NOTE BY NORSE: The Santa Cruz ACLU has yet to endorse AB 5 (the California Homeless Bill of Rights) specifically, though the Northern California ACLU has).
Nor has our local ACLU called for the abolition of the City Sleeping Ban (MC 6.36.010a) or Downtown Ordinances like the Sitting Ban that police and local bigots use daily to harass and criminalize the homeless.
The local ACLU has been silent on the Curfews around the library, city hall, levee, and parks used to criminalize the homeless at night and block political protest.
It has said nothing about the police sweeps destroying homeless property last summer nor the December 8, 2011 sweep that made 100-200 people next to Occupy Santa Cruz again shelterless.
While Take Back Santa Cruz, The Clean Team, the Santa Cruz Neighbors, and other anti-homeless groups have smeared homeless people with “addict”, “illegal camper, and “unworthy” labels, destroying the City’s Needle Exchange program, setting up vigilante “Public Safety” groups, and funding massive over-policing downtown, the ACLU has been oh so quiet.
When new “security” thugs were appointed to harass homeless people inside and outside of the downtown library, on the City Hall grounds, along Pacific Avenue, and in the parks, the ACLU contented itself with fund-raising and procedural issues.
Has the ACLU taken no action to rein in the SCPD’s tolerance of Officer Nathan Vasquez–whose incompetence or malice sent Richard Hardy to the hospital after he was dropped body-and-face-down onto the cement in handcuffs (see http://www.santacruzsentinel.
The ACLU meets Monday 7 PM May 20th at the Louden Nelson Center
It’s time they stood for something and stood up for something. “Those who do not stand for something will fall for anything.” The meeting will be public.
It might also be nice if the ACLU used some of its legal war chest to fund cheap cellphones with video capability for homeless people to protect them in this time of increased vigilante and police violence.
Steve Pleich has chaired past meetings and made quite a to do about “changing” the ACLU. However, the group has only introduced a few measures requested by politicians and strong activist groups. More fundamental ones (like homeless safety, survival, and criminalization) have been ignored or passed off to committees that never meet or take no action.
- Attend the Monday meeting with signs and friends.
- E-mail Pleich at firstname.lastname@example.org to demand long overdue action.
- Call Pleich at 831-466-6078 to emphasize the neglected needs and real Public Safety Emergency facing homeless people outside.
I’ve already been warned that the Oral Communications time may be placed at the end of the meeting (clearly to deter public comment). So bring signs and a determination to be heard.
CHECK OUT WRAP (Western Regional Advocacy Project) weblinks below for more info on the Homeless Bill of Rights, coming back to the Appropriations Committee of the Assembly on May 24th.