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.
sm_santa-cruz-city-hall-personal-survival-property.jpg

[ 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 .

Emergency Freedom Sleepers Sleep Out Tonight

DateFriday May 12

Time6:00 PM6:00 AM 

Location Details 809 Center St. City Hall Courtyard and Sidewalk along Center St

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (posting by Norse)

Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net

Phone 575-770–3377 

PLEASE ATTEND !

The City Manager, Martín Bernal made a number of policy changes that will have an impact on those without housing all across Santa Cruz, the Freedom Sleepers and the Survival Sleepers at City Hall.

The City of Santa Cruz has made it illegal to be at City Hall from 6:00 PM to 7:00 AM Monday through Friday and has closed all of the City Hall grounds on Saturday and Sunday. The signs posted this morning also ban amplified sound without a permit, personal property on sidewalks, walls or pathways, bicycles or sitting, lying on sidewalks, walls, pathways or courtyard areas. There are reports that these policies will be enforced at a number of other city buildings in Santa Cruz.

Library staff have also reported that City Manager, Martín Bernal will be removing the benches outside the library and stationing two or more police officers at City Hall.

The Freedom Sleepers campaign inspired an attempt by Councilpersons Don Lane and Micah Posner to seek a change in the camping ban in March 2016 to make it legal to sleep outside, ending the law that made it a crime to sleep outside or in a vehicle from 11:00 PM to 8:30 AM.

Their proposed change failed to gain enough votes. In response to pressure from the Freedom Sleepers the council did create a Homelessness Coordinating Committee whose report was introduced at the May 9, 2017 City Council meeting.

Local unhoused people started their own nightly protest at City Hall the night after the Winter Shelter closed who are referred to as the Survival Sleepers.

Signs stating that it is illegal to participate in the activities of the protest were posted this morning at City Hall. More signs restricting the homeless were placed at the Downtown Library this afternoon.

To see the new posted restrictions go to https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155150021813820&set=a.489759988819.266614.691903819&type=3&theater

PLEASE JOIN US WITH VIDEO AND AUDIO EVEN IF YOU CAN’T STAY THE NIGHT!

Please contact Keith McHenry at 575-770-3377

Support the Survival Sleepers on May 9th; Add a Dose of Reality to the Evening City Council Meeting; Time to Reclaim Public Spaces for the Community and Rights for the Unhoused

Yesterday former Councilmember Micah Posner posted an appeal for folks to come to a protest march and sleepout on Tuesday May 9th, beginning at the County Building at 3:30 PM, going to the main Post Office and its anti-homeless fence, and arriving at City Council at 5 PM in time for Oral Communications.   At 7 PM City Council will have an evening session billed as a consideration of a Homelessness Study.  Human rights supporters are encouraged to bring bags, blankets, and nightwear into City Council for a sleep-out later that night.

To read Posner’s thoughts, go to his article “Homelessness: Our Failure As A Society” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/05/05/18799186.php

My article below is a comment on his.

Focus on the Survival Sleeper Struggle

Missing from Micah’s analysis–good in many points–is any specific historical understanding of the role of City Council and its masters, the City Manager and his staff. Micah’s tendency to be deferential to the staff was unfortunately much in evidence when he was on City Council and can be very misleading to newcomers who want to understand the situation.

Much of the anti-homeless legislation, priorities, and attitudes in the last thirty years can be traced to an entrenched reactionary staff headed by City Manager Bernal, City Attorney Condotti (and before him Barisone), and other department heads who earn the big bucks. To excuse their behavior is to justify and perpetuate the abuses against poor people outside.

A PHONY REPORT
The Final Report of the Homelessness Coordinating Committee on the Council’s May 9th Evening Agenda is a bad joke. [http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/efyi3lsa1xpovuc2poq3qitk/457855405052017100625392.PDF ]

A better report is the Final Report of the Santa Cruz City Homeless Issues Task Force – at http://sccounty01.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/bds/Govstream/BDSvData/non_legacy/agendas/2000/20000502/PDF/020.pdf . It was ignored by the City Council and served as an activist “cooling off” tactic which effectively derailed protest. But there was sufficient pressure at that time for the report to actually recommend elimination of the entire Camping Ordinance as an emergency resolution many months before releasing the final report (p. 0064). For the City Council, the report served as protective cover and false reassurance. We have seen the pathetic results in the last 17 years.

