Silence in the Santa Cruz Police Department in the Wake of the Boise “No Shelter For All Means No Sleeping Ban For Any” Decision

Police Chief Andy Mills announced at the City Council’s August 20th Public Safety Committee meeting that though Sleeping Ban citations have dropped over the winter, citations for “trespass”–in essence, falling asleep in parks, the Pogonip, and on public property declared “closed” at night (such as City Hall) have increased.  

See Jessica York’s Sentinel story at: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/general-news/20180821/crime-declines-despite-safety-concerns-in-santa-cruz

More recently, she collaborated in a story on the Boise 9th Circuit Court decision–which directly impacts Santa Cruz: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20180910/santa-cruz-may-update-homeless-no-camping-law-in-wake-of-federal-ruling .  

To hear the audio of Chief Mills testimony before the Public Safety Committee, go to http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub_PSCom/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=1124&doctype=AGENDA  (about an hour into the audio file).


There is currently no  walk-in homeless emergency shelter.  I’ve been told that even the River St. mini-shelter’s waiting list at Coral St. is closed.  Even when open, beds available to those not sent by County Mental Health are a grand total of 3.  So the so-called “safety valve” that allows people to sign up for the River St. or Paul Lee loft shelters and then get sleeping ban tickets dismissed if ticketed on nights when on the list no longer operates.


And the City has no Winter Shelter program planned at the scale of last year, simply an expansion of current Paul Lee and River St. Campground’s programs which require a “pathway to housing”, have full waiting lists, or both.


So what’s up, Chief Mills.   Feel free to e-mail Andy with your own inquiry at amills@cityofsantacruz.com .


I and Freedom Sleeper activist Abbi Samuels asked Mills about this continued harassment and ticketing of homeless folks.   Particularly now that the City’s police are legally vulnerable to lawsuit because of the Boise decision.

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/09/16/18817548.php

Sunday 3-4-18 9:30 AM-2:30 PM Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides at 101.3 FM & freakradio.org: Flashback Free! All Current Calamaties with special focus on the Destruction of the San Lorenzo Benchlands Campground and the new Barbed-Wire Boneyard

Current Stuff:

  • Interviews aplenty from City Manager-created refugees on the last days of the San Lorenzo Campground
  • Big Drum Brent Adams on the Boneyard River St. Campground with additional remarks by employees there
  • First They Came For the Homeless self-run encampment activist Stacy on the Berkeley Alternative
  • “Push Back”  Pat Colby on the Santa Cruz Street Scene
  • L.A.’s Peggy Lee Kennedy on the Fight Against the Beach Curfew
  • Gloomy gobs of grim from the last City Council meeting
  • On-going updates and looks back from Food Not Bombs activist Keith McHenry

This show archives tomorrow or perhaps later today at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html

Leave your comments and questions at 831-423-4833.

Contact 575-770-3377 to volunteer to help Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs locally through Facebook. Donate blankets tents, and tarps to folks directly on the street (80% of the homeless population) either directly or through the Warming Center Project  at 831-234-9848.

Check out Homeless Outside in Santa Cruz  on Facebook for grim details of the Boneyard River St. Campground.
HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) meets Wednesday 3-7-11 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe (next to the Bike Church at 703 Pacific).  Coffee on the house.

Call 423-4833 to volunteer for or learn more about civil rights work on homeless civil rights issues.

HUFF in the Wilds: Special meeting 10:15 AM Wednesday 2-28-18 at San Lorenzo Benchlands Look for the Protest Signs

We will be moving from our usual Sub Rosa location next to the Bike Church to the San Lorenzo Benchlands as the City forces campers to leave.

