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.

Fight Back on Selective Enforcement and Merchant Privilege on Pacific Avenue

NORSE’S NOTES: A recent story on Santa Cruz indymedia (“Selective Enforcement documented on Pacific Ave. in Santa Cruz, CA” at https://www.indybay.org/santacruz/ ) highlights the well-known SCPD and Ranger harassment of vendors, performers, and other tablers on Pacific Avenue will giving merchants with their display devices and unpermitted signs a free pass.

Anti-performer and anti-activist laws (also known as the Downtown Ordinances) were originally designed in 1994 to go after homeless folks and peaceful sparechangers (as well as to give police broader powers to go after youth, minorities, and anyone who didn’t “feel right” to businesses and police). Some of them are itemized at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/08/29/18657087.php

In order to pass constitutional muster, the “h” word couldn’t be used or it would violate the 5th and 14th Amendments (equality under the law).

As the noose was drawn tighter with expanded forbidden-to-sit zones and a 1 hour “move along” law in 2002/3 and further expansions in 2009, merchants continued to violate the law.

According to the city clerk’s office some years ago, it was never legal, for instance, for stores to put up free standing signs on the sidewalk advertising their stores. There was not even a permit process for doing so.  Yet merchants regularly have done so.  Police and city enforcement officials have turned a blind eyes.

The “performance pens” set up by City Council in 2014 (and then severely restricted unilaterally and behind closed doors by city staff) are routinely ignored by merchants when they display their wares, preempting more of the little public space left to the rest of us.

It’s striking to me to read the July 16 letter from Martinez and Khoury [below].  I will be making a Public Records Act demanding copies of all citations issued since the letter was written.

An obvious thing to do is to begin calling the police on various merchants to cite merchants for violating the law and arrogantly expropriating the public space.  Then document what police do or don’t do.   And publicize it.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) previously considered advising merchants that we’d like them to join in a coalition to support giving individuals the same right to set up their tables as merchants have.   Otherwise, for every citation given a street performer, vendor, activist, or homeless panhandler, there would be a specific documented complaint made out against a store owner with a display device sitting out on the sidewalk.

I’d be happy to support folks doing this.

In fact, I’ll be bringing it up as an action item at the next HUFF meeting (Wednesday January 11th 11 AM at the Sub Rosa).

Here are some selections from The Jones/Skelton Report on indybay at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/08/18795200.php that exposes this practices.

For more photos, video, and to make comments, go to: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/08/18795200.php

 

                              A little over six months ago park Rangers began patrolling downtown Santa Cruz, CA in part to enforce new ordinances which modify and restrict activity for anyone placing anything on the public sidewalks and open spaces of downtown Santa Cruz. These ordinances have had major implications for musicians, street performers, artists, political advocates, and anyone else wishing to use the public spaces for many forms of constitutionally protected activity (see SCMC Chapter 5.81, below).
                             They are required to be located within a “zone” or “box” 4×6 feet in size, leave after one hour, and follow additional restrictions. These spaces have been reduced in number progressively by more than half over the last couple of years, with few viable spaces remaining. Businesses have also long used public spaces and sidewalks to display merchandise and signage. They received a letter dated July 21, 2016 (see photo, below) outlining the need for their compliance with the new laws. Rangers and Santa Cruz police issued citations for violations of these codes, and many performers, artisans, and other individuals who weren’t allowed under the new code, or weren’t “in a zone,” or were there longer than one hour, were cited. As the months wore on and the business signage and racks of merchandise began to reappear along the avenue, there has been no apparent concern by law enforcement at their daily presence (almost never “in a zone,” and often displaying “banned items”).
                               Many individual citizens and visiting performers to Santa Cruz continue to be cited for various related “offenses,” however. Tickets we have seen have all been in excess of $300.00.

See below for additional photo documentation, the letter from law enforcement, and Santa Cruz municipal code Chapter 5.81:

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New Year’s Nightwatch: Freedom SleepOut #78 at City Hall

Date Tuesday January 03
Time
4:00 PM Tuesday to 9 AM Wednesday
Location Details On the frosty sidewalk outside City Hall at 809 Center St. across from the Main Library. A Tuesday night sleepout in probable rain (bring tents or protective gear either for yourself or for others). The event lasts from late afternoon Tuesday to mid-morning Wednesday.
Event Type
Protest
Organizer/Author
Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

As a “New Year” dawns, it’s the same ole Sleeping Ban bullshit with those resisting the ban gathering together in community protest outside the taxpayer funded hunting lodge of the politicians and staff who run Sleepsnatcher Central. Last week’s Freedom SleepOut was sparce, but also apparently ignored by armed uniformed Sleepbusters. With nervous bureaucrats back in their offices, more raids are likely.

