As You See It, May 6, 2010: More thoughts on downtown vandalism

S.C.Sentinel  05/06/2010

In defense of SubRosa

The antics of a few individuals this past Saturday evening have been rightly denounced by the community as childish and senseless. Their actions are without defense and should not be tolerated.

I am a Santa Cruz native with long-standing friendships with many local merchants including the Williams family. I am also an anarchist and supporter of the SubRosa Cafe and the many public projects and activities developed by its collective members. They are a dedicated group of volunteers committed to opening up new avenues of resistance to power and authority, and to providing a wide range of creative programs for the general public. Their commitment to social justice and defense of equality should be welcomed in any progressive community.

Nick Theodosis, Santa Cruz

Cowardice, not a riot

This was not a riot. And I wish the Sentinel would stop upping the fear stakes by naming it such. Certainly, the destruction was/is reprehensible, but most of the marchers/dancers were just young people out having some fun on a warm night. When the cowards behind masks began to break things, some of the other partiers actually tried to stop them. Maybe we should compliment them and be thankful they had enough sense not to join the so-called anarchists who were trying to start an actual riot. So please stop giving these masked cowards more credit than they deserve. This was not a riot.

Dusty Nelson, Santa Cruz

Editorial fans flames

Your angry editorial about the recent downtown vandalism is fuel on the fires of anger that breed this kind of behavior. I do not defend the actions taken on the street, but the real question is: Was this predictable? Review the city’s list of new laws for the homeless, who should be called The Riven, the way we ignore them, and ask how they might feel. I’m sorry about the recent troubles and pleased we cannot afford the police state that anger always wants.

Charles Huddleston, Soquel

SubRosa a real asset

This is a response to the Sentinel article implying that the SubRosa Cafe was behind the vandalism that took place on May 1. This coffee shop had no part in the vandalism that took place on May 1 and this article is only a way to make a connection where there is none.

SubRosa is a great community space that has enriched Santa Cruz. Because many of the people who run the coffee shop have anarchist ideals is no reason to malign them. Anarchism has a long American tradition and only means being against authority, especially illegitimate authority. Makes a lot of sense to me. Some anarchists believe that violence is a legitimate form of political struggle, especially in self-defense. However, a large percentage of anarchists are pacifists many anarchists spent World War I and World War II in prison for their pacifist ideals, I’m guessing a much larger percentage than the overall population that tends to support our country’s many wars.

Craig Metz, Santa Cruz

Blame won’t help

We are writing on behalf of the Santa Cruz Hub for Sustainable Transportation to make clear our position and feelings regarding Saturday night’s acts of vandalism and property damage. We do not in any way approve or condone these acts. They are harmful not only economically, but socially. We live and work downtown, and value good relations with our neighbors. These riotous acts were childish, macho and seemingly pointless.

We do not appreciate the indiscriminate backlash against radical and alternative organizations. Members of the SubRosa collective, People Power! and The Hub’s landlords who are longtime residents, businessmen and property owners in the county have all received threats of physical violence and harassment online and in person. What a response to senseless violence — threats of more violence directed at innocent parties. Last year, the Hub’s offices were repeatedly burglarized and our windows smashed. We wouldn’t wish such wanton vandalism on anyone else. We struggled not to look out at the street and resent all the people who looked scruffy or different from us. However, responding by blaming doesn’t help the community or the individuals affected to recover — it only spreads the hurt around.

The Board of the Hub for Sustainable Transportation

Note: The Hub for Sustainable Transportation is a nonprofit umbrella with member organizations: the Bike Church, People Power!, Green Ways to School and PedEx. We also rent space to independent projects: The Computer Kitchen, SubRosa and The Fabrica sewing collective.

Thanks for supporting us

It has been touching, reassuring and deeply inspiring to receive such an incredible outpouring of support from the community in response to the destruction incurred on our business on May 1.

Thank you for the flowers and the phone calls; thank you for stopping in to express your sympathy and share your sentiments; thank you to those who have been coming downtown determined to make a purchase at any business that was vandalized. Thank you to the man who walked in, opened up his wallet and extended the single dollar bill inside in order to help fund our window replacement. Thank you to the woman who walked in and offered to write a $50 check to put toward our deductible. Thank you to The Krate’s amazing artists for the mural and donation of paint. Thank you to everyone who supports our downtown in light of recent events, but also consistently over many years. We are here to stay and committed to making our downtown strong, safe and successful.

The Dell Williams Family

Town needs some help

I was watching the movie “Tombstone” the other night and couldn’t help but draw some parallels between that town’s predicament and ours. Since we don’t have Wyatt Earp and his gang to help us though perhaps we could enlist the Hells Angels to help our cash-strapped town. Their presence lately seems to be more noticed than the cops, who should have never let that crowd converge on our town last Saturday.

Rick Popplewell, Scotts Valley

The red flag was there

So the police felt the May Day event on the Pacific Mall did not need monitoring based on the fliers advertising the event? Hello. What part of “Kick it with us for a truly sick night of mayhem” did not raise a red flag? The police need to check a dictionary for the word mayhem, which means random or deliberate violence or damage. To serve and protect? I think not.

Martha Dolciamore, Soquel

Gangs the real problem

While I applaud the hiring of eight new policemen to the city force, I wish the announcement would have come six months ago after a teenager was murdered by gangs, or last month after yet another young man was shot down by gang violence or all year as the number of stabbings have risen. However, the City Council waits until property damage by a group anarchists before deciding to fill vacant police positions and engage the FBI. Is property more valuable than lives? The FBI and Homeland Security should be here to end this violence because gangs are the true terrorists in this community. They have no regard for lives, the larger community and the government. Bring them down. Let’s have a safe place to live.

Sally NeSmith, Santa Cruz

Get rid of the stones

Why do we have 20- to 30-pound stones just lying there in flower beds on Pacific, and then we are surprised when some knucklehead throws them through the plate glass windows 20 feet away? This has bothered me for years. Could someone go to the river for a big rock? Sure. But carrying a 30-pound rock for two to three blocks will tire anyone out and give them time to cool off. Having big windows on one side of the sidewalk, big rocks on the other and the varied crowds of Pacific Avenue in the middle is asking for trouble. Get the rocks out.

William Lewis, Santa Cruz