11 AM 1-30-19 Conscience and Action meeting: Follow-Up on Krohn-Glover Council Heat at the Sub Rosa; HUFF meets at noon

 On the Conscience and Action Agenda:

  • Creating activist avenues to provide humanity, dignity, services, and expanded space to  the Ross Campers and other camps around the City;
  • wresting the $10 million from poverty pimps;
  • restoring rights and safe parking for folks who homes are on wheels,
  • a fundamental revision and restoration of laws and police practices around homeless in public spaces,
  • reopening and expanding vitally needed public restrooms, hand-washing stations, laundry access, and
  • solidarity with the more militant tenant movement to provide immediate protection from rent profiteering.
  • Parallel actions to move forward a promised February 12th Activist Agenda at City Council and solidarity with other organizations taking Direction Actions for Renters, Immigrants, and Those Outside.
For HUFFsters (also invited to join the C & A Agenda):

HUFF has again pushed ahead its usual 11 AM Wednesday meeting to noon.
  • Further review of the “No Policies to be Changed” answer of Chief Andy Mills at the Press Conference/Speak-Out at the Police Station focusing on Harassment of Vehicular Residents
  • Solidarity with Berkeley activists defending People’s Park against new attacks.
  • Confronting Council Crapola–end contraction of public comment under Mayor Martine Watkins and demand the “Progressive 4″ defend the right of the public to speak on all agenda items for adequate time–whether at the afternoon or evening sessions, whether on the regular or Consent agendas.  And create real democratic process.
  • Tenants in Trouble—organizing with students, renters, elderly, disabled groups to establish mutual power and solidarity.
  • Ross Camp Connections–and Contacts with Homeless-on-the-edge throughout Santa Cruz.
  • Homeless (Lack of) Service Center Update–Changes or More of the Same: an Examination of the latest answers from workers inside.
  • SCPD: demanding revelation of surveillance devices throughout the City, police records on use of force, selective enforcement, racial profiling.  Protests to open the property room during regular SCPD hours daily.
  • Hosing down the Poverty Pimps at Coral Street: Where are the Showers?
  • Restoration of services out at MHCAN?  Pleich’s Board of Directors still slumbering?
  • Report from the state Union of the Homeless including the MLK Day rally at homeless camps in Chico, Paradise, Marysville, and the River Bottom.
  • Improving Support Between Activist Groups Concerning New Models for Homeless Self-Determination and Mutual Aid
Come and share coffee, questions, and answers at 703 Pacific (next to the Bike Church) with C & A,  at 11 AM, HUFF at noon.
  • Support the Downtown Santa Cruz Bathroom Task Force, Food Not Bombs,  the Ross Emergency Campground, the Warming Center’s 24 Hour Storage Program, HUFF, Conscience and Action, Monterey County Homeless Advocates, HomeFree, and other activists in documenting, providing resources, & publicizing the situation.
  •   Back up homeless efforts to organize either in protest or to demand adequate and accessible facilities.
  •   Exchange information with other supporters there to generate more communication and better solutions in the future.
  •   Listen in to Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides at freakradio.org every Thursday 6-8 PM, Sundays 9:30 AM- 3 PM
  •   If you must, expropriate items from chain stores.  Don’t steal from vulnerable fellow homeless!

Sunday 1-27-19 9:30 AM-3 PM at www.freakradio.org Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides: Tips and Tidbits from Wes White, Brent Adams, Steve Pleich, Alicia Kuhl & Bathrobespierre Robert

 On the show today:

  • More Tidbits from the Tail End of the Martin Luther King Day Confab
  • “Whip ‘Em Into Shape” Wes White Reports on Union of the Homeless’s 4-City March
  • White Officer Winston Tasers Black Alan Black to Death–and Gets Away With It.
  • Video of the Last Minutes of Alan Black’s life: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/anton-black-case-calls-for-independent-investigation-of-teens-death-during-police-struggle/
  • “Act Now” Alicia Kuhl’s Updates on RV Harassment
  • “Bureaucrats Beware!” Brent Adams Reflects on the Nearby Ross Camp
  • Sips from downtown Lips: Frank Coronary and the HeartAttacks, Angela, Mathew,
  • James W. Loewen–”Lies My Teacher Told Me About Christopher Columbus”
The entire show will be archived sometime Sunday at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html under Latest Show – 1/27/19

Check-It-Out Chatter and Chidings from Santa Cruz Vandweller Julie (Check her out on facebook at RV Fulltimers)

