

Not the last move

Ryan said police had reached out to businesses, asking if the chess tables were creating problems. He said drug use was commonplace and customers were calling to say they weren’t coming back to the store.
“They said, ‘We didn’t want to come here because it’s too dangerous,’ ” Ryan said.
Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness, said the police were wrong to take chess away.
“Having activities for folks to do is a positive thing,” she said. “We have elderly people who are very isolated, and this is a great way for them to be out in the community.”
Redmond said the players’ property will eventually be released back to them and he hopes to work out a plan for chess in the future – but that may involve persuading a business to pay for a permit so games can be played on the sidewalk.
“I’m optimistic that something is going to work out,” Boykins said.
Neal J. Riley is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: nriley@sfchronicle.com Twitter @realdealneal

Protests Continue Against New Laws to Sweep Away Street Performers in Santa Cruz

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/09/29/18744041.php

Festival of Fun Draws More Police Surveillance
by Robert Norse ( rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com )
Sunday Sep 29th, 2013 8:13 PM

An hour and a half protest against the latest turn of the screw choking off street performers, artists, vendors, and tablers drew singers, poets, chalkers, a cop, and even a long-winded critic. Activists have put out a flyer announcing a second protest next Sunday October 6th.

Saturday night some of us came together for the first street protest in front of Forever Twenty-One last night since the passage of the Downtown Ordinances on September 24th. Activists bravenly chalking their outrage on the sidewalk and informed passersby of the new shrunken space street performers will be allowed.

For those who know the downtown, that will be three of the 2′ X 2′ squares on Pacific Avenue within which a performer (or tabler or vendor or artist) will be expected to confine instrument, body, chair, table, and accompanists). Since this is clearly impossible in many cases, it will mean that to be legal you need to get a special permit.

To do this requires 3 days to a week notice, is reportedly free, but may only be permissibble in a few spots downtown (though it wasn’t clear from my conversations with the Parks and Rec Department last week whether the special permits were limited to that area). Obviously arriving to play spontaneously (if you wish to have a guitar case or other “display device” out–will be a thing of the past. Unless folks ignore this law and continue their traditional practices.l Having any “amplified sound” whatsoever supposedly now requires going through the SCPD and takes 2 weeks, or such was the info from P and R.

The new rules also require 12′ distances between those those busqueing, tabling, displaying artwork, or vending on the sidewalk as well as none of this activity at all within 14′ of any building, any change-dispersing machine, any fence, any bench, any drinking fountain, any public telephone, any public bench, any public trash can, any information or directory sign, any sculpture, any “no panhandler” meters, any vending cart, any sidewalk cafe, any street corner, any intersection, or any kiosk. Sitting or sparechanging is also restricted to those tiny patches of ground. Any cup, cap, or guitar case is defined as a “display device”.

The Saturday night protest focused on the absurdities of the new laws as well as older ones that ban bouncing or throwing a ball downtown, hackeysacking, using a squirt gun, or chalking on the sidewalk with erasable chalk. Sports fans brought a basketball and a small football. Bubble-blowing–which is permitted–was also provided as a legal interlude. Hopscotch enthusiasts brought sidewalk chalk. A “Box of Crime” was displayed and offered to the police as a form of “crime control”.

Office Headley arrived with camera to stand with arms folded taking occasional snapshots of those giving out flyers of the chalkked sidewalk delineating the small “permitted” zones that go into effect on October 24th. When asked if he were there on complaint or to give out citations, he smiled broadly and said nothing. Such picture taking has been used in the past to later cite peaceful activists like Wes Modes who was dragged into a full-blown trial for walking in the parade along with hundreds and hundreds on New Year’s Eve 2010 (See http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/12/17/18666919.php ).

On my radio show today, I played some of the audio of the protest, which included poetic performance by Lyrical Eye (Isaac Collins), speeches by Becky Johnson, and others, and spirited conversations with surprised locals, baffled tourists, and irate critics (though fewer of those). Most passed by swiftly en route to their Saturday evening activities.

I did get wind of larger protests being planned by more “respectable” folks–and some of these may be discussed at the next HUFF meeting (Wednesday 11 AM Sub Rosa Cafe 703 Pacific Ave.).

I was impressed with the determination to restore First Amendment rights downtown–some activists began to chalk, though the area was under surveillance and they might later well be subject to fines of hundreds of dollars. Others sat on the sidewalk in “illegal” locations.

Another Sunday “Funday Frolics” protest has been announced for next Sunday afternoon.

§

by Robert Norse Sunday Sep 29th, 2013 8:13 PM

Anaheim Moves Against Its Homeless Community

NOTES BY NORSE:   Both Anaheim and Santa Cruz are ramping up their assaults on the homeless, without specifying what they’re doing (why acknowledge unconstitutional and cruel behavior?) or masking it under other labels.  In Santa Cruz it’s “public safety”, “the needle menace”, and “the perception of danger”; in Anaheim, they’re calling it “blight”, “increasing police tools”, etc.

