Recommendations for Action in the MHCAN Crisis

Recommendations for Action in the MHCAN Crisis
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
Sunday Sep 3rd, 2017 6:06 PM

MHCAN has faced a crisis for the last several years with police and city agencies breathing down its neck. The management of MHCAN and its Board of Directors has chosen to pursue, largely a low-profile work-behind-the-scenes approach. There’s been little publicity about the upcoming Special Use Permit meeting of the Planning Commission which Board Chair Steve Pleich says is slated for 9-28. A month ago, I wrote the following suggestions to the community.
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Text of the Flyer
AN APPEAL TO THE COMMUNITY TO SUPPORT MHCAN
By Robert Norse

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) has many current and past members who have used MHCAN (Mental Health Clients Action Network) but are upset with current attacks, threats, and restrictions burdening its mission and its operation:

Demand City & County Agencies Take the Following Actions:

+++ End police collusion and surveillance with right-wing community organizations and unreasonably anxious neighbors and businesses trying to cook up “evidence” of a crime wave or public nuisance. The surveillance and heavy police presence has been frightening to clients and is an abuse of the police department’s funding and mission. We want assurances that this abusive behavior, supposedly either lessened or discontinued, will be definitely stopped and not resumed.

+++ Drop all proposed restrictive demands on MHCAN and hold public hearings on any new attempts to impose such conditions as restrictive hours, limiting daily client numbers, security guards, meeting bans, and other destructive restrictions that interfere with or work in direct opposition to its traditionally effective mission. This approach has created a hostile prison-like atmosphere at the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center and treats unhoused and disabled people like convicts.

+++ Restore autonomy to MHCAN, originally an effective client-run organization with an impressive track record for helping those in psychological distress, whatever their housing or financial status. MHCAN can and should determine its own policies and limits within normal city guidelines.

+++ Create a legal and firm policy of nondiscrimination against low-income people as well as establishing a protected class punishing violence against the unhoused as a hate crime here.

+++ Acknowledge the sidewalks, city benches, and other areas around MHCAN are public areas and restore the right of all community members to use them without fear of harassment–not subject to restriction or control by private interests, whatever their fears. Cite and prosecute real crimes. The campaign to remove visibly poor from the public domain is both unworthy and unconstitutional.

+++ Disentangle city and county funding from restrictive covenants and restore traditional practices at MHCAN generally or require public hearings to justify attempts to shrink its services.

+++ Establish in local law and policy of respecingt the rights of the disabled—whether the disability be physical or mental to include such obvious needs as the right to sleep, to use public spaces, to be secure in their persons and property, to be free from harassment by authorities and private vigilantes.

This letter reflects the views of Robert Norse and some HUFF members—and hopefully a large chunk of the informed community.

Flier by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 http://www.huffsantacruz.org 309 Cedar 9-3-17

Partial RV Residents Victory in Marina; HUFF Punts Again: NO 11 AM Meeting Wednesday– But There’s Still Stuff You Can Do to Fight City Council’s Home Grown Fascism Here

Though skipping another Wednesday meeting, HUFF members and sympathizers are still focused on our own local struggle against the long-term fascist wave against the homeless.

I’m still waiting for clarification from staff mouthpiece and Assistant City Manager Scott Collins just how far the new 72-hour police power extends.  It currently allows cops and rangers to issue Stay-Away orders from areas when they give out an infraction ticket.  The area seems to include Arana Gulch, Moore Creek, and the Pogonip as well as some smaller parks.

Go to http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=848&doctype=AGENDA and click on Item #20, then on  “School Safety Enhancement Zones Ordinance (CN) – Map” on the right side of the screen.    More details, hopefully from “Scapegoater” Scott when I get them.

This is a direct attack on poor people who try to sleep in the Pogonip at night–since there is no alternate shelter (and even when it is available to a few is often described as wretched, bug-ridden, unsafe, and dehumanizing).  I mistakenly wrote last week that this proposed banning-without-court-process power extended to all parks, which apparently it does not–only those within 300′ of a school  (again, see the map above).    Also while the law outrageously triples lengths of time that thugs in uniform can ban you from areas without a court conviction or trial, it does not triple the fines.

Final vote from the rubberstamping body comes in two weeks, but e-mail to the City Council can still be sent to them putting opposition on record at citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com .  To read the detailed horrors of the original law, whose bans will triple in length, go to http://www.codepublishing.com/CA/SantaCruz/  and review 13.08.090 and 13.08.100–both anti-homeless laws passed in 2013, expanded in 2015, and now back for a final blow at the poor outside.

