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News :: Environment & Food

Sun fuels Earth Day celebration

Sun fuels Earth Day celebration

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2003/April/27/local/stories/05local.htm

April 27, 2003
By ROBYN MOORMEISTER
Sentinel Staff Writer

Students at the outdoor Earth Festival at UC Santa Cruz were especially grateful for the sunny weather Saturday. But the rays did more than just fuel good moods — they provided some nice sound, too.

Everything requiring energy was powered by the sun at Saturday’s festival in the Quarry Amphitheater, including a sound stage with a couple of loud speakers, amplifiers and microphones.

The festival follows the annual April 22 observance of Earth Day.

Bright blue solar panels, propped next to the stage, took up about as much room as a gas-guzzling sport utility vehicle, and they provided unfailing energy all day long, compliments of environmental advocate Greenpeace.

"It’s a good thing it’s a nice day," Greenpeace campaigner Maureen Cane said as she squinted up at the sun.

The event, hosted by the Student Environmental Center, brought together students and staff to discuss the environmental consequences of war, renewable alternative energies, waste prevention and sustainable food systems in a series of workshops, panel discussions and demonstrations on campus.

"I would have loved to see more people show up," UCSC student Sylvan Cambier said, noting that turnout was not nearly as favorable as he had expected.

About 100 attendants were milling about mid-morning, but spirits were still high.

Greenpeace campaigners and other environmental activists set up information booths where attendants sampled organic foods, got free massages and browsed environmentally-sound goods.

And the solar-powered music by local jam band illumNation kept dreads bobbing and the environment sounding good.
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Contact Robyn Moormeister at rmoormeister@santa-cruz.com

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News :: Environment & Food

Sun fuels Earth Day celebration

Sun fuels Earth Day celebration

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2003/April/27/local/stories/05local.htm

April 27, 2003
By ROBYN MOORMEISTER
Sentinel Staff Writer

Students at the outdoor Earth Festival at UC Santa Cruz were especially grateful for the sunny weather Saturday. But the rays did more than just fuel good moods — they provided some nice sound, too.

Everything requiring energy was powered by the sun at Saturday’s festival in the Quarry Amphitheater, including a sound stage with a couple of loud speakers, amplifiers and microphones.

The festival follows the annual April 22 observance of Earth Day.

Bright blue solar panels, propped next to the stage, took up about as much room as a gas-guzzling sport utility vehicle, and they provided unfailing energy all day long, compliments of environmental advocate Greenpeace.

"It’s a good thing it’s a nice day," Greenpeace campaigner Maureen Cane said as she squinted up at the sun.

The event, hosted by the Student Environmental Center, brought together students and staff to discuss the environmental consequences of war, renewable alternative energies, waste prevention and sustainable food systems in a series of workshops, panel discussions and demonstrations on campus.

"I would have loved to see more people show up," UCSC student Sylvan Cambier said, noting that turnout was not nearly as favorable as he had expected.

About 100 attendants were milling about mid-morning, but spirits were still high.

Greenpeace campaigners and other environmental activists set up information booths where attendants sampled organic foods, got free massages and browsed environmentally-sound goods.

And the solar-powered music by local jam band illumNation kept dreads bobbing and the environment sounding good.
--------
Contact Robyn Moormeister at rmoormeister@santa-cruz.com

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Announcement :: Labor & Economics

Reel jobs: May Day film festival focuses on work life

Reel jobs: May Day film festival focuses on work life

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2003/April/26/style/stories/01style.htm

April 26, 2003
By WALLACE BAINE
Sentinel Film writer

Other than family, perhaps the central experience of our lives is work. Yet the film industry has often given short shrift to peoples labor lives.

The second annual May Day Labor Film Festival aka "Reel Work," to take place at various sites around Santa Cruz County April 27 through May 1 is built around the concept of labor from the light mainstream entertainment of the 1980 hit "Nine to Five" to the more serious workplace-justice issues addressed by John Sayless coal-miners saga "Matewan" and documentaries on various labor issues around the world.

This years festival will also feature a number of post-screening speakers to help put the labor and work issues in context. One such speaker is Tia Lessin, whose film "Behind the Labels" will be shown next Wednesday at Kresge Town Hall on the campus of UC Santa Cruz.

