End Bathroom Banditry! Restore Community Access to the Louden Nelson Bathrooms: Direct Action Protest Tomorrow 1:30 PM Tuesday September 3

Direct Action Protest

Liberate the Locked Lavatories at London Nelson (aka Louden Nelson) Center
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
1:30 PM
301 Center St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Come at 1 PM to Help Make Signs, Set-Up
Demand Open Bathrooms !
•    Parks and Recreation [P&R] Supervisor Iseth Rae continues to
keep the public Louden Nelson bathrooms closed to all but “program
•    Her boss P&R Director Tony Elliot, his boss City Manager
Martin Bernal, and the City Council majority, headed by Vice-Mayor
Justin Cummings continue to deny the elderly, the ill, the disabled, the
homeless, and the general toilets, reversing decades of free access.
•    Public Records show no documentation justifying the year-long
closure  other than the usual vandalism caused by an increase in use.
This was prompted by the closure of homeless facilities and Bernal’s
institutional failure to provide more bathrooms city-wide.
•    Activists from Conscience and Action, Homeless United for
Friendship & Freedom, Food Not Bombs, the California Homeless Union and
other groups are continuing the Freedom Sleepers “Give a Shit” campaign
from 2017, demanding decent and fair bathroom access.
•    Louden Nelson Staff claim the “nearby” police station
bathrooms are accessible; however police say they are only open when the
Community Room is in use—which is irregularly.
•    Rae additionally backs a dangerous and discriminatory
“homeless are dangerous” narrative with fences around the park, a First
Alarm guard, and a new set of restrictive regulations
•    Appeals to Elliot, Rae, Bernal, and the City Council have been
shined on or ignored for over a year. Councilmember Drew Glover’s direct
attempts to have City Council open the bathrooms have been indefinitely
delayed by Mayor Watkins and Vice-Mayor Cummings.

Council Locks Out Elders, Disabled, and Poor from Louden Nelson Bathrooms: Protest Tomorrow 9-2 Tuesday 1:30 PM at Louden Nelson Center 301 Center St.

A City Council meeting that lasted to 11 PM or shortly thereafter last Tuesday night (8-27) featured long anecdotal presentations by London (Louden) Nelson Community Center [LNCC] Supervisor Iseth Rae and her boss Parks and Recreation chief Tony Elliot. A long line of speakers and a list of organizations tried with no success to reason with the Council.  Senior, disabled, homeless, & basketball players will continue to be excluded from the Louden Nelson bathrooms.

Come to LNCC tomorrow and support an immediate “open bathrooms” policy !

Mayor Watkins whittled down a long line of speakers at Oral Communications at 7 PM, a number in support of Councilmembers Krohn and Glover. Some attacked the Glover-Krohn recall, with charges the paid signature gatherers were involved. Others denounced the public smear of Glover and Krohn embodied in the months-long “investigation”. Another singled out City Manager Bernal’s latest memo of last week instructing staff not to communicate with Glover except through him and the staff heads.

Krohn attempted earlier in the day to move the Council Meeting Calendar back to its position near the end of the agenda, from which Watkins had moved it in June. His motion failed 3-4.

Neither he, Krohn, nor Brown attempted to require the Mayor to bring back survival encampments, the selective enforcement against homeless people of infractions, a public process for setting the agenda, or other matters raised months ago by Glover.

Any of these items could have been proposed for forced inclusion on the next agenda by motion and majority vote….

LONGER STORY, COMMENTS, AND FLYER CAN BE ACCESSED AT https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/09/02/18825901.php

City Attorney Stonewalls Homeless Activists on Settlement Conference

After leveling the Ross Camp, sending its 200-300 residents fleeing into the parks, greenbelt, downtown, and neighborhoods, and fencing off the area, the City is now refusing to sit down and work out compromise settlement terms as suggested by Judge Edward Devila. It apparently prefers to incur more costs.at the expense of its homeless residents.

