Friday Apr 7th, 2017 8:49 AM
For broader information about protests against Trump’s Nuclear Poker escalation in Syria, see https://www.indybay.org/
Friday Apr 7th, 2017 8:49 AM
For broader information about protests against Trump’s Nuclear Poker escalation in Syria, see https://www.indybay.org/
HUFF voted today to support a number of resolutions.
Date Tuesday March 14
Location Details Join the fun in front of City Hall at 809 Center St. on the brick entranceway to the “City Hall Courtyard”from Tuesday Afternoon through Wednesday mid-morning. The area was declared a “park” to give Parks and Recreation Rangers power to exclude homeless folks guilty of nothing but sleeping there at night in an unprecedented due process-free process on pain of a year in jail. Food and festivities will begin near (or perhaps inside) City Council chambers. The Gang of Seven will finalize an empty Sanctuary law that provides no enforcement provisions, nor accountability for Chief Vogel’s concealment of an ICE agent for the last 8 years. While Council creates a phony “Sanctuary” for the undocumented, real sanctuary for the local homeless isn’t even on the table.
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
CAN’T DRIVE OFF THOSE FREEDOM SLEEPERS
Freedom Sleepers will be returning Tuesday afternoon and evening as the weather turns warmer with videocam capability at the ready to discourage and document abusive behavior and false statements by cops and rangers–who have freely stolen homeless gear and lied to protesters about their rights.
POLICE THIEVES STILL HOLD HOMELESS GEAR
Homeless survival gear has not been returned to Lawrence MacGregor or Dreamcatcher–a large tent in Lawrence’s case; ID, a mobile carrying cart and many other items for Dreamcatcher.
PHONIES PROPOSE TOOTHLESS LAW WITH THEIR POLICE SHUTTING OUT THE LARGER COMMUNITY
Item #14 on the Afternoon Agenda is the 2nd and Final Reading of the Sanctuary Ordinance which “forbids” city employees (including police) from “requesting, disclosing, or maintaining” immigration status information or aiding in enforcement (with plenty of exceptions) as well as informing City Council (but not the community) AFTER but not BEFORE immigration raids occur. There are no penalties for those who violate the law and no right to sue the City if it acts contrary to this law.
The Council meeting will again be held in the City Council chambers instead of the larger Civic Auditorium–this time in mid-afternoon. This means a large crowd of people can be excluded, as happened last time with a heavy police presence and folks kept out in the cold while the Council presented its fluffy resolution and law as a figleaf to cover SCPD collusion with ICE/DHS abuses.
MEMORIAL PLANNED FOR APRIL 11TH FOR HYPOTHERMIA VICTIM AT FREEDOM SLEEPOUT #92
Keith McHenry notes “53 year-old Micheal Mear died of hypothermia on February 17, 2017. Medical staff reportedly told his sister his body temperature was only 70 degrees when a motorist found him unconscious on Potrero Street. He died soon after from cardiac arrest at Dominican Hospital.”
Photos and commentary on Michael Randell Mear June 21,1963 – February 17, 2017 at https://www.facebook.com/
“STARVE ‘EM OUT OF SIGHT” BIGOTS ERECT CHAIN LINK FENCE AROUND DOWNTOWN POST OFFICE
“Protect my $140,000 condo downtown” may be the real motivation for Janet Fardette’s petition to drive away Food Not Bombs from its Saturday and Sunday meals on the sidewalk near the main post office. While Fardette’s on-line petition has only cleared 100 names, McHenry’s counterpetition boasts of over 1000.
Freedom Sleeper activists, grateful for Food Not Bombs regular feedings at the Tuesday Freedom SleepOuts, encourage folks to stop by the SleepOut as well as the Saturday and Sunday meals outside the Post Office (4-6 PM) to sign letters to the Postmaster, emphasizing the importance of the Food Not Bombs meals and community gatherings.
To read more details on the Post Office’s most recent uglification campaign erecting a “separation fence” as well as the festive community response, go to “Anti-Homeless Fence Decorating Party”at https://www.indybay.org/
Berkeley and San Francisco have resisted profiteering attempts to privatize local post offices successfully erecting and sustaining homeless encampments in front of the threatened buildings. The protests sprang from First They Came for the Homeless [FTCFTH]–which evolved from the Occupy movement. Assembling and refusing to stay dispersed next to these buildings has been the tactic used. It’s unclear whether Santa Cruz will adopt a similar strategy, but one Berkeley activist has declared himself ready to “hop on the next bus down” to support such a move. FTCFTH has now gone two months without a warning or bust after being threatened, harassed and/or attacked by police more than 15 times.