Lessin, the supervisor producer for Michael Moores Oscar-winning "Bowling for Columbine," took a film crew to the Pacific island of Saipan, a U.S. territory, to document what she called the "indentured servitude" of Chinese garment workers in factories contracted with name-brand retail outlets like J.Crew and the Gap.

"The film is not just about labor issues, but about human-rights issues," Lessin said by phone from her home in New York. "These workers are recruited from Asian countries and have to pay steep fees, a lot of times going into debt, to work at these factories in Saipan."

Once they get there, said Lessin, they are often denied pay, made to do "volunteer" labor and locked in their factories.

"Were basically dealing with the human trafficking of women in what is a U.S. territory," said Lessin.

The Reel Work festival will open with the most recent film from British filmmaker Ken Loach, recognized as one of the finest social realist filmmakers today. "The Navigators" is a drama about British rail workers move toward privatization in the 1990s.

The following is a schedule for this years festival.

SUNDAY, APRIL 27

Ken Loachs "The Navigators" (2003), noon at the Nickelodeon, 210 Lincoln St., Santa Cruz.

Guest speaker is teacher and author Paul Ortiz.

Later in the day at 7 p.m.:

Sturla Gunnarssons 1996 documentary "Diana Kilmury: Teamster" about a truck drivers fight for democracy in her union, followed by "Los Trabajadores," a 2002 documentary on immigrant day laborers in Austin, Texas.

Both screenings at Cabrillo College Watsonville Center, Room 4350, 318 Union St., Watsonville.

TUESDAY, APRIL 29

"On Strike for Respect" features live footage of statewide strike at UC Santa Cruz in 2002.

Thats followed by a screening of 1980s "Nine to Five," a comedy starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.

Guest speaker is Cathy Deppe, organizer of the "9 to 5" National Association of Working Women.

Both screenings to take place at the studio of Community Television, 816 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Showtime is 7 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30

Tia Lessins documentary on human-rights conditions in the garment factories of the U.S. territory of Saipan, called "Behind the Labels," followed by Vivian Prices doc on women in the building trades in Los Angeles titled "Hammering It Out."

Both filmmakers will be on hand as guest speakers. Also scheduled to appear will be Chie Abad, a former Saipan garment worker who was included in "Behind the Labels."

Both screenings to take place at Kresge Town Hall on the campus of UCSC. Showtime is 7 p.m.

THURSDAY, MAY 1

Festival culminates with screening of restored print of "Matewan," John Sayless 1987 drama about West Virginia coal miners revolt in the 1920s, starring recent Oscar winner Chris Cooper.

Guest speaker is Gary Fritz of United Mine Workers Union. Showtime is 7 p.m. at the Del Mar Theatre, 1124 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz.

For more information about the "Reel Work" festival, call 469-3306 or www.reelwork.org.
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Contact Wallace Baine atwbaine@santa-cruz.com

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News :: Resistance & Tactics

Activist upset his Chavez photo altered for stamp

Activist upset his Chavez photo altered for stamp

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2003/April/26/local/stories/01local.htm

April 26, 2003
by DAN WHITE
Sentinel staff writer

SANTA CRUZ An area peace activist and photographer was proud to hear the image he captured of Cesar Chavez was turned into a commemorative stamp.

But his heart sank when he saw how it turned out.

Bob Fitch, 63, said the U.S. Postal Service "neutered" the original photo, taken in 1970 at the United Farm Workers headquarters in Delano.

"They used my photograph, but it kind of denudes the man," he said ruefully.

His complaint: His photo shows Chavez smiling near a United Farm Workers flag with its black eagle symbol and the words, "Nosotros Venceremos," meaning "We will prevail."

The new stamp, unveiled Thursday, chops out all UFW references, replacing them with a background of grape fields.

"The pastoral scene is lovely but neuters the union reference," said Fitch, who worked close to the late farm-labor leader for three years, documenting his work in the fields.

Fitch now works part time at the Santa Cruz-based Resource Center for Nonviolence.

Fitch, who wont say how much the U.S. Postal Service paid him for use of the image, said Chavez would be "tickled" and honored if he could see the stamp.

But the stamp, Fitch said, was a missed opportunity to push the envelope.

