Upcoming Events and Last HUFF Meeting Minutes

HUFFsters:  If you’ve looked over the e-mails of the last week, let me know what you think.  I’m wondering what we should focus on as an action this week.    HUFF will, of course, be huddling Wednesday 2-4 at 11 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific.  Coffee and caffeinated tongues will flow freely!

Recent proposals for action have included a HOMELESS CLEANUP (to buff up the homeless image against anti-homeless propaganda), a PERFORMANCE PEN CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE PROTEST (outside the bracketed color zones),

I favor prep for an action around STAY-AWAY’S (perhaps a protest to the staff or Terrazas’s Public Safety Committee), a follow-up on DISABLED  DISPENSATIONS on Pacific Ave. and elsewhere, and/or  SMALL CLAIMS COURT publicizing around the Sleeping Ban.

Other prospects are a STRIKE 4 AT THE SCPD (demanding the release of Azua’s citations, so we can check racial categories),  FINAL HOUSING FOR VETS (Becky’s proposal to unite anti-war, pro-vet, and pro-dignity-for-homeless sentiment by demanding a more local vet cemetary), SIMPLE HOUSING (some follow-up on Elisse/Raven’s proposal of last fall), VIDEO DEFENSE FOR THE HOMELESS (against violence and police harassment), VOLUNTEER OUTREACH (Major focus on getting more volunteers)… MAPPING THE MOSQUITOS I could go on and on.
If someone wants to volunteer to spearhead this (Pat has been sick), we could add Cafe HUFF to any of these.

Food Not Bombs continues to need volunteers–at its Saturday and Sunday meals 4-6 PM near the Main Post Office.  HUFF fliers are there–and we need activists to sign up people for SMALL CLAIMS COURT there.  As well as at the Monday Red  Church meal 6-7 PM at Cedar and Lincoln.  Sin Barras (the anti-prison group):  Check their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sinbarras or sinbarras.org .

On the more “appeal to the conventional” side….A City Council meeting is coming up Tuesday 2-9.  Phil Posner has a “Camp of Last Resort” forum 7 PM at Louden Nelson on Wednesday 2-4.   The BEARCAT public forum (not at City Council but at Louden Nellson) is coming up 2-10 7 PM–I think.  On 2-5, Brent Adams’ Warming Center Project is holding a beer benefit Thursday at 402 Ingalis St. 11:30 AM – 10 PM;

I’m also including HUFF notes from the last meeting below.  These are fragmentary and rough.
1-28-15
11:20 a.m.  Sherry, Gail, Jacks, Cal, Kip,  Kevin…(Janice, Becky, David, Gail, James-in-the Rain and Elisse joined later—not everyone was there all the time)…   Kip has a few ideas:KIP’S IDEAS ON THE AGENDA:  PERFORMANCE PENS (at top of  the Agenda)…HOMELESS CLEAN SWEEP…to  counter what  they’ll counter… Kevin–they let him  sleep i the park, and a park  worker said this good morning…Harvey West Park…he  was alone…VAN CAMPING…Sherry got notice from Rainbow Gathering Hawaii–kitchen person arrested and given 24 hours…because they do’t have a permit and gathering…annual state…    Cal wanted to know gender pronouns:    U.S. Foresty 800-832-1355.. Say you disagree with forestry service,  under constitution right to publicly assemble.  Sunday night about 8 outside Grafix on Pacificc Ave…boy and a girll and non-lifethreatening inuries, both shot…hand and shoulder–bartender at Poet  and Patriot…Brent and Tampico heard pop pop…

Kip  notes he sees vans and paddywagon mornings…   Jacks seems them on Westcliffe now where not seen …harassing street performers waiting for their hour to be up…security guards and cops, Kip notes.  Trying to get people to  understand…. Cal notes Peaceful Warrriors Seminar in Berkelley on the 7th…for Direct Action….  Cal  did a march fromFruitville to Oakland—MLK’s speech protesting violence–Oscar Grant… FNB, HNJ, Housekeys not Handcuffs…all peace…Chris arrives.

