Still Pushing On—Freedom Sleepers Back Again at City Hall Tuesday for 82nd Tuesday

Date Tuesday January 31

Time 4:00 PM Tuesday -  9 AM Wednesday

Location Details On the sacred turf ot the City Hall courtyard itself as well as along the cement sidewalks of Center St. from Tuesday night to Wednesday mid-morning.

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse

Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net

Phone 575-770–3377

 

DROP IN ON THE SHITTY COUNCIL
The new “people friendly” Councilmembers (Krohn and Brown) still decline to announce their office hours or meeting times. Niroyan, Terrazas, and Chase have responded–but only Chase has regular office hours (Monday 10-12:30 pm). The first two will meet “by appointment”; Chase suggests the same. It’s not clear if the real power in town, City Manager Martin Bernal, has “office hours” or will even agree to meet by appointment.

However Freedom Sleeper supporters may remember that Councilmembers and Manager alike do have offices that are–supposedly–accessible to the public that is a building near the City Council chambers.

The employees and officials have their own special bathroom(s), which may account for why they have felt so free in the past to lock the public bathrooms adjacent to City Council, even during early daytime hours when they are supposed to be open.

Some have suggested this is particularly likely on mornings when the Freedom Sleepers are awakening, tired, soggy, and groggy from midnight SCPD rousts, morning ranger harassment. and drenching rain, compliments of being driven from under the eaves of buildings.

ARM THE HOMELESS WITH VIDEO AND BEEF UP THEIR RESISTANCE WITH BLANKETS & TENTS
Interested supporters are invited to bring their video devices down to the Freedom SleepOut–Wednesday morning if you can’t make the overnight sleepout–to give power-amped park officials a wider You-Tube audience for their “you’re homeless and can’t be here” activities.   Homeless folks short of survival gear also appreciate donations.

TRASH PICK-UPS AND SERVICES FOR AN OAKLAND ENCAMPMENT
Citations, property confiscations, and move-alongs for the Santa Cruz homeless. While the Oakland City Council’s assistance to homeless encampments may be limited, it’s definite. They are still flying the fantasy that they’ll move even a small number into housing by the end of March, but as with most “plans to end homelessness”, most of the funding goes to the poverty pimps, consultants, talkers, and entrepreneurs.

Still even the limited start acknowledges that even the fearsome heroin-using population will serve by hook or crook. It’s better to acknowledge reality than to deny it. With all the Housing First! chatter of the last few years (indicating get housing before worrying about drug or alcohol use), perhaps it’s time for Encampments First!–in the absence of housing.

Though it’s the usual splashy in-your-face sensationalist “drug users” headlines, still there’s some interesting information at http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Oakland-s-aid-to-homeless-camps-reveals-extent-10891626.php?cmpid=gatehp And a lesson there for Santa Cruz–both economic and moral.

VOLUNTEERS WANTED TO EXAMINE PUBLIC RECORDS
After many months, the SCPD has finally agreed to cough up records that would clarify the breadth of class profiling, discrimination, and impact that cops have had on the poor outside. It would also make clear the extent of racial profiling–where and if that is happening. Poring over the citations requires a commitment of time and energy in the bowels of the police station. HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) is on the lookout for volunteers. Call 423-4833; come to the HUFF Wednesday 11 AM meeting at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific, or e-mail rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND COMMENTARY GO TO  https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/30/18796033.php.

On the sacred turf ot the City Hall courtyard itself as well as along the cement sidewalks of Center St. from Tuesday night to Wednesday mid-morning.

HUFF plunges into the Public Records; Meeting 11 AM 1-25 Wednesday at the friendly Sub Rosa Cafe

HUFF gathers its limited resources to examine recently released Public Records documenting police arrests over the last year, reexamining the “merchants uber alles” policies of the police in going after handicraft vendors and performers downtown, and an examination of new ties with new activists groups at the Dawn of Trumpiana.  We have coffee to help drown your despair.

