|Title:||Public Hysteria Task Farce Slimes On…|
|START DATE:||Wednesday October 30|
|TIME:||6:00 PM – 9:00 PM|
|Santa Cruz Police Department’s Community Room at Laurel and Center Streets|
|Contact Name||Susan O’Hara (posted by Norse)|
|Email Address||sohara [at] cityofsantacruz.com|
|Phone Number||831 420-4020|
|FACILITATING STAFF FOR THIS INSTITUTIONAL HATE-CRIME GROUP
Susan O’Hara is the city’s staff person (your tax payer dollars at work) who–along with Scott Collins–has been feeding and tending the Task Farce beast.
It may seem unfair to blame these bureaucrats who are facilitating this official cover for reactionary demonization of the homeless (“it’s just my job; my family has to eat: etc.)
Still Susan and Scott Collins–not to mention the ever-amiable Fred Keeley–are the workhorses that keep this foul flock fed and watered (again on your taxpayer dime). as they excrete the foundation for a new level of costly, cruel, cowardly, and pointless attacks on the poor and the addicted.
The graphic representation at http://www.indybay.org/
SEASIDE COMPANY SOFTSOAPER SOFTENS THE STENCH
Epitomized by Renee Golder, they’d like to see more explicit and outspoken medieval Drug War measures (such as a straight-forward ban on all needle exchange in the County).
In order to maintain credibility with those a tad nervous about jumping on the reactionary steam roller, Reyes would prefer to submerge us slowly in the water, so it can be quietly heated to a boil later. Let’s not appear “extreme”.
But the entire group is clear on supporting a retreat back into the worst Drug War paranoia of the last century by agreeing on the objective of banning needle exchange in Santa Cruz city, for instance.
CRAVEN COUNCIL HAS DUMPED BEST PRACTICES
The sound of former liberals scuttling for cover as misinformed and fearful bigots shook their cans of improperly discarded needles at city council and Bryant-Coonerty opportunist politicians licking their ambitious chops was deafening and infuriating.
The flier I distributed there last week at http://www.indybay.org/
Issues of real crime and real rehabilitation are not the focus of this group. But as with Sheriff Wowak and his successful propaganda to spend $25 million to upgrade and expand the local jail, the TF camouflages its real passion and prejudice with reassuring noises about youth truancy and drug-treatment.
Their real interest is creating a hostile climate for homeless people and the counter culture, designating them as a “public safety” threat.
FOLLOW THE FOLLY
It’s a bit hard to follow recent audio since they are completing a line by line finalizing of their report.
Still, it beats relying on the complaint and complaissant Shanna (Banana-Brain) McCord who continues her career as SCPD swill-spreader.
Real public safety, of course means addressing real problems instead of scapegoating street performers, homeless residents, and hippie travelers. But it makes a convenient diversion from confronting those with real wealth and power whose insatiable hunger gobbles up homes, jobs, and lives.
Fresno Bee Editorial
City should set up temporary camp for those awaiting housing.
THE ADVOCATE RESPONSE
PROPOSAL FOR SAFE AND LEGAL HOMELESS ENCAMPMENTS IN FRESNO
Looking In On the Public Hysteria Task Farce
Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2013 11:15 PM
With hearings for the Mayor Bryant’s hand-picked “Task Force on Public Safety” happening weekly now with the aim of churning out a report in November, I stepped in to tonight’s meeting at the Civic (next week’s is supposed to be at the Police Station again–where most of their meetings have been held). I only stayed for an hour of the meeting. The audience was small and submissive. As ever, there was no provision for public comment, though there was informal (if insubstantial) chatter between Task Force members and some of the regular audience members. I include a poster I displaye for those arriving and a flier I gave out to the Task Force and to the audience.
Sentinel story is on-line at http://www.santacruzsentinel.
Comment on this issue either at the Sentinel’s on-line story above or at the indy-media story: https://www.indybay.org/
Past Task Force agendas, staff reports, minutes, and audio are at http://www.cityofsantacruz.
