“Progressives” Defeat Trump Wall Investment at City Council but Local Anti-Homeless Fencing Still Marches On at Evening Session; Survival Sleepers Seek Help

Looks like the threat of disinvestment from Granite Construction may have discouraged them from bidding for the anti-immigrant Trump wall on the border (Item #2 7 PM Agenda).     Council may also support disinvestment from Wells Fargo for its support of the Dakota Access Pipeline (Item #3 7 PM Agenda).  However at Tuesday night’s 4-25 Council meeting the Council will still be considering a “cost-effective” fence along the levee along with increased cops, surveillance cameras, and lighting to add to the “no loitering” enforcement, forbidden to sit rules, and high-pitched anti-homeless “Mosquito” boxes along the levee.

Agenda item #1 on the 7 PM Agenda of the last City Council meeting in April has the following item up for a vote:

Riverwalk Engagement Summit Results and Recommendations (CM)
Consider community stakeholder recommendations generated from the Riverwalk Engagement Summit, which include enhanced City leadership and coordination, improved amenities, revenue enhancement efforts and a coordinated community outreach and engagement plan to encourage greater public participation/activation on the Riverwalk and adjacent San Lorenzo Benchlands and Park.

TO READ THE STAFF REPORT: Go to item 1 on the evening agenda at http://scsire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=856&doctype=AGENDA .

The flowery language masks the reality: $138,000 for more cops and copcars (technically Rangers and their Rangermobiles) to move along and drive away the poor from the levee area, $50,000 for “security” cameras, $24,000 for lighting upgrades, and $5000 for a “Public Engagement Summit”
Also on the conveyor belt is proposed fencing along the levee, as they look for a cheaper contractor.

The previous “Summit” in March had no representation from renters, the unhoused, civil liberties groups, minority interest groups, or students. The proposal is being pushed by the true bosses of the City Martin Bernal and his underling Scott Collins–City Manager and Deputy City Manager respectively who remain unaccountable to the community and receive no regular public scrutiny by any independent oversight body.

Recent mass marches have highlighted opposition to Trump’s misogyny, his immigrant hostility, his tax returns concealment, and his “alternate science” weltanschauung and the upcoming Trump’s Climate Confusion walk next Saturday. There is little if any acknowledgement of the broader collusion or indifference of local politicians on prior policies which set the stage for Trump’s toxic expansions.

The most obvious aspect of this is the local silence in the face of recent bipartisian saber rattling and hypermilitarism escalating foreign wars that thrived under Obama (and that Clinton vowed to continue). Local opportunist Democrats are heightening the danger with ramped up Russophobia and McCarthyite hysteria to justify Clinton’s defeat and push Trump out of power (so we can get Pence?).

The same local misfocus is also true of any pressure for politicians to be locally accountable. However, item ##2 and 3 on the evening agenda involving divestment from Granite Construction and Wells Fargo on the evening agenda do indicate a positive change–though again, prompted by distant national issues and heavy Democratic Party mobilization “against Trump”.

Where there is no improvement–in fact, further deterioration, is around poverty, houselessness, and local policing.

The City’s involvement with the recent chain link fence at the downtown post office has been unclear in spite of e-mails from Councilmembers Mathews and Niroyan hostile to Food Not Bombs weekend meals there.

The post office fence is likely part of the drive against homeless sleepers under the eaves at night and Food Not Bombs patrons on the steps during the weekend. The alleged “Construction” supposedly being undertaken there has yet to appear–and it’s been weeks.

The whole thing is reminiscent of the phony “plant restoration” pretext given to rope off the levee space near the Soquel St. bridge across from CVS back in 2010. See “City runs off Drum Circle again, cuts down trees and cements AREA CLOSED signs along levee” at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/07/29/18654907.php .

To register your opposition to the City Council’s latest gentrification move on the Levee, e-mail them at citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com . To consider more direct action protest, check out the HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) meeting at 11 AM-1 PM Wednesday at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific, or give a call to 831-423-4833.

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

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

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

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


Download PDF (492.0kb)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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War Against the Poor and War Abroad Ramps Up

 Friday Apr 7th, 2017 8:49 AM

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

Download PDF (378.4kb)

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

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

§Activists from the Bay Area Respond

by Robert Norse Friday Apr 7th, 2017 8:49 AM

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HUFF Resolutions for City Council Action

HUFF voted today to support a number of resolutions.

  1. In light of the critical emergency shelter situation, HUFF supports homeless people seeking shelter at the Natural Bridges State Park picnic area.
  2. Since the Winter Shelter Program is due to end Friday April 7th leaving 110 people out on the streets with no bus service to areas where homeless people keep their belongings (including their survival gear), we urge the City Manager to make city resources for shelter services available for the weekend until bus service resumes on Monday.
  3. In the absence of any responsible City action ameliorating the crisis, we encourage people to join those at City Hall during the night for safety and during the day for community to seek the repeal of the sleeping ban and the establishment of safe places to sleep.

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

Date Tuesday March 14

Time 3:00 PM – 9:00 AM  

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

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net

Phone 575-770–3377

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.

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.

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.

Keith McHenry notes “53 year-old Micheal Mear died of hypothermia on February 17, 2017. Medical staff reportedly told his sister his body temperature was only 70 degrees when a motorist found him unconscious on Potrero Street. He died soon after from cardiac arrest at Dominican Hospital.”

