Speaking Back to the Sentinel on the San Lorenzo Campground

A Response to Jessica York’s Latest Sentinel San Lorenzo Campground Story
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
Saturday Feb 3rd, 2018 9:24 AM

TO LEAVE OR VIEW COMMENTS, GO TO: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/02/03/18806465.php

Jessica York’s front-page story in today’s Scent Anal “Camp Cleanups Shuffle City’s Homeless Population” breezes over the destruction of homeless property and survival gear. It does indicate that City bosses colluded with Cal-Trans in the latest “destroy their stuff” campaign. Those bosses, of course, would be City Manager Bernal, Police Chief Mills, P & R head Garcia, and nominally Mayor Terrazas). Perhaps it’s just raw meat for the Next Door/Take Back Santa Cruz crowd, but it’s criminal cruelty nonetheless.

Most of this was left as a Disquis comment to the article. I’ll also be covering some of this on my Sunday Free Radio Show at 101.3 FM at 9:30 AM (also freakradio.org) which archives at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html .

Those who want to can leave comments on the Sentinel story at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20180202/camp-cleanups-shuffle-santa-cruzs-homeless-population-around-city.   Beware the bigot barrage likely to follow, since the Comment section is largely a Bigot’s Banquet.   I’m also reprinting the story below, since who wants to pay $1.50 to buy this rag, and it’s no longer free on line.

The “clean-up” was actually wholesale property removal that refused to provide temporary storage. Brent Adams mentions this and the prior “force the folks to move and dump the property that remains” process during the previous clean-up (but not during the first one). See https://www.facebook.com/Ho… .

The City’s ridiculous justification for this policy (some storage unclaimed in previous clean-up’s) reveals its real motivation. This is akin to the apparent agenda of most posters here–to thin out the homeless population by forced removal and property destruction. That should increase the homeless death rate, already high this last year.

York’s irrelevant inclusion of the storage problems of a camper not necessarily connected with San Lorenzo Park reveals her own bias, but also ironically is an example of the problem that many campers and the fearful residents who complain about then, have: storage.

This is a problem that Adams and the City arranged to deal with, but that storage agreement the City backed out on at the last minute, claiming it needed to “prepare” the ludicrously inadequate “Boneyard” barbed wire campground at 1220 River St.. This small space can house only a fraction of those at San Lorenzo (itself only a fraction of the homeless) and will require users being bused in and out twice a day to pander to the paranoia of businesses nearby.

Activists in the community need to consider providing trash pick-up’s and portapotty rental for the many existing campgrounds that reappear after every sweep. I also suggest better communications with the campgrounds in order to document that illegal property theft and destruction of survival gear that the City is colluding with Cal-Trans to do.

If they get hit in the pocketbook with some hefty lawsuits, like Fresno, perhaps we’ll see a little less city-funded theft (http://abc30.com/archive/61....

Camp cleanups shuffle Santa Cruz’s homeless population around city
By Jessica A. York, Santa Cruz Sentinel

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20180202/camp-cleanups-shuffle-santa-cruzs-homeless-population-around-city

SANTA CRUZ >> Santa Cruz’s homeless population was put on the move this week, as separate encampment cleanups around the city coincided.

Santa Cruz Police Deputy Chief Rick Martinez told the city Public Safety Committee on Monday to expect Caltrans cleanups along Highway 1 to have rippling impacts throughout the rest of the city, relocating the city’s homeless to parks and open spaces, downtown and the neighborhoods.

“Hopefully we can find that magical place called ‘somewhere else’ where those can receive a system of care and get them off the streets,” Martinez said. He said “hundreds of people” were residing along Highway 1, past the bypass to Santa Cruz Memorial and uphill to Mission Street.

Caltrans crews began their Santa Cruz cleanup efforts on Jan. 26, said Caltrans District 5 spokeswoman Susana Cruz. Caltrans has targeted properties along Ocean Street, along the San Lorenzo River, Swift Street and Western Drive since then, she said. More cleanups are scheduled for Shaffer Road and Plymouth Street in coming weeks, Cruz said.

Martinez told the commission that Santa Cruz officials had asked Caltrans to address the growing number of encampments on their properties since October or November of last year.

“This has been going on for years,” Cruz said of Caltrans crews’ efforts to address trash buildup and homeless encampments in Santa Cruz. “They (Caltrans workers) do do this, but they have a list of work that they have to do, so every once in a while, they have to stop and just take care of the encampment thing, the homeless issue.”

Separately, residents of the city’s largest homeless encampment, comprised of 70 or more people in tents along the San Lorenzo Park benchlands, were temporarily evicted Tuesday evening through Thursday morning for a semi-regular city site cleanup effort. While past city camp cleanups have extended for only 24 hours, an extra half day was allotted this week due to the extended duration of time needed by campers to clear the area, city Parks and Recreation Director Mauro Garcia said.

By the conclusion of the cleanup Wednesday, city Public Works and Parks and Recreation workers had loaded some 2.6 tons of debris into a packer truck, Santa Cruz city spokeswoman Eileen Cross said. A 20-yard Dumpster on site has been averaging 2.5 to 3 tons of trash per pickup, for a cumulative 17.2 tons of trash collected since Oct. 30, Cross said.

Homelessness issues advocate Brent Adams has been posting videos of day-to-day experiences of people living at the benchlands through his Homeless Outside in Santa Cruz Facebook page. During this week’s camp clear-out, Adams spoke to several people who relocated to temporary camps near the Water Street Bridge.