The latest Santa Cruz City Council’s anti-homeless expansion of Smoking, Vending, Tabling, Performing, Art Display, Sparechanging, and Sitting Bans downtown are similarly camouflaged and rationalized as “congestion”, “clarity”, and “clean and tidy” aesthetic concerns.    Today at Santa Cruz City Council at 2:45 PM supporters of a Downtown for All will be gathering to share food, experience, ideas and speak to the Community during the Council meeting (the Council itself isn’t listening) in the brief televised period.  That’s at 809 Center St. across from the Main Library and Civic Auditorium.  Bring instruments and friends.

Another “more respectable” effort is being made by activists supporting a Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp to the County Board of Supervisors–calling for a small tightly controlled “drug free” Camping Area.  9 AM at 701 Ocean St. on the 5th Floor of the Board of Supervisors.   The supporters led by Brent Adams will be presented a business plan and may have recently gotten the support of Paul Lee, a local author and philanthropist who tried himself unsuccessfully to set up an Eco-Village a decade ago and a Community House a decade before that.  In the 80′s Lee supported activist Calamity Jane Imler’s hunger strikes against the Sleeping Ban, police abuse, and the call for a cold-and-rainy-night Shelter.  Adams has been a target of political repression in the aftermath of the Occupy Movement as one of the Santa Cruz Eleven–when hundreds occupied a vacant Wells Fargo-leased bank at 75 River St.

The Anaheim ordinance’s definition of “camping” (Yuppie-speak for “survival sleeping”) is “Residing in or using any Public Area for living accommodation or lodging purposes with one’s personal property or while storing one’s personal property;  and/or constructing, maintaining, occupying, or inhabiting or using camping facilities and/or constructing, using or maintaining camping paraphernalia.  For the purposes of this section “camping” shall not include merely sleeping outside in a park or the use of a blanket, towel, or mat in a park during the time the park is open to the public.”

Santa Cruz activists have long agitated against Santa Cruz’s Sleeping and Blanket Bans, which defines and criminalizes camping as sleeping after 11 PM at night outside on any public property, on much private property, or in a vehicle, even if legally parked on public property.   It has its own “abandoned property” rule, and in today’s City Council vote will finalize a severe shrinkage of space where homeless people (and to be “fair” this affects any one and everyone) can place their possessions if trying to display art, engage in political activity involving a table, vend anything, or perform music.  This is a social sickness that is spreading everywhere.

The City’s gentrification adovocates are countering traditional toleration and compassion in the community (though not in the police, City Council, or City Manager’s office), right-wing NIMBY’s with the Downtown Association, Santa Cruz Neighbors, Take Back Santa Cruz, and other reactionary groups propaganda and agitation.  These exclusionary Upper Class warriors are making much of the Drug War and a xenophobic “outsiders flooding our community”.  They can be seen in full frightening bloom at the Mayor’s Public Safety Task Force.  The group meets every Wednesday in October usually at the police department’s Community Room on Laurel and Center streets.  The public is generally allowed to watch but not to comment.

Anaheim City Council Now Declaring War on Homeless

By Gabriel San Roman Mon., Sep. 23 2013 at 2:31 PM
lapalmapark_tent.jpg
Josue Rivas
Homeless tent

A week after activist Stephen Baxter held a ‘sleep-in’ protest in downtown Fullerton over the city’s war on the homeless, Anaheim will try to one-up them with a punitive ordinance of its own. The city municipal code already forbids staying in a public park between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 5 a.m., which has the homeless laying their head elsewhere for the night–but that’s not enough for councilwoman Kris Murray and her crew!

On Tuesday, council members will decide on a proposal aimed at banning camping and storage of personal property on public property at any time.
In a staff report submitted by Director of Community Services Terry Lowe, the ordinance is framed as one that will “serve as a tool in the City’s effort to promote and support safe, clean and accessible neighborhoods and eliminate blight.” Never once are the homeless referenced directly, but it couldn’t be clearer who the intended target is.

If Anaheim’s city council should approve the crackdown–and it almost assuredly will–no homeless person can use a tent for living purposes at any hour in public areas including parks, alleys, parking lots, or any other publicly owned property. Nor could they store personal belongings such as the tents themselves, sleeping bags, bedrolls, cooking equipment, books, money and appliances in addition to other possessions in such spaces.

Public parks are the most visible places where the city’s homeless population set up tents during the day. Since the eviction of a sizable homeless encampment in Fullerton by the shuttered Hunt Library earlier this year, many of those displaced turned up on the east lawn of La Palma Park in Anaheim.

lapalmapark_homeless.jpg
Josue Rivas / OC Weekly
La Palma Park in Anaheim

The belongings of the homeless would be subject to 90-day impounds so long as they are given “proper notice.” Anaheim police can immediately confiscate possessions if they are left after hours at the park or deemed to be contraband, a threat to public health and safety or evidence of crime. Retrieval is allowed when the Chief of Police finds proof of ownership to be “satisfactory.”
If that’s not the case, the city stands poised to make money off of the confiscations, whether through depositing unclaimed money into the general fund or holding auctions.

