Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

ACLU--Where are you?

The LOCAL ACLU is silent on the LOCAL Drug War, LOCAL attacks on peace activists, LOCAL Patriot Act potential abuses, and other LOCAL civil and human rights struggles.

I'm particularly familiar with its evasions re: homeless civil rights and the sleeping ban. They've stalled and evaded the issue, brought to them more than a decade ago, but most recently in respectful formal fashion in October 2003.
Too busy, we'll form a subcommittee, forgot about it, etc.

When every other organization in town came out in favor of repealing the City's code against the homeless (no sleeping on any public property and on much private property 11 PM to 8:30 AM) back in the late 90's, the ACLU was silent.

Since 1997,the ACLU has repeatedly ducked doing any legal challenge to the Sleeping Ban or the river curfew, or the park curfews, or the Downtown Ordinances. Or providing any consistent legal support to homeless people locally. The ACLU had nothing to say when the Rotkin Council beheaded and trashed the Citizen's Police Review Board.

I understand local membership in the ACLU has escalated since 9-11 (up 145% they say above). Yet ACLU's public presence on local issues is completely off the radar.

ACLU use of national issued to fund-raise while it steers clear of local abuses is outrageous. I think old-timers like Dick Criley and Francis Heisler would have been ashamed and angry.

Is this because of incestuous ties with City Council sell-outs like Rotkin? Or a fundamental class bias?

ACLU did hold an abstract forum about the national Patriot Act chaired by non other than the great local civil libertarian Mike Rotkin. The same Rotkin who, with Kennedy and Porter, killed any attempt to establish local protections against the Patriot Act, such as Arcata, Palo Alto, and San Francisco have.

As to the fight against the drug war, where's the ACLU in attacking bogus prosecutions, the immense waste of taxpayer money, and the class-biased LOCAL prosecutions? Nowhere to be seen.

How about some local stats on how many people are incarcerated for simple possession or sales of marijuana? Last time I approached District Attorney Bob Lee for stats on this, he informed the computers were down, or were being changed.

I don't entirely agree with "Frustrated" that local action is useless--if there actually were some local action.

After all our local action in a county-wide Initiative declaring Medical Marijuana legal was followed three years later by the state's Proposition 215. More important a local cannabis club opened up on Maple St. and operated continuously--feds and state narcs not withstanding for five years or so.

Local action can have real impact, if there is any real interest in restoring civil liberties locally.

CHP officials are threatening to shut down "Peace Friday" on the Branciforte freeway
[See "39 Cities Call for Peace" story on the local interest section of the OPen Newswire.]

Folks attending the Drug Policy forum, might want to raise these uncomfortable questions before throwing money and support to ACLU locals who shun local civil liberties concerns like the plague.

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