NOTE BY NORSE: A day before Santa Cruz’s Community Blanket Sit-in on Pacific Avenue (scheduled for 1-3 PM tomorrow in front of Forever Twenty-One on Pacific Ave–or whereever folks want to show on Pacific), Fresno activists engaged in active resistance to the Fresno homewrecker attack on the unhoused community ther Below is a brief update by Mike Rhodes, who will be on the stream of Free Radio Santa Cruz tomorrow (10-24) at 6:34 p.m. Tune in at http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-
Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2013 10:21 PM
The City of Fresno continued their attacks on the homeless today by destroying the last encampment in the downtown area. The photo below shows one protester stopping a bulldozer as it tried to enter the encampment.
Eventually the city focused their attention on the much larger encampment and tried to bring in their bulldozers on a road that ran parallel to the railroad tracks on the south side of the camp. They were met by 10 – 15 homeless advocates who refused to allow the city vehicles to pass. After negotiations with Jim Betts, an attorney working for the City of Fresno, an agreement was reached to allow a U-Haul truck in to move some of the property.
As the homeless and their allies were loading the U-Haul a second bulldozer came down a road at the north end of the camp. One of the protesters jumped on the bulldozers claw and the city soon withdrew that vehicle.
The protesters, having gained time to help move the homeless, stepped back and two bulldozers and a garbage truck entered the encampment and started destroying what was left on the south end. It appeared that all of the homeless had moved out of that area and the property remaining had been stored.
I had to leave by mid afternoon, but it appeared that the city would have the entire encampment leveled by the end of the day. Several City of Fresno representatives told me that a fence would be put up on Thursday to keep anyone from re-establishing an encampment at that location.
Meanwhile, in other parts of town, homeless people are having their property confiscated if it is left unattended. I was also shown a citation one homeless person received yesterday that charged them with an infraction for leaving “debris in the road” which was, they say, their property. To see an earlier story about this new police tactic in Fresno, see: http://www.indybay.org/
To see what groups working in support of the homeless will do next, see: http://www.
Activist Brent Adams has proposed a Sanctuary Camp in Santa Cruz, which is being discussed at https://www.indybay.org/
Tuesday Oct 22nd, 2013 8:54 AM
Some valuable information is contained in this business plan. Yhose who are working on the Sanctuary Camp proposal need to be commended for their determination and energy in the face of a hijacked and hostile political climate. I’ve given the plan a reading, but it needs more careful analysis. Brent’s style of presentation, his repeated hostility to some of us who haven’t jumped on the bandwagon (alternating with New Age hugs), and his direct attacks on me personally and protesters generally has made objectivity difficult.
They also need to be aware that many concerned with the rights of homeless people–some homeless and some housed–have “concentration camp” and other concerns with the model.
Fresno activists have been funding homeless-created encampments with trash pick-up’s, portapotties, fresh water, and other services since they won A $2.3 million lawsuit in 2007 (because city authorities, like Santa Cruz’s SCPD and Rangers) were stealing and destroying homeless property.
There’s extensive history on this homeless civil rights struggle at http://fresnoalliance.com/
More recent encampment coverage:
While Fresno activists have tried repeatedly to appeal to the city to be reasonable, recognize how cost productive it would be to stop harassing homeless encampments and/or supply services to them (or perhaps establish Sanctuary type campsites), authorities have repeatedly hoarded or ignored funding specifically intended for homeless relief and continued its campaign of harassment.
The relief that Fresno activists were able to give was through documentary videoing, lawsuits, and then direct services as described above.
Ed Frey and Occupy Santa Cruz supplied toilet facilities here in Santa Cruz when the City would not. In both cases PeaceCamp2010 and the Occupy Santa Cruz San Lorenzo campground were destroyed by authorities (not by internal problems).
Direct support to campsites currently in existence is another avenue to consider here in Santa Cruz, while Sanctuary seekers struggle to persuade right-wing staff, frightened liberals, and an apathetic community to allow a very limited Sanctuary campground.
Another informative document from Fresno is this documentation of The Cost of Destruction in Fresno: http://helpfresnoshomeless.
While it feels endless and overwhelming, it’s important to support homeless folks–their rights, their property, their dignity now as it is seized from them, legislated away by law, and snarled away by a rightwing riptide undertow. If they choose to protest, it’s wrong to ignore or–worse–denounce them as “alienating the community.”
