Freedom SleepOut Enters Its 80th Week Challenging Trumpist Sleeping Ban Locally

Location Details Alongside City Hall across from the Main Library on Center St. In Vehicles, sleeping bags, and under tarps and tents. The protest runs from Tuesday afternoon to mid-morning Wednesday. Bring plenty of warm gear to use and to share. Hot soup and morning coffee are usually available.
Event Type
Protest
Organizer/Author
Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone
575-770–3377

With numbers somewhat diminished from 3 AM police roust-em-into-the-rain raids, the occasionally-open Warming Center, and the walk-to-the-outskirts-of-town-to-get-sheltered-downtown Winter Shelter program, Freedom Sleepers continue their year and a half Tuesday night vigil.

PROTESTS AGAINST TRUMP
There are protests aplenty planned for the Trump Coronation coming up this weekend (elsewhere on this website). Missing however is any focus on halting repressive policies being pushed by both DemoRats and RepubliCons. These polices most obviously include continued warmongering, wealth privilege, police power, extensive deportations, and–most especially–attacks on the poor outside. In Santa Cruz neither Democrats, Republicans, or Greens in office have moved to stop criminalization of the homeless or acted to secure their most basic survival rights.

UPCOMING
Between 4 PM and 5 PM Thursday January 19, Freedom Sleeper Pat Colby will be joining the 19th Annual Homelessness Marathon–which will stream on Free Radio Santa Cruz at http://www.freakradio.org or directly from their home website at http://news.homelessnessmarathon.org/2011/01/for-stations.html . More info at http://news.homelessnessmarathon.org/ . The entire broadcast runs from 4 PM to 8 PM.

Tenant activists are planning a free meal and story-swaping session where you can ” meet other renters and learn about rights you have under state, county, and city law. Plus presentations on successful renter protection actions. Sunday at 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM at 517B Mission Street. No landlords or property managers invited!

ELSEWHERE
First They Came for the Homeless Encampment in Berkeley In 16th Move: Interview with activists Mike Lee and Sara Menefee at http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb170115.mp3 (1 hour and 14 minutes into the audio file)

A new vigil at SF City Hall and a 24-Hour vigil for the recently-dead Homeless by Homeless and Activists rather than the Traditional Annual Mourn-Today-and-Watch-’em-Die-Tomorrow Remembrance: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/15/18795366.php

In Salinas the Monterey County Union of the Homeless huddled for its 1st Anniversary Strategy Session yesterday. See http://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/2017/01/16/homeless-advocates-invoke-mlk-spirit/96646004/

In Sacramento, city bosses respond to pressure from media and activists to open winter refuge from the storms: See https://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/storm-of-shame-social-media/content?oid=23337757

Sign the Petition to Stop Raids on Berkeley’s First They Came for the Homeless Encampment

NOTE FROM NORSE:  The attacks on the 3 month old First They Came for the Homeless Encampment in Berkeley and “get out of town” harassment and exclusion practices of Berkeley police and so-called
social services must end.   Santa Cruz cops and their Ranger friends do the same here towards our weekly Freedom Sleepers and the broader unhoused community with our “new” City Council silent as near-freezing temperatures and cold rains assault folks, stripped of their survival gear and forced to move from the shelter of the edges of buildings.
I’m no fan of “Move On” e-mails generally, but First They Came for the Homeless (go to https://www.facebook.com/firsttheycameforthehomeless/ ) has asked that there be a flood of e-mails, and this is one way to do it.  Nor am I necessarily in agreement with every decision made by that group, but it’s clear that the regular and toxic attacks on the poor outside can only be stopped by community pressure.   What I call “local Trumpism”–which has long been the policy both in Berkeley and Santa Cruz has to be fought with local pushback.
First they came for the homeless. 3,164 likes · 148 talking about this. Action campaign for human rights.

 

Subject: City of Berkeley: Stop Raids on the Homeless
Hi,
I signed a petition to Berkeley City Council and Dee Williams-Ridley, City Manager titled “City of Berkeley: Stop Raids on the Homeless”.
Will you sign this petition? Click here:
Thanks!

