Stormy Times for Freedom SleepOut #83

Date Tuesday February 7 to Wednesday February 8

Time 4:00 PM – 9:00 AM
Location Details Under tents, tarps, umbrellas, in the eaves of buildings, and in cars along the sidewalks of Santa Cruz City Hall (Public Assembly being forbidden on the City Hall grounds after 10 PM)
Event Type
Protest
Organizer/Author
Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone
575-770–3377

BACK AGAIN FOR THE 83rd TIME!
A group of unhoused folks, joined by several housed supporters, will gather again Tuesday afternoon for another night of sleeping-under-the-eaves of City Council buildings and then, after being rousted by police in the wee hours, tenting-on-the-wet-sidewalks.

In spite of the broad outcry against Trump’s intensification of Obama’s anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies, there has been no call for the “sanctuary cities” proposal coming back to City Council this month to include our own refugees–the local homeless community.

Those without lodging face $200 citations, additional stay-away orders, and regular police harassment. Police are also targeting homeless Freedom Sleepers. One was told by police he would be cited if he joined their protest directly, so he watches from across the street.

MIXED CHARITY AND CRUELTY FROM CHURCHES
As rainstorms pound Santa Cruz, soggy folks outside report continued police harassment.  Trekking in to a weekly church meal Monday at the Calvary Episcopal Church, one outsider reported being ticketed and then driven out into the rain. Others voiced continued support for the on-going Freedom Sleepers weekly Tuesday night protest.

The once-a-week Calvary meal, while ample and filling, is policed by a guard who stops anyone from leaving the room with food. Those who aren’t in the very limited Association of Faith Communities program limited to 20 people are likely to be driven away from the outside of the church building where they may be huddling against the rain.

OAKLAND-BERKELEY PROTESTS, CRACKDOWNS CONTINUE
Berkeley’s relentlessly persistent encampment run by First They Came for the Homeless [FTCFTH] maintains its small community on the Berkeley-Oakland border next to the BART line on Martin Luther King Drive. “For three weeks, we’ve been left alone,” noted one activist there. That appears to be the longest ceasefire ever, considering the more than 15 raids and eviction notices the community has suffered. “All we want is a simple secure place to put down our tents and maintain some stability and dignity while we search for housing and employment. Most of us are disabled,” noted Brett Schnaper.

Interviews with Schnaper and Mike Zint can be heard at http://radiolibre.org/brb/brb170205.mp3 (Shnaper: 1 hour and 30 minutes into the audio file) (Zint: 3 hours and 13 minutes into the file)

Meanwhile Oakland authorities are actually providing portapotties and trash pick-up’s to another encampment several miles down the road. A six month period will run out at the end of March when the City claims it will have “housed” the 50+ residents there. Tents are crunched together, squeezed between concrete barriers to stop the encampment from growing.

Several blocks away, the “Promised Land” Village, set up by housed and homeless activists in a park under the freeway was demolished by City cops. Activists had set up wooden structures and began to provide medical and other services that the City was failing to provide. The Village, an outgrowth of the anti-Trump protests of mid-January survived 10 days before being crushed.

Meanwhile, other Obama-Trump-villes have taken root by the side of the road in Oakland, Berkeley, and other Bay Area cities. Support for the Santa Cruz encampments–where most homeless people live–remains a taboo subject here.

To make and read comments go to https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/06/18796226.php

 

Still Pushing On—Freedom Sleepers Back Again at City Hall Tuesday for 82nd Tuesday

Date Tuesday January 31

Time 4:00 PM Tuesday -  9 AM Wednesday

Location Details On the sacred turf ot the City Hall courtyard itself as well as along the cement sidewalks of Center St. from Tuesday night to Wednesday mid-morning.

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse

Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net

Phone 575-770–3377

 

DROP IN ON THE SHITTY COUNCIL
The new “people friendly” Councilmembers (Krohn and Brown) still decline to announce their office hours or meeting times. Niroyan, Terrazas, and Chase have responded–but only Chase has regular office hours (Monday 10-12:30 pm). The first two will meet “by appointment”; Chase suggests the same. It’s not clear if the real power in town, City Manager Martin Bernal, has “office hours” or will even agree to meet by appointment.

However Freedom Sleeper supporters may remember that Councilmembers and Manager alike do have offices that are–supposedly–accessible to the public that is a building near the City Council chambers.

The employees and officials have their own special bathroom(s), which may account for why they have felt so free in the past to lock the public bathrooms adjacent to City Council, even during early daytime hours when they are supposed to be open.

Some have suggested this is particularly likely on mornings when the Freedom Sleepers are awakening, tired, soggy, and groggy from midnight SCPD rousts, morning ranger harassment. and drenching rain, compliments of being driven from under the eaves of buildings.

ARM THE HOMELESS WITH VIDEO AND BEEF UP THEIR RESISTANCE WITH BLANKETS & TENTS
Interested supporters are invited to bring their video devices down to the Freedom SleepOut–Wednesday morning if you can’t make the overnight sleepout–to give power-amped park officials a wider You-Tube audience for their “you’re homeless and can’t be here” activities.   Homeless folks short of survival gear also appreciate donations.

TRASH PICK-UPS AND SERVICES FOR AN OAKLAND ENCAMPMENT
Citations, property confiscations, and move-alongs for the Santa Cruz homeless. While the Oakland City Council’s assistance to homeless encampments may be limited, it’s definite. They are still flying the fantasy that they’ll move even a small number into housing by the end of March, but as with most “plans to end homelessness”, most of the funding goes to the poverty pimps, consultants, talkers, and entrepreneurs.