Rain-Drenched and Dismissed by Mainstream Protest, Freedom Sleep #81 Won’t Quit

Date Tuesday January 24

Time 4:00 PM Tuesday9:00AM Wednesday
Location Details Expect light rain at City Hall where Freedom Sleepers will gather both under the eaves and later along the sidewalk after the likely midnight police raids driving them out to get drenched. Thousands of Women’s March protesters crowded the same area Sunday filled with righteous anti-Trump anger but visibly indifferent to City Council’s abuse of unhoused and unprotected women outside here. Denounce nationally. Ignore locally.
Event Type  Protest
Organizer/Author  Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email  keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone  575-770–3377ANOTHER CONTENT-FREE COUNCIL CLUCK-A-THON
The 2:30 PM City Council agenda ignores homeless and housing issues as well as abusive police practices, local income equality, and discriminatory law creation and enforcement. Will bathrooms adjacent to the area likely to be locked early, facilitating staff smears of homeless folks as dirty and uncivilized in their toilet behavior? A safe bet.

Will Parks and Recreation boss Mauro Garcia’s department rope off large areas around the building to “ensure order” inside as was frequently the case last year? Perhaps not. Will the Freedom Sleepers again form their own community of mutual support, share food, and resist police harassment? Most likely.
RECORDS STILL BEING WITHHELD
Cops withheld records documenting their enforcement of homeless-hostile laws criminalizing homeless survival behavior for over a year. On Monday, the City Clerk released arrest and citation records, but removed all mention of race of address. This editing makes it impossible to document the specific selective harassment and heavy impact leveled against the poor outside. In prior years, close examination of the records has shown hundreds of $200 tickets being given out for such “crimes” as being in a park after “closing” or sleeping after 11 PM outside or in a vehicle. REPORTS FROM ELSEWHERE
Local Santa Cruz RV activist Julie, whose facebook page Santa Cruz Fulltimers carries updated stories of RV struggles, has posted stories of crackdowns in other cities. Will activists there use Coastal Commission requirements to fight back as we have done with some success in Santa Cruz? Hope so.San Rafael City and County play ping pong with homeless vehicle dwellers: http://www.marinij.com/government-and-politics/20160905/san-rafael-vehicle-dwellers-fight-parking-ban

Santa Barbara bumbuster bureaucrats convene to remove poor-in-RV’s from town:

http://www.noozhawk.com/article/santa_barbara_oversized_vehicles_enforcement_rv_parking

STEPPED UP PROTESTS IN RAINY WEATHER
Last week Food Not Bombs soupstirrer Keith McHenry and weary copwatcher “Push Back” Pat Colby reported repeated “wake up and get out” rousts by rangers and cops at Freedom SleepOut #80.

Dreamcatcher, a long-time Freedom Sleeper, reported Monday night that police told him he could sleep anywhere but at City Hall if he’d abandon his protest. This, and more property confiscation, led him to announce his departure from the protest.


Lawrence “the Viper”, on the other hand, while also reporting police theft today, insisted he’d be back to pitch his tent at Freedom SleepOut #81. His signature tent, sleeping bag, and blankets are reportedly in lockup at police HQ, perhaps to test his stamina against driving rain and near-freezing temperatures.


71-year-old Sharee—who said she slept on cardboard last week, also reported being driven out from under the protective corridors of City hall last week.

WHISPERS OF MORE PROMIENT PROTEST ACTION
Though some are skeptical, others suggest the massive Trump-activated protests may swell the ranks of local anti-poverty activists. One activists has spoken of moving the Freedom Sleepers down to a more prominent post on Pacific Avenue. Others have suggested making use of the heated City Hall buildings, wastefully empty at night. “Vacant Buildings are the Crime”, noted one.

Meanwhile it’s still hot soup Tuesday night, police harassment Wednesday morning, comforting coffee at breakfast time—all under the friendly drizzle of irregular showers. Who could ask for anything more? Bring tarps, blankets, sleeping bags, video devices, and high spirits.

TOO FRAIL, SICK OR SLEEPY TO JOIN THE PROTEST? THERE ARE OTHER ALTERNATIVES.
For those not eager to trek to the edge of town to seek a 4 PM place in the 110 person Winter Shelter program, “Big Drum” Brent Adams has announced a one-night Warming Center at the Red Church on Tuesday night.