When campers returned to the benchlands Thursday, they saw the nearly 60 outlined campsite spaces reduced by one space that had been damaged by a camper who dug deep trenches around and through their site, Garcia said. Though his department’s general rule has been to restrict one tent per campsite, city workers have been “flexible in enforcing this rule, depending on the situation.” Some campers have been allowed to set up secondary “E-Z Up” tent structures to extend their shelter space, Garcia said.

During the benchlands cleanup, the city dispensed with offering overnight storage space for campers’ possessions, an amenity officials had previously provided, because “several storage bins from previous cleanups have not been claimed,” Garcia said.

In a likely unrelated occurrence, storage-related issues came to a head for one man who told officials he had been evicted from an Eastside private storage space and then opted to store his possessions on Santa Cruz City Schools’ property at the Branciforte Small Schools campus Thursday and Friday.

Though an on-site school administrator was aware of the man’s actions and permitted it temporarily, his extended stay caught the attention of local residents and Santa Cruz police, said department spokeswoman Joyce Blaschke. The man was cited by police and his possessions picked up by a moving truck Friday afternoon, Blaschke said.

What’s Happening in the Santa Cruz County Jail?

NOTES BY NORSE:  Since the negligent homicide of Krista Daluca (“Four Days…the Slaying of Krista Deluca in the Santa Cruz County Jail” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/30/18788382.php), there’s been little sustained focus on our own section of the incarceration system.  In spite of a history of medical negligence and abuse (“Santa Cruz Residents Call for Sheriff to Accept Responsibility for ‘Unnatural’ Jail Deaths” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/02/08/18768236.php), the only clear  reaction of the Sheriff Hart’s regime has been to fence off protesters (“Sheriff Hart Requests $47,925 to Fence Out Protesters from Santa Cruz County Jail” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/04/17/18771212.php).  Until forced by state law, Sheriff Hart continued to collude with ICE abusers (“Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart, Contrary to Assurances, Collaborates with ICE” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/05/19/18799565.php). 

                            While Hart has reportedly been forthcoming in dealing with the marijuana growers lobby by slowing or stopping raids (or at least releasing public records), no one has yet done an analysis of class, race, and “drug crime” of the jail population.  Myself included.  I include more critical commentary below.

                            What prompted the recent rebellion?  From the mouths of those who rebelled, not those who struck them down, please!

 

Cold Temperatures Prompt Inmate Rebellion in Santa Cruz Jail
by Santa Cruz Police News
Thursday Jan 18th, 2018 11:44 PM
Inmates locked in the Santa Cruz jail armed themselves, and created booby traps and barricades in their cells, as they staged a masked rebellion this week over cold temperatures within the facility, according to authorities.
santa_cruz__main_jail.jpg
26 men in the west-wing L Unit of the jail complained about the cold temperatures, and on Tuesday afternoon they, “tied trip lines from ripped jail-cell sheets, covered their arms with socks, hid their faces with makeshift masks,” and, “armed themselves with soap, a radio, mop, books and bottles of liquid,” according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. They also created “trip lines,” and “covered the unit floor with soap and water and blocked stairwells and walkways with mattresses as they tried to pelt the guards with books and soap,” according to a jail official..

The rebellion left over $1,000 in property damage in its wake.

A press release issued by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office on January 16 titled “Jail Disturbance Resolved” read:

“Over the last several days, male inmates residing in a housing unit at the Main Jail became increasingly concerned about the unit’s ambient air temperature. Maintenance has been actively working to increase the temperature above 70 degrees and Jail staff provided extra blankets in the interim. Over the last 24 hours, the inmates became increasingly non-compliant to the point that they refused Correctional staff directives, used mattresses as makeshift barricades and prepared tools for offensive and defensive use. Despite hours of Correctional staff attempting to resolve and deescalate the disturbance, the inmates ultimately refused to follow lawful directives.

“Shortly before 2 pm this afternoon, Sheriff’s Office staff entered the housing unit to restore safety and order. None of the inmates or Sheriff’s Office staff suffered any serious injuries.”

Read more:

Masked inmates use booby traps in Santa Cruz County Jail skirmish
http://www.santacruzsentinel..com/article/NE/20180117/NEWS/180119719

SANTA CRUZ >> They tied trip lines from ripped jail-cell sheets, covered their arms with socks, hid their faces with makeshift masks and armed themselves with soap, a radio, mop, books and bottles of liquid.The 26 men housed in the west-w

Masked Inmates Booby Trapped Entire Cell Block At Santa Cruz Jail
http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/01/18/masked-inmates-booby-trapped-santa-cruz-jail-cell-block/

Masked inmates armed with soap, books and mattresses booby-trapped an entire cell block at the Santa Cruz County Jail.

§Sheriff’s press release

by Santa Cruz Police News Thursday Jan 18th, 2018 11:46 PM
jail_disturbance_resolved.pdf_600_.jpg

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HUFF Flyer from the Women’s March Saturday

Flyer Distributed at the Women’s March Earlier Today
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
Saturday Jan 20th, 2018 11:22 PM

This is an updated version of a flyer originally prepared last year in response to repression at the Bookshop Santa Cruz in its hypocritical reading of George Orwell’s 1984, while excluding disfavored activists from the store, even from access to its publicly funded bathroom. My broader focus was on the criminalization of the poor and specifically poor women..
The tumultous massive Women’s Day march seemed to have as many as last March’s huge march, though not having a helicopter it was hard to tell. Folks packed into Pacific Avenue and at points it became hard to squeeze through.

Many signs, many unfamiliar faces, hundreds of children, dogs, women and men. Organizations with huge banners and an ocean of anti-Trump signs and pussy hats.

As ever, I was concerned about this being another “kick out Trump and reinstall Trumpism under the Democrats” rally with little or no focus on local discrimination against women (specifically homeless women). I did see one “End the Sleeping Ban” sign.

