HUFF Huddle at 11 AM Sub Rosa Cafe Today

Agenda Prospects:  Letters to the Coastal Commission to Stop the RV Ban…City Council Reportback Freedom Prep for 1st Anniversary on July 5th, A report-back from the Friday Norse Trial…Successful Struggle Against S.C. to Free a Drug War Prisoner…Joff/Alex Artists Arrest on Monday..and whatever you bring, along with the usual cutrate coffee.

Freedom SleepOut #51 Tonight

Following “RV Nighttime Parking, “Littering”, Street Vendors Again on Chopping Block Today at Council”at
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/28/18788253.phpCHECK OUT:  Freedom SleepOut #51 to Follow City Council Clampdown

Date Tuesday June 28
Time 4:00 PM – 4:00 AM
Location Details
Sidewalk Area on Center St. between Locust and Church Streets as well as the brick courtyard, extending all the way to the bowels of the City Council chambers… The event runs through the night until 8 AM or so Wednesday morning.
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (post written by Norse)
Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone 575-770–3377
Signs, Soup, slumber, and sympathy are on the agenda for ongoing Freedom Sleepout demanding the right to sleep legally for those outside and providing a de facto “legal” spot to bed down (or at least one that the police ostentatiously ignore at night).Coming Up Next Week: the Year Anniversary of the Freedom Sleepers. Mark your calendar!More details on the issue and past Sleep-Out’s at “#50–Freedom Sleepers Keep the Faith ” http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/21/18787827.php and prior Calendar notices (click on Calerndar and go to past Tuesdays).

More details on the today’s City Council attack at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/28/18788253.php (“RV Nighttime Parking, ‘Littering’, Street Vendors Again on Chopping Block Today at Council”)

 

Vote down Attack on RV’s on Tuesday’s Afternoon Agenda

To the Santa Cruz City Council,

Re: Item #25 on the Afternoon Session of the June 28, 2016 Agenda,

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) opposes the proposed ban on RV parking city-wide during the nighttime hours of midnight to 5 PM.

It limits public access unnecessarily to the Coastal Zone.

It discriminates against poor people (and indeed anyone) who live in or drive RV’s by denying them coastal access.

It puts a particular burden on those whose only affordable housing is a vehicle by making it illegal to park them at night.

It discriminates against those who own or rent property in Santa Cruz by denying them a permit process.

It was done with no determination of its impact on those living in their vehicles in the City and threatens their health and safety.

It is especially cruel and abusive considering the acknowledged shelter crisis.

It does include a provision for Safe Parking spaces at night, such as Santa Barbara provides, that might provide a refuge or safety valve for those banned at night.

It prejudices the right to travel, by eliminating the right to park an RV in Santa Cruz for those visiting.

It was passed without meaningful police documentation of the alleged problems justifying the unusual exclusionary policy.

It is being done without a procedure for consulting the neighborhoods involved as is the accepted practice for requiring permits to park in other cities (as well as in Santa Cruz for vehicles generally).

The oversized vehicle restriping law passed last year provides overly broad authority to the traffic engineer to expand the zone in which parking spaces for larger vehicles can be completely eliminated without recourse to public comment or public vote.

In addition given the infirmities in the proposed law (even as amended to limit the time of the parking bans), it will–when rejected by the Coastal Commission–put an undue burden on those whose homes and property is on the Coastal zone if the city chooses to authorize enforcement of the non-Coastal areas of the City as may be likely.

Please send this law back to the appropriate Commission or City Council committee for more public input with the individuals seriously affected (poor people who live in their vans, homeless service providers, tourists who visit the city).

Please request specific documentation on the abuses real and alleged that supposedly motivate this law to examine their exact extent in the last year to determine specific remedies rather than this overly broad attack that hurts poor and homeless people particularly.  And shames our community generally.

I also encourage others to register their concerns by calling City Council at 420-5020 and/or e-mailing them at citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.org.  Or by appearing at City Council for the public hearing likely to begin shortly after 3 PM.