  • Donate to Existing Homeless Encampments, not Poverty-Pimp Posturers–Winter Survival Demands Blankets, Water, Tarps, Portapotties & Trash Pick-Up’s
  • Community and City Council Take Note!–Ross Camp Needs: Potable Water for Drinking and Grey Water for Washing, Laundry Access so Clothes Don’t Mildew, a Drainage System Against the Rains, More Space in a 2nd spot
  • Demand Immediate Council/Supervisor Support for the Hundreds of Refugees Outside in Freezing Weather
  • Support Food Not Bombs,  the Warming Center’s 24 Hour Storage Program, HUFF, Conscience and Action, Monterey County Homeless Advocates,  and other activists in documenting, providing resources, & publicizing the situation.
  •  Check out Homeless Outside in Santa Cruz  on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HomelessOutsideSantaCruz/ for updates.
  •   Read Updates and Post Them on Santa Cruz Indymedia at https://www.indybay.org/santa-cruz/
  •   Back up homeless efforts to organize either in protest or to demand adequate and accessible facilities.
  •   Exchange information with other supporters there to generate more communication and better solutions in the future.
  •   Listen in to Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides at freakradio.org Thursdays 6-8 PM, Sundays 9:30 AM- 3 PM
  •   Hear archived shows at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html .  Call in with street reports and commentary: 831-423-4833.
  •   If you must, expropriate items from chain stores.  Don’t steal from vulnerable fellow homeless!

Bathrobespiere’s Broadsides radio show streams tonight (1-24-19) at 6 PM at www.freakradio.org

 Free Radio Santa Cruz still still offers a reward of $300 for info leading to a 10′ X 10′ studio space with bathroom, internet, and electrical access–either indoors or out (we’ll build a structure).  Help us so we can help you!


Tonight’s show streams at freakradio.org and archives at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html
On tonight’s show:
  • “Minicemeat” Martine Watkins Cuts Down Oral Communication to 1 Minute, cuts off speakers short of the 30 minute time, and excludes speakers from Public Comment on the Just Eviction Law: a “Progressive” City Council in Action?
  • Martin Luther King Day Capers–Chief Mills leads a parade of self-congratulating liberals ignoring local issues of racism, homeless harassment, and police abuse
  • Bits and Pieces from Here and There–Tune in and Find out!

Conscience and Action meeting with Councilman Krohn Wednesday 1-23-19 at the Sub Rosa; HUFF meets at noon

Councilmember Krohn sent the following e-mail to C & A member Steve Pleich:

I was told by the city manager earlier last week that we would have a homeless “update” on the city council agenda for Tues. Jan 22nd.  I thought we could have a full-on discussion concerning issues of the camp, the $10 million from state to county, an RV parking area, how to expand and fully fund substance abuse programs, adding social workers to our streets and pd patrol cars, adding additional public restrooms and hand-washing stations, and the search for a 24/7 shelter, but much to my chagrin it is missing from the agenda.
We need to push for this to return on  Feb. 5th or perhaps earlier at a special meeting perhaps on Jan 29th. There is a crisis and one of our priorities as a city council must be to address it.
best, Chris Krohn
HUFF has generously pushed ahead its usual 11 AM Wednesday meeting to noon.   Further review of the “No Policies to be Changed” answer of Chief Andy Mills at the Press Conference/Speak-Out at the Police Station focusing on Harassment of Vehicular Residents

RV survivor Alicia says she again will be there along with other RV residents to discuss our next steps.  Alicia and her family (a husband and 3 children) report continued sightings but no move-along citations, tickets, or midnight bangings from Enforcer Joe Haebe–celebrated by Mills as a decorated officer for his many tickets and tows.
Other Likely topics:

HUFF Agenda Prospects:
  • Council Crapola–procedural poopoo of Mayor Martine Watkins with her sudden reduction of Oral Communications and Public Comment time to 1 minute at the 1-22 Council meeting prompted some HUFF members to demand the “Progressive 4″ call for requiring the Mayor to provide 3 minutes of time.
  • Tenants in Trouble–the fracturing of what some hoped would be a Progressive majority prompted the indefinite tabling of the Just Eviction ordinance and no protections for tenants.
  • Felker Street and Tannery residents are calling for more restrictions and relocations for the Ross camp residents
  • Homeless (Lack of) Service Center Update–Changes or More of the Same: an Examination of the latest answers from workers inside.
  • SCPD capers:  Reviewing police records perhaps to check for the frequency of Stay-Away Orders and Racial Profiling–a possible field trip after the meeting.
  • Getting Council t0 mandate change of the “open only 4 hours a week” SCPD property retrieval
  • A Laundry List of Reminders for the Incoming Shitty Council
  • Is Winter Shelter access any less difficult with its e-mail sign-up requirements than last month?  How are conditions out at the 7th Avenue Shelter and Salvation Army?
  • Any restoration of services out at MHCAN?  Is the Board of Directors still slumbering?
  • Report from the state Union of the Homeless including the MLK Day rally at homeless camps in Chico, Paradise, Marysville, and the River Bottom.
Come and share coffee, questions, and answers at 703 Pacific (next to the Bike Church) with C & A, Krohn and the Councilettes at 11 AM, HUFF at noon.

