Struggle for the Right to Sleep in Santa Cruz: Why Successes in Eugene?

NOTE BY NORSE:  Some weeks ago, Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp Brent Adams sent out an article discussing the success of Opportunity Village in Eugene OR–through a variety of protest, heavy lobbying, and religious leader support.  For years HUFF has focused on the first two of these tactics.  Brent has been quite critical of HUFF over the last two years for its protest activities.  He has also created a nexus of support for Santa Cruz Sanctuary Village (previously Santa Cruz Sanctuary Camp).  His recommendation that we examine this Eugene article encouraged some HUFFsters who felt that if activists could come together around these issues while at the same time recognizing differences in style and tactics, ‘twould be a good thing. The  SLEEPS strategy (the successful Eugene movement) is described in the link and the excerpt below.

Date: Fri, 30 May 2014 13:23:09 -0700

You’ve all done so much work on homelessness in Santa Cruz and I’m surprised we still haven’t had much success at repealing the Sleeping Ban or in establishing a Safe Sleep Zone or Sanctuary Camp/Village.

In these TakeBackSantaCruz/PublicSafetyTaskForce times it has been sometimes disheartening.  Local officials and large non-profits are following the Obama-esque Housing First model with Smart Solutions to Homelessness & 180/180 and they’ve had great success with that but we still have many hundreds of people living outside.

The Circle Church and ISSP are quite successful with their programs too.  
For me, it had seemed like tactics and strategies to repeal the Sleeping Ban, setting up protest camps and the initiative to establish a Sanctuary Pilot Camp have been at cross purposes when viewing what next steps to take.  After reading the most recent report from inside Opportunity Village,  and reading a comment from homeless activist Jean Stacey admonishing Sanctuary Village to take a different approach, we’re interested in broadening our view of things.
And please also read Jean Stacey’s comment at the bottom of this email.
Thanks everyone!!
Brent  831-234-9848
>>  Jean Stacey is a homeless activist in Eugene, OR who works with SLEEPS.
Here are here comments after reading the Goodtimes cover story about Sanctuary Camp.
Just read a great article on your hoped for project and it has lots of very valid, very important information. There are some really big pieces of the founding of Opportunity Village Eugene that are missing however…if you think this is all of the story, you will never make it happen. There were three things that made OVE happen: endless strategic protests 24/7 by SLEEPS, Occupy and Interfaith Occupy; 2)the appearance of the conestoga huts which were “cute” and far more palatable aesthetically and emotionally to the citizenry/politocs than a tent city will ever be and 3)a local minister, Dan Bryant, who spoke fearlessly, calmly and goodnaturely, with integrity and with a good natured belief in the best in all people and who had developed a strong network and respect through many years of service to the community. Without any one of these three components, coming together at just the right time, OVE would still be on the planner’s drawing table. The whole strategy was two pronged: protestors to drive the Council to DO something….and a totally separate dignified, professional, non rabble rousing group to actually do it. At first I, like Brent, tried to play both protestor and organizer….but once the village had been opened a few months, i got off the board of trustees so that my activism could become more radical. very hard to play both roles and i don’t advise it. OVE was formed as a response to a two month 24/7 SLEEPS protest in dec/jan after months of being stalled. I’d suggest stop calling your planned camp out a “raising of awareness” and quit filing for a permit. Say it is a protest in which you want to redress your grievances….you don’t have to get a permit to protest. You are in the Ninth Circuit Court. Start talking about Jones v LA and Lavan v LA. The published story I got to read is about the aftermath and result of the protests, activism and advocacy that preceded it. Without the protests, it would never have happened. Eugene has the WORST shelter ratio of any city that is not located in florida, california or hawaii….the 19th worst in the entire nation. This failure to house people was no accident….the city (hypocritically calling itsel the ‘human rights city”, has fought and fought and fought against shelter and would have continued to do so had the protests not been both educational/consciousness raising, threatening and embarrassing, and provided a focal point for all the folks who were human rights activists to rally round. I highly encourage you to launch a similar two pronged attack and would be happy to talk to you about it if you want. Just email me at jean stacey”


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Santa Cruz Eleven Update & Wretched Mainstream Media Coverage

A Week Later The Sentinel Does Drive-By Coverage of the Santa Cruz Eleven
by Robert Norse ( rnorse3 [at] )
Tuesday Jun 10th, 2014 7:43 AM

Today’s Scent-Anal finally got around to covering the 6-4 hearing of the Final Four of the Santa Cruz Eleven–in a story that’s buried on-line and nearly impossible to leave comments on (you keep getting displaced by an ad). I suppose we should be grateful there’s any space given to the issue at all. I have so far unsuccessfully tried to leave the following comments on the story–which reiterate past concerns, but, I think, are still strongly relevant. The Sentinel story is by Jessica York and can be found at .

No mention of the $100,000 cost of the case to the taxpayers so far, plus another $100,000 for the upcoming felony trial. Nor any interest in the ongoing foreclosure fraud and crime being perpetrated by Bob Lee’s pals in the Wells Fargo rackets. Nor info about senseless prosecution was and is part of a broader repression against the Occupy movement and stopping similar protests as the war against the poor escalates.

No analysis of the fact that the D.A. And police have zero evidence of any actual vandalism committed by the four defendants. The abuse of the “aiding and abetting’ theory spins the expensive lie that simply because these four along with more than a hundred others were in the building (as I was), they are “guilty” of vandalism.

Also conveniently forgotten was the original purpose of the peaceful occupation of the now six-years vacant Wells Fargo-leased ban building: to provide a community center and/or homeless refuge for those outside—only 5% of whom have any legal place to sleep at night.

The continued case simply provides political cover for Bob Lee’s failed case here and the endless distraction from escalating rents, ongoing foreclosures, and increasing poverty prompted by the massive wealth in equality in the country (and in the county).

Meanwhile on-going low-intensity terrorism against protesters and the community continues with the 6 PM to 6 AM curfew all around the courts and county buildings (denying the basic right to peaceful protest there) as well as increased “public safety” exclusions and visible police-state presence downtown, around city hall, the library, and the parks. No word from the local ACLU on these blatant bites out of the Constitution. Gary Johnson served a 6 month sentence and received an additional 2 years for sleeping on a bench outside the courthouse for a handful of nights (see ).

Recently I’ve learned from Ed Frey, the attorney in Gary Johnson’s case, that there have been new positive developments in his demand to have the case reheard because only 2 of the required 3 judges were present at the appeal hearing. More on that when he posts it or I get more info. Earlier documents in the case are o Ed’s website at

Gary’s probation ended in March, Ed tells me, and his on-going commentary often appears at Gary’s website: .

Recent updates & comments on the June 4th hearing are posted at .

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