In addition, any members of the City Council or community who wish to appeal a negative vote of the City Council can deliver a appeal form to the Coastal Commission at 725 Front St Ste 300,Santa Cruz, CA 95060.  Here is the link for the Coastal Commission appeal form: http://www.coastal.ca.gov/cdp/CDP-AppealForm-cc.pdf   For more information, call them at (831) 427-4863

Thanks,
Robert Norse
HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom)
(423-4833) Continue reading

Guilty Verdicts in Freedom Sleeper Trial: Assembly Ban on City Hall Grounds Continues

 

Right of Nighttime Assembly at City Hall Crushed in Courtroom 1

by Robert Norse

Saturday Jun 25th, 2016 3:45 PM

After an hour and a quarter trial, retired Judge Sam Stevens found me guilty. Chatty and friendly, Stevens initially gave the impression that his ruling would favor the defense, praising the legal work done by attorney Kate Wells in preparing the brief prior to trial (some of the work was done by Steve Pleich).

The only witnesses were Norse and the two police officers who cited him, first on July 5th, and again on August 12th late at night. Stevens stated that the time of the citations was key. It is legal to be around City Hall during the day, but forbidden to be in the city hall courtyard after 10 PM.

The law allows you to be “on the access paths through the area”. We presented photos of me on the pathways. City attorney Gallogly countered with testimony that I’d been off the pathway at different points making audio recordings of arrests. Stevens found that irrelevant, noting it was the “agenda access” argument that was key.

This principal defense was that the City had to allow the public 24 hour access to the agendas that were posted inside the “forbidden” area for a period of 72-hours before any agendaized meeting. Hence, the defense argued, police could not site members of the public for going there if any such meetings were scheduled.

Stevens seemed to wrestle with this argument for a time, but ultimately upheld Gallogly’s response that the proper remedy for a Brown Act violation was a civil lawsuit. Stevens agreed that the City’s violation of the Brown Act was not in and of itself a defense against “trespass” on City Hall grounds at night.

Both ignored the basic fact that City Hall is the seat of government where the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is most important. Denial of the right to be present there to petition for a redress of grievances would seem a classic violation of the First Amendment of both the state and federal Constitutions. I am unaware of any other City Hall grounds that have been permanently closed at night.

It is a highly unusual and outrageous restriction on public access. In Santa Cruz it was done in a backroom maneuver in 2010 to exclude a peaceful homeless protest (PeaceCamp 2010) protesting the same Sleeping Ban issue. A year later this Ban on being around government buildings was extended to a 7 PM -7AM ban at the County Building to drive away the Occupy Santa Cruz movement.

Stevens later made some comments about “making the police job easier to prevent vandalism at City Hall”, but no instances of vandalism were cited justifying such a severe nighttime ban on all public assembly there. Ironically, Stevens himself had turned back Mayor Rotkin’s 1996 attempt to shut down still another homeless protest at City Hall with such a ban.

Gallogly and Stevens both ultimately hinged their decision on a fallacious analogy. “You wouldn’t let someone break into a closed building to read agendas, even if the City should have posted them outside, right? So here you’re not allowed to ‘trespass’ even though the agendas should have been posted in an accessible place.”

Equating access to a public area with destroying property is, of course, ridiculous.
Forced entry into closed buildings at night in a considerably different matter than walking up to a display case to see what City bureaucrats are cooking up. Such access was accepted as a matter of right until 2010, when it was denied the entire community to discourage activists from embarrassing the City about its treatment of homeless people.

The job of the police would be made easier by requiring everyone to answer police questions and submit to searches. But is that what we want to tolerate in a democratic society?

When asked why he has retreated to this new reactionary repressive position, Stevens replied with a smile “times have changed.”

Stevens made much of the fact that police were friendly, gave me a chance to leave, and were acting under orders. Using this line of logic, basic rights can be swept aside by if police are friendly, coach us to give up our rights voluntarily, and are “just following orders”? A sad conclusion–particularly for a judge once a defender of the rights of protesters and the public.

Indeed, the new mythos of the city Staff and the Take Back Santa Cruz crowd sees danger in folks sleeping in their cars. They have removed the grass lawns of the City Hall grounds apparently to discourage daytime resting there. Chillingly the City’s ban on handicraft artists downtown selling their handicraft artwork downtown under the mew Commercial Vending ordinance went into effect on Friday, June 24th.

As the bumper sticker says, “Ignore your rights and they’ll go away”.

