Santa Cruz Library Board Votes On Sleeping Ban Tonight

Sleeping Ban Back For All Santa Cruz Libraries: Decision Tonight in Aptos
by Robert Norse ( rnorse3 [at] )
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 . The relevant pages are 26-28.

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 and the comments that follow.

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).

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:


Contact the following Board members

Citizen Dick English
117 Union Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Home: 831-539-3299 rpenglish [at]

Citizen Martha Dexter
117 Union Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Home: 831-600-8834 mmdexter [at]

Citizen Nancy Gerdt
117 Union Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Home: 831-335-3130 ngerdt45 [at]

Councilmember Cynthia Mathews
City of Santa Cruz
809 Center Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Office: 831-420-5020
Fax: 831-420-5011 cmathews [at]

Councilmember David Terrazas Chair
City of Santa Cruz
809 Center Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Office: 831-420-5020
Fax: 831-420-5011 dterrazas [at]

Councilmember Jim Reed
225 Navigator Drive
Scotts Valley, CA 95066 Home: 831-461-0222 jimreedsv [at]

Councilmember Michael Termini
Vice Chair
City of Capitola
420 Capitola Avenue
Capitola, CA 95010 Office: 831-476-6206 michael [at]

Supervisor Bruce McPherson
County of Santa Cruz
701 Ocean Street, Room 500
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Office: 831-454-2200
Fax: 831-454-3262 bruce.mcpherson [at]

Supervisor Zach Friend
701 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Office: 831-454-2200
Fax: 831-454-3262 zach.friend [at]

More background on this struggle can be found at (“Lost in Lander’s Library Labyrinth…” and (“Library to Consider Restrictive New Policies”).

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).