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)
Email
keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone
575-770–3377

BLOWING THE WHISTLE ON BAD CONDITIONS IN SHERIFF HART’S JAIL
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.

FREEZING FREE EXPRESSION ON PACIFIC AVENUE
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

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As Weather grows Chilly, Freedom SleepOut #66 Keeps the Homeless Fires Burning

Date 10/11/2016

Time 3:00 PM Tuesday9 AM Wednesday (approximately)
Location Details Concrete beddown along Center St. between Locust and Church across from the Main Library
Event Type
Protest
Organizer/Author
Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

THE VIGIL CONTINUES
The weekly public education and do-it-yourself safe sleeping zone squad will be on the sidewalk starting around 3 PM for the 66th time tonight. Food Not Bombs will be providing food, along with likely soup from India Joze’s kitchen, compliments of Jumbo Gumbo Joe Schultz. Coffee usually appears in the morning.

Smart phones, cameras, and/or video cameras are always welcome. Donations of blankets, sleeping bags, food, and friendship are also encouraged.

Freedom Sleepers and their supporters are invited to dose down a second time with coffee and commentary at the 11 AM HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) meeting at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific

SIGN THIEVES ON SKATEBOARDS
Food Not Bombs cooks report some wandering skateboarders made off with the Food Not Bombs signs last weekend–on two successive days. Whether this was done to express political hostility or to get tokens of FNB by admirers is unknown. However the FNB gang would like the signs returned if possible.

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Freedom Sleepers: 64th Weekly Sleepout-Sustaining the Safe Sleep Zone

Date 9/27/2016

Time 5:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Location Details On the heels and coattails of City Hall where the Sleepsnatcher Beast Slumbers. Soup and other incidentals will be available on the bricks near the City Directory sign.
The event lasts from late afternoon Tuesday the 27th through mid-morning Wednesday the 28th
Event Type
Protest
Organizer/Author
Keith McHenry (entry by Norse)
Emailkeith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone
575-770–3377

With a growing sidewalk community showing up each Tuesday for the “End the Sleeping Ban” rally, feed, and sleep-over, uniformed thug harassment is apparently way down with little if any interference with sleepers over the last two Tuesdays.Though only present once a week, the Freedom Sleepers continue to create a de facto Safe Sleeping Zone on the sidewalk next to City Hall across from the Main Library. A community gathers, shares food and coffee, and then sleeps in defiance of the City’s notorious MC 6.36.010 banning sleeping from 11 PM to 8:30 AM on all public and much private property.Folks have even dared to sleep on the “forbidden bricks”–the broad entrance area to the City Council Courtyard, previously open to peaceful protest and assembly until its anti-homeless closure in the fall of 2010.CITY COUNCIL COVER-UP
City Council has its 2nd September meeting (every 2nd and 4th Tuesday at 2:20 PM generally), but for the first time in memory, Council has no real agenda items other than Presentations, Consent Agenda stuff, and housekeeping (committee assignments).

Raymond Laborde apparently filed a late claim for $150,000 for “injuries allegedly resulting from an arrest”. However, City Clerk Bren Lehr has refused to put the original claim with details and phone contact on the agenda. I made a Public Records Act Request for that information, but so far have heard nothing.

Under pressure in the past, Lehr did put facsimiles of the original claims being considered on the City Council website 72 hours in advance. When pressed for contact information for those filing claims (which the City has no legal right to withhold), she removed the original claims entirely and left only the city staff’s “summary”.

Those wishing to keep abreast of who’s claiming injury from police abuse in the City should file regular Public Records Act requests well in advance of Council meetings. Claims usually take months to process, so it’s possible to get advance knowledge of who feels they’re being injured by the police if someone is interested in tracking this.

PUBLIC RECORDS STONEWALLING
Public Records Act requests to view Sleeping Ban and other anti-homeless citations are still being resisted and ignored by the SCPD and its supposed bosses at City Hall. Issue of surveillance devices, coming up at the upcoming ACLU forum is also being stalled. Mayor Mathews, though informed of the situation, has declined to respond. She is running for reelection in November.

SALINAS STANDOFF
On September 20th at the initiative of the City Manager, City Attorney, and reactionary Mayor, City Council there passed an “emergency” ordinance to drive away the nightly Tent City known as “the Flagpole Community” (see “Speak Out Against the Proposed Camping/Loitering Ordinance” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/09/17/18791376.php).