I was sentenced to 20 hours of Community Service over the objections of City Attorney Gallogly who wanted me to pay $198. The second citation was dropped.

TO READ AND MAKE COMMENTS, GO TO: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/22/18787930.php?show_comments=1#18788095

Freedom Sleeper “No Assembly at City Hall Grounds at Night” cases Go to Court

Date Friday June 24
Time 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Location Details
County Courthouse Superior Court 1
Event Type Court Date
Organizer/Author Robert Norse
Email rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Phone 831-423-4833
Address
In an attack on peaceful protest against the City’s anti-homeless Sleeping Ban outside City Hall each Tuesday night, police have forced activists off the grounds and ticketed many.In a court trial before Judge Sam Stevens, attorney Kate Wells will argue that two citations given to Robert Norse were invalid.She will argue that (a) closing the City Hall Courtyard at night illegally denied access to the City agendas, posted just outside City Council; (b) Norse was on a pathway through the area–an exception to the “no access” order; and (c) banning peaceful public assembly at the seat of government in the absence of some kind of emergency is unconstitutional.

At a hearing last week, Judge Paul Marigonda has already refused to order the police to present video and audio of the incidents. City Attorney Gallogly claims that police have advised him that they were just “pretending” to video/photo and/or the evidence was destroyed. None of this prompted any objection from Marigonda.

More background: “Freedom Sleeper Case Demands Police Release Video Records ” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/16/18787630.php .

TO READ OR MAKE COMMENTS GO TO:  https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/22/18787930.php

HUFF at the Sub Rosa at 11 AM Today

Agenda Suggestions for HUFF (bring your own!):  Freedom SleepOut #50 Report from the Sidewalk, June 24 10 AM Judge Trial of two Freedom Sleeper citations–using the fabled agenda/pathway/govt. center defenses (See”#50–Freedom Sleepers Keep the Faith ” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/16/18787630.php );  Supporting the L.A. Activists Against the Proposed Vehicular Sleeping Ban; and whatever else goes with coffee!

Silver 50th Week Coming Up for the Freedom Sleepers Tonight

 

#50–Freedom Sleepers Keep the Faith
Date Tuesday June 21
Time 5:00 PM – 5:00 AM
Location Details
On or near the Center of the City Government Beast at Santa Cruz City Hall 809 Center St. on the brick area and sidewalk along Center St. between Church and Locust Streets
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry
Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone 575-770-3377
Address
A successful Tuesday Sleep-Out last week indicated growing support. Freedom Sleep-Out #49 was mainly staffed by unhoused folks seeking shelter, community, and a respite from the threat of Sleeping Ban tickets. See “As Attendance Swells at Community Sleepouts, Freedom Sleepers Plan One-Year Anniversary” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/16/18787633.php .

In Santa Cruz, sleeping outside, in a vehicle, or in any non-residential structure, is a $150+ infraction crime (MC 6.36.010a). Three such “crimes” unpaid in six months can mean a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to a year in jail. Additionally a new condition can be imposed making each and every future infraction of any kind (being in a park after dark, smoking in a non-smoking area, sitting within 14′ of a building, bench, telephone, crosswalk, etc. on Pacific Ave) for the next six months automatic misdemeanors.

Sleeping on the sidewalk at the protest, in spite of its visibility and the many people doing it each Tuesday night, has generally not resulted in Sleeping citations. The overwhelming majority of tickets were for “being in a closed area” (MC 13.04.011)–the administratively closed area of the City Hall grounds at night to deter protests.

SUPPORTING OTHER CITIES
As a frequent Freedom Sleeper, Monterey Max spoke on behalf of homeless civil rights at a Salinas Sleep-In Press Conference Monday. Salinas activists under the leadership of Wes White have been sleeping out night in front of Salinas City Hall, where nighttime sleeping and camping is not a crime, but setting down one’s survival gear during the day in public places is. He may be at the Sleep-Out tonight in Santa Cruz. See “City of Salinas: Shelter is a Human Right! ” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/13/18787482.php

JUDGE COVERS FOR COPS AT EVIDENTIARY HEARING, SETS TRIAL DATE FOR FRIDAY
‘Bathrobespierre’ Robert Norse faces a no-jury trial for two counts of being on the City Hall courtyard grounds “after hours”. See “Freedom Sleeper Case Demands Police Release Video Records ” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/16/18787630.php .

