In the hands of politicians like Mike Rotkin and like-minded constitution-clippers like Chair Peter Gelblum, it’s a no-win game for the poor outside. Even abuses roundly condemned by other ACLU’s like the Sleeping Ban & the Downtown Ordinances receive no public criticism and are buried “for study” when they are brought up.
Rotkin was a frequent advocate of the Sleeping Ban when he was Mayor as well as a supporter of the Sitting Ban (even going to San Francisco to push for its version). That he could be such a power in the local ACLU tells the story.
More of a fund-raising machine for national causes (many of which are worthy if often classist), the local ACLU preens itself while police steal homeless property, destroy homeless camps, and harass homeless people all around the town.
Promising activists like Steve Pleich, once enmeshed in the power structure of the ACLU as he struggles to accumulate offices and titles, become silent and accommodating of bigotry pimps like Councilmember Pamela Comstock and Lynn Robinson.
The ACLU won’t even defend the right of its own petitioners in the parking lot next to Trader Joe’s, who’ve been cited or driven away for giving out literature.
Santa Cruz needs a real civil rights organization.
For more details on the sad story see:
“Earlier E-Mails to the ACLU on Denial of Civil Liberties to the Santa Cruz
Homeless” at http://www.indybay.org/
“Local ACLU Rides…er…Hides Again” at
“ACLU Chair Closes Monthly Boad of Directors Meeting, Homeless Issues Off
the Agenda” at http://www.indybay.org/
For Pleich’s own copycat censorship of issues on his website, see “Open Letter to Steve Pleich of Citizens for a Better Santa Cruz” at https://www.indybay.org/