Activists from other cities including the Santa Cruz Freedom Sleepers joined dozens of others in speaking out against the phony “public safety” law, designed specifically to drive away protesters outside Salinas City Hall led by Wes White.

Right-wing media covered the event at http://www.montereyherald.com/article/NF/20160920/NEWS/160929921 (“County supervisors surprised, chagrined over proposed Salinas city overnight camping ban”)

The Community recently threw its 6-month Sleep-In celebration (see “Six Month Birthday Party for the Flagpole Community ” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/09/17/18791386.php “Monterey County Homeless Union Establishes Tent Community at Salinas City Hall” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/08/11/18790043.php .

As the clock strikes midnight on Saturday October 1st, police have threatened to begin enforcement, clearing away an orderly encampment of several dozen folks and their tents–with no alternative shelter facilities or safe sleeping spots allowed. The anti-Camping law is city-wide and includes an “anti-loitering” law.

Activists will reportedly resist the attempted destruction of the protest and urge others to join them, if only as witnesses with video. For more information, contact Wes White at 510-274-9275 .

FREEDOM SLEEP SUPPORTER STEVE HOLD CANDIDATE CHAT
Smooth-tongue Steve Pleich will be greeting potential voters at Woodstock Pizza 710 Front St. 5-7 PM on Friday September 30th. Pleich is the only candidate so far to specifically denounce the Sleeping Ban in the numerous candidate forums (though not the most recent Downtown Association Forum at the Civic last Thursday).

Lone wolf founder of the Homeless Persons Legal Project, Steve has recently released a list of specific accomplishments that document his history of homeless accomplishments. He himself lives in a vehicle and may be more vocal on homeless issues than most assuming his passion for shmoozing with power doesn’t get the best of him.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) has yet to endorse any candidates in the upcoming electoral charades, but will be meeting tomorrow 11 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe 703 Pacific to discuss City Council election prospects.

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep at City Hall with the Freedom Sleepers

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep at City Hall with the Freedom Sleepers
by Alex Darocy (alex [at] alexdarocy.com)
Monday Sep 19th, 2016 6:27 PM
After a chilly series of summer nights for people on the street in Santa Cruz, temperatures have increased, and so has attendance at the Freedom Sleepers community sleepouts held at city hall. About three dozen sleepers made it through the night at the sleepout held on August 30, and attendance was nearly as high at the sleepouts organized on September 6 and September 13. Since July of 2015, the Freedom Sleepers have gathered to sleep at city hall one night a week to protest local laws that criminalize homelessness. September 13 marked the group’s 62nd sleepout. [Top photo: The Freedom Sleepers at Santa Cruz city hall at the 61st community sleepout organized on September 6-7. Scroll down for more photos.]
sm_freedom-sleepers-1.jpg

Presently, the only location in downtown Santa Cruz where people on the street are able to sleep regularly as a group is at the weekly community sleepouts organized by the Freedom Sleepers. Homeless sweeps conducted by the Santa Cruz Police Department beginning in January of this year have for the most part cleared the downtown area of groups of people sleeping together in other locations, such as at the post office.

The sleepouts have attracted quite a bit of attention from the police. By sleeping at city hall, the Freedom Sleepers, some of whom have fixed housing of their own and some of whom do not, are engaging in a civil disobedience protest that directly violates the city’s camping ban, which outlaws sleeping anywhere in public between the hours of 11 pm and 8:30 am.

Many of the organizers of the sleepouts, which are organized as political protests, are hesitant to describe them as a completely safe place to sleep, but one of the founding Freedom Sleepers, Robert Norse of Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF), has described them as “safe zones” that are a “safer” place to sleep.

“A lot of the homeless people have come up to several of us and said that this is the only night of the week they can get an uninterrupted night of sleep,” said Abbi Samuels, who is also one of the founding Freedom Sleepers.

“To me that’s so sad that there is only one night a week they can get 7-8 hours of sleep,” she said.

“I have been able to get a good night’s sleep too,” Samuels said of her own experience of sleeping at city hall with the Freedom Sleepers.

The primary demand of the Freedom Sleepers has been the repeal of the city’s camping ban ordinance, but Samuels believes some immediate relief for homeless people could be attained by amending the ordinance.

