HUFF to fume at the Vanish the Vendors Law, plot new schemes 11 AM Wednesday the 11th

HUFF will be meeting as usual at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific at 11 AM.  On the agenda:  Which Way for the Freedom Sleepers?   Support for Joff and Alex, the oft-arrested Street Artists.   Reviewing the Wreckage after the Tuesday City Council Meeting.   Plans for the Upcoming Project Homeless Connect.   And more!   Plus the usual coffee, munchies, and chatter.

If you can’t come, but want to get involved, call 831-423-4833.



“Vanish the Vendors” Viciousness at City Council Followed by Freedom SleepOut #44
Date Tuesday May 10
Time 3:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location Details
The afternoon City Council meeting begins at 2:15 PM with the “Vanish the Vendors” law Item #14 on the Council Agenda. Food Not Bombs activists will be serving food in the late afternoon. Freedom Sleepers will hit the sidewalk and bricks across from the main library in front of the City Hall in the evening and night.
Event Type Protest
Contact Name Toby Nixon (post by Norse)
Email Address tobynixon [at]
Phone Number 408-582-4152
Freedom Sleepers will continue to defy the City’s 11 PM to 8:30 AM ban on the act of sleeping on all public and most private property in Santa Cruz by lining the sidewalk and City Hall grounds with sleepers on Tuesday night (5-10). Coffee and the occasional morsel to munch will likely be on hand.

The weekly organizational meeting of the Freedom Sleepers will hold their usual review and reorganizational meeting at 10 AM Wednesday at 10 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe to be followed at 11 AM by the HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom) meet. Both are open to all.

Food Not Bombs is slated to be feeding and organizing during the afternoon and early evening.

Santa Cruz’s 1000-2000 unhoused residents continues ot face the threat and reality of harassment and citation for simply falling asleep after 11 PM. Survival “camping” is a $159 crime 24 hours a day (do it twice in 24 hours and face a year in jail and $1000 fine). Santa Cruz has zero walk-in shelter and full waiting lists for the token shelters that exist (for less than 5% of the homeless).

In March, Council crushed a minimum proposal to strike “sleeping” and “covering up with blankets” from the law, while maintaiining a “no trespassing” ban on most public property around the City. No City Council member has followed up on proposals to establish Safe Sleeping Areas for the vulnerable homeless nor on Safe Parking Areas for those whose “affordable housing” is a vehicle.

The proposed law, created behind closed doors by city staffers Julie Hende and Scott Collins and City Attorney Tony Condotti, includes a radical restriction on display for sale or donation, and sale of all kinds of items.

“Commercial Vending” is “to sell, offer for sale, expose or display for sale, solicit offers to purchase, or to barter food, goods, merchandise, or services in any area from a stand, table, pushcart, motor vehicle, bicycle, or by a person with or without the use of any other device, or to require someone to pay a fee or to set, negotiate, or establish a fee before providing food, goods, merchandise, or services, even if characterized by the vendor as a donation. [This]…includes the practice of providing, free of charge, an item which may not be vended, in exchange for the purchaser purchasing an item which may be vended as a condition for receiving the free item.

Exempted from the law are “Traditional expressive speech and petitioning activities, and the distribution of the following expressive items: newspapers, leaflets, pamphlets, bumper stickers, patches, and/or buttons.” Also “items, which have been created, written or composed by the vendor or performer: books, audio, video, or other recordings of their performances, paintings, photographs, & prints.” Additionally “any other item that is inherently communicative and is of nominal value or utility apart from its communication. Although an item may have some expressive purpose, it will be deemed to have more than nominal utility apart from its communication if it has a common and dominant non-expressive purpose.”

The City Attorney insisted that the law did not distinguish between what is art and what is not. Instead the hall monitors of Pacific Avenue will use the above definition to determine if an item is First Amendment protected or not.

Banned as “items that have more than nominal utility apart from their communication” “include but are not limited to… food, housewares, appliances, articles of clothing, hats, scarves, sunglasses, auto parts, oils, incense, perfume, crystals, rocks, geodes, lotions, candles, jewelry, jewelry holders, toys, stuffed animals, glass and metal pipes, and any vaping device.”