Grape fields are relevant since Chavez, co-founder of the United Far Workers of America, spearheaded a highly publicized grape boycott in California. But Fitch said its a mistake to remember Chavez outside the context of a social and human-rights movement, and that the union should have been front and center on the stamp.

Fitch did not submit the image for consideration; the Postal Service contacted Fitchs agent.

The U.S. Postal Service issued the stamp on the 10th anniversary of Chavezs death, at age 66, on April 23, 1993. The Postal Service is used to hearing some grumbling about its portrayal of icons, spokeswoman Cynthia Puryear said.

However, she noted that Paul Chavez, Cesar Chavezs son, and chairman of the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, praised the stamp, and said there has been an "outpouring" of positive reaction.

The stamp honors a leader born in 1927 near his familys farm in Yuma, Ariz. Chavez had lasting back injuries from laboring in the fields and vineyards of the Southwest. He started as a community organizer in the 1950s, running voter registration drives and conducting anti-discrimination campaigns.

In 1962 Chavez co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers of America.

He led the union for more than 30 years, and his efforts greatly influenced the passing of the 1975 California Agricultural Labor Relations Act to protect farmworkers.

Fitch spent his youth as a freelance photographer snapping pictures of his heroes.

He worked for Martin Luther King Jr.s Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and was devastated when the civil rights leader was assassinated. Fitch said he cried for days, but later had a vision that he should continue his work documenting social-justice movements, and started taking pictures of Chavez.

There is nothing warm and fuzzy or pastoral about the original pictures, shot with a battered Nikon F camera. In one shot, Chavez, his face contorted, faces a rapt crowed. Hes posed next to a chalk board with the words, "Money, Service, Time," scrawled across it.

Fitch remembers him as a mercurial, no- nonsense figure, a "patron" who commanded respect.

In another picture, Chavez is sitting in an orthopedic rocking chair he needed because of his back pain. A group of farmworkers and associates listens in rapt attention.

Reflecting on those days only intensifies Fitchs feeling that the stamp was a missed opportunity to capture Chavez in the right context.

He described his disappointment as "very potent.

"They cut off the whole history of the unions, and Im very pro-union," he said.
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Contact Dan White at dwhite@santa-cruz.com

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News :: Resistance & Tactics

Volunteers distribute alternative war perspectives

Volunteers distribute alternative war perspectives

http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/news/breaking_news/5668783.htm