Cal  remembers police arassment:  friend hanging out on a beach–druk friend arrested for prowling—2 weeks ago…

PERFORMANCE PENS:  How to properly demonstrate against the ordinance…need numbers–timing is important…shows on the 8th and the 15th who will be showing up to town….Wants to see the community too come out and exercise their right to ask for things…any request for anything…a Hug is considered aggressive panhandling–statement…sign cannot have a question regarding a request.

David Silva has arrived. with Tickets book….on particular days collectively outside the box–play music, requesting things that are technically illegal  to request, the more ludicrous these requests the better…  If  with more than one person unless you’re playing music….fliers would be good…police likely to leave it alone and enforce after the crowd hasdied down..  Not sure oof how to engage with the commuity…   Instruments being confiscated…need the media…

Elisse shows up…  with goodies…Spang Outside the Box  Protest…  FNB 4  PM on Saturday meeting…

Homeless Clean Sweep…Kip notes something to counter anti-homeless:  document that nothing is changed by Stay-Away orders…mess is there,  and cleaning it up…  Hard to present information so that it’s very clear to the public…  Follow-up to City Council…

Becky arrives..  Follow someone around with a camera….Brent said bathroom was totally clean…  Getting together with environmenalists..

Elisse: 70%  of the homeless born here or grown up here–removed from their homes by economic pressures.   1000 people: simple housing….for  folks with debt–funded by …  Becky says HUFF position is anyone moved around be given a motel voucher..

I move we do the Small Claims Court..   Becky notes show the dollar and cents stuff to compare the cost…  David and Becky stopping by FNB after 5 PM…can do a 15  minute at 5:15  p.m.    Janice  sarasbati_1999@yahoo.com    Resolution to support Small Claims Court stuff passes…

Ellisse asked why River St. Shelter people did gates etc.–so many drugs sold on the property–they couldn’t do anything about that… Janice notes they never tried to sell drugs to her…  Janice–got to stop making people its permanent clients.  I propose tabling and polling out there.   Cal might be interested;  Elisse  will think about it.    Cal  has no  car.

12:40 p.m.  Van Camping:  Kip  friend sleeps in her car fed up with it….  Becky says insist on a voucher if harassed… Janice: why not a public parking lot where you don’t have to move around…designated…have it in Paso Robles–public parking lots…in Los Angeles County…

Becky:  HUfF position is calling for a nighttime carpark and  campground.

Janice’s Concern:  JD Miini Storage and 41st Ave….with them quite a few years…Loitering banned, only allowed there for 20 minutes, no-smoking areas (she lit incense), pets in vehicle,  hallway and unit doors must be open at all times…Janice harassed   Only she got that letter…..management was there  in a golf cart…she was looking at her fluids, considered “working on her van…”  new management…Becky: they can’t put in new conditions……got letter last Saturday…..Becky and Janice may get together if Janice looks over lease with specifics.

MHCAN Concerns–Sherry: positive people need ot be there so that outside problems in the neighborhood don’t happen…1051 Cayuga.  across the street from the Fire Station on    New restrictive proposals: …They’ll  cut one of her days off and close off where they  …people who give her occasional use permit–  they were going to have a Board meeting on Monday  but woman was sick….   Janice back 3 months and is still on the waiting list.  Elisse wants to collect data on how  many beds .

Janice 61-year old woman having problems with mechanics..

Elisse will meet with Micah on Friday–wants to start to do some organizing heself–get  his opinion…wants to build a group for homeless and poor–working to organize themselves and start dialogues with people whoa re housed and willing… Continue reading

Audio Idiocy and Bearcat B.S. Update from Santa Cruz

 

NORSE’S NOTES:  Indybay reporter Alex Darocy published an informative and well-illustrated account of the Santa Cruz City Council meeting of January 27th where, for a third time activists gathered to protest the Council’s surrender to SCPD pressure.  On 12-9 Council voted–in spite of overwhelming opposition–to get a turretless tank for Santa Cruz, or–in the words of manufacturer Lemco, a Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck.  Alex’s  story “Activists Say Santa Cruz Police Lied to Secure Armored Vehicle Purchase” is at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/01/28/18767704.php .

I include here a few notes on what happened to me there regarding the right to record as well as the search for my records. I record for these written reports as well as my twice-weekly Free Radio Santa Cruz show Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides at 101.3 FM and freakradio.org Thursdays 6-8 PST and Sundays 9:30 AM to 1 PM.   More info there, and in archived shows at http://radiolibre.org/brb/ .

