Freedom SleepOut #77: Sanctuary for the Local Homeless?

Date Tuesday December 27
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]
Phone 575-770–3377

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 So far none of these militant liberals have shown up on the sidewalk in front of City Hall at night.

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.

Meanwhile the community gives itself an annual pat on the back for the twice-a-year charity feeds for the festive Xmas season [See]

And, of course, there is the ritual annual commemoration the homeless dead [See] behind the locked gates of the grant-magnet Homeless (Lack of) Services Center.

Julie Shaul of RV Fulltimers [] 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.

Report harassment citations and actions to Norse of HUFF at rnorse3 [at] 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.

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 and archive at . 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.

Sleep Protectors Gather for Freedom SleepOut #74

Sleep Protectors Gather for Freedom SleepOuit #74

Date Tuesday December 06 Time 4:00 PM Tuesday9:00 AM Wednesday

Location Details On the sidewalks near City Hall, barred from taking shelter under the eaves in the rain, protesters will spend the night outside, under tarps, perhaps with a tent or two, and in nearby vehicles.  For nearly a year and a half, a small community of housed and homeless have demanded an end to laws criminalizing survival sleeping and other life-sustaining activities. Watchers, well-wishers, blankets, and visitors welcome!

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (story by Norse)

Email keith [at]

Phone 575-770–3377

As temperatures dive below 40 and winter approaches in earnest, city and county authorities are providing $360,000 worth of nightly shelter for 50-75 people at VFW Post No. 7263 at 2259 7th Ave. in Live Oak. The mini-program (considering there are 3000+ unsheltered in the County) will expand to 100-125 in January with the opening of the Salvation Army building downtown at 721 Laurel St. –unavailable during a cold December because it’s being used for “fund-raising” activities.The usual NIMBY (Not-in-My-Back-Yard) approach is evident. The pick-up site is several miles from the 7th Ave. shelter. Clients are banned from walking or driving to the shelter. In-take worker Steve Pleich notes folks will have to go through an initial questioning process (5-10 minutes), presumably to satisfy the Take Back Santa Cruz-minded folks as well as provide data for more grant-grabbing activity.

Old-timers remembered when you got sheltered if you showed up. Not any more.
Meals will be provided for the few that get into the program, but the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center (a “supporter” of the Winter Shelter program) has made no move to restore the open meals that were its historic responsibility abandoned in June of 2015.

Run by the Association of Faith Communities, the AFC bosses may not require users to be present every night or be kicked out of the program–which they do regularly at their year-round 20-person shelter program that moves from church to church. Boss Debbi Bates reportedly excluded several women from the smaller program because they took Tuesday nights out to join the Freedom Sleeper protests. Bates now heads the far more costly $360 grand Winter Shelter.

Read the Sentinel’s sunny shelter spin at &

Also due to open at least for a night or two later this week is the Warming Center with downtown pick-up’s at Pearl Alley. Call 211 or (831) 234-9848 for more info.

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Santa Barbara Activists Fight RV Ban

NORSE’S NOTES:  Santa Cruz, under the Mathews City Council, has faced a severe attack on those whose “affordable housing” is an RV with the passage last year and again this year of the city-wide nighttime RV parking ban.  This is another in a series of anti-homeless measures based on the false and vicious mythology that a large proportion of homeless folks are criminals, threats to children, etc.  It’s a fantasy pushed by influential economically distressed middle-class residents along with police, real estate speculators, and downtown business interests which has resulted in a string of repressive laws–in addition to the City’s traditional and routine Sleeping Ban–which makes any  sleep 11 PM to 8:30 AM, even in one’s own legally parked vehicle, a crime.

                    A successful appeal to the Coastal Commission heard last summer has delayed the implementation of Santa Cruz’s “no parking midnight to 5 AM” law now on the books but supposedly not being enforced  [See and ” Unexpected Victory at Coastal Commission” .   There are however mixed reports of police reportedly “cracking down” and driving vehicularly housed residents out of town into the County.  Meanwhile, the County has passed an even more repressive RV ban in March, which impacts five times as many people (since the County’s population is five times larger than the City’s).  Their ban [County Code 9.70.620] lasts all night and, like the City’s stalled ban, requires a permit connected to a resident or hotel.  It also requires parking near the residence or hotel.   Tickets so far have been very limited, but I have raised the issue with any enforcement at all with the apparently unsympathetic staff of the Coastal Commission–so far without results.