Apr. 18, 2003
By SUKHJIT PUREWAL
spurewal@montereyherald.com


As the focus in Iraq has shifted from combat to maintaining order and rebuilding the nation, some peace protesters have switched tactics to keep their anti-war message at the forefront.
But a cadre of volunteers in Monterey County say their information dissemination project, dubbed BEYOND CNN! News You Dont See on TV, remains as relevant today as it did at the height of the conflict.
At post offices, Fishermans Wharf and other locations, Beyond CNN volunteers have been waging a war against mainstream media. Their main tactic is distributing newspaper articles, downloaded from the Web sites of numerous international news sources. The volunteers say the articles give a more factual account of events in Iraq, including the deaths of Iraqis and the destruction of the country, than mainstream media offer. While many of the articles appear to take an anti-war slant, Freeman said they are factual.
We arent getting the whole picture through our media, said volunteer Kristin Rasmussen. People dont realize we arent getting all the images that other people in other countries are getting.
Project architect Mara Freeman said the major television networks and cable news channels, including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, upon which so many Americans rely, have duped the public. The coverage, she says, has only perpetuated a jingoistic outlook and covered up the real facts of the war.
Im hoping that people will get a sense of the carnage and horror over there as opposed to the video-game, sanitized version of what they see on TV, said Freeman, a Pacific Grove writer and psychotherapist.
A sampling of stories dated April 17 included two from The Guardian of London and one from the French newspaper Le Monde.
One Guardian story says the Royal Society, the United Kingdoms top scientific body, was urging the United States and Great Britain to clean up depleted uranium from weapons used against Iraq, saying it poses a health risk to civilians and soldiers. That is contrary to the Pentagons contention that the uranium isnt dangerous, the story said.
Another story comes from Guardian reporter Robert Fisk, who questioned why Americans bombed residential areas in Mansur, killing 14 civilians, most members of a Christian family.
A third story is the firsthand account of combat by embedded photographer Laurent Van der Stockt, translated from a left-leaning French newspaper, Le Monde, in an American political newsletter, Counterpunch. Van der Stockt, who followed the advance of the Third Battalion of the Fourth Regiment into Baghdad, reported, With my own eyes I saw about 15 civilians killed in two days. Ive gone through enough wars to know that its always dirty, that civilians are always the first victims. But the way it was happening here, it was insane.
Freeman isnt alone in seeking out a broader perspective on the Internet. Although television remained the dominant news medium for most Americans looking for news about the war, 56 percent of people who use the Internet said they turned to it for news as well, according to a report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project earlier this month. Of those, 17 percent said the Internet was their main source of information during the war. That is a big jump from the 3 percent who said the Internet was their prime source of information after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to the Pew report.
Freeman says it is crucial for the volunteers of Beyond CNN to continue their mission of providing uncensored news stories even as the heavy artillery and soldiers pull out of Iraq. Many of the 20 volunteers, including Freeman, are members of the Peace Coalition of Monterey County.
Its even more important now that we ask the right questions: who governs Iraq, how long is American government going to be in charge of running the country and who gains to profit, Freeman said. We arent going to get it from Fox News.
Several times a week, volunteers go to public locations and offer articles to whoever is interested without proselytizing the anti-war cause, said Freeman. The volunteers receive the articles from Freeman via e-mail.
The Beyond CNN volunteers also offer the public a list of newspapers, Web sites and radio stations, including those that carry National Public Radio and the left-leaning KPFA out of Berkeley, sources that Freeman says offer different perspectives from what the major networks are presenting.
The project grew out of Freemans desire to do something constructive with her opposition to the war.
Leading up to the war with Iraq, Freeman and her friends were filling each others e-mail queues with news stories criticizing Americas intentions. Freeman said she realized she was preaching to an equally outraged choir.
I was so frustrated, she said, and I knew we had to reach ordinary people.
So she contacted people on the Peace Coalitions e-mail list. Rasmussen, a masters candidate at Moss Landing Marine Laboratory, pounced on Freemans invitation.
The protests in San Francisco were kind of scary, Rasmussen said. This is really what I was looking for. Its nonconfrontational and not really pushing one side or the other.
Another volunteer, Sharon Kirsch, said Beyond CNN is a fabulous way to educate people without alienating them.
Rasmussen and the others say that most people who stop by their tables also oppose the war.
In a sense, she said, the tables become sites for catharsis where people can air their frustrations.
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Sukhjit Purewal can be reached at 646-4494

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News :: Resistance & Tactics

Inspections in Our Own Backyard

Inspections in Our Own Backyard

http://www.gdtimes.com/pages/news.htm

A team of self-appointed inspectors attempt to check Lockheed Martin for weapons of mass destruction