Nervous Norse in the Front Row

by Robert Norse

Friday Jan 30th, 2015 1:54 PM

Thanks to all the folks who showed up at the rally and Oral Communications session.

City Council audio equipment was, as usual, spotty. Accordingly I sat up front near but not technically “attending” my trusty tape recorder (because not within arms length). I advised Sgt. Bush, the sergeant at arms, that the uncertain nature of the equipment meant I’d be making my own recording, not dependent on the city’s speaker system and decision when to keep it on and when to turn it off.

HISTORY OF HARASSMENT
In the past, Bush has arrested me for leaving a tape recorder there and replacing it when he removed it. That “disrupting a meeting” charge, filed by Mayor Robinson, was never filed by the D.A. Last fall I filed a claim for damages against the City for false arrest, which was denied. I now have until April 1 to take Robinson personally to Small Claims Court, which I’m hoping to do.

For many meetings following, Bush would confiscate my recorders, requiring me to squat next to the tape recorder while it was on in order to comply with Robinson’s (and now Lane’s) “decorum” rules. Lane made squatting next the tape recorder a violation of the new “decorum” rules, so on January 27th I sat in the first row–not quite “attending” the machine, but near enough to it to grab it if some officious cop should attempt to grab it.

SENTRY DUTY AGAINST THE SERGEANT
Which is what Bush several times tried to do. Bush informed me he’d be removing my recorder if I left it there. I did so anyway, and when he moved to take it, I intercepted it and retrieved it. When he resumed his sentry position by the side door, I replaced the machine. He again moved to take it. I again intercepted. This time he advised me that he’d take it from me. I told him that to do so he’d have to arrest me.

For the rest of the meeting, I nervously had to keep one eye on Bush and one eye on the tape recorder. After two assaults on the helpless machine, Bush took no further action Still, I was unable to make notes, move about the room, or speak with others, cause I felt I had to be ready to spring up and seize the machine before it could be confiscated–if that were tried again. I was able to hold up a sign visible on the TV (“Tanks, No Thanks!”) along with many others in the audience.

Still I must admit that having to guard my tape recorder from a cop on pain of exclusion from the meeting and arrest for “disruption” (as provided for under Lane’s new decorum rules– See “Council Armors Up” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/01/09/18766602.php specifically, http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2015/01/09/changes.pdf ).

MORE INFORMATION REQUESTED
The same day I filed this Public Records Act request with the City:

From: rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
To: npatino [at] cityofsantacruz.com
CC: kvogel [at] cityofsantacruz.com; citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com
Subject: Public Records Act: re SCPD Contracts with Other Agencies
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:15:09 -0800

Nydia: Please make available for viewing or (preferably) in e-form (as usual) all contracts the SCPD has made with any other agencies since 2010 that involve the delivery or furnishing of goods, services, or money.

Thanks, Robert

The point was to determine whether the SCPD has been getting equipment and money indirectly from federal war enthusaists like Homeland Security, but doing so through third party agencies, It apparently did this in the case of the Bearcat through the City and County of San Francisco (see “Public Records Released by the SPCD on the Bearcat” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/01/18/18767166.php; specifically: http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2015/01/18/uasi_grant_funds_2014.pdf ).

I encourage Bearcat opponents and those concerned with militarization and SCPD abuse more generally to parse the documents–both those already posted and those which I may obtain in the coming days. They’re supposed to respond by February 6th or thereabouts, if I understand the 10-day rule correctly.

Continue reading

Rush HUFF Reminder: Still meeting to pick up the pieces 11 AM Sub Rosa Today

Sorry this message didn’t get out sooner, but it’s a rare Wednesday morning that HUFF won’t be pulling up a chair to chatter and chow down with whatever coffee and crunchables are available.   Main item is what to do around the galloping criminalization of homeless folks here as evidenced by last night’s Council Shameful Spectacle.  Specifics:  Fightback Training, Latest Public Records Act Info (Officer Bill Azua’s Stats), Bearcat B.S., and more…

Trying to Reason With Mayor Don Lane on His Restrict-the-Media Rules

 

Mayor Refuses to Postpone Repression with Quick and Dirty Decorum Rule Changes
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Jan 13th, 2015 12:59 PM

