New Mayor Responds to Public Outrage With Crackdown Measures


Council Armors Up
by Robert Norse
Friday Jan 9th, 2015 8:56 AM

City Council (through Mayor Don Lane) and the City Administration behind it (i.e. the Martin Bernal, the City Manager, and his staff) will be voting on more repressive decorum rules as the first order of business in the afternoon session of the January 13th City Council meeting this Tuesday. This is apparently their response to the public outrage at the December 9th meeting over the SCPD’s sneak rush of the quarter-of-a-million-buck BEARCAT armored personnel “rescue’ vehicle. Lane has also placed the wildly-unconstitutional and explosive Stay-Away law to the end of the evening agenda.

I suspect the decorum change and Stay-Away order scheduling at the end of the meeting  are specifically designed to shrink, cool, and discourage protest.

The staff report and other documents regarding the decorum rule changes are attached and also available on the City’s website at under Item #12.

Scheduled protests:

Stop the Bearcat at 2 PM
Protest New Anti-Homeless Law and Urban Assault Vehicle at
A HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) protest at times to be announced.

The City has also adopted a new, less publicly accessible means, of responding to Public Records Act requests. The SCPD no longer takes such requests directly, but routes them through Nydia Patino at City Hall. More importantly, the requests are being responded to in hard copy letters (usually rejection or restriction) from the City Attorney’s answer.

It has still not responded to my request of weeks ago to see documentation that confirms the exact date and the real deadline for accepting the BEARCAT vehicle.

§The Councilmember’s Handbook as Lane Would Like It

by Robert Norse Friday Jan 9th, 2015 8:56 AM

Lane has given no explanation as to why leaving an “unattended” recording device creates any problem. So if you sit in your seat and want to leave it turned on, that would be cause for Council harassment if no one is “attending” it unless you put it in a special spot.

His new definition of “disruption” is “whenever a rule is broken and a Mayor is ‘forced’ to stop the meeting”. So whenever a Mayor disrupts his own meeting, this becomes the fault of the public. So, if you turn your back on the Council while speaking and there’s a rule against doing so (which there arguably now is–that’s an additional change), you are “disrupting” the meeting. This flies in the face of the 9th Circuit Court ruling that states a “disruption” can only be an actual disruption not a potential one or one created by the Council’s have a “hissy fit”.

§Current Rules

by Robert Norse Friday Jan 9th, 2015 8:56 AM

Bad enough as they are–as folks attending the December 9th meeting saw and experienced.

§Resolution Amending the Current Rules

by Robert Norse Friday Jan 9th, 2015 8:56 AM

The technical resolution that changes the rules, I presume.

§Proposed Escalated Stay-Away Order Law

by Robert Norse Friday Jan 9th, 2015 8:56 AM

Somewhere between 500 and 1500 people have already gotten one-day Stay-Away orders. They will be subject to the week, month, 6 month, and year orders in ever-expanding areas. Careful examination of the infraction tickets given with these orders show they are overwhelming used to punish sleeping, camping, simply being in a closed area, or smoking. It also seems they are overwhelmingly being given to homeless people.

§Current Law

by Robert Norse Friday Jan 9th, 2015 8:56 AM

The current Parks and Recreation laws allow designation of “closed areas” at any time at the whim Parks and Recs Czarina Dannettee Shoemaker. They also prescribe a high penalty for violating the “Stay Away” orders (up to a year in jail and $1000 fine).

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SCPD Abuses Under the Microscope in Santa Cruz

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[huffsantacruz] SCPD Abuses Under the Microscope in Santa Cruz


Robert [huffsantacruz] <>


Santa Cruz Police Department: Political Smears, Unfair Profiling, and Harassment
by via Steve Schnaar
Sunday Dec 28th, 2014 11:54 AM

There are numerous cases in which Santa Cruz Police Department leaders have strayed from their role as law enforcers, instead engaging in political smears and unfair profiling and harassment. This makes it more difficult to trust in their objectivity and commitment to serve everyone, and fosters an adversarial rather than cooperative relationship with many community members.



[ Santa Cruz Police Department spying and infiltration of private planning meetings for the 2005 Last Night DIY Parade were exposed by various community members, including Santa Cruz Indymedia. ]

As outrage erupts across the nation over the perception that police officers are considered to be above the law, it seems appropriate for us to consider issues of police-community relations in our own town. Here as elsewhere, the most successful policing comes through building trusting and respectful relations with the community.

Unfortunately, there are numerous cases in which Santa Cruz Police Department leaders have strayed from their role as law enforcers, instead engaging in political smears and unfair profiling and harassment. This makes it more difficult to trust in their objectivity and commitment to serve everyone, and fosters an adversarial rather than cooperative relationship with many community members.

One recent example was Deputy Chief Steve Clark’s attack on City Council candidate Leonie Sherman, labeling her as an anarchist for participating in non-violent protests like hanging a banner opposing the World Trade Organization, and suggesting that she is a danger to the community and to local businesses. A few weeks later, when an anonymous emailer threatened mass shooting at Santa Cruz High, Clark again strayed from the facts, using the fear of violence to smear unrelated political activists, stating, “These kind of incidents rally the hacktivist crowd.” In both cases it seems clear that Clark was not basing his comments on fact, but rather abusing his position to smear those he perceives as political enemies.

Back in the ‘90s Clark harassed activist John Malkin who was serving on the Citizen Police Review Board, making false statements about him, investigating his political work (without any suspicion of criminal wrongdoing), and later threatening to publicize embarrassing information. A formal complaint on the matter was never investigated. This was after Clark tried to intimidate the City Council into not setting up the Review Board in the first place, stating at a Council meeting, “If you do this, I am going to hold each and every one of you personally responsible.”