  • Support the Downtown Santa Cruz Bathroom Task Force, Food Not Bombs,  the Ross Emergency Campground, the Warming Center’s 24 Hour Storage Program, HUFF, Conscience and Action, Monterey County Homeless Advocates, HomeFree, and other activists in documenting, providing resources, & publicizing the situation.
  •   Back up homeless efforts to organize either in protest or to demand adequate and accessible facilities.
  •   Exchange information with other supporters there to generate more communication and better solutions in the future.
  •   Listen in to Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides at freakradio.org every Thursday 6-8 PM, Sundays 9:30 AM- 3 PM
  •   If you must, expropriate items from chain stores.  Don’t steal from vulnerable fellow homeless!

Police-Led Martin Luther King Day March, Lots of Smiles, Little Substance

This article also available (hopefully) at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/22/18820615.php


I joined the MLK parade, annoyed at the annual pomp and ceremony, sterilizing, sanitizing, and snoozifying his real message-to act locally against war, racism, and poverty. The flyers I distributed lay out some of the specifics that I often echo on this website. At least one speaker at the civic Auditorium noted it was, for the second year, police-led–the final bitter icing on the fluffy cake of expropriating, transforming, and degrading King’s original message and work.
Download PDF (833.0KB)
HOLLOW VOID OF HUZZAHS`
Almost entirely absent from the event was any discussion of local racism, police abuse, or institutional anti-homeless city policies. Some folks presented with flyers raising these concerns turned up their noses and marched on in bright array.

I’ve raised this issue in prior parades. See https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/01/16/18805901.php There were hundreds perhaps more than 1000 in the parade, but fewer on the sidelines cheering or watching than last year.

UNANSWERED RV QUESTIONS
I shouted a taunting inquiry at Police Chief Mills as he left Civic Auditorium. The question was also raised in Alicia Kuhl’s press conference with Chief Mills the week before: “When are you going to stop harassing the RV dwellers?” He left it unanswered, of course, as he stiffly strode away.

The indybay story (including the Sentinel article) covering the continuing SCPD harassment of RV’s can be found at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/16/18820421.php?show_comments=1#18820535 .

Other activists I spoke with also mentioned the lack of local issues in the bevy of “distinguished speakers” lining the podium inside the Civic Auditorium. I regretted my own cowardice in not shouting out important questions and challenging the self-satisfied police-congratulating celebration joined in with a standing ovation.

FOXES LEADING THE CHEERING CHICKENS PARADE?
I continue to wonder when the NAACP–the parade co-sponsor–will stand up publicly and hold Mills’s SCPD accountable for its behavior towards poor folks and minorities. And, in particular, hold individual officers accountable publicly for abuses when they happen.

Mills still declines to explain why he omits race from his infraction citation summaries. He has not responded to requests for specifics of the when and where folks were tasered, struck with a baton, choke-holded, pain-complianced, or confronted with a drawn gun. He misrepresents his Parks and Recreation Rangers use of “trespass” to load up homeless people who sleep in public parks and “closed areas” at night with unpayable fines.

His police and rangers have been commended for generally leaving the Gateway/Ross camp alone, but most folks outside are not in that camp and must deal with harassment, citations, and property seizures for “trespassing on public property”.

NOT NEW ISSUES
Over a year ago, I raised these and other questions with Mills publicly. Additionally Steve Schnaar, both this year and last, wrote questioning the consistency if not the hypocrisy of the head cop leading the MLK parade. My questions remain unanswered and his concerns haven’t been addressed either.

These are behaviors that MLK, one presumes, would be exposing and resisting.. It seems particularly twisted to be allowing the SCPD to transform the event into a PR exercise–complete with little purple vests. I think we need some yellow ones here in Santa Cruz like those our French cousins are wearing as they take real, not just symbolic action.

§Who Stole MLK Day?

by Robert Norse Tuesday Jan 22nd, 2019 1:10 PM
who_stole_mlk_day.pdf_600_.jpg
Download PDF (54.5KB)
This flyer raises the questions gone into more detail on some of the other flyers.
§A summary of the Sentinel and Indybay Stories on Mills’s RV Policy

by Robert Norse Tuesday Jan 22nd, 2019 1:10 PM
Download PDF (494.5KB)
§Protect Your Home on Wheels–Two Half Page Flyers

by Robert Norse Tuesday Jan 22nd, 2019 1:10 PM
mlk_flyer_2_types_for_vehicles.pdf_600_.jpg
Download PDF (720.2KB)
Top flyer is for those who aren’t currently being harassed, but worry about the future; the bottom flyer is for those currently experiencing harassment.