“I think people should be able to sleep at government and public facilities,” Samuels said.

“City facilities should be re-zoned,” she said.

Early on during the protests, the Freedom Sleepers attempted to sleep in the large lawn area located in the center of city hall’s courtyard, but sleepers in that area were subjected to citation during the many police raids the Freedom Sleepers experienced. The city hall courtyard is a no-trespassing zone and is closed to the public at night between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am.

Additionally, city staff has actively worked behind the scenes to make it more difficult for individuals to sleep at city hall. In October of 2015, the Parks and Recreation department began the process of removing the grass lawn at city hall and replacing it with spiny plants, new pathways, and rock features, as part of a landscaping project that has rendered the area hostile to those looking for a place to sleep.

“It’s horrible, it’s a subtle way to get rid of homeless people,” Samuels said. “I am so livid.”

She recalled how soft the lawn area was, and how people could sleep on it comfortably.

Samuels says she learned in October of 2015 that the landscaping changes were intentionally designed to prevent people from sleeping in the area from Don Lane, who was the mayor of Santa Cruz at the time.

The Freedom Sleepers had moved their primary sleep location to the sidewalk before the changes in the landscape were initiated by the city, and the sleepouts continued unabated, but the loss of the lawn area is a constant reminder and sore point for the group.

In addition to those looking to sleep with a group of people, the Freedom Sleepers attract a large number of people who are in need of life necessities and other basic supplies, such as food, clothing, and blankets or bedding.

On August 30, Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs estimates they shared 200 servings of food or more at city hall before that evening’s sleepout, which was in addition to food donations made by other organizations that day.

“We had to make more food,” said Keith McHenry of Food Not Bombs about the August 30 sleepout.

“I have never seen so many eager for food at a Freedom Sleepers sleep out. It seems like we are getting more people seeking food each week,” he said. “America is in crisis.”

The Freedom Sleepers have indicated the sleepouts will continue indefinitely at Santa Cruz city hall. The next sleepout is planned for the evening of Tuesday, September 20.

Alex Darocy
http://alexdarocy.blogspot.com/

Photos below…..

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Speak Out Against the Proposed Camping/Loitering Ordinance at Salinas City Council Meeting

peak Out Against the Proposed Camping/Loitering Ordinance at Salinas City Council Meeting
Date Tuesday September 20
Time 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Location Details
SALINAS CITY HALL
200 Lincoln Ave
Salinas, CA 93901
Event Type Meeting
Organizer/Author Monterey County Homeless Union
SHELTER IS A HUMAN RIGHT!!
SPEAK OUT AGAINST
OPEN DISCRIMINATION!
HOMELESSNESS IS THE
CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT OF OUR ERA!!Tuesday Sept 20
3pm- Rally
4pm- City Council
6pm- Potluck Dinner

SALINAS CITY HALL
200 Lincoln Ave
Salinas, CA 93901

HOMELESS THROUGHOUT THE CITY ARE NOW OPENLY UNDER ATTACK, ESPECIALLY OUR TENT CITY AT CITY HALL!!

The city council will consider a new ordinance PROHIBITING CAMPING AND LOITERING ON ANY PUBLIC PROPERTY.

If there is a war on homeless going on throughout the country, Salinas is certainly on the front lines! Come speak up for those less fortunate and more vulnerable than you. They need your love and support at this critical time. The city’s position is that if you’re too poor to afford rent, you don’t belong in Salinas!!

Please speak your mind to the council about real issues that are hurting your community and ask why they are attacking the poor. God’s will be done. Amen!

More information:

Monterey County Homeless Advocates
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1723196254578198/

Salinas City Council to consider camping ban ordinance
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/09/16/18791358.php

sm_salinas_camping_ban_loitering_city_council.jpg

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
Protest
Organizer/Author
Keith McHenry (entry by Norse)
Email
keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone
575-770–3377

SLEEP PROTEST CONTINUES–SLOW, SUSTAINED, AND STEADY
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.

ELECTION ANTICS
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.

SEATTLE STIRRINGS
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 http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2016/08/24/24504796/homeless-advocates-propose-major-reforms-to-the-way-the-city-handles-homeless-encampments
and http://www.columbialegal.org/standing-shelter-everyone .

BUT BACK IN SANTA CRUZ
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 http://www.santamierda.com/.