CITY SLEEPSTEALERS ARE BACK ON THE JOB
City offices reopen today in case folks wish to register their concerns officially about the City staff’s waste of time, money, and conscience on harassing, ticketing, and arresting homeless people for homeless status crimes. These include sleeping after 11 PM outside or in a vehicle, protecting oneself against the cold and wet with a tent, being in a park after dark, urinating behind a bush when bathrooms have been intentionally locked, etc.

The “new” City Council members and the old ones have open offices where they are allegedly accessible to the public for those who wish to suggest they fulfill their responsibilities.

ANNUAL HOMELESSNESS MARATHON IN MID-JANUARY
A scaled down national Homelessness Marathon begins on the Thursday January 19th from 4-8 PM on Free Radio Santa Cruz. Folks will be encouraged to respond to the Trump inauguration happening the next day. The show will take broadcast from WMPG in Portland, Maine.
For more info go to http://news.homelessnessmarathon.org/

LIBRARY’S THURSDAY OUTDOOR KOFFEE KLATCH
Sentinel has noted a weekly Koffee Klatch happening outside the library every Thursday morning. Librarian Maile McGrew-Fredé had organized a Coffee Hour/Working Together program that provided (for one hour) a tent against the rain. 10-11 AM. The rest of the time, you’re on your own–if you can avoid the patrols. http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20161231/seeking-solutions-santa-cruz-library-system-tackling-homelessness-access-issues

The library’s new “Working Together” program also claims to “work with an information advocate on any information problem, access issue or obstacle of your choice. A library staff member or community volunteer will work with you, using a laptop computer and access to a phone, one-on-one for up to one hour, to help you overcome hurdles to housing, safety, education, health, income or well being.” You may have to do a “same day sign-up during Coffee Hour in front of the Downtown branch library at the corner Church St. & Center St. If anyone has successfully used this “program”, please contact HUFF at 423-4833 with the good news. More “info” at http://www.santacruzpl.org/calendar/ .

LIBRARY HAS BECOME ANTI-HOMELESS IN LAST FEW YEARS
Councilmembers Mathews and Terrazas voted some years ago to pass repressive rules in the Main Library regarding such Santa Cruz-special crimes as “sleeping” which have become cause for eviction and stay-away. Uniformed First Alarm “security” thugs have patrolled the premises (as well as regularly harassed Freedom Sleepers and others seeking shelter from the rain under the eaves of the public buildings). Mathews and Terrazas can be reached by phone at 420-5020. Their e-mails are cmathews [at] cityofsantacruz.com and dterrazas [at] cityofsantacruz.com .

Parks and Rec Dept boss Mauro Garcia continues to send out Rangers armed with ticket books and stay away orders to drive away homeless people sleeping at night in the forbidden zones outside the library as well as overseeing destruction of the grassy areas at City Hall. Let him know, it’s time to restore these spaces to the public–housed and homeless: mgarcia @cityofsantacruz.com phone: 420-5270

Some homeless folks report harassment and exclusion from the library by the roaming First Alarmists; others suggest that the pressure has tapered off. Contact Food Not Bombs at the Saturday and Sunday meals at the Main Post office 4-6 PM with real news.

SHELTER FOR THE FEW
The Association of Faith Communities $300,000 shelter program is “expanding” to 110 with a second shelter at the Salvation Army. Rumors are they may be moving their intake area from the less-accessible past-the-Tannery location to the Salvation Army itself. The program, along with the occasionally-open Warming Center accommodates around 5% of the County’s homeless population. Meanwhile there continues to effectively be no emergency shelter at the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center at Coral St. as well as no meals for those with no “pathway to housing”.

BERKELEY BROADSIDE FROM “FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE HOMELESS”
The “Poor Tour”–an ever resurgent encampment/community in Berkeley has weathered its 13 bust-and-move in the dead of winter. It’s now located in the “Gourmet Grotto” of Berkeley at the far end of Shattuck Ave. Details at their facebook page and at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/02/18795056.php?show_comments=1#18795057 .

VIDEO THE MARAUDING MEANIES
With a week of rain predicted in the days ahead, folks with video capability on their phones or other devices should pause to protest, witness, record, and post any instances of uniformed thugs driving homeless people out into the rain. The only protection for the community’s civil rights is action by the community.

HUFF Updates: Cruelty in the Rain in Santa Cruz; Fresno Activist on Free Radio Sunday 11 AM; Tips for Those Fighting Police/Ranger Property Seizures


Police and Ranger Raid on Santa Cruz Homeless In the Rain Reported
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com )
Friday Oct 14th, 2016 7:22 PM

Around 11 AM today, activist and car-dweller Jessica Nash reports that two vans of “Park Rangers” from Harvey West followed by 5 cars of SCPD in uniform pulled up on a dozen homeless people. They were sitting on the wall and under sheltering trees from the rain by the side of the sidewalk across from the Civic Auditorium today. The armed officers threatened to seize blankets, bikes, food, and belongings if the homeless didn’t move out into the bad weather.

MAKING SANTA CRUZ “LESS FRIENDLY” TO THE UNHOUSED
According to a phone report from Ms. Nash, the police told homeless people “get your stuff and get out or we’re gonna bring a truck, load it up, and take it away.” The rangers–already in trucks– appeared ready to remove homeless survival gear. Some were there watching property for others. Everyone was threatened to force them to leave.

The police raid came upon homeless sharing food and sheltering themselves from the first winter storm. The threats to take their blankets, their bikes, their food, and their belongings frightened the homeless into silence.

This apparently was not enough. Ms. Nash reported that when she tried to help folks gather up their stuff, one cop began threatening her. “You’ve got a car? Well, get in it and leave. I can impound it right now–I’m so pissed off.”

Nash reported the dialogue continued: “Don’t make me inpound your car. You have expired tags. I’m sick of people not listening.” Nash, with her sheltering car at stake, said she was forced to leave.

The “deportation and removal” action reportedly took about an hour. She noted rangers were also armed with tasers and guns.

DEEPER DISCRIMINATION AND INDIFFERENCE BY MAYOR MATHEWS, CITY COUNCIL, CITY STAFF, AND POVERTY PIMPS
Ms. Nash has sought legal help to deal with disability discrimination at the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center [HLOSC] at 115 Coral St. She claims she was repeatedly being denied services because of bedbugs she claims came from the still vermin-ridden Paul Lee Loft. She spoke before City Council on Tuesday about the wretched conditions and left in tears. Officials promised no action, claiming it was a County matter. However the City provides over $100,000 a year to the HLOSC and the HLOSC Board usually includes a Council member.

There is currently no walk-in shelter in Santa Cruz. Waiting lists for the HLOSC are either full or require a “pathway to housing” (i.e. a monthly check). The City Hall sidewalk is the site of a weekly Sleep-Out there by the Freedom Sleepers, now going into their 67th week next Tuesday.

Nash noted Mayor Cynthia Mathews had not returned her calls. Mathews–running for reelection–voted to continue to make the act of sleeping outside after 11 PM a crime costing several hundred dollars in fines, for which hundreds of citations have been issued in the last few years. Even the token 100-space Winter Shelter Armory is not slated to be funded and opened this year (with the homeless population at 1000-2000)

Under Mathews, the City Hall bathrooms have frequently been locked during the day.  Two 2nd class homeless portapotties (located at Cedar and Locust, and Cedar and Lincoln) were recently set up supposedly to open at 10 PM at night.    All existing brick-and-mortar bathrooms with sinks have been closed during the day in spite of the need for community use at night.  Activists report that even these portapotties have not been open on occasions when homeless folks have tried to use them.

POLITICS AS USUAL?
Mathews is running for Santa Cruz City Council for her 6th term on a business-as-usual slate, opposed by the New City Council slate of Schnaar, Glover, Brown, and Krohn.  Outspoken Sleeping Ban opponent Steve Pleich has withdrawn from the race and thrown his support to the New City Council slate.  HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom) has made no endorsements with none of the candidates other than Pleich presenting specific proposals to decriminalize homeless folks and deal with the upcoming winter shelter/police violence crisis.

