HUFF meets as ever at the Sub Rosa next to the Bike Church 11 AM Wednesday August 31st.

Agenda prospects:  Review and Response of Homeless (Lack of) Service Center (Non-) Response to a letter to Executive Director Phil Kramer asking for letter asking dismissal of camping tickets when his shelter(s) are full; Andy Carcello’s critique of HLOSC; recent election antics at the Monday night Election forum; the attack on MHCAN and its crackdown–direct responses; Freedom SleepOut 60 Update, and whatever else unfolds…

Coffee will be supplied as necessary.

Count for Freedom Sleeper Reaches 60 Nights Out

Date Tuesday August 30
Time
4:00 PM – 8:00 AM Wednesday

Location Details Occupying with sleeping bag, car, and tent, the sidewalk and curbsides next to Santa Cruz City Hall from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday morning around 8 AM

Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author
Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email
keith@foodnotbombs.net
Phone
575-770–3377

WEEK AFTER WEEK, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT

The 60th Tuesday night Freedom SleepOut continues a year-old weekly protest against the City’s attack on unhoused and poor people who sleep outside or in vehicles.

MC 6.36.010a continues to make the very act of sleeping after 11 PM a crime.

MC 6.36.055 does provide exemptions for those who sign up for the River St. Shelter Waiting List (call in at 459-6644, and then keep calling back every three days). There is no walk-in shelter currently available for the City’s 1000-2000 unhoused. There is no Winter Shelter at all on the radar. Homeless folks have to find their own community, safety, and sleeping spots where they can. On Tuesday nights, the Freedom Sleepers have apparently created a “safe” area.

Limited food and occasional coffee is available at different points during the afternoon, evening, and morning. Support human rights at home with your support and your presence!

MIXED MESSAGES AT THE LOUDEN NELSON CANDIDATE FORUM MONDAY NIGHT

An overflow crowd listened to nearly a dozen candidates give soundbyte answers to a flock of questions, some of which touched on (but none squarely focused on) criminalization of the homeless through the Camping Ban and other laws.

At the forum, the usual promises about “more affordable housing” and “safe (shelter) spaces” were tossed about. Drew Glover raised the issue of Deputy Chief Steve Clark, a notorious anti-homeless cop, and there was talk about a Review Board for Police–though none of the candidates have been active in Copwatch or other regular attempts to hold police accountable.

Some activists are suggesting the candidates come out squarely to support Campaign Zero–the Black Lives Matter proposals of a year ago demanding radical changes in policing: http://www.vox.com/2015/8/21/9188729/police-black-lives-matter-campaign-zero

HUFF [Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom] has repeatedly called for specific officer accountability and radical policy changes in the SCPD: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/01/05/18766435.php ["Poor People Matter!: Round Four at Cop Corner"]. We call for candidates to give clear positions on each of the demands at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/11/25/18764594.php .

The most outspoken advocate and sometime Freedom Sleeper Steve Pleich (rhymes with “h”) lost in a bid for endorsement by the 80+ “Burnt by Bernie” activists who caucused after the forum. They voted to support Drew Glover, Steve Schnaar, Chris Krohn, and Sandy Brown. Brown and Krohn are old-time politicos. Glover and Schnaar are more active but not specifically in civil rights activities. Pleich was the only regular Freedom Sleeper supporter–who regularly visits the Sleepers and provides photo coverage and commentary.

There was no criticism of local liberal groups like the NAACP, RCNV, SCCCCR, or the ACLU who have avoided demanding police accountability for specific brutal incidents. Candidate Schnaar did raise Officer Vasquez’s slamdown of Richard Hardy on April 22, 2013. See Schnaar’s story at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/02/18/18768736.php ["Police Injury of Homeless Man Still Unresolved"]. Brent Adams’ video of the incident is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Tyj3yxwy-o .

Wes White, a “Flagpole Community” activist from Salinas, where nightly protest at City Hall has been continuous since mid-March, videoed the Santa Cruz forum. He announced there’d be a 6-Month anniversary weekend occupation in late September at the Salinas City Hall.

DENVER LAWSUIT…and in Santa Cruz?

A lawsuit was filed last week against the police theft of homeless gear, rights, and persons. Story at http://denver.cbslocal.com/2016/08/25/advocates-file-lawsuit-over-homeless-sweep/ .

Talk of a proposed long-delayed lawsuit in Santa Cruz, announced late last year and supposedly involving the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty’s Tristia Bauman, is again making the rounds with a local attorney supposedly taking an interest.

