Sleep Protectors Gather for Freedom SleepOut #74

Sleep Protectors Gather for Freedom SleepOuit #74

Date Tuesday December 06 Time 4:00 PM Tuesday9:00 AM Wednesday

Location Details On the sidewalks near City Hall, barred from taking shelter under the eaves in the rain, protesters will spend the night outside, under tarps, perhaps with a tent or two, and in nearby vehicles.  For nearly a year and a half, a small community of housed and homeless have demanded an end to laws criminalizing survival sleeping and other life-sustaining activities. Watchers, well-wishers, blankets, and visitors welcome!

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

Email keith [at]

Phone 575-770–3377

As temperatures dive below 40 and winter approaches in earnest, city and county authorities are providing $360,000 worth of nightly shelter for 50-75 people at VFW Post No. 7263 at 2259 7th Ave. in Live Oak. The mini-program (considering there are 3000+ unsheltered in the County) will expand to 100-125 in January with the opening of the Salvation Army building downtown at 721 Laurel St. –unavailable during a cold December because it’s being used for “fund-raising” activities.The usual NIMBY (Not-in-My-Back-Yard) approach is evident. The pick-up site is several miles from the 7th Ave. shelter. Clients are banned from walking or driving to the shelter. In-take worker Steve Pleich notes folks will have to go through an initial questioning process (5-10 minutes), presumably to satisfy the Take Back Santa Cruz-minded folks as well as provide data for more grant-grabbing activity.

Old-timers remembered when you got sheltered if you showed up. Not any more.
Meals will be provided for the few that get into the program, but the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center (a “supporter” of the Winter Shelter program) has made no move to restore the open meals that were its historic responsibility abandoned in June of 2015.

Run by the Association of Faith Communities, the AFC bosses may not require users to be present every night or be kicked out of the program–which they do regularly at their year-round 20-person shelter program that moves from church to church. Boss Debbi Bates reportedly excluded several women from the smaller program because they took Tuesday nights out to join the Freedom Sleeper protests. Bates now heads the far more costly $360 grand Winter Shelter.

Read the Sentinel’s sunny shelter spin at &

Also due to open at least for a night or two later this week is the Warming Center with downtown pick-up’s at Pearl Alley. Call 211 or (831) 234-9848 for more info.

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Flyer for 1:30 PM Saturday December 3rd Protest at the Town Clock: No More Police Shootings . Remember Sean Arlt and Luke Smith. [1 Attachment]

[Attachment(s) from Robert included below]

Download attachment for the PDF.  This is the text of the flyer.  Contact HUFF at 423-4833 for more information.


Aren’t Two Shootings Enough?

Remember Sean Arlt & Luke Smith

Come to the Town Clock

Saturday December 3  1:30 PM

  • End the “Officer Safety” excuse for Lethal Force
  • Replace the Chief and the Sheriff
  • Establish Real Community Control of Police
  • Prosecute Reckless or Abusive Police Behavior

End Uniformed Attacks on the Poor & SCPD Stonewalling !

Use Your Cellphone:  Monitor Those Armed With Guns, Tasers, and Color of Law

Flier by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 309 Cedar St. #14B 12-2-16


Attachment(s) from Robert | View attachments on the web

1 of 1 File(s)

Arlt and Smith Killing Demo 12-3.pdf

Caught in the Act–Ranger Harassment & Survival Gear Seizure as Freedom Sleepout 73 Looms


 Date Tuesday November 29
4:00 PM Tuesday November 29th9:00 AM Wednesday November 30th
Location Details After “Rousted Into the Rain” treatment during the last Freedom Sleepout a week ago [see “After Rain, Santa Cruz Police Eject Homeless…” at] homeless civil rights fighters will resume their weekly sleepout in front of City Hall from 4 PM Tuesday to 9 AM Wednesday at 809 Center St. on the sidewalk facing the library.
Event Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
keith [at]

Driving unsheltered people out from under the eaves of City Hall last week was apparently not enough for authorities. Photojournalist Brent Adams has provided a vivid video of a City Ranger confiscating a homeless sleeping bag as “trash”, stopped only by the Adam’s video documentation and probing questioning. [see “Should City Workers Trash Survival Bedding During Winter Months?” at ]

Levee sleeper Ricardo Lopez made an earlier report of Rangers seizing the property of an elderly companion weathering cancer and cold weather there. And then refusing to return it. Historically Parks and Recreation under the notorious John Wallace openly declared they threw away homeless gear as a matter of course.

