Spreading Fear and Encouraging Hatred Among the Youth in Santa Cruz


The following Sentinel article is another example of the spreading misdirected “Public Safety” mythology being pushed by right-wing groups.The homeless and drug “crime” problem builds on the fantasy that there is some new major Public Safety threat.  It’s actually that old familiar privileged expectation of feeling “comfortable” by eliminating the sight of and reality of poverty downtown and elsewhere.   In a society that criminalizes or outprices drug use but creates homelessness and conditions that prompt self-medication, it is absurd not to expect these kind of problems.  Additionally with virtually no drug rehab services available, the attack on addicts is both cruel and disingenous.It’s depressing and disgusting to see this kind of Gleichschaltung* rising out of the shadows in Santa Cruz.

To characterize ” feeling uneasy downtown at night and often seeing drinking and drug use at parties” as a “serious safety issue” is, of course, ridiculous and has nothing to do with real safety issues.

Exalting “perception” to reality is the kind of bigotry that kept black people in the slavery of repressive segregation for 100 years (and fills the jails disproportionately with blacks these days).

This phony mythology would be laughable except that it has now infected and captured the politically ambitious at City Hall and elsewhere.  The Sentinel, ever eager to spread crimefear, is doing it’s usual  thing.


It’s bad enough that politicians solemnly form committees to ensure “public safety”, by which they mean further crackdowns on homeless people for behavior they have decreed to be “illegal” like sleeping, sitting, being in public spaces, having an open container, etc.
Propagandizing young people to stir up fear of the homeless is the lowest.   To suggest that one’s fears (however unjustified) or an a par with real threats seems to be all the rage.   This is deceptive, inflammatory, and ultimately destructive.  It can lead to mindless hostility against the disabled, the addicted, the homeless, and the poor that was all the rage back in the trollbuster days of the 80’s. [See




Did the 25-question survey ask how comfortable teenagers were in their interactions with police.  Compare these answers with those in a survey in Watsonville last year at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/watsonville/ci_22007863/young-leaders-watsonville-reveal-safety-concerns-among-teens where nearly 1/3rd of those asked said they’d avoid police if they had trouble.

Stage-managing public opinion with anti-homeless hysteria masquerading as “Public Safety”, an endless drumbeat of deification for police officers shot in a freak incident, and making respectable the homeless rights-hostlle agenda of Take Back Santa Cruz seems to be a joint project of Bryant’s City Council and Miller’s Sentinel.

Dispassionate citizens should look more deeply.

*Gleichschaltung (German pronunciation: [ˈɡlaɪçʃaltʊŋ]), meaning “coordination”, “making the same”, “bringing into line”), is a Nazi term for the process by which the Nazi regime successively established a system of totalitarian control and coordination over all aspects of society. The historian Richard J. Evans translated the term as “forcible-coordination” in his most recent work on Nazi Germany.  Among the goals of this policy were to bring about adherence to a specific doctrine and way of thinking and to control as many aspects of life as possible.

Santa Cruz teens form new group to take on public safety issues

Posted:   06/01/2013 05:29:35 PM PDT

SANTA CRUZ — A recent survey of nearly 850 teens at high schools across Santa Cruz shows young people face serious safety issues such as feeling uneasy downtown at night and often seeing drinking and drug use at parties.

More than 30 percent of respondents said they don’t feel safe after dark at the bus station on Pacific Avenue and the nearby Taco Bell.

At least 70 percent said they’ve seen friends participate in social drinking and nearly 44 percent said they’ve been to a party where there was drug use other than marijuana.

The 25-question survey was created by the Santa Cruz Youth Council, a group formed in March in response to a spate of violence in the city that included the February murders of two Santa Cruz police officers in the line of duty.

Survey results were released at the youth council’s final meeting Wednesday at Santa Cruz City Hall.

“This information is very valuable,” City Attorney John Barison told the youth council. “It’s important for adults to know what this place looks like through the eyes of teens.”

A group of Watsonville high school students formed a similar youth council in September and conducted a similar survey to get a pulse on what teens are confronting in terms of their safety in the south county city known for gang-related crimes.

The Watsonville survey showed 22 percent of the more than 1,100 students surveyed said they had been approached to join a gang.
More than a quarter

don’t feel comfortable talking to police, and 22 percent wouldn’t report a crime, according to the survey.

The youth councils in Watsonville and Santa Cruz, each with 12 students holding meetings once a week, stem from a desire to empower teens to become leaders and talk openly with adults about issues of concern.

The youth councils got off the ground with the help of Lori Butterworth, founder of the local children’s cancer group Jacob’s Heart and Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition, and former Watsonville Mayor Eduardo Montesino.

Santa Cruz leaders, including Mayor Hilary Bryant, were also strong supporters of the teen groups.

“The kids asked for this,” Butterworth said. “They really needed something positive to capture what’s going on with teens.”

Joaquin Nelson, a senior at Costanoa High School in Santa Cruz who served as city manager on the youth council, said he joined the group out of concern for safety downtown.

“I feel uncomfortable after 8 p.m. with some of the characters there,” Nelson, 18, said. “There’s a bad vibe and people are always asking me for money.”

Harbor High senior Casey Monahan says he enjoys watching the midnight movies at the Del Mar Theater on Pacific Avenue, though he’s always on alert for potential trouble.

“I hang out a lot downtown and I’m definitely exposed to the reasons why people are sometimes uncomfortable in Santa Cruz,” Monahan said. “People are always asking for money or under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Often it can become frightening, especially to young people.”

Results from the Santa Cruz and Watsonville teen surveys will be passed to the Santa Cruz County Criminal Justice Council as well as parents, teachers, law enforcement and elected leaders, Butterworth said.