MALL CRACKDOWN ON STREET HANDICRAFT ARTISTS AND PAINTERS

James the Jeweler reports he’s gotten five tickets on Pacific Avenue in the last few weeks while trying to display his wrapped stones for sale. Several for not moving every hour, another for coming back to the same spot within 24 hours, and–most ominously–two for Commercial Vending where City Council and their police set themselves up as art critics, ruling that handicrafts, hand-made t-shirts, and other items are “not art”. MC 5.81.002, MC 5.81.006. These are the first citations I’ve heard for this “crime”.

Alex Skelton and Joff Jones go to trial 1:30 PM in Dept. 10 today Wednesday August 30th for being “outside the blue box” in their display of paintings. They don’t seem particularly enthusiastic for the public to attend, but I think censorship of art in public places is an important issue. See “City directed police shutdown of artists” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/07/10/18788862.php .

Meanwhile some homeless folks report portapotty and sink facility closures at Depot Park, San Lorenzo, and on Cedar and Lincoln.

Surviving HUFFsters Gather Tomorrow at 11 AM Sub Rosa Cafe 703 Pacific August 24

HUFF Agenda Suggestions:  How to Address the City Council Elections This Year, Coastal Commission Update and Strategy on Stopping the County RV Ban, Disability as a Club to Crush the Sleeping Ban, Connecting Up with Santa Barbara and Venice activists, Salinas Flagpole Community Updates, and a swig of coffee or whatever you’re drinking…

Support Freedom SleepOut #59; Fight Back Against City and County RV Repression!

Freedom SleepOut #59 as RV Rights Struggle Continues-
Date Tuesday August 23 Time 2:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Location Details City Hall sidewalk across from the Main Library as well as in the City Hall Courtyard. Food Not Bombs will serve vegan food along with literature and good cheer throughout the afternoon until early evening. The protest disperses on Wednesday morning around 8 or 9 after coffee.
Event Type Protest
Organizer/AuthorKeith McHenry (story by Norse)
The Tuesday night weekly protest moves towards its 14th month and 59th consecutive week. At issue is the City’s low-intensity war on the homeless community marked by social service cutoffs, vehicular bans, severe restrictions on public space usage, and increased “policing” downtown, in the parks, and elsewhere.

An 11 PM to 8:30 AM ban on the act of sleeping outside or in a vehicle on public property has created a nonsensical, costly, and cruel conflict forcing unhoused vulnerable people to hide in unsafe areas, avoid well-lighted spots, and disperse from larger (safer) groups.

Without formal organization, unhoused folks have gathered every Tuesday scrunched on the sidewalk in front of City Hall (as the City has made it illegal to be in the Council “park” after 10 PM). They share company, security, and food compliments of “Jumbogumbo” Joe Schultz of India Joze. Join them to share your blankets, watching eyes, documenting cellphone recordings, and support.

COUNCIL DELAYS CITY RV BAN APPEAL

After the Coastal Commission’s defeat of Councilwoman Richelle Niroyan’s anti-homeless midnight-to-5 AM ban on RV’s in the city, the City Council last Thursday placed the item on its agenda for today’s 12:30 PM Closed Session. By Monday (perhaps earlier) it had been struck out. When asked why, Councilmember Posner neither offered a reason, nor expressed any interest in finding out.

Assistant City Manager Scott Collins has been e-mailed with the same questions. Collins is the same staffer who declined to verify the Freedom Sleepers’ claims that they were regularly cleaning up the protest area after use last fall. Instead, McHenry reports, Collins leveled criminal charges against Freedom Sleeper and Food Not Bombs co-founder after McHenry yelled at him as Collins fled the scene. In a deal to protect another Freedom Sleeper, McHenry pled to a lesser charge in the Shouting Incident as City officials went after him last winter for restoring and expanding the “blue boxes” on Pacific Avenue with do-it-yourself paint and stencils. Collins and his associate Julie Hendee are regular presenters of anti-homeless measures to City Council.

COUNTY RV BAN STRUGGLE CONTINUES

The new crackdown on poor folks in RV’s in the broader County area was reviewed last week in “Freedom Sleep #58 In the Midst of Struggle Over RV Rights: COUNTY RV BAN ENFORCEMENT IN PROGRESS? ” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/08/15/18790168.php .

On August 12 the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office wrote on this thread: “No Overnight Parking zones will remain No Overnight Parking Zones with or without a permit. As for obtaining the permit, you must have permission from your friend or family who lives directly adjacent from your RV.” A rather straightforward interpretation here is that ALL overnight parking on ALL County roads are currently technically “illegal” under the County’s Ordinance Section 9.70.620 passed in March. There has been no discussion on this thread dated later than August 12.

