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Reply to Mr. Rotkin

Dear Mr. Rotkin:

Steve Argue shared your letter regarding the infiltration of Last Night planning meetings. Thank you for addressing the issue, and thank you for your willingness to look into the matter. I only hope that a sanitized report by the police chief to the city council will not be the only action to come out of the matter.

I wanted to take the time address a few of your observations about the Santa Cruz police actions.

In your letter, you said, "there is no reason to think that the Police were doing anything other than attending a public meeting to get logistical information related to public safety concerning an announced demonstration in the streets downtown in which the planners of the event refused to talk to the police about their plans or apply for a permit." The Last Night planners did not refuse to talk to the police. In fact, at no point before the event was I or any of the event organizers approached, questioned, or contacted by the police. If they had, in all likelihood, we would have told them of our plans, openly and honestly, as we felt we had little to hide.

You also said, "the non-organizers of the event, never expressed any particular political intentions for their event." This is true, however we were told that Deputy Police Chief Vogel stated that he believed that this was an event by local anarchists. And while the parade represented a broad cross-section of the community, how did Deputy Chief Vogel come to this conclusion? How did it motivate his decision to infiltrate the group?

And lastly, you said "I can assure you that there is no Police program to infiltrate or report on the activities of groups (viz. plural) in town in general." Can you state with 100% certainty that this is the only political group in Santa Cruz that has been infiltrated by the Santa Cruz Police? And if not, which groups have been monitored? How often?

I would hope as an council member responsible for the actions of city government, that you would want answers to these questions and more as well.

Ostensibly, you are elected to represent the people of Santa Cruz and their concerns. This also includes a commitment to the people's rights to free speech, free assembly, and security from unreasonable searches. You are answerable first to the people, second to city administrators. Please do not immediately leap to the defense of city administrators before you have all the answers.

Thank you for your sincere and thorough push for a complete investigation of domestic spying by our own police agency.

Respectfully,

Rico Thunder
 


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