Judge Paul Marigonda, jocularly known in some quarters as Judge Marigouge-ah, upheld City Attorney Gallogly’s peculiar argument. Gallogly argued that any video made by police was either destroyed immediately after (a violation of the law, but ignored by the Judge) or that the videoing itself was not actually done but really a “bluff” to keep the protesters on their best behavior.

Some watchers noted that Marigonda and Gallogly spent many minutes privately conferring, and wondered if that kind of secret discussion might not be improper. The judge dismissed the numerous photos of Sgt. Forbus and other officers apparently videoing and/or photopgraphing (See http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2015/08/20/sleep-out-22-santa-cruz-police-sgt-david-forbus-city-hall.jpg ). He refused to delay the trial, setting it for 10 AM June 24 in Department 1.

FRIDAY TRIAL MAY BE INTERESTING.
A bright spot in Marigonda’s SCPD-rubberstamping Hearing was the presence of at least seven Freedom Sleeper supporters in the courtroom.

Next Friday’s trial will be heard by retired judge Sam Steven, whose record is reportedly less hostile to activists than Marigonda’s.

Of particular interest to the defense is the coincidental appearance of a new glass case displaying City Council agendas, on the sidewalk just outside the City Council courtyard. This sudden appearance of a new location for posted agendas followed the ticketing and arrest of Freedom Sleepers week after week. Many of them told police they were in the courtyard and claimed the right to gain access to the agendas–which was repeatedly denied.

Called to account will be City Administrator/Clerk Bren Lehr, who presided over the creation of the new display case in the fall of 2015, according to e-mails. Another subpoenaed witness is Sgt. David Forbus, who may be able to explain the disappearing video tape and photographs—which were supposed to be preserved. Apparently the “losing” of such key evidence is a not a unique occurrence—as a key defendant in the PeaceCamp 2010 trial noted the same thing happened to him [See “At the PC2010 trial a sheriff testified, under oath, that their arrest video was ‘lost’.” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/16/18787630.php?show_comments=1#18787668.

The outcome may also affect the citations and arrests of other Freedom Sleepers, almost all of whom have either paid $198 fines, gone to trial (and generally been found guilty), or let their tickets go to collection. There is the prospect of a broader federal lawsuit for false arrest damages if a “not guilty” comes out of this case. Since the state Brown [Open Meetings] Act requires access to the agenda display at night, it appears the police were violating state law and improperly blocking Freedom Sleepers from exercising their right to view the agendas.

The trial is slated to start at 10 AM, but may start later due to judicial delays, questionable out-of-sight conferences with the judge and a bloated docket of drug war and poverty-crime cases.

UPCOMING MEMORIAL
On the horizon is the one-year anniversary of the Freedom Sleepers with a special event scheduled for July 5th. On that Tuesday, the 52nd Sleep-Out, activists plan a gathering, a march, a memorial for those who have died in the last year, and a possible film showing. To be followed by the usual night on the sidewalk contesting the City’s Sleeping Ban.

To follow the history of the Freedom Sleep-Out’s go to http://www.indybay.org/santacruz and click on the Calendar button at the top of the page, then scroll back through earlier weeks to read the Tuesday announcements.

This announcement composed and is the responsibility of Robert Norse.

Los Angeles Homeless Activist Calls Out for Help

 

Peggy: 

Great two letters.

I’m passing this appeal on to the HUFFsters and will bring it up at tomorrow’s HUFF meeting.  Not that we can do that much, but we can send e-mails.   You’re also invited on the air Thursday night at 6-8 PM, if you’d like.   We’ve gotten into a new studio and have live broadcasting again.

Robert


Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2016 16:18:17 -0700
Subject: URGENT – PLEASE ACT
From: peggylee.kennedy@gmail.com
To: venicejusticecommittee@gmail.com

Sorry for the duplicate emails, but this is really important!

Tomorrow, June 22 the LA City Council Committee on Poverty and Homelessness has (agenda item 4) the new ordinance making it illegal to sleep in a vehicle!

