Rain or Shine–Freedom SleepOut #67 Rolls On

Date Tuesday October 18
Time 3:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location Details Cityhall Land–where sleep for the homeless is banned and armed Sleepbusters get their paychecks at 809 Center St. After the First Amendment closes down at 10 PM on the City Hall grounds, many will choose to sleep along the Center St. sidewalk between Locust and Church Sts. The event goes on until Wednesday morning, after which houseless folks face harassment at the whim of police, rangers, and security thugs for the rest of the week.
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
keith [at] foodnotbombs.net

Freedom Sleeper Lucero Luna, many times arrested and jailed, for peaceful protest against the Sleeping Ban on Pacific Avenue, reported her attempts to create alleviation of bad conditions in the women’s jail resulted in a “crazy” designation. Her report noted women were held on the men’s side of the jail; male jailers watched her while she was stripped; women were packed into a cell like sardines; the floors covered with women trying to sleep; She was wakened every half hour with a flashlight in the face for “suicide checks”. Reportedly bunk beds were put in shortly after her departure in possible response to Lucero’s expose.

Visual artists Joff Jones and Alex Skelton were assaulted with $1300 in fines for displaying their paintings “outside the blue boxes” in the courtroom of Commissioner “Bash the Bums” Baskett. She dismissed and ignored all Constitutional arguments after making a show of keeping to court protocol. It’s unclear whether two, who have (in my view unwisely) kept their defense and their case under wraps, will appeal.

Ramini–an Iranian musician and craftswoman–was fined $233 for having her artwork on display without any evidence of sales as part of a cultural background to her musical performing. The City Attorney’s office has refused to clarify whether it now regards any display of handicrafts, even if handmade and not offered for sale or donation, a crime.

A dozen homeless folks were driven out into the rain, reports Jessica Nash, late Friday morning as they took shelter under the trees across from the Civic Auditorium. See “Police and Ranger Raid on Homeless In the Rain Reported” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/10 ./14/18792238.php

Vocal Sleeping Ban Opponent Steve Pleich has announced his withdrawal from the race and endorsed the Brand New Council 4 (Brown, Glover, Krohn, and Schnaar). They and their even more reactionary opponents will be talking heads at the Tenants’ Issues Candidates Forum Wednesday, October 19 6:30 – 9:00pm Louden Nelson Theater.

Issues include renters’ issues such as: creating a city-sponsored tenant affairs department for this majority-tenant city, passing tenant protection ordinances, eviction protections, rent rollbacks/rent control, increasing affordable housing, limiting vacation rentals, wage and rent discrepancies, etc. Voter registration available on site.

Pleich should have more time for activism and I’ve urged him to present the ACLU (again) with resolutions opposing anti-homeless and anti-activist laws presented repeatedly to that group in 2012, 2013, and 2014. See https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/05/21/18737162.php#18737164 (“ACLU Chair Closes Monthly Boad of Directors Meeting, Homeless Issues Off the Agenda”). And https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/03/10/18752404.php “2013: A Nasty Year Heavy With New Anti-Homeless Laws”.

The local ACLU Board of Directors meets Wednesday at 7 PM at Louden Nelson Center–its meetings presumably open to the public if Pleich’s majority overrides ACLU Chair Peter Geldblum’s exclusionary policies.

More recent City Council attacks on the poor include the city-wide RV Ban–temporarily held in check by the Coastal Commission, the toxic expansion of “No Homeless Vehicles at Night” Permit Parking bans, collusion with the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center in creating a prison-like scene including a cut-off of public meals, and the militarization of Pacific Avenue replacing downtown “Hosts” with armed Rangers empowered to issue citations and arrest for anti-homeless ordinances on Pacific Avenue.

With the increasing threat of winter cold, freezing rain, and sharp winds on the horizon as October turns to November, some homeless activists are looking to the Tent Cities and Squats established in Oakland, Ventura, Eureka, and elsewhere. The Mathews City Council has abandoned its responsibilities to the poor and the community. It has instead funded and unleashed armed thugs in a program of homeless demolition.

Say yes to those who say no to thuggery. Support the Freedom Sleepers with food, funds, tents, blankets, video coverage, and cheer.