It seems both cruel and delusional to suggest they wait for the toxic political establishment to be persuaded that a sanctuary camp is a good idea as they shiver in the shadows through the winter, facing an ever nastier set of “recommendations” from Bryant’s Citizens Task Force on Public Safety. See http://www.cityofsantacruz.
There’s also the concern that pushing a plan for a select number of homeless to be allowed a special sanitized segregated area where they will not be allowed the rights that anyone indoors takes for granted (drinking alcohol for instance) is both paternalistic and unrealistic. It also goes against the wisdom of the Housing First model which seeks to provide the most basic housing before imposing sobriety.
No one doubts the need for campgrounds. But we must support those who are struggling now. Not turn aside and censor our efforts and websites in the hope of teasing out a smile on Pamela Comstock’s face. Waiting for Don Lane to find a backbone and other progressives scuttling to find protective cover from the phony Public Safety scare is self-defeating. (See, however, http://santacruz.patch.com/
|Title:||Community Blanket Sit-In|
|START DATE:||Thursday October 24|
|TIME:||1:00 PM – 3:00 PM|
|On the sidewalk in front of Forever Twenty One on Pacific Avenue near Soquel in downtown Santa Cruz|
|Contact Name||Phil Posner|
|Email Address||chatrabbi [at] aol.com|
|Join us October 24th – the day the Santa Cruz City Council’s new draconian downtown ordinance “restricting artists, musicians and Petitioners'” freedom of expression is to take effect. The Ordinance not only restricts display space, it even bans blankets on which artists may display their wares and maintains the rule that artists and musicians must move to a new location after one hour.
Bring a blanket and a piece of jewelry or a favorite musical instrument.
As Councilman Don Lane, who with Micah Posner voted against the ordinance, pointed out a 6-foot-long table, even a smaller card table with two chairs, or a three-member music combo would all “… violate the new standards.” Further, As Councilman Posner stated, these rules are “literally a curtailment of freedom of speech” and difficult to regulate (and enforce) without a measuring tape, T-square or other tools.”
If you agree that individuals seeking to share their sidewalk musical or artistic talents have the same right to freedom of expression as brick and mortar merchants join us in solidarity – in opposition to rules that are arbitrary and oppressive; whose intent seems to be an attempt to whip clean artistic, musical creativity and freedom of expression from our downtown streets.
Join our peaceful, non-violent protest.
|Title:||Santa Cruz Shame Shamble|
|START DATE:||Sunday October 20|
|TIME:||1:45 PM – 3:15 PM|
|On the sidewalk in front of Forever Twenty One on Pacific Avenue near Soquel in downtown Santa Cruz|
|Contact Name||Robert Norse|
|Email Address||rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com|
|Address||309 Cedar PMB #14B Santa Cruz, CA 95060|
|Full-scale head-on Sidewalk Snatching in pursuit of “law and commerce” will begin October 24th when a second protest is scheduled (see flier below).
At issue are the laws targeting street performers, artists, vendors, homeless folks, sparechanges, and anyone who likes to linger downtown in a non-commercial mode.
Rushed through City Council with no prior public process, outreach to affected groups, or consultation with social service providers, street performers, and others downtown, the laws reduce public space downtown almost to the vanishing point.
The laws provide police, hosts, and security guards as well as cranks, hostile merchants, and Take Back Santa Cruz vigilantes a field day against whomever they want to “move along”.
A historical tour of past public space struggles is slated for 2 PM when we may also be able to observe the Hostile-patility yelllow jackets as they helpfully advise people to surrender rights and space…or face hundreds of dollars in fines (and jail for the second offense).
Bring a musical instrument, horn, or other noisemaker if you have one.
Meanwhile the right-wing City Council through Mayor Bryant’s “Public Safety” Citizens Task Force is considering all manner of anti-homeless and anti-progressive measures. Shudder at the latest Task Farce staff report at http://www.cityofsantacruz.
Many of the Downtown Ordinances that will be in full grim flower on October 24th are described at http://www.indybay.org/
Final cries of anguish & definance can be directed at City Council on Tuesday October 22nd at 5 PM during the brief Oral Communications period.
The Committee for Fairness & Equal Opportunity for Artists and Musicians is planning a Community Blanket Sit-In 10-24 1 PM to 3 PM as described below. Bring video equipment.
