NEW TIME FOR HUFF Info Exchange: A HUFFster or two will be at the Food Not Bombs meal today (5-27) at 1:30 PM at Laurel and Front St. to gather reports, distribute some supplies, and provide tragi-comic relief.

HUFF Contact for Reports:   There will be a rep to gather any street reports and check-in’s today at 1:30

UPDATES ON ONGOING ISSUES

  • Retaining COVID-19 Campground Gains:  How to keep what the City/County have grudgingly given?  The City-acknowledged survival camps–both those across from Coral St. and at the Benchlands, plus homeless-run ones around the City.  Not to mention portapotties, wash stations, and trash cans appearing spottily here and there (but not much in the Pogonip).
  • Expanded Police Powers:  Reining in “emergency” powers seized by Bernal, Mills, and City Department Heads.  Anticipating and preempting the return of the Mills/Condotti Police Powers 8-point Repression program as well as the “improved” Camping Ordinance slithering its way through the CACH committee. 
  • City Council Doom Report: Yesterday’s City Council meeting saw reauthorization and possible expansion of the “Ambassadors” (the rebranded “Hosts” of olden days), rubberstamping of the Mills/Bernal removal of the Coral St. campground and their rules for the Benchlands encampment.  As well as no substantive support for tenants.  Beiers, Cummings, and Brown voted in a block on some issues and made a few comments, but took little strong action giving a “feel good” unanimous illusion to the Council’s actions.
  • Report on Local Motel Room Stats for the Vulnerable:  Still no new word from Mayor “NoJustice” Justin Cummings (other than “tell it to the County workers”),  county worker Jessica Scheider, and other local Project Roomkey fund fondlers.
  • New Indefinite Powers for Cops and the Deputized City Employees:  Passed last night without any stats showing the need for them.  These included the power (which the City already has) to reduce a misdemeanor to an infraction.  News that the City has given out more than 300 $400+ citations for COVID-19 violations with no stats on how many were to folks outside.
  • Resuming Direct Action Protests: Corporate and conservative “Lift the Shelter in Place & Open the Public Beaches” protesters may be at Cowell’s Beach again 3-5 PM on Friday May 29th.   HUFFsters might consider a socially-distanced picket line or honk in outside the residences of City and County officials to demand immediate action to occupy and open Motel rooms for vulnerable folks outside. 
  • Reports of Vehicle Tows Are on the Rise:  With rumored countersuits by the ACLU and Anthony Prince’s Santa Cruz Homeless Union not happening here (though some action reported in Sacramento).
  • Support for Possible City Action Against Food Not Bombs  No new hostile actions have been clearly signaled, but the temptation for the City to use its “emergency powers” to further harass one of the few food providers in the City must be vigilantly monitored.
  • Reports from Other Homeless Activists Elsewhere (Salinas, Berkeley, Marysville, Monterey)  Go to http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html for the latest shows.  Check http://huffsantacruz.org/wordpress/ for the content of the shows. 
  • Researching During the Lockdown–Tracking Those in Power:  Who are our Key Powerbrokers in Santa Cruz:  Real estate interests, the Canfield Company, the University, Swenson, et. al.–let’s expose the facts and let them speak for themselves.  Any volunteers?
  • Progress Reports on the 99%: on Encampments outside including San Lorenzo Park, Coral St., the Pogonip: What they need, how they’re faring, new contacts  I’m gathering contacts.  If you have ’em, phone me at 423-4833 or e-mail me at rnorse3@hotmail.com.
  • Mills Still Breaking His “Word” on Vehicle Harassment:  Nothing new here, but recent reports of vehicle harassment and seizure, not to mention the officially-sanctioned vandalism of “tire chalking” continues in spite of court prohibition in other states (see https://www.npr.org/2019/04/23/716248823/court-says-using-chalk-on-tires-for-parking-enforcement-violates-constitution ).
  • Coronavirus Copwatch: Reports on Police, Ranger, Security Thug, and Business Behavior Towards Those Outside   The Coral St. sweep, constriction of the San Lorenzo Benchlands camp, lack of available drinking water, absence of portapotties and washing stations in the Felker St. area, as well as Mills’ illegal “move along” of street musicians and others—call it in, call it out 
  • Good Though Distant Source: SF Coalition on Homelessness panel of medical experts demands testing now, and immediate movement of crowded shelter residents into individual motel rooms. Still relevant is the press conference & discussion at https://www.facebook.com/CoalitionOnHomelessness/videos/2954977444559143/?  
  • SC Homeless Union Looking:  …for blankets, tents, and other survival gear.  Leave them at the Food Not Bombs meal (see below) or call Alicia at 431-7766.   …for medical professionals working in respiratory therapy, nursing, other life-saving professions willing to write, e-mail, or call city, county, and state officials to open up the motel rooms.  
  • Food Not Bombs [FNB] meal and clothes distribution is still  daily 1-6 PM at the parking lot next to the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union at Laurel & Front.  Weekends the meal will be 4-6 PM.   Food preppers wanted at Vet’s Hall weekends noon.
  • Metro Bathrooms Still Closed?:  Yep.  As reportedly are the parking garage bathrooms.  Why?
  • Rent strike reports?: FNB reports folks reporting illegal evictions continue.  And vacant buildings remain vacant as the virus spreads.   Distress grows while the banks and big boys get the bail-out’s with unemployment skyrocketing.  Contact Tenant Sanctuary with reports of illegal evictions at (831)200-0740 .  Go public by calling Free Radio at 423-4833.
  • HUFF MAY BE ORGANIZING BY PHONE to support the demand for Motel rooms before the only option  is quarantine areas.  CONTACT US AT 831-423-4833 OR RESPOND TO THIS E-MAIL IF YOU’D LIKE TO HELP OR WANT TO PROVIDE REPORTS.
  • Frequent local updates can still be found on Facebook under Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs, Santa Cruz County Homeless Advocates, Homeless Outside in Santa Cruz, SCCCP (Santa Cruz and Central Coast Politics), Monterey County Homeless Advocates, The Santa Cruz Community, (SF) Coalition on Homelessness.  More distant updates:  homelesstimes.com, http://homelessperspective.com, https://wraphome.org/,

HISTORICAL REMINDERS from a HUFFster’s perspective

  • Very very few motel or hotel rooms are yet available for the 1000-2000 homeless outside who want and may need them to shelter more safely and securely in spite of government directives and financial grants.  Funding exists, promises are made, promises are broken.
  • The inadequate “normal” charitable activities of those working with churches, social services, etc. have been cut back or closed–many of the staff of these organizations are over 60 and particularly vulnerable to the corona virus.
  • Normal donations to those directly seeking survival money through “panhandling” have been discouraged or criminalized under the new emergency regs, enacted without public discussion or vote.  Support those panhandling on the medians and elsewhere.
  • Public transportation options have been restricted or shut down, making access to what limited resources there are even more problematic.
  • Mayor Cummings has still not issued no calls for an emergency Council meeting to pass elementary measures already done in other cities like a moratorium on rents.  
  • We must confront directly, clearly, persistently, loudly and immediately to secure the basic survival needs of the community in the current crisis.
  • Contact Food Not Bombs (575-770-3377), HUFF (831-423-4833), or the Santa Cruz Homeless Union (831-431-7766) if you wish to help.

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