The “decorum rule” changes proposed at City Council today are part of a long ongoing process of marginalizing, discouraging, and discrediting actiivsts. When the community got righteously angry at the SCPD last-minute hurry-through of its armored personnel “rescue” vehicle and some members turned their back on the Council (quite legally and legitimately), Mayor Lane went into crisis mode. As a strong media critic of his and his Council around their homeless abuses, I’ve been punished for the last year with an absurd “unattended recording device” rule which required me to sit next to my machine or risk having it confiscated. Lane needs to abolish this rule and restore the prior “leave it where you want but don’t disrupt” process. But he won’t. In the following correspondence, I outline and Lane ignores my concerns and suggestions.

CORRESPONDENCE WITH DON LANE

On January 8th, Lane did advise me he was putting new decorum restrictions on the agenda.

On January 10th, after reading them, I wrote back:
Don:
I suggest you withdraw your proposed decorum amendments and simply remove the “unattended audio devices” ‘rule’ entirely. It has never prompted any disruption at City Council other than that evoked by the Mayor.

I also suggest withdrawing the stuff about “obstructing aisles” and “furniture” since those issues would be gone once you remove the “unattended audio devices”. It’s pretty clear that this is a direct attempt to maintain a rule without good reason.

Or perhaps you have a reason for making it a potential crime to leave an “unattended audio device”? I’d be interested in knowing your reasoning.

I also recommend withdrawing your new definition of “disruption” as being “when a mayor insists on imposing a rule and has to stop the meeting to do so”. It flies in the face of the 9th Circuit’s opinion in my case that “disruption” means disruption, not imagined disruption, or the violation of some rule.

Responding to legitimate protest with harsher restrictions is in my view unwise and will ultimately cost the city administration as well as the rest of us.

Please postpone Council consideration of these changes until you sit down with some of the activists to discuss your specific concerns and how they can be equitably met.

I would hope we could discuss this matter and come up with a solution that meets everyone’s concerns. I think that would save all of us lots of time and trouble.

Robert

P.S. In the meantime please make available any documents that involve complaints, concerns, or documents regarding the new decorum rule changes you’re proposing. This would include any documents referencing obstructing city council aisles, furniture, recording devices in the chamber, and/or concerns about Council “disruption”.

Don responded the same day with this:

Thanks Robert
I look forward to hearing your comments at the council meeting.

I have forwarded your PRA request on to Nydia for formal processing– and I can tell you that I have no documents along the lines you requested. I have this information filed in my own memory: that when you and your proxies have been sitting adjacent to the lectern I have seen many community speakers show very visible concern about people sitting in that spot and on several occasions I have seen people flinch or recoil as you move toward or handle your recording device near the lectern. I know how committed you are to community participation at council meetings so I hope you will support eliminating one impediment to that participation.

Thanks for considering.
Don

I responded on the same day with this e-mail:

Don:

I’m still trying to understand why you support the “unattended audio devices” rule at all. That was the first question I asked you.

What purpose does it serve? Can you cite any disruptions caused by my regular recording over the last dozen years?

As you know, the rule was unenforced for 13 years until a singularly repressive and anti-homeless Mayor took power. I have been a homeless advocate and strong Council critique for nearly three decades, and I think it’s pretty clear this “rule” targets my radio work. Do you deny this?

You note some find it uncomfortable to have me sitting near the podium. I did too. It’s awkward to have to guard my recorder throughout the meeting. And should be unnecessary, as well. I wouldn’t have been up there at all, except an armed police officer kept shutting off my “unattended” recorder and outrageously confiscating it. That was after I was falsely arrested on April 1st.

I found it sad that you neither objected to the arrest or the subsequent confiscations, nor took action to stop it when you had the power as acting Mayor. This kind of behavior by the Council is petty and unnecessary.

It’s also unprecedented. Can you cite any other local legislative body that requires you to “sit next to your recorder or risk having it confiscated” or requires it to be placed in a special zone?

It seems to me a rather arrogant and pointless assertion of authority for its own sake.

Your proposed “permission zone” for recording devices runs afoul of the basic First Amendment right of any member of the public, and particularly a reporter, to record–even if they step away from their machine to read an agenda, chat with a friend, use the restroom, or take a break outside.