Enforcement of the ordinance entails fines for infractions. The first violation would cost $100. A second violation within a year is punishable up to $200 with every subsequent infraction in that time span costing $500.

“I would categorize this ordinance as part of the larger ‘criminalization of homelessness’ that many communities fall back on when they choose to be less creative with their problem solving,” says Jennifer Lee-Anderson, Co-Chair of the Anaheim Poverty Task Force and policy planning consultant on homelessness. “The $100 to $500 fines that are noted in the proposed ordinance are part of the reason that many chronically homeless are simply cycled through the criminal justice system repeatedly.”

Near La Palma Park, the city is just weeks into a newly opened storage area and outreach center. The homeless can take advantage of Conex boxes set up to leave their personal belongings during the day. The city-owned parking lot by Glover Stadium is close to where people continue to set up tents. In a heavy-handed way, the ordinance could encourage more homeless to participate in the pilot program but is also a cause for concern and clarification. “There’s no language that exempts the storage area,” adds Lee-Anderson expressing disappointment that she learned about this proposal from the Weekly and not city staff. There is also the issue of other public areas in Anaheim far beyond La Palma Park where homeless persons stay.

For the past six years, Jim Carter has taken students at Servite High School, where he works, to serve meals at La Palma Park every Thursday. “I understand where the city comes from. I understand where the police come from,” says Carter, also a member of the Anaheim Poverty Task Force that has drafted a 15 point plan to address homelessness. “I don’t think [the ordinance] is a good thing. Unless it comes with a long-range plan to help these people move out of this situation, it’s just going to add stress to them. Where are the homeless going to go?”

“What would have been nice is if the city adopted the 15 point plan in full,” Carter mentions, emphasizing the key recommendation of establishing a multi-service center. “If the city is not willing to find a location where we can put a shelter, it’s never going to change.”


Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz


Follow OC Weekly on Twitter@ocweekly or on Facebook!

FURTHER COMMENTS AT http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/09/anaheim_homeless.php

TEXT OF THE ORDINANCE AT http://www.anaheim.net/docs_agend/questys_pub/MG41822/AS41861/AS41864/AI44292/DO44294/DO_44294.pdf

STAFF REPORT AT http://www.anaheim.net/docs_agend/questys_pub/MG41822/AS41861/AS41864/AI44292/DO44293/DO_44293.pdf

HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT EVICTION STORY AT:  http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/2013/06/hunt_library_fullerton.php

YET ANOTHER “NO SHELTER, NO RELIEF” 15-POINT PLAN TO “END HOMELESSNESS” BY FUNDING POVERTY PIMPS:  http://www.anaheimptf.org/plan .

Demonstrations Against the Santa Cruz Sidewalk Snatchers Continue Tuesday 3:45 PM

Title: Last Change to Stop the Sidewalk Snatchers
START DATE: Tuesday September 24
TIME: 2:45 PM – 3:45 PM
Location Details:
809 Center Council Chambers at City Hall across from the main library and the Civic Auditorium
Event Type: Protest
Contact Name Robert Norse
Email Address rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Phone Number 831-423-4833
Address 309 Cedar PMB #14B Santa Cruz, CA 95060
SUCCESSFUL PROTEST ON SUNDAY
After a rousing demonstration downtown on Sunday (see http://www.facebook.com/events/483912138373592/?context=create) Downtown for All activists will gather to oppose the Bryant-Robinson City Council’s steamroller seizure of the sidewalk beginning at 3 PM.

Neither the Santa Cruz Sentinel (though a reporter was there) nor indybay.org/santacruz chose to cover the protest.

Councilmember Micah Posner put in appearance as the protest was dispersing. I’ll hope to post my own impressions later today.

TUESDAY PROTEST WILL PROVIDE FOOD
Meet earlier and share some hot tasty soup, a strong dose of common sense and citizen outrage, and organizing for future action outside Council chambers.

A special tip of the hat to India Joze’s Jumbogumbo Joe Schultz for providing tasty vegan soup at both the Sunday and Tuesday protests.

THE LAWS
The new Shrink-Sidewalk-Space law changes are described at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/09/09/18742960.php?show_comments=1#18743583 though the latest clarifications are included in the attached flyer.

The text of the proposed ordinances is at http://sire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/mgx3p145ppgk5z45tcxxok45/379504109232013080657617.PDF (the extended Smoking Ban) and;

http://sire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/mgx3p145ppgk5z45tcxxok45/379504209232013080741906.PDF (the Ban on Street Performing, Street Art, Street Vending, Political Tabling, & Peaceful Sparechanging on 95% of the Pacific Avenue sidealks and entirely in other business districts where sidewalks are adjacent to buildings).

COUNCIL’S RUSH JOB
Neither of the ordinances were vetted before the public in a Council Committee or Commission–as is customary with such changes. Nor were stakeholders in the major groups impacted consulted.