Many (myself included) have delighted in the drop in citing people for sleeping at night on public property and the opening (for a few) of the San Lorenzo Park as campground, However the Sleeping Ban law is still on the books; City Council is still in the hands of a repressive Terrazas majority; and homeless women (and men) continue to face harassment and citation for just being in public spaces.

Neo-liberal hypocrites like the Coonerty clan (that own and manage the Bookshop Santa Cruz) continue to play politics with homeless lives, supporting anti-homeless laws like the Parking Lot Panic law (which bans being in a parking lot without parking a vehicle or walking directly through).

The question I’ve repeatedly asked is whether these large nationally organized parades actually lead to any real local action on human and civil rights issues. I didn’t see much come out of last year’s March Women’s March.

My interviews and commentary will be broadcast on Free Radio Santa Cruz and will be archived 1-22 at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html .

by Robert Norse  
Download and distribute–not just for the Women’s Day March.
1984_came_early_in_santa_cruz_for_the_women_s_march__2018.pdf_600_.jpg

Download PDF (517.6kb)


TO MAKE AND READ COMMENTS GO TO: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/01/20/18806061..php

Martin Luther King Day Parade–Beyond the Puff to Principled Practices

Updated Flyer Distributed in the MLK Police-Led “Peace and Justice” March Monday
by Robert Norse    Tuesday Jan 16th, 2018 1:49 PM
My brief report on the Monday MLK march.

The crowd was huge and the streets filled with people, banners, and music. Thanks in part to organizing by Santa Cruz Indivisible (which my friend Steve calls “Indistinguishable”), the NAACP (apparently no complaints about racism in the last year according to a staffer at their table), the RCNV (marching arm and arm with the armed and violent), and, of course, the main weapon-toters in town, the SCPD.

I walked along with a small “The Cops are Not Gods Over Us” sign and distributed a flyer. See https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10215519544920940&set=pcb.1661308183891202&type=3&theater&ifg=1 .

I also distributed a longer updated version of a flyer HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) has been distributing for several years, demanding radical changes in the SCPD. I’m attaching this flyer–which is the real point of this article.

Elsewhere on facebook Steve Schnaar and Steve Argue have made criticisms of the rally, with Abbi Samuels noting the sell-out putdown cry of “All Lives Matter” wafting over the parade. See https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10215519544920940&set=pcb.1661308183891202&type=3&theater&ifg=1 [Shouting “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter” in response to “Black Lives Matter” is like shouting “What About Cancer!” in response to “Fight AIDS!”.

I can’t deny I enjoyed the parade. But there was a superficiality to it all that bothered me later. In the face of the Happy Face mood, I found it harder than usual to focus on the hard questions that the one-day paraders were fluffing over. I found the dialogue between me and the cops I spoke to reduced to stereotyped acknowledgments, a kind of manufactured peace. Wasn’t it King who said “There can be no justice without peace and there can be no peace without justice.?”…

The false camaraderie helped to build the illusion that police are always trying to foster that they are “your friends”. In 2018 Santa Cruz, this is simply not true. Particularly for youth, activists, poor people, and people of color. It’s a treacherous assumption to start with. But it certainly helps police gather information, ignore embarrassing questions, and silence angry dissent.

Was King’s memory again being turned into a rallying platform for established politicians (Zack Friend, Andy Mills, a clot of reactionary City Council members) with no focus on actual racist practices here in Santa Cruz? Were we watching another organizing party for the Democrats, perhaps wearying of their latest anti-Russian hysteria–again with substantive issues of a local kind largely ignored (with the exception of some individual activists)?

Were we being sheepdogged again, Bernie Sanders-style, into the Brighter Day where we’d have the Happy Choice of a Wall Street Warmonger over a Racist Blowhard–all pushing the same lethal agenda in different language? Did reassurances from police officials and politicians mean we no longer had to face down class brutality, greedy landlords, compliant bureaucrats, and their armed guards with clarity, solidarity, anger and determination?

I’ll be playing interviews from the parade on Thursday evening (1-17) at 6 PM on Free Radio at 101.3 FM, streaming at freakradio.org. The show will archive at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html a day later.

TO READ AND MAKE COMMENTS AND DOWNLOAD THE FLYER GO TO: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/01/16/18805901.php

Impending Uprooting on San Lorenzo Campground?

Eviction Notice Posted for Santa Cruz Benchlands Hooverville
by Free Speech Matters   Sunday Nov 5th, 2017 11:40 AM

After being rousted from downtown Santa Cruz and given San Lorenzo Park, homeless people are being told to move again.
sm_eviction-notice-san-lorenzo-park.jpg

The Hooverville-type camp on the benchlands in San Lorenzo Park now faces eviction. A notice was posted closing the park for “maintenance” on Thursday 9 November 2017.

Homeless people began occuping the benchlands after the Santa Cruz police vowed to “clean-up the downtown area”. When asked were they could go, the police told the homeless that they could go to San Lorenzo Park. Police Chief Andrew Mills declared, From the Clock Tower to Laurel Street, from Front to Center Streets, SCPD will spend the resources needed to ensure order. “

Now the City Parks Department says it is time to move along.

§Hooverville-type Camp Santa Cruz Park Benchlands

by Free Speech Matters Sunday Nov 5th, 2017 11:40 AM
sm_park-benchlands-hooverville-camp.jpg

Homeless people moved here after being rousted from downtown

Gorillas in the Mist: Are the Goonsquads Coming?

by Robert Norse  Monday Nov 6th, 2017 4:18 AM


CAMOUFLAGE FOR ELIMINATION?
The danger that this is an eviction and not a one-day relocation for “park maintenance” is real.