WINDBLOWN WHISTLEBLOWERS
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.

 

TO MAKE AND READ COMMENTS GO TO: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/09/05/18790880.php

Count for Freedom Sleeper Reaches 60 Nights Out

Date Tuesday August 30
Time
4:00 PM – 8:00 AM Wednesday

Location Details Occupying with sleeping bag, car, and tent, the sidewalk and curbsides next to Santa Cruz City Hall from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday morning around 8 AM

Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author
Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email
keith@foodnotbombs.net
Phone
575-770–3377

WEEK AFTER WEEK, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT

The 60th Tuesday night Freedom SleepOut continues a year-old weekly protest against the City’s attack on unhoused and poor people who sleep outside or in vehicles.

MC 6.36.010a continues to make the very act of sleeping after 11 PM a crime.

MC 6.36.055 does provide exemptions for those who sign up for the River St. Shelter Waiting List (call in at 459-6644, and then keep calling back every three days). There is no walk-in shelter currently available for the City’s 1000-2000 unhoused. There is no Winter Shelter at all on the radar. Homeless folks have to find their own community, safety, and sleeping spots where they can. On Tuesday nights, the Freedom Sleepers have apparently created a “safe” area.

Limited food and occasional coffee is available at different points during the afternoon, evening, and morning. Support human rights at home with your support and your presence!

MIXED MESSAGES AT THE LOUDEN NELSON CANDIDATE FORUM MONDAY NIGHT

An overflow crowd listened to nearly a dozen candidates give soundbyte answers to a flock of questions, some of which touched on (but none squarely focused on) criminalization of the homeless through the Camping Ban and other laws.

At the forum, the usual promises about “more affordable housing” and “safe (shelter) spaces” were tossed about. Drew Glover raised the issue of Deputy Chief Steve Clark, a notorious anti-homeless cop, and there was talk about a Review Board for Police–though none of the candidates have been active in Copwatch or other regular attempts to hold police accountable.

Some activists are suggesting the candidates come out squarely to support Campaign Zero–the Black Lives Matter proposals of a year ago demanding radical changes in policing: http://www.vox.com/2015/8/21/9188729/police-black-lives-matter-campaign-zero

HUFF [Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom] has repeatedly called for specific officer accountability and radical policy changes in the SCPD: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/01/05/18766435.php ["Poor People Matter!: Round Four at Cop Corner"]. We call for candidates to give clear positions on each of the demands at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/11/25/18764594.php .

The most outspoken advocate and sometime Freedom Sleeper Steve Pleich (rhymes with “h”) lost in a bid for endorsement by the 80+ “Burnt by Bernie” activists who caucused after the forum. They voted to support Drew Glover, Steve Schnaar, Chris Krohn, and Sandy Brown. Brown and Krohn are old-time politicos. Glover and Schnaar are more active but not specifically in civil rights activities. Pleich was the only regular Freedom Sleeper supporter–who regularly visits the Sleepers and provides photo coverage and commentary.

There was no criticism of local liberal groups like the NAACP, RCNV, SCCCCR, or the ACLU who have avoided demanding police accountability for specific brutal incidents. Candidate Schnaar did raise Officer Vasquez’s slamdown of Richard Hardy on April 22, 2013. See Schnaar’s story at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/02/18/18768736.php ["Police Injury of Homeless Man Still Unresolved"]. Brent Adams’ video of the incident is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Tyj3yxwy-o .

Wes White, a “Flagpole Community” activist from Salinas, where nightly protest at City Hall has been continuous since mid-March, videoed the Santa Cruz forum. He announced there’d be a 6-Month anniversary weekend occupation in late September at the Salinas City Hall.

DENVER LAWSUIT…and in Santa Cruz?

A lawsuit was filed last week against the police theft of homeless gear, rights, and persons. Story at http://denver.cbslocal.com/2016/08/25/advocates-file-lawsuit-over-homeless-sweep/ .

Talk of a proposed long-delayed lawsuit in Santa Cruz, announced late last year and supposedly involving the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty’s Tristia Bauman, is again making the rounds with a local attorney supposedly taking an interest.