                     The “liberal” Sheriff Jim Hart reportedly has a “Flashlights at the Park” program which invites private hate groups and eager vigilantes to join deputies in stalking the parks at night in search of “illicit” behavior.  Since survival sleeping and camping is probably the most prevalent crime, the target and impact this policy seems pretty obvious. [See September 17]

                      In San Rafael as well, RV residents are fighting back.   See  For a lengthy discussion of the Santa Barbara situation from activist Peter Marin, listen to Free Radio Santa Cruz archive at [37 minutes into the audio file].

                      So far in the Santa Cruz City Council forums, I’m not aware that the issue of the harassment of RV dwellers and potential eviction of poor families has been made a high priority issue–or an issue at all for the would-be chairwarmers.    (See article below)

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Support Freedom SleepOut #59; Fight Back Against City and County RV Repression!

Freedom SleepOut #59 as RV Rights Struggle Continues-
Date Tuesday August 23 Time 2:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Location Details City Hall sidewalk across from the Main Library as well as in the City Hall Courtyard. Food Not Bombs will serve vegan food along with literature and good cheer throughout the afternoon until early evening. The protest disperses on Wednesday morning around 8 or 9 after coffee.
Event Type Protest
Organizer/AuthorKeith McHenry (story by Norse)
The Tuesday night weekly protest moves towards its 14th month and 59th consecutive week. At issue is the City’s low-intensity war on the homeless community marked by social service cutoffs, vehicular bans, severe restrictions on public space usage, and increased “policing” downtown, in the parks, and elsewhere.

An 11 PM to 8:30 AM ban on the act of sleeping outside or in a vehicle on public property has created a nonsensical, costly, and cruel conflict forcing unhoused vulnerable people to hide in unsafe areas, avoid well-lighted spots, and disperse from larger (safer) groups.

Without formal organization, unhoused folks have gathered every Tuesday scrunched on the sidewalk in front of City Hall (as the City has made it illegal to be in the Council “park” after 10 PM). They share company, security, and food compliments of “Jumbogumbo” Joe Schultz of India Joze. Join them to share your blankets, watching eyes, documenting cellphone recordings, and support.


After the Coastal Commission’s defeat of Councilwoman Richelle Niroyan’s anti-homeless midnight-to-5 AM ban on RV’s in the city, the City Council last Thursday placed the item on its agenda for today’s 12:30 PM Closed Session. By Monday (perhaps earlier) it had been struck out. When asked why, Councilmember Posner neither offered a reason, nor expressed any interest in finding out.

Assistant City Manager Scott Collins has been e-mailed with the same questions. Collins is the same staffer who declined to verify the Freedom Sleepers’ claims that they were regularly cleaning up the protest area after use last fall. Instead, McHenry reports, Collins leveled criminal charges against Freedom Sleeper and Food Not Bombs co-founder after McHenry yelled at him as Collins fled the scene. In a deal to protect another Freedom Sleeper, McHenry pled to a lesser charge in the Shouting Incident as City officials went after him last winter for restoring and expanding the “blue boxes” on Pacific Avenue with do-it-yourself paint and stencils. Collins and his associate Julie Hendee are regular presenters of anti-homeless measures to City Council.


The new crackdown on poor folks in RV’s in the broader County area was reviewed last week in “Freedom Sleep #58 In the Midst of Struggle Over RV Rights: COUNTY RV BAN ENFORCEMENT IN PROGRESS? ” at .

On August 12 the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office wrote on this thread: “No Overnight Parking zones will remain No Overnight Parking Zones with or without a permit. As for obtaining the permit, you must have permission from your friend or family who lives directly adjacent from your RV.” A rather straightforward interpretation here is that ALL overnight parking on ALL County roads are currently technically “illegal” under the County’s Ordinance Section 9.70.620 passed in March. There has been no discussion on this thread dated later than August 12.

However, Santa Cruz Fulltimers founder Julie Schaul–an activist concerned with the rights of poor families living in RV’s in the City–reports no citations have been given out since the Sheriff’s Department announced it began enforcing the ban on August 1st. Schaul has a facebook page that covers the RV struggle.

County staff and Coastal Commission staff, though questioned about the legality of the County’s ordinance and the Sheriff’s enforcement announcement, have declined to apply the Commission’s August 10th ruling against the City ban. They have also declined to clarify an appropriate appeal procedure on the issue. E-mail and phone exchanges continue. If you wish to express your concern, contact Sharif Traylor, staffer at the Coastal Commission, at 427-4863 or sharif.traylor [at] or Paia Levine, planner, at County Planning at paia.levine [at] 454-5317.

