City Council Inflicts Take Back Santa Cruz Agenda on the Town

The Sentinel’s police-puffing, sensationalist, and slanted coverage of Tuesday’s Santa Cruz  City Council meeting’s discussion of its “Public Safety” Committee report is at . The coverage outrageously shoehorns the recent Monday Westside robbery/shooting into the Martinez’s sweet-sounding but deceptive talk about drug use. If he were serious about his bogus “treatment solution”, his talk about “their medicine”, etc., he’d be calling for the money to go to addiction prevention, but no–he wants more cops. The police department has also played a complicit role in the shutdown of needle exchange at Barson by not speaking out on the issue.

Similarly, Posner and Lane did not publicly oppose it and have not called for immediate restoration of the long-used site This is a clear public health crisis waiting to happen when dumping bad needles is now likely increasing big-time. These are the gutless liberals elected and reelected in November.

SC Patch has its equally police-palsy coverage at (with no clarification on the specifics on the Council’s action).

What is made clear is that Robinson and Comstock are gunning for Needle Exchange even on the outskirts of the City. They made pointed attacks on the Emeline St. increased distribution “not being authorized” by the County. (It’s being done 3 times a week now rather than once.) This misguided attack savages an inadequate but obviously necessary attempt by the County to make up for the behind-closed-doors shut-down of Needle Exchange at Barson St. That closure was the only real action that City Council has taken–all behind closed doors, without public comment, and in line with the Take Back Santa Cruz agenda. The rest is blather, attempts to manage the situation through meaningless resolutions delayed into the future.

That absurd and politically-motivated move will probably at least double the number of discarded used needles. Beefing up the police force (instead of redirecting their priorities) is another bonehead psuedo-public safety move. It is, of course, again in line with TBSC’s “bigotry first” approach, holding homeless camps, homeless services, and “drug tolerance” responsible for crime and drug use. This J. Edgar Hoover approach is the 21st Century equivalent of Reefer Madness and deadly dangerous as well as being wildly irresponsible.

Some ideas for action: Going back to civil disobedient needle distribution (which originally established it as a legal option). Marches to the offices of Robinson and Comstock protesting their crazy attacks on needle exchange—which have “kill those addicted and infect the community” consequences. Mobile public pickets in front of businesses or at tourist locations advising tourists that not only are they visiting a homeless-hating town, but they’re also more likely to find needles in their soup.

One of the interesting things to notice about Deputy Vice-Chief Clark’s comments in recent Sentinel articles are his attempts to reassure people that Santa Cruz is a “safe” community, indicating the nervousness of the DTA and SCPD regarding the recent right-wing hysteria around the needle issue. They’d like to use it to buff up their force, increase police power–but not really address the real (and often valid) issues that the Needlemaniacs are raising–trash, bad police priorities (with crime in the neighborhoods), & inadequate needle disposal.

The toxic link here is of course with homeless people–who are being blamed (with no stats supporting the claim).