Such incidents have a long history at the SCPD, and are not limited to Clark. When activists organized a fun, family-friendly New Year’s Parade in 2005, the police spied on them with undercover officers, leading to a small scandal for the department. In 2010, a handful of masked rioters smashed windows downtown. Although no one knows who committed the vandalism, the SCPD used the opportunity to smear the SubRosa Café, with Deputy Chief Rick Martinez claiming that the police had raided SubRosa, including kicking in their door. In fact, no such raid ever happened, nor was SubRosa nor any of its members ever investigated or charged with a crime. Again in 2012, the SCPD used smear tactics against Occupy Santa Cruz, spreading false rumors about ringworm and scabies outbreaks in the camp.

These attacks on political activists have no place in a free society. As with the Red Scares of times past, the SCPD has used false information and association to portray lawful dissenting voices in a bad light. It is especially troubling to know that the person responsible for many of these smears — Steve Clark, the Department’s official spokesperson —is also in charge of the SCPD’s program of mass surveillance: the use of automated license plate readers, which our local ACLU chapter has denounced as an invasion of privacy.

When repeated actions on the part of police managers violate the trust of the community, it undermines faith in law enforcement and government as a whole. For the benefit of the community and the department itself, the city should help rebuild that trust by holding the police accountable. One aspect of that must be disciplining officers who abuse their authority, including Deputy Chief Clark.

Steve Schnaar lives in Santa Cruz.

Some of the Comments at  

by G  Monday Dec 29th, 2014 5:38 AM
City Council? When Clark appeared to threatened them with ICE-ish powers, “If you do this, I am going to hold each and every one of you personally responsible.”, Council members failed to act?

SCPD Chief? When Clark appeared to engage in election tampering, the Chief failed to act?

According to broken windows theory, allowing a scofflaw to go unpunished encourages more and greater violations. Who can stop ‘bad apples’ like Clark? Is the entire barrel rotten?

by Razer Ray  Monday Dec 29th, 2014 10:41 AM



I’ve had few personal problems in my (more than occasional) dealings with the SCPD over the few years for a very simple reason. They’ve outsourced the harassment and intimidation of their displaced workers to a blackshirt operation called 1st Alarm, coordinated with the SCPD’s Community “Service” officers.

I had to dial 911 a few months ago after being surrounded by three of them while sitting in the side window of the “Ritt” after I told the first one who arrived to tell me I couldn’t sit there that I didn’t agree with his interpretation of the Muni code and neither did most courts hearing cases about public seating.

When the community service officer arrived and I pressed her to write a ticket because “We REALLY need to see a judge about this…” she categorically refused to cite me, with the words “I certainly WILL NOT!” … because quite simply she couldn’t.

You read that right.

I was surrounded by three 1st Alarm Blackshirts for about ten minutes (me sitting in the window ledge and they within arms reach) only to be informed that there would be no citation. They had detained me extralegally, if detained IS the correct word because they HAVE NO RIGHT to detain ANYONE for an infraction.

When the city first hired these thugs I spoke to the council about it requesting TWO SIMPLE THINGS.

1> Get these cretins on the same page as the SCPD about the meaning and intent of the law.

It’s become quite obvious to me the city had no intention of doing so because, simply, 1st Alarm was apparently hired to give extralegal interpretations of laws they know nothing about to targeted people as a harassment-intimidation tactic because the SCPD can not. Once SCPD occifers have been briefed at their musters or meetings by legal staff about legal issues they lose the the ability to apply previously used tactics to dissuade people and convince them to comply with offen illegitimate-under-state-law or otherwise constitutionally forbidden ‘ordinances’. But the 1st Alarm thugs are under no such constraints.

2> CITY OVERSIGHT of their operations. No Blackwater Santa Cruz overseeing itself.

Recently a friend told me she called 1st Alarm to complain about the older thug at the public library, who called her a ‘bitch’. She told me the 1st Alarm staffer she spoke to on the phone offered to retaliate by filing a restraining order preventing her from using the library and was otherwise uncooperative.

Ps. One of these freaks is continuing to stalk and harass me by calling me by name every time I walk by. Seeing me riding my bike and shouting “Be sure to obey the traffic laws (followed by my name) despite the fact I had not violated any traffic law (again, that he has no right to enforce), and otherwise following me as if he expects me to commit some criminal act besides existing as a displaced Santa Cruz worker..

One evening, after observing a friend and I discussing things in front of New Leaf he later walked by my friend and whispered at him as he went by “I love you…” because my friend is perhaps a little effeminate and this freak, 1st Alarm employee Robert Caposio, thought he was Gay.

Pps. Last night I was outside a downtown parking garage on Front street smoking a cigarette and observed 2 hoodied Chicano guys in their 20s TOTALLY tag up a 1st Alarm truck sitting unattended next to the Palomar Arcade’s wall by Front.

I’d go to jail before I’d ID those guys…. even if I could.

by furlough them all  Monday Dec 29th, 2014 2:14 PM
a council majority can fire the city manager and replace him with someone who will cut the pigs weekly hours. it is extremely difficult to actually fire a pig.
but can we trust a new council and city manager to do that?
i doubt it.
judges and juries are usually pig lovers, so lawsuits rarely pay off.
breaking windows leads to more pigs not less, as we saw in 2010.
ballot initiatives with binding terms that automatically discipline outlaw officers like clark might work – if you can get the votes.
in the meantime, the best thing we can all do to protect our community from the pigs is to video them in copwatch actions, they hate that.

by Robert Norse  Wednesday Dec 31st, 2014 6:17 AM
Smirkin’ Steve Clark has a nasty history of hardball abuse against the homeless and using his police position for pushing a political agenda.