+++ write a letter to the Sentinel, Good Times, facebook friends, or other on-line media denouncing the ordinance.  See my story at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/08/22/18802084.php (“Toxic Expansion of Stay-Away Ordinance Hits Council Agenda Today”) for description and discussion.

+++ Sign up to support homeless resistance by using the “appeal process” hastily added on to the Stay-Away law which requires the City Manager’s office to hear an appeal before the Stay-Away is implemented.  Contact Food Not Bombs at its Saturday and Sunday meals at the Post Office and Tuesday night outside City Hall.  Or go to their facebook page at Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs.  Leave a message there for HUFF or contact HUFF by phone at 831-423-4833.  Bring citations, reports of stay-away orders, and other street info to the Food Not Bombs literature table.
OTHER STRUGGLES

+++  Ongoing crackdown on MHCAN at a Public Hearing to “revoke and replace” their special unit permit according to Board of Director mouthpiece Steve Pleich.  He and his Board, after many months of hush-hush secrecy and “don’t rock the boat” tactics are calling for public letters and calls to the Planning Department in advance of their September 7th hearing.  Attention: Mike Ferry, City of Santa Cruz, Dept. of Planning and Community Development, 809 Center St., Room 206, S.C. 95060  or e-mail at mferry@cityofsantacruz.com Let us know of any new police or vigilante actions against MHCAN or their clients, as well as any internal “crackdown” regs within MHCAN itself.

 

+++ Monterey County Homeless Activists who a partial victory at the Monterey Board of Supervisors today getting a 90-day nighttime extension for the dozens of vehicular residents out on Lapis Road north of Marina.  Implicitly acknowledging they have no “resources”  (i.e. housing or a safe place to park their RV’s). the Board responded to the organizing effort of Becky Johnson and Wes White, signing up folks to show they weren’t “service-resistant”.  However the resolution passed, supposedly binding on the sheriffs, still requires residents to vacate between 10 AM and 6:30 AM.  Many of the vehicular homes have very poor gas mileage, their owners are poor, and half are not drivable.   Residents Amber and Wildfire are reportedly inventorying and helping mobilize people for the 8 a.m. Thursday deadline.  Support the Lapis Road RV Residents by contacting the Supervisors Luis Alejo and Jane Parker for a more reasonable settlement at  jane.parker@co.monterey.ca.us   luis.alejo@co.monterey.ca.us

 

+++ If you wish to work on Public Records, or learn about other HUFF projects, contact Bathrobespierre Robert of HUFF at 831-423-4833.  

Free Radio Santa Cruz Temporarily Off the Air–Instead of Today’s Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides Show, a Grim Look at the Stay-Away Law that Passed First Reading at City Council Last Tuesday

Toxic Expansion of Stay-Away Ordinance Hit Council Agenda Tuesday, Returns for Final Passage in September
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
Tuesday Aug 22nd, 2017 updated August 24 4:20 p.m.

BLINDSIDED BY BIGOTRY
There was no prior public hearings nor any media announcement of the new law which bushwacked the community on Tuesday, only appearing on the agenda a week ago.   On 8-22 City Council voted on the First Reading of a harsh law expanding Councilmember Terrazas’ 4-Year old Anti-Homeless law today at its 2:30 PM Session. The law targets homeless community members for sleeping, being in a “park” after dark, obstructing the sidewalk, etc. It vastly expands the unconstitutional sweep of the current 13.08.100.
Agenda item #20 carried the deceptive ““Schools Safety Enhancement Zones” label to describe the vast expansion of police power

Familiar anti-homeless language like “nuisance crime” and “illegal behavior” are the usual code words for harassing and expelling homeless people from public spaces in a city with no available shelter for hundreds.  The same words peppered the staff presentation (See http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/o54x40tdjsjsx30w00mp1mry/463239708242017042248306.PDF )

MASSIVE SWEEP
The proposed law will include not just anyone within 300′ of a school, but anyone in any of the following parks as well as any adjacent sidewalks and public spaces: Arana Gulch, Neary Lagoon, Depot Park, Poets Park, Beach Flats Park, Harvey West Park, Pogonip (Open Space), Louden Nelson Park, Sergeant Derby Park, Mission Plaza Park, Star of the Sea Park, Moore Creek (Open Space), University Terrace Park .
Nice way to make the parks “homeless free” if you start giving longer Stay-Away orders (as has been regularly done for the last three years) to folks who sleep there at night.   And, of course, we know how massive a school children presence there is at night when homeless people are sleeping—particularly far away in the deep Pogonip, or down in the San Lorenzo benchlands.  It’s certainly a necessary precaution to sanitize the area by banning folks found sleeping there or just being there “after hours”.   We must have certain Rules of Conduct after all!