Though Sharif has noted he reply by e-mail, it’s still useful to create a paper trail. The issue is whether the County March law violates the Coastal Commission’s clear statements on August 10th that there must be real public access for folks of all incomes. Neither Santa Cruz County nor the City provides places for poor people to park their RV’s, nor have they shown a real “crime” problem.

Please cc all such inquiries and responses to rnorse3 [at] .


Contact the 9 Council candidates running by e-mail or phone to insist they raise the issues of Sleeping Ban Repeal, Access to public spaces at night, security for homeless persons and property, as well as restore the meager social services. These were some of the original demands of the Freedom Sleep-Out. The protests began as a Community Sleep-Out under the “Homeless Lives Matter” slogan last summer as services closed down at the Homeless Lack-of Services Center.

The candidates are J.M. Brown, Steven Pleich, Nathanael A. Kennedy, Drew “Dru” S. Glover, Martine Watkins, Cynthia Mathews, Steve Schnaar, James (Jim) P. Davis, Robert Singleton, Sandra (Sandy) L. Brown, and Chris Krohn. Their contact information is available at under “List of Prospective 2016 Candidates”.

Only Steve Pleich has spent an overnight with the Freedom Sleepers and not recently.

To discuss RV pushback and electoral antics, check out the HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) meeting at 11 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe Wednesday August 24.

Coastal Commission Audio and Video Link on the RV Ban Victory

Regarding the recent Coastal Commission decision requiring a full-scale hearing at a future Commission meeting before they’ll issue a permit to allow enforcement of the nighttime RV ban in the coastal areas of Santa Cruz City.

Note that the County had already announced its own enforcement of a similar if not identical law impacting even a wider audience.  The issue will be discussed on Free Radio Santa Cruz Sunday morning 8-21 at 10 AM at 101.3 FM (streams at

Your source for REAL news from around the World Alternative Action and Community-based Programming Awesome music you don’t hear anywhere else on the airwaves

Coastal Commission Archive Link Correction

by Robert Norse

Tue Aug 16 09:18:45 2016

For some reason, the audio and video link to the Coastal Commission doesn’t work if you click directly on it. Instead, cut and paste it in, and you’ll reach their archive. Sorry for any confusion.

Again, that link is[]=CCC as mentioned in the main story. And the agenda item is 16e.


Freedom Sleep #58 In the Midst of Struggle Over RV Rights


Date Tuesday August 16

Time 5:00 PM Tuesday9:00 AM Wednesday

Location Details Bring bags, blankets, and bellies to the sidewalk and brick area in front of Santa Cruz City Hall.

Event Type Protest

Organizer/Author Keith McHenry (article written by Norse)


Phone 575-770–3377





Another overnight is slated for tomorrow night in the continuing saga of persistent homeless (and housed) resistance to the City’s anti-homeless 11 PM – 8:30 AM Sleeping Ban (MC 6.36.010).

City Council returned from its summer recess last week, unrepentant as ever, with nothing on the agenda that would increase shelter or homeless services or restore the homeless right to be free from police persecution for life-sustaining behaviors. Mercifully, there will be no Council meeting this Tuesday night.

Salinas activists have sustained a more recent, but more intense (nightly) protest at their City Hall. See “Following the Chinatown Homeless Sweeps, A New Tent Community Thrives at Salinas City Hall” at .

Some local activists noted that the entire City Council candidate roguepack was present at the Association of Faith Communities Election Forum last Thursday night–though there was little if any talk about the Freedom Sleepers protest, the Sleeping Ban, or the criminalization of the poor.

Andy Carcello was evicted from the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center and reported getting pneumonia sleeping on the street in front of the HLOSC. Shortly thereafter he required heart surgery and reports being “dumped’ in Salinas. Lucero Luna, a fiery Freedom Sleeper, has been in and out of jail for repeated defiance of the “stay in your blue box” Downtown Ordinances.