See “Police Officer’s Confrontational History With Homeless People In S.C” at
> > &

In my long history of critical writing & public protest about the SCPD, Steve Clark is the only officer who has ever used physical violence against me personally (as outlined in the above article).

Becky Johnson described some of Clark’s record at

The SCPD’s own racist and homeless-targeting record is beginning to be documented as the police–under public pressure–slowly begin to release the records. See “”Homeless People Matter” Protest Gets Honks, Volunteers, at Cop Corner” at .

My thanks to Steve Schnaar for having the courage to name names. We are dealing with armed and powerful officials in a time when it’s clear police power in different cities has suborned murder and gotten away with it.

Protests and publicity have impact. Across the country in the last half year we have seen the most continuous series of local and national protests against police in decades. See And they aren’t over: .

The corrupt leadership of the SCPD is important to expose.

Equally important is to end its policies creating unaccountable militarized and massive overpolicing. See “SCPD No Disclosure of When People were PepperSprayed, Choked, Tasered, Gun-Bullied or Shot” at and “Make Cops Accountable” at .

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San Jose Runs Its Homeless Off; Santa Cruz Does the Same


NORSE’S NOTES:  The series of comments following this article at is unusually homeless-positive.  The posters–at least the first bunch–highly critical of authorities and supportive of the despoiled rights poor people outside.  In Santa Cruz, San Jose’s bedroom community, we find even more intense hypocrisy and anti-homeless removal/criminalization policies.

In the last two years, City Council as passed a variety of homeless-removal measures masquerading as “public safety” actions, relabeling life-sustaining behaviors like sleeping as crimes needing more intensive police pressure.
Citations and stay-aways (still the one-day kind) for being a “closed area” (i.e. a park after dark), “camping”, and smoking have escalated substantially.  And target those who are homeless or traveling.

National outrage at exposed police  violence and its rubberstamping by authorities local, state, and national may give us new hope for some changes if Santa Cruz can move from symbolic protest to meaningful and locally-focused direct action.  The new “performance pens” outlined by the “dots for dodos” on Pacific Avenue are an example of the liberal sell Mayor Lane and Councilmember Comstock that criminalizes  98% of the downtown sidewalks  for vending,  tabling,  speaking, performing, and displaying artwork.   It is packaged as “reform” because it doubles the previous 1% available.   Meanwhile huge swaths of the sidewalk have been leased to private businesses,  with another 14′ penumbra around those “sidewalk cafes” made illegal  for  non-commercial street activity.  All the while illegal free-standing merchant signs occupy public spaces that human beings are barred from sitting or tabling at.

Do-It-Yourself New Year’s Parade is coming up on December 31st–usually around 5  p.m. in the Saturn Cafe parking lot.  And an angry protest against the Council’s BEARCAT Xmas gift to the SCPD of a militarized “Rescue” vehicle on January 13th is also focused on the anti-homeless “we don’t need no stinkin’ courts to get rid of you, just a ‘stay-away’ order from a cop or ranger” law.    On January 24th,  Sin Barras and other groups will protest the deaths of prisoners locally  (see www. ).   And HUFF is still shining a strong light on the local SCPD to assess Officer Bill Azua’s alleged racial targeting and the department’s use of force policies.

Happy New Year–here comes 2015.

‘Some Sort of Hell’: How One of the Wealthiest Cities in America Treats Its Homeless

The city refuses to provide affordable housing, yet won’t tolerate people living outdoors.

December 25, 2014  |  

SAN JOSE, Calif.—When San Jose dismantled the “Jungle,” the nation’s largest homeless encampment, many of its residents with nowhere to go scattered. They found hiding places in the scores of small, less visible encampments within the city, where more than 5,000 people sleep unsheltered on a given night.

But one group of about three dozen evictees gathered what they could salvage in backpacks and trash bags, and crossed a bridge to a spot about a mile away. They found a clean patch of grass near Coyote Creek, the same creek that the Jungle abutted. There, they pitched tents donated by some concerned citizens, assigned themselves chores and hoped for the best.  

Instead, they got marching orders. After weathering the hardest rains to fall in these parts in a decade, the campers found 72-hour eviction notices on their tents. Once again, a little more than a week after their forced flight from the Jungle, they had no idea where they might live.

“This is some sort of hell,” said Raul, 57 (who didn’t want his last name used), a life-long resident of San Jose who had lived in the Jungle for nearly eight years. He had nothing left of the home he had created, just a knapsack, his chihuahua Pepe, and a new pup tent. He was so depressed, he could barely lift his head.

To an outside observer, the eviction was predictable. The state’s threat to sue Santa Clara County over the pollution in Coyote Creek caused by camping spurred the closing of the Jungle, a winding, 68-acre shantytown under an overpass with upwards of 300 people. With the state’s environmental agencies—and the public—watching, San Jose could not allow another Jungle to spring up.

But the city could offer no viable alternative to the people it was expelling for the second time in a week. San Jose, the self-described capital of Silicon Valley, the largest wealth generator in the United States, lacked the resources.

The Jungle had become a symbol of the growing divide between the nation’s rich and poor. But its December 4 dismantling—a spectacle of crying residents struggling with shopping carts, Hazmat-suited cleanup crews tossing furniture into dump trucks and hordes of police and reporters standing watch—only underscored the problem, since so many Jungle residents were literally left out in the cold.

Residents of the neighborhood in Central San Jose that abutted the Jungle were glad to see the encampment go. But dismantling the Jungle is already creating new problems. Just days after the Jungle was torn apart, San Jose police and other city departments began fielding calls from people in different neighborhoods complaining of former Jungle residents setting up camps near them. Some ended up in a Walmart parking lot before being booted. Others were congregating near the airport, also under threat of eviction. At least one hospital reported an upsurge of emergency room visits from former residents of the Jungle, sick from weathering the elements, having misplaced medications in the eviction.