Sunday 1-20-19 9:30 AM-3 PM at www.freakradio.org Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides: Ross Survival Camp–Pros and Cons; City Council Progressive Majority on the Run? Challenging Chatter from the Sidewalk

 On the show today

  • “Back-Up” Brent Adams Reflects on the Nearby Ross Camp
  • More Ross Reflections by Tannery Talkers
  • Tent Talk at Ross
  • Baltimore: Marijuana Decriminalization, But Racist Enforcement Continues…
  • “Amp-ed Up” Andrea Shouts Back at Ranger Badge 360
  • City Council Niblets and Leftovers
  • Razor Ray’s “Obstructing” Case,
  • Katzenjammer Keith’s Report on California’s “Closing the Cupboard” Attack on FNB

The entire show will be archived sometime Sunday at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html under Latest Show – 1/20/2019


Indybay news story and Sentinel story on the Kuhl-Mills Exchange in front of the Police Station last Thursday: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/16/18820421.php?show_comments=1#18820469
Check-It-Out Chatter and Chidings from Santa Cruz Fulltimer Vandweller Julie

  • Donate to Existing Homeless Encampments, not Poverty-Pimp Posturers–Winter Survival Demands Blankets, Water, Tarps, Portapotties & Trash Pick-Up’s
  • Community and City Council Take Note!–Ross Camp Needs: Potable Water for Drinking and Grey Water for Washing, Laundry Access so Clothes Don’t Mildew, a Drainage System Against the Rains, More Space in a 2nd spot
  • Support Food Not Bombs,  the Warming Center’s 24 Hour Storage Program, HUFF, Conscience and Action, Monterey County Homeless Advocates,  and other activists in documenting, providing resources, & publicizing the situation.
  •  Check out Homeless Outside in Santa Cruz  on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HomelessOutsideSantaCruz/ for updates.
  •   Read Updates and Post Them on Santa Cruz Indymedia at https://www.indybay.org/santa-cruz/
  •   Back up homeless efforts to organize either in protest or to demand adequate and accessible facilities.
  •   Exchange information with other supporters there to generate more communication and better solutions in the future.
  •   Listen in to Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides at freakradio.org every Thursday 6-8 PM, Sundays 9:30 AM- 3 PM
  •   Hear archived shows at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html .
  •   If you must, expropriate items from chain stores.  Don’t steal from vulnerable fellow homeless!

Sentinel presents sympathetic story about RV dwellers, misses the point of the press conference/protest

NORSE’S NOTES:  Jessica York apparently had a sitdown with Alicia Kuhl earlier this week as well as finally making use of the notes she took at the January 10th meet-up that Conscience and Action and
HUFF organized at the police station.  For the audio and video of that conference, go to “The Vandwellers Meet the Police Chief: Relearning Sad Facts” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/16/18820421.php.
                      Unfortunately, York missed the predictable outcome of that meeting.  Chief Mills heard  numerous complaints about targeted and premature “enforcement” by his enforcement officers including the notorious Joe Haebe.  He praised Haebe for his high record of vehicle ticketing and tows. He ducked responsibility, sending Kuhl to City Council.
                      And, most importantly, he declined to reassure her that he would enforce the law and respect basic RV rights that she and others claimed were being regularly violated at the whim of NIMBY neighbors.    That basic right:  to park for 72-hours on a public street without being harassed, stickered, or ticketed.
                       Mills declined to reassure Kuhl and others there that he’d direct officers to advise beachfront bigots that a false complaint is a misdemeanor and that police will follow what appears to be law and is hopefully SCPD procedure.  He acknowledged he would make NO policy changes:  Such as  advising his officers to sticker, ticket, or chalk a vehicle only after 72 hours has elapsed.  Directing his officers to remind complaining NIMBY’s that a false police report is a misdemeanor.   Or making a record of neighbor complaints accessible to the public to document that his department is not simply serving as an RV Elimination Squad.
                       All these issues were raised at the press conference.  Mills did spend more than  half an hour responding to often angry demands from RV dwellers with sympathetic excuses.  One of his most ironic comments was something to the effect of “my officers are just following the law”.  The complaint of RVsters present, of course, was that they were repeatedly violating the law with warnings, chalk-paint on tires, stickers, and general harassment short of the 72-hour grace period,  which seemed specifically designed to frighten and target RV residents.
To view the hubbub of hatred roused by York’s relatively mild article uncritical of the SCPD, go to https://www.santacruzsentinel.com/2019/01/18/santa-cruz-rv-dwellers-question-police-attention/
Those in RV’s facing harassment should document it with audio and video if they can, and contact  SC Tenants Association at 222-0359 where the reports will be compiled for future action.  Folks can also contact HUFF at 423-HUFF (4833).  Activists will be showing up at the Civic Auditorium at the conclusion of the Martin Luther King Day on Monday January 21st and at the Tuesday City Council meeting during 7 PM Oral Communications on January 22nd.  HUFF meets at the Sub Rosa on at 11 AM on January 23rd to discuss further action.