With the success of the Fresno Kinkaid lawsuit in 2007 winning $2.3 million for the homeless for wanton destruction of homeless survival gear, our Parks and Recreation changed its cover story. Its claims to be handing over property confiscated to the police are contradicted by repeated witness testimony. Additionally police–though open throughout the business day, refuse to limit pick-up times to 4 hours a week.

Increasingly Freedom Sleepers are resisting when confronted with unconstitutional “get out into the rain” or “move along” demands from police and rangers, especially at the Freedom SleepOuts.

Last week’s last full City Council meeting of the year gave no indication of any expansion of necessary Winter Shelter or retreat from the campaign to destroy homeless encampments. For more details see “Saving Survival Gear and Joining the Struggle to Defend Our Own Refugees in Santa Cruz ” at and “HUFFing and Puffing: A Warm Wind from Berkeley” at .

The “Warm Wind from Berkeley” story also chronicles the starkly different direction of the Berkeley Mayor and his allies there supporting encampments and directing a response to the homeless shelter crisis. Whether Mayor Arreguin follows through on his promises is uncertain, but Berkeley disabled activist Dan MacMullan reported on Free Radio Sunday that the Mayor and several Councilmembers actually met directly with homeless occupiers in the Poor Tour encampment to discuss their needs. Listen at (2 hours and 54 minutes into the audio file).

Sonoma County authorities are taking baby steps to set up a 5-car Safe Parking Program outside a local homeless shelter there in a 4-month pilot program. See . Past attempts to do the same using parking garages and lots have been crushed in Santa Cruz by the City Manager’s office and the SCPD using such unlikely excuses as “no sprinkler system in the garages” (there is now reportedly) and “lighting cannot guarantee security” (in the police station parking lot!)

A flyer distributed at the Red Church Monday night announced beginning 12-1, folks will be picked up between 4 and 5:30 PM at 1220 River St. (north of the Tannery and several blocks from the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center [HLOSC] at 115 Coral St. The flyer mentioned there will be “intake and storage” at the site with buses returning to the pick-up spot from the 7th Ave. VFW building (location not mentioned) with breakfast at the River St. site at 6:30 AM.

Unmentioned is the fact that there will be space for only 50 people (though on January 1, a second downtown Salvation Army site will open for another 50). There are an estimated 1000-2000 unhoused folks in the City.

It’s unclear what folks should do with their pets and service animals. Also rather telling is the apparent determination not to trust homeless people to go directly to the shelter areas–perhaps pandering to fears and prejudices of nearby NIMBY’s (Not-In-My-BackYard Take Back Santa Cruz types). Perhaps also out of fear that homeless folks beyond the privileged 50 might cluster outside to sleep outside as is often the case near the HLOSC.

So far the Warming Center has not opened once this fall. City support has been limited to funding Rangers and cops, whose job seems to be to drive homeless people away from the protection of the eaves of the library and City Hall.

The twice-postponed protest demanding an end to homeless (and racial) profiling is slated for 1:30 PM at the Town Clock Saturday December 3rd. Activists demand an end to harassment, ticketing, and arrests for life-sustaining behaviors such as being in parks after dark, resting on Pacific Avenue, and, of course, sleeping after 11 PM anywhere in Santa Cruz.

Also being demanded: the video and audio of the shootings of Sean Arlt and Luke Smith as well as the name of the officer(s) who shot Arlt. Incomplete video has been released of the Smith slaying [].

