Sleepers Assemble for Freedom SleepOut #61; Seattle Strides Forward

 Date Tuesday September 06

Time 5:00 PM Tuesday9 AM Wednesday

Location Details Snooze Along with the Suffering on the Sidewalk Near City Hall (Center between Locust and Church)
From late Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday morning.
Event Type
Keith McHenry (entry by Norse)
keith [at]

Pleasant weather, less police harassment, the lure of a safe(r) placer to sleep for at least one night, and the pulse of principle reportedly drew a larger group of sleepers last week and may continue to do so.

The issue continues to be the right to engage in necessary human functions in public places (with no private places being generally available to the poor outside). The basic need and right to sleep runs afoul of the City’s 11 PM to 8:30 AM Sleeping Ban (MC 6.36.010a).

This obscene law continues to be enforced whimsically by the SCPD and increased posse of Parks and Recreation Rangers, now acting as a genteel goon squad on Pacific Ave.

With election rhetoric rattling about, some are hoping that the “Our Revolution: Santa Cruz for Bernie” bunch of endorsees (Drew Glover, Steve Schnaar, Chris Krohn, and Sandy Brown) will bring light and liberation to the City Council in the highly unlikely event that some or all of them get past the Big Money endorsees J.M Brown, Cynthia Mathews, Martine Watkins, and Robert Singleton.

Though there have been a few bright spots in the electoral forums, “support for finding legal supervised places to sleep within City limits” and 24-hour bathrooms is about as far as they seem willing to go. Apparently a year of Freedom Sleeper education about the futility and absurdity of banning sleep still can’t get past the desire to woo the most reactionary.

Meanwhile RV residents report increased pressure from the sheriffs in the County–in spite of the clear Coastal Commission indications that anti-RV laws violate the public access requirements of the Coastal Zone. Still no reported tickets though.

Meanwhile up in Seattle, a more active ACLU and allied groups are fighting back against the destruction of “illegal” homeless encampments. They aim to replace the current law and practice which allow demolition with 72-hour notice. The new law, if passed, would require proof that encampments pose “an imminent and likely public health or safety harm”; if a real emergency could be proved, then action could be taken within 48 hours.

In all other cases, the city would be required to undertake a 30-day process to notify and offer services to the people living in an encampment before forcing them to move. The law would apply to tents, cars/trucks, and RVs.

For any encampment that did not pose an immediate risk, outreach workers would have to, over the course of 30 days, offer the people staying there extensive outreach and “adequate and accessible housing” before the city could clear the area. If an area was going to be cleared, the city would have to notify the people living there of the specific date and time when the cleanup would occur and provide an explanation of what would happen during that process.

The law would also set up a more thorough process for documenting and storing people’s belongings that are taken during cleanups. It would require the city to provide trash pickup and sanitation services to any camps with more than five people, and it would create an advisory group to oversee the sweeps. If the city violated any terms of the new law while doing sweeps, it would have to pay each person affected $250 per violation.

For more information check out
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Meanwhile, City authorities dutifully backed up by the Scent-Anal (the local daily) have been pushing their old brand of paranoia with an announced indefinitely-extended “closing of the levee”.
Actually for a long time cops and rangers have selectively excluded the public (particularly the poor) from access to the river. Now a killing has become the pretext for a general shut down–more grist for the Take Back Santa Cruz agenda–with those who live outside being the usual targets.

Check out the stench of this sort of bigotry–all dressed up in witty words and fancy formatting. Hatred masquerading as public safety. Sniff out the garbage at

Activists Pat and John Colby, evicted from their lodging after several years of fighting the powerful John Stewart Company, are reportedly spinning straw into silk. They’re active reporting ADA (Americans Disability Act) violations in city park restrooms and reportedly getting the promise of action. The old HUFF “Give a Shit” Campaign demanded 24-hour bathrooms at City Hall.

But City workers even had those bathrooms locked tight during business hours on the afternoon of the last Freedom Sleeper protest. Makes it easier to complain about all the pee and poopoo. The new supposedly public Portapotty at Lincoln and Cedar is also still locked during the day. If authorities won’t give a shit, they’ll find others will have to. In inconvenient spots. Tip of the hat to Pat and John for acting as a mobile monitoring squad–forcing the City to clean up its commodes.