Freedom SleepOut #79 Swims Toward Justice Tuesday Night

Date Tuesday January 10- Wednesday January 11
Time
4:00 PM Tuesday -  9 AM Wednesday
Location Details Under the eaves of City Hall until driven away by “peace officers” and “park protection rangers” and then on the wet sidewalks outside City Hall. Bring cardboard, canvas, protective gear, video, and friends. The protest runs from 4 PM today to mid-morning Wednesday.
Event Type
Protest
Organizer/Author
Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

ANOTHER NIGHT OF ENDURANCE
In wretched cold wet weather, the Freedom Sleepers continue the vigil that was begun 78 weeks before outside the offices of the City Council members who have the power to end the Sleeping Ban, permit protective encampments, open up vacant buildings for shelter, and actually protect the homeless population instead of criminalizing them.

City Council however, has nothing on its agenda for its first meeting of the year–in the shortest meeting scheduled in memory. Ironically one of the only two regular proposals is a Sanctuary proposal for undocumented workers. Meanwhile, police active persecute and harass the city’s own displaced poor.

KROHN’S OPTIONS
Councilmember Krohn will be meeting with the public 9 AM today at the Cafe Pergolesi at Cedar and Elm Streets this morning before the vigil. He has the power to request police reports on the amount of ticketing and harassment done throughout the winter and in the last year (records still withheld by the police department). He can pressure the opening of bathrooms at night by demanding detailed reports on the actual needs of a homeless population of 1000-2000.

He can openly demand documentation of the amount of homeless property taken by police and rangers and insist that such seizures of survival gear stop (as the Denver mayor has finally done). There are many such demands of staff that do not require a Council vote (which he’s not likely to get).

THE SCPD’S THROW-THEM-OUT-IN-THE-RAIN POLICY
At the last Freedom Sleepout in freezing rains, homeless advocate Dreamcatcher reported that police drove homeless sleepers out from under the protective eaves of City Hall into the rain and cold with no alternative places to go. The private Warming Center program and the 110-capacity Winter Shelter program have no shelter for more than 90% of the city’s homeless population. Police have reportedly made it a point in the particularly cruel weather to station vehicles outside public buildings to make sure the poor don’t dare to huddle under the overhangs for protection.

TENANTS ORGANIZING
The SC Tenant Organizing Committee plans a Tenants’ Community Meal on January 22nd! See https://www.facebook.com/events/404150676591692/ or call (831)-471-7842 for more info.
A broader union with tenants facing imminent homelessness could be a strong force for change.   Late afternoon organizing and door-knocking is planned for 1-10 @ 5pm, 1-12 @ 5:30pm, 1-15 @ 4pm, and 1-16 @ 5pm.

STANDING UP FOR JUSTICE
Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs responding to half a dozen arrests over the weekend of food servers in Tampa, Florida, will be joining in a solidarity feeding and protest 4 PM Saturday January 14th outside the Main Post Office.

RISING UP TOGETHER
Salinas Union of the Homeless will have its 2nd annual celebration at 22 Soledad St. 10 AM – 1 PM at the CSUMB Learning Center on Monday, January 16, 2017, Martin Luther King Day. Contact HUFF at 423-4833 for more information, or come to the Wednesday January 11th HUFF meeting at 11 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe.

DOWNTOWN STRUGGLE CONTINUES
Meanwhile in Santa Cruz, activist artists Joff Jones and Alex Skelton have blown the whistle on selective police enforcement against street artists, activists, and performers. See “Selective Enforcement documented on Pacific Ave” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/08/18795200.php .

Come prepared for wet weather and icy reception from uniformed thugs armed with the power of law and the force to lethally enforce it. Hot soup will likely be available.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freedom SleepOut #77: Sanctuary for the Local Homeless?