by Laurel Chesky
April 17, 2003

Lockheed Martin couldnt have picked a more beautiful spot to build things designed to destroy. After a twisty ride through the redwoods, deep into the Santa Cruz Mountains near Bonny Doon, the homes peter out and the road spills into a deserted, grassy meadow. At the tip of Empire Grade Road, just when you think youve reached the middle of nowhere, a gate appears.
Last Friday afternoon, a sheriffs deputy stands guard at the gate. He turns back a cyclist out for a day of riding. He halts a stream of cars just before the gate, and a gathering crowd is asked to walk the remaining half mile, an uphill, tree-lined hike leading up to another gate locking in Lockheed Martins Santa Cruz facility. About 60 protesters make their way up the hill.
While the Lockheed Martin Santa Cruz facility hosted numerous protests in the 70s and 80s, those new to Santa Cruz County may not be aware that weapons are made here. Ive lived in Santa Cruz for five years, and I had no idea this facility was here, says protester Pam Sexton.
And on this quiet, sunny afternoon, an observer might confuse the group for nature walkers out for an afternoon jaunt, if it wasnt for the 13 people clad in white jumpsuits, surgical masks and self-made ID badges declaring them to be civilian weapons inspectors. In many peoples minds, the war with Iraq may be over, but as far as these anti-war activists are concerned, President Bushs war on terrorism and the permanent war economy have just begun.
During the walk up the hill, one inspector, dressed in a skeleton mask and who asked to not be identified by name, explains that his get-up represents the casualties from the weapons tested and produced by Lockheed Martin. When asked why he is registering his protests with the private sector as opposed to the government, he says, Corporations are the ones that supply the government with these tools of death and destruction.
Lockheed Martin develops and manufactures weapons and space systems, including satellites, military aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft systems. Some of Lockheeds commonly known products include the F-16, F/A-22 and F-117 Nighthawk jets, and Tomahawk and Patriot missiles. In its annual report, the company reported net sales of $26 billion in 2002. The report notes that U.S. Department of Defense purchases made up 57 percent of its 2002 sales. The Bonny Doon facility employs 75 workers and supports Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale.
Over the years, Lockheed has been the target of a number of local movements. In 1980, Measure A, a countywide ballot measure, attempted to ban the manufacturing of nuclear weapons at the Lockheed facility in Bonny Doon. The measure failed. And in October of 1987, on the 25th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, protestors shut down the facility for two and a half days.
On Friday, as the crowd approached the facilitys entrance, marked by a chain-link fence crowned with barbed wire, Peter Olinger, the facility operations manager, stood behind a locked gate. He was ready and waiting. The activists, led by Lynda Marin, asked for entrance to inspect for weapons of mass destruction. Olinger politely, but firmly, stood his ground, refusing to allow the activists to cross the rubicon, uttering a phrase he would repeat at least six more times that day: Were sorry we cannot let you in, he told the protestors in a rehearsed tone. We respect your right to express your opinion. However, you cannot enter our facility. We hope you respect our employees and our property.
Through the fence, the protestors quizzed Olinger about what Lockheed Martin was building at the Bonny Doon facility and, specifically, if any nuclear weapons were being made there. He did not offer answers, and, several times, referred protestors to Jeff Richmond, a company spokesman in Sunnyvale.
GT reached Richmond by phone on Monday. He says there is nothing nuclear at the Santa Cruz facility. [In Bonny Doon] we make components and sub-systems and test systems that we make for the military, he says, but would not specify for what products those components and systems are made.
After beating their heads against Olingers verbal wall, the protestors decided to disperse. But first, they attached a hand-hewn report card, of sorts, on Lockheed Martins front gate. The sign read failure to comply, and weapons inspection incomplete. Before they left, the protesters handed Olinger a letter addressed to Byron Ravencraft, a senior manager with Lockheed. The letter asked several questions, including the Bonny Doon facilitys role in developing Trident D-5 nuclear missiles.
Richmond says the company is currently perusing the letter. I dont know how much of that we can respond to, he says. Certainly, if its reasonable, were definitely going to look at it. We take everything seriously. Were not just going to throw it in the trash. Its a point well made.
Richmond says that Lockheed Martin has seen a few protests at its facilities scattered around the country since the war in Iraq began. There have been one or two here and there, Richmond says. Theyve been very peaceful. We respect the right of protesters, as long as they respect the rights of our employees and our property.
Richmond says its standard company policy to not allow non-employees on its grounds. We operate a business just like anybody else, he says.
On Friday, not everyone was there to protest Lockheed. Two men, holding a sign reading, We support Lockheed Martin Corp., We support our troops and Inspection team, go home, braved the mass of anti-war demonstrators. Damon Fevor, who is just getting out of the military, donned a Marines cap.
My feeling is theyre protesting the wrong group, he says. I think you need to realize Lockheed Martin, and other companies like it, help win engagements faster and with fewer casualties. Lockheed Martin produces the weapons that will bring our troops home sooner.
While the weapons inspection proved a bust (the inspectors didnt really expect to get in), at least, they say, perhaps theyve made people take a look at their own backyard arsenal.
I just feel like if our government is going to police the rest of the world for weapons of mass destruction, the American people need to educate themselves about our own misdeeds, says Justin Mayer, an inspector who helped organize the protest. Its just very hypocritical, and dangerous. I dont think they know how they (American weapons) are used.