“Allowed” Performances are “playing musical instruments, singing, dancing, acting, pantomiming, puppeteering, juggling, reciting, engaging in magic, creating visual art in its entirety, presenting or enacting a play, work of music, physical or mental feat, or other constitutionally protected entertainment or form of expression.”

Banned Performances include “(a) The application of substances to others’ bodies, including but not limited to, paints, dyes, and inks; (b) The provision of personal services such as massage or hair weaving, cutting, or styling; (c) the completion or other partial creation of visual art; (d) the creation of visual art which is mass produced or produced with limited variation; or (e) the creation of handcrafts, such as weaving, carving, stitching, sewing, lacing, and beading objects such as jewelry, pottery, silver work, leather goods, and trinkets.”

These bans are in effect “on the streets or sidewalks of Pacific Avenue; and on the streets or sidewalks of the side streets, alleys, and surface parking lots one block in either direction from Pacific Avenue, between Laurel and Water Streets.”

The area in which no tabling is allowed except in select “exempt” zones will be chosen behind closed doors, largely by merchant pressure by Hende and Collins. That forbidden area extends from Laurel to Mission along Pacific Avenue and one block in either direction along the side streets. The forbidden zone apparently includes the twice-weekly Food Not Bombs set-up near the main Post Office. Although the new “Vanish the Vendors” law does not explicitly ban simply giving away free items such as food, another section of the ordinance prohibits the use of “display devices” (i.e. tables) except in the limited (less than 30) “exempt” zones which Hende and Collins choose to designate.

In addition the “Move Along Every Hour” law now requires what the current law does not–that folks time themselves. Anyone using a table, open guitar case, or any thing “capable of holding tangible things” placed on the sidewalk must move every hour without being asked to do so by a cop, security thug, or “host”. The current law requires a warning that one’s hour is up and then a “refusal” to move for the $200-300 ticket to be given. The new law just requires that you be there for 61 minutes to be slammed with a citation.

Two artists–Joff Jones and Alex Skelton–were taken away in handcuffs twice within two weeks for setting up their art displays outside the sacred “blue boxes”. They had also declined to move every hour. Defying the massive police presence in their second arrest, the two have returned to Pacific Avenue to continue to assert their rights. See “Santa Cruz Artists Dare to Display Art “Outside of a Blue Box”” at

Meanwhile in Sacramento, activists who staged a 3-month round-the-clock protest had all charges dropped against them. See “City of Sacramento Won’t Put Unlawful Camping Ordinance on Trial, Dismisses Criminal Charges Against City Hall Protest Organizers on Eve of Trials” at .

And a delayed Freedom Sleepers case will be returning to Court 8:30 AM on May 20th as Robert Norse demurs to two “trespass at the City Hall courtyard” arrests, claiming they were unconstitutional.

For more info on the Freedom Sleepers and the “Vanish the Vendors” law, check out for the last 43 Tuesday events.

Continue reading

Sunday’s Long Show Covers 3rd Artist Bust Downtown, Tom Noddy on Tuesday’s “Vanish the Vendors” Law, the Eureka Homeless Deportations, and More–9:30 AM 5-8 101.1 FM!

“Cornerstone” Carol Denney’s account of the crushing of Berkeley’s “First They Came from the Homeless” Protest.”

“Katzenjammer” Keith McHenry’s Call to Resist the “Vanish the Vendors” Law at Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday right before Freedom SleepOut #44

A lengthy back-n-forth between “Travelin'” Tom Noddy and “Bathrobespierre” Robert Norse on Tuesday’s  “Performance Pens” law.

Eureka Attorney Shelly Mack updates the legal struggle in the wake of thr expulsion of hundreds of homeless from the Pelco Marsh May 1st .

Plus Alex Skelton and Joff Jones Account of their 3rd Arrest for Straying Outside the Blue Boxes Last Sunday at

Drink lots of coffee or bring several pillows.

The show broadcasts at 101.3 FM and streams on the internet at at 9:30 AM – 2:45 PM (May 8).  It will archive at

Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides hops back to 2014 to warn against the “Box in the Artists” Blue Boxes Downtown 6-8 PM on 101.3 FM and

 Flashback to November 6, 2014.  The show has my discussion of the “Dots for Dodos” as I call the Performance Pens, or “Blue Boxes”  set up on Pacific Avenue to restrict performers, vendors, tablers, and others with a “display device” then proposed by Council Public Space Abolitionists Don Lane and Pamela Comstock.  With a “Vanish the Vendors” ordinance coming up at City Council on May 10th–the discussion is particularly relevant.