  PLEASE COME DOWN TO SAN LORENZO PARK TODAY TO ASSIST FOLKS:

    •   Help document the mass deportation to nowhere with audio and camera
    •   Assist, if you wish, in helping move homeless gear
    •   Support the Warming Center, Food Not Bombs,  HUFF and other activists in documenting, providing resources, & publicizing the situation.
    •   Back up homeless efforts to organize either as in protest or to demand adequate and accessible facilities.
    •   Exchange information with other supporters there to generate more communication and better solutions in the future


    UP FOR DISCUSSION AS WE EYEBALL THE BENCHLAND EVICTIONS:

  • More Reports from Santa Ana Riverbed Encampment,
  • Communicating with Other Encampments to the North and South
  • Stories from the Street Around Us

 

Several Suggested Strategies for Those Left Outside

A double-sided flier I circulated today and will do again tomorrow, energy willing. The San Lorenzo Benchlands area contains scores of tents which now face eviction. The “humanitarian” cover for this removal operation is a $90,000/month fenced off area on the edge of town at 1220 River St. with unclear access policies and three levels of policing (internal hosts, First Alarm Security outside, and a nearby mobile Police Substation.

The deadline for eviction tomorrow, according to workers at the River St. campground, is 11 AM. While I found numerous City-funded workers helping move homeless property from San Lorenzo to River St. today, there is clearly no place for most homeless people in the City to go.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) activists will be down at the San Lorenzo Campground to observe and document the eviction of the poorest in our community 10:15 AM Wednesday 2-28.  Join us and post any video you take.
Read more and make comments at

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/02/27/18807021.php

Flyer is at https://www.indybay.org/uploads/2018/02/27/campground_evictions__side_one.pdf
and https://www.indybay.org/uploads/2018/02/27/campground_evictions_side_two.pdf

LAST DAY OF THE SAN LORENZO CAMPGROUND? COME DOWN TO DOCUMENT THE CREATION OF INTERNAL REFUGEES!

According to Channel 8, today, Tuesday February 27th, is the last day for survival campers in the San Lorenzo Benchlands.  


      The only immediate campground alternatives is a barbed wire-ringed fenced-off space at the edge of town at 1220 River St.  It looks to be 1/3 the size of the current San Lorenzo campground.   Homeless people are considered too dangerous to be able to walk to and from the campground, so those using it must be ferried to and from.  It is reportedly already almost completely filled.  It costs $90,000 a month–which is likely far     more than was spent on San Lorenzo, with only a fraction of its clients.  Homeless advocates and homeless people were not consulted in its creation.  Its existence seems more of a fluffy PR cover for the elimination of the San Lorenzo campground with no real alternatives..

       The other “shelter alternative” is the Winter Shelter program slated to end in mid April. It involves body searches, strict entering and leaving times, and other aspects that make it unsuitable for many outside.  It is current limited to around 110 people.  There are no plans for a summer shelter program other than the “have your ‘Path to Housing’ cash or vouchers” ready program of the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center.

        Given these sober facts, it’s nonsense to believe government claims that San Lorenzo campers are being given a real alternative –at least for most.  Much of the ballyhoo around these “shelter proposals” seems simply to be a way of dressing up mass eviction & possible crackdown city-wide.

        The San Lorenzo campground was initially created as a “toleration” zone given the Hepatitis A epidemic.  Won’t removing the campground recreate the bad conditions?


       PLEASE COME DOWN TO SAN LORENZO PARK TODAY TO ASSIST FOLKS.

  •   Help document the mass deportation to nowhere with audio and camera
  •   Assist, if you wish, in helping move homeless gear
  •   Support the Warming Center, Food Not Bombs,  HUFF and other activists in documenting, providing resources, & publicizing the situation.
  •   Back up homeless efforts to organize either as in protest or to demand adequate and accessible facilities.
  •   Exchange information with other supporters there to generate more communication and better solutions in the future.


This e-mail is from HUFF and does not necessarily represent the views of the Warming Center or Food Not Bombs
.

A LONGER E-MAIL WITH MORE DETAILS WILL FOLLOW

       PLEASE COME DOWN TO SAN LORENZO PARK TODAY 

    •   Help document the mass deportation to nowhere with audio and camera
  •   Assist, if you wish, in helping move homeless gear
  •   Support the Warming Center, Food Not Bombs,  HUFF and other activists in documenting, providing resources, & publicizing the situation.
  •   Back up homeless efforts to organize either as in protest or to demand adequate and accessible facilities.
  •   Exchange information with other supporters there to generate more communication and better solutions in the future.