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News :: Peace & War

Vietnam vets mourn losses in Iraq war

Vietnam vets mourn losses in Iraq war

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2003/April/14/local/stories/02local.htm

April 14, 2003
By RAMONA TURNER
Sentinel staff writer

Death has a way of making everyone equal no matter ones race, nationality or religion, stance on the U.S. war with Iraq, or whether one is a soldier or civilian.
That is why about 20 veterans of foreign wars met Sunday for a ceremony to honor those who have died in the war in Iraq.
Lord, give them peace, Chris Matthews, chaplain for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 5888, said in his prayer. May someday war not come upon us and inflict us.
The ceremony began at the War Memorial across from the post office on Front Street and was followed by a procession to the statue of Collateral Damage, near the Town Clock on Water Street at North Pacific Avenue. The ceremony, which lasted about 30 minutes, included prayer and song for fallen soldiers and Iraqi civilians.
While the post has spoken out against the war, Sundays gathering was nonpolitical. But politics and the suffering of those directly affected by war weighed heavily on the minds of those who attended the ceremony.
Killing is easy, diplomacy isnt, said Suel Jones, a former Marine who fought in Vietnam in 1968-69.
The Texas native lives in Hanoi because it helps the healing process both that of the Asian nation, as well as in himself, he said. Jones plans to spend the rest of his life helping Vietnam heal from that war.
Wars dont end, he said, noting that Vietnam is still carrying the scars of war. Media images of bombing in Iraq are bringing back memories and causing them pain, he said. They are reliving the pain.
The Vietnamese people arent the only ones reliving pain. Jones and other U.S. servicemen who fought and witnessed so much death and destruction in Vietnam are hurting, too.
My heart goes out to all the young people fighting in Iraq, he said.
They wont understand for another 30 years what it was all about.

VFW Post No. 5888, at 846 Front St., will show a film called, Peace and Reconciliation: Coming Together After War on Wednesday. The film begins around 7 p.m. For information, call 429-8345.
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Contact Ramona Turner at rturner@santa-cruz.com

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News :: Police State

The Reverends arrest sparks mental illness debate

The Reverends arrest sparks mental illness debate

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2003/April/13/local/stories/06local.htm

