City Rejects Homeless Compromise; HUFF to meet 11 AM 9-9 at Sub Rosa


HUFF will be meeting as usual–hopefully out of the hot sun–at 703 Pacific with perhaps some cold coffee (does any one have any ice?).  Up for discussion: Freedom SleepOut #9 and #10 Next Week;  Invisible Blue Boxes on Pacific Avenue; Report from the Monthly Monterey Sitting Ban Protest, & Campaign Zero in Santa Cruz–the Black Lives Matter suggestions for police reform.

> Subject: City Manager Martín Bernal rejects Freedom Sleeper’s compromise and plans to continue ticketing homeless
> From:
> Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2015 13:37
> September 8, 2015
> The Santa Cruz Freedom Sleepers.
> 1-800-884-1136
> Email Rabi Phil Posner at
> 2015
> City Manager Martín Bernal rejects Freedom Sleeper’s compromise and
> plans to continue ticketing homeless
> Emergency services for homeless people in Santa Cruz have been
> eliminated at the Homeless Services Center. Police continue to issue
> sleeping tickets.
> Local activists in Santa Cruz, California announce a protest that will
> take place this coming Tuesday, September 8, starting at 5pm in front of
> Santa Cruz City Hall. Santa Cruz has a law in place which bans camping
> within the city limits, but is used most often to harass and displace
> houseless people of the community who have nowhere to sleep but outdoors.
> The Freedom Sleepers call on the community to join them in defending the
> rights of the homeless by sleeping out at Santa Cruz City Hall the night
> of the City Council meeting. City officials are seeking to drive the
> weekly sleep-outs away from City Hall. The sleepers will announce that
> they will move the sleep out away from City Hall if the city manager
> agrees to make the ticketing and arrest of the homeless for camping and
> sleeping related infractions the police departments lowest priority.
> City Manager Martín Bernal rejected the Freedom Sleeper’s compromise and
> plans to continue ticketing homeless
> On Tuesday, September 1, 2015 The Santa Cruz Police wrote 15 citations
> for being in “the park” at City Hall, arrested two Freedom Sleepers for
> being in the park after hours and issued one 24 hour stay away order.
> Police also erected spot lights around the east side of City Hall and
> blocked off parking.
> The Freedom Sleepers feel that the ban is cruel and unusual, in keeping
> with the recent Justice Department the 2015 statement of interest on the
> 2009 case of Bell v. City of Boise. The Justice Department stated, that
> it “should be uncontroversial that punishing conduct that is a universal
> and unavoidable consequence of being human violates the Eighth Amendment
> … Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity—i.e., it must occur at some
> time in some place. If a person literally has nowhere else to go, then
> enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance against that person
> criminalizes her for being homeless.”
> The 2-15 Grand Jury Report claims that Santa Cruz county has 3,500
> unhoused community members. That number is not conclusive, having been
> counted over a period of 4 hours in one day by a group of volunteer
> researchers. There are not nearly enough shelter beds in the county to
> house all the unhoused people here, therefore to criminalize people for
> sleeping outdoors is to criminalize them for engaging in a survival
> activity for which they have no legal alternative. For this reason, we
> the group of activists known as the Freedom Sleepers are engaging in
> civil disobedience, defying the camping ban in order to draw attention
> to its cruel, unusual, and inhumane character. We and the homeless
> community present at the protest have been harassed by police, prevented
> from sleeping by enormous lights rented by the police department,
> ticketed, and arrested.