Mayor Chase’s report is fluffed up with flowery and political correct blather about “ending homelessness” through “smart solutions”, more future plans, shifting responsibility to the County, and other false hopes. It is a complete facade that attempts to cover over and divert our attention from the actual behavior of city authorities towards unhoused folks to the glistening good intentions of two-faced politicos. To afford it any credibility and waste time “discussing” it is to play into the hands of those whose interest is in getting rid of the visible homeless, pandering to neighborhood bigots, and serving merchant interests. I.e. shifting the focus from what they’re doing to what they’re saying. Preserving the status quo.

It’s also a small clue, that the three Councilmembers who cooked up the report all voted last March to maintain the absurd and abusive 11 PM – 8:30 AM Sleeping Ban and have not changed their position.

WELL-MANNERED ACTIVISTS DON’T MAKE HERSTORY
As for the idea of “making nice” with the Council on Tuesday night (or thereafter).

Consider City Council’s recent history of almost continuous expansion of anti-homeless legislation, its contraction of support for shelter space (i.e. ignoring the conversion of the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center into a Homeless Prison/GrantGrabber), and its support of police mythology criminalizing homelessness and propagandizing the community with “public safety” nonsense and measures (closing the levee, intensifying Parks and Rec powers, winking at Bernal and Vogel’s attacks on activists).

It’s important that the community be made aware of this, not misled into believing that the Council is actually doing anything real or planning to do something real. The community has to be spurred to understand the legitimacy of outrage, and the need to ACT on that outrage. That is done by clearly defining the issues –clarifying who are the heroes and who are the villains. Whose actions show themselves to be the enemies of reform, and those who are waging the struggle.

BRING BAGGAGE AND FRIENDS
We need to take sleeping bags and blankets into City Hall and lay them down.

I was told that two trucks hauled away houseless folks property from City Hall two days ago and disposed of sleeping gear, blankets, and cloth as “trash”.

There can be no meaningful dialogue until there is the power of visible commitment. I have my doubts about pretty speeches and a one-night sleep out having much impact. In fact, they may fit quite well into the Council’s “see how democratic we are!” stance as they send cops and rangers in the next day to steal survival gear from those who remain after we liberals have gone home.

The “incremental” approach failed a year ago (in the token Sleeping Ban repeal vote). The notion that being “moderate” will attract the timid and tame the Neanderthals is simply wrong here. The Democrats have been proving that for years on the national scene. It’s a form of surrender before the struggle has begun.

SUPPORT THE SURVIVAL SLEEPERS
Meanwhile Survival Sleepers at City Hall are taking the real heat while we engage in media posturing. It is their nightly struggle, however unpretty and unpopular with the powerful that needs to be supported. As long as they choose to make it. That’s where our energy needs to be going as best we can.

Contact HUFF at 831-423-4833 to offer help to the survival sleepers. Suggestions are at https://www.indybay.org/uploads/2017/04/24/survivor_sleepers_sign-up_list.pdf .

A GOOD EXAMPLE
Black students up at UCSC have shown that direct action gets the goods.

And Reclaiming City Hall might be a very good start.

See you Tuesday night. With bag and bathrobe.

Freedom Sleepers # 94 – Sleep-Out to End the Sleeping Ban

Date Tuesday April 25
Time 3:00 PM – 12:00 AM
Location Details
Santa Cruz City Hall 809 Center Street, Santa Cruz
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry
FREEDOM SLEEPERS #94 – Sleep-out to end the sleeping ban – Please join us

Free food provided by Food Not Bombs and India Joze.

The campaign against the houseless of Santa Cruz is growing more repressive.

On Monday night April 17th the police came and kicked people out from under the city hall awning into the pouring rain during a very severe storm.

Wells Fargo Bank install “The Mosquito” high frequency box outside their downtown branch to drive people out from under their eves. They may have experienced an increase in people seeking shelter from the heavy rains from under their eves since the Anti-Homeless fence was placed around parts of the downtown Post Office. The city installed “The Mosquito” in several parks in the fall of 2014.