Here is the link to the agenda:
http://ens.lacity.org/clk/committeeagend/clkcommitteeagend3405104145_06222016.html

Please email a letter of opposition ASAP
and
PLEASE try to come to the meeting! It starts at 3pm. Put in a speaker card saying you are opposed to item 4.

Below is the email I sent them. Feel free to use what you want, but use your own words of course.

Below that is David’s email

——————————————

To:          LA City Council Homelessness and Poverty Committee

LACity Councilmember Harris-Dawson   councilmember.harris-dawson@lacity.org

LACity Councilmember Huizar                    councilmember.huizar@lacity.org

LACity Councilmember Bonin                     councilmember.bonin@lacity.org

LACity Councilmember Cedillo                   councilmember.cedillo@lacity.org

LACity Councilmember Price                       councilmember.price@lacity.org

Legislative Assistant Eric Villanueva          Eric.Villanueva@lacity.org

CC:         Mayor Eric Garcetti                         mayor.garcetti@lacity.org

 

Re:         June 22, 2016, Agenda Item 4, Council File 14-1057

Amending LAMC 85.02 (to prohibit lodging in a vehicle on city streets)

Councilmembers:

I am opposed to this ordinance in either of the two draft forms provided by the City Attorney:

It makes the act of lodging in a vehicle a crime when homelessness is persistent and growing.

It  does not create solutions first and foremost, which is what this committee should look at first considering the urgency of the homeless situation in Los Angeles.

It is inhumane and innocent people will be harmed.

The City of Los Angeles saw another increase of 11% in the homeless count of 2016 from that of 2015 (one-year). The prior 2015 count saw an increase of 12% from 2013 (two-years). Clearly the homeless problem in Los Angeles is persistent and growing.

These counts are of people, not simply numbers. They are community members and neighbors once housed in Los Angeles.  In fact 72% of adults experiencing homelessness have lived in LA County for more than 20-years. (Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA) Homeless County Presentation 

https://documents.lahsa.org/Planning/homelesscount/2016/factsheet/2016-HC-Results.pdf )

There are no Safe Parking programs in place, if ever created at all, which might meet the demand of those living homeless in a vehicle. Such programs may take years to develop. Any person of average intelligence can understand that living in a vehicle is safer than living outside “rough.”  Furthermore, Los Angeles does not have enough homeless shelters for the homeless people living “rough.”

The fact is Los Angeles has a severe housing crisis and is one of the least affordable places to live in the United States. (National Low Income Housing Coalition: Affordable Housing Gap Analysis 2016 http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Gap-Report_print.pdf ) I suggest the City of Los Angeles take a look internally to find reasons why so many low-income Angelinos are becoming homeless. Protecting, monitoring, and increasing low-income housing is one key place to begin.

In the mean time, emergency measures are in order now. We need safe places for homeless people to rest, storage for their belongings, access to sanitary facilities, and so much more.

Turning homeless people into criminals is cruel, it certainly is not a solution and it has proven more expensive that housing people. 

Vote no and stop this from going forward!

Continue reading

Free Radio’s Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides Show update

Interested HUFFsters:   My twice-weekly radio show is now back in the studio.  You can call in at 831-427-3772 when I’m on air, and leave me a message at 831-423-4833 off-air.  Since I’m no longer preparing my shows in advance, unless I have an unusual guest, I won’t be sending out the twice-weekly reminder of my show.  I invite you all to listen and call in anyway! 


On Sunday’s show I’ll be covering my Freedom Sleeper hearing Friday, Cannabis Crackdown Updates, among several hours of other things.

The show broadcasts at 101.3 FM and streams on the internet at freakradio.org at 9:30 AM -2 PM Sundays and 6-8 PM Thursdays.   It will archive at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brbYYMMDD.mp3
where YY is the year, MM the month, and DD the day.  So tomorrow’s show on June 19, 2016 will archive at
http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb160619.mp3

HUFF peeks out from behind coffee cups 11 AM Wednesday Sub Rosa 6-15-16

Topics likely to be found on the HUFF agenda:   A LookBack at the latest Shitty Council Meeting; Upcoming Events:  Freedom Sleeper Motions Hearing in Court Dept. 1 10 AM Friday; July 5 Year Memorial; News from Salinas, the Board of Supes, & Other Get Togethers.    Well sloshed with coffee and unidentified munchables