How does the placement of a small inconspicuous device actually disrupt the meeting?

As I mentioned before, I’d be happy to make any reasonable accommodation. How about it?

As I advised Mayor Robinson, I’d be happy to be careful not to interfere with others at the podium–as I have been throughout the years–in recording. Wouldn’t this satisfy your concerns? In this case no furniture, signs, additional recorder “attendants” would be necessary.

I know how committed you are to community participation and media access at Council meetings, so I hope you will restore what has been a problem-free arrangement for the last decade or more.

Let me know. While there are far more important matters we are both concerned about, the issue of media access is an important one to me.

Robert

P.S. I’m also concerned with your new definition of “disruption” which seems to ignore the court case which the City lost when the 9th Circuit clarified that “disruption” means real disruption not simply a rule violation. Has there been some more recent court decision changing this?

Don responded on Sunday January 11th:

I guess I’m still wondering what the problem is with you and everyone having a place to leave a recorder unattended that is a bit of distance away from the area where other people are speaking. You still seem unable to explain why this arrangement will keep you from recording the proceedings– which you are entitled to do and which I intend to support your doing.

Prior to enforcement of the “unattended” rule, you were regularly stepping up to the lectern to move or remove or replace your recorder. This may not noisily disrupt the meeting– it was simply a persistent and annoying interruption for many. My experience is that you are not a particularly perceptive judge of which activities cause small disruptions in our council meetings since you are regularly doing those activities even as you say you are concerned about avoiding disruptions.

Sorry this situation has made you so sad. I believe this new arrangement will spare us both some future sadness.

Don

I replied the same day:

Don:

I think I’ve clarified why I find the “unattended recorder” rule so ridiculous. You haven’t stated why you support it and what you found wrong with the usual process I’ve used over the last decade or more. But I’ll try again…

Why should members of the public and media be compelled under threat of exclusion to place their recorders in a particular spot? It is simply a massive unprecedented restriction which seems to be a masking justification for an untenable rule. Your observation of me in a position I was forced to be in by the previous mayor to “attend” my recorder does not outline any problem with the pre-Robinson approach.

I haven’t placed my machine on the lectern for years. I have been careful to place at least 2′ away from speakers on the railing–which is the optimum place for me to record with the equipment I have. The City Clerk’s office noted no correspondence indicating any phone, e-mailed, or written complaints.

It seems you are not serious about any kind of reasonable discussion or accommodation. The process you use is similar to the one you used in creating the “performance pens” on the Pacific Avenue sidewalk or approving the BEARCAT: no meaningful prior discussion with concerned and impacted people, just the wham/bam/slam City Council approach that rubberstamps Staff recommendations.

While I appreciate the courtesy of your last-minute correspondence, it doesn’t take the place of all important real preliminary discussions. These are the substance rather than the shell of a democratic process–which is what we see at City Council.

For the reasons mentioned before, I again encourage you to withdraw these proposed constricting rules. At until do so until you’ve actually talked to the people impacted–and done so with notice and not at the last minute in the face of a done deal.

You also have not answered most of the questions I’ve raised. Perhaps because there are no reasonable answers. Of course, those in power often feel they don’t have to.

Robert

Don concluded:

Robert
And I have clarified why the rule makes sense. I guess we disagree about this.

You seem oblivious to how your own behavior in council meetings is disruptive. Because your legitimate free speech activity is protected does not mean that everything you do is appropriate or protected.

I will protect your free speech rights as I will protect the rights of everyone that comes to speak– but I will not give you license in council meetings to do whatever you feel like doing without regard to how effects others.

Your handling of your tape recorder at and adjacent to the lectern pre-dates the previous mayor. That annoying and interruptive activity is something I am trying to bring to an end.

If you know of others that seem to be impacted by this proposed rule please let me know. I contacted and corresponded multiple times with the one person I know that is likely to be immediately impacted– that would be you.

That correspondence is now ending.

I answer many questions you ask… and am always treated with a “not good enough” or “I have some more questions” You could pretend that this represents me being unresponsive or you could consider how I see it from my end: badgering and attention-seeking behavior from someone who can never be satisfied.

Don Lane, Mayor City of Santa Cruz

My final e-mail the same day:

Don: Until you actually address the basic question, naturally you will find me unsatisfied.