“The Mosquito” was placed under San Lorenzo River bridges downtown primarily to stop chronic illegal activity, Assistant City Manager Scott Collins said.

Abbi Samuels was arrested the night of April 13th while filming the police drive those seeking shelter under the City Hall awning out into the rain. She spent 18 and a half hours in jail before being freed without charges. 

Police and Rangers are confiscating survival blankets and sleeping bags even when spoken for or being watched by friends. Police even confiscated a broom and partially filled garbage bag and many pounds of survival gear from people at City Hall.

A few days later Park Rangers confiscated several pick-up trucks full of personal belongings at the Civic Auditorium as people looked on helpless to do anything.

Freedom Sleepers Sleep-out #93 provides a view of the struggle facing those who are forced to live outside. Around 30 people slept outside Santa Cruz City Hall on the night of April 18 to 19, 2017.

Two Santa Cruz police officers arrived to City Hall at about 5:00 pm and arrested a person named Mark after he had gone up to the bike racks to retrieve his bicycle. He said he was arrested for violating a stay away order. Mark returned to City Hall to recover his backpack at about 11:30pm

Maile McGrew-Fredé hosted the All-In: A Community Seeks Solutions to Homelessness meeting at the Downtown Branch of the Santa Cruz Public Library at 6:00pm.  Over 30 people participated including several people who planned to sleep out at City Hall.

After the meeting ended Library staff shared that City Manager Martin Bernal was making several changes including the removal of the benches outside the library and the stationing of two police officer. The librarian also reported that the City Manager also planned to implement new restrictions to the area “like those at the Civic Auditorium” but these details were not clear.

After the All-In meeting members of the Freedom Sleepers gathered at city hall to plan a Tuesday, May 9th march from the County Building to the Downtown Post Office fence to City Hall agreeing on the message “HOUSING FOR ALL- No penalty for poverty”

Eight Santa Cruz Police officers arrived around 2:00 am and issued 13.04.011  Park After Hours tickets and 13.08.100 24 Hour Vacate stay away orders to 4 people, three of which had been sleeping on red brick or under the City Hall awning. One of those people was very ill and had been throwing up during the night.

Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry was one of the people who got a ticket while he was filming the police waking sleeping people. They put him in cuffs while they gave him an in the park after hours ticket. They also gave him a 24 hour stay away order and told him they’d be coming back in the morning to arrest him for a misdemeanor when he violates the stay away order by trying to clean up and share food. All people that received tickets for in park after hours also received a stay away order. It was freezing out!

Two Rangers arrived soon after breakfast was served at about 7:30 am. All was peaceful until a city employee arrived on Center Street with a leaf blower. She walked up to a person sleeping near Locust Street and blew a burst of dirt into his face. Keith McHenry asked her to refrain from using the leaf blower to assault people but she did not respond. 

The employee walked towards the Church Street end of Center and blasted dirt and someones paper bowl of food into the face of a man sitting on the stone wall.

City Manager Martin Bernal is one of the central proponents of the wave of anti-homeless laws and policies. He is paid  $216,158.90 per year by the people of Santa Cruz. Maybe we should go and wake him up at his 96 Brookwood Drive home.

Continue reading

Support the Freedom Sleepers and the Survival Sleeps on May 9th: Housing for All ! N o Penalty for Poverty!

3:30 PM County Building

4 PM Main Post Office Forbidden Fence
5 PM City Hall
Throughout the Night: Inside and Outside City Hall

While the federal government continues its efforts to eradicate the social safety net, the cost of housing in Santa Cruz continues to rise, creating an unstable situation locally, and leaving many of our poorest residents without homes. Local action to reduce the cost of housing and provide homes for all is long overdue.

A protest and march calling for a commitment to house all residents will begin on the steps of the County Building at 3:30PM on Tuesday May 9th, continue to the Post Office (which recently fenced its grounds to prevent people without homes from having access) and arrive at City Hall at 5PM in time for oral communication. The County Building is at 701 Ocean Street in downtown Santa Cruz. The City Hall is 809 Center Street.

