Protest and Evening Battle Likely at City Council -Tuesday 2-12-19

NOTES BY NORSE:   This article by Councilmember Glover and attached commentary gives some important background on the evening session coming up at City Council for Tuesday night.  A speak-out and protest outside Council chambers will begin at 6:15 PM with food supplied by Jumbogumbo Joe Schultz of India Joze.
                 Originally, the protest was intended to focus on continued harassment by SCPD and P & R rangers harassing and citing homeless folks in public places, with some reports that folks living in their own camps were being driven to the Ross Camp.  Though the Ross Camp has been provided with some more (but still inadequate) facilities in the last month, it is still badly overcrowded and under severe pressure from raging neighbors.
                 In response, HUFF called for additional campgrounds, laundry and shower services, and the end to citations for being in a park after dark, reopening public bathrooms during the day and at night city-wide, and protecting the rights of those whose homes are their vehicles.
                 Councilmembers Glover and Krohn were rebuffed on rent control/just eviction and then by the City Manager and Mayor Watkins for not putting homelessness on the last January Council meeting.  In response, Glover mobilized his interns to propose 6 measures in consultation with homeless activists, and folks from Ross Camp and the RV community itemized in the PDF’s attached to his Indybay story  “The Fierce Urgency of Now”.
                  Glover and Krohn may have a 4-person majority on City Council not just to pass the homelessness resolutions, but also to rein in Mayor “One Minute” Martine Watkins censorship proclivities which were in full foul flower at the last Council meeting.  Speaking times were reduced to one minute, speakers were excluded, speakers were interrupted, and oral communications was crunched and contracted in her desire to “welcome” a foreign delegation from Japan.  There was little protest if any from the “Progressives” at the January meetings.
                   Unless members of the audience demand it vocally, there’s no guarantee we won’t see a repeat of this disgraceful performance on February 12th.  Folks need to come in numbers, ready to speak out, unroll sleeping bags, hold up signs, and stand their ground.
                    Note that there is no mention of rent control or just eviction, just a fig leaf proposal for yet another Task Force that will babble while tenants and their supporters get driven out of town.
                    Review Glover’s article and the attached documents.  Check also the “Flyer for 2-10-19 City Council Protest” which gives more details.
                    Come on down to City Council on Tuesday at 6:15 PM.  Form connections with folks at the Ross Campground.  Contact City Council by e-mail ( )or phone (831-420-5020) .  And contact HUFF at 423-4833 or to be advised of upcoming flash protests and to resist the demolition of the Ross Campground.
The Fierce Urgency of Now
by Santa Cruz City Councilmember Drew Glover
Friday Feb 8th, 2019 10:45 PM
This Wednesday I went to the “Ross Camp” with some of the interns that work with me at the Resource Center for Nonviolence to get an update on the situation and to engage people in a conversation about poverty. As we arrived we met Mel Nunez, a dedicated advocate for the poor and representative from our local faith communities. [Photo: The view of the Ross Camp from the River Street side.]
original image (1280×720)
We joined him in passing out anti-microbial “Bombas” socks, fresh apples, salad greens, spinach and water. It was almost immediately after we arrived that people began to approach us expressing their need for food, materials and clothing…
Story continues at and the comments that follow.

RV and Surivival Sleepers in Vehicles: Air Concerns with Each Other and the Police Chief


Rally and Press Conference at the Santa Cruz Police Station Fountain Area Thursday January 10th 1:30 PM 155 Center St.  at corner of Laurel St.

  • Are you being pressured or threatened to move your vehicle more frequently than the legal resting period of 72 hours?  Are strange chalk marks appearing on your tires?
  • Are hostile housed locals suggesting you have no right to park on the public streets?
  • Are you awakened by rude pounding, shouting, and banging in the dead of night?
  • Is your family or loved one being made to feel unwelcome in a neighborhood in which you’ve parked for less than 72 hours?