If you’re given a citation — even it’s unjustified, and dropped short of court — you are banned from the area (and other prior areas if you’ve received citations) for 72 hours.   If you return you face up to a year in jail and $1000 fine.

Since 2013, the use of “we don’t need to charge you in court” Stay-Away orders, have systematically and specifically impacted, if not targeted, homeless folks.

FEW CRIMINAL CRIMES BUT LOTS OF CRIMINAL POWERS GIVEN TO COPS & RANGERS
The “crime wave” being addressed is the usual: sleeping, being in a park after dark, smoking. Hundreds of citations and stay away orders were issued to folks.

No actual specifics regarding these “crimes” are provided in the staff report. Nor are there any particulars of the great threat to the schools that is used to label this grotesque expansion of police power.

It also provides massive police powers to criminalize protesters and outspoken Council critics, particularly homeless ones. The earlier 24-hour/1week Stay Away order was one device used to drive away Freedom Sleepers and the Survival Sleepers from City Hall.

Second reading will be required  at the next Council meeting which may give folks a little organizing time to speak against it in two weeks when it reappears for a rubberstamping.

SEE IT LIVE IN COLOR; READ ABOUT IT AND WEEP

 

EXTENSIVE EXCLUSION POWERS WITH NO COURT “PROTECTION”
This wording is horrendous in and of itself. It means if you are, say, given three infraction citations in three different places over the course of three days (or even three weeks, if the second ticket happens within a week of the first), the Stay-Away law empowers police to ban you for three months from all three areas.

All before you’ve gone to court to get a “fair trial”. And if you get a 4th ticket anytime within the next 18 months in any park or other area covered by MC 13.08.100, you can be banned for 1 1/2 years from all 4 areas. If at any time, you violate this police-imposed ban any time during these periods, you face a possible year in jail or $1000 fine. The standard fines are $200-400 for the original infraction crime.

RUBBERSTAMP “APPEAL” PROCESS COVERS CITY MANAGER’S ASS
The phony process for “appealing” a Stay-Away order involves going before an appointee of City Manager Martin Bernal, whose employees are the cops and rangers testifying against you if you file an “appeal” within 1 day. There are no “rules of evidence”, no official record of the proceeding, no provision permitting an audio recording, no right for the public or media to be present–in other words, no due process. Doo-doo process indeed.

The standard of proof is different before the City Manager’s kangaroo court–it’s “preponderance of the evidence” (51%) unlike the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of the courts. Hence you can be improperly banned for weeks from public property (particularly important for homeless people trying to survive by hiding out) before you get your court trial. And then even if found innocent, there’s no provision for reversing the Stay-Away.

To read the specifics of the “in-house” appeal of Stay-Away orders process, go to MC 13.08.100(b) at http://www.codepublishing.com/CA/SantaCruz/ .

We’ve heard a token squeak or two from our timid local ACLU– whose regional and national affiliates have quadrupled their cash reserves since the Trump victory protest. As for actually sending volunteers to help folks expose this travesty? We’re still waiting.

GOING TO COURT
Courts, of course, provide little real protection from infractions, even if you trek to and from the courthouse waiting for the citation to appear, getting to the arraignment, going to the trial. The overwhelming majority of unhoused folks getting the infraction citations that accompany the Stay-Away orders have neither time, energy, nor resources to do this.

In an infraction case, you get a “judge” rather than a jury trial. You face toxically police-partial judges–even if you disqualify the Dept. 10 Commissioner and send the case to a “real” judge. And even with video documentation of false claims, selective enforcement, and/or harassment by police or rangers, the “real” judges convicted activists Abbi Samuels and Keith McHenry in two separate trials recently. This had the appearance of being part of the City Manager/SCPD campaign to drive away peaceful Freedom Sleeper protesters and Survival Sleeper homeless from City Hall. Even from the half of the sidewalks adjacent where they slept every Tuesday night in protest.

Infraction cases normally go to the Commissioner in Dept. 10, previously the notorious Brimstone Baskett who went to great lengths to provide the semblance of fairness and then finds you guilty. Baskett has now been dumped on us as a “real” judge in Dept. 4. I have no new info on the new Commissioner in Dept. 10 who hears cases.

PUBLIC HYSTERIA POSTURER DAVID TERRAZAS’S MENDACIOUS MAP
This latest giveaway to the “homeless get out” crowd at Take Back Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Neighbors, the SCPD, and conservative staffers comes out of the bowels of Vice-Mayor Terrazas’s “Public Safety” Committee. As far as I know, it’s done zero outreach among folks outside to determine the impact of the current Stay-Away law–which has harassed and excluded hundreds of poor people without shelter.