Still even the limited start acknowledges that even the fearsome heroin-using population will serve by hook or crook. It’s better to acknowledge reality than to deny it. With all the Housing First! chatter of the last few years (indicating get housing before worrying about drug or alcohol use), perhaps it’s time for Encampments First!–in the absence of housing.

Though it’s the usual splashy in-your-face sensationalist “drug users” headlines, still there’s some interesting information at http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Oakland-s-aid-to-homeless-camps-reveals-extent-10891626.php?cmpid=gatehp And a lesson there for Santa Cruz–both economic and moral.

VOLUNTEERS WANTED TO EXAMINE PUBLIC RECORDS
After many months, the SCPD has finally agreed to cough up records that would clarify the breadth of class profiling, discrimination, and impact that cops have had on the poor outside. It would also make clear the extent of racial profiling–where and if that is happening. Poring over the citations requires a commitment of time and energy in the bowels of the police station. HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) is on the lookout for volunteers. Call 423-4833; come to the HUFF Wednesday 11 AM meeting at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific, or e-mail rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND COMMENTARY GO TO  https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/30/18796033.php.

On the sacred turf ot the City Hall courtyard itself as well as along the cement sidewalks of Center St. from Tuesday night to Wednesday mid-morning.

Rain-Drenched and Dismissed by Mainstream Protest, Freedom Sleep #81 Won’t Quit

Date Tuesday January 24

Time 4:00 PM Tuesday9:00AM Wednesday
Location Details Expect light rain at City Hall where Freedom Sleepers will gather both under the eaves and later along the sidewalk after the likely midnight police raids driving them out to get drenched. Thousands of Women’s March protesters crowded the same area Sunday filled with righteous anti-Trump anger but visibly indifferent to City Council’s abuse of unhoused and unprotected women outside here. Denounce nationally. Ignore locally.
Event Type  Protest
Organizer/Author  Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email  keith [at] foodnotbombs.net
Phone  575-770–3377ANOTHER CONTENT-FREE COUNCIL CLUCK-A-THON
The 2:30 PM City Council agenda ignores homeless and housing issues as well as abusive police practices, local income equality, and discriminatory law creation and enforcement. Will bathrooms adjacent to the area likely to be locked early, facilitating staff smears of homeless folks as dirty and uncivilized in their toilet behavior? A safe bet.

Will Parks and Recreation boss Mauro Garcia’s department rope off large areas around the building to “ensure order” inside as was frequently the case last year? Perhaps not. Will the Freedom Sleepers again form their own community of mutual support, share food, and resist police harassment? Most likely.
RECORDS STILL BEING WITHHELD
Cops withheld records documenting their enforcement of homeless-hostile laws criminalizing homeless survival behavior for over a year. On Monday, the City Clerk released arrest and citation records, but removed all mention of race of address. This editing makes it impossible to document the specific selective harassment and heavy impact leveled against the poor outside. In prior years, close examination of the records has shown hundreds of $200 tickets being given out for such “crimes” as being in a park after “closing” or sleeping after 11 PM outside or in a vehicle. REPORTS FROM ELSEWHERE
Local Santa Cruz RV activist Julie, whose facebook page Santa Cruz Fulltimers carries updated stories of RV struggles, has posted stories of crackdowns in other cities. Will activists there use Coastal Commission requirements to fight back as we have done with some success in Santa Cruz? Hope so.San Rafael City and County play ping pong with homeless vehicle dwellers: http://www.marinij.com/government-and-politics/20160905/san-rafael-vehicle-dwellers-fight-parking-ban

Santa Barbara bumbuster bureaucrats convene to remove poor-in-RV’s from town:

http://www.noozhawk.com/article/santa_barbara_oversized_vehicles_enforcement_rv_parking

STEPPED UP PROTESTS IN RAINY WEATHER
Last week Food Not Bombs soupstirrer Keith McHenry and weary copwatcher “Push Back” Pat Colby reported repeated “wake up and get out” rousts by rangers and cops at Freedom SleepOut #80.

Dreamcatcher, a long-time Freedom Sleeper, reported Monday night that police told him he could sleep anywhere but at City Hall if he’d abandon his protest. This, and more property confiscation, led him to announce his departure from the protest.


Lawrence “the Viper”, on the other hand, while also reporting police theft today, insisted he’d be back to pitch his tent at Freedom SleepOut #81. His signature tent, sleeping bag, and blankets are reportedly in lockup at police HQ, perhaps to test his stamina against driving rain and near-freezing temperatures.


71-year-old Sharee—who said she slept on cardboard last week, also reported being driven out from under the protective corridors of City hall last week.

WHISPERS OF MORE PROMIENT PROTEST ACTION
Though some are skeptical, others suggest the massive Trump-activated protests may swell the ranks of local anti-poverty activists. One activists has spoken of moving the Freedom Sleepers down to a more prominent post on Pacific Avenue. Others have suggested making use of the heated City Hall buildings, wastefully empty at night. “Vacant Buildings are the Crime”, noted one.

Meanwhile it’s still hot soup Tuesday night, police harassment Wednesday morning, comforting coffee at breakfast time—all under the friendly drizzle of irregular showers. Who could ask for anything more? Bring tarps, blankets, sleeping bags, video devices, and high spirits.

TOO FRAIL, SICK OR SLEEPY TO JOIN THE PROTEST? THERE ARE OTHER ALTERNATIVES.
For those not eager to trek to the edge of town to seek a 4 PM place in the 110 person Winter Shelter program, “Big Drum” Brent Adams has announced a one-night Warming Center at the Red Church on Tuesday night.

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 .

 

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