To repeat, that question is simple:

What was wrong with the previous arrangement that a dozen previous mayors and Council’s used?

For me, your failure to address this issue (and to actually bring the issue up for meaningful discussion before you send a done-deal package to City Council) is telling point here.

Sorry you choose to take this road.

Robert

Continue reading

Today: Protest New Anti-Homeless Law and Urban Assault Vehicle

 

PROTEST CITY HALL TODAY TO DEMAND:
No Worsened Banishment Law for the Homeless in Santa Cruz!
Repeal Approval of the Cop’s New Urban Assault Vehicle!
Repeal All Anti-Homeless Laws!

January 13th, 2015
Meet at the Santa Cruz City Council
809 Center Street, Santa Cruz CA

Today’s Protest Schedule

Some people will be gathering at city hall at 2 PM and there will probably be food present.

Around 2:30 people will go into city hall to speak out against new decorum rules being set up by the city council to curtail free speech.

SPEAK OUT:  At 5 PM people are encouraged to enter city council chambers to speak out against the city council’s approval of the new heavily armored BEARCAT urban assault vehicle and against police brutality and anti-homeless laws.
Around 7:30 PM or thereabouts (come earlier to be sure) the city council is scheduled to approve its new banishment law against the homeless.  People are encouraged to get up a speak out against the law in city council chambers.

For a description of issues at stake, see:

Protest Shuts Down City Council, Urban Assault Vehicle Approved, Anti-Homeless Law Delayed
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/12/10/18765377.php

To sign up for the event on Facebook, go to:
https://www.facebook.com/events/377910239000830/

Also see:

Murderous Cops, Liberal Snake Oil, & Revolutionary Solutions
http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/222482/index.php

A Day and Night of Protest at City Hall: January 23rd in Santa Cruz

 

Title: Protests Galore on Another Terrible Tuesday
START DATE: Tuesday January 13
TIME: 2:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Location Details:
809 Center St.
Santa Cruz City Hall
Event Type: Protest
A series of protests is slated for this Tuesday.

2 PM Before City Council opens, folks will gather in front of the chambers to conduct their own speak-out linking up the various issues: militarization of the police, crackdown at City Council, and exponentially heightened harassment of the homeless.

2:45 PM Approximate time for the Dreadful Decorum Dictates to come up on City Council. These are described at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/01/09/18766602.php (“Council Armors Up”). The anti-BEARCAT protest will also begin around 3 PM (See “PROTEST NEW ANTI-HOMELESS LAW AND URBAN ASSAULT VEHICLE” at http://www.facebook.com/events/377910239000830/ & “Free Santa Cruz” at http://www.facebook.com/events/327222137463931/).

4:45 PM Rally before 5 PM Oral Communications where each will be allowed 2-3 minutes, likely to be heavily filled with community members outraged at the Council’s December 9th rubberstamping of the BEARCAT armored personnel ‘rescue’ vehicle.

7:30 PM or thereabouts (come earlier to be sure). The latest terror tactics designed to frighten away homeless people with the threat of jail if they return to park areas after being given infraction tickets for life-sustaining behavior such as sleeping.
See “Stay Away Stupidity…” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/11/24/18764553.php

The new wording of the ordinance is at http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/e5y2okfjeqxksdpkhmfsya0i/396073312092014110820380.PDF . Or go to http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=574&doctype=AGENDA and click on item #18.

10 PM (or whenever the Council meeting ends into the evening) Speak out and possible Sleep-out at City Hall. City hall grounds unconstitutionally close to the public at night, so the assembly may happen on the sidewalk.

Bring video, warm blankets and sleeping bags, thermos of coffee, vehicles to stay warm in, tents, and friends and whatever else occurs to you.

The protest will last as long as folks choose to stay.

The homeless right to sleep, rest, stand, sit, and otherwise engage in standard human behaviors in public spaces is under serious assault–both with the Stay-Away orders and the escalation of Sleeping Ban and other harassment citations.

As winter continues, there are no reliable regular warming centers. All we can see is massive increase in abusive policing–even as the nationwide anger against police violence grows.

Silence kills.