The map showing the dramatically expanded “Stay Away Even Before You Get Charged in Court” zones is at http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/d5tnqexznorzejga3wurjtew/463211108232017052436570.PDF.

Terrazas’s sedulous scare narrative whitewashes the actual bigotry agenda of this law. The protective clothing for this bigoted expansion of police power and invitation to vigilante action is “child welfare”–all without any statistical evidence. The boogyman label is “school safety enhancement” . If you examine the map, though, it’s mostly areas beyond the 300′ “safety zone” that suddenly kicks in triple stay-away times. (Again without a court appearance or finding of guilty).

SCARE STORIES AND REAL STATS
The “evidence” used to back this police power expansion were anecdotal stories from two Take Back Santa Cruz activists who regularly sit in the City Council who’d heard a story about a child being threatened in a park and another eye-witness account of a fight in a park. The only police stats presented in the agenda packet were the “alarming” but actually quite predictable significant percentage of police “calls for service” and “citations” in the parks.

There was no breakdown, of course, as to what those citations were for, whether there were convictions, nor how many were accompanied with stay away orders. The police statistics actually presented were used to dramatize a misleading narrative of “bad behavior”, “failure to maintain behavior standards”, “environmental degradation” and, of course, “public safety for our children” in the park areas.

However HUFF’s detailed study of Parks and Recreation citations for 2013 documents these were status crimes involving non-aggressive survival behavior by homeless people like smoking, sleeping, and being in a park after dark (See “Stay-Away From Human Rights ! An Activist Examines the Escalating Stay-Away Orders Law” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/10/25/18763326.php).

More stats on an earlier version of this law are at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/10/12/18762778.php (“Nasty Anti-Homeless Stay-Away Laws to Get Exponentially Worse”).

To read some of the bigoted babble that goes on around this issue plus Sentinel coverage, go to http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/government-and-politics/20170822/santa-cruz-eyes-new-school-safety-zone-park-law .

MORE NEXT TIME
Why bother with real evidence and argument when you have a locked-in 5-2 majority on the City Council (it actually passed 4-1 with Brown and Chase absent). It’s hard to believe that rational, reasonable, mellow-sounding people like Vice-Mayor Terrazas seems to be…that they can pass this kind of straightforward repression. Terrazas has been rubberstamping like measure for years, though, through his Public Safety Committee.

Perhaps it’s raw meat thrown to the right-wing constituency, angered at the appearance of increasing numbers of visible homeless people (ironically becoming visible through being driven out of the parks and downtown). The appearance of action without the substance. More laws for useless and unconstitutional police actions.

More on the City Council capers last Tuesday when I muster up the energy. Free Radio Santa Cruz is currently off the air due to equipment problems, but I hope to go into the broader Council meeting in more detail next Sunday.

Toxic Expansion of Stay-Away Ordinance Hits Council Agenda Today

Tuesday Aug 22nd, 2017 8:41 AM
City Council will vote on the First Reading of a harsh law expanding Councilmember Terrazas’ 4-Year old Anti-Homeless law today at its 2:30 PM Session. The law targets homeless community members, triples the current $200 fines for sleeping, being in a “park” after dark, obstructing the sidewalk, etc. It vastly expands the unconstitutional sweep of the current 13.08.100.
Agenda item #20 carries the deceptive ““Schools Safety Enhancement Zones” label to describe the vast expansion of police power

Familiar anti-homeless language like “nuisance crime” and illegal behavior” are the usual code words for harassing and expelling homeless people from public spaces in a city with no available shelter for hundreds.

The proposed law will include not just anyone within 300′ of a school, but anyone in any of the following parks as well as any adjacent sidewalks and public spaces: Arana Gulch Neary Lagoon Depot Park Poets Beach Flats Park Harvey West Park Pogonip (Open Space) Louden Nelson Park Sergeant Derby Park Mission Plaza Park Star of the Sea Park Moore Creek (Open Space) University Terrace Park .

If you’re given a citation–even it’s unjustified, and dropped short of court–you are banned from the area (and other prior areas if you’ve received citations there) for 72 hours.

Since 2013, the use of “we don’t need to charge you in court” Stay-Away orders, have systematically and specifically impacted if not targeted homeless folks.

The “crime wave” being addressed is the usual: sleeping, being in a park after dark, smoking. Hundreds of citations and stay away orders were issued to folks

No actual specifics regarding these “crimes” are provided in the staff report. Nor are there any particulars of the great threat to the schools that is used to label this grotesque expansion of police power.