They were proposed with only 72-hour notice 2 weeks ago and passed by City Council 5-2 without only 2 minutes public input allowed per person (instead of the 3 minutes customary in a Public Hearing on a law change). There was no estimate of the amount of city money and police time already being spent enforcing these “don’t sit next to a building”-style ordinances

THE USUAL SUSPECTS
They are being pushed by some merchants in the DTA to sanitize the sidewalks and lure more shoppers in the belief that less vibrant street life is a bigger draw. The pretexts are “congestion”, “trip and fall hazard”, and “upgrading the tacky look”.

The ordinances also seem to be part of a continuing campaign to make Santa Cruz an “unwelcome” area for homeless people, hippies, and poor people generally.

Since it seems unlikely that the Council will disobey its Downtown Association, Santa Cruz Neighbors, and Take Back Santa Cruz masters, this meeting will also be an organizing opportunity to plan the next phase of the resistance.

More protests like Sunday’s street demonstration and the spontaneous Saturday Chalk-In (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/97198640@N08/ http://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/eve/4078506873.html ) are a likely outcome of this kind of special interest repressive legislation. To challenge the surrender of traditional Santa Cruz street vitality to the prim Victorian standards of the New Puritans.



READ THE TEXT OF THE FLYER AT
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/09/23/18743666.php 

SAVE VIBRANT STREET LIFE DOWNTOWN !

(Text of flyer for Sept. 22, 2013, protest of latest anti-homeless legislation by City Council.)

(Flyer in pdf format at bottom)