This flyer presents the proposals made and rejected by the City Attorney without any discussion publicly or in open City Council session. And without comment from any Councilmember, including the “Progressive” faction.    City Attorney: Dump, Disperse, and Disappear Those Outside
For more details, to post and read comments, go to https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/08/29/18825795.php .

Protest/Press Conference Today at the River St. Campground–1220 River St. 10 AM Thursday August 29th

Time for More Privacy, Decency, & Accessibility at Salvation Army’s 1220 River St. Camp
iCal Import into your personal calendar
Date Thursday August 29
Time 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Event Type Press Conference
Organizer/Author California Homeless Union/HUFF/C&A/FNB
Email rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Phone 8314234833
Location Details
1220 River St. in front of the Salvation Army’s 60 tent “no walking in or out” Campground
The press conference/protest follows up on last May’s appeal to the Salvation Army management.

That event urged the Army to allow greater freedom and privacy for camp residents and to provide important upgrades in the living conditions there such as showers and protection from the heat.

See https://www.santacruzsentinel.com/2019/05/13/activists-question-new-santa-cruz-homeless-camp-operations/

Today’s event is again sponsored by the Santa Cruz Homeless Union, Conscience and Action, Food Not Bombs, and HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom).

It will be followed by a supportive visit to Monterey Superior Court (1:30 PM, Department 13, 1200 Aguajito Road ) in support of the Salinas Homeless Union’s court suit seeking to stop the police harassment of folks outside at Sherwood Park in Salinas.

It follows a partially successful challenge to the City’s discriminatory closing of bathrooms prompting City Council last Tueday night to act. An unusually cohesive Progressive majority voted 4-3
(1) to reopen the City Hall bathrooms (closed since the Freedom Sleeper protests of 2015-2017);
(2) to refer the Louden Nelson bathrooms issue to the homeless-focused CACH group, and
(3) to require the Parks and Recreation manager Tony Elliot get approval from City Council for any future closings of City facilities.

Activists have also scheduled a Direct Action ‘Open the Damn Bathrooms” event for Tuesday September 3rd at 1:30 PM at Louden Nelson Center. Concerned community members are invited to attend, witness, and/or participate.


City Council To Back Louden Nelson Bathroom Lockout 7:30 PM Tuesday August 27th

Who Will Change City Council’s Dirty Diapers at Louden Nelson and City Hall?

Item #1 on the City Council’s Evening Agenda at 7:30 PM on Tuesday 8-26 endorses the Continued Exclusionary “Closed Bathroom” Policies of Louden Nelson Supervisor Iseth Rae and her superior Tony Elliot. The Parks and Recreation [P&R] Commission have essentially reversed Councilmember Drew Glover’s original proposal, which Mayor Watkins and City Manager Bernal successfully delayed for six months.
http://scsire.cityofsantacruz..com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=1173&doctype=AGENDA lays out the City’s thin case for its “exclude the broader community” policy.

In spite of the lack of specific documentation justifying her action, Louden Nelson Supervisor Iseth Rae closed and locked the Louden Nelson bathrooms in March 2018, reserving their use to “those in programs”. Tony Elliot of the City’s Parks and Recreation oversees Iseth Rae’s management.

When the San Lorenzo Winter Campground was shut down without providing adequate alternate sleeping facilities for unhoused residents, those without shelter began to sleep in Laurel Park, adjacent to the Louden Nelson Center. Use of the bathrooms increased.

Though masking the discriminatory policy as being concerned with “illegal” behavior (such as sleeping near the Center, using the washrooms to shave and wash, and “drug use”), the wholesale exclusion was clearly intended at unhoused people.

It also significantly impacts the entire community. The nearest bathrooms are blocks away (with the exception of the police department, which is usually not available, according to a beat officer).

At the same time, Rae and the P & R created a “Security Patrol” at Laurel Park, as well as a locked fence. Rae upped the ante in March 2018 by locking the public bathrooms and requiring users to get a code. That code was only given out to authorized individuals, that is, those “participating in programs” at the Louden Nelson Center. Using the park, visiting the Center, and simply needing to use the bathroom were not enough. Even if you were disabled, ill, a minor, a senior, or afflicted with a medical condition.

