Coastal Commission Likely to Rubberstamp Anti-Homeless RV Ban: Wednesday August 10

 Say No to the Nighttime RV Ban at the Coastal Commission Hearing

Date Wednesday August 10
Time 9:00 AM -into the afternoon
Location Details
Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley 6001 La Madrona Dr.Staff advises that the item (#16e on the Agenda) may not be heard until 10 AM or later, but suggests people come at 9 AM “to be sure”. They also warn that meetings may take until mid-afternoon or even evening. However 10-11 AM was the estimated (extremely approximate) time.

Event Type Other
Organizer/Author Robert Norse
rnorse3 [at]
Phone 831-423-4833

To call during the meeting only for input to the Coastal Commission:
(415) 407-3211.The full agenda packet for my appeal can be found at under Central Coast District, item 16e.

Only those who spoke or wrote to City Council around the anti-RV ordinance previously will be allowed to speak unless the Commission decides that a “substantial issue” is involved.

TEXT OF MY APPEAL [See attachment below]

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) opposes the proposed ban on RV parking city-wide during the nighttime hours of midnight to 5 AM. We believe it violates the City LDC as well as being part of a broader unstated anti-homeless policy of eliminating visible poverty from public areas without respecting the rights of the entire community to have access to those areas.

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.   [See attachment below for the rest of the letter]

10.40.120 No person shall stop, stand or leave standing any oversized vehicle on any public highway, street or city parking lot between the hours of 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. unless otherwise authorized under Municipal Code Chapter 10.40.120.

“Oversized vehicle” shall mean any motorized vehicle as defined of Section 670 of the Vehicle Code or combination of motorized vehicles and/or non-motorized vehicles or trailers that meets or exceeds twenty-two feet in length at any time or a combination of the two following criteria, exclusive of fixtures, accessories or property: seven feet in height and seven feet in width.
(a) To determine the height, width or length of the vehicles defined in this section, any extension to the vehicle caused by mirrors, air conditioners, or similar attachments as allowed by Section 35109, 35110 or 35111 of the Vehicle Code as may be amended shall not be included.
(b) Oversized vehicle does not include pickup trucks, vans, or sport utility vehicles, which are less than twenty-five feet in length and eight feet in height.”

ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS: City Council Staff was directed “to proceed with the Coastal Development Permit process with a no parking rule from 12:00 a.m. – 5 a.m.; and report back 3 months after the ordinance goes into effect with some options for additional measures in the ordinance that could possibly expand the hours, as well as a permitting option for RV parking.”

“New appeals undergo a two-step process before the Commission, known as the ‘substantial issue’ phase and the ‘de novo’ phase. At the ‘substantial issue’ phase, section 30625(b) of the Coastal Act requires the Commission to hear an appeal unless the Commission determines that no substantial issue is raised by the appeal.

If at least three Commissioners request to take public testimony at the substantial issue phase of the appeal prior to determining whether or not to hear an appeal, the only persons qualified to testify orally before the Commission are the applicants, persons who opposed the application before the local government (or their representatives), and the local government. Testimony from other persons must be submitted in writing.”

The appeal, in my view, is unlikely to get past the “substantial issue” phase, since Coastal staff, huddling with the City staff, has already found “no substantial issue” and its recommendation to defeat the appeal is being forwarded to the Commission. I am told the Commission rarely goes against the recommendations of its staff.

However, there seemed to be some confusion among the staff. One staffer was unaware that the law allows nighttime parking permits only to those who rent or own and not to unhoused people, van dwellers, and tourists unless local housed residents made application. Another knew about the exclusion of homeless from permits and apparently didn’t think its exclusion of those folks was significant.

To support those who are impacted by the “RV’s Begone!” law, those fighting gentrification and thinly disguised anti-homeless laws generally. This battle is likely lost (though you never can tell), but the struggle will continue. It may be a chance to meet and exchange contact information with folks living in RV’s or supporting those who do.