Activists are calling for local government to take steps to insure that housing is available at a reasonable rate, to provide emergency shelter for the houseless, and to decriminalize sleeping, among other measures.

Sherry (last name withheld to avoid persecution by City officials) has been sleeping at City Hall for a week since the winter shelter closed and left her without a place to be. “At least here,” she says, “I feel a little bit safer. It’s public and there are people around. Plus I like supporting other people who are in the same situation as me.”

Since Max doesn’t have another place to sleep anyway, his choice to sleep at City Hall is tactical, “I want them to see me here in the morning. I want them to see homeless people here until they do something about it.”

Rabbi Philip Posner was a freedom rider who spent 39 days in jail in Mississippi in 1961 as part of the civil rights movement. He views the treatment of the homeless as this generation’s call to conscience “A legal place to sleep is a human right. Criminalizing the homeless amounts to penalizing people for being poor.” Posner and his son Micah plan to sleep out at City Hall after the demonstration in solidarity. They are inviting people with and without homes to bring sleeping bags and join them in the unsanctioned act of sleeping on public property.

For more information contact:
Audrey Simmons: audreysimmons1995 [at] gmail.com. 805 540 8109
Steve Pleich: spleich [at] gmail.com. 831 466 6078
Keith McHenry: keith [at] foodnotbombs.net. 575-770-3377

Press Release by Micah Posner; Posting by Robert Norse

https://www.facebook.com/search/str/Santa+Cruz+Freedom+Sleepers/keywords_top

Struggle Against Sleeping Ban Becomes a Matter of Survival at City Hall

For the last 10 nights since the Winter Shelter program ended (a month earlier than Berkeley’s or Salinas’s), some of its refugees have been camped at City Hall, spending their nights and some of their days there as well.


Some are arrayed just outside the offices of Mayor Cynthia Chase and the same Council majority that kept sleeping a crime in a Council vote last spring.

I’ve written a flyer or two about the issue & distributed it at “liberal” activist gatherings like the Indivisible rally Saturday. So far no Indivisible groups have expressed interest in the 1000-2000 unsheltered or protesting local Trumpism here against our own poverty refugees.

suggestions_for_survival_sleepers.pdf_600_.jpg

Download PDF (492.0kb)

Survival sleeper Lawrence MacGregor reports police and security thugs driving disabled and elderly sleepers out from under the eaves of City Hall into the rain over the weekend. Another sleeper reported police and rangers following the sleepers across the street to the Civic Auditorium overhang where they then sought shelter–and driven from there. Both structures are vacant at night.

All bathrooms remained closed late at night; the City Hall bathrooms (apparently on the order of City Manager Martin Bernal) during the day as well “for vandalism” (though they seemed to work well enough when “respectable” groups were meeting in City Council chambers.

Video of the April 6th police expulsion raids is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVvpZ5RE9FI&feature=youtu.be .

Monterey County Union of the Homeless videographer Wes White’s video of the April 11th Memorial for Michael Mears–who reportedly died of hypothermia–is posted at https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=Santa%20Cruz%20Freedom%20Sleepers .

Freedom Sleepers will be meeting Tuesday night in front of City Hall at 7 PM to discuss preparations to support a May 9th mega-demo against the Sleeping Ban as well as support for the nightly Survival Sleepers. The meeting will follow a 6 PM meeting on the 2nd floor of the Main Public Library around the Homeless Crisis.

There will also be a free showing Wednesday April 19th up at UCSC at the Kresge Seminar Room #159. Featured will be Brent Adams’ “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”, Israel Dawson’s “Freedom Sleepers”, and Rebecca Gourevitch’s “Holding Out”.

Freedom SleepOut #93 will go from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday morning–the public is invited to drop in, stay awhile, bring blankets, sleeping bags, and video devices to film and post what the City is seeking to hide or ignore–the abuse of homeless people at the very seat of government.