Santa Cruz RV-dwellers question police attention

Alicia Kuhl lives in an RV with her family, spending the night on a Westside street away from neighborhoods frequented by other RVs . (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

SANTA CRUZ — In the four months since Alicia Kuhl, her partner and three children, ages 1, 3 and 5, moved into a 23-foot recreational vehicle, she has seen her life flip over.

“With an RV, they notice the second you roll in,” Kuhl said Friday, seated on a bench outside her vehicle and home. “I would think it would be a more nonchalant thing in this town, instead of automatically associated with homelessness.”

Alicia Kuhl lives in an RV with her family — including 6-week-old terrier Bolt –and spending the night on a Westside street away from neighborhoods frequented by other RVs. (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

A month ago, Kuhl, who parks away from other RVs but not directly in front of homes, found a note left on her windshield citing city municipal code prohibiting overnight camping or sleeping in vehicles and telling her she was not welcome in the Westside neighborhood. Earlier, while parked on a city cul-de-sac, she and her family were woken late one night to loud banging and what Kuhl described as drunken shouts from one of the street’s housed residents, telling her to leave. Police officers regularly approach her, once accusing her of being a drug dealer, she said.

Kuhl and several other people living locally in their vehicles joined activist groups Conscious In Action and Homeless United for Friendship and Peace to confront Santa Cruz Police Chief Andy Mills with concerns of perceived police harassment. During about an hour-long meeting Jan. 10 billed as a press conference in front of the police department, Mills heard and responded to speakers’ concerns.

72 hours

Kuhl and several of the activists gathered questioned Mills on honoring the city’s 72-hour parking policy that allows vehicles to remain in an otherwise unrestricted parking space legally. Along a similar track, Mills has directed his officers not to enforce the city’s overnight camping ban on public land, in light of the 9th District Court of Appeals decision, Martin vs. Boise decision. However, he said, officers responding to complaint calls have the responsibility to look at all vehicle violations, such as expired registration, cracked windshields and bald tires.

Activist Robert Norse asked Mills to direct his officers to limit their RV tickets to “real violations,” be “much more cautious, given the housing crisis” and to “treat with skepticism complaints by people in the the neighborhoods who are housed.”

“If you see sewage, if you see heroin, if you’re witnessing domestic violence, absolutely call the police,” said Kuhl, 40. “If you see somebody just parking there, minding their own business, they might be making dinner for their kids — there’s no reason to call the police.”

Targeted?

“I have a really strong feeling that I’ve been talked to far more than have been complained about me, which would show a homeless targeted harassment,” Kuhl said to Mills about her interactions with his officers.

Life is good for Alicia Kuhl, who lives in an RV with her family, making sure they spend the night on a Westside street away from neighborhoods frequented by other RVs. (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

The day before, the department posted an announcement on social media about its December officer of the month award, presented to vehicle abatement officer Joe Haebe, for his work in 2018 tagging more than 2,000 vehicles for abatement and having 291 of them towed.

“Joe is our go-to guy that continuously responds to illegal parking and/or storage of oversized vehicles in residential and commercial areas throughout the city,” the post read, in part, urging people to call 831-420-5185 to report “nuisance vehicles and parking violators.”

Mills told the group of about 20 people this month that he sympathized with their plights, saying that his job involves social order and finding a middle ground between the needs of people who are less fortunate and, for example, a group of 100 residents “screaming mad” about RVs that have dumped raw sewage and needles onto their residential streets. He suggested alternatives to parking on residential streets, such as working out one-on-one deals with private property owners and businesses to rent a space, or rent parking at the Kampgrounds of America in Watsonville.

Problematic parking

“We still have to deal with the amount of people parking in front of people’s homes that becomes problematic,” Mill said. “The solution is just not parking wherever we want, the solution is us … in a government, not just the government, but everyone in a society, institutions including the churches — there’s all kinds of people involved in this, including nonprofit organizations like this. Help find the locations.”

Mills said his department tries to strike a balance between “towing people’s homes,” putting another person on the street and a “responsibility to my community” sending him hundreds of emails and complaints and calls. He said city and county leaders are seeking solutions for those struggling without housing, and that an effort to establish a local safe-parking program was “submarined.”