CITY CLAIMS TO WANT “COMMUNITY INPUT” IN SEARCH FOR NEW POLICE CHIEF
Go and make your concerns about the SCPD’s collusion with ICE/DHS, its “shoot to kill” policy, its failure to hold individual officers or the chief responsible for human rights abuses by attending meetings: Wednesday, March 15th in the Police Department Community Room (155 Center St Santa Cruz) from 7:00-9:00pm. and Thursday, March 16th at the Beach Flats Community Center (1333 Leibrandt Ave. Santa Cruz) from 7:00-9:00pm. Both events will be bilingual.
In the past, only large numbers of people have gotten even a limited response from the police and their politician friends as happened February 14 when shouting activists disrupted a Council intent on gagging a speaker victimized by the ICE/DHS raids the day before.
TO READ AND MAKE COMMENTS, GO TO https://www.indybay.org/
Along with anti-homeless architecture comes the sleeping ban which makes it illegal to sleep outside at night and illegal to sleep under a blanket. A law that can contribute to the death of our friends like 53 year-old Micheal Mear who died of hypothermia on February 17, 2017. Medical staff told his sister his body temperature was only 70 degrees when a motorist found him unconscious on Potrero Street. He died soon after from cardiac arrest at Dominican Hospital.
I was heart broken when we ran out of blankets during the Tuesday, March 7th Freedom Sleepers sleep-out, turning away several desperate people. Michael’s sister Jerry cried as she asked me why he didn’t even have a warm blanket to save his life. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was illegal to sleep protected from the cold.
They will never be able to drive poverty out of sight unless they make housing affordable. Instead it looks like the liberals are making their move using the chaos of Trump to camouflage their anti-homeless cruelty.
The community is so anti-homeless it is even willing to deface its own beautiful historic post office with an ugly chain link fence. J.M. Brown’s article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel “The 1912 Renaissance Revival building — the oldest continually operating California post office on the National Register of Historic Places — was modeled after the 15th century Filippo Brunelleschi’s Foundling Hospital in Florence, Italy. It is home to four priceless murals by the American artist Henrietta Shore.”
“Inspired by classical Renaissance style, the design asserts the building’s importance to civic life and confidence in the community’s future — a message repeated in countless schools, banks, libraries and other civic structures from the same period,” said former mayor and history buff Cynthia Mathews. “With its dignified, graceful detail, quality materials and prominent location, the Santa Cruz Post Office was intended to reflect the community’s importance, identity and aspirations, and it remains a defining feature of our downtown today.”
…the latest front in the spread of ‘defensive architecture’.
Is such open hostility towards the destitute making all our lives uglier?
Showing Contempt for Local Trumpite Sleeping Ban Enforcement—-
Freedom SleepOut #87
Location DetailsAgain Besieging the Balmy Bigots at City Hall–809 Center St.—in the City Hall Courtyard both there and on the sidewalk. Sleeping bags, blankets, cameras, and hot soup are our weapons. From Tuesday afternoon through mid-morning Wednesday. Help needed posting videos on line to showcase the antics of the Sleepbuster Scalawags who stalk Freedom Sleepers by night and by day.
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Warming Center founder Brent Adams noted “On our coldest night of the year, he showed up with no shoes and soiled pants…We changed his clothes, offered personal care and gave him a coat and layers of clothes. He didn’t want the women’s rain boots we had given him – even though they fit him. He slept well that night. [At other times Meers]…rested in doorways and behind buildings. limited and painful gate….[The night Meers died] we were [open and] at a remote location. [Even though] I did a shuttle sweep of downtown that night – I didn’t find him.”
Freedom Sleeper activist Abbi Samuels has announced they will be having a memorial for him.
WINTER SHELTER CUTS TRANSPORT FOR DISABLED?
Adams notes further that “the AFC [Association of Faith Communities] Winter Shelter has been refusing people with physical challenges like Micheal’s. They’ve even stopped using the handicap accessible lift on their shuttle bus.”