    +++ Come and tell the community what’s been happening to you and your family. +++ Share suggestions and advice on “smart survival tactics”, “diplomatic camping”, and an appreciation of your rights and responsibilities as a car camper.

    +++ Demand the new City Council and Police Chief Andy Mills direct officers to follow the law Chief Mills has agreed to be present to answer questions and concerns.

    More info; report violations  :  Contact Vehicular Tenants Hotline at 234-2067

Vote for the Best Spot to Camp as City Council Abandons the Homeless Camp November 15th

Polling Folks Outside for November 15th
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at]
Tuesday Nov 6th, 2018 9:06 AM
This poll was distributed yesterday at the Red Church meal and will be made available to unhoused (and housed) folks throughout the City to provide input for the march on November 15th to begin at the Town Clock and lead to a Campsite.

Download PDF (663.7kb)

Download and Distribute

You may also e-mail your vote to rnorse3 [at] or leave it at the Food Not Bombs literature table Sat/Sun 4-6 PM just outside the main Post Office fence or at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific Ave. when it’s open.

More info at (“More Fences, More Tickets, Less Winter Shelter, More Cruelty”)

Even more info: (“Campground Crisis As Winter Approaches”)

§History of the Campground Controversy

by Robert Norse Tuesday Nov 6th, 2018 9:06 AM

Download PDF (227.4kb)

A detailed account of the last year’s slitherings of the City Council and staff to present the illusion of shelter which actually covers only a small fraction of those outside in Santa Cruz. And even less this winter than last winter.

More Fences, More Tickets, Less Winter Shelter, More Cruelty

More Fences, More Tickets, Less Winter Shelter, More Cruelty

Make your voice heard at City Council – Tuesday, October 23, 2018
4:00PM - Santa Cruz City Hall – 809 Center St, Santa Cruz
Free meal provided

Santa Cruz awarded $3.3 million for homeless…Closes the River Street Camp and pubic parks?

On October 17th, Sentinel journalist, Jessica York, reported that the River Street Campground will be shut down in November, with some of its members relocated into a scaled down Winter Shelter program at the VFW Hall on 7th Avenue. The VFW site will sleep  60 people and open only during evening hours, with a first-come, first-served model that does not allow pets and has limited possession storage.

On the same day that the Sentinel announced the closing of the River Street Campground city officials fenced off San Lorenzo and Grant Street Parks, closed its bathrooms and posted signs saying “PARK CLOSED Until further notice for – Focused Maintenance – Public Safety”. Workers started to replace the fence at the Post Office with a permanent iron fence  on Monday, October 22, 2018.

Private security guards were busy rousting homeless people from the San Lorenzo telling them to cross the river into downtown. The city has already fenced off Garfield, Star of the Sea, and Laurel Parks, closed the Louden Nelson bathrooms  and is stepping up harassment of those without housing seeking a place to rest downtown.

Santa Cruz currently has no walk-in shelter with long waiting lists for programs at the Homeless Services Center.  Police and rangers are also violating the Martin v. City of Boise – Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against ticketing and arresting people who have no place to sleep subjecting local homeless community members to what the court says is cruel and unusual punishment. The waiting list at the River Street Shelter is closed.

The County of Santa Cruz was just awarded  $3.3 million in State and federal grants to help house homeless individuals and families yet few are being housed and instead they are being fenced out of public space.

Join us and speak out at City Council.  – Call 1-800-884-1136 to get involved

Attachments area

Tonight 7-19-18 at 6 PM Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides on Free Radio Santa Cruz at 101.3 FM, Reports from Amber of Berkeley, Seniors at Louden Nelson–the Battle for Open Bathrooms–and Brent Adams’ Survival-Storage Update

  • Update from Berkeley:  Amber Whitson Holding Ground in Berkeley for RV Dwellers
  • Lavatory-Challenged Seniors and Locals  Larry, Beverly, and Carrie Ann Give the Bathroom Blues at the Tuesday “Open the Bathrooms” Tabling at Louden Nelson.
  • Brent Adams on the Storage Struggle and Other Homeless Updates
  • Sacramento Court Throws Out The Anti-Panhandling Ordinance
  • Interviews and Music from Laurel Park Protest Petitioning for Reopening of the Louden Nelson Bathrooms

The show will archive in the near future under Lost Shows on the HUFF website at  
Look for Latest Show – 7/12/2018  Thursday, July 19, 2018 – Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides.