This e-mail is the opinion of HUFF and does not necessarily represent the views of Food Not Bombs or the Warming Center.

Speaking Back to the Sentinel on the San Lorenzo Campground

A Response to Jessica York’s Latest Sentinel San Lorenzo Campground Story
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
Saturday Feb 3rd, 2018 9:24 AM

TO LEAVE OR VIEW COMMENTS, GO TO: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/02/03/18806465.php

Jessica York’s front-page story in today’s Scent Anal “Camp Cleanups Shuffle City’s Homeless Population” breezes over the destruction of homeless property and survival gear. It does indicate that City bosses colluded with Cal-Trans in the latest “destroy their stuff” campaign. Those bosses, of course, would be City Manager Bernal, Police Chief Mills, P & R head Garcia, and nominally Mayor Terrazas). Perhaps it’s just raw meat for the Next Door/Take Back Santa Cruz crowd, but it’s criminal cruelty nonetheless.

Most of this was left as a Disquis comment to the article. I’ll also be covering some of this on my Sunday Free Radio Show at 101.3 FM at 9:30 AM (also freakradio.org) which archives at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/Lostshows.html .

Those who want to can leave comments on the Sentinel story at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20180202/camp-cleanups-shuffle-santa-cruzs-homeless-population-around-city.   Beware the bigot barrage likely to follow, since the Comment section is largely a Bigot’s Banquet.   I’m also reprinting the story below, since who wants to pay $1.50 to buy this rag, and it’s no longer free on line.

The “clean-up” was actually wholesale property removal that refused to provide temporary storage. Brent Adams mentions this and the prior “force the folks to move and dump the property that remains” process during the previous clean-up (but not during the first one). See https://www.facebook.com/Ho… .

The City’s ridiculous justification for this policy (some storage unclaimed in previous clean-up’s) reveals its real motivation. This is akin to the apparent agenda of most posters here–to thin out the homeless population by forced removal and property destruction. That should increase the homeless death rate, already high this last year.

York’s irrelevant inclusion of the storage problems of a camper not necessarily connected with San Lorenzo Park reveals her own bias, but also ironically is an example of the problem that many campers and the fearful residents who complain about then, have: storage.

This is a problem that Adams and the City arranged to deal with, but that storage agreement the City backed out on at the last minute, claiming it needed to “prepare” the ludicrously inadequate “Boneyard” barbed wire campground at 1220 River St.. This small space can house only a fraction of those at San Lorenzo (itself only a fraction of the homeless) and will require users being bused in and out twice a day to pander to the paranoia of businesses nearby.

Activists in the community need to consider providing trash pick-up’s and portapotty rental for the many existing campgrounds that reappear after every sweep. I also suggest better communications with the campgrounds in order to document that illegal property theft and destruction of survival gear that the City is colluding with Cal-Trans to do.

If they get hit in the pocketbook with some hefty lawsuits, like Fresno, perhaps we’ll see a little less city-funded theft (http://abc30.com/archive/61....

Camp cleanups shuffle Santa Cruz’s homeless population around city
By Jessica A. York, Santa Cruz Sentinel

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20180202/camp-cleanups-shuffle-santa-cruzs-homeless-population-around-city

SANTA CRUZ >> Santa Cruz’s homeless population was put on the move this week, as separate encampment cleanups around the city coincided.

Santa Cruz Police Deputy Chief Rick Martinez told the city Public Safety Committee on Monday to expect Caltrans cleanups along Highway 1 to have rippling impacts throughout the rest of the city, relocating the city’s homeless to parks and open spaces, downtown and the neighborhoods.

“Hopefully we can find that magical place called ‘somewhere else’ where those can receive a system of care and get them off the streets,” Martinez said. He said “hundreds of people” were residing along Highway 1, past the bypass to Santa Cruz Memorial and uphill to Mission Street.

Caltrans crews began their Santa Cruz cleanup efforts on Jan. 26, said Caltrans District 5 spokeswoman Susana Cruz. Caltrans has targeted properties along Ocean Street, along the San Lorenzo River, Swift Street and Western Drive since then, she said. More cleanups are scheduled for Shaffer Road and Plymouth Street in coming weeks, Cruz said.