In order for folks to use the 110 spaces [for an unhoused population of 1000-2000 in the City], they must walk out to the edge of town past the Tannery on Highway 9 by 4 PM in the afternoon. The program refuses to allow people to go directly to the downtown Salvation Army shelter where worker Steve Pleich has attempted to move the “intake facility” from its distant and difficult-for-disabled-to-
BATHROOM BAN STILL ON?
Brent also noted that the Warming Center has been “hosting people who’ve been relieving themselves in their pants for several days.” There is no indication that the City staff has opened the City Council Courtyard “park” bathrooms during the night or even in a timely manner during the day, a concern that Freedom Sleepers brought directly to the staff at a prior Freedom SleepOut
FOOD NOT BOMBS ORGANIZING EVENT AND PRESENTATION……………….
Food Not Bombs has been regularly feeding Freedom Sleepers Tuesday evening as well as providing hot vegan food to all comers outside the main post office on Saturday and Sunday 4-6 PM. It is currently resisting an attempt by right-wing residents to drive them away. Sign their petition at https://www.change.org/p/
Story at https://www.indybay.org/
The Homeless (Lack of) Services Center [HLOSC} continue to refuse to open its meals to the community as Food Not Bombs, Calvary Episcopal, the St. Francis Soup Kitchen and other groups do.
New public records, secured by Councilmember Chris Krohn, show collusion between the SCPD, Harvey West Businesses, and City Parking Boss Marlin Granlund to ban all parking on Coral St. and other nearby streets, requiring disabled folks to park blocks away from to the HLOSC to use the limited services they still provide.
NO RECORDS YET FROM THE SCPD; CLAIM FORMS STILL CENSORED FROM COUNCIL AGENDA
Police are still withholding witness accounts and the D.A.’s investigation into SCPD Officer Eric Bailey’s gundown of Sean Arlt last October. Councilmember Krohn has not publicly demanded these records be released, as earlier records were of the Officer Conor Carey’s killing of “Happy” John Dine in 1997
see “Unasked Questions, Foregone Conclusions” at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/
Nor has there been a response to records of communications between the SCPD and the Department Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement to resolve the contradictory stories of Chief Kevin Vogel and Spokesperson Schwab of the DHS.
On the upside, City Hall has released records of all claims against the City filed in the last year. An activist requested that pending claims be placed on the City Council in the original form presented by those claiming damages against the city for abusive or negligent behavior. City Administrator Bren Lehr has so far declined to do this, concealing contact information–which prevents the public from giving meaningful testimony at the Closed session which precedes City Council. This is particularly important in cases of police violence–which often gets little if any coverage in the local media.
1984 READING PROMPTS ACTIVIST RESPONSE
George Orwell’s warning novel 1984 got a public reading at the Bookshop Santa Cruz, owned and run by the Coonerty family, that has long excluded key Sleeping Ban opponents. The store owners have targeted Freedom Sleep supporters Becky Johnson, Robert Norse, and a slew of others who’ve denounced Neal and Ryan Coonerty for their political actions as Councilmembers creating anti-homeless city policy.
Last week, the Bookshop Coonerty featured an exclusionary reading of Orwell’s grim warning against political repression. (See http://goodtimes.sc/cover-
Activists responded with an informational flyer outlining the various law and practices developed in Santa Cruz in significant part with Coonerty leadership or support and the general silence of the “progressive” community.
TO COMMENT AND READ COMMENTS GO TO: https://www.indybay.org/
Date Tuesday February 28 Time 4:00 PM – 4:00 AM
Location Details Dodging raindrops and rangers, the nimblefooted Freedom Sleepers continue their relentless quest for sanity and justice outside City Hall on Tuesday night. Food usually arrives in the late afternoon, and coffee the following morning. The protest runs from Tuesday afternoon through mid-morning Wednesday. Come early Tuesday afternoon if you want to raise your voice at City Council. Bring video, warm bedding, and good humor to deal with the cold night and the city’s paid nightmare providers.
Event Type Protest Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
MISSION ST. LOCKOUT OF UNHOUSED PATRONS
Julie Shaul and other report what may be an organized crackdown on homeless folks trying to use the laundromat to clean and dry rain-soaked clothing and bedding. Safeway and nearby shops have reportedly removed or walled off outdoor seating. Other businesses such as MacDonald’s are becoming vehemently abusive towards “loitering” customers.