“What the city is saying is that it refuses to provide affordable housing, but it does not tolerate people living outside,” said Sandy Perry, an organizer at the Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County, who has worked with San Jose’s homeless population since 1991. “This is a willful, wholesale violation of human rights.”

San Jose, by all accounts, is experiencing a crisis in homelessness. Even with dedicated non-profits working to stem the tide, the city’s homeless problem, like that of other booming cities—New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, to name a few—has grown markedly worse in recent years. San Jose is the nation’s 10th largest city (with one million residents) but the San Jose/Santa Clara County area, home to 34 billionaires, has the nation’s fifth largest homeless population, after New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Diego.

San Jose/Santa Clara County also has the nation’s highest percentage of homeless people living on the streets. More than 75 percent, upwards of 7,600, are unsheltered, according to the 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, compared to five percent of the homeless people in New York City.

Ray Bramson, San Jose’s homeless response team manager, said the city did all it could for the Jungle. It earmarked $4 million and spent 18 months, with contracted non-profit organizations, to find housing for 144 Jungle residents, using housing vouchers that expire in two years. But another 60 residents, vouchers in hand, could not find apartments, even with social workers working on their behalf. By the end, just weeks before the dismantling, the population of the Jungle was still between 200 and 300 people, according to housing advocates and volunteers who worked with jungle residents. That’s because every time a resident of the Jungle moved out, another person, or more, took their place.

Critics of the way the city dismantled the Jungle, both professional advocates for the homeless and citizens registering their opinions on social media, have decried the city for creating a two-year voucher program that inadequately served the population.

“When a city decides to built a park, it doesn’t build until it has the funding to finish it,” said Anthony King, a volunteer outreach worker who was homeless for more than 10 years. “So why did the city decide to undergo a program that addressed the needs of only some of the people in the Jungle?”

The city said it was forced to close the camp for its environmental risks and hazardous conditions. But Bramson himself has said that there are many other homeless camps along the waterways. In fact, the Jungle was part of a string of 247 tent cities along Santa Clara County’s waterways that contain 1,230 people, according to a recent county census.

Chris Herring, a Ph.D candidate in sociology at the University of California at Berkeley who has extensively researched homeless encampments on the west coast, said the eviction “will not mitigate the ongoing environmental damage to Coyote Creek by homeless habitation”—only move it around.”

In an essay in Beyond, Herring also said the eviction “will exacerbate rather than improve unsanitary conditions faced by the evicted, pushing them further from clean water, recycling centers and toilets.”

Residents of the Jungle, well aware of the growing trash and sanitary problems caused by so many incoming residents, had appealed to the city for help. In November, they waged a protest for better sanitary services. The city had provided three port-a-potties, eight hours a day, for the Jungle’s 300 residents, and handed out portable sanitary bags for them to use the rest of the time—bags of human waste that competed with all the other trash in the Jungle for a spot in the few trash bins on site.

In the few days that former residents of the Jungle spent in their second location before receiving eviction notices, they began organizing.

“We’re creating a community,” one woman said. People were assigned to clean up trash, run errands and the like. The group wanted to stay together, monitor activities so the site could stay clean and not generate complaints.

“I just know that if we keep a place clean, have the bags for the trash, and stay away from the public, they won’t bother us,” said Raul, the former Jungle resident. Living in the Jungle was a hard life, he said, but it was stable. He had his shack, he knew everyone, had friends and support. Like most homeless people, Raul said he preferred to be with other people he knew, rather than fend for himself.

His sister, who had a housing voucher but couldn’t find an apartment, was staying with her three dogs in a tent next to Raul’s. Almost everyone at the encampment had at least one small dog, often several.

The city came at the crack of dawn the day the new camp was evicted. Workers began taking their possessions before residents had even woken up, according to a report by ABC7 news. It quoted Bramson, who did not return requests for an interview for this story, saying, “There are services available. There is support available.”

But the only support was a limited number of shelter beds the residents could try to get into—if they gave up their dogs.

A day after their expulsion, most of the group had moved en masse to a new location, far from the public eye. But it was still near Coyote Creek. It wouldn’t take long, they said, for the city to find them again.

Evelyn Nieves is a senior contributing writer and editor at AlterNet, living in San Francisco. She has been a reporter for both the New York Times and the Washington Post.

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Councilmember Posner Postpones Asking Questions About the Bearcat

I just posted the following addition to an earlier story ““Homeless People Matter” Protest Gets Honks, Volunteers, at Cop Corner” on at  .  Go there for further information and background around the
Bearcat armored personnel vehicle, which the City Council gifted to the SCPD for Xmas.

Posner Punts Again

by Robert Norse

Thursday Dec 25th, 2014 4:02 PM

In the last week, I spoke with Santa Cruz Councilmember Posner requesting he get a specific and written reply from Deputy-Chief Steve Clark of the SCPD (or some other weighty there) as to the final deadline for agreeing to accept the Bearcat–the specific date.

As mentioned in the main story, I’d already sent the department a Public Records Act demand, which they have ignored so far (even beyond the deadline). Posner expressed anxiety at dealing with Clark, but said he’d make the request to City Manager Martin Bernal, who supposedly oversees the police (and has the power to hire or fire the police chief, I believe).

At the “whisk-it-through” December 9th Council meeting, Posner asked Clark when was the deadline. Clark didn’t specify a clear cut-off date, though he made a vaguer reference to “the end of the year”.