When asked to present evidence for the need of this policy, Rae responded by describing several incidents in 2016 and 2017, but had no documentation showing unusual amounts of vandalism or lawbreaking or behavior that “threatened” children.

Close analysis of the public records involving staff memos, bills for repair, etc. revealed no regular or extensive damage at the bathrooms. At the P & R Commission meeting this summer, Rae presented no written evidence justifying her exclusionary policy.

She did note that some conservative neighbors and a few neighborhood groups had complained about the “inappropriate behavior”. By contrast, the ACLU and at least one musical performer (David Rovics) reacted with outrage and moved their meetings elsewhere in response to the anti-homeless policies.

When one member of the P & R Commission noted state law seemed to require that public bathrooms in public buildings be open to the entire public, not simply those chosen by the managers, the Commission voted to continue banning bathroom use even to regular Laurel Park users until such time as the City Attorney advised otherwise.

Louden Nelson Center was originally named after London Nelson, a former slave, who donated the property to the school district in the mid-1800s. London’s first name was erroneously changed to “Louden” in documents after the 1930s, but almost no documents before that time show his name as anything other than “London.” according to local historian Phil Reader. I use the altered name “Louden” accustomed to this usage.

Bathrooms at City Hall have been closed since 2015 in spite of repeated protests–the apparent purpose to shut down the “Freedom Sleeper” protests of 2015-2017. The City has spent thousands of dollars tearing up the grass and replacing it with rocky ground, hiring First Alarm “security” patrols, and making it a crime to circulate a petition on City Hall grounds after dark.

The swing vote on this issue is, as usual, Vice Mayor Justin Cummings, who has declined so far to meet with HUFF on this or any other issue.

E-Mail him at jcummings [at] cityofsantacruz.com or phone him at 420-5020 to demand a restoration of decency and fair treatment there. The entire City Council can be reached at citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com .

Repeated protests on this issue and meetings with P & R higher-up Carol Scurich, City Manager Martin Bernal, and current P & R boss Tony Elliot have led nowhere. A Direct Action protest held some weeks ago did open up the women’s bathroom for an hour.

Another protest is planned for 1:30 PM at Louden Nelson Center Tuesday September 3rd in the event that City Council continues its “no homeless” policies.

“Access and Hours of Parks and Recreation Facilities” –the only item on the evening agenda at
Tony Elliot’s justification for locking down the bathrooms can be found under Memorandum on Louden Nelson Communty Center Restrooms. No dates and costs are mentioned. Nor is any comparison made with upkeep costs for other bathrooms. After two hour-long meetings, Elliot has still not responded with any specifics to the concerns raised by Conscience and Action and HUFF.

“Direct Action–Liberate the Locked Louden Nelson Bathrooms ” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/07/13/18824679.php
“Time to Get Off the Pot: Louden Nelson–Reopen Your Bathrooms to All the Public ” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/07/06/18824484.php
“Parks and Rec Set to Sabotage Glover “Open the Bathrooms” Proposal ” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/07/01/18824343.php
“Liberate Locked Lavatories ” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/09/30/18817923.php
“Bathrooms, Winter Survival, and Community Caring — A Rally — Join Us! ” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/09/18/18817622.php
“Pee & Poo Protest: Reopen Essential Bathrooms for the Public and the Poor ” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/07/14/18816456.php

Bathrooms Open Now! Petition


             For nearly a year and a half, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department has refused to restore bathroom use at Louden (London) Nelson Center to the General Public.  On Tuesday night, the matter will be on City Council perhaps for a vote with discussion starting at 7:30 PM.   E-Mail City Council at citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com to demand return of these bathrooms as well as others to full use.    The swing vote here is like to be Vice-Mayor Justin Cummings.  E-mail him at  jcummings@cityofsantacruz.com .
              On September 3 at 1:30 PM at Louden Nelson there will be a direct action to require city bureaucrats to reopen the bathrooms there.  Join us there if City Council continues to support the foolish and bigoted policy there, which is a thinly disguised anti-homeless policy in no way justified by real stats about bathroom problems.
             Unless you let me know (at rnorse3@hotmail.com) by Sunday morning, I shall assume you have no opposition to HUFF’s adding it’s name to the petition below being circulated by Rabbi Phil Posner of Conscience and Action.