HOMELESS (LACK OF) SERVICES CENTER STRIKES AGAIN!
POVERTY PIMPS DENY HOMELESS WOMAN HER MAIL AFTER SHE WALKED OUT WITH A GRANOLA BAR
Food Not Bombs activist Kim Argula reported being refused access to her mail after she picked up a bar and a bag of chips from a table which looked open to homeless folks. “Denise”, the sharp-tongued poverty pimpstress who confronted her, then “banned” her and called the police even as Kim walked away. Mercifully, the officer responding declined to handcuff the hungry mail seeker and haul her away.
“Bucks for Bums” Boss Phil Kramer subsequently allowed Kim mail access to mail–provided she stood on the sidewalk across the street from the famed “Homeless Services Center”.
Homeless folks are now banned from parking their cars on Coral, Fern, and Limekiln streets with 24-hour Permit-required signs posted along all three.
The Homeless (Lack of) Service Center [HLOSC] has excluded all but a fraction of the homeless community from its breakfast and dinner meals in spite of a $3 million budget and much donated food. The massive cutback in HLOSC services prompted the first Freedom SleepOut on July 4, 2015.
GET THE BAD NEWS DIRECTLY FROM COUNCILMAN CHRIS
9 AM-10 AM: Councilmember Chris Krohn has a pre-Council huddle with members of the public at the Cafe Pergolesi 418 Cedar St.
NO RELIEF FOR TENANTS
Sometime after 2 PM: Tenant activists have asked those supporting renter protection and rent control to come to the afternoon session to speak on Item #17, which grants $10,000 to gab about “affordable housing” without any mention of key renter concerns or inclusion of renters as a primary participatory group.
A BRIEF CHANCE TO SPEAK IF YOU DON’T MIND WAITING 3 1/2 HOURS
Oral Communications: End of the Council’s afternoon agenda (historically 5 PM, but now at a time uncertain–perhaps to discourage speakers who have to wait through the whole afternoon not to miss it?). The period when the Mayor cuts you off after 2 minutes of struggling to make the community aware of issues NOT on the agenda.
RESOLUTIONS AND RABBLTY-BABBLE, BUT NO DOCUMENTS & NO ACCOUNTABILITY
7 PM: City staff returns, after twice delaying a resolution and ordinance banning SCPD collusion with DHS/ICE raids against undocumented immigrants.
The agenda packet includes no documentation of the actual communications between the SCPD and the DHS/ICE. Vogel of the SCPD says one thing and Schwab of the DHS says another (See http://www.santacruzsentinel.
Bring your blankets and sleeping bags into the chambers to see if either the SCPD-subservient Council or their “liberal” critics will physically support Sanctuary for and stop busting Santa Cruz’s homeless population–documented or undocumented. That’s what the Freedom Sleepers are all about.
SLAMMING THE BOOK CLOSED ON SCPD’S ARLT KILLING
Missing from the agenda is any follow-up to Vogel’s closed-to-alternative-media press conference 2-16 exonerating Officer Eric Bailey for the slaying of Sean Arlt last October.
The D.A.’s report and the witness’s accounts have not been released.
There has been no indication of any change in SCPD’s “shoot to kill” policy nor have other questions raised by the household that called the SCPD to restrain Arlt. (https://www.indybay.org/
TALK BACK ON TALKABOUT TALK SHOW WEDNESDAY NIGHT
Broadcaster John Malkin will be interviewing witnesses and relatives in the law enforcement killings of Sean Arlt and Luke Smith on KZSC (88.1 FM) at 7 PM Wednesday 3-1. Call in at 459-4036.
VIEW AND LEAVE COMMENTS AT https://www.indybay.org/
Time4:00 PM Tuesday – 9 AM Wednesday
Location Details Back again to City Hall–still the dark center of Sleeping Ban law and enforcement under City Manager Martin Bernal and the Watkins-Terrazas City Council. Determined activists and a crew of homeless folks will be huddling beneath the eaves of the buildings at City Hall until being driven out into the rain , wind, and cold. Just looking for a night of community and relative safety from the Sleeping Ban, they’ll be in sleeping bags, under tents, in vehicles, whereever they can, hoping to spark conscience from the broader community. Food Not Bombs and Joe Schultz will feed. Protest goes, as ever, from mid-afternoon Tuesday to mid-morning Wednesday.