Continue reading

War Against the Poor and War Abroad Ramps Up

 Friday Apr 7th, 2017 8:49 AM

There have been nearly two years of weekly overnight protests on the sidewalks adjoining City Hall (the Freedom Sleepers) and a month of nightly protests (a group I call the Survival Sleepers) at the same spot. Now, the day after Fuhrer Trump has directly attacked Syria, escalating to the brink of nuclear war, SCPD attacked the poor sheltering themselves under the eaves of the City Hall and arrested Freedom Sleeper Abbi Samuels as she videoed the abuse. The Winter Shelter program (sheltering 110 of the 1000-2000 Santa Cruz homeless) ends today.
end_two_wars_flier.pdf_600_.jpg

Download PDF (378.4kb)

For further information on the Survival Sleepers and Freedom Sleepers go to https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/04/03/18797961.php .

For broader information about protests against Trump’s Nuclear Poker escalation in Syria, see https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/04/06/18798074.php .

§Activists from the Bay Area Respond

by Robert Norse Friday Apr 7th, 2017 8:49 AM
stop_the_wars_before_they_stop_the_world.pdf_600_.jpg

Download PDF (431.0kb)

Denounce City Council’s Toothless Sanctuary Law, then Join Freedom SleepOut #88

Date Tuesday March 14

Time 3:00 PM – 9:00 AM  

Location Details Join the fun in front of City Hall at 809 Center St. on the brick entranceway to the “City Hall Courtyard”from Tuesday Afternoon through Wednesday mid-morning. The area was declared a “park” to give Parks and Recreation Rangers power to exclude homeless folks guilty of nothing but sleeping there at night in an unprecedented due process-free process on pain of a year in jail. Food and festivities will begin near (or perhaps inside) City Council chambers. The Gang of Seven will finalize an empty Sanctuary law that provides no enforcement provisions, nor accountability for Chief Vogel’s concealment of an ICE agent for the last 8 years. While Council creates a phony “Sanctuary” for the undocumented, real sanctuary for the local homeless isn’t even on the table.

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net

Phone 575-770–3377

CAN’T DRIVE OFF THOSE FREEDOM SLEEPERS
Freedom Sleepers will be returning Tuesday afternoon and evening as the weather turns warmer with videocam capability at the ready to discourage and document abusive behavior and false statements by cops and rangers–who have freely stolen homeless gear and lied to protesters about their rights.

POLICE THIEVES STILL HOLD HOMELESS GEAR
Homeless survival gear has not been returned to Lawrence MacGregor or Dreamcatcher–a large tent in Lawrence’s case; ID, a mobile carrying cart and many other items for Dreamcatcher.

PHONIES PROPOSE TOOTHLESS LAW WITH THEIR POLICE SHUTTING OUT THE LARGER COMMUNITY
Item #14 on the Afternoon Agenda is the 2nd and Final Reading of the Sanctuary Ordinance which “forbids” city employees (including police) from “requesting, disclosing, or maintaining” immigration status information or aiding in enforcement (with plenty of exceptions) as well as informing City Council (but not the community) AFTER but not BEFORE immigration raids occur. There are no penalties for those who violate the law and no right to sue the City if it acts contrary to this law.

The Council meeting will again be held in the City Council chambers instead of the larger Civic Auditorium–this time in mid-afternoon. This means a large crowd of people can be excluded, as happened last time with a heavy police presence and folks kept out in the cold while the Council presented its fluffy resolution and law as a figleaf to cover SCPD collusion with ICE/DHS abuses.

MEMORIAL PLANNED FOR APRIL 11TH FOR HYPOTHERMIA VICTIM AT FREEDOM SLEEPOUT #92
Keith McHenry notes “53 year-old Micheal Mear died of hypothermia on February 17, 2017. Medical staff reportedly told his sister his body temperature was only 70 degrees when a motorist found him unconscious on Potrero Street. He died soon after from cardiac arrest at Dominican Hospital.”

Photos and commentary on Michael Randell Mear June 21,1963 – February 17, 2017 at https://www.facebook.com/keith.mchenry.fnb/media_set?set=a.10154959373258820.1073741880.691903819&type=3

“STARVE ‘EM OUT OF SIGHT” BIGOTS ERECT CHAIN LINK FENCE AROUND DOWNTOWN POST OFFICE
“Protect my $140,000 condo downtown” may be the real motivation for Janet Fardette’s petition to drive away Food Not Bombs from its Saturday and Sunday meals on the sidewalk near the main post office. While Fardette’s on-line petition has only cleared 100 names, McHenry’s counterpetition boasts of over 1000.