It’s not really clear what kind of “maintenance” is required here. I’ve never heard of the park being closed totally to the public (other than the usual privatized-for-a-day financial scams) for this purpose.

I suppose it could be a genuine “clean up” operation since San Lorenzo hasn’t seen so massive a continuous occupation since the Occupy movement of Fall 2011.

However there’s been no reassurance (whatever weight that would really have) from Police Chief Andy Mills and Parks Czar Mauro Garcia–much less from the City Council–that the “maintenance” will be followed by restoration of the campground tolerance (and portapotty/washing station/trash pickup support).

So this could be a dress rehersal for an evict-and-deport operation timed to operate with the opening of (as usual very limited) Winter Shelter program on November 15th.

BERKELEY CRACKDOWN
This also comes at a time when Berkeley’s successful “Sanctuary Village” style encampment “Here…There” (earlier known as First they Came for the Homeless) was driven off last Saturday by BART goon squads after a peaceful period of ten months there with community support.

See “No Justice. Just Law. A Tale of Homelessness and Eviction.” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/10/30/18804059.php, “Homeless Eviction Farewell Party to South Berkeley ” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/11/02/18804141.php

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges at HERE/THERE, beg in the streets or steal loaves of bread. Tomorrow morning …

See also http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2017-11-03/article/46218?headline=The-Poor-Tour-Hits-the-Road-Again–Carol-Denney,

On the upside, note the unusual order by the federal judge Alsop.

While denying the camp’s call for a stay of execution, he also demands of Berkeley and the campers that by late November they come up with “a practical plan for shelter for its homeless during the coming winter…. Do not simply recite the programs the City purports to offer, for they are admittedly insufficient. Submit a plan that will shelter substantially all of Berkeley’s homeless. ..Be specific. Name soccer fields and open spaces [that could be converted].. to tent cities.”

This is a rare call for information from an otherwise-hostile Federal judge (he denied the campers attempt to stop the BART demolition of the camp).

See http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2017-11-03/article/46206?headline=A-Judge-Allows-an-Eviction-but-Sends-a-Signal–Carol-Denney

ORGANIZING RESPONSE THERE BUT NOT HERE?
In Berkeley the Here…There camp had a history of being stalked and attacked by police agencies over a dozen times. http://www.berkeleyside.com/2016/12/21/berkeley-removes-homeless-camp-from-adeline-st-median/

The cat-and-mouse game between Berkeley and a homeless activist group continued early on Wednesday when city officials rousted about 25 people from their tents and …

City authorities finally realized–as Portland authorities did with the Dignity Camp that became Dignity Village in 2002–that they weren’t going to destroy the integrity and determination of the camp. So for ten months, they stopped the police raids, even yielding under pressure to allow a nearby portapotty to be set up.

Now displaced camp residents have already set up camp again at City Hall. See https://www.facebook.com/firsttheycameforthehomeless/ . The determination not to end the protest-and-survive camp has been renewed with community support.

First they came for the homeless. 4,194 likes · 430 talking about this. Action campaign for human rights.

CAN SANTA CRUZ RISE TO THE CHALLENGE?
In Santa Cruz, the same support kept the Freedom Sleepers going for 2 years until City Manager Martin Bernal unilaterally declared new “laws” banning constitutional protest there after dark.

Food Not Bombs, newly strengthened with volunteers, has brought food to the Freedom Sleeper encampment every Tuesday. Some activists there have discussed solidarity with the campers when the police come to remove the survival campers on (or before) November 9th.

Weekend warriors can e-mail Mills at amills [at] cityofsantacruz.com and Garcia at mgarcia [at] cityofsantacruz.com. Not to mention citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com .

Of course, the more direct course is to go down to San Lorenzo Park and offer support and solidarity to the campers themselves.

Or contact Food not Bombs at the Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs facebook page. You can also reach HUFF at 831-423-4833.

Stacked Deck Stay-Away Law Expansion Promises More Pain for Poor Outside at City Council Today

Coming up today at City Council on the noon agenda (unusually early) is Item, #14. It may come up within an hour by 1 PM if not before. MC 13.08.100 exponentially expands the time a cop or ranger can unilaterally order a person to leave an area and not return. The vastly expanded area includes the Pogonip, Arana Gulch, and Moore Creek. The law is billed as a “School Safety” law, though the vast majority of the area covered is much further than 300′ from a school.
MISSING INFORMATION: NO RACE OR ADDRESSES
Forwarded to me today yesterday were the attached P & R cites for 2016 and 2017, with addresses, which is helpful, but requiring some going over to see just who got the Stay-Aways and for what offenses and who didn’t. The SCPD records did not include the addresses. Neither SCPD nor P & R included race, which is interesting. There’s hardly time to do a thorough review of these to determine how severely the current 13.08.100 impacted homeless folks. Nor how much it cost the City to do it, and how much P & R time it took up for what specific “criminal offenses”.

What the records do show is massive use of the Stay-Away order. No indication of for how long the Stay-Away periods are. Nor how many have been cited with possible year in jail crimes for violating the Stay-Aways. Nor is there any record of the fabled “resources” that the largely homeless people seeking distant refuge in greenbelt areas have supposedly available to them.

There’s also no indication of the specific locations on the citations, i.e. to clarify how many were issued within 300′ of a school. Since the overwhelming majority of territory (covered by Moore’s Creek, Arana Gulch, and Pogonip) is far beyond any schools and hence not relevant to any “School Safety Enhancement Zone”, it seems clear the purpose of this is to triple the immediate punishment of anyone getting a citation prior to going to court.

