Candidate Leonie Sherman Responds to the HUFF Questions

> Hi Robert and Huff folks,
> Sorry it took me a little less than a week to get these responses back to
> you. Thanks for your interest in this process.
> Thanks for the opportunity to engage in dialogue about these issues.
> Leonie
> ➊ Will You demand an end to the after-dark curfews in Santa Cruz?
> To make parks and greenbelt areas inhospitable to homeless people with no
> other places to sleep at night, NIMBY lawmakers have made all parks, the
> levee, and Cowell’s Beach “forbidden zones.” In response to peaceful
> protest, being on the City Hall or library grounds was also made a
> “trespass” crime. Using Drug War “needlemania” hysteria & inflated police
> stats that label camping a crime, a costly and phony “Public Safety” scare
> campaign has increased fear and hatred of the poor.
> I will not demand changes when I serve on City Council, I will work
> carefully with other Council members to achieve the majority needed to
> bring about meaningful change. While I recognize the need for a safe and
> secure sleeping place, I do not support widespread camping in our
> greenbelts areas. I have seen too much damage to fragile ecosystems and
> too much garbage in our parks. I support changes which address the
> underlying causes of homelessness.
> ➋ Will You support a moratorium on laws that punish sleeping
> outside or in vehicles at night as proposed by the Santa Cruz American
> Civil Liberties Union?
> Instead of acknowledging the emergency need for shelter, sleeping space,
> or housing for several thousand homeless outside, media mudslingers have
> turned facts on their head redefining survival sleeping as a crime.
> Insofar as a moratorium on laws that punish sleeping outside has any
> chance of gaining traction and enactment in the City of Santa Cruz I will
> work towards that. Again, let me stress that my goal in dealing with our
> chronic problem of homelessness in Santa Cruz is to address the underlying
> causes and bring an end to homelessness. Last year several people died of
> exposure sleeping outside; that should never happen in our City. We need
> to work towards getting people safe and secure places to sleep at night.
> Sleeping outside, as I have learned from many of my students, is not safe,
> particularly for women.
> ➌ Will You act to defend the few possessions homeless people have
> in their makeshift campsites at night and on their persons during the day?
> Cities like Fresno have been the successful target of lawsuits against
> their police for seizing and destroying homeless property—something that
> is routinely done here targeting blankets, bedding and other survival
> gear.
> If elected I will work with police officers to make sure they are not
> targeting homeless people and their possessions. I do not support the
> establishment of camp-sites in our greenbelt areas as they degrade the
> natural environment that people have worked so hard to preserve.
> ➍ Will You restore the public space to the community by eliminating
> “forbidden zones” &“move-along” laws downtown and elsewhere ?
> The City Council last year eliminated all but 1% of the downtown sidewalks
> for traditional Free Speech activities such as vending, performing,
> sitting, sparechanging, & political tabling with police the new judges.
> If elected to City Council I will work to change the downtown ordinances
> that restrict street artists downtown.
> ➎ Will You help reestablish police priorities to focus on real
> crime instead of having the act as a quasi-military auxiliary with intense
> focus on “crimes” such as “sitting”, “sleeping”, and “smoking”?
> Police, security guards, and yellow-jacketed “hosts” now patrol Pacific
> Avenue in record numbers, swarming to mob “undesirable” poor people in a
> concerted effort to effect economic anti-homeless “cleansing” downtown.
> If elected to City Council I will work with police to ensure they
> prioritize the most dangerous violent criminals and property theft.
> ➏ Will You support immediate renter protection, stabilization,
> and/or rent control laws as well as penalties for vacant property
> speculation here?
> Rent profiteering against residents and businesses alike has become second
> nature in Santa Cruz. Living here has become prohibitive for those who
> work here. For the poor, affordable housing is a vehicle—which is illegal.
> If I am elected to City Council I will work hard to establish affordable
> and low income housing options in town.
> ➐ Will You take time out of your day to document police overkill
> and support regular community street presence to stop Ferguson-style
> police barbarity here?
> Community control of police is an ever more important issue as police
> departments across the country, including ours become more militarized and
> insulated from public input and transparency.
> If I am elected I will work hard to ensure that Police are accountable to
> citizens.
> ➑ Will You stand up for unpopular positions and be a whistleblower
> even at the cost of alienating the established political and economic
> powers?
> The political structure resists real change. In the end it’s principled
> individuals in the community & dissenters inside the power structure like
> Snowden, Assange and Manning that provide the passion and tools for
> change. Those hoping to “infiltrate” the power structure usually find it
> infiltrates them.
> My goal an an elected official will be to bring the voice of the people to
> the people in power. I will listen carefully to a wide range of people and
> work towards finding solutions that benefit the wider community.