Date Tuesday December 27
Time
4:00 PM Tuesday - 9 AM Wednesday
Location Details At the edges of City Hall downtown along Center Street mostly between Locust and Church
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone 575-770–3377

LIBERALS ORGANIZE AGAINST ANTI-IMMIGRANT ATTACKS, IGNORE HATE AGAINST HOMELESS
While “mainstream activists” in the City and County gear up to resist Trump’s “deport the undocumented” (building on Obama’s record of 2 million+ deported during his two years), our own local refugees (perhaps you’ve heard of them–the homeless folks?) are demanding respect for their rights, health, and safety from marauding police, rangers, and security thugs in Freedom SleepOut #77. These displaced urban residents will be out on the sidewalk Tuesday night at the height of winter while those denouncing Trump (but implicitly supporting local Trumpism against the homeless) are away on vacation or snug at home in their beds.

The resistance meeting to defend the non-homeless undocumented locals happened last week (See “Santa Cruz Sanctuary Assembly” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/12/21/18794892.php?show_comments=1#18794944). So far none of these militant liberals have shown up on the sidewalk in front of City Hall at night.

WILL LAST WEEK’S PRE-DAWN RAIDS BE REPEATED?
Last week at SleepOut #76, activists John and Pat Colby reported heavy police harassment and ticketing shortly before 6 AM in the morning followed by ranger threats to seize “unattended gear” a few hours later with the intent of driving away those resting near City Hall. Homeless residents Lawrence, Sonny, and Eagle confirmed the raids. Monterey Max was also reportedly handcuffed but then released with a $200 “trespass” citation.

THE CHRISTMASTIME SHOW OF CARING MUST GO ON!
Meanwhile the community gives itself an annual pat on the back for the twice-a-year charity feeds for the festive Xmas season [See http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/lifestyle/20161225/santa-cruz-county-volunteers-share-their-bounty-on-christmas-day]

And, of course, there is the ritual annual commemoration the homeless dead [See http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20161220/annual-homeless-memorial-highlights-continued-need-in-santa-cruz-county] behind the locked gates of the grant-magnet Homeless (Lack of) Services Center.

GOOD NEWS
Julie Shaul of RV Fulltimers [https://www.facebook.com/groups/santacruzfulltimers/] reports she has received no reports of RV ticketing in the North County since the local Coastal Commission staff sent a letter to County staff in October.

That letter advised Sheriff Hart that the nighttime RV ban required clearance through the Coastal Commission, which had not even been notified back in March when the law was passed. Neither the Sheriff, the County Counsel, or the courts have offered to provide restitution to folks in RV’s who were unlawfully cited. The Sheriff also refused to release their names.

Earlier the local Coastal Commission staff unsuccessfully rubberstamped the City’s RV ban–a rubberstamp that was reversed by the full Coastal Commission in August on appeal from a constituent (Norse). Both the City and County bans are currently in limbo but not dead. It appears the CC staff may be huddling with the City and County staff to cook up new language to ban RV’s in the dead of night by limiting the hours of the ban.

FIGHTING BACK
Report harassment citations and actions to Norse of HUFF at rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com. Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom will be meeting 11 AM Wednesday December 28th at the Sub Rosa Cafe. HUFF and Liberation News plan a Saturday protest demanding justice for the killings of Sean Arlt and Luke Smith on Saturday 1:30 PM at the Town Clock.

COUNCILMEMBER ON THE FREE RADIO STREAM THURSDAY
City Councilmember and Former Mayor Chris Krohn will be on Free Radio Santa Cruz sometime between 6 and 8 PM on Thursday December 29th. The show will stream at freakradio.org and archive at http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb161229.mp3 . Krohn spoke out against the Sleeping Ban in his “coronation” speech on December 13th, but has not been involved in any direct actions or resistance in the past. Freedom Sleepers invite him to pull up a sleeping bag and a blanket to join the cold but unbowed veterans on the sidewalk.