MALL CRACKDOWN ON STREET HANDICRAFT ARTISTS AND PAINTERS

James the Jeweler reports he’s gotten five tickets on Pacific Avenue in the last few weeks while trying to display his wrapped stones for sale. Several for not moving every hour, another for coming back to the same spot within 24 hours, and–most ominously–two for Commercial Vending where City Council and their police set themselves up as art critics, ruling that handicrafts, hand-made t-shirts, and other items are “not art”. MC 5.81.002, MC 5.81.006. These are the first citations I’ve heard for this “crime”.

Alex Skelton and Joff Jones go to trial 1:30 PM in Dept. 10 today Wednesday August 30th for being “outside the blue box” in their display of paintings. They don’t seem particularly enthusiastic for the public to attend, but I think censorship of art in public places is an important issue. See “City directed police shutdown of artists” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/07/10/18788862.php .

Meanwhile some homeless folks report portapotty and sink facility closures at Depot Park, San Lorenzo, and on Cedar and Lincoln.

Support Real Changes in the City’s Medieval Sleeping Ban Law on March 8th at City Council

To the City Council: Councilmember Lane’s proposed changes to the Camping Ordinance on the evening agenda of March 8th while finally emphasizing the need and right to sleep, need further expansion.    They should be passed as a first step and expanded upon.

There are several ways to do this.   I propose the following as the most elementary changes.

1.  Eliminate the current sections A and B of 6.36.010 (sleeping and blanket bans), leaving only section 3 .  6.36.010 would then read:
6.36.010 CAMPING PROHIBITED.http://www.codepublishing.com/cgi-bin/sm-share-en.gif

No person shall camp anywhere in the city of Santa Cruz, whether on public or private property, except as hereinafter expressly permitted. “To camp” means to do any of the following:

Setting-up Campsite – Anytime. To establish or maintain outdoors or in, on, or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, at any time during the day or night, a semi-permanent or permanent place for cooking or lodging,  or by setting up tent or hammock or by setting up any cooking equipment, with the intent to remain in that location overnight.

[Add the following language to that section] Simple presence of an unrolled sleeping bag or other sleeping equipment shall not constitute evidence of a violation of this section. Nor shall the presence of a protective tent in rainy weather or where the temperature is less than 50 degrees.

2. Remove the words ” other than subsections (a) and (b) of Section 6.36.010″ from 6.36.050 so that it will now read:
 6.36.050 PENALTY – SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE WITHIN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS.http://www.codepublishing.com/cgi-bin/sm-share-en.gif

Any person who violates any section in this chapter and is cited for such violation, and who within twenty-four hours after receiving such citation again violates the same section, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

3.  Add a final section to read:

6.36.070 REPORTS REQUIRED BY SHELTER PROVIDERS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES

(a) Any shelter services receiving funding from the City shall agree to report each night whether they have any open shelter space available that night by contacting the law enforcement authorities  to so inform them.  If no space is available,  A person shall not be in violation of this chapter nor shall law enforcement authorities contact or cite any person for “camping”.  

(b) Law enforcement authorities will provide monthly reports indicating how many hours of officer time and estimating the cost of all actions contacts and citations taken under this ordinance during the prior month. Both agencies will also provide a listing of any property seized under the law.

(c) The City Attorney’s office shall make public a listing of all citations issued under this chapter that were forwarded to the courts and not dismissed under 6.36.055.
It is unfortunate that Council member Lane did not seek the advice and involvement of long-time homeless activists who were a part of two lengthy city analyses of the Camping Ordinance some years ago (the Council’s Task Force the Examine the Camping Ordinance) and the Homeless Issues Task Force.   The latter’s report and recommendations were many and too often ignored by subsequent Council’s.  One prime one was to abolish the entire Camping Ordinance. 


See their full report at  http://sccounty01.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/bds/Govstream/BDSvData/non_legacy/agendas/2000/20000502/PDF/020.pdf

A partial story on the part of the HITF report that calls for eliminating the Camping Ordinance is at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/136.Homeless%20Issues%20Task%20Force%20Recommends%20Repeal%20of%20Camping%20Ban%20in%20S.C.=12-99.pdf   .