There are also plenty of street interviews along with commentary from “Catch-Her-If-You-Can” Katie.   
None of the times mentioned for meetings and other events are current, of course.

The show broadcasts at 101.3 FM and streams on the internet at at 6-8 PM (May 5th).  It will archive at

HUFF meets with Councilmember Posner: 11 AM Sub Rosa 703 Pacific Wednesday May 4th

HUFFsters emerging from the 10 AM Freedom Sleepers Meet-and-Murmur get together at the Sub Rosa Cafe will be presenting its thoughts to Councilmember Micah Posner at 11 AM.   Also on the agenda:  The “Give a Shit” campaign with a HUFF focus on the absence of 24-hour bathrooms in Santa Cruz; updates from Salinas, Sacramento, and Eureka,  strategy for organizing against the upcoming Vanish the Vendors law  due back at City Council May 10th, solidarity with Alex and Joff–artists rearrested on Sunday  and more!

Come early at 10 AM to work on Freedom SleepOut #44 with Toby Nixon. 



Eureka Readies Homeless Removal as Santa Cruz Freedom Sleepers Gather for 43rd SleepOut
Date Tuesday May 03
Time 5:00 PM – 5:00 AM
Location Details
The event actually runs from 5 PM Tuesday to around 9 AM Wednesday at that old familiar spot–the sidewalk and City Hall Courtyard across Center St. from the Main Library, though many homeless sleep under the eaves of nearby buildings (like the library, Civic Auditorium, and Greek Orthodox Church).
Event Type Protest
Contact Name Toby Nixon (posted by Norse)
Email Address tobynixon [at]
Phone Number 408-582-4152
Persistent activists with the Freedom Sleepers will return this Tuesday for another night on the bricks and the blacktop in front of City Hall.

Their numbers reportedly grew last week to include 15 or 20 at various times throughout the night. Jumbogumbo Joe Schultz provided coffee; Troublemaker Toby friend chicken; and a tripled “security force” of First Alarm costumed “guards” provided comic relief.

No City Council meeting slated for this week, but Keith McHenry of Food Not Bombs announced he’d be there during the afternoon cooking and leafleting to restore the survival rights of unhoused community versus the City’s anti-homeless Sleeping Ban and Park Closing laws.

Meanwhile up Eureka way, there was a mixed victory–temporarily securing the rights of 11 folks outside, while abandoning the majority to the threatened police sweeps.
See “Mixed ruling: Judge prevents Eureka from evicting 11 homeless; city says plan to proceed” at

In Sacramento, in the wake of a lengthy day-and-night protest/encampment at City Hall, attorney Mark Merin said he was applying for permits for homeless sleeping spots. This was suggested by city officials after their recent trip to Seattle with its longstanding tent villages.

In Salinas, Wes White and the Monterey County Homeless Advocates have spent more than a month camping outside their City Hall at night, demanding abolition of the anti-homeless “leave your stuff on the sidewalk, face seizure”. Wes gave a long update at (3 hours and 28 minutes into the audio file).

In Santa Cruz, Keith McHenry reports that street artists Alex Skelton and Joff Jones were arrested and their artwork seized again—two weeks after their first arrest. Their “crime” was presumably being “outside the blue brackets/dots/boxes” or perhaps “declining to move-along every hour.”

Assistant 2nd Class Scott Collins has continued to decline to meet with those wanting to make suggestions and ask questions regarding the “blue boxes” law—though he has responded to e-mail. The “Vanish the Vendors” laws are likely to be returning to Council on May 12th. A Public Records Act shows much communication between Collins, fellow bureaucrat Julie Hendee, and various merchants downtown intent on restricting if not eliminating street vendors downtown.

Councilmember Micah Posner will be at the May 4th HUFF meeting at 11 AM [Sub Rosa Café, 703 Pacific) to discuss the issue. He has been asked to bring a copy of the proposed law–created with much merchant, but little if any street performer input.

Freedom Sleepers will meet Wednesday morning at 10 AM at the Sub Rosa to lick wounds and plot strategems.

For more event information: