Standing Up at City Council and in the Community To Attacks on Homeless Residents in Vehicles

Raising Some Issues at Oral Communications
by Robert Norse & Alicia Kuhl (rnorse3 [at]
Wednesday May 29th, 2019 10:16 AM
Continued delay and inaction on providing homeless shelter and services (to say nothing of civil rights) for homeless folks was the silent part of yesterday’s Santa Cruz City Council agenda. Several of us raised issues at Oral Communications
Many months ago, Alicia Kuhl and other RV-dwellers held a press conference at the police station. She and others asked Chief Mills (who attended) to advise the public and his enforcement staff to stop harassing those whose vehicles are their homes who are legally parked. And to advise noisy and hostile NIMBY’s that making frivolous, malicious, or false complaints about folks in vehicles overstaying the 72 hour limit was itself a crime. He declined to do.

See “The Vandwellers Meet the Police Chief: Relearning Sad Facts” at ,

See also “Sentinel presents Sympathetic Story on Van Dweller Harassment, Ducks Police Accountability” at

At the City Council last night, Alicia Kuhl, Santa Cruz Homeless Union activist, presented and distributed a speech calling out SCPD Police Chief Andy Mills comments on “John Green”‘s “Santa Cruz Looks Like Shit” page.

She believes Mills incites vigilante violence. Mills sites “Green” as a facebook friend. Mills, Alicia noted, provided a recent news flash to needle distribution opponents noting Denise Elerich’s Harm Reduction application was withdrawn. Alicia accuses Mills of not removing his post from the “SCLLS” website where some posters advocate vigilante violence against folks living in their RV’s.

She presented screen shots of the website, and also urged the community to oppose vigilante activity, quoting numerous facebook posters who seem to be urging or enabling it (see attached flyer of speech).

Unlike last Council meeting, all speakers were able to speak for two minutes, though Watkins for the second time barred all group presentations. Also the abrupt cutoff of speakers and subsequent clearing of the chambers at the last meeting may have discouraged some from coming to speak. At least one man who stood in line behind me, said he’d given up and wouldn’t bother to speak since the Mayor would probably not allow it.

I commented during my speech (also attached) that the City Council “Progressives” don’t seem interested in extending Oral Communications to allow all there to speak–even for the limited 2 minutes (several years ago it was 3 minutes).

Last time Councilmembers Sandy Brown and Justin Cummings joined the repressive Watkins/Mathews minority to vote down a proposed extension of Oral Communications time–resulting in a tumultuous delay as people protested.

Kuhl also posted on the facebook page of Santa Cruz County Homeless Advocates a video of a “Santa Cruz Looks Like Shit” poster under the name Jeremy Hoekstra harassing and threatening a man sitting on the sidewalk outside the Bike Church. (See for May 27th).

Numerous speakers at City Council called out the City Council majority (now enabled by Vice-Mayor Justin Cummings) for enabling a corrupt agenda process excluding key issues like rent control, survival encampments, and restored public process at City Council.

Frances Pain recalls stumbling and falling on the sidewalk with groceries tumbling everywhere–ignored by everyone except a homeless man across the street. Tyler suggested that as more and more fall into debt and homelessness, it will be the homeless themselves that will provide real help and guidance.

Curtis Reliford spoke passionately about racial discrimination in Santa Cruz and the tickets he’d been given for his musical vehicular fundraising.

I don’t remember any Janus workers speaking but previously several of them talked about wretched working conditions there. So I added to my flyer their announcement of a picket happening 2-4 PM Thursday May 30th at 200 7th Ave.

I’m also posting usual advisory for vandwellers to unite for self-defense and report all threatening behavior by presumptuous NIMBY neighbors.

Save the Ross Camp:Actions Upcoming!

Emergency Protest to Defend Those Without Housing

Santa Cruz City Council to vote to violate Martin v. Boise ruling against Cruel and Unusual Treatment.






Protest and Press Conference to stop the Demolition of the Ross Camp: Protest Tuesday 3:45 PM City Hall [1 Attachment]

Protest and Press Conference

Tuesday, March 19th 3:45 PM City Hall

Ross Camp Residents & Council Speak Out !

Back the Lawsuit ! No Homeless Bulldozing on April 17th !

Speak Out    Munchables Provided   Bring Friends 

Sunday March 17 4-6 PM Food Not Bombs Main Post Office: Pick up Tally Sheets to Document Shelter Insufficiency at FNB Table  7 PM St.Patrick’s Day Gathering at the Ross Camp

Monday March 18 3 PM Camp Pathway near the Bridge: Ross Council meets with Drew Glover

+++ On 3-12, the entire City Council dumped its February 26th promise to postpone any closure of the Ross Camp until there was adequate shelter or safe sleeping space for the entire population there.

+++ The Council’s “solution”:  Set up shelter for 100 people at the boneyard & another spot.

+++ The “solution” won’t shelter 100-200 Ross residents. It ignores the rest of the homeless population.

+++ The overcrowded Ross camp needs overflow shelter and services now not an April 17th deadline.

+++ Ross camp residents are preparing an Injunction with the assistance of attorney Anthony Prince of the California Homeless Union to force the City to respect the Martin v. Boise decision.  Support the lawsuit!

Flier byHUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833     3-16-19




Attachment(s) from Robert Norse | View attachments on the web

1 of 1 File(s)

Fight Back Against Homeless Camp Demolition: Legal Weapons Available Wednesday 2 PM El Rio Mobile Home Park Rec Hall

Take ‘Em To Court !  Legal Tools for Homeless Resistance

Don’t Wait for Cops to Trash Your Tent & Steal Your Stuff

       1st meeting of the Organizing Legal Committee for the Santa Cruz Homeless Union Wednesday, March 6 at 2:00El Rio Mobile Home Park Rec Hall, 2120 N. Pacific.

       Attorney Anthony Prince will give information on how to make legal filings, fight tickets and provide safe strategies for interacting with the police. He will also facilitate a discussion on organizing self-represented legal resistance to any “Move-Along!” orders for homeless camps for survival campers without shelter options (i..e. nearly everyone).

        A group will be gathering at 1:30 PM Wednesday at the Ross Hero’s Camp and walking to the meeting together as well.

        The Rec Hall is the first building on the right as you enter the park which is at the very end of North Pacific Avenue past Lenz Arts.

        There will be home-baked cake, bread, cheese and refreshments.

        We hope to see you there!  Bring a friend—housed or not!

“The panel held that, as long as there is no option of sleeping indoors, the government cannot criminalize indigent, homeless people for sleeping outdoors, on public property, on the false premise they had a choice in the matter.”             Martin v. City of Boise (9th Cir. 2018) No. 15-35845

California Homeless Union, Conscience in Action, Food Not Bombs, Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom

Flier by Norse & Tucker HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 423-4833  3-4-19

For more information, to comment and view comments, go to .

Meetings Today–Sub Rosa at 703 Pacific: Conscience & Action 11 AM; HUFF at noon; Attorney Anthony Prince 1 PM; Legal Workshop at the Ross Camp at 2PM



  • Prep for the 2 PM Legal Forum Out at Camp Ross
  • Update on Last Night’s City Council Meeting’s Actions and Inaction
  • Round 2 With “Closed Bathrooms” Tony Elliot?
  • Council Procedure Changes Proposed?  Action at the Next Council from the Audience
  • Wresting the $10 million from poverty pimps:  Report on the HEAP, HAP, or COC HQ.
  • Latest RV Harassment Update: Coastal Commission Pressure, Buddy Solidarity, Council Action
  • Continuing Documentation of the Shelter Deficit to Protect the Broader Homeless Community
  • Emergency laundry and shower access for the broader homeless community and Ross.
  • Action targeting a real estate profiteer in conjunction with tenant organizations
  • Meeting with Attorney and Activist Anthony Prince at 1 PM
  • For HUFFsters
  • Conscience and Action  items unfinished of interest to HUFFsters
  • RV Harassment Report from Cynthia and Alicia
  • RV living elsewhere; Reports from Elsewhere (San Diego’s Law)
  • Prepping for the Concentration Camp Solution; Homeless Dumping Out of Town
  • Organizing Ross Camp Support and Satellite Camp Expansion
  • Possible Update on Berkeley activists defending People’s Park against new attacks.
  • FRSC Meeting with Mayor Martine Watkins Friday
  • Tenants in Trouble—demanding real data from the Task Farce, organizing with students, renters, elderly, disabled groups to establish mutual power and solidarity.
  • Homeless (Lack of) Service Center Update–Changes or More of the Same: an Examination of the latest answers from workers inside.
  • Library Situation: Monitoring the Mischief
  • SCPD: demanding revelation of surveillance devices throughout the City, police records on use of force, selective enforcement, tasering, DHS/ICE collusion, racial profiling.  Protests to open the property room during regular SCPD hours daily.
  • MHCAN:  A New Regime with a new Executive Director?  What changes now?
  • Right to Rest Law on State Model as a City Ordinance