It also provides massive police powers too criminalize protesters, particularly homeless ones.

Second reading will be required which may give folks a little organizing time to speak against it in two weeks when it reappears for a rubberstamping.

There are many more details which I’m hoping to expand on in a future story.

Agenda report: http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/d5tnqexznorzejga3wurjtew/463088208222017083904996.PDF

Ordinance: http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/d5tnqexznorzejga3wurjtew/463088308222017083954745.PDF

 

TO COMMENT GO TO: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/08/22/18802084.php

Salt Lake City’s “Solution” to the Homeless in Doubt; Santa Cruz’s “Solution” Looks Worse and Worse

NOTES FROM NORSE:  It’s hard to tell how seriously we should take Salt Lake City mayor Ben McAdams’s descent into the homeless scene.  For me the proof is in the actions–the use of the powers public officials have as well as the statements they make.  What subsequent actions will McAdams take?  

 

Salt Lake City a few years ago developed a media reputation for “curing homelessness”  (Seehttp://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Salt-Lake-City-a-model-for-S-F-on-homeless-5587357.php,  http://www.npr.org/2015/12/10/459100751/utah-reduced-chronic-homelessness-by-91-percent-heres-how,   http://www.trueactivist.com/utah-is-ending-homelessness-by-giving-people-homes/  ).

 

But this has been more recently disputed (See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kevin-corinth/think-utah-solved-homeles_b_9380860.html).

 

 

For Santa Cruz scene, authorities have a strange “cure”:  To turn the issue upside down.  The problem isn’t a steeply rising cost of living, housing for the rich, and discriminatory laws and enforcement policies against those outside.  It’s the presence of the visible poor, particularly those trying to publicly protest at City Hall or provide client-run services outside the Post Office.


City Council members take no action to restore shelter and food services in the near term.  They empower their City Mangler, that is, City Manager Martin Bernal,  in his campaign to wall off and/or drive away homeless sleeping people.  A recent closed door “Performance Evaluation”  apparently found no problem with Bumcrush Bernal’s year-long record of harassment and public space removal around City Hall.  
Instead of providing resources for unhoused folks outside who struggle nightly such as portapotties, garbage pick-up’s, and other basic needs, the Chase’s City Council sends out Rangers to steal homeless property, issue stay-away orders, and provide bogus “obstructing the sidewalk” citations.

Charlottesville may have its flashy Unite the Right torchlight parades and lethal looneys crashing into protesters; but Santa Cruz has institutionalized Hate against its poor, in discreetly dressed “Progressive”, “moderate”, or “smart solution” garb.    The “poverty crime’ tickets just keep on a coming; and the phony “beautification” campaign rolls on.

Continue reading

FightBack against City Manager’s Anti-Homeless Signs at City Hall

Throughout the past week, unhoused folks, who some call the Survival Sleepers, have defied the latest drive-em-out edicts of City Manager Martin Bernal. Other activists are planning protests at City Council next Tuesday. Bernal has refused to answer simple questions about his newly posted signs. Mayor Chase in a recent interview refused to put the issue on the May 23rd Agenda for Public Discussion and Vote.
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[ Photo by Abbi Samuels. Items labeled as "Personal Survival Property" at Santa Cruz City Hall. ]

DARKER SIGNS OF THE TIMES
In his latest attack on peaceful protesters and unhoused folks. the powerful City Manager Martin (pronounced Mar-TEEN) Bernal has made sitting, lying, and setting down one’s property on the courtyard outside City Hall a $250 crime. Their mere presence there on the weekends or outside office hours can result in a similar fine. The new green signs went up eight days ago. According to some homeless folks, City law enforcement teams have even been (llegally) insisting that being on the sidewalk in front of City Hall is a crime. See https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10210733963080027&set=pcb.1429285667093456&type=3&theater

“Survival sleepers”, a group increased with numerous elderly and disabled men and women refugees from the closed Winter Shelter program–have been sleeping on the edges of City Hall for nearly two months now. “Bums Begone!” Bernal locked the previously-open City Hall bathrooms and then used complaints of poo poo and pee pee found on the grounds to justify a “no trespass” order. The City hall has been traditionally public space, not to mention the center of government where folks thought they had a First Amendment right to gather peacefully to seek a redress of grievances.

Bernal’s latest “bumbuster” ban is only one of a long series of anti-homeless measures at City Hall. See “5 Citations and New “No Trespassing” Zone Closes City Hall Grounds at Night 10 PM to 6 AM” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/08/22/18656536.php

DISPERSE THE DISABLED !
The population of folks staying there overnight have been driven out of other areas where the act of sitting and lying down, day and night, is frequently treated as a crime. Many of these folks are elderly and disabled–with no emergency shelter, no nighttime bathrooms, spotty daytime meals, and shrunken services. Santa Cruz’s unsheltered population (the City alone) is 1000-2000.

