Public Safety Committee Stonewalls Stay-Away Exclusion of Homeless in Santa Cruz

Title:

Santa Cruz City Council’s Public Safety Committee Meeting Postponed
Monday March 09
6:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Location Details:
City Council Chambers or City Council Conference Room next door
Event Type: Meeting
BACKGROUND
The City Council’s Public Safety Committee [PSC] is charged with overseeing police and fire departments. However, in the last few years, it’s been the means (along with Parks and Rec boss Dannettee Shoemaker) for funneling anti-homeless legislation to the City Council.

Such laws have masqueraded as “public safety” measures in the latest smear of the poor who sleep outside as a pretext to give police more ‘tools” to frighten them out of sight and out of town.

These laws include the “panhandlers–and political activists–stay off the medians in the city” and a series of other concerns prepared by the anti-homeless Public Safety Task Force of 2013.

“HARASS THE HOMELESS” POLICE POWERS BALLOON
In January 2013, City Council vastly expanded its law unconstitutionally delegating sweeping “stay-away” order powers to police and rangers with no guidelines, no court oversight, and no independent access to appeal.

The ordinance is MC 10.08.100 at http://www.codepublishing.com/ca/santacruz/.

I critically analyze the law at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/11/24/18764553.php [“Stay-Away Stupidity Not on Tuesday’s 11-25 Council Agenda”]

NO HEARING SCHEDULED; NO HEARING EVER HAPPENED
The PSC has so far declined to examine the lessons learned from a year and a half from Council’s earlier 1-day Stay-Away law passed in June of 2013. A thorough examination of tickets issued under this law reveal some striking and shocking concerns.

Far from having anything to do with Public Safety, the “Stay-Away” law was used in its earlier weaker form to harass homeless people for non-criminal survival behavior (or behavior that posed no threat to anyone) such as sleeping, being in a park after dark, and smoking.

(See “Stay-Away From Human Rights ! An Activist Examines the Escalating Stay-Away Orders Law” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/10/25/18763326.php)

Councilmember Terrazas, PSC Chair, has so far declined to put the Stay-Away on the agenda, even though his committee is charged with examining the impact of the law–but not until September 2015!

Since the law has already been used over 1000 times in its earlier form, refusing to look at clear facts is unacceptable. Pursuing and terrorizing homeless people to make the parks “friendlier” is the likely prospect for many of the City’s 1500-2000 homeless, 90% of whom have no shelter at night.

TAKE ACTION
HUFF has urged Terrazas to review the real and substantial record. Instead, for unclear reasons the meeting has been postponed.

We encourage people to contact HUFF to help those given Stay-Away’s to challenge them before the City Manager, join protests around the issue, and help track the dimensions of this new attack on the homeless community.

We also urge those concerned to e-mail the PSC members:
dterrazas [at] cityofsantacruz.com pcomstock [at] cityofsantacruz.com
cchase [at] cityofsantacruz.com

Or call them at 831-420-5020 to urge them to hold public hearings immediately and call for suspension of the law. Until it’s clear that the law addresses real criminal behavior and does not target poor people outside.

HUFF can be reached at 831-423-HUFF (4833).
Or e-mail rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com .

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