A second approach to maintaining a regulated camping ban but acknowledging the necessity of sleep was proposed by activists two decades ago.  There were two proposed Initiatives suggesting a different approach to eliminating the Sleeping and Blanket Ban sections of the Camping Ordinance:  The second proposed ballot measure read:
“This initiative, if adopted by the voters, would serve to amend the City Camping Ordinance by limiting the conduct which would constitute a violation of the ordinance.   As amended the ordinance would prohibit “setting up campsites” at any time or establish or maintaining outdoor structures not intended for human occupancy or establishing at any time of the day or night a place for cooking or sleeping by setting up a mattress, tent, hammock, or other camping gear with the intention to remain that location overnight.  However the acts of sleeping or covering up with blankets or sleeping bags or protective coverings would not constitute “camping” and would be prohibited by the ordinance.  In addition the ordinance would allow a person to sleep in an otherwise lawfully parked vehicle with owner permission except as otherwise prohibited.
Notwithstanding the foregoing,  the ordinance proposed by the initiative would authorize the City Council to regulate or prohibit night time sleeping on public property or in vehicles on public streets in those zoning districts of the City in which residential uses are primarily permitted,in residential areas within industrial zones, and in the City’s Commercial Beach, Oceanfront, and Central Business districts.  Where the City Council elects to regulate or prohibit outdoor sleeping or vehicular sleeping in these districts, police officers would be required to warn sleepers and provide them with 20 minute opportunity to gather up their belongings and leave.
Failure to move in response to such a warning would constitute an infraction.  Outdoor sleeping or vehicular sleeping alone would not constitute grounds for citation, however failure to move upon receiving the requisite warning would constitute gorunds for citation.  The proposed ordinance prohibits the city Council from criminalizing the act of outside or veicular sleeping.”

I encourage the City Council to pass the Lane proposal and accept the need to expand it by one of the several methods proposed above.  I hope the community will not be satisfied with a proposal that still criminalizes sleeping bags at night and ignores the overwhelming shelter deficiency in Santa Cruz.

Robert Norse
(423-4833)

Seattle to Open a Third Encampment, Several Safe Parking Zones while Santa Cruz Tightens RV Restrictions, Homeless Crackdown

 

NORSE’S NOTES:   In Seattle, WA, authorities are taking some steps to provide the beginnings of emergency shelter/housing options for those outside–those with vehicles and those without.   In Santa Cruz, police continue to harass homeless with no shelter (See “Santa Cruz Police Target Homeless Sleepers Downtown” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/02/17/18783025.php); have instituted an RV nighttime parking permit requirement (excluding homeless people);  and decline to overhaul the long roster of anti-homeless laws the City Council has cooked up over the years.  Merchants with free-standing commercial signs casually block the sidewalk 12-24 hours per day, while homeless people seeking the necessities of life are banned from sitting on 98% of the sidewalk and forced to “move along” every hour, not come back for 24 hours, and face daily harassment from hosts, security thugs, and armed “law enforcement”.

To view video, documents, and comments, go to
http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/seattle/2016/02/19/first-safe-lot-homeless-living-vehicles-opens/80635638/
http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/seattle/2016/01/19/seattle-homeless-rv-park/78995146/
http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/seattle/2016/02/15/south-seattle-could-get-citys-third-homeless-encampment/80407100/

 

South Seattle could get city’s third homeless encampment

A proposal could mean tents and tiny houses go up in the 7500 block of Renton Avenue South, just off MLK, south of the Othello Light Rail station.

, KING 5 News 7:37 p.m. PST February 15, 2016
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SEATTLE – South Seattle could soon be the site of another homeless encampment.

The Low Income Housing Institute is proposing putting a temporary tent encampment called Othello Village at 7544 MLK Jr. Way S.
In a letter to neighborhood residents, Executive Director Sharon Lee said the long-term plan is to develop a new home for a food bank and to build 100 affordable apartments on that property and the adjacent property, 7529 Renton Avenue S.

There’s a one-story apartment building and a commercial building on the MLK Way property. The Renton Avenue location is currently vacant.

“As with any new development, it takes two to three years to design, finance and construct a new building,” Lee wrote. “In the interim period, for one or two years, we are proposing to put in place a temporary tent encampment.”

Last year, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the city council approved a new ordinance that allows for three temporary tent encampments in the city on public or private land. There are already two – one in Ballard at 2826 NW Market Street and another in Interbay at 32334 17th Avenue W.

KING5

City leaders under pressure to solve homeless crisis

Lee said the city will help pay for operating costs including tents, a fence for the space, portable toilets, electricity, water, and trash removal.