However, Santa Cruz Fulltimers founder Julie Schaul–an activist concerned with the rights of poor families living in RV’s in the City–reports no citations have been given out since the Sheriff’s Department announced it began enforcing the ban on August 1st. Schaul has a facebook page that covers the RV struggle.

County staff and Coastal Commission staff, though questioned about the legality of the County’s ordinance and the Sheriff’s enforcement announcement, have declined to apply the Commission’s August 10th ruling against the City ban. They have also declined to clarify an appropriate appeal procedure on the issue. E-mail and phone exchanges continue. If you wish to express your concern, contact Sharif Traylor, staffer at the Coastal Commission, at 427-4863 or sharif.traylor [at] coastal.ca.gov or Paia Levine, planner, at County Planning at paia.levine [at] santacruzcounty.us 454-5317.

Though Sharif has noted he reply by e-mail, it’s still useful to create a paper trail. The issue is whether the County March law violates the Coastal Commission’s clear statements on August 10th that there must be real public access for folks of all incomes. Neither Santa Cruz County nor the City provides places for poor people to park their RV’s, nor have they shown a real “crime” problem.

Please cc all such inquiries and responses to rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com .

DEMAND THE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES SPEAK UP AGAINST THE SLEEPING BAN AND ANTI-HOMELESS LAWS

Contact the 9 Council candidates running by e-mail or phone to insist they raise the issues of Sleeping Ban Repeal, Access to public spaces at night, security for homeless persons and property, as well as restore the meager social services. These were some of the original demands of the Freedom Sleep-Out. The protests began as a Community Sleep-Out under the “Homeless Lives Matter” slogan last summer as services closed down at the Homeless Lack-of Services Center.

The candidates are J.M. Brown, Steven Pleich, Nathanael A. Kennedy, Drew “Dru” S. Glover, Martine Watkins, Cynthia Mathews, Steve Schnaar, James (Jim) P. Davis, Robert Singleton, Sandra (Sandy) L. Brown, and Chris Krohn. Their contact information is available at http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/departments/city-clerk/elections-2382 under “List of Prospective 2016 Candidates”.

Only Steve Pleich has spent an overnight with the Freedom Sleepers and not recently.

To discuss RV pushback and electoral antics, check out the HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) meeting at 11 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe Wednesday August 24.

HUFF huddles for its weekly chatter-and-chat tomorrow morning

HUFF assembles in dwindling numbers at the Sub Rosa Cafe (703 Pacific) 11 AM Wednesday 8-17-16

On the agenda:   the RV Ban issue–in the City and in the County.  County sherriffs have announced they’ve begun enforcing the “no RV parking overnight in the County without a permit–which can only be obtained in connection with a county resident near their house.  This is apparently oblivious to the Coastal Commission’s clear rejection of the current Niroyan “RV’s get out!” city RV Ban law at the August 10th hearing.  We’ll be looking at ways to fight the County ban.  Also we’ll discuss creative ways of raising real issues during the fall elections “outside the box”, a possible coalition of renters, workers, students, unhoused folks, elders, and ageing activists around the issue of rent control and restoration of civil rights for those forced outside.    Be there and drink the coffee before it gets cold!  

Coastal Commission Audio and Video Link on the RV Ban Victory

Regarding the recent Coastal Commission decision requiring a full-scale hearing at a future Commission meeting before they’ll issue a permit to allow enforcement of the nighttime RV ban in the coastal areas of Santa Cruz City.

Note that the County had already announced its own enforcement of a similar if not identical law impacting even a wider audience.  The issue will be discussed on Free Radio Santa Cruz Sunday morning 8-21 at 10 AM at 101.3 FM (streams at www.freakradio.org).

Your source for REAL news from around the World Alternative Action and Community-based Programming Awesome music you don’t hear anywhere else on the airwaves

Coastal Commission Archive Link Correction

by Robert Norse

Tue Aug 16 09:18:45 2016

For some reason, the audio and video link to the Coastal Commission doesn’t work if you click directly on it. Instead, cut and paste it in, and you’ll reach their archive. Sorry for any confusion.

Again, that link is http://www.cal-span.org/media.php?folder[]=CCC as mentioned in the main story. And the agenda item is 16e.

TO COMMENT OR READ COMMENTS GO TO: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/08/15/18790168.php?show_comments=1#18790173  or go to http://huffsantacruz.org/wordpress/category/hot-issues/ .