Robert Norse


“I’m 81 and homeless,” she said, standing before our City Council. “And at night I have no place to pee or defecate. I’m here asking for your help!”

I have a prostate problem,” he said, “and sometimes I pee in my pants.”

Petition SC City Council regarding Insufficient Public Bathrooms

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) along with other interested individuals, congregations and organizations is concerned with the lack of bathroom facilities available for the public and the homeless in Santa Cruz.  We hereby petition our Santa Cruz City Council to direct the Parks and Recreation Dept. and other relevant city departments to:

Open more bathrooms, or 24 hour Porta Pottys in Santa Cruz; and, or allow concerned individuals or organizations to receive permits to place Porta Pottys where needed, as for example at Louden Center where the public bathroom is currently closed after 1:30 pm, and City Hall which is always closed to the public except during Council meetings.

In making this appeal to our City Council, Conscience and Action, HUFF, and Food not Bombs, as they have previously indicated stand ready to meet with City Officials to help facilitate the above action/petition.

As of 8/22/19 the following organizations have agreed to sign this petition:

ACLU – Santa Cruz County (8/21/19)

Association of Faith Communities of Santa Cruz. (8/20/19)

Avatar Imports, LLC 814 Pacific Ave (8/18/19)

Chadeish Yameinu Jewish Renewal of Santa Cruz, Social Action Committee (8/20/19)

Chadeish Yameinu Jewish Renewal of Santa Cruz (Board vote to be confirmed on 9/13/19))

Conscience and Action (8/14/19)

Cross Roads 811 Pacific Ave (8/21/19)

Food Not Bombs of Santa Cruz (8/14/19)

Homeless United for Freedom and Friendship – HUFF (8/21/19)

Pipeline 818 Pacific Ave (8/21/19)

Retro Paradise 1010 Pacific Ave (8/21/19)

The Starving Magician 1003 Pacific Ave (8/21/19)

Veterans For Peace Chapter 11 of Santa Cruz (8/21/19)


​Free Radio Santa Cruz will be streaming the entire 21st Annual Homelessness Marathon starting at 7 AM on Wednesday 7-24.  The program goes all day until 9 PM.

This will be on the stream at freakradio.org (NOT on the air, as Free Radio is currently looking for a transmitter location).



The Homelessness Marathon is primarily composed of short, pre-recorded reports and longer live discussions.


     10-11 am

Welcome, then a talk with street newspaper vendors at Spare Change News in Cambridge, Mssachusetts.


11am – noon


The Last Words of  Michael Collins


“Hell Is For Children” – Youth Homelessness.  Host:  Linda Pinkow.  Guests to include:  Carl Howell and Amanda Mallardo from Community Teamwork that works with homeless youth in Lowelle, MA plus youths from their program, Ominque Garner, with Boston Youth Action Board; Jacob Heart from Y2Y, that works with homeless youth in Harvard Square.


12 – 1pm


Homeless Poetry – One                                    


A talk with doctors and the homeless women they treat at a Health Care Without Walls facility  – Host:  Nobody


1-2 p.m.


“Perry & Harley – A Door To Close”


From Shelter to Home – transitioning out of homelessness – Host Marc Stern.  Guests:  John Yazwinski with Father Bill’s Place and two who went from shelter to home.




“Saved By the Library” – produced by Virginia Marshall


A talk with homeless artists at the Common Cathedral Common Arts Program  – Host Nobody


3 – 4pm


Homeless Poetry Two


“The Prison to Poverty Pipeline” – Hosts:  Linda Pinkow & Caitlin Fischer (from Japan).  Guests to include:  Professor Lucius Couloute, Carole Cafferty with the MIT Initiative for Teaching Incarcerated Individuals, and formerly incarcerated citizens Brandon Morris and Lynn Sullivan.