76th Freedom Sleeper Protest is also Day of the Homeless Dead Memorial

Date Tuesday December 20

Time 4 PM9 AM Wednesday
Location Details Huddling with blankets on the sidewalk next to City Hall across from the Main Library. The protest will also take place under the eaves of City Hall–until driven away by security thugs and SCPD “law enforcement” officers forcefully dispersing peaceful protesters and denying them protective shelter while providing no options–in violation of the 8th Amendment. This in near-freezing temperatures near empty “public” buildings. This happens in an area designated as a “public park” (yet “closed to the public” at night).
Event Type
Class/Workshop
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (entry by Norse)
Email
keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone
575-770–3377

Battle-hardened unhoused veterans will be braving another night of bone-chilling weather to continue the community of protest started in July of 2015 and held once a week every Tuesday night since then.

POLITICS-AS-USUAL: NO ANSWERS, NO ACTIONS, LOTS OF SILENCE
The incoming City Council is home warm snug in its beds. “Liberal” newcomers Sandy Brown and Chris Krohn had not a word of support to say about the Freedom Sleepers long March during their mutual admiration speeches last week at the last Council meeting of the year.

Krohn will be interviewed on Norse’s show “Bathrobespierre’s Broadsides” at a time to be announced.

BERKELEY “POOR TOUR” ENTERS 7TH WEEK AFTER 12 BUSTS AND AT LEAST 6 RELOCATIONS
15 Hours ago the determined community at Adelaine and Oregon in Berkeley were given yet another deportation notice to vacate within 24 hours.

Interviews with leaders Dan McMullan, Mike Lee and Mike Zint (now in the hospital with pneumonia) are on line at http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb161218.mp3 (1 hour and 20 minutes into the file).

See also http://berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2016-12-16/article/45238?headline=Are-the-Berkeley-raids-going-to-stop–-Becky-O-Malley and https://www.facebook.com/pages/First-they-came-for-the-homeless/253882908111999 /

Berkeley activists and Salinas activists have both credited the Freedom Sleepers with inspiration for their current vigils.

CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT FILED
Wes White, of the Flagpole Community and the Salinas Union of the Homeless met with other activists this weekend to organize a broader coalition of workers, renters, disabled, and housed folks after the City’s October crackdown on the Flagpole Community. That encampment, backed by attorney Anthony Prince, held off the Chinatown raids for many months, defeated one anti-homeless law, and are considering joining on to the ACLU’s state-wide lawsuit against Cal-Trans for seizing homeless property. See https://www.aclunc.org/news/civil-rights-groups-sue-caltrans-stop-illegal-raids-against-california-s-homeless

18TH HOMELESS MEMORIAL AT HOMELESS (LACK OF) SERVICES CENTER [HLOSC] DOES ANNUAL RITUAL MOURNING SESSION
The HLOSC isn’t proposing, backing, and organizing any real change that might impact the death rate in the homeless community. Instead, the increasingly prison-like HLOSC is having another “ain’t it a shame” annual ceremony reading the names of the dead, lighting candles, and assembling for pious speeches. Sort of a fitting counterpoint to the large fund-raising sign on its fence that borders Hiway 1–which indicates its primary priorities.

Under Executive Director “Freeze Out” Phil Kramer and the “More Grants for Less Services” Board of Directors, the HLOSC continues to lock out the majority of homeless people from meals and shelter while funding itself for those with “pathways to housing” under the current “smart solutions” mythology that ignores the needs of several thousand homeless people while panhandling for the few. Security guards and police have threatened those protesting abusive HLOSC behavior outside, and dispersed those sleeping in the cold at the gates of the $3 million “non-profit”.

https://www.santacruz.com/events/18th-annual-homeless-memorial-at-homeless-services-center-dec-20th-2016-10-00am

Generousheart Joe Schultz will be providing the usual hot soup against the cold. Blankets, sleeping bags, and supporters are welcome!

The usual Wednesday 11 AM HUFF meeting at the Sub Rosa Cafe is cancelled;  HUFFsters will reassemble on 12-28, at the usual time.