Indybay Story with Flyer On Upcoming “Save the Ross Campground” Events

Save the Ross Campground
by Robert Norse & Keith McHenry (rnorse3 [at]
Monday Feb 18th, 2019 5:23 PM

The Heroes encampment behind the Gateway-Ross area is under threat of “abatement” according to resolution passed at the 2-12-19 S.C. City Council. The flyer here describes some actions discussed by HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom).
Download PDF (329.1KB)
Recently Chief Andy Mills of the SCPD visited Ross Camp and gave stern warnings to campers that they would all have to leave by March 15. Some would have to leave town and not return. No future encampments of this sort would be permitted.

Official-looking notices have already been posted (

There are no clear records of any Ross campers being housed elsewhere as was supposedly offered by city bureaucrats Susie O’Hara and Tina Shull at Council on February 12th.

Nor do Ross campers feel they want to leave for the proposed waiting lists, night-time only shelter, and other inadequate alternatives being spoken about (though not actually offered).

One camp resident gave her chilling account of Mills’s threats at with an additional short piece at

The federal Miller v. Boise decision, whose precedent is applicable here, bars cities from enforcing laws that criminalize sleeping, camping, resting, or lying where they have no shelter comprehensive alternatives.

Conscience and Action and HUFF will be meeting Wednesday at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific next to the Bike Church 11 AM to 1 PM. Join us.

Broken Promises, Buses to Nowhere: the City Council’s Homeless Solution–the Nationwide “Homeless Bound” Scam

NOTES BY NORSE:   “Liberal” SCPD Chief Andy Mills showed up at the Ross Encampment last week around the time “Abatement” notices were being posted, to give warnings.
            If you live in distant towns, you will be given (one-way) tickets; if you live in outside Santa Cruz City Limits, you will be forced to leave; if you live in here, you will be evicted by March 15th.  You will never be allowed to form another Ross Camp style survival encampment again.   These were his words as remembered by Mama Shannon, a long-time homeless activist and resident of Ross Camp and as reported to me last night
            Thanks to the key vote that killed a proposal to restore last year’s rent freeze and just eviction protection law, hundreds of Ross camp residents are facing loss of their lodging, belongings, privacy, and safety.  New Councilmember Justin Cummings voted with the Mathews-Watkins majority  to back a slippery City-County plan to offers phantom floor spaces and uncertain prospects of future shelter.  Why?  A cosmetic cover for the joint City-County “eliminate the eyesore” Ross Camp which prompts anxiety from nearby housed residents and tourist-seeking businesses at the Gateway Plaza.
              Cummings made an apparent promise on February 12th that the announced “abatement” might be altered at the February 26th or March 12th Council meetings if it became (even more) obvious that there was insufficient shelter to meet the needs of the Ross residents.  However he also voted for the provision that allowed for closure notices to be posted immediately and has not responded to repeated requests tostop the forced eviction until real guarantees can be provided.
              Santa Cruz also uses the deceptively-termed “Homeward Bound” as part of its one-way-trip-to-nowhere plan to lawlessly deport homeless folks, often in collusion with law enforcement authorities, social service “providers”, business interests, and courts.  This provides the charade with both humanitarian and legal cover.  Last year’s Boise v. Martin decision makes laws that enable arresting homeless folks for sleeping, resting, sitting or lying likely unconstitutional here.
              The makeshift Ross Camp Community was created largely by the unhoused themselves. This was prompted in part by the shameless reduction in even token winter shelter space.  In part by city staff betraying promises to keep open the small and cramped River St. Camp until next April (while actually closing it in October=–thank you  City Manager Martin Bernal, Susie O-Hara and Tina Shull).  And partly by the inevitable explosion of the local homeless population as rents escalate, jobs disappear, and services shrink.
               Police and rangers may have had a plan to use the camp as a concentrating device.  Numerous survival sleepers report being (illegally) driven to the camp under (false) threat of arrest and property seizure.  However, once there, saner and more compassionate heads in the community began to provide food and shelter support.  The City and County were forced by the numbers to provide minimal portapotty, trash, and needle disposal services.
                Keith McHenry of Food Not Bombs announced a nonviolent direct action campaign to establish temporary survival campgrounds in downtown parking garages  (See “This is a Homeless Emergency” at )
                 Tomorrow (Tuesday February 19th) is a Special City Council meeting behind held at the Harvey West Clubhouse  326 Evergreen St. at 9 AM where there will be a brief public comment period (
                   Wednesday Conscience and Action meets at 11 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe followed by HUFF at noon to firm up strategies.  Councilmember Glover is reportedly going to be going to an open meeting that night at the Felton Community Hall  6191 Highway 9 in  Felton (6:30 – 8 PM)
                  The Guardian article below documents how widespread the homeless-dumping practice is throughout the U.S.  For more details, video, and commentary, go to .

