Monday Mar 4th, 2013 9:33 AM
The Library Joint Powers Authorities Board meets tonight (Monday March 4th) at the Aptos Public Library at 7695 Soquel Drive to give another tool to the Homeless Haters.
Item 8F on the Agenda of the Library Joint Powers Authority Board is a deepening and darkening of the Patron Code of Conduct and Suspension Policy Update to reestablish a clear Sleeping Ban in all public libraries in Santa Cruz and the surrounding county.
The Agenda is posted at http://www.santacruzpl.org/
There are no complaints on file as far as I can determine in the current monthly update of problems involving people sleeping in the library (pp. 45-48, 54-55). There are two complaints of people sleeping in the library parking lot (presumably the one in the back of the library) with their stuff “spread out”. It seems unclear why there is a need to make rules harsher in what has been one of the few remaining legal public places for homeless people to be unmolested.
A story on an Iowa library banning sleeping (pp. 49-50) has the usual omission of whether city law bans homeless people sleeping in public places generally–which Santa Cruz law does–and whether it has utterly inadequate shelter space (ditto with Santa Cruz).
Recently Berkeley has adopted a similar NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) policy regarding bringing property into the library (necessary for homeless people who have no place to store their stuff and need to bring it with them). See http://www.berkeleyside.com/
Currently if someone is blocking the stacks, or snoring, or impeding traffic through being sprawled out, all these issues can be (and presumably have been) addressed without sending around the “sleep police”. There’s currently a burly First Alarm Security guard who has been patrolling the library and surrounding grounds who creates what some regard as an intimidating presence (in all candor, some don’t).
EXTINGUISHING THE LIBRARY AS A SHADOW OF A SANCTUARY
In an unexpected pushback against the county-wide attack on homeless people (ranging from destruction of campsites to crackdowns on Pacific Avenue), the Board voted 5-4 in early December to specifically delete the Sleeping Ban from library policy. With nasty changes in personnel (MacPherson, Friend, Mathews, to name only a few), the blast of bigotry is chilling.
While the language seems genteel (“Refrain from sleeping in the library”), it is backed by a Draconian Policy of Enforcing Suspension.
That policy, made much harsher late last year, specifies that First Violation results in a reading of the rules, 2nd Violation a 1-day suspension, 3rd Violation a 30-day suspension, and 4th Violation up to 6 months. No formal hearing process for anything under 31-days (appeal to the mercy of Teresa Landers, the woman who pushed these policies). Even more telling, in all cases, a person so charged has only 1-day to file a written request for an appeal, or the appeal will not be considered. (See p. 31 E, 7: “To submit a written appeal, the patron must complete the “Appeal of 30-Day Suspension” document. The patron must return the completed form to the suspending library within one working day from the date the suspension is issued.”).
None of the incident reports are actually included in the Agenda. It took me over a month to get past such reports with a Public Records Act request.
There are no exceptions for children falling asleep. The law provides broad opportunity to be selectively enforced–either based on the desires of the staff to be “dutiful”, but also the prejudices of certain library users who want to “clean up” the library.
This looks like a slamdunk for the Bigot Bunch, but e-mail them anyway:
LINE-UP OF PERPETRATORS
Contact the following Board members
THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES
More background on this struggle can be found at http://www.indybay.org/
There will be a meeting noon tomorrow at Laurel Park next to Louden Nelson Center (Tuesday March 5th) to discuss a Sanctuary Campground for the homeless. A second meeting on the subject will take place the next day at the Sub Rosa Cafe (703 Pacific) at noon after the HUFF meeting (10 AM to noon).