End-of-the-Year Antics at City Council While Freedom SleepOut #75 Braves the Rain

 Date Tuesday December 13
Time
4:00 PM Tuesday9 AM Wednesday
Location Details On the wet pavement in front of City Hall after chatting with City Council members across the street in their warm meet-and-feast foyer at the Civic Auditorium welcoming the new City Council members. Bring tents, blankets, and weather-resistant survival gear if you have it. Rain is predicted. 
Event Type
Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone 575-770-3377

Freedom Sleepers are there to protest the City’s refusal to enter the 21st Century. Acknowledge the human right of all people, rich and poor, to sleep at night. Instead City Council will be leaving police, security guards, and rangers (led by Mayor Mathew’s son, John) to enforce harsh anti-homeless laws menacing homeless survival behavior throughout the winter.

CITY COUNCIL’S LATEST ANTICS
City Council, which meets in early afternoon session today, will be honoring Lobo, the police dog. It will be voting hundreds of thousands of dollars for the SCPD’s body camera program. It’s a grim irony considering the murder of Sean Luke in defense of a sheriff’s police dog some weeks ago.

The Council is making no requirement that police video be made available to the public. Nor that police write their reports before consulting the video. Meanwhile, the City Adminstrator’s office has again delayed any release of Public Records regarding current public suveillance devices–their cost, location, and retention schedules. Such secrecy clouds claims of future transparency.

The SCPD also refuses to release citation records and other information concerning their current policies. Will they be any more likely to release future video demanded by the public? Sheriff Hart, who claims to be on board with Obama’s 20th Century Policing, refuses to release simple booking records–something already required by state law.

This funding of police body cameras is item #25 comes after a lengthy Consent Agenda which takes up most of the agenda. Unlike at the Board of Supervisors and in many other cities the public is not allowed to speak on any individual item separately unless they get the permission of a Council member. New Council members Brown and Krohn can alter this policy overnight– by simply requiring public comment on any item requested by a member of the public.

Oral Communications–for those who want to squeeze themselves into Mayor Mathews’ 2 minute strait jacket is supposed to be around 5 PM. This will be the only chance to actually speak on homeless matters–since none are on the agenda.

At 7 PM the Council reassembles to praise its outgoing and incoming members. When those speeches are done, the Council moves across the street to the Civic Auditorium to wine and dine.

Since this festive gathering will be happening as heavy rains fall, protesters, homeless folks, and their supporters might want to take their sleeping bags out of the rain to join the Council celebrants indoors and perhaps…stay awhile?

Perhaps apprehension of this possibility prompted Mayor “Two Minute” Mathews to take the unusual step of omitting the Civic Center post-coronation munch-and-mingle event from the Council’s agenda. In fact, state law requires her not only toadmit the public but to announce the gathering on the Council’s agenda in advance. This was done in past years.

Meanwhile, the Council has taken no action to end criminalization of the hundreds of those outside without shelter. Its Winter Shelter program, combined with AFC’s 20-person-per-night church program, can only take in 70-100 people a night (to expand to 125-140 on January 1st). In the City and County there are more than 3000; in the City at least 1000-1500. No move has been made to restore funding for open meals at the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center or to rein in Ranger repression on Pacific Avenue, in the Parks, and on the Levee.

DENVER, SANTA ROSA, FLORIDA ENTER REJECT PUNITIVE SWEEPS
Homeless Out Loud, Occupy Denver, and other civil rights groups resisted the November homeless sweeps “authorized” by the 4-year old Camping Ban law as police seized tents and survival gear. See http://www.denverpost.com/2016/12/05/homeless-sweeps-denver-city-council-repeal-camping-ban/ .

In response to rising protest and plummeting temperatures, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock reluctantly announced that police will stop confiscating blankets and tents for the 3,700+ urban campers while maintaining the usual politician’s cover story that “safer” indoor shelter was available. https://denverhomelessoutloud.org/2016/12/10/mayor-hancock-orders-police-to-stop-taking-peoples-survival-gear-when-enforcing-the-camping-ban/ .

In Santa Rosa legislators voted to allow churches, granges, Moose lodges or any other group with property considered a “meeting facility” to offer a range of services to the homeless that wouldn’t normally be allowed under zoning rules for such properties.