Could this be to avoid the “bother” of proving someone guilty of a crime, or the shame of making a crime out of necessary survival behavior? Those outside need to sleep after 11 PM and may find a distant spot to sleep on public land in an area that has conveniently been declared “closed”.

FALSE POLICE CHIEF CLAIM THAT LAW AVOIDS CREATING CRIMINAL RECORDS
Police Chief Andy Mills’s claim that the current law and tripled-time law being considered today for final passage will “avoid criminalization of the homeless” is ridiculous, since each Stay-Away comes after an officer tickets for an underlying Infraction offense–which creates the criminal record. Or is Chief Mills claiming that he’s directing or advising his officers to issue the infractions simply to give a pretext to give a Stay-Away, and then not to show up in court so the infractions will then be dismissed?

NOT GUILTY IN COURT? STILL REQUIRED TO STAY-AWAY.
Also a finding of “not guilty” by the court (which would only happen a month or more later) does not necessarily trigger an end to the Stay-Away order. There’s no provision in the 13.08.100 for that.

The wording of the statute is flawed and insufficient. As well as there being no specific provision in the law to end Stay-Aways if there’s no conviction. Even if a judge finds a defendant “not guilty” if there is ever a court trial, the City’s “preponderance of the evidence” standard which justifies the Stay-Away order prevails. As described in 13.08.100(b) even with a prior City Manager-run so-called pre-court Appeal Hearing, the “Preponderance of the Evidence” standard overrules the judge’s “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” judgment. The Stay-Away order, in the absence of any action by court or City Manager would continue according to the proposed wording of the law.

HUGE OVERREACH OF TERRITORY: THE TEXT OF THE NEW LAW
Under Terrazas’s Public Safety Committee “Schools Safety Enhancement Zones” expansion of the Stay-Aways the law for the entire Pogonip, Arana Gulch, and Moore Creek will read

“(a) Any person who receives a citation or is arrested [in these areas--and not just within 300- of a school]… for a violation of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code or state law may be ordered by the citing/arresting city officer at the time of the citation/arrest to vacate that park or beach property and not to re-enter said property again for the period of time specified below. Any such order shall apply to both the park or beach property at which the citation/arrest occurs and to any other park or beach property at which such an order was issued within the previous year. Any person who violates such an order from a city officer shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(1) First offense: 72 hours from the time of the citing/arresting officer’s order.
(2) Second offense within 3 weeks of the first offense: 3 weeks from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the second offense.
(3) Third offense within 90 days of the second offense: 90 days from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the third offense.
(4) Fourth offense within 18 months of the third offense: 18 months from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the fourth offense.
(5) Fifth offense within 3 years of the fourth offense: 3 years from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the fifth offense. [emphasis mine]”

ARBITRARY POLICE POWER ALLOWS LONG-TIME BANS
I emphasize “may” in 13.08.100(a) because it gives the police officer unbridled discretion to issue or not issue a stay-away order simply on the basis of any infraction ticket, without a objective standard.

An individual getting four different citations–say for sleeping after 11 PM, being in a park after dark, sitting down within 14′ of a building on the sidewalk downtown, and smoking in a back area of the park in the first week, would face a 3 month stay away and a misdemeanor charge with a fine of $1000 and/or 6 months or a year in jail.

PHONY CLAIM OF “DIRECTING THE HOMELESS TO RESOURCES”
This in a town where there is no emergency shelter and 1000-2000 homeless outside. Essentially non-existent resources for the overwhelming majority.

THE FOLKS BEING TARGETED
Earlier research showing just what kind of “crimes” and what kind of people are getting targeted is at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/02/05/18768065.php?show_comments=1#18768117. at Statistical Evidence of Park Rangers & SCPD Targeting Homeless Folks for Sleeping in Parks .

MISSING PUBLIC REVIEWS IN THE PAST
Supposedly Terrazas’s Public Safety Committee was supposed to review this matter six months after passage in 2015, but I’m not aware that he ever did so. On-line minutes and agendas for his Committee are not currently available.

Earlier story on the Stay-Away Stampede:  “Toxic Expansion of Stay-Away Ordinance Hits Council Agenda Today” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/08/22/18802084.php
The proposed law needs to be tabled and sent to Public Hearings to consider more closely the actual alternate resources available, the impact on the poor population, and the costs.

Partial RV Residents Victory in Marina; HUFF Punts Again: NO 11 AM Meeting Wednesday– But There’s Still Stuff You Can Do to Fight City Council’s Home Grown Fascism Here

Though skipping another Wednesday meeting, HUFF members and sympathizers are still focused on our own local struggle against the long-term fascist wave against the homeless.

I’m still waiting for clarification from staff mouthpiece and Assistant City Manager Scott Collins just how far the new 72-hour police power extends.  It currently allows cops and rangers to issue Stay-Away orders from areas when they give out an infraction ticket.  The area seems to include Arana Gulch, Moore Creek, and the Pogonip as well as some smaller parks.

Go to http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=848&doctype=AGENDA and click on Item #20, then on  “School Safety Enhancement Zones Ordinance (CN) – Map” on the right side of the screen.    More details, hopefully from “Scapegoater” Scott when I get them.

This is a direct attack on poor people who try to sleep in the Pogonip at night–since there is no alternate shelter (and even when it is available to a few is often described as wretched, bug-ridden, unsafe, and dehumanizing).  I mistakenly wrote last week that this proposed banning-without-court-process power extended to all parks, which apparently it does not–only those within 300′ of a school  (again, see the map above).    Also while the law outrageously triples lengths of time that thugs in uniform can ban you from areas without a court conviction or trial, it does not triple the fines.

