Bearcat & Other “Poor People Matter” Protests Resume Next Tuesday

by Robert Norse

Tuesday Jan 20th, 2015 3:37 PM

The massive response to the City Council and SCPD’s collusion to ignore the wishes of those attending City Council and perhaps the community generally has encouraged activists to resume direct action next week. Since the police chief and the mayor to respond to specific questions like (1) why a 7 month delay in informing the Council and public? and (2) what was the actual cut-off date for a Council vote on the acquisition? some activists feel the protests must resume, intensify, and get more focused.

Protests are resuming next Council meeting against police abuse in Santa Cruz. This focuses on the Bearcat, but, many are also concerned about the traditional and recently escalated denial of basic homeless human rights as well as the local SCPD’s racial and class profiling, cover-up of force actions, and other abuses.

Specific SCPD abuses are documented at
Fundamental changes needed in the SCPD:

A tip of the hat to Cafe Colby (aka Cafe HUFF) that hit Pacific Avenue yesterday outside the vacant Sway offices linking the facile Martin Luther King Day holiday with real demands for justice for homeless people. She, Sherry, Raven, & other activists broke up the usual lockstep walk-and-shop trances of the downtown with petitioning, coffee, and brownies. Pat Colby reports it’s likely to become a weekly event.

High up on Colby’s priorities is the Stay-Away law passed at City Council in the evening and as yet undocumented in detail on indybay. Read the law at and . The expanded Stay-Away sections of the law go into effect on February 12th or thereabouts (30 days after final passage at the 1-13 Council meeting). The other sections, including a 1-day police-initiated Stay-Away are already in effect.

According to Davis’s analysis, in the last year, the majority of infractions and Stay-Aways are for sleeping, “camping”, being in a closed area or smoking. The majority of those given the additional punishment of stay-aways are homeless people. These facts were ignored by City Council, which instead voted for Councilmember Terrazas’s “gather more stats for next September” direction to the staff.

No estimate was made of the cost of this increased level of criminalization of the homeless.

No analysis was made of the effectiveness or consequences of over 1000 1-day Stay-Away orders already given out since July 2013 by police and rangers. though that date was provided by Davis.

A long-threatened lawsuit by attorney Judi Bari and Homeless Persons Legal Assistance Project loner Steve Pleich is due to hit the courts this week to freeze the Stay-Away law in its tracks.

For More Commentary Go to: