Stacked Deck Stay-Away Law Expansion Promises More Pain for Poor Outside at City Council Today

Coming up today at City Council on the noon agenda (unusually early) is Item, #14. It may come up within an hour by 1 PM if not before. MC 13.08.100 exponentially expands the time a cop or ranger can unilaterally order a person to leave an area and not return. The vastly expanded area includes the Pogonip, Arana Gulch, and Moore Creek. The law is billed as a “School Safety” law, though the vast majority of the area covered is much further than 300′ from a school.
MISSING INFORMATION: NO RACE OR ADDRESSES
Forwarded to me today yesterday were the attached P & R cites for 2016 and 2017, with addresses, which is helpful, but requiring some going over to see just who got the Stay-Aways and for what offenses and who didn’t. The SCPD records did not include the addresses. Neither SCPD nor P & R included race, which is interesting. There’s hardly time to do a thorough review of these to determine how severely the current 13.08.100 impacted homeless folks. Nor how much it cost the City to do it, and how much P & R time it took up for what specific “criminal offenses”.

What the records do show is massive use of the Stay-Away order. No indication of for how long the Stay-Away periods are. Nor how many have been cited with possible year in jail crimes for violating the Stay-Aways. Nor is there any record of the fabled “resources” that the largely homeless people seeking distant refuge in greenbelt areas have supposedly available to them.

There’s also no indication of the specific locations on the citations, i.e. to clarify how many were issued within 300′ of a school. Since the overwhelming majority of territory (covered by Moore’s Creek, Arana Gulch, and Pogonip) is far beyond any schools and hence not relevant to any “School Safety Enhancement Zone”, it seems clear the purpose of this is to triple the immediate punishment of anyone getting a citation prior to going to court.

Could this be to avoid the “bother” of proving someone guilty of a crime, or the shame of making a crime out of necessary survival behavior? Those outside need to sleep after 11 PM and may find a distant spot to sleep on public land in an area that has conveniently been declared “closed”.

FALSE POLICE CHIEF CLAIM THAT LAW AVOIDS CREATING CRIMINAL RECORDS
Police Chief Andy Mills’s claim that the current law and tripled-time law being considered today for final passage will “avoid criminalization of the homeless” is ridiculous, since each Stay-Away comes after an officer tickets for an underlying Infraction offense–which creates the criminal record. Or is Chief Mills claiming that he’s directing or advising his officers to issue the infractions simply to give a pretext to give a Stay-Away, and then not to show up in court so the infractions will then be dismissed?

NOT GUILTY IN COURT? STILL REQUIRED TO STAY-AWAY.
Also a finding of “not guilty” by the court (which would only happen a month or more later) does not necessarily trigger an end to the Stay-Away order. There’s no provision in the 13.08.100 for that.

The wording of the statute is flawed and insufficient. As well as there being no specific provision in the law to end Stay-Aways if there’s no conviction. Even if a judge finds a defendant “not guilty” if there is ever a court trial, the City’s “preponderance of the evidence” standard which justifies the Stay-Away order prevails. As described in 13.08.100(b) even with a prior City Manager-run so-called pre-court Appeal Hearing, the “Preponderance of the Evidence” standard overrules the judge’s “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” judgment. The Stay-Away order, in the absence of any action by court or City Manager would continue according to the proposed wording of the law.

HUGE OVERREACH OF TERRITORY: THE TEXT OF THE NEW LAW
Under Terrazas’s Public Safety Committee “Schools Safety Enhancement Zones” expansion of the Stay-Aways the law for the entire Pogonip, Arana Gulch, and Moore Creek will read

“(a) Any person who receives a citation or is arrested [in these areas--and not just within 300- of a school]… for a violation of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code or state law may be ordered by the citing/arresting city officer at the time of the citation/arrest to vacate that park or beach property and not to re-enter said property again for the period of time specified below. Any such order shall apply to both the park or beach property at which the citation/arrest occurs and to any other park or beach property at which such an order was issued within the previous year. Any person who violates such an order from a city officer shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(1) First offense: 72 hours from the time of the citing/arresting officer’s order.
(2) Second offense within 3 weeks of the first offense: 3 weeks from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the second offense.
(3) Third offense within 90 days of the second offense: 90 days from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the third offense.
(4) Fourth offense within 18 months of the third offense: 18 months from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the fourth offense.
(5) Fifth offense within 3 years of the fourth offense: 3 years from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the fifth offense. [emphasis mine]”

ARBITRARY POLICE POWER ALLOWS LONG-TIME BANS
I emphasize “may” in 13.08.100(a) because it gives the police officer unbridled discretion to issue or not issue a stay-away order simply on the basis of any infraction ticket, without a objective standard.

An individual getting four different citations–say for sleeping after 11 PM, being in a park after dark, sitting down within 14′ of a building on the sidewalk downtown, and smoking in a back area of the park in the first week, would face a 3 month stay away and a misdemeanor charge with a fine of $1000 and/or 6 months or a year in jail.

PHONY CLAIM OF “DIRECTING THE HOMELESS TO RESOURCES”
This in a town where there is no emergency shelter and 1000-2000 homeless outside. Essentially non-existent resources for the overwhelming majority.

THE FOLKS BEING TARGETED
Earlier research showing just what kind of “crimes” and what kind of people are getting targeted is at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/02/05/18768065.php?show_comments=1#18768117. at Statistical Evidence of Park Rangers & SCPD Targeting Homeless Folks for Sleeping in Parks .

MISSING PUBLIC REVIEWS IN THE PAST
Supposedly Terrazas’s Public Safety Committee was supposed to review this matter six months after passage in 2015, but I’m not aware that he ever did so. On-line minutes and agendas for his Committee are not currently available.

Earlier story on the Stay-Away Stampede:  “Toxic Expansion of Stay-Away Ordinance Hits Council Agenda Today” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/08/22/18802084.php
The proposed law needs to be tabled and sent to Public Hearings to consider more closely the actual alternate resources available, the impact on the poor population, and the costs.

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.
backup_of_norse_s_mhcan_demands_flyer_9-3.pdf_600_.jpg

Download PDF (592.5kb)


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

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 .

“Progressives” Defeat Trump Wall Investment at City Council but Local Anti-Homeless Fencing Still Marches On at Evening Session; Survival Sleepers Seek Help

Looks like the threat of disinvestment from Granite Construction may have discouraged them from bidding for the anti-immigrant Trump wall on the border (Item #2 7 PM Agenda).     Council may also support disinvestment from Wells Fargo for its support of the Dakota Access Pipeline (Item #3 7 PM Agenda).  However at Tuesday night’s 4-25 Council meeting the Council will still be considering a “cost-effective” fence along the levee along with increased cops, surveillance cameras, and lighting to add to the “no loitering” enforcement, forbidden to sit rules, and high-pitched anti-homeless “Mosquito” boxes along the levee.

BAD NEWS AT 7 PM
Agenda item #1 on the 7 PM Agenda of the last City Council meeting in April has the following item up for a vote:

Riverwalk Engagement Summit Results and Recommendations (CM)
Consider community stakeholder recommendations generated from the Riverwalk Engagement Summit, which include enhanced City leadership and coordination, improved amenities, revenue enhancement efforts and a coordinated community outreach and engagement plan to encourage greater public participation/activation on the Riverwalk and adjacent San Lorenzo Benchlands and Park.

TO READ THE STAFF REPORT: Go to item 1 on the evening agenda at http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=856&doctype=AGENDA .

The flowery language masks the reality: $138,000 for more cops and copcars (technically Rangers and their Rangermobiles) to move along and drive away the poor from the levee area, $50,000 for “security” cameras, $24,000 for lighting upgrades, and $5000 for a “Public Engagement Summit”
Also on the conveyor belt is proposed fencing along the levee, as they look for a cheaper contractor.

The previous “Summit” in March had no representation from renters, the unhoused, civil liberties groups, minority interest groups, or students. The proposal is being pushed by the true bosses of the City Martin Bernal and his underling Scott Collins–City Manager and Deputy City Manager respectively who remain unaccountable to the community and receive no regular public scrutiny by any independent oversight body.


THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE
Recent mass marches have highlighted opposition to Trump’s misogyny, his immigrant hostility, his tax returns concealment, and his “alternate science” weltanschauung and the upcoming Trump’s Climate Confusion walk next Saturday. There is little if any acknowledgement of the broader collusion or indifference of local politicians on prior policies which set the stage for Trump’s toxic expansions.

The most obvious aspect of this is the local silence in the face of recent bipartisian saber rattling and hypermilitarism escalating foreign wars that thrived under Obama (and that Clinton vowed to continue). Local opportunist Democrats are heightening the danger with ramped up Russophobia and McCarthyite hysteria to justify Clinton’s defeat and push Trump out of power (so we can get Pence?).

The same local misfocus is also true of any pressure for politicians to be locally accountable. However, item ##2 and 3 on the evening agenda involving divestment from Granite Construction and Wells Fargo on the evening agenda do indicate a positive change–though again, prompted by distant national issues and heavy Democratic Party mobilization “against Trump”.

Where there is no improvement–in fact, further deterioration, is around poverty, houselessness, and local policing.

FENCING FOLLY AN OLD STORY
The City’s involvement with the recent chain link fence at the downtown post office has been unclear in spite of e-mails from Councilmembers Mathews and Niroyan hostile to Food Not Bombs weekend meals there.

The post office fence is likely part of the drive against homeless sleepers under the eaves at night and Food Not Bombs patrons on the steps during the weekend. The alleged “Construction” supposedly being undertaken there has yet to appear–and it’s been weeks.

The whole thing is reminiscent of the phony “plant restoration” pretext given to rope off the levee space near the Soquel St. bridge across from CVS back in 2010. See “City runs off Drum Circle again, cuts down trees and cements AREA CLOSED signs along levee” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/07/29/18654907.php .

To register your opposition to the City Council’s latest gentrification move on the Levee, e-mail them at citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com . To consider more direct action protest, check out the HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) meeting at 11 AM-1 PM Wednesday at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific, or give a call to 831-423-4833.

Continue reading

Freedom SleepOut Enters Its 80th Week Challenging Trumpist Sleeping Ban Locally

Location Details Alongside City Hall across from the Main Library on Center St. In Vehicles, sleeping bags, and under tarps and tents. The protest runs from Tuesday afternoon to mid-morning Wednesday. Bring plenty of warm gear to use and to share. Hot soup and morning coffee are usually available.
Event Type
Protest
Organizer/Author
Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone
575-770–3377

With numbers somewhat diminished from 3 AM police roust-em-into-the-rain raids, the occasionally-open Warming Center, and the walk-to-the-outskirts-of-town-to-get-sheltered-downtown Winter Shelter program, Freedom Sleepers continue their year and a half Tuesday night vigil.

PROTESTS AGAINST TRUMP
There are protests aplenty planned for the Trump Coronation coming up this weekend (elsewhere on this website). Missing however is any focus on halting repressive policies being pushed by both DemoRats and RepubliCons. These polices most obviously include continued warmongering, wealth privilege, police power, extensive deportations, and–most especially–attacks on the poor outside. In Santa Cruz neither Democrats, Republicans, or Greens in office have moved to stop criminalization of the homeless or acted to secure their most basic survival rights.

UPCOMING
Between 4 PM and 5 PM Thursday January 19, Freedom Sleeper Pat Colby will be joining the 19th Annual Homelessness Marathon–which will stream on Free Radio Santa Cruz at http://www.freakradio.org or directly from their home website at http://news.homelessnessmarathon.org/2011/01/for-stations.html . More info at http://news.homelessnessmarathon.org/ . The entire broadcast runs from 4 PM to 8 PM.

Tenant activists are planning a free meal and story-swaping session where you can ” meet other renters and learn about rights you have under state, county, and city law. Plus presentations on successful renter protection actions. Sunday at 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM at 517B Mission Street. No landlords or property managers invited!