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Folks at a recent Black Lives Matter protest in Capitola this Saturday did seem sympathetic to concerns that SCPD policies impacting black folks, immigrants, and just ordinary folks were also a matter of serious concern regarding homeless folks. See “Community Support for Black Lives Matter in Capitola” at https://www.indybay.org/
POLICE SWAMPED PROTEST WITH FLEET OF VEHICLES LAST WEEK
Freedom Sleepers return this Tuesday fresh from the harsh memory of massive police response against last week’s protest on 2-14.
During that protest, eight SCPD squad cars showed up to arrest activist Maxwell Green in the dead of night ( https://www.facebook.com/
SUDDEN POLICE INTEREST IN MAXWELL GREEN
Though Green spoke earlier that day at City Council and could have been served with a citation at that time, the city’s uniformed gunmen showed up at midnight in absurdly disproportionate force, frightening other sleepers there.
Green was charged with 184 (a) willfully obstructing an officer. He will be arraigned in Judge Denine Guy’s court on Mar 16th at 8:30 a.m. The “obstruction” incident allegedly happened over a month ago on 1/18 with the complaint and warrant suddenly issued on 2/15; right after a city council meeting when Green publicly denounced Councilmember Richelle Niroyan. Niroyan authored a failed RV nighttime ban, leading to a caustic exchange between the two of them that homeless-aphobic city staffers may still be trying to patch up behind the scenes.
Green is a mainstay of the Freedom Sleeper protest, who works and lives in Monterey, and regularly commutes to defend the rights of the Santa Cruz homeless here.
FOOD NOT BOMBS EVENTS
Food Not Bombs [FNB], which regularly feeds the Freedom SleepOut’s, is facing harassment from reactionary neighbors, who ban the organization’s street food and literature tables.
FNB will hold an Emergency Meeting 2 PM Friday 2-24 at India Joze 418 Front St.
They also urge folks to sign a petition to Mayor Cynthia Chase urging the City respect the right to share food: Sign it at https://www.change.org/p/
FNB co-founder Katzemjammer Keith McHenry also announced “Direct Action to Fight Fascism” Presentation at 612 Ocean St., Resource Center for Non-Violence 6:30 PM Free to all.
ANTI-VIOLENCE ADVOCATES DEMAND RELEASE OF D.A.’S REPORT
Homeless folks are another minority that faces police harassment and violence.
Activists pressing to end police violence are demanding the release of the police reports and the full D.A.’s investigation in the killing of Sean Arlt. In a quick closed-to-the-public press conference, Chief Kevin Vogel announced D.A. Jeff Rosell’s finding exonerating the killer–Officer Eric Bailey.
There has been no change in the SCPD’s “shoot to kill” policy, nor were details given of how close Arlt was to Bailey when Bailey shot him dead in October. The D.A.’s “investigation” has taken 4 months, and now Vogel’s SCPD announces it will “investigate” further. Meanwhile the witness accounts and the D.A.’s report remain under lock and key. The “Official Story” can be seen on line at https://www.indybay.org/
JOIN THE FREEDOM SLEEPERS
Bring lots of rain gear, blankets, and “protective” video equipment to the protest. Heavy rains may not deter police and ranger attacks on those sheltering themselves at City Hall. But documenting their behavior may awaken the community to the menace of local Trumpism against the poor.
TO COMMENT GO TO https://www.indybay.org/
NO JUSTICE WITHOUT DEMANDS
Freedom Sleepers continue their relentless pursuit of decent respect for the survival needs of unhoused people outside. Both the Sleeping Ban’s 11 PM to 8:30 AM ban on the act of sleeping for the homeless and police practice enforcing this cruel ordinance are the weekly target of this year and a half long protest.
A WAKE UP CALL FOR THE CITY COUNCIL
In a sardonic blast at the City’s cruel anti-homeless law, activists have circulated a flyer suggesting that the City Council at its Tuesday afternoon meeting will be distributing methamphetamine to help homeless people follow the City’s MC 6.36.010a and stay awake all night. See http://www.mercurynews.com/wp-
Activists are expected to make mock demands for meth at the Oral Communications period. Usually around 5 PM, Mayor Chase has failed to specify when that period will be.