More Bucks for Busts, Slashing Social Services & Rain Rousts- Come to Freedom Sleepout #72

Date Tuesday November 22  Time 4:00 PM – 4:00 AM

Location Details On the sidewalk outside City Hall as the City Council votes to cut back further its wretched services for the poor and those outside. 809 Center St. facing the main library. The protest runs from 4 PM Tuesday to 9 AM or so Wednesday. Rain possible. Bring umbrellas, tarps, and protective gear.
Event Type
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email keith [at]

For the 72nd time, community activists who call themselves Freedom Sleepers [FS] create a one-night refuge for homeless folks against the city-wide ban on sleeping outside in a city shelter for less than 5% of 1000-2000.

DARK AGENDA IN A DARKENING ERA (from City Manager Martin Bernal and his underlings)
For hardnosed veterans interested in confronting a Trump-minded City Council, here are a few of the agenda items and their approximate time:

12:30 pm [Open Interval of the Closed Session] City Manager’s Performance Evaluation City Manager Martin Bernal is the most powerful and highly paid official in town; the anti-homeless policies supporting increased police harassment of protesters and homeless must have his approval.
2 pm [Afternoon Session]
#16 $217,000 for more rangers and more surveillance to deal with “crimes” like camping and loitering
#17 More Talk about the Housing Crisis: no Funding.
#18 More power to ticket vehicles for the parking enforcers.
#21 Prohibits growing any recreational marijuana in your fenced off yard even if not visible from the street

5 PM (approx) [Oral Communications] 2 minutes or less at the whim of Mayor Mathews: say what you want to the audience, those watching on tv, and the (shudder) City Council but act with others to create the changes Council refuses to look at.

7 pm [Evening Session] Move to shaft the pitiful remaining social services: redistribute the $1,000,000 Community Programs budget to new areas and thereby substantially reduce awards to programs or projects that support Early Childhood Education, Seniors and Homeless Services. Petition opposing this at
e-mail the Council at citycouncil [at]

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Fighting Trumpism Against the Homeless in Santa Cruz: Join or Support Freedom SleepOut #71

Date Tuesday November 15
4:00 PM Tuesday9:00 AM Wednesday
Location Details Bunking down on the sidewalk next to City Hall as things get chillier–weatherwise and otherwise. Center St. between Locust and Church.
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email keith [at]

The likely election victory of three homeless-hostile City Council candidates a week ago as well as the national Trump victory means continued struggle to hold back the right-wing riptide against the rights of the poor and those outside. No Council meeting this week, though food, morning coffee, and possibly blankets may be available for those snuggling up to the sidewalk.The basic right to sleep without harassment is the focus of the Freedom SleepOuts. Photographer Alex Darocy has captured the form and the substance of the latest SleepOuts at “Attendance at City Hall Sleepouts Remains High” [] .

Rangers on the levee and deputies in the County are reportedly seizing homeless property and even destroying it in violation of state law and the federal Constitution. However at the Freedom Sleepouts, videoslinger Abbi Samuels and others are successfull fending off ranger raids. See . Rangerwrangler Ricardo Lopez reports unhoused folks on the Levee sleep there nightly in spite of ranger raids. He sees a new militant spirit in the wake of the Trump victory rousing “lazy leftists”.

At Freedom SleepOut #70 last week Freedom Sleepers wielding video and cell phones protected sleeping folks from a quartet of rangers. See

Both the Sentinel and an Indybay photographer covered the second Cop Corner protest by a small band of HUFFsters and their allies demanding release of the SCPD audio and video of their still anonymous officer(s) killing the mentally disabled Sean Arlt last month. See and

A third protest demanding full disclosure and an end to abusive police practices will be held Saturday November 19 1:30 PM at the Town Clock.

Audio visits to the Freedom SleepOuts and street interviews are a regular feature of Bathrovbespierre’s Broadsides, Robert Norse’s twice-weekly Free Radio Santa Cruz [FRSC] show at Past shows are archived at . As of last Friday, FRSC lost its transmitter site and is searching for a new one. See .

The Oakland encampment struggle goes on. See & .

Berkeley updates can be found at

Meanwhile in San Francisco, courts are throwing out thousands of “quality-of-life” harassment tickets–while Santa Cruz resists even the most basic (“End the Sleeping Ban”) reforms. See .