On Friday, Kuhl, who will seek appointment from the Santa Cruz City Council to a seat on the city of Santa Cruz’s Parks and Recreation Commission on Tuesday, said she believes what the city really needs is a new standing homeless commission. The body, comprised of nonproperty owners such as renters and homeless people, could make city policy recommendations on spending recommendations, long-term programs, safe parking options and more, she said.

Santa Cruz RV-dwellers question police attentio

Alicia Kuhl lives in an RV with her family, spending the night on a Westside street away from neighborhoods frequented by other RVs . (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

SANTA CRUZ — In the four months since Alicia Kuhl, her partner and three children, ages 1, 3 and 5, moved into a 23-foot recreational vehicle, she has seen her life flip over.

“With an RV, they notice the second you roll in,” Kuhl said Friday, seated on a bench outside her vehicle and home. “I would think it would be a more nonchalant thing in this town, instead of automatically associated with homelessness.”

Alicia Kuhl lives in an RV with her family — including 6-week-old terrier Bolt –and spending the night on a Westside street away from neighborhoods frequented by other RVs. (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

A month ago, Kuhl, who parks away from other RVs but not directly in front of homes, found a note left on her windshield citing city municipal code prohibiting overnight camping or sleeping in vehicles and telling her she was not welcome in the Westside neighborhood. Earlier, while parked on a city cul-de-sac, she and her family were woken late one night to loud banging and what Kuhl described as drunken shouts from one of the street’s housed residents, telling her to leave. Police officers regularly approach her, once accusing her of being a drug dealer, she said.

Kuhl and several other people living locally in their vehicles joined activist groups Conscious In Action and Homeless United for Friendship and Peace to confront Santa Cruz Police Chief Andy Mills with concerns of perceived police harassment. During about an hour-long meeting Jan. 10 billed as a press conference in front of the police department, Mills heard and responded to speakers’ concerns.

72 hours

Kuhl and several of the activists gathered questioned Mills on honoring the city’s 72-hour parking policy that allows vehicles to remain in an otherwise unrestricted parking space legally. Along a similar track, Mills has directed his officers not to enforce the city’s overnight camping ban on public land, in light of the 9th District Court of Appeals decision, Martin vs. Boise decision. However, he said, officers responding to complaint calls have the responsibility to look at all vehicle violations, such as expired registration, cracked windshields and bald tires.

Activist Robert Norse asked Mills to direct his officers to limit their RV tickets to “real violations,” be “much more cautious, given the housing crisis” and to “treat with skepticism complaints by people in the the neighborhoods who are housed.”

“If you see sewage, if you see heroin, if you’re witnessing domestic violence, absolutely call the police,” said Kuhl, 40. “If you see somebody just parking there, minding their own business, they might be making dinner for their kids — there’s no reason to call the police.”

Targeted?

“I have a really strong feeling that I’ve been talked to far more than have been complained about me, which would show a homeless targeted harassment,” Kuhl said to Mills about her interactions with his officers.

Life is good for Alicia Kuhl, who lives in an RV with her family, making sure they spend the night on a Westside street away from neighborhoods frequented by other RVs. (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

The day before, the department posted an announcement on social media about its December officer of the month award, presented to vehicle abatement officer Joe Haebe, for his work in 2018 tagging more than 2,000 vehicles for abatement and having 291 of them towed.

“Joe is our go-to guy that continuously responds to illegal parking and/or storage of oversized vehicles in residential and commercial areas throughout the city,” the post read, in part, urging people to call 831-420-5185 to report “nuisance vehicles and parking violators.”

Mills told the group of about 20 people this month that he sympathized with their plights, saying that his job involves social order and finding a middle ground between the needs of people who are less fortunate and, for example, a group of 100 residents “screaming mad” about RVs that have dumped raw sewage and needles onto their residential streets. He suggested alternatives to parking on residential streets, such as working out one-on-one deals with private property owners and businesses to rent a space, or rent parking at the Kampgrounds of America in Watsonville.

Problematic parking

“We still have to deal with the amount of people parking in front of people’s homes that becomes problematic,” Mill said. “The solution is just not parking wherever we want, the solution is us … in a government, not just the government, but everyone in a society, institutions including the churches — there’s all kinds of people involved in this, including nonprofit organizations like this. Help find the locations.”

Mills said his department tries to strike a balance between “towing people’s homes,” putting another person on the street and a “responsibility to my community” sending him hundreds of emails and complaints and calls. He said city and county leaders are seeking solutions for those struggling without housing, and that an effort to establish a local safe-parking program was “submarined.”

On Friday, Kuhl, who will seek appointment from the Santa Cruz City Council to a seat on the city of Santa Cruz’s Parks and Recreation Commission on Tuesday, said she believes what the city really needs is a new standing homeless commission. The body, comprised of nonproperty owners such as renters and homeless people, could make city policy recommendations on spending recommendations, long-term programs, safe parking options and more, she said.

