Drug War Paranoids Move To Cut Back Needle Exchange [3 Attachments]

Attachments from Robert Norse!
Santa Cruz City Council meets tomorrow (3 PM City Council Chambers 3 PM, agenda item #15) and is likely to rubberstamp recommendations made by its right-wing “Public Safety Committee” which met three weeks ago and in its turn rubberstamped the recommendations of a conservative staff report.  See “New Attack on Homeless Slated in City Counci’s ‘Public Safety’ Committee Meeting”

at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/29/18730942.php.

The recommendations can be found on-line at http://www3.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/bzcl12553shhsji4oz3akzup/370818802112013094929120.PDF   as well as the original staff report at  http://www3.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/bzcl12553shhsji4oz3akzup/370818902112013095000761.PDF .  If these aren’t accessible there, go to http://www3.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=452&doctype=AGENDA and look under agenda item #15.

Most of these recommendations are a defensive response to an onslaught by right-wing pro-Drug Prohibition War, anti-homeless activist groups like Take Back Santa Cruz.  Homeless people and their “illegal” (i.e. survival) camps are being blamed for needles, break-in’s, endangering children, and all kinds of other bogus accusations completely unsupported by objective stats.  Cuts are being proposed in the paltry homeless services being provided.  Expansion of an anti-homeless SCPD is proposed.  And an absurd and misguided contraction of Needle Exchange is being used as the prime scapegoat.

I include the attached petition, which, while inadequate in not including opposition to the counter-productive 1-for-1 exchange, does push back  slightly against the paranoid mind set which is active locally.  I’m also including a guest editorial in the Sunday Sentinel that presents what sounds like a good case for opposing the 1-for-1 (no needles given out unless dirty needles returned) proposal.

There’s likely to be quite a crowd of misguided Drug War heavies down at City Council tomorrow, but it would be productive to show up anyway.  The city’s failure to provide public restrooms, adequate disposal facilities, refund and expand needle exchange, & establish safe and legal campgrounds is, of course, largely being ignored by city bureaucrats and politicians (though even some right-wing critics are calling for some of these services).

The Santa Cruz Sentinel has been ramping up the hysteria with various front-page “needle” stories with its main editorial on Sunday leading the charge.  Read it and heave:  http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/opinion/ci_22557015/editorial-county-must-oversee-needles .

Real solutions like Injection and Inhalation Centers (http://supervisedinjection.vch.ca/  … http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2011/09/30/vancouver-injection-center-legal-court-rules/  ) aren’t being proposed, though Santa Cruz pioneered (along with San Francisco) medical marijuana tolerance and distribution back in the early 90’s.   Time to take the lead again.

Homeless people are perhaps the most vulnerable population for the diseases likely to result from this latest Cold War-style attack on harm reduction measures.

R. Norse