ELSEWHERE
First They Came for the Homeless Encampment in Berkeley In 16th Move: Interview with activists Mike Lee and Sara Menefee at http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb170115.mp3 (1 hour and 14 minutes into the audio file)

A new vigil at SF City Hall and a 24-Hour vigil for the recently-dead Homeless by Homeless and Activists rather than the Traditional Annual Mourn-Today-and-Watch-’em-Die-Tomorrow Remembrance: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/15/18795366.php

In Salinas the Monterey County Union of the Homeless huddled for its 1st Anniversary Strategy Session yesterday. See http://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/2017/01/16/homeless-advocates-invoke-mlk-spirit/96646004/

In Sacramento, city bosses respond to pressure from media and activists to open winter refuge from the storms: See https://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/storm-of-shame-social-media/content?oid=23337757

Freedom SleepOut #79 Swims Toward Justice Tuesday Night

Date Tuesday January 10- Wednesday January 11
Time
4:00 PM Tuesday -  9 AM Wednesday
Location Details Under the eaves of City Hall until driven away by “peace officers” and “park protection rangers” and then on the wet sidewalks outside City Hall. Bring cardboard, canvas, protective gear, video, and friends. The protest runs from 4 PM today to mid-morning Wednesday.
Event Type
Protest
Organizer/Author
Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

ANOTHER NIGHT OF ENDURANCE
In wretched cold wet weather, the Freedom Sleepers continue the vigil that was begun 78 weeks before outside the offices of the City Council members who have the power to end the Sleeping Ban, permit protective encampments, open up vacant buildings for shelter, and actually protect the homeless population instead of criminalizing them.

City Council however, has nothing on its agenda for its first meeting of the year–in the shortest meeting scheduled in memory. Ironically one of the only two regular proposals is a Sanctuary proposal for undocumented workers. Meanwhile, police active persecute and harass the city’s own displaced poor.

KROHN’S OPTIONS
Councilmember Krohn will be meeting with the public 9 AM today at the Cafe Pergolesi at Cedar and Elm Streets this morning before the vigil. He has the power to request police reports on the amount of ticketing and harassment done throughout the winter and in the last year (records still withheld by the police department). He can pressure the opening of bathrooms at night by demanding detailed reports on the actual needs of a homeless population of 1000-2000.

He can openly demand documentation of the amount of homeless property taken by police and rangers and insist that such seizures of survival gear stop (as the Denver mayor has finally done). There are many such demands of staff that do not require a Council vote (which he’s not likely to get).

THE SCPD’S THROW-THEM-OUT-IN-THE-RAIN POLICY
At the last Freedom Sleepout in freezing rains, homeless advocate Dreamcatcher reported that police drove homeless sleepers out from under the protective eaves of City Hall into the rain and cold with no alternative places to go. The private Warming Center program and the 110-capacity Winter Shelter program have no shelter for more than 90% of the city’s homeless population. Police have reportedly made it a point in the particularly cruel weather to station vehicles outside public buildings to make sure the poor don’t dare to huddle under the overhangs for protection.

TENANTS ORGANIZING
The SC Tenant Organizing Committee plans a Tenants’ Community Meal on January 22nd! See https://www.facebook.com/events/404150676591692/ or call (831)-471-7842 for more info.
A broader union with tenants facing imminent homelessness could be a strong force for change.   Late afternoon organizing and door-knocking is planned for 1-10 @ 5pm, 1-12 @ 5:30pm, 1-15 @ 4pm, and 1-16 @ 5pm.

STANDING UP FOR JUSTICE
Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs responding to half a dozen arrests over the weekend of food servers in Tampa, Florida, will be joining in a solidarity feeding and protest 4 PM Saturday January 14th outside the Main Post Office.

RISING UP TOGETHER
Salinas Union of the Homeless will have its 2nd annual celebration at 22 Soledad St. 10 AM – 1 PM at the CSUMB Learning Center on Monday, January 16, 2017, Martin Luther King Day. Contact HUFF at 423-4833 for more information, or come to the Wednesday January 11th HUFF meeting at 11 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe.

DOWNTOWN STRUGGLE CONTINUES
Meanwhile in Santa Cruz, activist artists Joff Jones and Alex Skelton have blown the whistle on selective police enforcement against street artists, activists, and performers. See “Selective Enforcement documented on Pacific Ave” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/08/18795200.php .

Come prepared for wet weather and icy reception from uniformed thugs armed with the power of law and the force to lethally enforce it. Hot soup will likely be available.