Bathrobespiere’s Broadsides radio show streams tonight (1-17-19) at 6 PM at www.freakradio.org

 Free Radio Santa Cruz still still offers a reward of $300 for info leading to a 10′ X 10′ studio space with bathroom, internet, and electrical access–either indoors or out (we’ll build a structure).  Help us so we can help you!


Tonight’s show streams at freakradio.org and archives at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html
On tonight’s show:
  • “Barnstormer” Berger, tenant activist–now reaching out for the broader Non-Property Owners community,–discusses the Movement for Housing Justice‘s strategy for dealing with the landlord assault on Just Eviction Protection
  • Red Church Repartee: Sonny, Jeremiah, John and Wendy, Trixie, and Julie sparkle and sputter giving updates.
  • Nutcracker Nick Whitehead denounces out-of-town developers in Aptos
  • “All Speed Ahead” Alicia Kuhl discusses her exchange with SCPD Chief Mills.

The Vandwellers Meet the Police Chief: Sad Lesson–Protection Lies in Your Community not the Cops

The Vandwellers Meet the Police Chief: Relearning Sad Facts
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
Wednesday Jan 16th, 2019 8:22 PM
Alice Kuhl, a mother of 3 who lives in her RV in Santa Cruz, asked SCPD Chief of police Andy Mills some hard questions last week. Kuhl challenged what she termed harassment by hostile homeowners and SCPD’s vehicle abatement enforcer Joe Haebe. She noted lack of support from Mills SCPD complaints line and sought assurance from Mills. She got none.
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WHY THE PRESS CONFERENCE?
Some weeks ago, Kuhl came to a HUFF meeting with a flyer. One side of it was a hostile and inaccurate flyer urging her to move her vehicle. The other was her response. After meeting with HUFF and Conscience and Action, she agreed to speak publicly with Chief Mills–this happened on Thursday January 10th.

We met to encourage RV dwellers to meet, share stories, and gain solidarity with each other. And at the same time to invite Mills to address real concerns–if he so chose. See
“Clarifying RV Dwellers’ Rights in Santa Cruz ” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/07/18820149.php .

Most of the meeting was videoed by Salinas Union of the Homeless activist Wes White and is posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOMxmjPs40Y&feature=youtu.be .

Several RV dwellers and numerous reporters videoing covered the exchange in front of the SCPD police station.

BACKGROUND
Particularly at issue for Alicia Kuhl and other houseless folks was harassment actions by enforcement officers like Joe Haebe ignoring their right to park on public streets for 72 hours unmolested. She asked Mills to instruct his officers to respect that 72-hour window, which, she and other vandwellers said, they took care to not overstay.

Mills insisted he had a responsibility to investigate all complaints and praised Haebe’s work in “tagging and towing”.

See https://www.facebook.com/santacruzpolice/ January 9th “Officer of the Month Awarded to Joe Haebe” ” Over the past year, Joe has fielded hundreds of calls, tagged more than 2,000 vehicles for abatement, and towed 291 vehicles.”

MILLS UNRESPONSIVE
Mills did not respond to requests that he instruct officers not to “take the side” of the homeowner, and to view repeated “get this vehicle out of my neighborhood” style calls, skeptically.

The general brunt of the questioning was a futile effort to persuade Mills to direct his officers to respect the 72-hour law. Not to seek out minor violations (like cracked windshield, bald tire) as a “spur” to getting vehicles to immediately move to placate housed vigilantes nearby short of the 72-hour period allowed.

WHAT’S NEEDED?
Mills needs to require officers to limit themselves to determining if a vehicle has overstayed 72-hours (which he said police can do through an undisclosed system).

Kuhl claimed earlier that she was obstructed in her attempt to determine the identity of those complaining about her vehicle and the specifics of their complaints. She also suggested that her vehicle was being targeted. She questioned Haebe’s enthusiasm in threatening vehicles with ticketing and suggested earlier it seemed to indicate an anti-homeless bias.

OTHER QUESTIONS
Vandweller Veronica Crow noted the appearance all over town of “permit parking only” signs that ban parking at night without a permit–a specifically anti-homeless provision.

Is Mills explicitly advising callers complaining that vehicles have a right to be there for 72 hours? Are his cops notifying them that filing a false police report is a misdemeanor? Is he looking into the claims that his “go to” guy Haebe is engaging in “hunting expeditions”?

THE FINAL RESULT
Mills sympathized that those in vehicles are only going to face street homelessness if his cops vigorously persecute vehicles at the instigation of neighbors. However he explicitly refused to offer a change in any policies, some of which are discretionary.