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Unexpected Victory at Coastal Commission Overturning Nighttime RV Ban

The Coastal Commission today found by an 11-1 vote that the City’s midnight to 5 PM RV ban involved a “substantial issue” and so would require a new hearing in the months to come. Unimpressed with Assistant City Manager Scott Collins’s flimsy if not false claims that Santa Cruz provides RV alternatives, is dealing with an RV “crime crisis”, and is only duplicating what other cities have done.FLYER DISTRIBUTED TO THE COMMISSION AT THE HEARING

notes_for_a_coastal_commission_speech__final_flyer.pdf_600_.jpgDownload PDF


City councilfolks and staffers can bullshit themselves, but it’s harder to bullshit the Coastal Commission. In Santa Cruz, staff word is usually holy writ, so they can spin whatever yarns they want with challenge only from the occasional critic that the Council ignores. The Coastal Commission staff initially advised the Santa Cruz Council staff that last year’s proposed 8 PM to 8 AM RV ban would be too sweeping to pass muster once I’d filed an appeal at the recommendation of Councilmember Posner. The Coastal Commission staff, after months of consulting with the Scott Collins City Council staff, agreed to a “compromise” midnight to 5 AM ban, swallowing whole Collins’ specious arguments. The CC staff then recommended upholding the “RV’s Get Out!” law and denying my appeal.

Though they had plenty of time to research, both staffs failed to include the particulars. For instance, the (lack of) availability of RV parking in the City. Or the miniscule number of churches that actually allow an RV to park (where they have to compete with vehicles). In essence, Collins’ failed to come up with specific parking alternatives for unhoused people using RV’s as housing.

He had no specific statistics clarifying what “crimes” required passing such a Draconian city-wide ban. But claimed he had. A few simple questions from the Commission itself exposed the how unsubstantiated these claims were.

We brought up these issues repeatedly before City Council but were ostentatiously ignored. Arrogant politicians in an echo chamber suddenly run up against outside observers who, whatever their political preferences, have to consider real facts. Like denying coastal access to a whole class of people to please NIMBY neighborhoods.

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Coastal Commission Likely to Rubberstamp Anti-Homeless RV Ban: Wednesday August 10

 Say No to the Nighttime RV Ban at the Coastal Commission Hearing

Date Wednesday August 10
Time 9:00 AM -into the afternoon
Location Details
Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley 6001 La Madrona Dr.Staff advises that the item (#16e on the Agenda) may not be heard until 10 AM or later, but suggests people come at 9 AM “to be sure”. They also warn that meetings may take until mid-afternoon or even evening. However 10-11 AM was the estimated (extremely approximate) time.

Event Type Other
Organizer/Author Robert Norse
rnorse3 [at]
Phone 831-423-4833

To call during the meeting only for input to the Coastal Commission:
(415) 407-3211.The full agenda packet for my appeal can be found at under Central Coast District, item 16e.

Only those who spoke or wrote to City Council around the anti-RV ordinance previously will be allowed to speak unless the Commission decides that a “substantial issue” is involved.

TEXT OF MY APPEAL [See attachment below]

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) opposes the proposed ban on RV parking city-wide during the nighttime hours of midnight to 5 AM. We believe it violates the City LDC as well as being part of a broader unstated anti-homeless policy of eliminating visible poverty from public areas without respecting the rights of the entire community to have access to those areas.

It limits public access unnecessarily to the Coastal Zone.

It discriminates against poor people (and indeed anyone) who live in or drive RV’s by denying them coastal access.

It puts a particular burden on those whose only affordable housing is a vehicle by making it illegal to park them at night.   [See attachment below for the rest of the letter]

10.40.120 No person shall stop, stand or leave standing any oversized vehicle on any public highway, street or city parking lot between the hours of 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. unless otherwise authorized under Municipal Code Chapter 10.40.120.

“Oversized vehicle” shall mean any motorized vehicle as defined of Section 670 of the Vehicle Code or combination of motorized vehicles and/or non-motorized vehicles or trailers that meets or exceeds twenty-two feet in length at any time or a combination of the two following criteria, exclusive of fixtures, accessories or property: seven feet in height and seven feet in width.
(a) To determine the height, width or length of the vehicles defined in this section, any extension to the vehicle caused by mirrors, air conditioners, or similar attachments as allowed by Section 35109, 35110 or 35111 of the Vehicle Code as may be amended shall not be included.
(b) Oversized vehicle does not include pickup trucks, vans, or sport utility vehicles, which are less than twenty-five feet in length and eight feet in height.”

ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS: City Council Staff was directed “to proceed with the Coastal Development Permit process with a no parking rule from 12:00 a.m. – 5 a.m.; and report back 3 months after the ordinance goes into effect with some options for additional measures in the ordinance that could possibly expand the hours, as well as a permitting option for RV parking.”