Pee & Poo Protest: Reopen Essential Bathrooms for the Public and the Poor : Tuesday, July 17 1:30 PM Louden Nelson Center/Laurel Park

While San Lorenzo Park bathrooms have finally been opened after sustained protest, Louden Nelson bathrooms remain closed to the poor unless they can prove to the satisfaction of the staff there that they are “part of a program” there–something that has never been required in the decades long history of the Center.

Alarmed visitors have suggested this results in discriminatory action against poor people, particularly impacting the most needy–those outside without shelter, the disabled, and the elderly.

The closure prompted the local ACLU (never the most forthcoming in opposing anti-homeless measures) to publicly denounce the bathroom and other recently-instituted abusive policies there (like the iron fence, new “unattended property” rules, and roaming “security” guards). And to move its meetings to the Resource Center for Nonviolence.

See “ACLU Statement of Opposition to Anti-Homeless Measures at Louden Nelson Center and Park” at

Absurdly and abusively, an elderly woman forced to pee outside because denied access prompted six police officers to arrive.


(For those unable to access this article, see the comment following this story for its full text.) Go to .

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom) voted to begin tabling at Louden Nelson to maintain the focus on the original focus of Conscience and Action’s first series of protests.

Our goal: to sample public opinion, determine Louden Nelson exclusionary policy in action, gather signatures opposing the closing of the Louden Nelson bathrooms, and alert the community to the situation and possible alternative solutions…

We’ll be tabling at 1:30 PM Tuesday July 17th in back of the Louden Nelson Center (and registering voters as well). Anyone interested can join us.

Recently, after four delays, Parks and Recreation finally forwarded a mass of e-mails, which I’m beginning to go through to determine what the justification (other than prejudice and gentrification) is for closing the bathrooms.

Folks who want to check through these documents on their own can go to

Santa Cruz City Manager Refuses to Reopen Louden Nelson/San Lorenzo Park Bathrooms

Closed as part of a broader campaign targeting unhoused folks outside, the bathrooms at Louden Nelson Center, San Lorenzo Park, and City Hall remained locked and/or closed to the general public. City Manager Martin Bernal ducked an invitation to explain at a gathering a week ago. He then met the next day with Conscience-and-Action [C&A] activists and rejected suggestions to reopen the bathrooms or immediately provide additional accessible portapotties.
Confronted with an earlier protest outside her office three weeks ago, Carol Scurich, interim Director of Parks and Recreation, rejected demands to reopen the Louden Nelson bathrooms. She promised to provide full documentation justifying the closings (vandalism, drug use, “offensive behavior”). Weeks later, she, her underlings, and her superiors had still not provided that documentation.

In response, C & A activists showed up with food, placards, literature, and chants at City Hall at high noon on Thursday, June 28th.

Louden Nelson supervisors have not only closed its bathrooms to anyone not using its “programs” but instituted a detailed set of rules for its premises, which it now terms “a cafe”. These include proper “personal hygiene, attire, and food consumption” and a ban against “leaving personal property unattended”. In addition, uniformed Ranger and 1st Alarm security thugs now patrol the area, and the entire adjacent park is fenced off.

All of this has been done with no public or community process.