NOTES BY NORSE
The sweep of the lies both in the Sentinel article and in the Task Force’s title is impressive. Dutifully echoed by Sentinel reporter, even by psuedo-liberals and misguided radicals who try to jump on the “Public Safety” bandwagon, the Task Force is not about Public Safety, but about Public Prejudice–directed almost exclusively at those outside–by necessity or choice and those who come from outside.
“Public Safety” was redefined as “conduct pleasing to arch-conservatives and homeless-haters” from the beginning. Who stacked the group–no homeless or homeless advocates included–though “homeless crime” was clearly the main topic from the getgo.
Things that a privileged housed middle class person consider a “nuisance” is now blasted as a “crime” and “public safety” issue. Deceptive packaging to slip through the poison pill—long championed by those whose priority is property values, gentrification downtown, and a gated community mentality.
By “crime”, the Task Force really means “unsightly behavior by poor people” as well as “drug
prohibition behavior” that has nothing to do with real violence and crime. Hence no research or investigation into rape, assault, white collar crime, and the record of the SCPD and Sheriff in dealing with these issues.
It’s all part of the business/gentry agenda to remove the visible poor and homeless from public areas, and preferably from town entirely. Something similar was done with blacks, Japanese, Chinese, Oakies, …hey, even the Irish, way back when. You criminalize them by defining their survival behavior as “crimes”
(i.e. sleeping at night). You then create penalties. Presto–new crimes! And a new crime wave requiring more police, security guards, rangers, hosts, and jail cells!.
You gasp at the new “crime” statistics thatthen result. Guided by the homeless-ophobic hand of Deputy-Chief Steve Clark. You terrify the community with a manufactured “needle menace”. Then you deepen, strengthen, and legitimize the police state methods being use downtown, along the levee, in the Pogonip, in the parks, and elsewhere as your “solution”.
Ah, yes, then you frighten the phony liberals into killing needle exchange—which heightens illness in the community. You pass more abusive laws that criminalize most street performances, vending, and other progressive street activity downtown. You run to the courts to scream & lie to get 17 days of false imprisonment for Ken Maffei, the flower man falsely accused of stealing posies from the Baker-Butler memorial, when he had a receipt for their purchase in his pocket (See http://www.santacruzsentinel.
You ignore systematic and regular homeless abuse masquerading as “Clean-up’s” (See http://www.indybay.org/
Then have Policepoodle Shanna McCord fluff up the coverage by helpfully ignoring real crime and giving phony credibility to this institutionalized hate group.
Take one look at the abusive recommendations they’re making to unwelcome poor & homeless people in Santa Cruz (See http://www.cityofsantacruz.
You’ll see endorsement of the worse myths of the Drug Prohibition War (more cops, harsher penalties, less services re-criminalization of marijuana). You’ll see proposed attacks on homeless health, well-being, dignity, and life (no services for those with sitting next to a building tickets, $ to destroy homeless survival camps, cut-backs on basic services like meals).
All the while, ad rags like the Santa Cruz Weekly feature hate-stoker Analicia Cube on their covers as pinup girl and local hero. Her critics on Community TV are shut down by new right-wing programming imperatives, justified as “budget adjustments”.
It’s going to be a cold winter under the regency of Rack-em-and-Roust-em Robinson—the next likely Mayor. Mayor Bryant, Lane, Posner, and the whole City Council cannot escape responsibility for this abomination. Take Back Santa Cruz has certainly taken back the agenda with its thinly-disguised Class War program. It’s up to the rest of us to Bring Back Santa Cruz.
Deliberations begin for Santa Cruz’s public safety group
By Shanna McCord
SANTA CRUZ — After several months of studying crime and many quality of life problems, the Public Safety Citizen Task Force got down to business Wednesday with solutions for the City Council to consider.
Task force members said the goal of their draft report is to reduce crime, recidivism and anti-social behaviors seen citywide.
Prevention, education, connection and strategic enforcement are at the heart of the recommendations that were laid out at a meeting led by county Treasurer Fred Keeley, who is not a task force member but is guiding the group through the policy process.