4 – 5pm


“In the Closet – Literally” – produced by Brian Adoff


“Reshaping Our Policies Toward the Homeless” Hosts:  Nobody & Linda Pinkow.  Guests: Green Party Presidential Candidate Howie Hawkins (the only one of 21 invited candidates, including the incumbent, to accept), Director of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, Cheri Honkala and Pastor Dean Dodd of Church In The Park, Modesto, CA.


5 – 6pm


“Markaya from Oaklna – Jus’ Sayin’” – produced by Lucy Kang


“Now Learn This” – Homeless Students.  Hosts: Caitlin Fischer & Mark Weaver.  Guests:  Bianca van Heydoorn with the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, Temple University; Kathleen O’Neil, with Bunker Hill Community College and a BHCC student.


6 – 7pm


“The Story of Taisha Sturdevant” – produced by Carol Jackson


A talk with homeless guests at the Paulist Center Supper Club – host Nobody


7 – 8pm




“It’s Easy To Be Homeless When You Lose Your Home – Part One, Fighting Foreclosures,” guest host:


8 – 9pm


“Finding Hidden Hunger in America.” – produced by Catherine Stifter


“It’s Easy To Be Homeless When You Lose Your Home – Part Two, Fighting Evictions” with City Life/Vida Urbana members at Our Savior Lutheran Church


9 – 10pm


Finding Hidden Homeless in India” – produced by Carol Jackson


“We’re Here, We’re Queer, Now Where Can We Sleep?” LGBTQ homelessness.




“Getting Through the Minnesota Winter – produced by James Gullickson


“Ending Homelessness NOW” – Jacqui Pollack, who spent eight years homeless on the streets of Seattle; Rev. Liz Theoharis, co-chair Poor People’s Campaign & Mass. State Rep. Mike Connely.

Hour 14

11pm – midnight


Homeless Poetry Three


“What’s It Gonna Take?” – host – Nobody.  Guests, Paul Boden, Field Director Western Regional Advocacy Project, Morgan Brown

Santa Cruz County Homeless Union President Launches RV Park-In Protest



Recent renewal of harassment of RV dwellers along Woodrow has prompted Alicia Kuhl of the SC Homeless Union to organize a Park-In to protest the threatening vigilante behavior. This morning, homeless activist Alicia Kuhl posted the following facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/388202455136850/:

“Park In/Protest. We are hosting a 72 hour park in on the corner of Woodrow & Westcliff near the end of Pelton. Starting tonight for 72 hours. Please come and park, share food, talk, or just park. Bring signs! We have a right to park for 72 hours, harassment is illegal, everybody has a right to live etc. See you there. Fight Poverty NOT The Poor! Can you hear me?????” ❤❤

Alicia advised me by phone that she had contacted the SCPD after recent harassment from a neighbor posting a “We Watch Our Area; This is Not a Campground” notice on her car. She had a fifteen minute phone conversation with an officer she described as condescending and dismissing. She and other vehicle dwellers decided it was time to renew a basic public demands on Chief Andy Mills’ department–originally made months ago.

The demand: that Mills direct his officers to advise vigilantes calling in with repeated (and often false) complaints that false complaints to the police are a misdemeanor and punishable by fine and imprisonment. In the past, Kuhl reports experiencing repeated contacts with police who warn her they’ve been told her RV was parked past the 72 hour limit. Alicia claims these are repeated false complaints–since she moves her RV regularly.
West Side Neighbors, local anti-homeless NIMBY’s, have been organizing apparently to map out “strategies” of harassment. See at


Parks and Recreation Commission Meets Today at 4 PM To Keep Louden Nelson Bathrooms Shut to the Public

Parks and Rec Set to Sabotage Glover “Open the Bathrooms” Proposal
Date 7/1/2019
Time 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Event Type Meeting
Organizer/Author Robert Norse
Email rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Phone 831 423-4833
Location Details
Santa Cruz Council Chambers at 809 Center St.
Item #4 on the P & R Agenda today is Hours of Public Facilities (for bathrooms over seen by their department. That’s most of the public ones.

