The struggle for a homeless campground is no new thing.
So is the mechanical, persistent and relentless official movement to crush such campgrounds or turn them into super-regulated prison-like areas that serve only a few. Back in 1996, Becky Johnson explored the refusal to reopen the Coral St. Open Air Shelter.
Three years before the City Council’s useless Homeless Issues Task Force final report in 2000 (http://sccounty01.co.santa-
cruz.ca.us/bds/Govstream/ BDSvData/non_legacy/agendas/ 2000/20000502/PDF/020.pdf), she and other HUFF activists struggled to get the poverty pimpster Citizens Committee for the Homeless [CCH] (numbering Darrell Darling and Paul Lee among others) to restore the Coral Street Open Air Shelter.
That campground served 200 people at its height and was located on the site of the current Page Smith Community House, what was known back in 1996 as the “back forty”.
It was destroyed by the City Council in collusion with the CCH in violation of agreements made with the campers organization SOS (Save Our Shelter).
Part of the story was recorded by dissident CCH (and active HUFF) member Becky Johnson at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/
StreetSpiritSantaCruz/016.For% 20The%20Poor,A%20Campground% 20Is%20a%20Illegal%20Dream=12- 96.pdf and
pp. 123-127, Street Shit Sheet’s ##151a, 152 .
CACH is caught in the same snare as activists “working in the system” were then.
Even temporary and partial initiatives by city officials are only prompted by Direct Action from activists and homeless people themselves.
Thus the San Lorenzo Campground opening of 2017-2018 during the winter happened after homeless people began camping in numbers along the Post Office fence after City Manager Bernal and Chief Mills had driven them away from City Hall’s Survival Sleepers protest.
And last year Ross Camp was “created” because sleepers on the beach were driven first to Depot Park by Mills, and then to Ross. But it was the de facto formation of a campground at San Lorenzo and Ross that required the City (finally) to put in portapotties and wash stations and provided a focus for community attention.
This year’s situation is no different—arguably worse.
“Progressives” are in full flight under pressure from phony Recall and Investigation distractions. They are responding to bad advice to “keep a low profile” as the winter looms for those outside.
Accordingly no attempts are even being made to force Mayor Watkins to agenda-ize long-delayed items like selective police enforcement, survival encampments, and opening bathroom facilities. Those who should be sitting-in in Cummings office with long overdue demands are nervously debating Recall opposition stratagies.
And meanwhile renters are fleeing the city as Brown nervously warms her chair while pal-ing up with Cummings for crumbs (reopening the City Hall bathrooms for a trial trial month period).