What Clark said was this: “We have a limited window with UASI [Urban Areas Security Initiative] for the $220,000 which is the base for it. And then we have a window until March to have it completely expended, billed, shipped, and placed here for the additional $31,000, And that’s coming from the state Homeland Security, so a delay would imperil our ability to get the $220,000. We have just a short amount of time REALLY THROUGH THE END OF THE YEAR to expend that money and seek reimbursement from the City and County of San Francisco.”

Those who want can confirm Clark’s comments and draw their own conclusions. Go to the Community TV video (still not posted by the City staff on the City website) at about 112 minutes into the file.

Clark may have honestly and accurately meant that the deadline cutoff with December 31st, 2014. But his failure to specifically name a date bothered me. So I filed a Public Records Act seeking any relevant documents to confirm the date. Clearly the SCPD must have them. But, thus far, they have not produced them.

Accordingly, I turned to Posner for help (usually a questionable move).

Micah: Some days ago, you told me to e-mail you a reminder regarding the specific deadline Steve Clark had in mind that required responding to the Homeland Security BEARCAT request. I have received no response from Lane or from the SCPD.
Please get this information and make it public. Or let me know you’re declining to do so.

Ran into your dad today circulating a petition around Sleeping Spaces. Good to see he’s still hanging in there.


From: MPosner [at]
To: rnorse3 [at]
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 08:12:56 -0800
Subject: Re: Reminder
Dear Robert,

I think I am going to deal your reasonable request after I get back from vacation next year. It is quite touchy; too touchy for me to do on my way out the door.

Obviously a public record request would be a way for you to get this information directly. May I suggest you talk to John Malkin about doing so.

Micah Posner

From: rnorse3 [at]
To: mposner [at]
CC: jsmalkin [at]; keith [at]; abbisamuels [at]; spleich [at]; pecolbe [at]; john.roncohen.colby [at]
Subject: RE: Reminder
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 13:16:00 -0800
I’ve already done so, Micah.  And they’ve failed to reply or ask for an extension within the 10-day response period.
What’s so “touchy” about simply asking in writing for the date of the supposed Bearcat cutoff for accepting the grant?

You ill-serve your constituency by (a) not keeping your word, (b) not showing some leadership here, and (c) not modeling what needs to be done.

The more you bow, scrape, and delay, the more you leave it to other more militant voices to risk their asses (not just their “political capital”)  to make sure the machine doesn’t roll forward over the body of the community with you timidly looking on.

Oh, yeah, I forgot.  You “voted against it.”

(And this was after conceding you’d vote for it if there was a “don’t use this against protesters” hope and prayer)


Another activist, John Colby, interviewed Posner, who stopped by the protest on 12-17. He had kinder words for the former bicycle advocate-turned-politician who I’ve alternately termed “Mouseheart Micah” (for his failure to ask hard questions of staff and police on numerous occasions) and “Portapotty” Posner (for his failure to press for open restrooms–instead being content with the portapotty set up at Front and Laurel streets).

Not to mention “Bikechurch Betrayer” for not taking stronger action to expose and fight the SCPD’s right-wing “no bikes for bums” bikenapping campaign in 2012 (See “Restoring Bikes to the Bike Church For Distribution is NOT on the Agenda” at

Colby’s interview is archived at .

Videojournalist Brent Adams, who posted his own video of the December 9th Council Shut-Out, spoke with Peter McGettigan. McGettigan is the video worker who films Council meetings for Community TV and then posts them, sometimes the next day. His video of the City Council meeting is posted at on the Community TV website. However, normally he is paid to post the same video on the City Council’s website at .

According to Adams, McGettigan told him that he went in to post the tumultuous Council session the next day as usual, but was told to go home, that an intern would be taking his place, and then, presumably to return at the end of the Xmas break in time for the next Council meeting. He was not given any advance notice of this change. He said it was unprededented, unusual, and done without explanation.

In the days that followed (and currently) the Council’s website had the following message: “December 9, 2014 City Council Meeting – Due to technical difficulties with our audio system, this audio file is not available.” And there was no video posted.



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Return Engagement at Cop Corner

“Homeless People Matter” Protest Gets Honks, Volunteers, at Cop Corner
by Robert Norse
Monday Dec 22nd, 2014 12:57 PM

Following up on concerns about SCPD racial and homeless profiling (where groups are targeted or selectively ticketed) Cafe HUFF returned to Laurel and Center Streets right outside the police parking lot Wednesday afternoon (12-17). Numerous new and young faces joined the familiar HUFF regulars to hold up signs, give out flyers, offer brownies and coffee passersby, and gather signatures. Additional concerns of the protesters were the slippery process used to acquire the “Bearcat” armored personel “rescue” vehicle and SCPD’s withholding of when, where, and by whom it used tasers, batons, choke holds, and other such tactic. In the wake of Ferguson, our purpose was to focus on specific local concerns that seemed missing from larger protests.

The 2 1/2 hour vigil began under cloudy skies with a few of us, a small table, and a handful of signs. It ultimately grew to 15 people holding placards, giving interviews, rushing out to vehicles to provide literature, and sharing Cafe HUFF coffee and chips.

This was our third HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom) protest at Cop Corner urging the community to compel police transparency and accountability. See “Race andClass Bias in the SCPD: What’s the Real Story?” at .

Two European musicians, several traveler guitarists, and singer Briana Brewer provided nearly continuous music. As the afternoon progressed, more and more cars honked approval or showed “thumbs up” to our cries of “Black People Matter!” “Homeless People Matter” “Don’t Shoot! and other chants that have become standard in protests stemming from the murder of Mike Brown and others by police departments across the country.