The overwhelming majority don’t even have temporary shelter under recent “Smart Solutions” and “compassion fatigue” that seek to make Santa Cruz “less welcome”. The Homeless (Lack of) Services Center [HLOSC], for instance, discontinued emergency services 2 years ago (such as shelter and food) under the grant-grabbing a “Pathway to Housing” requirement. The HLOSC now looks like a low-intensity prison camp with gates, fences, security patrols, ID cards, and a “move along” attitude.

SUCCESSFUL FREEDOM SLEEPER MOVEMENT
The two-year long Freedom Sleeper campaign to end the City’s 11 PM to 8:30 AM anti-homeless Sleeping Ban has pressured the City into abandoning MC 6.36.010a tickets for sleep at least in front of the sidewalks at City Hall on Tuesday nights when they gathered in small but persistent numbers.

With police driving away unhoused folks from the protective corridors outside City Hall into the rain and wind over the last month, the Survivor Sleepers have taken to the sidewalks as well.

Continue reading

Crackdown at the City Council Sidewalk and Interview with Mayor Chase 6 – 8 PM Free Radio 5-18 (tonight!) at 101.3 FM; At City Hall: Emergency Defense Meeting at 6 PM for Freedom & Survival Sleepers

If you can’t make it to the Emergency Meeting today at 6 PM, Contact Keith and Abbi at 575-770-3377 to provide immediate support for the Survival Sleepers–now facing a round-the-clock attack, designed to drive them at the Freedom Sleepers from City Hall and expand “no homeless” zones outside the library and elsewhere in the city.

Leave your comments and questions at 831-423-4833.

Tonight’s show also streams at www.freakradio.organd archives at http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb170518.mp3

 

If you missed the Sunday show, it ran too long for the normal archive (http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb170518.mp3 ).  To catch the full show go to http://huffsantacruz.org/lost/FRSC%205-14-17.MP3http://huffsantacruz.org/lost/FRSC%205-14-17%202.MP3 for six plus hours of mind-numbing sweet street chatter!  For Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides fans, other Lost shows (that missed the regular archives) can be found at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html .

Emergency Freedom Sleepers Sleep Out Tonight

DateFriday May 12

Time6:00 PM6:00 AM 

Location Details 809 Center St. City Hall Courtyard and Sidewalk along Center St

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (posting by Norse)

Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net

Phone 575-770–3377 

PLEASE ATTEND !

The City Manager, Martín Bernal made a number of policy changes that will have an impact on those without housing all across Santa Cruz, the Freedom Sleepers and the Survival Sleepers at City Hall.

The City of Santa Cruz has made it illegal to be at City Hall from 6:00 PM to 7:00 AM Monday through Friday and has closed all of the City Hall grounds on Saturday and Sunday. The signs posted this morning also ban amplified sound without a permit, personal property on sidewalks, walls or pathways, bicycles or sitting, lying on sidewalks, walls, pathways or courtyard areas. There are reports that these policies will be enforced at a number of other city buildings in Santa Cruz.

Library staff have also reported that City Manager, Martín Bernal will be removing the benches outside the library and stationing two or more police officers at City Hall.

The Freedom Sleepers campaign inspired an attempt by Councilpersons Don Lane and Micah Posner to seek a change in the camping ban in March 2016 to make it legal to sleep outside, ending the law that made it a crime to sleep outside or in a vehicle from 11:00 PM to 8:30 AM.

Their proposed change failed to gain enough votes. In response to pressure from the Freedom Sleepers the council did create a Homelessness Coordinating Committee whose report was introduced at the May 9, 2017 City Council meeting.

Local unhoused people started their own nightly protest at City Hall the night after the Winter Shelter closed who are referred to as the Survival Sleepers.

Signs stating that it is illegal to participate in the activities of the protest were posted this morning at City Hall. More signs restricting the homeless were placed at the Downtown Library this afternoon.

To see the new posted restrictions go to https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155150021813820&set=a.489759988819.266614.691903819&type=3&theater

PLEASE JOIN US WITH VIDEO AND AUDIO EVEN IF YOU CAN’T STAY THE NIGHT!

