Wednesday Jul 10th, 2013 12:08 PM
Local ACLU Vice Chair Announces Candidacy
Each of these initiatives speak to the concerns voiced by the people of Santa Cruz concerning the environment, the economy and the need for practical engagement in the policies that determine both electoral and law enforcement policies. A long time member of Desal Alternatives and a founding member of the Right to Vote on Desal Coalition which last November secured the right of the people of Santa Cruz to approve the construction of a proposed desalination plant, Pleich believes that future sustainability of our local water supply can be achieved through sensible water use and best practices conservation.
Pleich was endorsed by the UCSC College Democrats in 2012 and spent much of the final two months of that campaign on campus talking with and listening to the student voice. Both the student body and the university administration agree that the economic and technology future of the city and UCSC are inextricably bound together. The students were particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of the development of a Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system which would address both local traffic impact issues and provide an economic link between the City and the City on a Hill.
Pleich understsands that the proposal to reconstitute the Citizen’s Police Review Board and the initiative to publicly finance elections will spark sharp debate on all sides of these issues. But he believes that the city must substantially change the way in which it is governed. “Business as usual” is neither good enough or responsive enough to address the present problems and future concerns of our community.
Wednesday Jul 10th, 2013 5:27 PM
Thursday Jul 11th, 2013 6:37 AM
On the plus side, Steve has continued to nominally offer his Homeless Persons Legal Assistance program (which involves giving out his phone number and being somewhat accessible that way–466-6078, for those with problems–with mixed reports). He serves bagels regularly at the Monday Red Church meal.
As Vice-Chair of the ACLU, he initiated and secured passage of a resolution urging passage of AB5 the California Homeless Bill of Rights, now “suspended” in committee until next year, and also may have been instrumental in persuading the ACLU to oppose the late night first-ever curfew at Cowell’s Beach (in the midst of the Needle Hysteria). This, however, was done only after Councilmember Posner urged the ACLU to do so, then ended up voting for the curfew.
Though less frequently of late, he has in the past been accessible to Free Radio Santa Cruz and a source of information about various activist events and groups.
At Occupy Santa Cruz and subsequently in the defense of the Santa Cruz Eleven, he has spoken out repeatedly and spent hundreds of hours supporting groups demanding fundamental changes in the calcified Santa Cruz political and economic hierarchy.
As a regular moderator on Community TV, he has brought important homeless issues to the community including the crackdown on homeless survival campers, the shutdown of Needle Exchange (after it happened), the De Sal debacle, and the persecution of political protesters–to name a few.
He is himself homeless (lives in his van) and has been working steadily with the Interfaith Satellite Shelter Program (a very small but dedicated group of folks who provide better shelter than the HLOSC, though only for 20 people).
On the negative side, Pleich has declined to monitor and confront the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center [HLOSC] foot-dragging on providing receipts for those on their Waiting Lists so that police will be discouraged from issuing tickets, given the exemption provisions of MC 6.36.055. He has said nothing about the HLOSC’s kowtowing to the Take-Back-Santa-Cruz [TBSC] crowd by supporting an ID system and locked gate for its day services, as well as “No Impact” zones, discrimination against the disabled, and no storage provisions for homeless possessions.
While being critical of the successful right-wing attack on the City’s Needle Exchange program (AFTER the closing of the Barson St. Needle Exchange), he had declined to stand against the “Public Safety” mythology being promoted by TBSC and took no initiatives in the ACLU to get them to do so.
At ACLU meetings, while recently calling for ‘open meetings’, he refused to stand up for them when Chair Peter Geldblum arbitrarily closed the May meeting to block homeless participation, nor to acknowledge and apologize to those he sent out into the hallway in violation of the prior open procedure.
He has often shown an unwillingness to clearly stand up to those in power in a principled matter unless backed by a significant faction (as he was in the Occupy Santa Cruz movement).
He has not appeared at City Council to oppose the recent anti-homeless laws (the “No First Amendment on the Median” and the new “Stay-Away Orders and Pander to the Preudiced in the Parks” laws that go into effect today.
Some with dissenting views have complained of censorship from his Citizens for a Better Santa Cruz website (not me, though).
His manner, while jovial and good-natured, can be superficial and brusque if you raise issues he does not want to address. He is also prone to use an authoritarian approach in discussion.
You be the judge