HUFF again with us at the Sub Rosa Wednesday 1-16-17 11 AM

Between cups of coffee and questionable munchies, we’ll brood on Resurgent Freedom Sleepers and Unhoused Encampment Protest Elsewhere, Raising Local Homeless Issues In the Midst- of Rising Anti-Trump Protest, Sockin It To the Sign Scofflaws in the Pacific Ave. Shops, Manifesto to the New Mayor, and anything else that troubles our little crew.

19th Annual Homelessness Marathon Schedule on Thursday Afternoon 1-19 from 4pm to 8 pm

The show can be accessed at www.freakradio.org (on Free Radio Santa Cruz) or directly off the Homeless Marathon website at

Watch this page for technical updates. PRSS To subscribe to the Homelessness Marathon on Content Depot, enter the term “Homelessness” in the Content Depot search …

2017 SCHEDULE

times listed are EST
Each hour after the first begins with a short segment, a five-minute pre-recorded report, followed by a long 53-minute live segment. These short and long segments are marked on the broadcast schedule below. In addition to what is marked, we will be taking calls throughout the broadcast.

HOUR 1
7pm
LONG: Our host “Nobody” opens with members of Preble Street Resource Center joining him in studio. Cheri Honkala, head of Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (and 2012 Green Party VP candidate) speaks with a group of homeless people. Also, Patricia Colby, homeless woman living in van, Santa Cruz homeless activist.
HOUR 2
8pm
SHORT: Street Poetry

LONG: Eric Sheptock, homeless in DC shelter and leading DC homeless activist. Paul Boden, formerly homeless, head of Western Regional Advocacy Project. Robert Warren, formerly homeless, head of People For Fairness, DC homeless advocacy group.
HOUR 3
9pm
SHORT: Street Poetry

LONG: Tasha Lemley, former editor of Nashville homeless paper with homeless people. Michael Reyes, runs food truck and feeds homeless people for free in defiance of City of Phoenix.

HOUR 4
10pm
SHORT: Street Poetry

LONG: “Alice,” an older woman living in L.A. in her car while fully employed but unable to find housing because of gentrification. Los Angeles Poverty Department, an artists group working with homeless people, some of whom will be on hand to speak on the air.

Freedom SleepOut Enters Its 80th Week Challenging Trumpist Sleeping Ban Locally

Location Details Alongside City Hall across from the Main Library on Center St. In Vehicles, sleeping bags, and under tarps and tents. The protest runs from Tuesday afternoon to mid-morning Wednesday. Bring plenty of warm gear to use and to share. Hot soup and morning coffee are usually available.
Event Type
Protest
Organizer/Author
Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone
575-770–3377

With numbers somewhat diminished from 3 AM police roust-em-into-the-rain raids, the occasionally-open Warming Center, and the walk-to-the-outskirts-of-town-to-get-sheltered-downtown Winter Shelter program, Freedom Sleepers continue their year and a half Tuesday night vigil.

PROTESTS AGAINST TRUMP
There are protests aplenty planned for the Trump Coronation coming up this weekend (elsewhere on this website). Missing however is any focus on halting repressive policies being pushed by both DemoRats and RepubliCons. These polices most obviously include continued warmongering, wealth privilege, police power, extensive deportations, and–most especially–attacks on the poor outside. In Santa Cruz neither Democrats, Republicans, or Greens in office have moved to stop criminalization of the homeless or acted to secure their most basic survival rights.

UPCOMING
Between 4 PM and 5 PM Thursday January 19, Freedom Sleeper Pat Colby will be joining the 19th Annual Homelessness Marathon–which will stream on Free Radio Santa Cruz at http://www.freakradio.org or directly from their home website at http://news.homelessnessmarathon.org/2011/01/for-stations.html . More info at http://news.homelessnessmarathon.org/ . The entire broadcast runs from 4 PM to 8 PM.

Tenant activists are planning a free meal and story-swaping session where you can ” meet other renters and learn about rights you have under state, county, and city law. Plus presentations on successful renter protection actions. Sunday at 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM at 517B Mission Street. No landlords or property managers invited!