Martinez told the commission that Santa Cruz officials had asked Caltrans to address the growing number of encampments on their properties since October or November of last year.

“This has been going on for years,” Cruz said of Caltrans crews’ efforts to address trash buildup and homeless encampments in Santa Cruz. “They (Caltrans workers) do do this, but they have a list of work that they have to do, so every once in a while, they have to stop and just take care of the encampment thing, the homeless issue.”

Separately, residents of the city’s largest homeless encampment, comprised of 70 or more people in tents along the San Lorenzo Park benchlands, were temporarily evicted Tuesday evening through Thursday morning for a semi-regular city site cleanup effort. While past city camp cleanups have extended for only 24 hours, an extra half day was allotted this week due to the extended duration of time needed by campers to clear the area, city Parks and Recreation Director Mauro Garcia said.

By the conclusion of the cleanup Wednesday, city Public Works and Parks and Recreation workers had loaded some 2.6 tons of debris into a packer truck, Santa Cruz city spokeswoman Eileen Cross said. A 20-yard Dumpster on site has been averaging 2.5 to 3 tons of trash per pickup, for a cumulative 17.2 tons of trash collected since Oct. 30, Cross said.

Homelessness issues advocate Brent Adams has been posting videos of day-to-day experiences of people living at the benchlands through his Homeless Outside in Santa Cruz Facebook page. During this week’s camp clear-out, Adams spoke to several people who relocated to temporary camps near the Water Street Bridge.

When campers returned to the benchlands Thursday, they saw the nearly 60 outlined campsite spaces reduced by one space that had been damaged by a camper who dug deep trenches around and through their site, Garcia said. Though his department’s general rule has been to restrict one tent per campsite, city workers have been “flexible in enforcing this rule, depending on the situation.” Some campers have been allowed to set up secondary “E-Z Up” tent structures to extend their shelter space, Garcia said.

During the benchlands cleanup, the city dispensed with offering overnight storage space for campers’ possessions, an amenity officials had previously provided, because “several storage bins from previous cleanups have not been claimed,” Garcia said.

In a likely unrelated occurrence, storage-related issues came to a head for one man who told officials he had been evicted from an Eastside private storage space and then opted to store his possessions on Santa Cruz City Schools’ property at the Branciforte Small Schools campus Thursday and Friday.

Though an on-site school administrator was aware of the man’s actions and permitted it temporarily, his extended stay caught the attention of local residents and Santa Cruz police, said department spokeswoman Joyce Blaschke. The man was cited by police and his possessions picked up by a moving truck Friday afternoon, Blaschke said.

Impending Uprooting on San Lorenzo Campground?

Eviction Notice Posted for Santa Cruz Benchlands Hooverville
by Free Speech Matters   Sunday Nov 5th, 2017 11:40 AM

After being rousted from downtown Santa Cruz and given San Lorenzo Park, homeless people are being told to move again.
sm_eviction-notice-san-lorenzo-park.jpg

The Hooverville-type camp on the benchlands in San Lorenzo Park now faces eviction. A notice was posted closing the park for “maintenance” on Thursday 9 November 2017.

Homeless people began occuping the benchlands after the Santa Cruz police vowed to “clean-up the downtown area”. When asked were they could go, the police told the homeless that they could go to San Lorenzo Park. Police Chief Andrew Mills declared, From the Clock Tower to Laurel Street, from Front to Center Streets, SCPD will spend the resources needed to ensure order. “

Now the City Parks Department says it is time to move along.

§Hooverville-type Camp Santa Cruz Park Benchlands

by Free Speech Matters Sunday Nov 5th, 2017 11:40 AM
sm_park-benchlands-hooverville-camp.jpg

Homeless people moved here after being rousted from downtown

Gorillas in the Mist: Are the Goonsquads Coming?

by Robert Norse  Monday Nov 6th, 2017 4:18 AM


CAMOUFLAGE FOR ELIMINATION?
The danger that this is an eviction and not a one-day relocation for “park maintenance” is real.