Freedom Sleeper activists, grateful for Food Not Bombs regular feedings at the Tuesday Freedom SleepOuts, encourage folks to stop by the SleepOut as well as the Saturday and Sunday meals outside the Post Office (4-6 PM) to sign letters to the Postmaster, emphasizing the importance of the Food Not Bombs meals and community gatherings.

To read more details on the Post Office’s most recent uglification campaign erecting a “separation fence” as well as the festive community response, go to “Anti-Homeless Fence Decorating Party”at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/03/13/18797382.php

Berkeley and San Francisco have resisted profiteering attempts to privatize local post offices successfully erecting and sustaining homeless encampments in front of the threatened buildings. The protests sprang from First They Came for the Homeless [FTCFTH]–which evolved from the Occupy movement. Assembling and refusing to stay dispersed next to these buildings has been the tactic used. It’s unclear whether Santa Cruz will adopt a similar strategy, but one Berkeley activist has declared himself ready to “hop on the next bus down” to support such a move. FTCFTH has now gone two months without a warning or bust after being threatened, harassed and/or attacked by police more than 15 times.

CITY CLAIMS TO WANT “COMMUNITY INPUT” IN SEARCH FOR NEW POLICE CHIEF
Go and make your concerns about the SCPD’s collusion with ICE/DHS, its “shoot to kill” policy, its failure to hold individual officers or the chief responsible for human rights abuses by attending meetings: Wednesday, March 15th in the Police Department Community Room (155 Center St Santa Cruz) from 7:00-9:00pm. and Thursday, March 16th at the Beach Flats Community Center (1333 Leibrandt Ave. Santa Cruz) from 7:00-9:00pm. Both events will be bilingual.

You can also fill out a “Community Survey” on line.
English – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TM3VF99
Spanish – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/B9SXTVW

In the past, only large numbers of people have gotten even a limited response from the police and their politician friends as happened February 14 when shouting activists disrupted a Council intent on gagging a speaker victimized by the ICE/DHS raids the day before.

TO READ AND MAKE COMMENTS, GO TO https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/03/14/18797413.php

Beating Back the Local Trumpskees in Progressive Clothing–Freedom SleepOut #87

Showing Contempt for Local Trumpite Sleeping Ban Enforcement—-

Freedom SleepOut #87


Date
Tuesday March 07 Time 4:00 PM – 9:00 AM

Location Details Again Besieging the Balmy Bigots at City Hall–809 Center St.—in the City Hall Courtyard both there and on the sidewalk. Sleeping bags, blankets, cameras, and hot soup are our weapons. From Tuesday afternoon through mid-morning Wednesday. Help needed posting videos on line to showcase the antics of the Sleepbuster Scalawags who stalk Freedom Sleepers by night and by day.

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net

Phone 575-770–3377

HYPOTHERMIA PAYBACK HITS ELDERLY DISABLED HOMELESS MAN
Freedom Sleeper activists reported last week learning of the death of local homeless man Michael Meers, disabled with a foot injury.

Warming Center founder Brent Adams noted “On our coldest night of the year, he showed up with no shoes and soiled pants…We changed his clothes, offered personal care and gave him a coat and layers of clothes. He didn’t want the women’s rain boots we had given him – even though they fit him. He slept well that night. [At other times Meers]…rested in doorways and behind buildings. limited and painful gate….[The night Meers died] we were [open and] at a remote location. [Even though] I did a shuttle sweep of downtown that night – I didn’t find him.”

Freedom Sleeper activist Abbi Samuels has announced they will be having a memorial for him.

WINTER SHELTER CUTS TRANSPORT FOR DISABLED?
Adams notes further that “the AFC [Association of Faith Communities] Winter Shelter has been refusing people with physical challenges like Micheal’s. They’ve even stopped using the handicap accessible lift on their shuttle bus.”