SAVE VIBRANT STREET LIFE DOWNTOWN !
PROTEST, CHOW-DOWN, AND SPEAKOUT !
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 22nd 1:30 PM
on Pacific Avenue in front of Forever Twenty-One
SING BACK AT CITY COUNCIL
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 24th 3 PM
Council Chambers 809 Center St.
In a disguised attack on the entire non-commercial street scene, City Council will vote to restrict still further
the very limited public space currently allowed the community downtown. Under the guise of health concerns,
reducing congestion, and preventing a “trip-and-fall” hazard (none of which is documented), the reactionary new laws
crowd street performers, vendors, homeless people, tablers, local residents, & tourists together. This will classify
95% of the sidewalk as sterile “forbidden zones” with no resting, vending, or performing. This attack on street
counter-culture has nothing to do with “bad behavior.” It’s about “bigot aesthetics”-& homeless cleansing
clearing away visible poverty, traditional Santa Cruz diversity, and political activism. Council staff took no input
from those targeted. They provided no info on the costs of current selective enforcement, nor stats of real
problems. This merchant monopolization of sidewalk space is part of a broader “drive the homeless away” agenda.
THE NEW LAWS AS AMENDED
+++ Extends the Smoking Ban to the side streets one block in either direction from Pacific Avenue, including all
alleys & side streets & to to all surface parking lots between Laurel Street & Water St. perhaps private parking lots as
well. Ignores that current law already bans smoking 25′ from a door or window in the side streets.
+++ Bans tarps & blankets now used to display jewelry, artwork, political fliers, etc. and requires all devices
on the sidewalk to be “free-standing”. This okays guitar cases and cups, but arguably makes backpacks and
anything placed perpendicular to the sidewalk “display devices” requiring a 12′ distance from the next “device”.
+++ Reduces total allowed space to 12 sq ft area [3 “squares”] which now includes table, instruments, chair,
people & possessions—virtually requiring special permits. The ill-defined space requires a tape measure.
+++ Requires 12′ distance between display devices, isolating performers and forcing away other vendors.
+++ Reduces total available space 4/5 to exclude 95% of the sidewalk by expanding the “forbidden zones” to
14′ from buildings, street corners, intersections, kiosks, drinking fountains, public telephones, public benches, public trash containers,
information/directory signs, sculptures or artwork, ATM-style machines, outside street cafes, vending carts, and fences. This bans
sitting on any sidewalk that is narrower than 14′ (no sidewalk use in other business districts at all if buildings adjoin).
+++ In conjunction with Santa Cruz’s unique “Move Along Every Hour” law, police can then ban
individuals from any one spot for 24 hours & require them to move 100′–further reducing “legal” spots.
When added to the frequent merchant expansion of their displays onto the sidewalk in front of their shops this
exclusion of non-commercial activity will be nearly all-embracing. This, of course, suits those whose real
objective is to drive away the once-vibrant street scene in Santa Cruz and ‘Capitola-ize” the Avenue.
The resulting congestion will have people competing for the public spaces (when there is actually room for
all). It will severely crowd not just those using display devices, but others trying to sit down in the few
remaining spots available whether these be elderly residents, homeless locals, visiting travelers, UCSC
students, or naive tourists (who will, of course be selectively ignored or courteously directed to pay-cafes). And
either drive such people away or produce a hostile response and more conflict downtown. Police will be
given greater power to drive away a significant number of people currently using the sidewalk.
Flier by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 www.huffsantacruz.org 9-22-13
DOWNTOWN FOR ALL ! NOT JUST THE RICH, CONSERVATIVE, & FEARFUL
+++ Use your video phone to capture evidence of authorities harassing the public on the streets downtown. Post on
You-Tube and www.indybay.org/santacruz . Send them to HUFF (rnorse3@hotmail.com ); pass on links.
+++ E-mail City Council at citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com .and demand these ordinances be reviewed for cost,
effectiveness, impact, and unintended consequences. Send them back to citizen committees for public input.
+++ Spread opposition; Write local papers; Use Facebook & Twitter;. Ordinances become final a month after a
2nd vote in two weeks (October 24) Support businesses who oppose, publicize those who don’t.
+++ Post your own accounts of discrimination downtown. The Coffee Roasting Company, Verve, & Starbucks
refused service to homeless people with backpacks; CruzioWorks refused 24-hour service to homeless Dan Madison.
+++ Come to City Council 3 PM September 24th to oppose the 2nd Vote on these laws!
+++ Witness & support other street performers & streetfolk when they face harassment from authorities.
+++ Get familiar with the Downtown Ordinances, often misquoted by police and hosts. Copies available
through HUFF (Wednesdays 11 AM, Sub Rosa Cafe 703 Pacific) & soon at the Sub Rosa Cafe (703 Pacific).
+++ Prepare to sustain a long struggle by documenting police and merchant behavior regularly, organizing
solidarity between vendors, activists, and others seeking to use the public space. Report harassment accurately.
Flier by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 www.huffsantacruz.org 9-19-13
DOWNTOWN FOR ALL ! NOT JUST THE RICH, CONSERVATIVE, & FEARFUL
+++ Use your video phone to capture evidence of authorities harassing the public on the streets downtown. Post on
You-Tube and www.indybay.org/santacruz . Send them to HUFF (rnorse3@hotmail.com ); pass on links.
+++ E-mail City Council at citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com .and demand these ordinances be reviewed for cost,
effectiveness, impact, and unintended consequences. Send them back to citizen committees for public input.
+++ Spread opposition; Write local papers; Use Facebook & Twitter;. Ordinances become final a month after a
2nd vote in two weeks (October 24) Support businesses who oppose, publicize those who don’t.
+++ Post your own accounts of discrimination downtown. The Coffee Roasting Company, Verve, & Starbucks
refused service to homeless people with backpacks; CruzioWorks refused 24-hour service to homeless Dan Madison.
+++ Come to City Council 3 PM September 24th to oppose the 2nd Vote on these laws!
+++ Witness & support other street performers & streetfolk when they face harassment from authorities.
+++ Get familiar with the Downtown Ordinances, often misquoted by police and hosts. Copies available
through HUFF (Wednesdays 11 AM, Sub Rosa Cafe 703 Pacific) & soon at the Sub Rosa Cafe (703 Pacific).
+++ Prepare to sustain a long struggle by documenting police and merchant behavior regularly, organizing
solidarity between vendors, activists, and others seeking to use the public space. Report harassment accurately.
Flier by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 www.huffsantacruz.org 9-19-13
DOWNTOWN FOR ALL ! NOT JUST THE RICH, CONSERVATIVE, & FEARFUL
+++ Use your video phone to capture evidence of authorities harassing the public on the streets downtown. Post on
You-Tube and www.indybay.org/santacruz . Send them to HUFF (rnorse3@hotmail.com ); pass on links.
+++ E-mail City Council at citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com .and demand these ordinances be reviewed for cost,
effectiveness, impact, and unintended consequences. Send them back to citizen committees for public input.
+++ Spread opposition; Write local papers; Use Facebook & Twitter;. Ordinances become final a month after a
2nd vote in two weeks (October 24) Support businesses who oppose, publicize those who don’t.
+++ Post your own accounts of discrimination downtown. The Coffee Roasting Company, Verve, & Starbucks
refused service to homeless people with backpacks; CruzioWorks refused 24-hour service to homeless Dan Madison.
+++ Come to City Council 3 PM September 24th to oppose the 2nd Vote on these laws!
+++ Witness & support other street performers & streetfolk when they face harassment from authorities.
+++ Get familiar with the Downtown Ordinances, often misquoted by police and hosts. Copies available
through HUFF (Wednesdays 11 AM, Sub Rosa Cafe 703 Pacific) & soon at the Sub Rosa Cafe (703 Pacific).
+++ Prepare to sustain a long struggle by documenting police and merchant behavior regularly, organizing
solidarity between vendors, activists, and others seeking to use the public space. Report harassment accurately.
Flier by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 www.huffsantacruz.org 9-19-13