Instead of directing Tony Elliot to immediately reopen the Louden Nelson bathrooms–closed to the public since March 2018, the staff proposal supports continued closure. As a kind of “split the baby” diversion, the pro-closure staff report also suggests forwarding to City Council a second proposal to require City Council vote before any further closure of bathrooms

This might also include portapotties–the night-time bathrooms for poor and unhoused people. That proposal was part of a packet of items presented by Councilmember Glover back in January-February, but set aside by Mayor Watkins.

Today’s hearing on item #4 covers the two recommendations–specifically:
“That the Parks & Recreation Commission consider the request to modify Santa Cruz Municipal Code 13.04.011 to establish a new provision that park closures lasting more than 14 days must have City Council authorization; and
That the Parks & Recreation Commission consider the request to support the current administrative policy to provide restroom facilities at Louden Nelson Community Center to patrons using the facility for classes, programs, or other scheduled uses.”
The staff report makes no mention of any actual evidence requiring the locking down of the bathrooms last spring. This coincided with the closing of the San Lorenzo campground that sent homeless people streaming into the parks and neighborhoods. Meanwhile an anti-homeless fence was created around the adjacent Laurel Park & First Alarm security “guards” sent in to patrol the park. this aligns withthe homeless-hostile measures by the Terrazas, Mathews, Robinson, & Bryant Councils–a new normalized-discrimination narrative.

In one of the candidate forums in the fall of 2016, 8 of the candidates, including the conservative-reactionaries agreed that Louden Nelson bathrooms should be reopened “immediately.”

Conscience and Action has held meetings with City Manager Martin Bernal and P & R Director Tony Eliot. It has also engaged in public protests in front of the P & R department, at City Hall, and at Louden Nelson last year and petitioned the Council to act to restore the traditional open status of the bathrooms.

Last year the local ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) weighed in demanding reopening of the bathrooms there and moved its meetings away from the Center in protest. See https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/06/09/18815564.php .

As an outgrowth of the Freedom Sleepers and the subsequent Survival Sleepers actions of 2015-2017, the “Give a Shit” campaign arose urging reopening of the City Hall bathrooms–closed by City Manager Martin Bernal to “discourage” protest and homeless use. (See https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/05/19/18786558.php)

Aided by a fourth vote from Vice-Mayor Justin Cummings to delay action until a “Charter” is created, City Council’s Watkins-Mathews reactionary minority has stalled any action on the issue (and none is currently scheduled). First delayed until August, the issue has been further stalled until action by the Community Advisory Homeless Committee (CaCH) which is not likely to report anything out for 3-4 months at the earliest.


Private attempts to fill the “bathroom gap” created by City Council and P & R’s refusal to restore bathrooms were thwarted by city action removing a privately-fundeed portapotty. See “Further Developments in Poo Poo Politics” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/06/13/18815669.php?show_comments=1#18815707

The 8 portapotties (2 of them disabled accessible for the first time) and 3 wash stations finally set up at the Ross Camp before it was destroyed by police and rangers have not been replaced since their removal in early May.

Ironically, it was concerns about preventing a Hepatitis A out break initially led to the setting up of portapotties first at the San Lorenzo campground in 2017, and then at Ross Camp in 2019.

–“Liberate Locked Lavatories” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/09/30/18817923.php
–“Bathrooms, Winter Survival, and Community Caring — A Rally — Join Us!” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/09
–“Pee & Poo Protest: Reopen Essential Bathrooms for the Public and the Poor” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/07/14/18816456.php
–“Santa Cruz City Manager Refuses to Reopen Louden Nelson/San Lorenzo Park Bathrooms” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/07/08/18816393.php
–“Bathroom Baloney–Expanded Speech to City Council on its anti-homeless restrooms policies” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/06/13/18815669.php