Protest and Evening Battle Likely at City Council -Tuesday 2-12-19

NOTES BY NORSE:   This article by Councilmember Glover and attached commentary gives some important background on the evening session coming up at City Council for Tuesday night.  A speak-out and protest outside Council chambers will begin at 6:15 PM with food supplied by Jumbogumbo Joe Schultz of India Joze.
                 Originally, the protest was intended to focus on continued harassment by SCPD and P & R rangers harassing and citing homeless folks in public places, with some reports that folks living in their own camps were being driven to the Ross Camp.  Though the Ross Camp has been provided with some more (but still inadequate) facilities in the last month, it is still badly overcrowded and under severe pressure from raging neighbors.
                 In response, HUFF called for additional campgrounds, laundry and shower services, and the end to citations for being in a park after dark, reopening public bathrooms during the day and at night city-wide, and protecting the rights of those whose homes are their vehicles.
                 Councilmembers Glover and Krohn were rebuffed on rent control/just eviction and then by the City Manager and Mayor Watkins for not putting homelessness on the last January Council meeting.  In response, Glover mobilized his interns to propose 6 measures in consultation with homeless activists, and folks from Ross Camp and the RV community itemized in the PDF’s attached to his Indybay story  “The Fierce Urgency of Now”.
                  Glover and Krohn may have a 4-person majority on City Council not just to pass the homelessness resolutions, but also to rein in Mayor “One Minute” Martine Watkins censorship proclivities which were in full foul flower at the last Council meeting.  Speaking times were reduced to one minute, speakers were excluded, speakers were interrupted, and oral communications was crunched and contracted in her desire to “welcome” a foreign delegation from Japan.  There was little protest if any from the “Progressives” at the January meetings.
                   Unless members of the audience demand it vocally, there’s no guarantee we won’t see a repeat of this disgraceful performance on February 12th.  Folks need to come in numbers, ready to speak out, unroll sleeping bags, hold up signs, and stand their ground.
                    Note that there is no mention of rent control or just eviction, just a fig leaf proposal for yet another Task Force that will babble while tenants and their supporters get driven out of town.
                    Review Glover’s article and the attached documents.  Check also the “Flyer for 2-10-19 City Council Protest” which gives more details.
                    Come on down to City Council on Tuesday at 6:15 PM.  Form connections with folks at the Ross Campground.  Contact City Council by e-mail ( )or phone (831-420-5020) .  And contact HUFF at 423-4833 or to be advised of upcoming flash protests and to resist the demolition of the Ross Campground.
The Fierce Urgency of Now
by Santa Cruz City Councilmember Drew Glover
Friday Feb 8th, 2019 10:45 PM
This Wednesday I went to the “Ross Camp” with some of the interns that work with me at the Resource Center for Nonviolence to get an update on the situation and to engage people in a conversation about poverty. As we arrived we met Mel Nunez, a dedicated advocate for the poor and representative from our local faith communities. [Photo: The view of the Ross Camp from the River Street side.]
original image (1280×720)
We joined him in passing out anti-microbial “Bombas” socks, fresh apples, salad greens, spinach and water. It was almost immediately after we arrived that people began to approach us expressing their need for food, materials and clothing…
Story continues at and the comments that follow.