“The task force believes Santa Cruz should no longer tolerate individuals who routinely victimize the community and recommends a re-branding campaign to combat the perception that Santa Cruz is an easy place to commit crime without consequence,” the draft found.
The group scrutinized a draft report, spending four hours combing through words and phrases and debating deletions and additions.
The main prevention initiatives included increased drug treatment funding, expansion of youth programming, truancy enforcement, environmental design and “re-branding” Santa Cruz’s image as a place soft on crime.
Emphasis would be placed along the San Lorenzo River corridor, Harvey West Park, downtown and the Main Beach area because that is where “the vast majority of criminal and nuisance behaviors” take place, the report found.
The group recommends an education campaign to warn parents and children on the dangers of substance abuse because Santa Cruz has “an extremely high rate of substance-related criminal activity and dearth of early education,” the report read.
In addition, more cohesive neighborhoods would help deter crime, task force members said, though they acknowledge that residents can be reluctant to work together.
“Opportunities for action must be made available to neighborhood organizations through funding, collaboration and management assistance,” according to the report.
The task force, which was created earlier this year by Mayor Hilary Bryant in response to a public perception of rising violent crime, has been meeting every other week since May.
The group was designed to allow a community-based solution to ongoing issues such as discarded syringes being found in parks and beaches.
Until Wednesday, the task force has been visited by a panel of experts in the areas of crime, criminal justice, homelessness, social services, drugs and gangs to educate the group.
Speakers have included City Attorney John Barisone, Monica Martinez of the Homeless Services Center, District Attorney Bob Lee, Judge John Salazar, Judge Ari Symons and representatives from the county Health Services Agency.
NOTES BY NORSE: With the power of the Portland Occupy movement and Street Roots newspaper as well as local homeless organizing behind the movement, Dignity Village and Right 2 Dream Too established themselves as self-run homeless encampments, now praised by city officials (though Right2DreamToo was still being fined for its existence and carrying on nonetheless).
Simply being reasonable, making logical arguments, or appealing to city officials just doesn’t do the trick. As the poisoned hammer of Mayor Bryant’s toxic and misnamed Public Safety Citizens Task Force comes down (see http://www.cityofsantacruz.
Right 2 Dream Too: Moving options unclear after Portland City Council again delays vote
Right 2 Dream too
- Right 2 Dream Too: Moving options unclear after Portland City Council again delays vote
- Portland City Council will delay decision on Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp
- Right 2 Dream Too: Portland City Council may postpone vote on proposed Pearl District move
- Dignity Village: Residents fight ‘complacency’ as Right 2 Dream Too captures Portland’s attention
- Right 2 Dream Too: Portland Development Commission awaits appraisal on Burnside site, possible ‘catalyst project’
Neither business interests nor Right 2 Dream Too leaders would discuss negotiations Tuesday.
Fritz, disappointed that her proposal to relocate the settlement from West Burnside Street to under the Broadway Bridge has been upended and delayed, said Williams’ group hasn’t proposed a real solution since the City Council first postponed its vote on the camp at an Oct. 3 public hearing.
“They haven’t put anything viable on the table,” Fritz said Tuesday, a day before the City Council was scheduled to revisit the issue.
Mayor Charlie Hales, the one who asked Fritz for more time, said he’s hopeful Right 2 Dream Too negotiations will lead to a better solution.
“We believe there’s progress, in terms of additional resources coming to help address the problem, and maybe a better solution than just moving tents from one place to another,” said Hales, declining to provide specifics.
A spokeswoman for Hales defended the city’s decision to leave negotiations to homeless campers and Pearl District leaders. Williams and others wanted time for a solution, K.C. Cowan said, and that’s what the city is providing.
“We will be at the table when there’s something definitive to look at,” she said. “But right now we’re not the group that’s saying, ‘We want an alternative.’”
A little more than a month ago, Fritz called a press conference at City Hall to announce a deal to move Right 2 Dream Too, which sleeps about 70, from its location at Northwest 4th Avenue and Burnside Street to the Pearl District.
Fritz proposed the move hoping to end a lawsuit filed by Right 2 Dream Too, which formed in October 2011. The group sued Portland’s Bureau of Development Services after the cluster of tents was labeled an illegal campsite and racked up fines for code violations.