Freedom Sleep #58 In the Midst of Struggle Over RV Rights

 

Date Tuesday August 16

Time 5:00 PM Tuesday9:00 AM Wednesday

Location Details Bring bags, blankets, and bellies to the sidewalk and brick area in front of Santa Cruz City Hall.

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (article written by Norse)

Email keith@foodnotbombs.net

Phone 575-770–3377

 

 

ANOTHER TUESDAY NIGHT, ANOTHER NIGHT ON THE SIDEWALK

 

Another overnight is slated for tomorrow night in the continuing saga of persistent homeless (and housed) resistance to the City’s anti-homeless 11 PM – 8:30 AM Sleeping Ban (MC 6.36.010).

City Council returned from its summer recess last week, unrepentant as ever, with nothing on the agenda that would increase shelter or homeless services or restore the homeless right to be free from police persecution for life-sustaining behaviors. Mercifully, there will be no Council meeting this Tuesday night.

ACTIVIST UPDATES
Salinas activists have sustained a more recent, but more intense (nightly) protest at their City Hall. See “Following the Chinatown Homeless Sweeps, A New Tent Community Thrives at Salinas City Hall” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/08/02/18789777.php .

Some local activists noted that the entire City Council candidate roguepack was present at the Association of Faith Communities Election Forum last Thursday night–though there was little if any talk about the Freedom Sleepers protest, the Sleeping Ban, or the criminalization of the poor.

Andy Carcello was evicted from the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center and reported getting pneumonia sleeping on the street in front of the HLOSC. Shortly thereafter he required heart surgery and reports being “dumped’ in Salinas. Lucero Luna, a fiery Freedom Sleeper, has been in and out of jail for repeated defiance of the “stay in your blue box” Downtown Ordinances.

Continue reading

Unexpected Victory at Coastal Commission Overturning Nighttime RV Ban

The Coastal Commission today found by an 11-1 vote that the City’s midnight to 5 PM RV ban involved a “substantial issue” and so would require a new hearing in the months to come. Unimpressed with Assistant City Manager Scott Collins’s flimsy if not false claims that Santa Cruz provides RV alternatives, is dealing with an RV “crime crisis”, and is only duplicating what other cities have done.FLYER DISTRIBUTED TO THE COMMISSION AT THE HEARING

notes_for_a_coastal_commission_speech__final_flyer.pdf_600_.jpgDownload PDF

(230.1kb)

BREAKING THROUGH THE BULLSHIT
City councilfolks and staffers can bullshit themselves, but it’s harder to bullshit the Coastal Commission. In Santa Cruz, staff word is usually holy writ, so they can spin whatever yarns they want with challenge only from the occasional critic that the Council ignores. The Coastal Commission staff initially advised the Santa Cruz Council staff that last year’s proposed 8 PM to 8 AM RV ban would be too sweeping to pass muster once I’d filed an appeal at the recommendation of Councilmember Posner. The Coastal Commission staff, after months of consulting with the Scott Collins City Council staff, agreed to a “compromise” midnight to 5 AM ban, swallowing whole Collins’ specious arguments. The CC staff then recommended upholding the “RV’s Get Out!” law and denying my appeal.

Though they had plenty of time to research, both staffs failed to include the particulars. For instance, the (lack of) availability of RV parking in the City. Or the miniscule number of churches that actually allow an RV to park (where they have to compete with vehicles). In essence, Collins’ failed to come up with specific parking alternatives for unhoused people using RV’s as housing.

He had no specific statistics clarifying what “crimes” required passing such a Draconian city-wide ban. But claimed he had. A few simple questions from the Commission itself exposed the how unsubstantiated these claims were.

We brought up these issues repeatedly before City Council but were ostentatiously ignored. Arrogant politicians in an echo chamber suddenly run up against outside observers who, whatever their political preferences, have to consider real facts. Like denying coastal access to a whole class of people to please NIMBY neighborhoods.

Continue reading

HUFF meets at noon at the Cafe Pergolesi rather than the Sub Rosa Wednesday 8-10

HUFF testimony against the anti-RV law is slated for the  Coastal Commission meeting at 9 AM at the Scotts Valley Hilton at 3001 La Madrona Dr. on Wednesday morning.  The item may last until noon or may come up earlier.

As soon as the meeting is over, surviving HUFF members will meet at the Cafe Pergolesi since the Sub Rosa is closed for the morning.