Final vote from the rubberstamping body comes in two weeks, but e-mail to the City Council can still be sent to them putting opposition on record at citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com .  To read the detailed horrors of the original law, whose bans will triple in length, go to http://www.codepublishing.com/CA/SantaCruz/  and review 13.08.090 and 13.08.100–both anti-homeless laws passed in 2013, expanded in 2015, and now back for a final blow at the poor outside.

+++ write a letter to the Sentinel, Good Times, facebook friends, or other on-line media denouncing the ordinance.  See my story at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/08/22/18802084.php (“Toxic Expansion of Stay-Away Ordinance Hits Council Agenda Today”) for description and discussion.

+++ Sign up to support homeless resistance by using the “appeal process” hastily added on to the Stay-Away law which requires the City Manager’s office to hear an appeal before the Stay-Away is implemented.  Contact Food Not Bombs at its Saturday and Sunday meals at the Post Office and Tuesday night outside City Hall.  Or go to their facebook page at Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs.  Leave a message there for HUFF or contact HUFF by phone at 831-423-4833.  Bring citations, reports of stay-away orders, and other street info to the Food Not Bombs literature table.
OTHER STRUGGLES

+++  Ongoing crackdown on MHCAN at a Public Hearing to “revoke and replace” their special unit permit according to Board of Director mouthpiece Steve Pleich.  He and his Board, after many months of hush-hush secrecy and “don’t rock the boat” tactics are calling for public letters and calls to the Planning Department in advance of their September 7th hearing.  Attention: Mike Ferry, City of Santa Cruz, Dept. of Planning and Community Development, 809 Center St., Room 206, S.C. 95060  or e-mail at mferry@cityofsantacruz.com Let us know of any new police or vigilante actions against MHCAN or their clients, as well as any internal “crackdown” regs within MHCAN itself.

 

+++ Monterey County Homeless Activists who a partial victory at the Monterey Board of Supervisors today getting a 90-day nighttime extension for the dozens of vehicular residents out on Lapis Road north of Marina.  Implicitly acknowledging they have no “resources”  (i.e. housing or a safe place to park their RV’s). the Board responded to the organizing effort of Becky Johnson and Wes White, signing up folks to show they weren’t “service-resistant”.  However the resolution passed, supposedly binding on the sheriffs, still requires residents to vacate between 10 AM and 6:30 AM.  Many of the vehicular homes have very poor gas mileage, their owners are poor, and half are not drivable.   Residents Amber and Wildfire are reportedly inventorying and helping mobilize people for the 8 a.m. Thursday deadline.  Support the Lapis Road RV Residents by contacting the Supervisors Luis Alejo and Jane Parker for a more reasonable settlement at  jane.parker@co.monterey.ca.us   luis.alejo@co.monterey.ca.us

 

+++ If you wish to work on Public Records, or learn about other HUFF projects, contact Bathrobespierre Robert of HUFF at 831-423-4833.  

Free Radio Santa Cruz Temporarily Off the Air–Instead of Today’s Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides Show, a Grim Look at the Stay-Away Law that Passed First Reading at City Council Last Tuesday

Toxic Expansion of Stay-Away Ordinance Hit Council Agenda Tuesday, Returns for Final Passage in September
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
Tuesday Aug 22nd, 2017 updated August 24 4:20 p.m.

BLINDSIDED BY BIGOTRY
There was no prior public hearings nor any media announcement of the new law which bushwacked the community on Tuesday, only appearing on the agenda a week ago.   On 8-22 City Council voted on the First Reading of a harsh law expanding Councilmember Terrazas’ 4-Year old Anti-Homeless law today at its 2:30 PM Session. The law targets homeless community members for sleeping, being in a “park” after dark, obstructing the sidewalk, etc. It vastly expands the unconstitutional sweep of the current 13.08.100.
Agenda item #20 carried the deceptive ““Schools Safety Enhancement Zones” label to describe the vast expansion of police power

Familiar anti-homeless language like “nuisance crime” and “illegal behavior” are the usual code words for harassing and expelling homeless people from public spaces in a city with no available shelter for hundreds.  The same words peppered the staff presentation (See http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/o54x40tdjsjsx30w00mp1mry/463239708242017042248306.PDF )

MASSIVE SWEEP
The proposed law will include not just anyone within 300′ of a school, but anyone in any of the following parks as well as any adjacent sidewalks and public spaces: Arana Gulch, Neary Lagoon, Depot Park, Poets Park, Beach Flats Park, Harvey West Park, Pogonip (Open Space), Louden Nelson Park, Sergeant Derby Park, Mission Plaza Park, Star of the Sea Park, Moore Creek (Open Space), University Terrace Park .
Nice way to make the parks “homeless free” if you start giving longer Stay-Away orders (as has been regularly done for the last three years) to folks who sleep there at night.   And, of course, we know how massive a school children presence there is at night when homeless people are sleeping—particularly far away in the deep Pogonip, or down in the San Lorenzo benchlands.  It’s certainly a necessary precaution to sanitize the area by banning folks found sleeping there or just being there “after hours”.   We must have certain Rules of Conduct after all!

If you’re given a citation — even it’s unjustified, and dropped short of court — you are banned from the area (and other prior areas if you’ve received citations) for 72 hours.   If you return you face up to a year in jail and $1000 fine.

Since 2013, the use of “we don’t need to charge you in court” Stay-Away orders, have systematically and specifically impacted, if not targeted, homeless folks.

FEW CRIMINAL CRIMES BUT LOTS OF CRIMINAL POWERS GIVEN TO COPS & RANGERS
The “crime wave” being addressed is the usual: sleeping, being in a park after dark, smoking. Hundreds of citations and stay away orders were issued to folks.