Fritz, newly tasked with leading the development services bureau, suggested moving the camp from its marquee location in Chinatown to city-owned property underneath a Broadway Bridge onramp. She also proposed dropping the fines.
“I don’t necessarily need anybody else’s approval,” Fritz said at a Sept. 9 news conference, couching her plan as the end of a lawsuit instead of a controversial move. “I certainly have the mayor’s strong support. I’ve briefed each of my colleagues on the second floor about it and have not heard any particular concerns.”
But almost immediately, Williams and Patricia Gardner, president of the Pearl District neighborhood association, threated lawsuits or legal action over zoning rules and long-standing development agreements.
After a 5-hour-plus City Council hearing Oct. 3, where dozens of people – including Williams, whose company donated $15,000 to Hales’ mayoral campaign – spoke against the plan, Portland’s mayor delayed action for two weeks.
Hales on Tuesday said more time is needed and hopes a plan will be returned to City Council “sometime in the next 60 days.” The Pearl District location is still on the table, he said, but there’s a 50-50 chance another option could end up being better.
The proposed site, at Northwest Lovejoy Court, is a block away from a hotel project being developed by Williams and business partner Dike Dame.
Asked about Williams’ efforts, Hales said: “Whenever people bring private money to the table in addition to whatever the public can put on the table, that’s better. I appreciate the citizenship of that offer. Obviously, there’s self-interests involved.”
Cowan later declined to say whether Williams or others have offered money to move campers to shelters or permanent housing.
Williams referred questions to Dame who referred questions to a John Mangan, a spokesman who works with Williams & Dame Development.
Mangan earlier this month helped lead a public relations effort criticizing the city over its lack of public process. On Tuesday, he said he wouldn’t discuss details of the Right 2 Dream Too negotiations.
“We’re really not ready to talk about those,” he said.
It’s also not clear how many meetings have taken place or who has attended. Neither Cowan nor Mangan would provide details. Ibrahim Mubarak, a co-founder of the camp, also declined to talk about negotiations Tuesday.
Fritz said recent considerations involved moving the camp to the Central Eastside, specifically at the Salvation Army property at 200 S.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. But Fritz said the property is no longer available.
Before settling on the Pearl District location, Fritz’s chief-of-staff said, city officials also considered a separate site underneath the Broadway Bridge and one next to the Bud Clark Commons, both of which have contamination issues.
Fritz said she’s agreed to pnly a one-week delay but wouldn’t address late Tuesday what would happen if the proposal doesn’t return to City Council next week. Hales is scheduled to be in China the following week on city business.
With winter approaching, Fritz said she’s unwilling to wait 60 days and has called on Williams and others to step up and find a solution. Cowan, Hales’ spokeswoman, said officials think that will happen “fairly soon.”
“This is really their process,” Cowan said. ” We’re saying, ‘Go. Do. Come back to us when you’ve got something.’
” I know,” she said, ” we can’t let it go on forever.”
— Brad Schmidt
Right 2 Dream Too: Mayor Charlie Hales lauds homeless group, delays vote on move to Pearl District
But the first public hearing on whether the city can legally move the campers to a city-owned parking lot underneath a Broadway Bridge on-ramp won’t be the last.
Hales said the council should meet with Pearl District residents and prominent business leaders such as developer Homer Williams, who pleaded with the council to have a seat at the table.
“Frankly, I think any elected leader would be crazy to reject an offer like that,” Hales said.
Commissioners will meet again to discuss the fate of R2D2 on Wednesday Oct. 16, where they could make a decision about the legality of the move, or take additional public comment if a compromise or another proposal comes to the table.
“This has been probably the most memorable hearing that I remember,” Commissioner Amanda Fritz said.
Fritz led the charge to bring a settlement to a lawsuit involving R2D2 and its landlord at its current home on a West Burnside Street lot. R2D2 organizers say it offers homeless people a safe, dry and free place to stay off the streets.
Fritz also leads the Bureau of Development Services, which issued the controversial zoning decision last week authorizing moving the tent community to a city parking lot.
At the beginning of the five–hour affair, the council chamber was packed. The standing-room-only crowd spilled into an overflow room, and it was a diverse group. Women in pantsuits sat next to men in blue T-shirts.