Street Spirit, a homeless newspaper, is regularly available at the Sub Rosa Cafe and from those selling it around town.

To post or read comments, go to:

As usual, this series of updates is written by Robert Norse; Keith McHenry and other faithfuls do the sleeping out.

2nd Weekly Protest at Cop Corner Draws Media–3rd “Hold Police Accountable” Rally Coming Up 1:30 PM at the TOWN CLOCK SATURDAY NOVEMBER 19TH

HUFF activists staged a small protest against ongoing police “closed door, closed windows’ policies around last month’s Sean Arlt slaying on the sidewalk outside the main police station at Laurel and Center streets Thursday afternoon (11-10).   Also on the HUFF agenda: on-going harassment and citation of poor and homeless people outside, and general police refusal to respond to Public Records Act requests on issues of SCPD force, transparency, selective enforcement, and surveillance.

Two journalists came and wrote about the protest, also taking pictures.

A third protest is planned for November 19th at the Town Clock at 1:30 PM.   We’re hoping to provide coffee and perhaps something to munch.  Also on the agenda–a speak-out, petition drive, and possible march to confront police stonewalling and politician indifference


Santa Cruz protesters call for full disclosure in Sean Arlt shooting


Local activist Robert Norse hands out fliers near the Santa Cruz Police Department on Thursday afternoon where demonstrators sought information regarding the shooting on Sean Arlt. (Kevin Johnson -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Local activist Robert Norse hands out fliers near the Santa Cruz Police Department on Thursday afternoon where demonstrators sought information regarding the shooting on Sean Arlt. (Kevin Johnson — Santa Cruz Sentinel)


SANTA CRUZ >> In a week that’s seen thousands of protesters descend on downtown Santa Cruz to protest the presidential election of Donald Trump, Thursday’s protest of the officer-involved shooting death of Sean Arlt seemed like an afterthought.

A handful of activists gathered at the corner of Laurel and Center streets and called for the release of information related to the Oct. 16 incident in which Arlt, a 32-year-old father who suffered from mental illness, was shot and killed by a Santa Cruz police officer after threatening four police officers with a 5-foot metal bow rake.

The demonstrators brandished signs that read “Ban Guns 4 Cops” and “Don’t shoot, I have an illness.” They also jogged into traffic to hand out fliers that read, “Enough Waiting! Turn Up the Heat! Who Killed Sean Arlt?”

“Why can’t the District Attorney’s Office release the name of the officer involved or the audio and video related to the shooting now? Why do they have to wait until the investigation is completed?” said organizer Robert Norse. “It gives the impression they’re concealing something.”


Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel has explained that recorded evidence from the incident, in addition to the officer’s identification, will be released to the public by the District Attorney’s Office in less than three months.

Norse is the founder of Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom, or HUFF. His organization has added the officer-involved shooting of Arlt onto its long list of grievances against the Santa Cruz Police Department.

“HUFF has had longstanding concerns about the SCPD’s relationship with the homeless and the poor,” Norse said. “We see Sean’s death as just another example of local police abuse.”

John and Patricia Colby identify as emotionally disabled and live in their van with two cats. The siblings said they were demonstrating Thursday to pressure the Santa Cruz police for full disclosure in the Arlt case.

The pair also have complaints about the Santa Cruz County Adult Mental Health Services, which they said provides poor treatment to the emotionally disabled.

“County Mental Health is quick to medicate people to make them easy to manage,” said John Colby, 52. “People are not willing to go to see them at Emeline for this reason.”

“They don’t listen,” said Patricia Colby, 55. “That’s why I get my medication overseen by a treating physician — because I don’t trust the county.”

         HUFF meets from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. every Wednesday at Sub Rosa Cafe, 703 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. For more information, visit

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Older and Colder- Back for Election Night SleepOut #70



Date Tuesday November 08
Time 4:00 PM – 9:00 AM
Location Details
Weathering new attacks by First Alarm “security” thugs, out-of-the-park Rangers, and idle SCPD officers, the Freedom Sleepers will plant themselves on the sidewalk and nearby brick areas. The goal: to make homeless sleep after 11 PM is a right and not a crime. This in an increasingly homeless-aphobic town where there is shelter for only a handful of the 1000-2000 outside. Food Not Bombs and Joe Schultz will supply edibles and coffee. The event runs from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday mid-morning.
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email keith [at]
Phone 575-770–3377
Note: This posting is the perspective of Robert Norse. Keith McHenry is point person and organizer for the Freedom SleepOut.