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

“Protect my $140,000 condo downtown” may be the real motivation for Janet Fardette’s petition to drive away Food Not Bombs from its Saturday and Sunday meals on the sidewalk near the main post office. While Fardette’s on-line petition has only cleared 100 names, McHenry’s counterpetition boasts of over 1000.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Spreading Cancer of Anti-Homeless Hysteria

Anti-Homeless Architecture — Anti-Homeless Fence at the Post Office in Santa Cruz
by Keith McHenry (keith [at] foodnotbombs.net)
Thursday Mar 9th, 2017 7:52 PM
A safe dry shelter for over a dozen of our homeless friends is now being fenced off and one of our city’s most historic and beautiful buildings is being defaced.

ANTI-HOMELESS ARCHITECTURE – Anti-homeless fence at the post office in Santa Cruz. Historic building being defaced. A safe dry shelter for over a dozen of our homeless friends is now being fenced off and one of our city’s most historic and beautiful buildings is being defaced. Bathrooms, housing and services could have been provided but officials find spending tax dollars on anti-homeless redevelopment is a better use of money.Santa Cruz is big on the use of anti-homeless architecture installing high frequency sound machine’s call Mosquito Boxes in parks and along the San Lorenzo River to drive the homeless away from under the bridges, removing the planter boxes and free speech zones on the Pacific Avenue Mall, and replacing the lawn at City Hall with gravel and rocks and now the ugly chain link fencing at the historic downtown post office.

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?

Comments  (below)

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

Showing Contempt for Local Trumpite Sleeping Ban Enforcement—-

Freedom SleepOut #87

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

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

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

Email keith [at] foodnotbombs.net

Phone 575-770–3377

Freedom Sleeper activists reported last week learning of the death of local homeless man Michael Meers, disabled with a foot injury.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Police are still withholding witness accounts and the D.A.’s investigation into SCPD Officer Eric Bailey’s gundown of Sean Arlt last October. Councilmember Krohn has not publicly demanded these records be released, as earlier records were of the Officer Conor Carey’s killing of “Happy” John Dine in 1997
see “Unasked Questions, Foregone Conclusions” at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/076.Unasked%20Questions,%20Forgone%20Conclusions=1-98.pdf

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.

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

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

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

Following Fast and Fancy City Council Footwork, Freedom Sleepers Return for 86th Time Tuesday February 28th

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)

The City Council bathrooms are regularly closed and locked during Freedom SleepOut’s (perhaps to enable to the City to yowl about “urine and feces” being left outside?)> But last week, Freedom Sleepers last week reported even during regular business hours, Assistant administrator Bonnie Bush refused to open the bathrooms, even for a disabled patron, who then relieved himself on a wall. Bring your own catheter or colostomy bag.

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.

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.

9 AM-10 AM: Councilmember Chris Krohn has a pre-Council huddle with members of the public at the Cafe Pergolesi 418 Cedar St.

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.

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.

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.com/social-affairs/20170223/feds-santa-cruz-police-trade-jabs-after-february-gang-busts)

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.

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/newsitems/2017/02/16/18796574.php?show_comments=1#18796828).

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/newsitems/2017/02/27/18796875.php.


Freedom SleepOut #85 To Face Wettest Winter and Squad Cars at Midnight?

 Date Tuesday February 21

Time 4:00 PM Tuesday9 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)

Email keith@foodnotbombs.net

Phone 575-770–3377

Protests against Trump across the state and nation have failed so far to catalyze any local protests against Trumpism in Santa Cruz. Particularly concerning the most basic civil rights of our own refugees who face sweeps, property confiscations, harassment, and the nighttime Sleeping Ban–all measures designed to drive them out of town and out of sight.

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/newsitems/2017/02/18/18796619.php

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/photo.php?fbid=10154889337533820&set=pcb.10154889337793820&type=3&theater ).

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 [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/cynthia-chase-support-the-right-of-food-not-bombs-to-share-free-food-info-and-ideas-in-public-spaces?

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.

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/newsitems/2017/02/16/18796574.php?show_comments=1#18796616

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/newsitems/2017/02/20/18796677.php.


Valentine’s Day for Freedom SleepOut #84

 Date Tuesday February 14
Time 4:00 PM Tuesday10 AM Wednesday
Location Details Covering Up Warmly at City Hall 809 Center St or on the nearby steps, take your choice. The protest runs from Tuesday early afternoon to mid-morning Wednesday. Bring your sweetie to celebrate restoring civil rights for the rain-soaked renegades of Santa Cruz.
Event Type Protest
Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Email keith@foodnotbombs.net

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.

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-content/uploads/2017/02/sjm-meth-0210.jpg

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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/2017/02/06/first-came-homeless-threatens-lawsuit-alleges-city-violated-constitutional-rights/ .

Meanwhile as ACLU fund-raisers haul in heaps of money (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/01/30/the-aclu-says-it-got-24-million-in-donations-this-weekend-six-times-its-yearly-average/), local ACLU activists give lip service but no organizing time to protecting homeless survival gear and ending the local “poverty deportations” that happen every night to those outside.

While NAACP, SCCCCR, and the ACLU dither, Black Lives Matter will be protesting in Capitola next Saturday (https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/12/18796425.php ).

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.