It’s not really clear what kind of “maintenance” is required here. I’ve never heard of the park being closed totally to the public (other than the usual privatized-for-a-day financial scams) for this purpose.

I suppose it could be a genuine “clean up” operation since San Lorenzo hasn’t seen so massive a continuous occupation since the Occupy movement of Fall 2011.

However there’s been no reassurance (whatever weight that would really have) from Police Chief Andy Mills and Parks Czar Mauro Garcia–much less from the City Council–that the “maintenance” will be followed by restoration of the campground tolerance (and portapotty/washing station/trash pickup support).

So this could be a dress rehersal for an evict-and-deport operation timed to operate with the opening of (as usual very limited) Winter Shelter program on November 15th.

BERKELEY CRACKDOWN
This also comes at a time when Berkeley’s successful “Sanctuary Village” style encampment “Here…There” (earlier known as First they Came for the Homeless) was driven off last Saturday by BART goon squads after a peaceful period of ten months there with community support.

See “No Justice. Just Law. A Tale of Homelessness and Eviction.” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/10/30/18804059.php, “Homeless Eviction Farewell Party to South Berkeley ” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/11/02/18804141.php

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges at HERE/THERE, beg in the streets or steal loaves of bread. Tomorrow morning …

See also http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2017-11-03/article/46218?headline=The-Poor-Tour-Hits-the-Road-Again–Carol-Denney,

On the upside, note the unusual order by the federal judge Alsop.

While denying the camp’s call for a stay of execution, he also demands of Berkeley and the campers that by late November they come up with “a practical plan for shelter for its homeless during the coming winter…. Do not simply recite the programs the City purports to offer, for they are admittedly insufficient. Submit a plan that will shelter substantially all of Berkeley’s homeless. ..Be specific. Name soccer fields and open spaces [that could be converted].. to tent cities.”

This is a rare call for information from an otherwise-hostile Federal judge (he denied the campers attempt to stop the BART demolition of the camp).

See http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2017-11-03/article/46206?headline=A-Judge-Allows-an-Eviction-but-Sends-a-Signal–Carol-Denney

ORGANIZING RESPONSE THERE BUT NOT HERE?
In Berkeley the Here…There camp had a history of being stalked and attacked by police agencies over a dozen times. http://www.berkeleyside.com/2016/12/21/berkeley-removes-homeless-camp-from-adeline-st-median/

The cat-and-mouse game between Berkeley and a homeless activist group continued early on Wednesday when city officials rousted about 25 people from their tents and …

City authorities finally realized–as Portland authorities did with the Dignity Camp that became Dignity Village in 2002–that they weren’t going to destroy the integrity and determination of the camp. So for ten months, they stopped the police raids, even yielding under pressure to allow a nearby portapotty to be set up.

Now displaced camp residents have already set up camp again at City Hall. See https://www.facebook.com/firsttheycameforthehomeless/ . The determination not to end the protest-and-survive camp has been renewed with community support.

First they came for the homeless. 4,194 likes · 430 talking about this. Action campaign for human rights.

CAN SANTA CRUZ RISE TO THE CHALLENGE?
In Santa Cruz, the same support kept the Freedom Sleepers going for 2 years until City Manager Martin Bernal unilaterally declared new “laws” banning constitutional protest there after dark.

Food Not Bombs, newly strengthened with volunteers, has brought food to the Freedom Sleeper encampment every Tuesday. Some activists there have discussed solidarity with the campers when the police come to remove the survival campers on (or before) November 9th.

Weekend warriors can e-mail Mills at amills [at] cityofsantacruz.com and Garcia at mgarcia [at] cityofsantacruz.com. Not to mention citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com .

Of course, the more direct course is to go down to San Lorenzo Park and offer support and solidarity to the campers themselves.

Or contact Food not Bombs at the Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs facebook page. You can also reach HUFF at 831-423-4833.