Testimony came from residents young and old, including a mother who recited a poem penned by two children. Backers of multimillion dollar residential and commercial developments sat, for hours, in the same room as dozens of homeless people and supporters.
More than 130 people signed up to testify, and the majority of them followed through.
Public comments, from all sides of the issue, drew pockets of applause, cheers, boos and the occasional standing ovation.
By the end of the night, the bulk of the public testimony came from homeless people and supporters.
Earlier, Pearl District residents largely expressed concerns and fear of the uncertainty and might follow if the tent city relocated to their neighborhood.
Concerns ranged from the arrival of more crime, to the effect on property values, to how the move would hurt business bottom lines. One developer said he’s bracing for a 1 percent drop in apartment rentals, which he said could cost $500,000.
Christopher Hanford, co-owner of Davis Street Tavern near the current R2D2 site, said he was “actually thankful the camp is moving.” Handford said his sales “went off a cliff” once the camp opened in 2011.
Homer Williams and Dike Dame, the business partners and juggernaut developers in Portland’s Pearl District, testified together. Dame warned council was “truly on the precipice of a very bad decision.”
“You’re eliminating the use of our brains, you’re eliminating the use of our resources,” Dame said, “By cramming this deal down our throats.”
Ibrahim Mubarak, a co-founder of R2D2, said that Pearl residents were ignorant of how the camp operated. He said a drop in property value could be good.
“Then maybe there’s be some affordable housing,” he said.
Thursday’s meeting was supposed to be about the zoning memo released last Friday by the Bureau of Development Services designating R2D2 as a “community asset.”
The memo stipulated the camp wasn’t subject to building permits, and therefore didn’t have to go through a rigorous design review or land use review process.
Most of the testimony ignored the particulars of that memo.
But Christe White, a prominent land use attorney representing Williams & Dame and others, blasted the council for the “contrived nature” of the document. “The city can’t have it both ways,” White said. Either R2D2 was a mass shelter or it wasn’t; either way it was subject to stringent design reviews.
White said approving the zoning decision “dismantles the social contract” in the city, and would lead to more homeless camps, or rest areas, across the city. She urged the city to amend its code and legitimize the camps “if that’s what you want to do.”
That is what many of the homeless supporters want to do, as they advocated for using vacant lots, buildings and public facilities to house the homeless.
Michael O’Callahan, a co-founder of R2D2, said homeless people are even more vulnerable than other residents. “Let us be safe just like you all are,” he said to Pearl District residents. “R2D2 is a good neighbor.”
Commissioner Steve Novick seemed impressed by R2D2’s organization as well. He tried to assuage the concerns of some homeless advocates about Pearl residents waging a “class war” and being more concerned about their property values than human life.
“I heard more fear than greed,” Novick said. He added there was compelling evidence from Thursday’s testimony that R2D2 residents and supporters feel so strongly about the camp because it is a safe and dry place off the streets.
R2D2 started in October 2011 at the Burnside property owned by Michael Wright and three business partners. Wright said he initially let the group stay as a jab at the city. But the rest area’s presence immediately started racking up fines.
As part of the settlement agreed upon last week, the city waived $20,957 in fines and agreed to move the camp to what’s known as Lot 7, a parking lot owned by the Portland Development Commission beneath the Broadway Bridge’s Lovejoy ramp. Camp advocates agreed to drop a lawsuit against the city in exchange for the settlement.
Commissioner Nick Fish missed the entire meeting for a previously scheduled event. Commissioner Dan Saltzman, the current Housing Bureau manager, slipped out for a Northwest Housing Alternatives event at 7 p.m.
Fritz said she would have preferred to vote Thursday rather than delay the matter. The clock is ticking to reach a final agreement, Fritz said, as the deadline for a use agreement with R2D2, part of the legal settlement agreement released last week, is in 25 days.
Earlier this week, lawyers representing Williams and other Pearl District developers indicated they would initiate arbitration and seek an injunction to stop the move if the council approved the deal on Thursday.
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2013 11:27:39 -0700
Subject: Fwd: Stop Santa Cruz County Jail Expansion
From: Tash Nguyen
Date: Sun, Oct 13, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Subject: Stop Santa Cruz County Jail Expansion