In order for folks to use the 110 spaces [for an unhoused population of 1000-2000 in the City], they must walk out to the edge of town past the Tannery on Highway 9 by 4 PM in the afternoon. The program refuses to allow people to go directly to the downtown Salvation Army shelter where worker Steve Pleich has attempted to move the “intake facility” from its distant and difficult-for-disabled-to-access location.

BATHROOM BAN STILL ON?
Brent also noted that the Warming Center has been “hosting people who’ve been relieving themselves in their pants for several days.” There is no indication that the City staff has opened the City Council Courtyard “park” bathrooms during the night or even in a timely manner during the day, a concern that Freedom Sleepers brought directly to the staff at a prior Freedom SleepOut

FOOD NOT BOMBS ORGANIZING EVENT AND PRESENTATION……………….

FRIDAY MARCH 10 at 6:30 pm
Keith McHenry has announced he’ll be speaking at the Resource Center for Non-Violence in an organizational and educational meeting for activists at 612 Ocean St. The theme of the talk will be “Taking Direct Action To Resist Fascism”.

Food Not Bombs has been regularly feeding Freedom Sleepers Tuesday evening as well as providing hot vegan food to all comers outside the main post office on Saturday and Sunday 4-6 PM. It is currently resisting an attempt by right-wing residents to drive them away. Sign their petition at https://www.change.org/p/support-the-right-of-food-not-bombs-to-share-free-food-info-and-ideas-in-public-spaces-in-sc/ .

Story at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/03/02/18796921.php ["Anti-homeless group tries to drive Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs out of sight"]

The Homeless (Lack of) Services Center [HLOSC} continue to refuse to open its meals to the community as Food Not Bombs, Calvary Episcopal, the St. Francis Soup Kitchen and other groups do.

New public records, secured by Councilmember Chris Krohn, show collusion between the SCPD, Harvey West Businesses, and City Parking Boss Marlin Granlund to ban all parking on Coral St. and other nearby streets, requiring disabled folks to park blocks away from to the HLOSC to use the limited services they still provide.

NO RECORDS YET FROM THE SCPD; CLAIM FORMS STILL CENSORED FROM COUNCIL AGENDA
Police are still withholding witness accounts and the D.A.’s investigation into SCPD Officer Eric Bailey’s gundown of Sean Arlt last October. Councilmember Krohn has not publicly demanded these records be released, as earlier records were of the Officer Conor Carey’s killing of “Happy” John Dine in 1997
see “Unasked Questions, Foregone Conclusions” at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/076.Unasked%20Questions,%20Forgone%20Conclusions=1-98.pdf
&
http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/077.Happy%20John%20Dine‘s%20Death=1-98.pdf
&
http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/078.John%20Dine‘s%20Death%20(cont.)=1-98.pdf

Nor has there been a response to records of communications between the SCPD and the Department Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement to resolve the contradictory stories of Chief Kevin Vogel and Spokesperson Schwab of the DHS.

On the upside, City Hall has released records of all claims against the City filed in the last year. An activist requested that pending claims be placed on the City Council in the original form presented by those claiming damages against the city for abusive or negligent behavior. City Administrator Bren Lehr has so far declined to do this, concealing contact information–which prevents the public from giving meaningful testimony at the Closed session which precedes City Council. This is particularly important in cases of police violence–which often gets little if any coverage in the local media.

1984 READING PROMPTS ACTIVIST RESPONSE
George Orwell’s warning novel 1984 got a public reading at the Bookshop Santa Cruz, owned and run by the Coonerty family, that has long excluded key Sleeping Ban opponents. The store owners have targeted Freedom Sleep supporters Becky Johnson, Robert Norse, and a slew of others who’ve denounced Neal and Ryan Coonerty for their political actions as Councilmembers creating anti-homeless city policy.

Last week, the Bookshop Coonerty featured an exclusionary reading of Orwell’s grim warning against political repression. (See http://goodtimes.sc/cover-stories/orwell-1984-trump/ )

Activists responded with an informational flyer outlining the various law and practices developed in Santa Cruz in significant part with Coonerty leadership or support and the general silence of the “progressive” community.