ELSEWHERE
First They Came for the Homeless Encampment in Berkeley In 16th Move: Interview with activists Mike Lee and Sara Menefee at http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb170115.mp3 (1 hour and 14 minutes into the audio file)

A new vigil at SF City Hall and a 24-Hour vigil for the recently-dead Homeless by Homeless and Activists rather than the Traditional Annual Mourn-Today-and-Watch-’em-Die-Tomorrow Remembrance: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/15/18795366.php

In Salinas the Monterey County Union of the Homeless huddled for its 1st Anniversary Strategy Session yesterday. See http://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/2017/01/16/homeless-advocates-invoke-mlk-spirit/96646004/

In Sacramento, city bosses respond to pressure from media and activists to open winter refuge from the storms: See https://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/storm-of-shame-social-media/content?oid=23337757

Sign the Petition to Stop Raids on Berkeley’s First They Came for the Homeless Encampment

NOTE FROM NORSE:  The attacks on the 3 month old First They Came for the Homeless Encampment in Berkeley and “get out of town” harassment and exclusion practices of Berkeley police and so-called
social services must end.   Santa Cruz cops and their Ranger friends do the same here towards our weekly Freedom Sleepers and the broader unhoused community with our “new” City Council silent as near-freezing temperatures and cold rains assault folks, stripped of their survival gear and forced to move from the shelter of the edges of buildings.
I’m no fan of “Move On” e-mails generally, but First They Came for the Homeless (go to https://www.facebook.com/firsttheycameforthehomeless/ ) has asked that there be a flood of e-mails, and this is one way to do it.  Nor am I necessarily in agreement with every decision made by that group, but it’s clear that the regular and toxic attacks on the poor outside can only be stopped by community pressure.   What I call “local Trumpism”–which has long been the policy both in Berkeley and Santa Cruz has to be fought with local pushback.
First they came for the homeless. 3,164 likes · 148 talking about this. Action campaign for human rights.

 

Subject: City of Berkeley: Stop Raids on the Homeless
Hi,
I signed a petition to Berkeley City Council and Dee Williams-Ridley, City Manager titled “City of Berkeley: Stop Raids on the Homeless”.
Will you sign this petition? Click here:
Thanks!

Freedom SleepOut #79 Swims Toward Justice Tuesday Night

Date Tuesday January 10- Wednesday January 11
Time
4:00 PM Tuesday -  9 AM Wednesday
Location Details Under the eaves of City Hall until driven away by “peace officers” and “park protection rangers” and then on the wet sidewalks outside City Hall. Bring cardboard, canvas, protective gear, video, and friends. The protest runs from 4 PM today to mid-morning Wednesday.
Event Type
Protest
Organizer/Author
Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

ANOTHER NIGHT OF ENDURANCE
In wretched cold wet weather, the Freedom Sleepers continue the vigil that was begun 78 weeks before outside the offices of the City Council members who have the power to end the Sleeping Ban, permit protective encampments, open up vacant buildings for shelter, and actually protect the homeless population instead of criminalizing them.

City Council however, has nothing on its agenda for its first meeting of the year–in the shortest meeting scheduled in memory. Ironically one of the only two regular proposals is a Sanctuary proposal for undocumented workers. Meanwhile, police active persecute and harass the city’s own displaced poor.

KROHN’S OPTIONS
Councilmember Krohn will be meeting with the public 9 AM today at the Cafe Pergolesi at Cedar and Elm Streets this morning before the vigil. He has the power to request police reports on the amount of ticketing and harassment done throughout the winter and in the last year (records still withheld by the police department). He can pressure the opening of bathrooms at night by demanding detailed reports on the actual needs of a homeless population of 1000-2000.

He can openly demand documentation of the amount of homeless property taken by police and rangers and insist that such seizures of survival gear stop (as the Denver mayor has finally done). There are many such demands of staff that do not require a Council vote (which he’s not likely to get).