TO READ OR MAKE COMMENTS GO TO:  https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/10/14/18792238.php

Follow-Up on ACLU’s Forum on Houselessness–Mike Rhodes Phone Interview
Date Sunday October 16
Time 11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location Details
Free Radio Santa Cruz 101.3 FM, streams at http://www.freakradio.org.

Call in after 11:30 AM at 831-427-3772. Leave comments off-air at 831-423-4833.

Archives at http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb161016.mp3 (an hour and a half into the audio file).

Activist and writer Mike Rhodes, author of Dispatches from the War Zone and principal speaker at the ACLU Forum, follows up on his talk with a discussion of his tour and current strategies for fighting attacks on the poor in Fresno and elsewhere.

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POLICE AND RANGERS ROUST HOMELESS IN RAIN IN SANTA CRUZ

by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com )

Friday Oct 14th, 2016 7:22 PM

Around 11 AM today, activist and car-dweller Jessica Nash reports that two vans of “Park Rangers” from Harvey West followed by 5 cars of SCPD in uniform pulled up on a dozen homeless people. They were sitting on the wall and under sheltering trees from the rain by the side of the sidewalk across from the Civic Auditorium today. The armed officers threatened to seize blankets, bikes, food, and belongings if the homeless didn’t move out into the bad weather.
MAKING SANTA CRUZ “LESS FRIENDLY” TO THE UNHOUSED
According to a phone report from Ms. Nash, the police told homeless people “get your stuff and get out or we’re gonna bring a truck, load it up, and take it away.” The rangers–already in trucks– appeared ready to remove homeless survival gear. Some were there watching property for others. Everyone was threatened to force them to leave.

The police raid came upon homeless sharing food and sheltering themselves from the first winter storm. The threats to take their blankets, their bikes, their food, and their belongings frightened the homeless into silence.

This apparently was not enough. Ms. Nash reported that when she tried to help folks gather up their stuff, one cop began threatening her. “You’ve got a car? Well, get in it and leave. I can impound it right now–I’m so pissed off.”

Nash reported the dialogue continued: “Don’t make me inpound your car. You have expired tags. I’m sick of people not listening.” Nash, with her sheltering car at stake, said she was forced to leave.

The “deportation and removal” action reportedly took about an hour. She noted rangers were also armed with tasers and guns.

DEEPER DISCRIMINATION AND INDIFFERENCE BY POLITICANS AND POVERTY PIMPS
Ms. Nash has sought legal help to deal with disability discrimination at the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center [HLOSC] at 115 Coral St. She claims she was repeatedly being denied services because of bedbugs she claims came from the still vermin-ridden Paul Lee Loft. She spoke before City Council on Tuesday about the wretched conditions and left in tears. Officials promised no action, claiming it was a County matter. However the City provides over $100,000 a year to the HLOSC and the HLOSC Board usually includes a Council member.

There is currently no walk-in shelter in Santa Cruz. Waiting lists for the HLOSC are either full or require a “pathway to housing” (i.e. a monthly check). The City Hall sidewalk is the site of a weekly Sleep-Out there by the Freedom Sleepers, now going into their 67th week next Tuesday.

Nash noted Mayor Cynthia Mathews had not returned her calls. Matthews–running for reelection–voted to continue to make the act of sleeping outside after 11 PM a crime costing several hundred dollars in fines, for which hundreds of citations have been issued in the last few years. Even the token 100-space Winter Shelter Armory is not slated to be funded and opened this year (with the homeless population at 1000-2000).

READ AND LEAVE COMMENTS AT https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/10/14/18792238.php

Around 11 AM today, activist and car-dweller Jessica Nash reports that two vans of “Park Rangers” from Harvey West followed by 5 cars of SCPD in uniform pulled up on a dozen homeless people. They were sitting on the wall and under sheltering trees from the rain by the side of the sidewalk across from the Civic Auditorium today. The armed officers threatened to seize blankets, bikes, food, and belongings if the homeless didn’t move out into the bad weather.

 

Breakfast by the Side of the Road Thursday 10 AM June 25th: Come on Down!