The fact remains that in Santa Cruz, affordable housing for the poor is often a vehicle. Banning nighttime RV parking is the yet another step in the continuing criminalizing process. For those who were (foolishly) hoping for real alternatives in the Presidential election, there are real struggles to be fought locally on a day-to-day basis that matter. Getting together with others may make that more likely.

Commission Phone Number before the hearing: 831-427-4863
Commission Phone Number during the hearing: 415-407-3211

coastal_rv_fight_flier_really_final.pdf_600_.jpgDownload PDF


For more event information:

Added to the calendar on Monday Aug 8th, 2016 9:26 PM iCal Import this event into your personal calendar.

§Text of Norse Appeal Letter to the Coastal Commission

by Robert Norse Monday Aug 8th, 2016 9:26 PM
coastal_commission_letter__revised.pdf_600_.jpgDownload PDF


I presented a similar letter to the Mathews City Council. Without any meaningful response.

§Letter of Support from Southern California Activist

by Robert Norse Monday Aug 8th, 2016 9:26 PM
kennedy_letter.pdf_600_.jpgDownload PDF


Peggy Lee Kennedy and attorney Carol Sobel have successfully expanded protections for the unhoused with the Jones decision and settlement formally overturning the L.A. nighttime sleeping and sitting ban and the Desertrain decision protecting people in vehicles.

Continue reading

HUFF sips coffee and broods on the sad scene tomorrow Wednesday 8-3-16 11 AM

HUFFsters will be toasting each other with the usual free coffee. 

Among the issues up for action:

Last Stand for RV Parking at Night at the Coastal Commission 8-10, After Freedom Sleeping, what next?, Storming the Council Candidate Forums,  Homeless Lives Matter!–examining the Campaign Zero planks of Black Lives Matter! and applying them to Santa Cruz; come prepared to table downtown in soldarity with the vanishing vendors…and more!


Freedom SleepOuts Continue as City Council Election Circus Begins

Night #56 on the Sidewalk; Another Demand for Justice

Date Tuesday August 02
5:00 PM Tuesday to 9 AM Wednesday
Location Details Create a Sidewalk City Adjacent to Santa Cruz City Hall
Event Type
Keith McHenry
Email keith [at]

As City Council Candidate chatter begins in August, Freedom Sleepers invite the Council candidates to join them on the sidewalk and publicly speak out against the anti-homeless 11 PM – 8:30 AM.

To check in on the latest contenders for 4 City Council seats in November, go to and then scroll down to List of Prospective 2016 Candidates.

Current declared candidates include J.M. Brown, Steven Pleich, Nathanael A. Kennedy, Drew “Dru” S. Glover, Martine Watkins, Mayor Cynthia Mathews, Steve Schnaar, James (Jim) P. Davis, Robert Singleton, and Sandra (Sandy) L. Brown. You can find links to their websites (those who have them) there. None of the candidates is clearly highlighting human rights restoration for the poor. Only Steve Pleich has actually spent nights with the Freedom Sleepers.

As with the national elections, the local elections are taking place within a corrupt money-heavy staff-powerful environment. Organizing around issues rather than candidates may be a much better idea.

Also ripe for removal–the laws that shut down parks at night and send out Rangers with ticket books and stay-away orders to harass the unhoused who seek refuge there.

As social services shut down all around Santa Cruz and the City welcomes tourist, Freedom Sleepers offer a sidewalk sanctuary and protest focus on Tuesday nights. You may be illegal, but at least you’re illegal in company.

With RV removal on the City Homeless-Removal Squad’s Agenda, community members are invited to remember that The Coastal Commission will hear an appeal of the city-wide nighttime parking ban, on Wednesday, August 10 at 9 AM at the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley at 6001 La Madrona Drive.

For more from RV activists themselves, check out

To speak about these issued on Free Radio Santa Cruz, call in Sunday 9:30 AM to 2 PM and Tuesdays 6-8 PM at 831-427-3772.

For updates and history on a variety of homeless issues, go to .

To follow current and recent Freedom Sleeper activity, compliments of Steve Pleich, go to

This notice and the attached flier are by Robert Norse–who is solely responsible for its content.