THE SCPD’S THROW-THEM-OUT-IN-THE-RAIN POLICY
At the last Freedom Sleepout in freezing rains, homeless advocate Dreamcatcher reported that police drove homeless sleepers out from under the protective eaves of City Hall into the rain and cold with no alternative places to go. The private Warming Center program and the 110-capacity Winter Shelter program have no shelter for more than 90% of the city’s homeless population. Police have reportedly made it a point in the particularly cruel weather to station vehicles outside public buildings to make sure the poor don’t dare to huddle under the overhangs for protection.

TENANTS ORGANIZING
The SC Tenant Organizing Committee plans a Tenants’ Community Meal on January 22nd! See https://www.facebook.com/events/404150676591692/ or call (831)-471-7842 for more info.
A broader union with tenants facing imminent homelessness could be a strong force for change.   Late afternoon organizing and door-knocking is planned for 1-10 @ 5pm, 1-12 @ 5:30pm, 1-15 @ 4pm, and 1-16 @ 5pm.

STANDING UP FOR JUSTICE
Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs responding to half a dozen arrests over the weekend of food servers in Tampa, Florida, will be joining in a solidarity feeding and protest 4 PM Saturday January 14th outside the Main Post Office.

RISING UP TOGETHER
Salinas Union of the Homeless will have its 2nd annual celebration at 22 Soledad St. 10 AM – 1 PM at the CSUMB Learning Center on Monday, January 16, 2017, Martin Luther King Day. Contact HUFF at 423-4833 for more information, or come to the Wednesday January 11th HUFF meeting at 11 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe.

DOWNTOWN STRUGGLE CONTINUES
Meanwhile in Santa Cruz, activist artists Joff Jones and Alex Skelton have blown the whistle on selective police enforcement against street artists, activists, and performers. See “Selective Enforcement documented on Pacific Ave” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/08/18795200.php .

Come prepared for wet weather and icy reception from uniformed thugs armed with the power of law and the force to lethally enforce it. Hot soup will likely be available.

Fight Back on Selective Enforcement and Merchant Privilege on Pacific Avenue

NORSE’S NOTES: A recent story on Santa Cruz indymedia (“Selective Enforcement documented on Pacific Ave. in Santa Cruz, CA” at https://www.indybay.org/santacruz/ ) highlights the well-known SCPD and Ranger harassment of vendors, performers, and other tablers on Pacific Avenue will giving merchants with their display devices and unpermitted signs a free pass.

Anti-performer and anti-activist laws (also known as the Downtown Ordinances) were originally designed in 1994 to go after homeless folks and peaceful sparechangers (as well as to give police broader powers to go after youth, minorities, and anyone who didn’t “feel right” to businesses and police). Some of them are itemized at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/08/29/18657087.php

In order to pass constitutional muster, the “h” word couldn’t be used or it would violate the 5th and 14th Amendments (equality under the law).

As the noose was drawn tighter with expanded forbidden-to-sit zones and a 1 hour “move along” law in 2002/3 and further expansions in 2009, merchants continued to violate the law.

According to the city clerk’s office some years ago, it was never legal, for instance, for stores to put up free standing signs on the sidewalk advertising their stores. There was not even a permit process for doing so.  Yet merchants regularly have done so.  Police and city enforcement officials have turned a blind eyes.

The “performance pens” set up by City Council in 2014 (and then severely restricted unilaterally and behind closed doors by city staff) are routinely ignored by merchants when they display their wares, preempting more of the little public space left to the rest of us.

It’s striking to me to read the July 16 letter from Martinez and Khoury [below].  I will be making a Public Records Act demanding copies of all citations issued since the letter was written.

An obvious thing to do is to begin calling the police on various merchants to cite merchants for violating the law and arrogantly expropriating the public space.  Then document what police do or don’t do.   And publicize it.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) previously considered advising merchants that we’d like them to join in a coalition to support giving individuals the same right to set up their tables as merchants have.   Otherwise, for every citation given a street performer, vendor, activist, or homeless panhandler, there would be a specific documented complaint made out against a store owner with a display device sitting out on the sidewalk.

I’d be happy to support folks doing this.

In fact, I’ll be bringing it up as an action item at the next HUFF meeting (Wednesday January 11th 11 AM at the Sub Rosa).

Here are some selections from The Jones/Skelton Report on indybay at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/08/18795200.php that exposes this practices.