Title: Cafe HUFF on the Hiway: Emergency Breakfast #4
START DATE: Thursday June 25
TIME: 10:00 AM11:30 AM
Location Details:
NW Corner of Hiway 1 and Hiway 9 around the corner from the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center
Event Type: Protest
Contact Name Robert Norse
Email Address rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Phone Number 831-423-4833
At the end of the month, Coral St. is still due to shut down a significant number of services–such as the twice-daily meal. This in spite of an overall budget of over $3 million last year.

There are over 1000 people outside without shelter who face Sleeping Ban citations or other tickets costing more than $100 each (and triple that amount if they don’t get to court).

In response, homeless supporters will begin a nightly campout on July 4th with destination to be chosen and announced after the 4-6 PM FNB meal. See fliers for details.

This “Homeless Lives Matter” action is supported by HUFF, Food Not Bombs [FNB], and the Camp of Last Resort as well as independent activists

This the fourth in a series of breakfasts at Hiway 1 and Hiway 9 publicizing the lack of services and shelter for folks outside.

Unhoused people trying to sleep at night or use public spaces during the day face the threat of costly and humiliating police harassment and citations.

On June 18, a large number of SCPD and CHP officers flooded the area initially demanding we move, but ultimately leaving us alone after we set up on the supposedly public, public sidewalk.

We invite the community to come and share food, concerns, plans, and fellowship. Bring food if you wish as well as video devices to keep the authorities honest.

More information: “Homeless Lives Matter: Building Towards Justice ” at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/06/16/18773599.php

Sentinel coverage of at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20150618/santa-cruz-homeless-breakfast-protest-draws-police-attention

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What’s up with the SCPD?

 

What’s up with the SCPD?

by Becky Johnson

May 16, 2015

Santa Cruz, CA.  — As communities across the country fight against
police oppression
and brutality, we galvanize in our resolve to reform police departments
so that they
are the servants of the people, protecting us from harm, and under the
control of
the City Manager and the City Council.

Why is this necessary?

Because when we entrust certain individuals to carry lethal force, with
the power
to detain, cite, arrest, and later testify in court against us, we must be
sure they are
following a code of conduct that is consistent with fair and ethical
behavior.

Different police departments go astray in different ways. In Ferguson, the
Black majority
of the population were singled out for massive ticketing to fill the
City’s coffers.

In Oakland, a thuggish mentality won out that was so corrupt
financially, a State
Auditor had to take over control of the administration.

In San Jose, Ca., police have an inordinately high rate of shooting
mental ill people.
Call a cop. Execute your family member.

But what’s up with the SCPD?

First, we have an unusually high rate of arrests per officer. It’s 11.1
arrests per officer
per year. By comparison, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco, with,
presumably
larger criminal populations, the average is 4 arrests per officer per year.

We have 99 sworn police officers and a total of 135 paid employees.
This in a City with a population of 62,000 with a ratio of one officer
per 697 residents.

But wait! That population figure includes UCSC which also has its own
police department.

While crime rates are dropping, in some cases precipitously, our jails
are still
overflowing and our courts are jammed.  In fact, the Board of
Supervisors recently
approved a $25 million jail EXPANSION in already, the most incarcerated
state in the union.

So who is getting detained, cited, arrested, convicted, and jailed?

According to Vice-Chief Steve Clark, 42% of arrests are of homeless people.
32% of the citations written are to homeless people, virtually none for violent crimes.
In fact, the three most-cited crimes in Santa Cruz do not have an
actual victim complaining.

The crime wave in Santa Cruz requiring such a large police force is mostly for BEING in a park after hours, camping, or for smoking.

This means either sleeping at night, using a blanket, or for setting up a campsite.

A “campsite” can be a car. It can be a piece of cardboard set down on wet grass in a park.

Lay a blanket on the ground & have a picnic? Not in Santa Cruz!  That’s a crime!
72% of adult homeless people smoke.
(Most soldiers in foxholes smoked too). The City has made it illegal to smoke or vape in over 2000 acres of public land composed of parks, green belts & recreational trails.
There are people sitting in Santa Cruz County Jail today for smoking a cigarette about which no individual complained.
The budget for the police department is $24,663,471, or 32% of the
general fund, and is by far the biggest
budget item.
We have more paid officers than any other City in the Bay Area. The next closest City is Palo Alto, with 85 sworn officers, but double the population of Santa Cruz.

The safest way to curb police power is to reign in their budgets.

–Becky Johnson

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Upcoming Events and Last HUFF Meeting Minutes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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