As the Council election race ends, none of the candidates still running seem to have been particularly strong or specific in demanding police accountability and legal changes. Or an end to the anti-homeless sweeps now rough and regular. Some find hope in the past writings of some of the “New City Council” slate of Glover, Schnaar, S. Brown, and Krohn. They may be”the lesser evil” to the “Queen of Mean” Mayor Mathews slate of J. Brown, Singleton, and Watkins.

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Halt Lethal Practices by the SCPD: Cop Corner Protest Thursday November 3 1:30 PM at Center and Laurel

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) is concerned with the tepid reaction of the community, “social justice” organizations, and city council candidates to the SCPD slaying of Sean Arlt two weeks ago.

We are outraged at the subsequent stonewalling by City Manager Martin Bernal, Police Chief Kevin Vogel, Mayor Cynthia Mathews, and the entire Santa Cruz City Council–allowing the police to withhold the name of Arlt’s killer as well as the video and audio of the incident.

Join us to look for ways to raise the lethal issues that local police, their politician friends, and those in power generally choose to ignore. Up for discussion: a march to the D.A.’s office to demand release of the audio and video; a mass waiting room visit to the SCPD, an all night vigil and/or encampment outside the SCPD, and other proposals.
arlt_cop_corner_protest_for_11-3.pdf_600_.jpgDownload PDF (167.6kb)

updated_2015_flyer.pdf_600_.jpgDownload PDF (68.0kb)

Some of these issues have been raised for years. No answers. For the last year, the SCPD has withheld information on racial and class profiling. HUFF is looking for volunteers to help with Public Records Act discovery and analysis.
HUFF E-MAIL ARCHIVE AND BLOG. HUFF Blog About a dozen times a week HUFF activists send out e-mails about local protests, homeless news in Santa Cruz and other cities …

As Anger at the SCPD Rises, Freedom Sleepers Bed Down for Sidewalk Sleepout #68

Date Tuesday October 25

Time 2:30 PM Today- 9 AM Tomorrow

Location Details On the sidewalk outside the last pre-election City Council meeting in the wake of the SCPD’s Sean Arlt slaying, housed and unhoused folks are gathering again. The continuing target: the City’s anti-homeless 11 PM to 8:30 AM Sleeping Ban as a shelterless police-heavy winter looms. The safe-but-not-legal-sidewalk slumber event begins on Tuesday afternoon and goes through Wednesday morning.

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

Email keith [at]

Phone 575-770–3377


While folks chow down, chatter, and prepare to bed down, the afternoon Santa Cruz City Council meeting has absolutely nothing on its agenda indicating any awareness of or concern for with the upcoming winter ordeal for unhoused folks.

And nothing on what some are calling the SCPD murder and cover-up of Sean Smith-Arlt Sunday before last when he was gunned down facing four police officers within 20 seconds for wielding a metal rake. Video and audio footage is still not being provided, nor the names of the killer(s).

Activists led by Abbi Samuels and Sherri Conable have called for a mass presence at 4 PM in front of City Hall to be followed by a public speak-out at 5 PM Oral Communications. Some have suggested that the real Speak-Out be outside when Mayor Mathews imposes her “two-minute” speaker limitation (within a total of half hour “allowed”). Repetitive staff presentations on agenda items may take up far more than half an hour.

Beyond who shot Arlt and where’s the video/audio, some activists have demanded restoration of a stronger Citizens Police Review Board process, the prior one dismantled by Mathews and others when they were on the Council in 2003. Unfortunately government run CPRB’s have been severely limited by the Officer’s “Bill of Rights” and the Copley court decision of 2006 shielding the militarized police departments of the state from public exposure. (See ).