Flyer in pdf – Flyer for 9-14, revised 9-22.pdf

Banning Art & Music will not make downtown “safer”

by Becky Johnson

Sept 22, 2013
Santa Cruz, Ca. — Today we gather in protest. Today we gather
to use first amendment rights that will be seriously curtailed
in a little over a month under the pretense of “public safety.”
Next month, we will likely lose vast areas of public space
greatly limiting our right to speak, to set up a political table,
to circulate several petitions at once, our right to seek redress of government
grievances, and our right to peaceably assemble in the center of
our community.
 For years, the City of Santa Cruz, at the urging of the Downtown Association
and carried out by the Santa Cruz Police Department, has continuously violated
the rights of artists & musicians to display & sell their works of art in a public
space. A pushback was made right here on Pacific Ave. by recording artist
& street performer, Mike True, who challenged his citation for displaying
his CD’s for sale on Pacific Ave. in court. He won.
Later, his case & others recently won a further victory which unambiguously
asserts that artists, writers, and musicians can display their works of art in public
spaces without the need for any kind of permit.
As you know, all rights are subject to time, place, and manner restrictions if
the State, in this case the government of the City of Santa Cruz, can prove their
is an overwhelming public health or safety hazard that justifies it.
Make no mistake, the public safety “emergency” that is so horrible that
Councilmembers Cynthia Mathews and David Terrazas have ordered our
government to limit the rights & freedoms of the citizens of Santa Cruz
to exercise our first amendment rights, is to continue to prevent
artists & musicians & political tablers to exercise our LEGAL, PROTECTED
first amendment rights.
The “emergency” is that artists & musicians now have the LEGAL, PROTECTED
right to display their art or music. The HORROR!!!!
People, this is about greed and hate, nothing else. A phony “trip-fall” hazard
was presented to urge the banning of blankets, tarps & ARTISTs.
The ordinance which bans PEOPLE who are presenting art, performing music,
or political tables protects trash cans, fences, and statues!
Please stop this backlash against the color and character of our community.
Don’t make Santa Cruz the City known for “Sing a song, go to Jail”
“Show a painting, go to jail” or “smoke a cigarette go to jail.”
Protect your first amendment….by using it.
Thank-you.
Our right to exhibit art or literature, with price tags
posted without the need to ask “permission” from police or other
government authorities.

Fiddling With the Sidewalk Snatchers in Berkeley

NOTES BY NORSE:   Carol Denney has been puncturing pompous panjandrums up in Berkeley monthly for nearly two decades with her Pepper Spray Times (which comes out monthly in the Berkeley Daily Planet on-line) as well as her work with the satirical Jolly Roger Comedy Troupe, which I occasionally play on the stream of Free Radio Santa Cruz ( (http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/ down here.
Unlike Santa Cruz, Berkeley activists mounted a successful campaign against a Sitting Ban last year.  The last significant successes Santa Cruz has had were to overturn the original 1994 total sidewalk Sitting Ban, passed in the spring of that year by the Rotkin-Kennedy Council.  It resulted in a nearly-unprecedented local court victory when Judges Salazar and Barton both ruled the ordinance unconstitutional.    This was prompted by scores of arrests when hundreds of people flooded downtown to protest by sitting down at eating food with Food Not Bombs at Cathcart and Pacific.
Undeterred, the Council quickly passed a more limited Sitting Ban (6′ from buildings).
Essentially rubbberstamping and ratifying illegal police behavior that selectively enforced and arbitrarily expanded the Ban, the Council gradually expanding it in 2002 (14′ from buildings) to include all manner of other objects that created “No Sitting” zones  (buildings, street corners, intersections, kiosks, drinking fountains, public telephones, public benches, public trash compactors, information/directory signs, sculptures or artwork, ATM-style machines, outside street cafes, vending carts, and fences).
This reduced real Sitting space to less than 5% of the Pacific Avenue sidewalk and constitutes a total ban in other business districts where there are buildings adjoining with a sidewalk less than 10′ wide.
In a successful attempt to split street performers from the homeless people and peaceful panhandlers that were true targets of these laws, the Council agreed to limit “forbidden zones” to 10′ distances from all those objects.
At 3 PM on Tuesday September 24th, City Council (809 Center St.) will broaden its attack to include street performers, street artists, political tablers, & street vendors by expanding the forbidden zones to 14′ and  requiring an additional 12′ distance between all of these.   In addition all “non-free standing” display devices such as blankets and tarps will be banned as an aesthetically unappealing “trip and fall” hazard  (and far too easy to use)
This second reading of the Ordinance if passed will make it law on October 24th.
Perhaps Carol Denney will come down to Santa Cruz to do a little fiddling here.
More info at:  https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/09/12/18743122.php?show_comments=1#18743584 .

Sitting on a Chair Playing the Fiddle: A Crime? The PRC Hearing

Sitting on a Chair Playing the Fiddle

Carol Denney
Sitting on a Chair Playing the Fiddle

Berkeley’s last election had a contest between anti-sitting law proponents and those who opposed making simply sitting down a crime. “Measure S”, the anti-sitting law, was defeated at the ballot. It was considered a civil rights victory. But who really won?