Continuing Correspondence With Don Lane on the “Decorum” Rules

 

Thanks Robert
I look forward to hearing your comments at the council meeting.
I have forwarded your PRA request on to Nydia for formal processing– and I can tell you that I have no documents along the lines you requested.  I have this information filed in my own memory: that when you and your proxies have been sitting adjacent to the lectern I have seen many community speakers show very visible concern about people sitting in that spot and on several occasions I have seen people flinch or recoil as you move toward or handle your recording device near the lectern.  I know how committed you are to community participation at council meetings so I hope you will support eliminating one impediment to that participation.
Thanks for considering.
Don

Don Lane
Mayor

City of Santa Cruz

 

Don:

I’m still trying to understand why you support the “unattended audio devices” rule at all.   That was the first question I asked you.

What purpose does it serve?  Can you cite any disruptions caused by my regular recording over the last dozen years?

As you know,  the rule was unenforced for 13 years until a singularly repressive and anti-homeless Mayor took power.  I have been a homeless advocate and strong Council critique for nearly three decades, and I think it’s pretty clear this “rule” targets my radio work.  Do you deny this?

You note some find it uncomfortable to have me sitting near the podium.  I did too. It’s awkward to have to guard my recorder throughout the meeting.  And should be unnecessary, as well.   I wouldn’t have been up there at all, except an armed police officer kept shutting off my “unattended” recorder and outrageously confiscating it. That was after I was falsely arrested on April 1st.

I found it sad that you neither objected to the arrest or the subsequent confiscations, nor took action to stop it when you had the power as acting Mayor.  This kind of behavior by the Council is petty and unnecessary.

It’s also unprecedented.  Can you cite any other local legislative body that requires you to “sit next to your recorder or risk having it confiscated” or requires it to be placed in a special zone?

It seems to me a rather arrogant and pointless assertion of authority for its own sake.

Your proposed “permission zone” for recording devices runs afoul of  the basic First Amendment right of any member of the public, and particularly a reporter, to record–even if they step away from their machine to read an agenda, chat with a friend, use the restroom, or take a break outside.

How does the placement of a small inconspicuous device actually disrupt the meeting?

As I mentioned before, I’d be happy to make any reasonable accommodation.  How about it?

As I advised Mayor Robinson, I’d be happy to be careful not to interfere with others at the podium–as I have been throughout the years–in recording.  Wouldn’t this satisfy your concerns?   In this case no furniture, signs, additional  recorder “attendants” would be necessary.

I know how committed you are to community participation and media access at Council meetings, so I hope you will restore what has been a problem-free arrangement for the last decade or more.

Let me know.   While there are far more important matters we are both concerned about, the issue of media access is an important one to me.

Robert

P.S.  I’m also concerned with your new definition of “disruption” which seems to ignore the court case which the City lost when the 9th Circuit clarified that “disruption” means real disruption not  simply a rule violation.  Has there been some more recent court decision changing this?

Letter & Public Records Act Demand to Santa Cruz Mayor on the Stay-Away Order Law Inbox x

 

Don:

I suggest you withdraw your proposed decorum amendments and simply remove the“unattended audio devices” ‘rule’ entirely. It has never prompted any disruption at City Council other than that evoked by the Mayor.

I also suggest withdrawing the stuff about “obstructing aisles” and “furniture” since those issues would be gone once you remove the “unattended audio devices”. It’s pretty clear that this is a direct attempt to maintain a rule without good reason.

Or perhaps you have a reason for making it a potential crime to leave an “unattended audio device”? I’d be interested in knowing your reasoning.

I also recommend withdrawing your new definition of “disruption” as being “when a mayor insists on imposing a rule and has to stop the meeting to do so”. It flies in the face of the 9th Circuit’s opinion in my case that “disruption” means disruption, not imagined disruption, or the violation of some rule.

Responding to legitimate protest with harsher restrictions is in my view unwise and will ultimately cost the city administration as well as the rest of us. 

Please postpone Council consideration of these changes until you sit down with some of the activists to discuss your specific concerns and how they can be equitably met.

I would hope we could discuss this matter and come up with a solution that meets everyone’s concerns. I think that would save all of us lots of time and trouble.

Robert

P.S. In the meantime please make available any documents that involve complaints, concerns, or documents regarding the new decorum rule changes you’re proposing. This would include any documents referencing obstructing city council aisles, furniture, recording devices in the chamber, and/or concerns about Council “disruption”.