Please contact Keith McHenry at 575-770-3377

Support the Survival Sleepers on May 9th; Add a Dose of Reality to the Evening City Council Meeting; Time to Reclaim Public Spaces for the Community and Rights for the Unhoused

Yesterday former Councilmember Micah Posner posted an appeal for folks to come to a protest march and sleepout on Tuesday May 9th, beginning at the County Building at 3:30 PM, going to the main Post Office and its anti-homeless fence, and arriving at City Council at 5 PM in time for Oral Communications.   At 7 PM City Council will have an evening session billed as a consideration of a Homelessness Study.  Human rights supporters are encouraged to bring bags, blankets, and nightwear into City Council for a sleep-out later that night.

To read Posner’s thoughts, go to his article “Homelessness: Our Failure As A Society” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/05/05/18799186.php

My article below is a comment on his.

Focus on the Survival Sleeper Struggle

Missing from Micah’s analysis–good in many points–is any specific historical understanding of the role of City Council and its masters, the City Manager and his staff. Micah’s tendency to be deferential to the staff was unfortunately much in evidence when he was on City Council and can be very misleading to newcomers who want to understand the situation.

Much of the anti-homeless legislation, priorities, and attitudes in the last thirty years can be traced to an entrenched reactionary staff headed by City Manager Bernal, City Attorney Condotti (and before him Barisone), and other department heads who earn the big bucks. To excuse their behavior is to justify and perpetuate the abuses against poor people outside.

A PHONY REPORT
The Final Report of the Homelessness Coordinating Committee on the Council’s May 9th Evening Agenda is a bad joke. [http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/efyi3lsa1xpovuc2poq3qitk/457855405052017100625392.PDF ]

A better report is the Final Report of the Santa Cruz City Homeless Issues Task Force – at http://sccounty01.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/bds/Govstream/BDSvData/non_legacy/agendas/2000/20000502/PDF/020.pdf . It was ignored by the City Council and served as an activist “cooling off” tactic which effectively derailed protest. But there was sufficient pressure at that time for the report to actually recommend elimination of the entire Camping Ordinance as an emergency resolution many months before releasing the final report (p. 0064). For the City Council, the report served as protective cover and false reassurance. We have seen the pathetic results in the last 17 years.

Mayor Chase’s report is fluffed up with flowery and political correct blather about “ending homelessness” through “smart solutions”, more future plans, shifting responsibility to the County, and other false hopes. It is a complete facade that attempts to cover over and divert our attention from the actual behavior of city authorities towards unhoused folks to the glistening good intentions of two-faced politicos. To afford it any credibility and waste time “discussing” it is to play into the hands of those whose interest is in getting rid of the visible homeless, pandering to neighborhood bigots, and serving merchant interests. I.e. shifting the focus from what they’re doing to what they’re saying. Preserving the status quo.

It’s also a small clue, that the three Councilmembers who cooked up the report all voted last March to maintain the absurd and abusive 11 PM – 8:30 AM Sleeping Ban and have not changed their position.

WELL-MANNERED ACTIVISTS DON’T MAKE HERSTORY
As for the idea of “making nice” with the Council on Tuesday night (or thereafter).

Consider City Council’s recent history of almost continuous expansion of anti-homeless legislation, its contraction of support for shelter space (i.e. ignoring the conversion of the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center into a Homeless Prison/GrantGrabber), and its support of police mythology criminalizing homelessness and propagandizing the community with “public safety” nonsense and measures (closing the levee, intensifying Parks and Rec powers, winking at Bernal and Vogel’s attacks on activists).

It’s important that the community be made aware of this, not misled into believing that the Council is actually doing anything real or planning to do something real. The community has to be spurred to understand the legitimacy of outrage, and the need to ACT on that outrage. That is done by clearly defining the issues –clarifying who are the heroes and who are the villains. Whose actions show themselves to be the enemies of reform, and those who are waging the struggle.

BRING BAGGAGE AND FRIENDS
We need to take sleeping bags and blankets into City Hall and lay them down.

I was told that two trucks hauled away houseless folks property from City Hall two days ago and disposed of sleeping gear, blankets, and cloth as “trash”.

There can be no meaningful dialogue until there is the power of visible commitment. I have my doubts about pretty speeches and a one-night sleep out having much impact. In fact, they may fit quite well into the Council’s “see how democratic we are!” stance as they send cops and rangers in the next day to steal survival gear from those who remain after we liberals have gone home.

The “incremental” approach failed a year ago (in the token Sleeping Ban repeal vote). The notion that being “moderate” will attract the timid and tame the Neanderthals is simply wrong here. The Democrats have been proving that for years on the national scene. It’s a form of surrender before the struggle has begun.