Police-Led Martin Luther King Day March, Lots of Smiles, Little Substance

This article also available (hopefully) at

I joined the MLK parade, annoyed at the annual pomp and ceremony, sterilizing, sanitizing, and snoozifying his real message-to act locally against war, racism, and poverty. The flyers I distributed lay out some of the specifics that I often echo on this website. At least one speaker at the civic Auditorium noted it was, for the second year, police-led–the final bitter icing on the fluffy cake of expropriating, transforming, and degrading King’s original message and work.
Download PDF (833.0KB)
Almost entirely absent from the event was any discussion of local racism, police abuse, or institutional anti-homeless city policies. Some folks presented with flyers raising these concerns turned up their noses and marched on in bright array.

I’ve raised this issue in prior parades. See There were hundreds perhaps more than 1000 in the parade, but fewer on the sidelines cheering or watching than last year.

I shouted a taunting inquiry at Police Chief Mills as he left Civic Auditorium. The question was also raised in Alicia Kuhl’s press conference with Chief Mills the week before: “When are you going to stop harassing the RV dwellers?” He left it unanswered, of course, as he stiffly strode away.

The indybay story (including the Sentinel article) covering the continuing SCPD harassment of RV’s can be found at .

Other activists I spoke with also mentioned the lack of local issues in the bevy of “distinguished speakers” lining the podium inside the Civic Auditorium. I regretted my own cowardice in not shouting out important questions and challenging the self-satisfied police-congratulating celebration joined in with a standing ovation.

I continue to wonder when the NAACP–the parade co-sponsor–will stand up publicly and hold Mills’s SCPD accountable for its behavior towards poor folks and minorities. And, in particular, hold individual officers accountable publicly for abuses when they happen.

Mills still declines to explain why he omits race from his infraction citation summaries. He has not responded to requests for specifics of the when and where folks were tasered, struck with a baton, choke-holded, pain-complianced, or confronted with a drawn gun. He misrepresents his Parks and Recreation Rangers use of “trespass” to load up homeless people who sleep in public parks and “closed areas” at night with unpayable fines.

His police and rangers have been commended for generally leaving the Gateway/Ross camp alone, but most folks outside are not in that camp and must deal with harassment, citations, and property seizures for “trespassing on public property”.

Over a year ago, I raised these and other questions with Mills publicly. Additionally Steve Schnaar, both this year and last, wrote questioning the consistency if not the hypocrisy of the head cop leading the MLK parade. My questions remain unanswered and his concerns haven’t been addressed either.

These are behaviors that MLK, one presumes, would be exposing and resisting.. It seems particularly twisted to be allowing the SCPD to transform the event into a PR exercise–complete with little purple vests. I think we need some yellow ones here in Santa Cruz like those our French cousins are wearing as they take real, not just symbolic action.

§Who Stole MLK Day?

by Robert Norse Tuesday Jan 22nd, 2019 1:10 PM
Download PDF (54.5KB)
This flyer raises the questions gone into more detail on some of the other flyers.
§A summary of the Sentinel and Indybay Stories on Mills’s RV Policy

by Robert Norse Tuesday Jan 22nd, 2019 1:10 PM
Download PDF (494.5KB)
§Protect Your Home on Wheels–Two Half Page Flyers

by Robert Norse Tuesday Jan 22nd, 2019 1:10 PM
Download PDF (720.2KB)
Top flyer is for those who aren’t currently being harassed, but worry about the future; the bottom flyer is for those currently experiencing harassment.