Several raggedy wayfarers took the opportunity to lay down their backpacks and go to sleep on the sidewalk in the shadow of the protest. Signs and literature urged an end to the perpetual police assault on homeless people through such laws as the City’s Sleeping Ban, the Mathews-Terazzas “Stay-Away” orders, and the pressure against the outdoor poor in the Pogonip, downtown, and in the parks.

Also at issue and more recently in the public eye was Homeland Security’s latest Xmas toy to our urban para-military–the BearCat armored personnel vehicle. More horrifically known as the Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck, this acquisition and City Council’s police-fluffing procedures on December 9th prompted the first time a Mayor recessed a meeting under fire in nearly two decades. Brent Adams video and unanswered questions by activists sent to Mayor Lane are posted at .

Free Radio broadcaster and researcher John Malkin will be replaying his discussion of the issue with John Sandidge and Mayor Don Lane on Wednesday 12-24 at 7 PM on (101.3 FM).

“Keeping Up the Pressure: Wednesday Protest at Cop Corner” at describes some of the broader issues some HUFF activists are pressing for, in addition to blocking the armored personnel “rescue” vehicle.

In early July, I formally requested where, when, by whom, against whom, and why “use of force” was reported.

After a delay of several weeks to a previous Public Records Act demand, Drechsler declined to release any documents (as required by law) but did provide the following summary:

“Types of Force Number of Uses
Taser 39
Baton 4
Hands 6
Elbow 3
Knee 2
OC 1
[No information was provided regarding when officers drew or used their guns]”

After some back and forth and a delay of many months, the SCPD records worker Jacqui Drechsler released an uninformative summary of 5 police reports–none of them providing relevant information. We haven’t yet asked about injuries and hospitalizations. A follow-up request asking for the specific reasons for withholding the information has not yet been answered.

Democracy Now! reported today: “Protests against police brutality and racial profiling continued in New York City over the weekend, with actions including a sit-in at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Center Mall on Saturday and a silent march in Harlem on Sunday.

“More than 1,500 demonstrators shut down Minnesota’s Mall of America for several hours on Saturday afternoon calling for justice in the cases of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. At least 25 people were arrested.

“One day earlier, dozens of protesters were arrested in Milwaukee after blocking traffic on a major highway for over an hour. The action centered on the case of Dontre Hamilton, an unarmed mentally disabled black man shot dead during a confrontation with a police officer on April 30. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has called up the National Guard to be on standby.

It’s important that Santa Cruz police accountability activists intensify their local focus and extend solidarity to activists fighting similar issues across the country. Though mainstream media is now dripping with apologies, excuses, and sympathy for police and the officials who love them, the upsurge of outrage is continuing. Please post any upcoming actions, new research, or individual experiences—video is particularly helpful.


A Public Records Act request has secured Officer Azua’s citation and arrest record. Unfortunately (and curiously) racial stats were omitted.

Because the SCPD has not (so far) provided summaries of citations issued by race, it will be necessary to handcheck and handcount all citations issued by Azua. In the case of Officer Barnett it became clear that he gave out 7 times as many citations to black community members than would have been expected from their representation in the community. See “No Ferguson in Santa Cruz: Stop Local Racial and Class Profiling” at–homeless.pdf

Prior HUFF protests have not noticeably altered the SCPD’s support for Barnett, but have raised awareness. See”HUFF Releases Evidence of SCPD Profiling, Joins National Police Brutality Protests” at .


An earlier protest secured the release of Barnett’s citations for public viewing. See “Protesters Demand Faster Response from SCPD Regarding Records Requests” at .

That protest and research at the SCPD revealed the massive disparity of citations given by Officer Barnett to homeless people (“transient” or 115 Coral St. addresses) versus those given to others for such “crimes” as “smoking in a no smoking zone”, “trespass in a public parking lot”, “panhandling” & “sitting within 14′ of a building”. See “Report from Cop Corner” at .

Audio from the 12-17 protest will be played on Free Radio 12-25 6-8 PM (at 101.3 FM, and archived at .

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Councilmember Posner Has Office Hours Around Pacific Avenue Street Stuff

After some delay Micah Posner has agreed to be in his office 11 AM to noon every Friday to hear take input on the new (goes into effect December 25th) “Performer Pens” law.  He asks that folks call in advance if they’re planning to come in on his office line at 831-420-5028.

For this Friday only, Posner says he’ll be in the office at 3:30 PM

Posner is finally establishing office hours at the request of HUFF and some street performers.

Presumably he’ll also be interested in hearing about other concerns regarding ordinances downtown impacting poor people (such as the current 1-day Stay Away ordinance–due for explosive expansion on January 11th).   And he has expressed a continuing interest in bemoaning the Sleeping Ban (while voting for laws that further empower rangers and police to enforce it).

The ordinance (MC 5.43) further restricts and freezes in place specific spaces where the public can perform, vend, table, or panhandle.  It also likely more severely limits the sitting spaces on Pacific Avenue where one can put butt to sidewalk.

Neither he nor Lane moved to abolish or amend the Move-Along law section of 5.43, which poses huge ($300+) fines on anyone with a cap, open guitar case, table, or other “display device” who fails to move along every hour after being told his “time is up”.  (Police have falsely directed people  to move every hour and “time themselves” but the wording of the law requires a warning after an hour is up.

A sight-disabled man at the HUFF meeting yesterday advised us he was ticketed for his painting activity when he didn’t clean up and move on quickly enough for the various police officers surrounding him.