He may agree that police have higher priorities that removing them because of the aesthetic preferences or unfounded fears of residents. But if he refuses to act to rein in those abuses, the buck stops with him.

OTHER ISSUES
Other issues raised were the crying need for a carpark. Mills sympathized but declined to offer any public advocacy. He also suggested folks leave town and go to campgrounds (costly) and ask churches and businesses for parking space (largely unsuccessful in the past).

His general response was “our job is to enforce the law” and “take your concerns to the City Council.”

MEDIA HERE AND GONE
Numerous reporters were at the conference taking notes, audioing, and videoing.

Jessica York of the Sentinel was there for some time but the Sentinel wrote nothing. She told Kuhl she’d contact her for follow-up…but never did.

I did comment at length as I played the full audio of the encounter on my Sunday radio show at http://huffsantacruz.org/lost/1%20FRSC%201-13-19.mp3 (25 minutes into the audio).

MILLS AS PR PROFESSONAL
Last Sunday Mills wrote an editorial for the Sentinel, apologizing for other abusive police departments, but ignoring concerns about his own.
He also announced joint sponsorship of a Martin Luther King day march with the NAACP on Monday the 21st.

See https://www.santacruzsentinel.com/2019/01/13/andrew-g-mills-santa-cruz-police-naacp-chapter-co-host-mlk-march/

While Mills has commendably backed down somewhat in issuing citations for survival sleeping, rangers under his direction do seem to have increased citations for “being in a closed area’, a fancy name for “trespass on public property” in parks at night. He has also declined to answer numerous outstanding questions about his department’s use of tasers, baton strikes, guns, etc.

See “Demands of the New Police Chief and His Initial Response” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/12/30/18805570.php

FOLLOWING UP
Mills has said he holds meetings on Monday mornings. Contact the SCPD at 831-420-5810 to make an appointment. If you think it’s worth the time and breath.

HUFF and Conscience and Action members met today to discuss further steps in documenting and challenging abuses targeting those whose homes are in vehicles. Volunteers interested in assisting this project, call HUFF at 423-4833.

Conscience & Action meets Wednesday 1-16-19 at the Sub Rosa (HUFFsters also invited)

Reviewing the “No Policies to be Changed” answer of Chief Andy Mills at the Press Conference/Speak-Out at the Police Station focusing on Harassment of Vehicular Residents  Conscience and Action members are invited (as well as HUFFsters and any members of the public).

RV survivor Alicia says she again will be there along with other RV residents to discuss our next steps.  Alicia and her family (a husband and 3 children) report continued sightings but no move-along citations, tickets, or midnight bangings from Enforcer Joe Haebe–celebrated by Mills as a decorated officer for his many tickets and tows.
Other Likely topics:

C & A Agenda Prospects:
  • Bathroom Baloney–the ongoing closure of Louden Nelson and other potential 24 hour bathrooms + no movement on the disabled access issue.
  • The now fenced-off Gateway/Ross campground: A massive fence now walls off the Gateway Shopping Center from the camp and the walkway.
  • Rainy weather crisis: Any response from the Conscience-Ridden?

For HUFFsters and others interested:

  • Homeless (Lack of) Service Center Update–Changes or More of the Same: an Examination of the latest answers from workers inside.
  • SCPD capers:  Reviewing police records perhaps to check for the frequency of Stay-Away Orders and Racial Profiling–a possible field trip after the meeting.
  • Getting Council t0 mandate change of the “open only 4 hours a week” SCPD property retrieval
  • A Laundry List of Reminders for the Incoming Shitty Council
  • Landlord Lucre-grubbers Strike Back;  Referendum and Recall Coming Up?
  • Is Winter Shelter access any less difficult with its e-mail sign-up requirements than last month?  How are conditions out at the 7th Avenue Shelter and Salvation Army?
  • Any restoration of services out at MHCAN?  Is the Board of Directors still slumbering?
  • Upcoming Martin Luther King Day rally of the state Union of the Homeless including tours of homeless camps in Chico.  Should Santa Cruz participate or have a local response?
Come and share coffee, questions, and answers at 703 Pacific (next to the Bike Church) at HUFF.

  • Support the Downtown Santa Cruz Bathroom Task Force, Food Not Bombs,  the Warming Center’s 24 Hour Storage Program, HUFF, Conscience and Action, Monterey County Homeless Advocates, HomeFree, and other activists in documenting, providing resources, & publicizing the situation.
  •   Back up homeless efforts to organize either in protest or to demand adequate and accessible facilities.
  •   Exchange information with other supporters there to generate more communication and better solutions in the future.
  •   Listen in to Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides at freakradio.org every Thursday 6-8 PM, Sundays 9:30 AM- 3 PM
  •   If you must, expropriate items from chain stores.  Don’t steal from vulnerable fellow homeless!