No actual specifics regarding these “crimes” are provided in the staff report. Nor are there any particulars of the great threat to the schools that is used to label this grotesque expansion of police power.

It also provides massive police powers to criminalize protesters and outspoken Council critics, particularly homeless ones. The earlier 24-hour/1week Stay Away order was one device used to drive away Freedom Sleepers and the Survival Sleepers from City Hall.

Second reading will be required  at the next Council meeting which may give folks a little organizing time to speak against it in two weeks when it reappears for a rubberstamping.

SEE IT LIVE IN COLOR; READ ABOUT IT AND WEEP

 

EXTENSIVE EXCLUSION POWERS WITH NO COURT “PROTECTION”
This wording is horrendous in and of itself. It means if you are, say, given three infraction citations in three different places over the course of three days (or even three weeks, if the second ticket happens within a week of the first), the Stay-Away law empowers police to ban you for three months from all three areas.

All before you’ve gone to court to get a “fair trial”. And if you get a 4th ticket anytime within the next 18 months in any park or other area covered by MC 13.08.100, you can be banned for 1 1/2 years from all 4 areas. If at any time, you violate this police-imposed ban any time during these periods, you face a possible year in jail or $1000 fine. The standard fines are $200-400 for the original infraction crime.

RUBBERSTAMP “APPEAL” PROCESS COVERS CITY MANAGER’S ASS
The phony process for “appealing” a Stay-Away order involves going before an appointee of City Manager Martin Bernal, whose employees are the cops and rangers testifying against you if you file an “appeal” within 1 day. There are no “rules of evidence”, no official record of the proceeding, no provision permitting an audio recording, no right for the public or media to be present–in other words, no due process. Doo-doo process indeed.

The standard of proof is different before the City Manager’s kangaroo court–it’s “preponderance of the evidence” (51%) unlike the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of the courts. Hence you can be improperly banned for weeks from public property (particularly important for homeless people trying to survive by hiding out) before you get your court trial. And then even if found innocent, there’s no provision for reversing the Stay-Away.

To read the specifics of the “in-house” appeal of Stay-Away orders process, go to MC 13.08.100(b) at http://www.codepublishing.com/CA/SantaCruz/ .

We’ve heard a token squeak or two from our timid local ACLU– whose regional and national affiliates have quadrupled their cash reserves since the Trump victory protest. As for actually sending volunteers to help folks expose this travesty? We’re still waiting.

GOING TO COURT
Courts, of course, provide little real protection from infractions, even if you trek to and from the courthouse waiting for the citation to appear, getting to the arraignment, going to the trial. The overwhelming majority of unhoused folks getting the infraction citations that accompany the Stay-Away orders have neither time, energy, nor resources to do this.

In an infraction case, you get a “judge” rather than a jury trial. You face toxically police-partial judges–even if you disqualify the Dept. 10 Commissioner and send the case to a “real” judge. And even with video documentation of false claims, selective enforcement, and/or harassment by police or rangers, the “real” judges convicted activists Abbi Samuels and Keith McHenry in two separate trials recently. This had the appearance of being part of the City Manager/SCPD campaign to drive away peaceful Freedom Sleeper protesters and Survival Sleeper homeless from City Hall. Even from the half of the sidewalks adjacent where they slept every Tuesday night in protest.

Infraction cases normally go to the Commissioner in Dept. 10, previously the notorious Brimstone Baskett who went to great lengths to provide the semblance of fairness and then finds you guilty. Baskett has now been dumped on us as a “real” judge in Dept. 4. I have no new info on the new Commissioner in Dept. 10 who hears cases.

PUBLIC HYSTERIA POSTURER DAVID TERRAZAS’S MENDACIOUS MAP
This latest giveaway to the “homeless get out” crowd at Take Back Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Neighbors, the SCPD, and conservative staffers comes out of the bowels of Vice-Mayor Terrazas’s “Public Safety” Committee. As far as I know, it’s done zero outreach among folks outside to determine the impact of the current Stay-Away law–which has harassed and excluded hundreds of poor people without shelter.

The map showing the dramatically expanded “Stay Away Even Before You Get Charged in Court” zones is at http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/d5tnqexznorzejga3wurjtew/463211108232017052436570.PDF.

Terrazas’s sedulous scare narrative whitewashes the actual bigotry agenda of this law. The protective clothing for this bigoted expansion of police power and invitation to vigilante action is “child welfare”–all without any statistical evidence. The boogyman label is “school safety enhancement” . If you examine the map, though, it’s mostly areas beyond the 300′ “safety zone” that suddenly kicks in triple stay-away times. (Again without a court appearance or finding of guilty).

SCARE STORIES AND REAL STATS
The “evidence” used to back this police power expansion were anecdotal stories from two Take Back Santa Cruz activists who regularly sit in the City Council who’d heard a story about a child being threatened in a park and another eye-witness account of a fight in a park. The only police stats presented in the agenda packet were the “alarming” but actually quite predictable significant percentage of police “calls for service” and “citations” in the parks.

There was no breakdown, of course, as to what those citations were for, whether there were convictions, nor how many were accompanied with stay away orders. The police statistics actually presented were used to dramatize a misleading narrative of “bad behavior”, “failure to maintain behavior standards”, “environmental degradation” and, of course, “public safety for our children” in the park areas.

However HUFF’s detailed study of Parks and Recreation citations for 2013 documents these were status crimes involving non-aggressive survival behavior by homeless people like smoking, sleeping, and being in a park after dark (See “Stay-Away From Human Rights ! An Activist Examines the Escalating Stay-Away Orders Law” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/10/25/18763326.php).