HUFF has strongly opposed the anti-homeless Downtown Ordinances–particularly the “forbidden zones” law which shrinks available space for sitting and sparechanging to less than an estimated 1% of the total sidewalk area, and available space for vending, tabling, and performing to less than 2%.
[See “Restore Sidewalk Space For All; End the “One Hour of Free Speech and Get Going” Rule” at ]

Lengthy e-mail dialogue with Mayor Don Lane from a few months ago can be found at [“Vice-Mayor Meets With Activists on Performance Pens Along Pacific Avenue 1:30 PM Today “]

As far as street performing goes, HUFF supports the Voluntary Street Performers Guidelines [ )] created in 1980 by Tom Noddy & other performers and effective for 22 years before being bulldozed over by the Reilly-Mathews Council of 2003.


We call on all allies and people of conscience to come to the so-called “Jungle” encampment at 6:30 am on this Thursday morning, December 4, to stand in solidarity with the homeless who are threatened with arrest for the “crime” of having nowhere to go. The City’s planned eviction of homeless residents is not the answer to San Jose’s homelessness problem. Simply arresting or dispersing people will not make them go away.
We applaud the City’s efforts that have so far housed some 144 encampment residents in the past 18 months. However,
many more than that number BECAME homeless during the same time period, due to the City’s misguided jobs-housing imbalance and its lax rent control laws. Residents who have moved out of the “Jungle” into housing have been replaced by new homeless people moving in.
The City should concentrate on housing the homeless, not moving them around from place to place. Moving them from one creek to another does not protect the environment. According to its own survey, 96% of encampment residents would move into affordable housing immediately if it became available.
To say that one of the richest cities in America does not have the resources to house its people is immoral and deceitful. The City Council has the opportunity to show the courage and vision to claim the resources that are there. Silicon Valley corporations have over $500 billion in cash reserves. To continue saying there is nothing we can do while our people are dying is a disservice to the fine and compassionate people of San Jose.
Robert Aguirre, H.O.M.E.L.E.S.S.                               915-471-8674

Pastor Scott Wagers, CHAM Deliverance Ministry

Sandy Perry, Affordable Housing Network


Mobile Showers for Homeless–Cheaper Than Buildings

NOTE BY NORSE:  Santa Barbara and its neighbor Goleta are several (token) steps ahead of Santa Cruz.   Santa Barbara has had a Safe Parking program on government lots for some time. Goleta now weighs in with a shower program.  On the downside, activist and poet Peter Marin reports ( 1 hour, 11 minutes into the audio file) Santa Barbara is following Santa Cruz’s bad example in passing anti-homeless (e.g. anti-sitting) laws on its main tourist thoroughfaire State Street.
Santa Cruz, meanwhile has stacked its Pacific Avenue with gun-toting cops, uniformed First Alarm “security” thugs, and “happy” Hosts adding phony public safety hysteria to its usual “clean ’em out for Xmas” program.  City homeless haters are  now planning to arm these “Get Movin’!” mannequins with further with “no conviction needed” stay-away powers on December 9th at City Council.  (See “Stay-Away Stupidity Not on Tuesday’s 11-25 Council Agenda” at   No doubt, the hope is to intimidate homeless people out of town, but it’s likely only to increase jail and policing costs ).
Hey, what with drenching rain and dropping temperatures, who needs additional showers and shelter.  There’s no plan on deck other than the usual well-intentioned pleas of a few activists to provide regular warming centers.

Goleta Council Approves Pilot Program to Provide Mobile Shower for Homeless

By Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @JECMolina | Published on 12.02.2014 6:49 p.m.

Homeless people will have a place to take a shower under a pilot program offered by the City of Goleta and an advocacy group.

In partnership with the group HEAL (Hope, Empowerment & Love), Goleta will provide space outside the  Goleta Valley Community Center for a mobile shower for the homeless.

The shower facilities will be located inside a trailer, a two-room unit, that has a shower, stall, sink and toilet.

The trailer is self-contained with its own water tank, heater, wastewater holding tank and air conditioner.

The Goleta City Council voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve the project.

“I think it is a fabulous idea,” new Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte said. “I really believe it is the right thing to do. I can’t even imagine going days and days without a shower.”

Showers for the homeless people would be limited to about five minutes.

Initially, the mobile shower would be open one day per month, over a three-month period, beginning Dec. 29. The trailer would be parked in a rear parking lot of the community center, just north of the tennis courts.

The project would be a pilot program for three months, but eventually HEAL activists want to have the trailer visit regular sites, including St. Michael’s University Church and St. Mark’s Catholic Church, both in Isla Vista.

The hours would be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and homeless people would have to make an appointment to use the facilities.

HEAL activists said they do not tolerate intoxicated individuals.

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Jilliam Pam Hunger Striker Grows Weaker in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

NOTE BY NORSE:  Food servers have largely been driven off the streets of Santa Cruz–except for the twice weekly Food Not Bombs [FNB] folks, who serve 4-6 PM Saturdays and Sundays near the main post office downtown.  Previously, Ronne Currey, Pastor Dennis Adams, and Pastor Steve used to serve in downtown Santa Cruz until they were pressured into leaving.  The Circles Church near Garfield Park has stopped some of its meals and its entire Sunrise Hangout Cafe Warming Program in response to bigoted neighbor pressure and the increased influx of clients driven there from elsewhere in the City by anti-homeless laws and policies.
On 11-17, the Transportation and Public Works Commission voted to approve permit parking in spite of questionable documentation and most folks speaking against it with the threat of further expansion of the homeless nighttime parking ban in the Errett Circle area.   Recently folks report being told they could not sleep under bridges in the rain..  On December 9th, an unprecedented Stay-Away order law is likely to be handed to police allowing them to unilaterally ban homeless people from many areas around the city without court process for such “crimes” as sleeping, being in a park after dark, and smoking.
As pushback, on Saturday at the FNB literature HUFF regularly has claim forms for folks who want to sue abusive authorities for camping, sleeping, and other sorts of homelessness tickets they’ve been given in the last 5 months.   If you’d like to help in this effort, contact HUFF at or call at 831-423-4833.

