Saturday Nov 15th, 2014 12:54 PM
City Council is set to exponentially expand a “Stay from Parks and Other Public Areas” law passed last year (MC 13,08.100). This law allows immediate Stay-Away orders from all parks and many other public areas (for one day). This happends at the whim of a police officer or ranger once an infraction of any kind is issued. Infractions have mainly been issued to homeless people for such “crimes” as sleeping, being in a park after dark, and smoking–500 Stay-Away orders in the last year. The proposed new law allows for Stay-Away orders for up to a year and expands the reach of the orders to all places previously mentioned. Its “appeal” process involves a flunky appointed by the same City Manager who created the ordinance.
Homeless folks are not allowed at the Homeless [Lack of] Services Center unless “on business” and driven away from the downtown by the expanded No Sit, No Sparechange zones downtown and unwelcome in the neighborhoods thanks to expanding Take-Back-Santa-Cruz hate escalation. Under the new law, the traditional refuge of the parks and the greenbelt now becomes forbidden once a uniform with a ticket book and a stayaway order appears.
All of this happens under the happy fiction of “public safety”–the watchword of Anti-Homeless Whipster Crowd. This gang of privileged thugs has been pushing the phony “Danger–Homeless in Area” button for several years now rebranding homeless survival behavior such as sleeping at night as “criminal behavior.” [For an extreme instance see the vicious http://www.facebook.com/
THE NEW LAW COMING DOWN
Item #13 on the Tuesday November 18th Santa Cruz City Council Agenda is the familiar dead fish dressed in new wrapping. Unfortunately, the outgoing Robinson-Bryant Council as well as the incoming Mathews-Terazzas Council seem to be deeply entangled with or profoundly intimidated by or just happy to oblige the Take Back Santa Cruz agenda of Pamela Comstock.
The ordinance is on line at http://www.indybay.org/
The staff report is available at http://www.indybay.org/
ACLU–THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY
Thanks to Steve Pleich, ACLU Vice-Chair, for posting it. No thanks to Steve Pleich for not leading a protest and statement against the original ordinance a year ago when it appeared at City Council and got unanimous support. No thanks to Steve for not appealing it or supporting an appeal of any of the hundreds of individuals who suffered under it for the last year.
Thanks to the local ACLU for its several posted statements of opposition to the proposed cancerous expansion.
See: “Local ACLU Issues Strong Statement in Opposition to “Stay Away” Ordinance” at http://www.indybay.org/
And for its belated and partial support of overturning the local Sleeping Ban: http://www.indybay.org/
No thanks to the local ACLU for its carefully avoiding the “h” [“homeless”] word in its opposition to the proposed Stay-Away escalation.
Contrast what the national ACLU put out recently on its website: http://www.aclu.org/blog/
Other groups like the Santa Cruz Tenant Association, HUFF, & Sin Barras apparently need to take up the issues.
PHONY APPEAL PROCESS TO PROVIDE PAPER COVER FOR TROLLBUSTERS
The earlier Stay Away ordinance, introduced and passed on October 14th, 5-2 by the Mathews-Terrazas Council. At the October 28th Council meeting a long-delayed protest from the local ACLU apparently had the item removed from the Council agenda pending attorney reconsideration.
Now City Attorney Barisone returns with a duct-taped-on “appeal” provision to give local courts a fig leaf to cover their shame when they endorse this law. (With few exceptions, local courts have no problem with the obvious unconstitutionality of the Sleeping Ban and other anti-homeless laws)
Targeting homeless people has moved from a blood sport to a kind of vigilante imperative with some neighborhood hate groups reportedly organizing “call the cops on RV dwellers” alerts. A proposed new “Even their empty vehicles need to be eliminated at night” ordinance will expand Permit Parking to impede the Circles Church programs. Perhaps motivated by the Sunrise Hang-Out–a warming centerprogram previously available Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 4 AM to 9:30 AM, but now discontinued, the matter is coming up for a Public Works Hearing next week.
As ever, the best defense against these trollbusters in the long run is mutual solidarity and documentation. Photo and post on line the details of any abusive contacts from police, rangers, private vigilantes, discriminating business, etc. Video tells the story more eloquently than many paragraphs of words, though a little written explanation may also be helpful.
This in-house “appeal” addition is a cosmetic response to claims that the law lacks any due process or court scrutiny whatsoever. The administrative officer who rules on the law is not given any clear standards as to what constitutes guilt or innocence. The up-side is that victims of this law, supported by activists can jam the Parks and Recreation Department with a stream of “hearings”, haul in oppressive rangers and cops with regularity, and publicize the whole stinking mess at each individual hearing.
Steve Pleich has promised to appeal the “final” decisions of the City Manager’s agent with a writ of mandamus. And there’s always the prospect of Small Claims Court–rumors of a broader action there have begun to circulate against the Sleeping Ban and other anti-homeless ordinances.
PREVIOUS ANALYSIS OF THE LAW AND ITS IMPACT ON HOMELESS PEOPLE
For important background on the proposed “Drive ‘Em Out” law, go to:
“Stay-Away From Human Rights ! An Activist Examines the Escalating Stay-Away Orders Law” at http://www.indybay.org/
See also http://www.indybay.org/
My original analysis of the law previous to its “lipstick on the pig” reappearance is “Nasty Anti-Homeless Stay-Away Laws to Get Exponentially Worse ” at http://www.indybay.org/
The current law that prescribes up to a year in jail for violating the stay away order by coming back—even if you’re innocent of the “crime” for which you were cited :
13.08.100 ORDER TO VACATE ANY PROPERTY MAINTAINED BY THE PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT.
Any person who receives a citation or is arrested on city park or beach property or any property maintained by the parks and recreation department for a violation of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code or state law may be directed 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 a twenty-four-hour period from the time of the arrest/citation. Any person who violates such an order from a city officer shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Another “when they come to harass you, shut up and take it or, face more penalties” law that was passed at the same time:
13.08.090 DISORDERLY CONDUCT ON PARK PROPERTY.
(a) Any person who willfully harasses or interferes with a city of Santa Cruz employee in the performance of his or her duties in a city park or beach shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Any person who, by his or her conduct, or by threatening or abusive or profane language, willfully molests or unreasonably interferes with the use of a city park or beach by any other person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
The City Council majority on Tuesday is likely to pass the First Reading of this law–though nothing is certain. E-mail them at citycouncil [at] cityofsantycruz.com. A second reading will then follow on November 25th, the likely date for the 2nd Council meeting. A month after the law goes into effect–on Xmas Day, appropriately enough.
HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) will be showing up with more regularity at the Food Not Bombs meal each Saturday (and perhaps Sunday) at 4 PM to gather reports, discuss strategy, and chow down.
Bring any tickets and/or stay-away orders you’ve received to the FNB meal and pass them on to HUFFsters, or come to the HUFF meeting Wednesdays 11 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe. You can also contact HUFF at rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com or call me at 423.4833.
LEAVE COMMENTS AT: https://www.indybay.org/
or go to https://www.facebook.com/