Rain-Drenched and Dismissed by Mainstream Protest, Freedom Sleep #81 Won’t Quit

Date Tuesday January 24

Time 4:00 PM Tuesday9:00AM Wednesday
Location Details Expect light rain at City Hall where Freedom Sleepers will gather both under the eaves and later along the sidewalk after the likely midnight police raids driving them out to get drenched. Thousands of Women’s March protesters crowded the same area Sunday filled with righteous anti-Trump anger but visibly indifferent to City Council’s abuse of unhoused and unprotected women outside here. Denounce nationally. Ignore locally.
Event Type  Protest
Organizer/Author  Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email  keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone  575-770–3377ANOTHER CONTENT-FREE COUNCIL CLUCK-A-THON
The 2:30 PM City Council agenda ignores homeless and housing issues as well as abusive police practices, local income equality, and discriminatory law creation and enforcement. Will bathrooms adjacent to the area likely to be locked early, facilitating staff smears of homeless folks as dirty and uncivilized in their toilet behavior? A safe bet.

Will Parks and Recreation boss Mauro Garcia’s department rope off large areas around the building to “ensure order” inside as was frequently the case last year? Perhaps not. Will the Freedom Sleepers again form their own community of mutual support, share food, and resist police harassment? Most likely.
RECORDS STILL BEING WITHHELD
Cops withheld records documenting their enforcement of homeless-hostile laws criminalizing homeless survival behavior for over a year. On Monday, the City Clerk released arrest and citation records, but removed all mention of race of address. This editing makes it impossible to document the specific selective harassment and heavy impact leveled against the poor outside. In prior years, close examination of the records has shown hundreds of $200 tickets being given out for such “crimes” as being in a park after “closing” or sleeping after 11 PM outside or in a vehicle. REPORTS FROM ELSEWHERE
Local Santa Cruz RV activist Julie, whose facebook page Santa Cruz Fulltimers carries updated stories of RV struggles, has posted stories of crackdowns in other cities. Will activists there use Coastal Commission requirements to fight back as we have done with some success in Santa Cruz? Hope so.San Rafael City and County play ping pong with homeless vehicle dwellers: http://www.marinij.com/government-and-politics/20160905/san-rafael-vehicle-dwellers-fight-parking-ban

Santa Barbara bumbuster bureaucrats convene to remove poor-in-RV’s from town:

http://www.noozhawk.com/article/santa_barbara_oversized_vehicles_enforcement_rv_parking

STEPPED UP PROTESTS IN RAINY WEATHER
Last week Food Not Bombs soupstirrer Keith McHenry and weary copwatcher “Push Back” Pat Colby reported repeated “wake up and get out” rousts by rangers and cops at Freedom SleepOut #80.

Dreamcatcher, a long-time Freedom Sleeper, reported Monday night that police told him he could sleep anywhere but at City Hall if he’d abandon his protest. This, and more property confiscation, led him to announce his departure from the protest.


Lawrence “the Viper”, on the other hand, while also reporting police theft today, insisted he’d be back to pitch his tent at Freedom SleepOut #81. His signature tent, sleeping bag, and blankets are reportedly in lockup at police HQ, perhaps to test his stamina against driving rain and near-freezing temperatures.


71-year-old Sharee—who said she slept on cardboard last week, also reported being driven out from under the protective corridors of City hall last week.

WHISPERS OF MORE PROMIENT PROTEST ACTION
Though some are skeptical, others suggest the massive Trump-activated protests may swell the ranks of local anti-poverty activists. One activists has spoken of moving the Freedom Sleepers down to a more prominent post on Pacific Avenue. Others have suggested making use of the heated City Hall buildings, wastefully empty at night. “Vacant Buildings are the Crime”, noted one.

Meanwhile it’s still hot soup Tuesday night, police harassment Wednesday morning, comforting coffee at breakfast time—all under the friendly drizzle of irregular showers. Who could ask for anything more? Bring tarps, blankets, sleeping bags, video devices, and high spirits.

TOO FRAIL, SICK OR SLEEPY TO JOIN THE PROTEST? THERE ARE OTHER ALTERNATIVES.
For those not eager to trek to the edge of town to seek a 4 PM place in the 110 person Winter Shelter program, “Big Drum” Brent Adams has announced a one-night Warming Center at the Red Church on Tuesday night.

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