For video, to post comments, and to contact Pim and/or the Sun-Sentinel, go to

Hunger striker vows not to eat until Fort Lauderdale homeless can be fed in public

Jillian Pim of Food Not Bombs has been on a hunger strike for 20 days, protesting Fort Lauderdale’s new restrictions on feeding the homeless outdoors.

Hunger striker said she has lost 25 pounds already, going from 143 lbs. to 118 lbs.
“My friends, when they look at me, they hold back tears,” hunger striker says.’
Hunger strike enters 20th day in opposition to Fort Lauderdale outdoor homeless feeding restrictions.

Jillian Pim said she hasn’t had a bite to eat since police cited Arnold Abbott three weeks ago for feeding the homeless at Stranahan Park.

Since then, the 90-year-old Abbott has garnered international attention in his battle with the city, but few have noticed the 30-year-old Dania Beach hunger striker.

Pim said she won’t eat again until the city stops enforcing its month-old law that restricts where charitable groups can feed the homeless outdoors.

Jillian Pim

Jillian Pim, who has been on a hunger strike for 20 days, gets a hug from Jimmy Dunson at Friday’s Food Not Bombs food-sharing at Stranahan Park in Fort Lauderdale. At right is Thursday Addams, who joined Pim as a hunger striker a week ago. (Larry Barszewski / Sun Sentinel)

“I can imagine it’s a lot easier for me than for the people who are on the streets who are starving involuntarily,” said Pim, a member of the Food Not Bombs group that has actively protested the city’s recent spate of laws affecting the homeless.

She said she has lost 25 pounds, bringing her to 118. A bicyclist who once clocked several hundred miles a week, she now uses a walker to keep from falling. She is visibly thinner than she was during an appearance at a City Commission meeting in October.

“My friends, when they look at me, they hold back tears because I’ve gotten so frail and tiny,” Pim said. “I’ve not only had to tighten my belt, I’ve also had to tighten my wristwatch.”

She said she subsists on water with lemons, sometimes with salt. Her boss asked her to take time off 10 days into the strike, fearing she could hurt herself. She takes more naps and has called a doctor because she’s noticing tingling in her extremities that she said shouldn’t have started for several more days.

How quickly the body’s systems break down without food vary by individual, but death is generally considered a severe risk after 45 days. As of Friday, Pim was on Day 20.

“It definitely hurts seeing her,” said Paulino Mejia, who was with Pim at Friday’s Food Not Bombs food distribution at

Stranahan Park, which went off without police showing up to issue citations. Pim made the pumpkin soup.

“She’s definitely an incredibly strong person,” Mejia said. “It’s very powerful to see someone doing what she’s doing.”
Pim is getting closer to the time when she can do permanent damage to her body, but that hasn’t weakened her resolve.

City officials have said they have no intention of putting the law on hold. The best chance for Pim to break her fast is if a judge issues an injunction against the law. Several suits have been filed.

Pim knew the feeding ordinance was coming and prepared for a hunger strike. “I did a month and a half of research and three weeks of prepping my body for it,” Pim said.

She described herself as athletic, doing up to 800 situps a day, exercise she had to wind down before starting the strike.

Pim is used to the commissioners paying her little attention when she gets up to speak for the homeless. She wasn’t sure what to expect when she started the strike.

“I am a little concerned it’s not getting enough support in the media.” Pim said. “What I’m more upset at is the city commissioners, the mayor, the [Downtown Development Authority], all the people we’ve been protesting. I’ve sent them emails about this hunger strike and none of them have responded at all.

“I was at last Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, and none of them would even look at me.”

Pim said this is her first hunger strike. She joined the local Food Not Bombs chapter in 2010 after moving to the area from Tampa in 2009. She has been active in a number of protests, including the 2008 Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Another member of Food Not Bombs, who goes by the name Thursday Addams, has completed one week of a hunger strike.

“It felt like someone else should also be doing it,” the Lake Worth resident said.

Pim’s husband, Nathan, does not think the effort is for nothing.

“I think overall it’s helped with the overwhelming sort of outrage and sentiment that’s been going on to get people to do something about this,” he said. or 954-356-4556



Hernandez not Azua Drew a Gun on Jasmine Thanksgiving 2013

Correcting An Error: Hernandez not Azua Drew a Gun on Jasmine Thanksgiving 2013

A prior flyer I posted on Santa Cruz Indymedia & the HUFF e-mail list, and distributed at two rallies erroneously identified Officer Frank Azua as the SCPD off-duty officer who drew a gun on Jasmine Byron and her family at the Salvation Army Thanksgiving meal in 2013.  They reported Hernandez was menacing them for “taking a plate of food outside” as others were doing.  I apologize for any confusion caused by this error and further discuss it below.  I also include the corrected flyer for those who want to read and/or distribute it.    –Robert Norse

Officer Frank Azua has been accused of racial profiling downtown. (See “Santa Cruz Police Racism by Officer Azua and Unidentified PO ” at and “Selective Enforcement of Smoking Ban, Obstruction of Video Reporting–Report to the Chief!” at ).

He has also been identified in numerous incidents in radio interviews with those who reported abuse: (search for “Azua” at ). However, my apologies for a mistaken reference to him in this incident.

Officer Joe Hernandez was identified by Jasmine Byron, her partner, and her mom as the man who drew a gun on her for taking a plate of food out of the Salvation Army Thanksgiving meal last year. In radio interviews on November 28, 2013 and December 8, 2013, Hernandez was described as the gun-pointing and subsequently taunting individual. (See and search for “Hernandez”).

The flyer included with this comment is a corrected version with the proper information.