Building on more than a year of weekly defiance to the gentrification Sleeping Ban law, Freedom Sleepers and well wishers will again gather to create a Safe Sidewalk Sleeping zone for the houseless community October 4th.
Activists elsewhere credit the Santa Cruz Freedom SleepOut’s with inspiring both Berkeley’s “First They Came for the Homeless” protest encampment at their Old City Hall last winter and Salinas’s six-month long nightly Flagpole Community at Salinas City Hall.
The latter ended Saturday night as Salinas police threatened enforcement of a new harsh anti-sleeping law passed by City Council there on September 20th. (See Final Rally at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuNxm1BliuY and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbVOuvpnk-I .
Flagpole freedom fighter Wes White says he’ll be continuing the fight in the courts, on the street, and in the upcoming election campaign where he is running for Salinas City Council.
FREE SPEECH FREEZEOUT
Last week, the Mayor Cynthia Mathews, defying the Brown (Public Meetings) Act, moved Oral Communications from its printed agenda time at 5 PM nearly two hours ahead shutting out half a dozen would-be speakers. With no indication of this radical shift on the printed agenda, the cranky queen of cutback ended the meeting at mid-afternoon, ignoring tenants rights, homeless suffering, and other outstanding issues that are not acknowledged, must less debated at the City Council Talk Shop.
The previous City Council practice was to hold the token speaking time for the public at or after 5 PM. If Council business were concluded before that time, the Council would recess and return. Not under Mayor “Two Minute” Mathews (so called because she has regularly cut back public comment, even when no other items were pressing and few speakers were in line).
There’s no meeting of the Shitty Council this week (though the public bathrooms at City Hall will presumably continue to be closed “for repairs” or “because of vandalism”).
AN ACTIVIST SPEAKS OUT
Santa Cruz Bus Rider’s Association Founder and Freedom Sleeper Supporter Elise Casby wrote: “Last Tuesday, I went to view the agenda for the day, which is usually posted up next to the public council chambers in glass cases. The doors to the chambers were locked, and there were two (2) notes taped up on the door. Both notices announced that the council had more or less done away with any way to participate that day. Oops.
On the notes taped up to the locked doors, in the city council chamber room where I thought an actual City Council meeting would be taking place at that time, there was something stated about an agenda item that had been pulled at the behest of a certain citizen. There was something else stated about the fact that the council would be having a closed session somewhere- in a different part of the city. There was a little more, but in truth, this was a very problematic move by Santa Cruz City Council and possibly the city attorney, and most of all, for all of us citizens.
EX-PATRIOT FREEDOM SLEEPER ANNOUNCES BOOK
Curbhugger Chris Doyen, a tireless and articulate media activist who led the 2010 PeaceCamp protest at the County Building and City Hall, has announced a new book (https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/09/29/18791787.php) on his work with Anonymous.
Now going by the nomme de guerre of Commander X, Curbhugger provided a storm of media for the 3-month long protest against the Sleeping Ban that apparently forced the City Attorney and his yes-men on City Council to pass MC 6.36.055 which required dismissal of all Camping Ban tickets if victims were on the River St. Shelter or Paul Lee Loft waiting lists.
The Homeless (Lack of) Services Center Phil Kramer and the HLOSC Board have narrowed the Paul Lee loft entrance criteria to having a “pathway to housing”. This requires participants to have government or private income; additional “don’t enable the homeless” policies ban folks outside without funds from the meals during the day. The River St. Shelter under Monica Martinez’s Encompass program still “allows” phone sign-up and confirmation at 459-6644.