Today’s Meeting Cancelled–HUFF Retreats in Mourning over Council’s Ballooning of Police Anti-Homeless Powers in Deceptively Named “School Safety” Zones 9-13

The usual Sub Rosa Cafe 11 AM meeting at 703 Pacific tomorrow (Wednesday September 13) will not be formally happening today, although the Cafe may be open and some HUFF members may be there.

A description of the nasty law expanded police selective enforcement powers can be found at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/09/12/18802845.php (“Stacked Deck Stay-Away Law Expansion Promises More Pain for Poor Outside“)   If you’d like to help review the Public Records (still not fully disclosed) and/or help fight the Stay-Away orders as they are individually levied on homeless folks, contact Food Not Bombs  or HUFF  (numbers below).

Tune in at 7 PM Thursday 9-14 on Free Radio Santa Cruz to hear an interview with Police Chief Andy Mills, whose supportive (and misleading) testimony helped pass the toxic Stay-Away expansion 4-3  (Mayor Chase unexpectedly joined the opposition with Brown and Krohn).
If you abhor meetings and wish to work on Public Records, Help compile accounts of Police/Ranger abuses, Monitor the new Library Rules, and/or Assist in getting interviews for Free Radio broadcasts or You-Tube Postings, contact Bathrobespierre Robert at 831-423-4833.  Activists around Food Not Bombs and the Freedom Sleepers are also looking for help gathering volunteers for the support meals on Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday as well as folks who want to help homeless harassed with citations for Being Visibly Homeless.  Contact them at 575-770-3377

Toxic Expansion of Stay-Away Ordinance Hits Council Agenda Today

Tuesday Aug 22nd, 2017 8:41 AM
City Council will vote on the First Reading of a harsh law expanding Councilmember Terrazas’ 4-Year old Anti-Homeless law today at its 2:30 PM Session. The law targets homeless community members, triples the current $200 fines for sleeping, being in a “park” after dark, obstructing the sidewalk, etc. It vastly expands the unconstitutional sweep of the current 13.08.100.
Agenda item #20 carries the deceptive ““Schools Safety Enhancement Zones” label to describe the vast expansion of police power

Familiar anti-homeless language like “nuisance crime” and illegal behavior” are the usual code words for harassing and expelling homeless people from public spaces in a city with no available shelter for hundreds.

The proposed law will include not just anyone within 300′ of a school, but anyone in any of the following parks as well as any adjacent sidewalks and public spaces: Arana Gulch Neary Lagoon Depot Park Poets Beach Flats Park Harvey West Park Pogonip (Open Space) Louden Nelson Park Sergeant Derby Park Mission Plaza Park Star of the Sea Park Moore Creek (Open Space) University Terrace Park .

If you’re given a citation–even it’s unjustified, and dropped short of court–you are banned from the area (and other prior areas if you’ve received citations there) for 72 hours.

Since 2013, the use of “we don’t need to charge you in court” Stay-Away orders, have systematically and specifically impacted if not targeted homeless folks.

The “crime wave” being addressed is the usual: sleeping, being in a park after dark, smoking. Hundreds of citations and stay away orders were issued to folks

No actual specifics regarding these “crimes” are provided in the staff report. Nor are there any particulars of the great threat to the schools that is used to label this grotesque expansion of police power.

It also provides massive police powers too criminalize protesters, particularly homeless ones.

Second reading will be required which may give folks a little organizing time to speak against it in two weeks when it reappears for a rubberstamping.

There are many more details which I’m hoping to expand on in a future story.

Agenda report: http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/d5tnqexznorzejga3wurjtew/463088208222017083904996.PDF

Ordinance: http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/d5tnqexznorzejga3wurjtew/463088308222017083954745.PDF

 

TO COMMENT GO TO: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/08/22/18802084.php

FightBack against City Manager’s Anti-Homeless Signs at City Hall

Throughout the past week, unhoused folks, who some call the Survival Sleepers, have defied the latest drive-em-out edicts of City Manager Martin Bernal. Other activists are planning protests at City Council next Tuesday. Bernal has refused to answer simple questions about his newly posted signs. Mayor Chase in a recent interview refused to put the issue on the May 23rd Agenda for Public Discussion and Vote.
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