SUPPORT THE SURVIVAL SLEEPERS
Meanwhile Survival Sleepers at City Hall are taking the real heat while we engage in media posturing. It is their nightly struggle, however unpretty and unpopular with the powerful that needs to be supported. As long as they choose to make it. That’s where our energy needs to be going as best we can.

Contact HUFF at 831-423-4833 to offer help to the survival sleepers. Suggestions are at https://www.indybay.org/uploads/2017/04/24/survivor_sleepers_sign-up_list.pdf .

A GOOD EXAMPLE
Black students up at UCSC have shown that direct action gets the goods.

And Reclaiming City Hall might be a very good start.

See you Tuesday night. With bag and bathrobe.

Freedom Sleepers # 94 – Sleep-Out to End the Sleeping Ban

Date Tuesday April 25
Time 3:00 PM – 12:00 AM
Location Details
Santa Cruz City Hall 809 Center Street, Santa Cruz
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry
FREEDOM SLEEPERS #94 – Sleep-out to end the sleeping ban – Please join us

Free food provided by Food Not Bombs and India Joze.

The campaign against the houseless of Santa Cruz is growing more repressive.

On Monday night April 17th the police came and kicked people out from under the city hall awning into the pouring rain during a very severe storm.

Wells Fargo Bank install “The Mosquito” high frequency box outside their downtown branch to drive people out from under their eves. They may have experienced an increase in people seeking shelter from the heavy rains from under their eves since the Anti-Homeless fence was placed around parts of the downtown Post Office. The city installed “The Mosquito” in several parks in the fall of 2014.

“The Mosquito” was placed under San Lorenzo River bridges downtown primarily to stop chronic illegal activity, Assistant City Manager Scott Collins said.

Abbi Samuels was arrested the night of April 13th while filming the police drive those seeking shelter under the City Hall awning out into the rain. She spent 18 and a half hours in jail before being freed without charges. 

Police and Rangers are confiscating survival blankets and sleeping bags even when spoken for or being watched by friends. Police even confiscated a broom and partially filled garbage bag and many pounds of survival gear from people at City Hall.

A few days later Park Rangers confiscated several pick-up trucks full of personal belongings at the Civic Auditorium as people looked on helpless to do anything.

Freedom Sleepers Sleep-out #93 provides a view of the struggle facing those who are forced to live outside. Around 30 people slept outside Santa Cruz City Hall on the night of April 18 to 19, 2017.

Two Santa Cruz police officers arrived to City Hall at about 5:00 pm and arrested a person named Mark after he had gone up to the bike racks to retrieve his bicycle. He said he was arrested for violating a stay away order. Mark returned to City Hall to recover his backpack at about 11:30pm

Maile McGrew-Fredé hosted the All-In: A Community Seeks Solutions to Homelessness meeting at the Downtown Branch of the Santa Cruz Public Library at 6:00pm.  Over 30 people participated including several people who planned to sleep out at City Hall.

After the meeting ended Library staff shared that City Manager Martin Bernal was making several changes including the removal of the benches outside the library and the stationing of two police officer. The librarian also reported that the City Manager also planned to implement new restrictions to the area “like those at the Civic Auditorium” but these details were not clear.

After the All-In meeting members of the Freedom Sleepers gathered at city hall to plan a Tuesday, May 9th march from the County Building to the Downtown Post Office fence to City Hall agreeing on the message “HOUSING FOR ALL- No penalty for poverty”

Eight Santa Cruz Police officers arrived around 2:00 am and issued 13.04.011  Park After Hours tickets and 13.08.100 24 Hour Vacate stay away orders to 4 people, three of which had been sleeping on red brick or under the City Hall awning. One of those people was very ill and had been throwing up during the night.

Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry was one of the people who got a ticket while he was filming the police waking sleeping people. They put him in cuffs while they gave him an in the park after hours ticket. They also gave him a 24 hour stay away order and told him they’d be coming back in the morning to arrest him for a misdemeanor when he violates the stay away order by trying to clean up and share food. All people that received tickets for in park after hours also received a stay away order. It was freezing out!

Two Rangers arrived soon after breakfast was served at about 7:30 am. All was peaceful until a city employee arrived on Center Street with a leaf blower. She walked up to a person sleeping near Locust Street and blew a burst of dirt into his face. Keith McHenry asked her to refrain from using the leaf blower to assault people but she did not respond. 

The employee walked towards the Church Street end of Center and blasted dirt and someones paper bowl of food into the face of a man sitting on the stone wall.

City Manager Martin Bernal is one of the central proponents of the wave of anti-homeless laws and policies. He is paid  $216,158.90 per year by the people of Santa Cruz. Maybe we should go and wake him up at his 96 Brookwood Drive home.

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