PROTESTS PLANNED ON BEACH FLAT STORMTROOPER RAIDS
Activists angered by local police collusion with a Monday 4:45AM raid in the Beach Flats with armored Vehicles and soldiers with machine guns escorted by Police Chief Vogel’s SCPD. Reportedly breaking down doors, detaining women and children and checking immigration papers the military style operation searched house to house, supposedly, for M-13 gang members”. Protesters plan a 2 PM march from the Town Clock to City Council meeting.
BOOS NOT BLESSINGS FOR AN OUTGOING POLICE CHIEF
Item #3 on the day’s City Council agenda is a special Service Celebration of Vogel’s 30 years on the SCPD. Vogel’s “accomplishments” included setting loose the armored BearCat vehicle on the community; refusing to release the video of the Sean Arlt slaying as well as the identity of the police officer who killed him.
Vogel has also presided over the 2012 theft and rerouting of SCPD-confiscated bikes from the Bike Church’s redistribution plan to a City Council connected business. He personally led the massing of more than 100 cops to disperse the Occupy encampment in San Lorenzo benchlands and later coral protesters marching to City Hall in early December 2011. All this was followed by the phony (and costly) prosecutions of the Santa Cruz Eleven for peaceful support of a Wells Fargo bank occupation at 75 River St.–chilling the income inequality protest across the city.
Though this is an officially agenda-ized action, it is likely the Mayor will try to stop any public comment.
PUTTING FOXES IN THE HOMELESS-HELPER HENHOUSE
Item #9 will ratify the appointments of anti-homeless politicians to the babble-bubble of the Homelessness Governance Ad-Hoc Committee–specifically Mayor Chase (who voted to keep the Sleeping Ban last year) and an assistant City Manager–from the gang that created the “homeless-as-criminals” Public Safety Task Force, pushed anti-homeless laws on Pacific Avenue, and has attacked the Freedom Sleeper protests and protesters.
CASH FOR THE CAMPER-CRUSHERS
Item #11 will hand $90,000 to First Alarm Security thugs to fund their stalk-and-scare raids in the City parking garages to run homeless people out into the cold and rain. The language in the proposal is surprisingly candid: to combat ” a large influx in the transient population in the last three to four months and the impacts associated with encampments.” Of course, there is no expansion of shelter, reining in of uniformed thieves seizing homeless property, and/or opening needed facilities like public bathrooms and wash stations.
Other items include appointing homeless-hostile hacks (Terrazas and Mathews) to the Library Board–where they helped extend the Sleeping Ban and other repressive measures to the downtown library.
GOOD NEWS IN BERKELEY
Meanwhile homeless activists in Berkeley are maintaining self-governing encampments like First they Came for the Homeless and recruiting the legal muscle to push back against psuedo-progressive politicians, who are violating the campaign pledges they made last year. See http://www.dailycal.org/2017/
DILLYDALLYING FOR DOLLARS
Meanwhile as ACLU fund-raisers haul in heaps of money (https://www.washingtonpost.
While NAACP, SCCCCR, and the ACLU dither, Black Lives Matter will be protesting in Capitola next Saturday (https://www.indybay.org/
THE FIGHT GOES ON
Freedom Sleepers from last week (at SleepOut #83) reported successful resistance to Park and Ranger harassment of homeless people trying to illegally move them along. Uniformed heavies were met with video cameras and copies of the law, as well as “this is a protest” signs and solidarity among those trying to sleep.
There is likely to be food in the evening and coffee in the morning. And, for the first time in weeks, dry weather. All are invited.
NOTES BY NORSE: Last week, Oakland cops and city demolition workers tore apart a homeless encampment/self-managed service facility created in response to Trump;’s inauguration (and the City of Oakland’s abject failure to respond to homeless survival shelter and services). [See stories below] A second City-funded encampment (essentially trash pick-up’s, portapotties, and a washing station) faces extensive overcrowding and a end-of-March eviction date.
Berkeley has a continuing intentional encampment, which has now gone 3 weeks without an eviction notice or demolition raid by Berkeley police, BART cops, or the Oakland PD–it’s called First They Came for the Homeless [FTCFTH]. They are now expanding their aggressive demand for basic rights to shelter unhoused people as a class in Berkeley. [See http://www.dailycal.org/2017/
Date Tuesday February 7 to Wednesday February 8
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/
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/