New Mayor Responds to Public Outrage With Crackdown Measures

 

Council Armors Up
by Robert Norse
Friday Jan 9th, 2015 8:56 AM

City Council (through Mayor Don Lane) and the City Administration behind it (i.e. the Martin Bernal, the City Manager, and his staff) will be voting on more repressive decorum rules as the first order of business in the afternoon session of the January 13th City Council meeting this Tuesday. This is apparently their response to the public outrage at the December 9th meeting over the SCPD’s sneak rush of the quarter-of-a-million-buck BEARCAT armored personnel “rescue’ vehicle. Lane has also placed the wildly-unconstitutional and explosive Stay-Away law to the end of the evening agenda.

I suspect the decorum change and Stay-Away order scheduling at the end of the meeting  are specifically designed to shrink, cool, and discourage protest.

The staff report and other documents regarding the decorum rule changes are attached and also available on the City’s website at http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=622&doctype=AGENDA under Item #12.

Scheduled protests:

Stop the Bearcat at 2 PM http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/01/03/18766326.php
Protest New Anti-Homeless Law and Urban Assault Vehicle at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/12/13/18765514.php
A HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) protest at times to be announced.

The City has also adopted a new, less publicly accessible means, of responding to Public Records Act requests. The SCPD no longer takes such requests directly, but routes them through Nydia Patino at City Hall. More importantly, the requests are being responded to in hard copy letters (usually rejection or restriction) from the City Attorney’s answer.

It has still not responded to my request of weeks ago to see documentation that confirms the exact date and the real deadline for accepting the BEARCAT vehicle.

§The Councilmember’s Handbook as Lane Would Like It

by Robert Norse Friday Jan 9th, 2015 8:56 AM

Lane has given no explanation as to why leaving an “unattended” recording device creates any problem. So if you sit in your seat and want to leave it turned on, that would be cause for Council harassment if no one is “attending” it unless you put it in a special spot.

His new definition of “disruption” is “whenever a rule is broken and a Mayor is ‘forced’ to stop the meeting”. So whenever a Mayor disrupts his own meeting, this becomes the fault of the public. So, if you turn your back on the Council while speaking and there’s a rule against doing so (which there arguably now is–that’s an additional change), you are “disrupting” the meeting. This flies in the face of the 9th Circuit Court ruling that states a “disruption” can only be an actual disruption not a potential one or one created by the Council’s have a “hissy fit”.

§Current Rules

by Robert Norse Friday Jan 9th, 2015 8:56 AM

Bad enough as they are–as folks attending the December 9th meeting saw and experienced.

§Resolution Amending the Current Rules

by Robert Norse Friday Jan 9th, 2015 8:56 AM

The technical resolution that changes the rules, I presume.

§Proposed Escalated Stay-Away Order Law

by Robert Norse Friday Jan 9th, 2015 8:56 AM

Somewhere between 500 and 1500 people have already gotten one-day Stay-Away orders. They will be subject to the week, month, 6 month, and year orders in ever-expanding areas. Careful examination of the infraction tickets given with these orders show they are overwhelming used to punish sleeping, camping, simply being in a closed area, or smoking. It also seems they are overwhelmingly being given to homeless people.

§Current Law

by Robert Norse Friday Jan 9th, 2015 8:56 AM

The current Parks and Recreation laws allow designation of “closed areas” at any time at the whim Parks and Recs Czarina Dannettee Shoemaker. They also prescribe a high penalty for violating the “Stay Away” orders (up to a year in jail and $1000 fine).

Continue reading

SCPD Stonewalling & Cold Weather Callousness at HUFF Meet 11 AM 1-7 Wed Sub Rosa

Downing cups of hot fluid to stay awake and comfy, we’ll be engaging in the usual circular firing squad activity with your suggestions and some of these on the agenda:  Prep for the 2 PM  Cop Corner Protest Demanding an End to Racial and Homeless Profiling in Santa Cruz; Confronting New Stonewalling by the City on Public Records; First Reports on Downtown Performance Pens; Prep for the Upcoming First City Council Meeting of the Year.

Come if you can.  Help from a distance if you can’t.