Please report conditions in San Lorenzo Park, downtown, the neighborhoods, and the parks where numerous nightly encampments have grown. If you live there, consider establishing contact with HUFF at 831-423-4833 on a regular basis to provide updates for the radio show Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides (Sundays 9:30 AM- 2:30 PM, Thursdays 6-8 PM at 101.3 FM and freakradio.org). Fences are going up in Star of the Sea and Laurel St. parks, without significant input or approval from the Laurel St. community, anyway.
The Sleeping Ban City Council’s current toleration of San Lorenzo survival activity should not be mistaken for fair and equal treatment of unhoused people in public spaces generally. The restrictive laws include Stay-Away’s, single vehicle parking, overnight (and in some areas 24-hour) parking bans, new fences around parks at night, abusive enforcement of Downtown Ordinances on Pacific as well as heavy and selective enforcement of the “no smoking” ordinances.
The real reason limited camper toleration is here is police enforcement is an impossibility. Both in terms of economics and real-life-consequences, the plan to drive homeless folks out of sight and out of town just doesn’t work. As services are cut back or require “a path to housing” (vouchers, checks), folks appear on the streets, next to buildings, etc. Tickets in the Pogonip, along the tracks, and in the parks has caused a migration to residential neighborhoods—causing a flurry of quacking and cawing by enraged bourgeois residents. Police Chief Andy Mills, ever sensitive to the concerns of Downtown merchants and NIMBY residents, has triaged police services by the San Lorenzo campground coup.
The San Diego ACLU (local ACLU take note!) has failed a lawsuit against anti-homeless deportation policies down there. See http://www.
You can also help fight the Stay-Away orders as they are individually levied on homeless folks; contact Food Not Bombs or HUFF (numbers below). Let these folks know if you or anyone you know has recently been given a Stay-Away order along with an Infraction ticket, particularly if it’s for longer than 24 hours (or 72 hours after October 12th when the new expanded law goes into effect). Also report any frivolous citations (sitting, smoking in a distant and vacant area, so-called “trespass” on public property, and, of course, camping as well as the ever-popular “open container” citations).
If meetings aren’t your thing, but you wish to work on Public Records, Assist in getting interviews for Free Radio broadcasts or You-Tube Postings, contact Bathrobespierre Robert at 831-423-4833.
Activists around Food Not Bombs and the Freedom Sleepers are also looking for help gathering volunteers for the support meals on Saturday & Sunday as well as folks who want to help homeless harassed with citations for Being Visibly Homeless. Contact them at 575-770-3377.
Or go on line to the Facebook page of Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs. FNB activists fear an upsurge of pressure against the downtown meals near the post office as follow up to the “coaxed removal” of the homeless encampment there. Sign up to support their Emergency Response Network by contacting them through Facebook or in person at the Saturday and Sunday meals. The idea is to quickly gather in numbers if city authorities attempt to shut down the meal.
Brent Adams continues to post regularly on his facebook page “Homeless Outside in Santa Cruz” as well.