Bicycle Banditry: What’s Behind the Curtain of Secrecy?

This comment is part of a much longer thread on Santa Cruz Indymedia about the SCPD’s bike snatching and City Council stonewalling in the political attack on the Bike Church.

“Reasons” for the Bike Church Bashing

by Robert Norse

Saturday Feb 1st, 2014 8:23 AM

Scott Collins, an assistant to the City Manager who presented the Council’s cover story, gave the following explanation Tuesday afternoon of what caused the Bike Church to be cut off without notice, apology, or explanation. Collins presentation was much longer and can be found at under Agenda Item #14. The “specifics” (which were far from that) were as follows:

” But in recent years, there were some issues that arose with the distributors that time. City line staff had issued you now, a number of complaints about… from multiple departments that found the program was burdensome to staff, typically requiring four or five staff members from different departments to execute the distribution.

In addition to that there were inconsistencies in terms of when the drop-off and then co-ordination would occur, which further impacted staff time but also the ability to manage the storage facilities. And public works staff had to haul off unwanted bikes and parts at the city ‘s expense and time after the distribution took place.

And there was no established point of contact at this organization to handle these concerns.”

In response to this vague undocumented description, I made a Public Records Act last night to Collins and the City requesting:

“… access to all documents and notes (written, electronic, audio, or video) you consulted, referenced, or viewed in creating these claims.

This should include but not be limited to
(1) complaints to city staff from multiple departments that found the program burdensome
(2) any reports indicating that 4-5 staff members from different departments were required to execute the distribution
(3) inconsistencies in terms of when drop-off and then co-ordinating would occur
(4) any references to staff time impacted
(5) any references to difficulties in managing storage facilities
(6) any references to occasions where public work staff had to haul off unwanted bikes and parts
(7) any specifics about city’s expenses and time on such occasions after the distribution took place
(8) any references documenting there was no established point of contact at the Bike Church to handle these concerns.

In addition please include any and all communications between the SCPD, staff, and council on this issue between July 2011 and January 2013. Prioritze the period between November 2011 and March 2012.”

The City has 10 days to respond with documents or request a further delay to research them. It’s hard to imagine why they’d need lots more time, since Collins presumably had the documents available when he created his report, unless he replied solely on police department verbal reports, staff gossip, and creative reporting.

Still it’s notable that neither Steve Schnaar nor I were able to get any substantive records last year or the year before.

Meanwhile the number of bikes getting to children from the SCPD’s stash is either reduced or (until the Teen Center begins its fractional distribution) non-existent.

Demonstrations of concern and/or outrage about this whole shady process don’t need to wait another two years however–if folks are interested.

One thought on “Bicycle Banditry: What’s Behind the Curtain of Secrecy?

  1. City Council should NOT stop Robert Norse’s tape recording! I am [trying] to watch the council online now. The audio is so Frikken’ q u i e t. I have to jack my volume up to 80 percent than any other sound blows my ears out. Plus they use Micro$oft Silver-light which is the near impossible STREAM to capture. they DO NOT provide a download of an offline capable file after fact, only this closed system useless streaming. HOW about and open format Mp4 or AVI guys? What are you trying to hide or keep control of? The Brown Act specified this information shall be pubic and ACCESSIBLE….

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