Please report conditions in San Lorenzo Park, around the Post Office, and along the Coral St. sidewalk where numerous nightly encampments have grown. And also note the harassment actions against homeless in downtown, residential, and business areas where ticketing apparently has continued and possibly intensified.
It seems the “clear ‘em out of the downtown by containing them in San Lorenzo Park” policy is continuing–which has a sort of resignation to sanity quality to it. Promises and predictions by Chief Andy Mills, at least as far as a tolerated camping area, are so far being kept to his credit, that of Parks and Rec boss Mauro Garcia, and most uncharacteristically City Manager Martin Bernal.
However, this toleration should not be mistaken for fair and equal treatment of unhoused people in public spaces generally. The restrictive laws that include Stay-Away’s, single vehicle parking, overnight (and in some areas 24-hour) parking bans, abusive enforcement of Downtown Ordinances on Pacific stay in place.
Interestingly enough, there were no negative comments at the Tuesday 11-14 Oral Communications period of the City Council. Though why anyone would wait an hour to talk for 2 minutes (Mayor Chitty-Chatty Chase’s current time allowance during this “doghouse” period), it’s hard to fathom.
The real reason limited camper toleration is here is police enforcement is an impossibility. Both in terms of economics and real-life-consequences, the plan to drive homeless folks out of sight and out of town just doesn’t work. More and more folks face the rental rampage of landlord profiteering and the City’s endless gentrification (boondoggles for Airbnb and developers). As services are cut back or require “a path to housing” (vouchers, checks), folks appear on the streets, next to buildings, etc. As they are ticketed in the Pogonip, along the tracks, and downtown, they migrate to residential neighborhoods—causing a flurry of quacking and cawing by enraged bourgeois residents.
Inadequate Winter Shelter comes rolling down the pike starting in mid-November and expanding somewhat in December. Hopefully the opening of these mini-programs won’t be the pretext for driving folks away from San Lorenzo. Allies of those organizing to support the survival communities there should consider strategies for possible resistance.
The SCPD has readied Public Records that document the use of the abusive Stay-Away process for the last 9 months as has Parks and Recreation–after much prompting. Help HUFF document this wretched recordto uncover the obvious pattern of enforcement which largely impacts houseless people. We’ll be hoping to look into some of the records after the HUFF meeting. As mentioned above, we have only 3 days before they require us to renew the request.
You can also help fight the Stay-Away orders as they are individually levied on homeless folks; contact Food Not Bombs or HUFF (numbers below). Let these folks know if you or anyone you know has recently been given a Stay-Away order along with an Infraction ticket, particularly if it’s for longer than 24 hours (or 72 hours after October 12th when the new expanded law goes into effect).
If meetings aren’t your thing, but you wish to work on Public Records, Help compile accounts of Police/Ranger abuses and/or Assist in getting interviews for Free Radio broadcasts or You-Tube Postings, contact Bathrobespierre Robert at 831-423-4833.
Activists around Food Not Bombs and the Freedom Sleepers are also looking for help gathering volunteers for the support meals on Saturday & Sunday as well as folks who want to help homeless harassed with citations for Being Visibly Homeless. Contact them at 575-770-3377.
Or go on line to the Facebook page of Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs. FNB activists fear an upsurge of pressure against the downtown meals near the post office as follow up to the “coaxed removal” of the homeless encampment there. Sign up to support their Emergency Response Network by contacting them through Facebook or in person at the Saturday and Sunday meals. The idea is to quickly gather in numbers if city authorities attempt to shut down the meal.