On June 29th at an hour long meeting, C & A activists asked Bernal what damage or other problems prompted the closing of six restrooms. Bernal told us he would “look into” the matter, consider opening up more portapotties, a list of reasons why the bathrooms were closed, and several other vague prospects. But he did not mention that he was leaving the next day on a vacation. Meanwhile, City officials delayed any final action on a Public Records Act seeking the chronology of incidents and decisions around the bathroom closures. The request was made over a month ago and has now been delayed three times.

Visitor’s bathrooms at Cafe Gratitude and Pizza My Heart, previously funded by the city and open to the public, are now open only to customers with a discouraging sign on the door prominently displayed. Only Bookshop Santa Cruz, Main Public Library, Metro Transit Center, the Locust and Soquel St. Garages have bathroom access and only during the day for the general public. Two portapotties on Cedar St., and one at Laurel and Front allow for 24 hour use, but are not available to many disabled people. Those using them have complained they are dirty, ill-lit, and frequently locked.

In possible response to recent outrage over the closures, city workers have unlocked the two portapotties previously open only after 10 PM on Cedar St..

The late June “Less Crap, More Crappers” protest drew 15-20 members, sporting signs reading “Right to Pee”, “Open the Damn Bathrooms” “If Not Here, then Where?”, “Toilet Liberator”, “Pay Taxes–Hold Your Pee”, and the brief but succinct “Enough Crap!”

A number of speakers, many of them homeless, described the humiliating and unsanitary conditions created by the closed bathrooms and locked portapotties. Suggestions ranged from applying for the currently vacant permanent Director of Parks and Rec position, to the more radical idea of presenting staff with human waste cleaned up outside the locked facilities to document the extent of the problem.

Much of protest was captured on a video made by visiting Salinas homeless advocate Wes White at

Louden Nelson bathrooms remained closed to the general public; San Lorenzo Park bathrooms remain closed and locked to everyone. Portapotties and handwashing …

Acting City Administrator/Clerk Bush herself provided sharp focus on the “no bathrooms for the homeless here” policy at City Hall. Several protesters noticed the City Hall Women’s bathroom was open instead of being locked as it had since the Freedom Sleeper protests began in mid-2015.

Pleased to see the City Hall authorities responding uncharacteristically to the obvious needs, I then asked Bush to open Men’s bathroom as well. She archly refused then quickly moved to close the women’s bathroom as well. Though the staff has its own bathrooms inside the building as well, Bush and her worker Anna Brooks added insult to injury. Minutes later they refused to allow a disabled woman access to either the privileged staff bathroom inside the Council offices or the previously public bathroom outside Council chambers. Instead Brooks handed Norse a “helpful” list of open-during-the-day bathrooms blocks away elsewhere in the City. The library’s bathroom across the street was reportedly closed.

When a group of people demanded to know the reasons for this discriminatory behavior (against the homeless, the disabled, and the general public), Bush summoned the police. Four cops headed by Sgt. Mark Eveleth appeared in full uniform and weaponry. Eveleth threatened, coaxed, and herded the group outside with his four “back-up” officers standing behind him. When asked, Eveleth declined to offer any assistance in dealing with stressed bladders or irritated colons, instead stating falsely that the same Bush, who had ordered the Women’s bathroom locked minutes before, “had no key”..

The subsequent meeting with Bathroom Boss Bernal resulted in lots of smooth ducking and weaving, but no commitment to do anything definite other than “look into” providing more of the disabled inaccessible portapotties. Those interested in following the smelly dialogue can review the audio soon on “Latest Shows” under (for July 1 and July 5).

Proposals at a recent meeting of the C&A group included tabling outside the scene of the criminal bathroom closures–the Louden Nelson Center. There HUFF activists hope to poll community members on their reaction to the “no poo for the poor” policy now in force. Tablers would also monitor and document discriminatory access to the bathrooms and provide an opportunity for folks to voice their views in petition and on the radio.

Contact HUFF at 831-423-4833 if you’re interested or e-mail at rnorse3 [at]

The views expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily represent those of others in Conscience and Action. However, the group is pretty much united in demanding that the closed bathrooms be reopened.