It was the most expensive campaign in Berkeley history. It was funded by well-heeled real estate interests and supported by merchant associations, most of the Berkeley City Council, and the Chamber of Commerce. Criminalizing the simple act of sitting down was described by otherwise intelligent people as a humane response to human need, since living on the streets was so hard.

So can you sit on the street and watch a cloud go by? The results are still not in.

I worked on the campaign opposing the anti-sitting law. A large part of our work was simply educational. Misleading pro-anti-sitting law materials in expensive, shiny colors were everywhere. But once people found out the extremity of the anti-sitting law, they generally opposed it. Most people realized that the law would most probably be used against some people but not others; it’s hard to ignore the Cheeseboard pizza eaters sitting undisturbed by the “Don’t Sit on the Median” signs on Shattuck in North Berkeley.

Two days before the election on Sunday, November 4, 2012, I put poetry opposed to the anti-sitting law from poets all over the Bay Area up on the fence near the corner of Haste and Telegraph and sat down with some musicians to play. We were trying to illustrate that simply sitting on a chair playing music, perfectly legal behavior under the law, would become a crime in two days if Measure S were to pass.
I got a ticket.

Artists were inside the fence perimeter touching up the mural facing Haste Street. People trickled by, enjoying a sunny day. We sat close to the fence, so there was seven feet of unobstructed nine-foot wide sidewalk in front of each of us, more than enough space for two wheelchairs to pass without issue. Our instrument cases were beside or under us, out of the way.

A few people stopped and asked about the “This Is Legal” sign and its significance, but our demonstration was pretty unobtrusive until Berkeley Police Officer Heather Cole rode up on her bicycle. She accused us of obstructing an empty sidewalk, and since I had carefully researched both the ordinance and the best place on Telegraph to make sure to cause no hardship for merchants or passersby, I found it pretty funny.

This wasn’t civil disobedience. This was carefully planned obedience to illustrate the absurd overreach of the proposed anti-sitting proposal. I had checked the law, checked with attorneys, planned every aspect of the demonstration so that no one and no one’s instruments would be jeopardized.
Officer Cole continued to threaten us, arguing that we were in the way despite there being no complaining party. The muralists were amazed. News that someone was getting a ticket for sitting on a chair playing the fiddle traveled fast up and down Telegraph. A reporter snapped pictures for the local paper. A Channel Two news crew began filming.

Officer Cole kept insisting that other people had no right to be on the sidewalk, either. She moved a nearby plein air painter to the curbside and hassled a guy about twenty feet away collecting signatures.

I had heard about this police harassment from friends on the street and people who worked at the Homeless Action Center and the East Bay Community Law Center, but it never occurred to me that an obviously political demonstration would be targeted, especially with Channel Two News cameras running.

We kept playing. Officer Heather Cole kept shouting “I’ll take you to jail if you don’t stop playing,” while we played Soldier’s Joy, a moment which made the news that night. But it was turning into a strange scene. People were shouting at the cops. Two attorneys showed up who tried to explain to Officer Cole that she was misapplying the law. Officer Cole’s supervisor showed up and argued with them. I finally said, fine; give me a ticket, hoping to get back to playing.

But our effort to illustrate legal behavior was in ruins. I still don’t know what Officer Cole’s problem was that day. Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley dropped the case against me after a couple of court dates.

I filed a complaint with the Police Review Commission which was not sustained. Can you sit on the sidewalk? The law is pretty clear about it, but no one else seems to be. A couple of the police review commissioners asked questions which implied that someone could be accused of obstructing the space one occupies with one’s body, a patent absurdity which, if true, would put us all in jail.

You can’t accidentally block a sidewalk under Berkeley’s law as written and clarified by former Police Chief Meisner’s memos. People can’t be accused of blocking a sidewalk for just being there, or for having a backpack or other personal items beside them, the law makes clear. But the police either don’t realize that or realize it and don’t care what the law actually says or what it was intended to do. The Police Review Commission, the Police Department, the City Council all look the other way as people continue to get these absurd tickets which at some point, if unaddressed, turn into jail time and court costs for which the public picks up the bill.

My ticket cost me at least three days of work, about ten cumulative hours of police officers’ time both in and out of court, court time for several pre-trial dates, and baffled a boatload of reporters, students, and Channel Two News watchers who are probably as confused as I am about why Berkeley would conduct the most expensive campaign in its history against sitting down if it is already against the law.

Is sitting down against the law? Maybe it depends on who you are. The Cheeseboard pizza eaters obviously get a pass. Maybe it depends on whether or not you are demonstrating against something like Measure S, a kind of content-based provision. Or maybe Officer Heather Cole hates traditional old-time music, a kind of fiddle-based objection.

It’s an Alice in Wonderland world up there on Telegraph. The hookah smoking caterpillar can’t figure it out, and neither can I. The muralists painted me into the mural after that day, for which, I suppose, I should thank Officer Heather Cole.

Say No to Stupid Laws Sunday 1:30 PM Downtown Santa Cruz at Pacific near Soquel [1 Attachment]

CUT AND PASTE VERSION OF THE LATEST FLYER:

SAVE VIBRANT STREET LIFE DOWNTOWN !