“New appeals undergo a two-step process before the Commission, known as the ‘substantial issue’ phase and the ‘de novo’ phase. At the ‘substantial issue’ phase, section 30625(b) of the Coastal Act requires the Commission to hear an appeal unless the Commission determines that no substantial issue is raised by the appeal.

If at least three Commissioners request to take public testimony at the substantial issue phase of the appeal prior to determining whether or not to hear an appeal, the only persons qualified to testify orally before the Commission are the applicants, persons who opposed the application before the local government (or their representatives), and the local government. Testimony from other persons must be submitted in writing.”

The appeal, in my view, is unlikely to get past the “substantial issue” phase, since Coastal staff, huddling with the City staff, has already found “no substantial issue” and its recommendation to defeat the appeal is being forwarded to the Commission. I am told the Commission rarely goes against the recommendations of its staff.

However, there seemed to be some confusion among the staff. One staffer was unaware that the law allows nighttime parking permits only to those who rent or own and not to unhoused people, van dwellers, and tourists unless local housed residents made application. Another knew about the exclusion of homeless from permits and apparently didn’t think its exclusion of those folks was significant.

To support those who are impacted by the “RV’s Begone!” law, those fighting gentrification and thinly disguised anti-homeless laws generally. This battle is likely lost (though you never can tell), but the struggle will continue. It may be a chance to meet and exchange contact information with folks living in RV’s or supporting those who do.

The fact remains that in Santa Cruz, affordable housing for the poor is often a vehicle. Banning nighttime RV parking is the yet another step in the continuing criminalizing process. For those who were (foolishly) hoping for real alternatives in the Presidential election, there are real struggles to be fought locally on a day-to-day basis that matter. Getting together with others may make that more likely.

Commission Phone Number before the hearing: 831-427-4863
Commission Phone Number during the hearing: 415-407-3211

coastal_rv_fight_flier_really_final.pdf_600_.jpgDownload PDF


For more event information:

Added to the calendar on Monday Aug 8th, 2016 9:26 PM iCal Import this event into your personal calendar.

§Text of Norse Appeal Letter to the Coastal Commission

by Robert Norse Monday Aug 8th, 2016 9:26 PM
coastal_commission_letter__revised.pdf_600_.jpgDownload PDF


I presented a similar letter to the Mathews City Council. Without any meaningful response.

§Letter of Support from Southern California Activist

by Robert Norse Monday Aug 8th, 2016 9:26 PM
kennedy_letter.pdf_600_.jpgDownload PDF


Peggy Lee Kennedy and attorney Carol Sobel have successfully expanded protections for the unhoused with the Jones decision and settlement formally overturning the L.A. nighttime sleeping and sitting ban and the Desertrain decision protecting people in vehicles.

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Here Comes Freedom Sleep-Out #55 !

Freedom Sleep #55 To Follow Pacific Avenue Protests
Date Tuesday July 26
Time 5:00 PM – 9:00 AM
Location Details Using the public City Hall Courtyard until police drive the public out at 10 PM when sleepers will bunk down on the sidewalk.
Event Type Protest
Keith McHenry (posted by Norse)
Phone 575-770-3377 

Freedom Sleepers will again claim sidewalk sleeping space in front of City Hall Tuesday night. The activists will defy the Mathews’ Council’s anti-homeless 11 PM- 8:30 AM Sleeping Ban still being used throughout the City to harass, cite, and “move along” unhoused people in the dead of night.

Food Not Bombs may be providing food support and Jumbogumbo Joe Schultz coffee and soup.

Alex Darocy’s vivid photographic and narrative coverage of the last several sleepouts can be found at (“Tuesday is Still the Night to Sleep at Santa Cruz City Hall”). Darocy provides regular coverage of the sleep-out’s, which can be seen through searching for “Darocy” on the website.

Outspoken activist Lucero Luna was twice arrested last week for a dramatic, theatrical, and vocal protest on Pacific Avenue exposing and castigating the treatment of homeless people as trash in Santa Cruz. See “Houseless activist protests sleeping ban, public space restrictions in Santa Cruz” at . Luna reports repeated harassment in the van she lives in and has frequently urged fight-back marches downtown.