HUFF has for decades demanded more bathrooms be made available and began its own “Give a Shit” campaign a year ago protesting Bernal’s closure of the City Hall bathrooms in 2015 apparently designed to drive away the Freedom Sleepers and Survival Sleepers who gathered outside.

HUFF meets Wednesday July 11th at 11 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe (703 Pacific) to discuss creative ways of raising a stink. Subsequent meetings: July 25, August 8. CONSCIENCE AND ACTION MEETS July 18 and August 1 at the same place

“Open the Bathrooms!” at
“City of Santa Cruz Confiscates Food Not Bombs Portable Toilet” at
“Conscience and Action Speak Out at Parks and Rec” at

Speak Out to Bathroom Boss Bernal–Community to Confront City Manager 1 PM Thursday June 28th City Hall Courtyard

Open the Bathrooms!
Thursday June 28 1:00 PM3:00 PM
City Hall Courtyard  809 Center St.


Louden Nelson bathrooms remained closed to the general public; San Lorenzo Park bathrooms remain closed and locked to everyone.

Portapotties and handwashing stations are no longer available in San Lorenzo Park as they were last fall.

The nighttime-only portapotty on Cedar St. is not disabled accessible.

City Hall bathrooms remain closed to the public except during public meetings, while staff has its own commodious bathrooms closed to the public.

Locust Street garage bathrooms have the exposed peek-a-boo spaces in the stalls that compromise the privacy and dignity of user. Staff and cafe patrons are given keys to the cleaner, more spacious, closed private bathroom nearby owned by the City.

The portapotty rented by Food Not Bombs two weeks ago for use as a 24-hour facility by the Community at the intersection of Front, Pacific, and Mission streets has been removed, apparently on orders of the City and not replaced.

No new Sharps containers have appeared in any bathrooms to deal with the problems of needle disposal.

Parks and Recreation boss Carol Scurich has not revealed any documents specifying the reasons, costs, and private discussions resulting in the closing of the Louden Nelson bathrooms to the general public in spite of promises to do so.

City Manager Martin Bernal is Scurich’s boss and has been invited to answer obvious questions about this public health and safety threat. It impacts the local elderly and disabled as well as tourists and the broader community. It also seemed to be part of a sustained and direct attack on unhoused people, scapegoating them in response to unsubstantiated fears by some pressure groups in the community.


Come to the City Council Courtyard Fountain area at 1 PM Thursday June 28th to speak out on the issue, direct questions at Martin Bernal and other city officials.

Food and refreshments will likely be available as will music.

Be creative in your dress and accessories. Bring TP and other sanitary necessities.

The protest may involve a Downtown Toilet Tour as well, led by HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom’s “Give a Shit” Committee).

Those unable to attend the protest can reach Martin Bernal at mbernal [at] . Carol Scurich is at cscurich [at] . The City Council’s e-mail is citycouncil [at] . Please cc Conscience and Action at rnorse3 [at] if you write.

Conscience and Action was formed as a tribute to long-time Sleeping Ban fighter David Silva who died last spring overseas.

More info at: (City of Santa Cruz Confiscates Food Not Bombs Portable Toilet)

The City of Santa Cruz confiscated the Food Not Bombs community funded portable toilet on Saturday, June 16. Access to public toilets is a human right. Every person deserves the dignity of relieving themselves in a private sanitary way. (Conscience and Action Speak Out at Parks and Rec)

A speak out and rally was held on Thursday, June 14 at noon protesting the closure by Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department of bathrooms at San Lorenzo Park and Louden Nelson Community Center. The action, attended by 23-30 concerned citizens, began at City Hall and moved to the Park and Rec … (Bathroom Baloney–Expanded Speech to City Council on its anti-homeless restrooms policies)’ (Downtown Santa Cruz Bathroom Task Force)


Download PDF (519.6kb)