“Day to day operations are the responsibility of the residents,” she said. “There are strict rules of conduct for residents including no alcohol, no drugs, and no violence.”

A maximum of 100 people will live there, Lee said.

There is a community meeting Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at the New Holly Gathering Hall, 7054 32nd Avenue S.

The non-profit Low Income Housing Institute owns and operates more than 1,800 apartments in the region. LIHI will operate the encampment along with Nickelsville, which is also involved in the other camps across the city.

South Seattle could get city’s third homeless encampment. KING

Seattle mayor issues emergency order for 2 RV ‘safe lots’

Seattle’s mayor makes a major move to create more room for the homeless. Monday afternoon he issued an executive order to create two new safe parking lots for people living in their car or recreational vehicle.

and , KING 5 News 7:49 p.m. PST January 19, 2016

SEATTLE — Mayor Ed Murray issued an emergency order Tuesday to expedite the creation of two safe lots for homeless people who live in RVs or cars. The lots will be located at Ballard’s old Yankee Diner and in Delridge at West Marginal Way and Highland Park Way SW.
The two lots are expected to open in 30 days and will each have an estimate 50-vehicle capacity. Both sites will have sanitation and garbage service, and residents will be expected to follow a code of conduct that prohibits violence and the use of drugs.
Murray said that while the permanent locations are set up, three temporary street parking locations will be set up in Ballard, Interbay and SoDo.
Seattle Public Utilities owns the Ballard location at Shilshole Avenue NW and 24th Avenue NW. Seattle Department of Transportation is negotiating with the state DOT to buy the Delridge location.
Earlier Tuesday, councilmember Sally Bagshaw said talks were underway with land owners to host a possible site.
In a letter to community leaders in the Magnolia neighborhood, Bagshaw told residents meetings are underway with Mayor Ed Murray to determine how to address the RV issue which has prompted several complaints about trash and drug use.
“I still think they are going to keep coming in droves we’re not going to have a big enough park,” said Doug Kruger, owner of Kruger & Sons Marine Propeller in the Interbay neighborhood. Kruger says he’s had issues with theft, and heroin needles left in the street.
At a recent community meeting Seattle police estimated between 175-200 vehicles in the city have someone living inside.
This comes as the mayor declared a state of emergency to fight homelessness and the city is set to spend $50 million this year on the problem.
The mayor will send the emergency order to the city council for approval.

In an effort to get homeless living in RVs off the street, the city of Seattle is trying to find a place for them to park.

First ‘safe lot’ for homeless living in vehicles opens

On Friday, several recreational vehicles began arriving at two homeless camps in Seattle.

, KING 5 News 5:52 p.m. PST February 19, 2016

SEATTLE — A new safe parking lot opened in Ballard Friday for people living out of their RVs. The lot is located outside the former Yankee Diner.
The city paid to tow three RVs from a temporary lot a few blocks away and plans to move 20 to 25 vehicles over the next couple weeks.
“It was a blessing,” said Wanda Williams, who was the first homeless person to move into the parking lot with her Winnebago. “I cried. I have a home for once.”
The city provides 24/7 security, access to limited electricity, bathrooms, hand-washing stations and even a coffeemaker.
A detailed code of conduct was released Friday by the mayor’s office, outlining a long list of requirements and rules for homeless families living in the lot.
The rules include:

  • No drugs or alcohol
  • No dumping trash
  • No open flames

Residents must also work with a case worker who will monitor their status in the parking lot and help them secure housing outside of the site.
Related stories:
Mayor issues emergency order for RV ‘safe lots’
South Seattle could get third homeless encampment
Seattle’s homeless crisis: How did we get here
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HUFFling and snuffling: Wednesday 10-7 at ye olde Sub Rosa Cafe 11 AM

Weary HUFFsters, straggling in from Freedom SleepOut #13 will find a dose of coffee and cantankerousness at the weekly HUFF-orama.  Rumors that Cal Tran or other badged bozos are giving “littering” tickets along the tracks (but not for litter, rather–clean up and move or have your stuff confiscated) , city attorney seems to confirm that zero camping tickets are being dismissed under the ‘on the waiting list’ exemption,  new informational flier on getting your name on the River St. Waiting List by phone to avoid tickets, and, possibly a more restive than usual SleepOut #14 coming up on October 20th.     Sleep out and then force your eyes open for the HUFF meet…!