This has led one activist to suggest that private agencies need to take the lead in any “independent investigations” of police brutality and murder. More broadly, will the militarization of the Santa Cruz police continue to be fueled by acceptance of state and federal grants? Will the City Council keep up its refusal to require police accountability? Its current token review subcommittee is the Public Safety Committee, and its overseer–the $40,000-a-year no-info-to-the-public attorney Bob Aaronson.

A listing of this year’s fatal police shootings nationwide can be found at . One activist has pointed out that police shootings nationally are usually 1 out of 17 of all fatal shootings. In Santa Cruz, it’s 1 out of 5 this year.

Meanwhile one homeless man reported his arm broken by SCPD in the midst of an arrest; another woman is going to court tomorrow to fight a year old “Resisting Arrest” charge; friends of a third fear she faces loss of her service dog as part of the “Homeless Mistreat Dogs” movement that seems to have become more overt in the past few months. More on this at the HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) meeting on Wednesday October 26 11 AM Sub Rosa Cafe).

Both the SCPD and the ACLU seem to have had little to say about surveillance devices funded by government money in Santa Cruz that look out and video record public places. A Public Records Act request for a listing of these places was initially met with the ridiculous claim that no such records exist. A second request was met with delay until mid-November–well after last night’s ACLU Surveillance Forum.

This forum, of course, reportedly had little mention of the current police surveillance–how extensive it was, how long the records are retained, whether the public has access to them. Nor has the local ACLU shown any concern about this issue (nor about homeless issues generally unless pushed to the wall by unhoused folks and activists).

Where are the SCPD audio and video tapes? What will folks do to demand their return?

How about a video-in at the police station with person after person walking up to request they be made public?
(A sign in the police lobby bans video or audio recording, something also posted in other city offices. But since there is no expectation of privacy in public places and since these so-called “public servants” are supposed to be accountable to the public, this is a complete (if often effective) bluff.

Will the public move beyond a ceremonial mourning session at the Town Clock on Sunday and a polite “stand-in-line-and-then-go-home” protest at City Council today at 5 PM?

What next public pressuring event is planned by those outraged by this latest killing (and the SCPD’s shoot-to-kill training and practice)? Or will the good liberals all trek home after a token showing today as they did when the BeatCat was slipped by the public?

HUFF will be grumbling about this issue over coffee tomorrow, as mentioned above.

This is the last Council meeting before the November 8th vote deadline when voters will decide whether to return Mayor Mathews and her slate of police apologists to office.

More Notes on Tonight’s Anti-Police Brutality Day Protest and Remembrance of the Sean Arlt Slaying at 6:30 PM Tonight 10-22 at the Town Clock

I encourage folks to focus on the institutionalized police abuse in Santa Cruz that extends far beyond the killing of Sean Arlt.   As Black Lives Matter has been demanding, October 22nd is a national day of seeking an end to the violence and injustice which is endemic in police departments across the country–including the Santa Cruz Police Department.

Campaign Zero, initiated by the police murders of Michael Brown and Oscar Grant, proposes reforms that should be taken up by activists. See .

HUFF has tried to get a record of police citations for sleeping, laying out bedding, and being in a park after dark (all survival behaviors in a town with shelter for less than 5% of those outside). As well as a record of how many of such cruel, costly, and unconstitutional citations are taken to court. We have been stonewalled by the SCPD and by its enablers in the City Attorney’s office.

Some have suggested that it would be “disrespectful” to those mourning Sean Arlt to spotlight general Santa Cruz police abuses and the crying need for radical change there. I disagree. I feel it shows the kind of rage and determination to act that Santa Cruz activists need to move beyond pious words, calls for “better police training”, and “let’s move on” suggestions.

In distributing word of the “Manifesto of Love” protest a few days ago to the HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) e-mail list, I included the following notes.

“Mainstream” Santa Cruz activists have generally been reluctant to confront Santa Cruz police abuse by name and incident. With some exceptions (surveillance equipment, the Bearcat scandal), broader policies have been ignored.

It’s time to link up with reform movements in other cities and demand real changes here.