On the agenda:  Next steps in the struggle to restore rights for RV’s; Council Capers–HUFF strategy in the election campaign at the election forums; collateral support for Freedom Sleeper issues;  and whatever you bring…

 

Sidewalk Struggle Continues: Freedom SleepOut #57 Tonight

Date Tuesday August 09
Time 5:00 PM – 9:00 AM

Location Details Ye Olde City Halle Sidewalke along Center St. across from the main library between Locust and Church
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author
Keith McHenry (post written by Norse)
Email
keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone
575-770–3377

Another round of persistent struggle to restore the Right to Rest for unhoused folks in Santa Cruz with coffee and soup support as well as the likely First Alarm Security wake-up’s and police surveillance.

RV DWELLERS FACE BAN RUBBERSTAMP ON WEDNESDAY MORNING
Wednesday morning 8-10 RV dwellers may watch the final nail in their coffin as far as the right to park at night in Santa Cruz goes. The likely pro-forma hearing will take place at the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley 6001 La Madrona Drive to start at 9 AM 8-10. For details, see “Say No to the Nighttime RV Ban at the Coastal Commission Hearing ” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/08/08/18789945.php .

ELECTION ANTICS BEGIN
Candidate forums for who’ll be warming City Council seats in November begin Thursday night 8-11 7 – 8.30pm at Peace United 900 High St. WARNING TO THE NEWCOMER: Such forums are usually highly controlled, though this one may be a bit more liberal. Usually more of a place to shmooze after the event than actually get a chance for meaningful public dialogue with the candidates.

Reportedly former Mayor Christopher Krohn has entered the race. While more liberal in rhetoric than most Councilmembers on many issues, he earned notoriety (and cost the City $200,000 in legal fees) for arresting a man at City Council for a silent protest involving a Nazi salute 14 years ago. He also declined to provide the promised independent voice against police abuse, for city council access, and for homeless civil rights.

SALINAS SLEEPOUT STILL GOING STRONG
Wes White, Salinas activist, reports the Flagpole Community is still holding its nightly (!) sleepout’s at Salinas City Hall as they enter their 5th month of nighttime beddown. As in Santa Cruz, the event is largely a homeless one, though White is an untiring (though very tired) activist and organizer. Contact him for information at 831-296-0042 or luckyagentwes [at] yahoo.com . Also check out Monterey County Homeless Advocates on facebook.

Four charged with Storage of Personal Property on City Property (i.e. setting down your backpack and tent while resting during the day) August 24th at 1:30 PM in Courtroom 7 facing misdemeanor penalties. White reports police have hit over 100 campsites stealing 4-5 tons of homeless property since they began attacks on March 23rd.

See Alex Darocy’s vivid coverage and narrative at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/08/02/18789777.php (“Following the Chinatown Homeless Sweeps, A New Tent Community Thrives at Salinas City Hall”). My most recent interview with White is at http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb160807.mp3 (34 minutes into the audio file).

FREEDOM SLEEPER ARRESTED MULTIPLE TIMES ON PACIFIC AVE.
Longtime outspoken Freedom Sleeper activist “Let ‘Em Have It!” Lucero Luna has been arrested multiple times on Pacific Avenue–most recently at the Metro–according to Steve Pleich’s facebook page. At one point she was being held on $5000 bail for what jail authorities would only identify as “Municipal Code” violations.

Artists Joff Jones and Alex Skelton have purchased a vehicle and were displaying their artwork on Pacific Avenue posted there and so not subject to the “Vanish the Vendors” law limiting folks to the performance pens or “blue/brass boxes” along the sidewalk. Arrested five times since last year for displaying their paintings, the two face trial 1:30 PM August 30 Dept. 10 on two counts under the new laws in the basement of the County Building. More details at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/07/25/18789452.php

HOMELESS MAN EVICTED FROM HOMELESS (LACK OF) SERVICES CENTER, GETS PNEUMONIA
Long time resident and volunteer Andy Carcello reported being evicted on August 1 from the Paul Lee loft in spite of a severe medical condition. On August 2nd he reports “[I was] laying outside the iron gates of SCHS; an ambulance was called for me; and I was immediately transported to Dominican Hospitals Emergency Room. I was dying from congestive heart failure, severe stenosis in two of my heart valves, and pneumonia. ” He reportedly went into heart surgery yesterday.

More info on the Freedom Sleepers is frequently available at https://www.facebook.com/groups/freedomsleepers/ . Donations of food, blankets, sleeping bags, and energy are always welcome.

This calendar event description was written by Robert Norse, who is alone responsible for its content.