For more photos, video, and to make comments, go to: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/08/18795200.php

 

                              A little over six months ago park Rangers began patrolling downtown Santa Cruz, CA in part to enforce new ordinances which modify and restrict activity for anyone placing anything on the public sidewalks and open spaces of downtown Santa Cruz. These ordinances have had major implications for musicians, street performers, artists, political advocates, and anyone else wishing to use the public spaces for many forms of constitutionally protected activity (see SCMC Chapter 5.81, below).
                             They are required to be located within a “zone” or “box” 4×6 feet in size, leave after one hour, and follow additional restrictions. These spaces have been reduced in number progressively by more than half over the last couple of years, with few viable spaces remaining. Businesses have also long used public spaces and sidewalks to display merchandise and signage. They received a letter dated July 21, 2016 (see photo, below) outlining the need for their compliance with the new laws. Rangers and Santa Cruz police issued citations for violations of these codes, and many performers, artisans, and other individuals who weren’t allowed under the new code, or weren’t “in a zone,” or were there longer than one hour, were cited. As the months wore on and the business signage and racks of merchandise began to reappear along the avenue, there has been no apparent concern by law enforcement at their daily presence (almost never “in a zone,” and often displaying “banned items”).
                               Many individual citizens and visiting performers to Santa Cruz continue to be cited for various related “offenses,” however. Tickets we have seen have all been in excess of $300.00.

See below for additional photo documentation, the letter from law enforcement, and Santa Cruz municipal code Chapter 5.81:

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Shelter Expansion & Investigative Scrutiny Contrasts Sharply With Santa Cruz’s

NOTES BY NORSE:  Santa Ana–a City that was the focus on extensive legal action on behalf of the homeless 25 years ago– has transformed a retrofitted bus terminal downtown into a 24-hour homeless shelter serving hundreds of people.  Criticisms by those upset by the overcrowding, harsh treatment, and favoritism are chronicled below in these Voice of Orange County articles (see also the links in the story below).  However apparently legal pressure and the (now unlikely) prospect of federal intervention (as happened in the Bell v. Boise case) did prompt a massive if typically off-target expenditure to open up what may be the largest shelter on the West Coast.

                           Santa Cruz, in contrast, has essentially eliminated year-round shelter services at its Homeless (Lack of) Services Center.   Gone areboth the emergency shelter element (which was never more than 50 spaces) & the free meal aspect (shut down completely after June 2015)–actions that prompted the ongoing Freedom Sleeper demonstrations at City Hall. Fences, security guards, and ID cards have replaced the open campus practices of past years–apparently as a sop to NIMBY locals in the Harvey West Neighborhood Association and bigoted community groups like Take Back Santa Cruz.  Disabled and ill clients have been literally thrown out on the street–to be subsequently hospitalized like Andy Carcero.  Others have periodically set up protest campsites outside demanding fair treatment.  Mainstream and “alternative” media, unlike Orange County media, have paid no attention to the abuses at Coral Street and its slow steady descent into a prison-like posture.   And for the thousands outside without even the possibility of shelter City Council throws money at police, rangers, and security thugs to “move along” disabled folks out into the rain from under the eaves of buildings.   When will the simple realities of the presence of homeless people on the streets finally force authorities to abandon police-state tactics in favor of real resources?  No time soon, I fear, without street and legal pressure.

                             Homeless voices will be speaking out in the annual Homelessness Marathon January 19th (http://news.homelessnessmarathon.org/ ).  For those interested in reading the (partial) Homeless Death toll in Santa Cruz over the years, go to https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/12/20/18794863.php?show_comments=1#18795041 .

 

The Kraemer Place plan was always driven by supervisorial ego and public relations – not practicality. Everybody was emotionally invested in the big expenditure on a permanent building. The more it cost the better the County liked it.  That $10,000,000 could have been invested in rapid solutions to the most pressing problems.  It’s not even in the right place. So it will need a whole new transportation apparatus.  P.S. it’s not being “fast-tracked.” That’s govspeak. It was already (predictably) behind schedule so they are adding a quicker, sleep on the floor option.

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