PROTEST, CHOW-DOWN, AND SPEAKOUT !

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 22nd 1:30 PM

on Pacific Avenue in front of Forever Twenty-One

SING BACK AT CITY COUNCIL

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 24th 3 PM

Council Chambers 809 Center St.

In a disguised attack on the entire non-commercial street scene, City Council will vote to restrict still further the very limited public space currently allowed the community downtown. Under the guise of health concerns, reducing congestion, and preventing a “trip-and-fall” hazard (none of which is documented), the reactionary new laws crowd street performers, vendors, homeless people,tablers, local residents, & tourists together. This willclassify95% of the sidewalk as sterile “forbidden zones” with no resting, vending, or performing. This attack on street counter-culture has nothing to do with “bad behavior.” It’s about “bigot aesthetics”-& homeless cleansing clearing away visible poverty, traditional Santa Cruz diversity, and political activism. Council staff tookno input from those targeted. They provided no info on the costs of current selective enforcement, nor stats of real problems.This merchant monopolization of sidewalk space is part of a broader “drive the homeless away” agenda.

THE NEW LAW
S AS AMENDED
+++ Extends the Smoking Ban to the side streets one block in either direction from Pacific Avenue, including all alleys & side streets & to to all surface parking lots between Laurel Street & Water St. perhaps private parking lots as well. Ignores that current law already bans smoking 25′ from a door or window in the side streets.
+++
Bans tarps & blankets now used to display jewelry, artwork, political fliers, etc. and requires all devices on the sidewalk to be “free-standing”. This okays guitar cases and cups, but arguably makes backpacks and anything placed perpendicular to the sidewalk “display devices” requiring a 12′ distance from the next “device”.
+++
Reducestotal allowed space to 4′ X 4′ area which now includestable, musical instruments, chair,people & personal possessions—making playing without a special permit difficult if not impossible.
+++ Requires 12′ distance between display devices, isolating performers and forcing away other vendors.

+++ Reducestotal available space 4/5 to exclude 95% of the sidewalk by expanding the “forbidden zones” to 14′ from buildings, street corners, intersections, kiosks, drinking fountains, public telephones, public benches, public trash containers, information/directory signs, sculptures or artwork, ATM-style machines, outside street cafes, vending carts, and fences. This bans sitting on any sidewalk that is narrower than 14′ (no sidewalk use in other business districts at all if buildings adjoin).

+++ In conjunction with Santa Cruz’s unique “Move Along Every Hour” law, police can then ban individuals from any one spot for 24 hours & require them to move 100′–further reducing “legal” spots.

When added to the frequent merchant expansion of their displays onto the sidewalk in front of their shops this exclusion of non-commercial activity will be nearly all-embracing. This, of course, suits those whose
real objective is to drive away the once-vibrant street scene in Santa Cruz and ‘Capitola-ize” the Avenue.

The result
ing congestion will have people competing for the public spaces (when there is actually room for all).It will severely crowd not just those using display devices, but others trying to sit down in the few remaining spots available whether these be elderly residents, homeless locals, visiting travelers, UCSC students, or naive tourists (who will, of course be selectively ignored or courteously directed to pay-cafes). And either drive such people away or produce a hostile response and more conflict downtown. Police will be given greater power to drive away a significant number of people currently using the sidewalk.

DOWNTOWN FOR ALL ! NOT JUST THE RICH, CONSERVATIVE, & FEARFUL
+++ Use your video phone to capture evidence of authorities harassing the public on the streets downtown. Post on You-Tube and www.indybay.org/santacruz . Send them to HUFF (rnorse3@hotmail.com ); pass on links.

+++ E-mail City Council at citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com .and demand these ordinances be reviewed for cost, effectiveness, impact, and unintended consequences. Send them back to citizen committees for public input.
+++
Spread opposition; Write local papers; Use Facebook & Twitter;. Ordinances become final a month after a 2nd vote in two weeks (October 24)Support businesses who oppose, publicize those who don’t.
+++
Post your own accounts of discrimination downtown. The Coffee Roasting Company, Verve, & Starbucksrefused service tohomelesspeople with backpacks;CruzioWorksrefused 24-hour service tohomeless Dan Madison.
+++ Come to City Council 3 PM September 24th to oppose the 2nd Vote on these laws!
+++ Witness & support other street performers & streetfolk when they face harassment from authorities.
+++ Get familiar with the Downtown Ordinances, often misquoted by police and hosts. Copies available through HUFF (Wednesdays 11 AM, Sub Rosa Cafe 703 Pacific) & soon at the Sub Rosa Cafe (703 Pacific).
+++ Prepare to sustain a long struggle by documenting police and merchant behavior regularly, organizing solidarity between vendors, activists, and others seeking to use the public space. Report harassment accurately.

 

Flier by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 www.huffsantacruz.org9-19-13

Attachment(s) from Robert Norse

1 of 1 File(s)