These uses include allowing people to sleep in their cars overnight, camp in tents and take shelter indoors overnight, all under specific conditions. For example, indoor shelters need fire inspections. Campsites must be shielded from view by fencing and open fires are not allowed. The program guidelines also allow groups to offer property storage services, and for people to use portable bathrooms and bathrooms inside buildings. See http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/6397711-181/churchs-proposed-homeless-encampment-stirs?artslide=0

In Flagler Beach, Florida, the homeless activist Wayne Perry confronted City Council with the demand he be allowed to sleep on public property since there were neither safe zones nor adequate shelter. When Perry began survival sleeping in Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve, paranoid NIMBY’s demanded the City take action–which they’ve done by designating a boat launch area as a homeless refuge. See http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20161209/flagler-beach-designates-homeless-refuge-at-county-park

Santa Cruz homeless activists have for years been demanding either a lifting of the camping ban and/or safe zones for camping and parking, though prescient homeless militant Linda “the Lark” Edwards denounced select, restricted, and supervised areas (such as the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center, predicted they would become de facto homeless concentration camps.

VIGIL DEMANDING JUSTICE FOR TWO SLAIN BY SHERIFF AND SCPD CONTINUES SATURDAY
Activists fighting police violence will continue their weekly demand for prosecution of the guilty cops and release of all audio and video around the killings of Arlt and Smith in recent weeks. Last week’s protest at the Town Clock retreated to the eaves of the post office in heavy rain. Activists invite homeless folks to join the protest to speak out against local police abuses against those outside. 1:30 PM, Town Clock. December 17th Saturday. More info at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/12/07/18794512.php .

 

TO COMMENT AND READ COMMENTS GO TO: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/12/12/18794626.php

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] foodnotbombs.net

Phone 575-770–3377

SHELTER SHUFFLE FOR THE FEW; WIND, RAIN, AND TICKETS FOR THE MANY
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 http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/opinion/20161205/editorial-dec-6-2016-providing-shelter-in-the-cold-holiday-season & http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/social-affairs/20161129/new-santa-cruz-winter-shelter-site-opens-thursday?source=topstoriesrot

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.

Continue reading

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

 

 Date Tuesday November 29
Time
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 https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/11/26/18794159.php] 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)
Email
keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone
575-770–3377

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3bor47iHXM ]

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 https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/11/27/18794186.php?show_comments=1#18794220 and “HUFFing and Puffing: A Warm Wind from Berkeley” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/11/27/18794186.php .

BERKELEY BOSSES ON A DIFFERENT ROAD?
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 http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb161127.mp3 (2 hours and 54 minutes into the audio file).

SONOMA AUTHORITIES CREATE SAFE PARKING ZONE
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 http://www.sonomanews.com/home/6341995-181/city-puts-homeless-parking-program . 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!)

WINTER SHELTER TO PARTIALLY OPEN DECEMBER 1ST
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.

POLICE PROFILING AND RANGER RIP-OFF’S UNDER PROTEST SATURDAY
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 [http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/article/NE/20161121/NEWS/161129933].

Berkeley City Council Poised to Permit Survival Camping; Santa Cruz Will Let the Homeless Hide and Freeze

NOTES FROM NORSE:   The new Berkeley Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguin has sent out an important Announcement regarding Emergency Measures to Address the Homeless Crisis.  It is printed in its entirety below.

Meanwhile in collusion with the heavy hand of City Manager Martin BernalMayor Mathews’ lame-duck City Council have voted over $200,000 to fund homeless-harassing “Parks and Recreation” Rangers.

Their ‘recreation’ seems to be patrolling Pacific Avenue–as though it were a park.  They will be handsomely paid for harassing people for sitting down near a building, playing an  instrument outside the tiny “performance pens” delineated by brass discs on the sidewalk, and generally intimidating poor people who do not follow their orders. This latest salary boost includes surveillance cameras and was voted unanimously by the “liberal” outgoing Councilmembers Lane and Posner.