More stats on an earlier version of this law are at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/10/12/18762778.php (“Nasty Anti-Homeless Stay-Away Laws to Get Exponentially Worse”).

To read some of the bigoted babble that goes on around this issue plus Sentinel coverage, go to http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/government-and-politics/20170822/santa-cruz-eyes-new-school-safety-zone-park-law .

MORE NEXT TIME
Why bother with real evidence and argument when you have a locked-in 5-2 majority on the City Council (it actually passed 4-1 with Brown and Chase absent). It’s hard to believe that rational, reasonable, mellow-sounding people like Vice-Mayor Terrazas seems to be…that they can pass this kind of straightforward repression. Terrazas has been rubberstamping like measure for years, though, through his Public Safety Committee.

Perhaps it’s raw meat thrown to the right-wing constituency, angered at the appearance of increasing numbers of visible homeless people (ironically becoming visible through being driven out of the parks and downtown). The appearance of action without the substance. More laws for useless and unconstitutional police actions.

More on the City Council capers last Tuesday when I muster up the energy. Free Radio Santa Cruz is currently off the air due to equipment problems, but I hope to go into the broader Council meeting in more detail next Sunday.

Toxic Expansion of Stay-Away Ordinance Hits Council Agenda Today

Tuesday Aug 22nd, 2017 8:41 AM
City Council will vote on the First Reading of a harsh law expanding Councilmember Terrazas’ 4-Year old Anti-Homeless law today at its 2:30 PM Session. The law targets homeless community members, triples the current $200 fines for sleeping, being in a “park” after dark, obstructing the sidewalk, etc. It vastly expands the unconstitutional sweep of the current 13.08.100.
Agenda item #20 carries the deceptive ““Schools Safety Enhancement Zones” label to describe the vast expansion of police power

Familiar anti-homeless language like “nuisance crime” and illegal behavior” are the usual code words for harassing and expelling homeless people from public spaces in a city with no available shelter for hundreds.

The proposed law will include not just anyone within 300′ of a school, but anyone in any of the following parks as well as any adjacent sidewalks and public spaces: Arana Gulch Neary Lagoon Depot Park Poets Beach Flats Park Harvey West Park Pogonip (Open Space) Louden Nelson Park Sergeant Derby Park Mission Plaza Park Star of the Sea Park Moore Creek (Open Space) University Terrace Park .

If you’re given a citation–even it’s unjustified, and dropped short of court–you are banned from the area (and other prior areas if you’ve received citations there) for 72 hours.

Since 2013, the use of “we don’t need to charge you in court” Stay-Away orders, have systematically and specifically impacted if not targeted homeless folks.

The “crime wave” being addressed is the usual: sleeping, being in a park after dark, smoking. Hundreds of citations and stay away orders were issued to folks

No actual specifics regarding these “crimes” are provided in the staff report. Nor are there any particulars of the great threat to the schools that is used to label this grotesque expansion of police power.

It also provides massive police powers too criminalize protesters, particularly homeless ones.

Second reading will be required which may give folks a little organizing time to speak against it in two weeks when it reappears for a rubberstamping.

There are many more details which I’m hoping to expand on in a future story.

Agenda report: http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/d5tnqexznorzejga3wurjtew/463088208222017083904996.PDF

Ordinance: http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/d5tnqexznorzejga3wurjtew/463088308222017083954745.PDF

 

TO COMMENT GO TO: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/08/22/18802084.php

Salt Lake City’s “Solution” to the Homeless in Doubt; Santa Cruz’s “Solution” Looks Worse and Worse

NOTES FROM NORSE:  It’s hard to tell how seriously we should take Salt Lake City mayor Ben McAdams’s descent into the homeless scene.  For me the proof is in the actions–the use of the powers public officials have as well as the statements they make.  What subsequent actions will McAdams take?  

 

Salt Lake City a few years ago developed a media reputation for “curing homelessness”  (Seehttp://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Salt-Lake-City-a-model-for-S-F-on-homeless-5587357.php,  http://www.npr.org/2015/12/10/459100751/utah-reduced-chronic-homelessness-by-91-percent-heres-how,   http://www.trueactivist.com/utah-is-ending-homelessness-by-giving-people-homes/  ).

 

But this has been more recently disputed (See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kevin-corinth/think-utah-solved-homeles_b_9380860.html).

 

 

For Santa Cruz scene, authorities have a strange “cure”:  To turn the issue upside down.  The problem isn’t a steeply rising cost of living, housing for the rich, and discriminatory laws and enforcement policies against those outside.  It’s the presence of the visible poor, particularly those trying to publicly protest at City Hall or provide client-run services outside the Post Office.


City Council members take no action to restore shelter and food services in the near term.  They empower their City Mangler, that is, City Manager Martin Bernal,  in his campaign to wall off and/or drive away homeless sleeping people.  A recent closed door “Performance Evaluation”  apparently found no problem with Bumcrush Bernal’s year-long record of harassment and public space removal around City Hall.  
Instead of providing resources for unhoused folks outside who struggle nightly such as portapotties, garbage pick-up’s, and other basic needs, the Chase’s City Council sends out Rangers to steal homeless property, issue stay-away orders, and provide bogus “obstructing the sidewalk” citations.

Charlottesville may have its flashy Unite the Right torchlight parades and lethal looneys crashing into protesters; but Santa Cruz has institutionalized Hate against its poor, in discreetly dressed “Progressive”, “moderate”, or “smart solution” garb.    The “poverty crime’ tickets just keep on a coming; and the phony “beautification” campaign rolls on.

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