Santa Cruz City Council accepted misleading anecdotal testimony last fall without any specific statistics around complaints of dumping, view-blocking, the presence of “suspicious” vandwellers, and other more hysterical claims (meth labs on wheels).

They passed two ordinances banning RV parking from 8 PM to 8 AM, denying homeless people the right to get permits, and empowering the city engineer to begin eliminating ‘oversized” parking spaces and criminalizing vehicles that use more than one space.

The Coastal Commission will hear activist Robert Norse’s appeal on the more limited midnight to 5 PM RV ban, intended mainly–testimony from neighborhood NIMBY’s made clear at the time–to drive away homeless folks. The commission will meet Wednesday, August 10 at 9 AM at the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley at 6001 La Madrona Drive.

Jones and Skelton have been arrested repeatedly for displaying their art work outside the small and sparce “exempt zones”, designated by small brass discs and blue dots on the Pacific Avenue sidewalk.

The two were unexpectedly acquitted last year by police powerpuffer Kim Baskett, Commissioner of Dept. 10. Now the two face four new charges of violating MC SC 5.81(A)-1 (displaying art outside the blue box and/or not moving every hour). Two of these charges go to trial at 1:30 PM in the basement of the County Building, adjacent to the courthouse on August 30th.

This will be the first challenge to the City’s recent “Vanish the Vendors” law. This ban on handicraft creation, display, and sale along Pacific Avenue and side streets reiterates and reinforces the reduction of art/performance/tabling space which went into high great in 2013, created the “blue boxes” in 2014, and then cut their number down by half in 2016. Commissioner Basket will hear the case without a jury. The two artists don’t have a court appointed lawyer and haven’t mentioned that any local legal eagle has volunteered to help.

More info on the Freedom Sleepers is frequently available at . Donations of food, blankets, sleeping bags, and energy are always welcome.

This calendar event description was written by Robert Norse, who is alone responsible for its content.




Vote down Attack on RV’s on Tuesday’s Afternoon Agenda

To the Santa Cruz City Council,

Re: Item #25 on the Afternoon Session of the June 28, 2016 Agenda,

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) opposes the proposed ban on RV parking city-wide during the nighttime hours of midnight to 5 PM.

It limits public access unnecessarily to the Coastal Zone.

It discriminates against poor people (and indeed anyone) who live in or drive RV’s by denying them coastal access.

It puts a particular burden on those whose only affordable housing is a vehicle by making it illegal to park them at night.

It discriminates against those who own or rent property in Santa Cruz by denying them a permit process.

It was done with no determination of its impact on those living in their vehicles in the City and threatens their health and safety.

It is especially cruel and abusive considering the acknowledged shelter crisis.

It does include a provision for Safe Parking spaces at night, such as Santa Barbara provides, that might provide a refuge or safety valve for those banned at night.

It prejudices the right to travel, by eliminating the right to park an RV in Santa Cruz for those visiting.

It was passed without meaningful police documentation of the alleged problems justifying the unusual exclusionary policy.

It is being done without a procedure for consulting the neighborhoods involved as is the accepted practice for requiring permits to park in other cities (as well as in Santa Cruz for vehicles generally).

The oversized vehicle restriping law passed last year provides overly broad authority to the traffic engineer to expand the zone in which parking spaces for larger vehicles can be completely eliminated without recourse to public comment or public vote.

In addition given the infirmities in the proposed law (even as amended to limit the time of the parking bans), it will–when rejected by the Coastal Commission–put an undue burden on those whose homes and property is on the Coastal zone if the city chooses to authorize enforcement of the non-Coastal areas of the City as may be likely.

Please send this law back to the appropriate Commission or City Council committee for more public input with the individuals seriously affected (poor people who live in their vans, homeless service providers, tourists who visit the city).

Please request specific documentation on the abuses real and alleged that supposedly motivate this law to examine their exact extent in the last year to determine specific remedies rather than this overly broad attack that hurts poor and homeless people particularly.  And shames our community generally.

I also encourage others to register their concerns by calling City Council at 420-5020 and/or e-mailing them at  Or by appearing at City Council for the public hearing likely to begin shortly after 3 PM.

In addition, any members of the City Council or community who wish to appeal a negative vote of the City Council can deliver a appeal form to the Coastal Commission at 725 Front St Ste 300,Santa Cruz, CA 95060.  Here is the link for the Coastal Commission appeal form:   For more information, call them at (831) 427-4863

Robert Norse
HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom)
(423-4833) Continue reading