Unable to find or even look for emergency money for the winter shelter crisis in Santa Cruz, the Council’s response to the arrival of several hundred protesters on November 22nd was to encourage staff to expand next year’s budget, but do nothing to expand shelter or rein in police attacks on homeless people sheltering themselves this winter.

A report from an RV activist who lives in her van noted a Thanksgiving night incident.   Officer Calhoun, she writes, knocked on the RVs and made contact with whomever would answer, (most did not) telling RVs to move along. “I pointed out to Calhoun”, the activist continues, ” that the signage said I was legally parked. His reply after confirming the fact was that he “Imagined” I am living in my rv and habitating a vehicle in santa cruz is illegal. This was about a half mile from the beach.”

While the absurd anti-homeless Sleeping Ban does ban sleeping in your vehicle, outside, or in any non-residential building after 11 PM, there is no such law regarding “habitating a vehicle” in the City.  The California Coastal Commission, in fact, specifically declined to okay Councilmember Richelle Niroyan‘s anti-RV law, and such abuses are illegal.  We’ll see if Niroyan insists her friends on the police force respect the rights of those whose only shelter is their vehicle and follow the law as she and her Take Back Santa Cruz friends shrilly demand of the homeless.  If so, a public statement clarifying that police have no business harassing people in RV’s at night is in order.

The 50 shelter spaces available on 7th Avenue for emergency shelter in December for 1000-2000 homeless are clearly a joke solution.

Santa Cruz could easily and justifiably adopt some of the measures that Berkeley’s Mayor proposes.    Demand they do so at citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com or 831-420-5020.  Or you can leave a message for the real power in the City and contact City Mangler Bernal at mbernal@cityofsantacruz.com or 831-420-5030.

 

From: Carol Denney <cdenney@igc.org>
Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2016 2:49 PM
To: Robert Norse
Subject: proposal for Dec 13

Public Comment

Emergency Measures to Address Homeless Crisis

Berkeley Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguín

Friday November 25, 2016 – 10:50:00 AM

I have placed the following on the Berkeley City Council Agenda for December 13:

Take the following actions to implement emergency measures to address our growing homeless population:

1. Direct the City Manager to provide an update on staff and Council actions discussed on November 1, 2016 to respond to the homeless shelter crisis.

2. Direct the City Manager and Chief of Police to permit camping on designated public property, unless conditions arise posing an imminent threat to health and safety.

3. Establish an ad-hoc subcommittee to work with the City Manager to explore emergency solutions, including short-term Navigation Centers.

4. Refer to the City Manager and City Attorney to develop a formal city policy modeled after the proposed amendment to San Francisco’s Police Code.

5. Adopt an Ordinance repealing Ordinance No. 7,449-N.S., which restricts the placement of objects on sidewalks to a 2 square-foot area.

 

BACKGROUND:

Our city is experiencing a homeless and shelter crisis. On January 2015, the nonprofit organization EveryOne Home performed a point-in-time count of Berkeley’s homeless population, which showed a 53 percent increase in the unsheltered homeless population since 2009, and a 23 percent spike in homelessness overall, from 680 to 834 homeless people in total. Currently the number of homeless individuals in Berkeley far exceeds the amount of shelter beds and transitional housing opportunities available. Additionally, our city’s Storm Shelter at the 1st Congregational Church was destroyed in a fire, even more greatly reducing our shelter capacity.

In response to the worsening conditions on our streets locally and regionally, the City Council voted unanimously on January 19, 2016 to declare a homeless shelter crisis, which was just renewed on November 15 for another year. Although extending the resolution was an important step needed to minimize the red tape of potential solutions, it is in and of itself not a solution. And as our city’s residents, service providers and homeless individuals and families can attest to, shelter is needed now, particularly as winter conditions worsen.

As recommended by the Community Health Commission, the City should be immediately focused on saving lives, which can be accomplished by calling for a moratorium on the eviction of encampments until a plan is developed. Additionally, adding specific language similar to San Francisco in our Police Code regarding encampment relocation procedure will further protect our most vulnerable and their possessions.