By CATHY REDFERN
Sentinel STAFF WRITER
April 13, 2003

A troubled homeless man has found himself in the middle of some thorny downtown issues, as has his mother, a former Clinton appointee to the federal Department of Education.
And while Jan Paschals federal ties may be unusual, the problems surrounding her son who has been diagnosed as bipolar and who she says uses marijuana to quell epileptic seizures are not.
Jason Paschal, 30, is known as The Reverend to those who travel the downtown Pacific Avenue and Church Street area. Here, he would stand all day most days for the past year or so, pulling tarot cards for those who agreed to get some insight and hopefully had a little money to pay for it.
If he could only channel that dedication ... one shop owner mused.
But Paschal was arrested seven times by Santa Cruz police since last summer. All the charges were misdemeanors, for things such as using milk cartons as a fortune-telling table, disturbing the peace and narcotics charges.
His mom said while most Santa Cruz residents treated her son with compassion, she believes one officer repeatedly mistreated him, a charge police deny.
He is a son of America, Paschal said. Hes not a throwaway person. But someone like Jason faces more than a normal person would face, and when they arrest somebody for having a milk carton, you have to wonder what the issues really are.
Santa Cruz seems to me to be the kind of place that could lead this country (in better responses to some of these issues) instead of letting things like this happen.
Jason is headed to prison this month after his April 1 arrest, his mother said. That arrest came when police realized he had a felony drug warrant out of New Hampshire and officials are willing to retrieve him.
He has eight months left on his original prison sentence in New Hampshire, but he was diverted to a drug rehab program, which he left with three weeks unfinished.
He broke his parole, there is no question, said Paschal, whose father was a police officer in Detroit. But with all his needs, there has to be a better way.
Jason left the drug program and disappeared after the death of his father, a contractor, she said.
She says her son does not belong in prison; that his mental health problems are exacerbated there.
At least 25 percent of those in County Jail suffer from psychiatric illnesses, said David Polak, supervisor of the jails Crisis Intervention Team.
We do treat them, but resources in jail are limited due to budget constraints, he said.
Now retired from her Department of Education position heading programs in six New England states, Jan Paschal speaks eloquently about begging for help for her son for most of his life, most recently from Santa Cruz jailers and city leaders.
Jason earned a high school equivalency degree and attended college in Vermont for one semester, she said. That was before he got arrested in 1998 on a marijuana charge in New Hampshire.
Jasons story is kind of a major tragedy, she said. Its the last thing I ever thought, that one of my children would have this life. Weve done everything we knew to do, maybe too much.
I think one thing Jason has taught me is how helpless you feel as a parent of a child with special needs of any kind.
Since childhood, Jason has suffered from diabetes as well as epilepsy and mental health issues, she said. His first prescription drug for those problems came at age 5, she said. Most had nasty side effects.
Police perspectives
Eric Seiley, a homeless resource officer with the Santa Cruz police, understands well how police get caught in the middle between a person with untreated mental problems and those offended by the subsequent behavior.
There are several issues, he said. Are they diagnosed? Are they taking stable meds? We have a stressed system and often people dont always (fit the criteria for involuntary detainment).
The Santa Cruz Police Department is one of five police agencies nationwide that has started training and programs to deal with what Seiley calls the gray issues surrounding people on the streets with untreated mental health issues.
For a lot of police officers, its a straight 5150 (a person with psychiatric issues deemed a danger) or a criminal offense, he said. We are a criminal agency and there is only so much at our disposal, but the gray area is where I work.
Police say they got complaints about Paschal. The officer who Jan believes mistreated her son was not available to comment, but police say officers do not act on a vendetta.
I dont know of any officer in the county who would do that, Seiley said.
Seiley is not familiar with Paschals case, but downtown beat Sgt. Jack McPhillips is.
He was a little mouthy and a little offensive to women, but hes an all-right guy, he said. Hed go behind ONeills into Abbott Square and smoke pot, and hed get caught.
But if he wasnt on meds, he could get real aggravated.
The District Attorneys Office said no local charges are pending against Paschal. He pleaded guilty to giving false information to a peace officer last year and was sentenced to 10 days in jail and one year probation.
Helping parents
Seiley understands parents frustrations as well.
The system doesnt meet their proper needs at times, he said.
There is little a parent can do if their child does not want treatment, given the law and peoples rights, said Polak, the County Jail team supervisor.
What they can do is call police and ask for a welfare check. They can ask those who work on the front lines with homeless people to get a message to their child.
They can attend support programs such as those at the local chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
Polak and Seiley hope to start a program that teams psychiatric workers with police.
Its a hot topic now, and given the percentage of mentally ill people in this community, we feel it would be a very valuable service, despite the wonderful days of budget cuts, Polak said.
As far as involuntary treatment, for police to hold a person and request a so-called 5150 evaluation either at jail or at a Dominican Hospital unit, they must be deemed to be a danger to themselves or others or suffer from a grave disability, Seiley said.
The criteria for forced treatment is stricter, he said.
Jason is a very visible example of untreated medical illness in our city, Seiley said. There is a way we can navigate that system, but it takes time and focus on the issues.
Tough love
Treatment programs can be ordered by a judge after a run-in with law enforcement.
Sometimes, that is the best thing for those who wouldnt seek help otherwise, though it is not a friendly option, said Paul Bellina, a counselor who runs the countys acute and forensic psychiatric services.
I get calls from parents all the time, he said. And while its not a situation without hope, I sometimes can give only the most Draconian advice, depending on the denial of the child and other details.
Bellina says he often ends up advocating for tough love.
Parents will rescue and rescue and rescue their children from horrible circumstances because its the thing to do, that a parent helps their child, he said.
He added that such rescuing keeps children from facing the consequences of behavior that comes to the attention of law enforcement.
Another issue arises when those ordered for evaluation, even those who really need help, are able to be crazy like a fox and pull it together in the face of mental health evaluators, he said.
Mom stays in touch
Jan Paschal says her son was doing better in Santa Cruz, despite being homeless. She says she has tried every treatment program she could find and has tried to get him to come home to Arkansas.
Hes my child, and he may not be perfect, but hes mine and we adore him, she said.
I used to have a cookie-cutter approach for what I wanted for him ... and the part that sort of amazes me as someone who doesnt believe in the legalization of drugs, Ive had to re-evaluate (use of medical marijuana and other issues).
She lost touch with her son for about a year until he called the 800 number she has set up for him, saying he was in Santa Cruz.
Paul Brindel of the Community Action Board says shelter operators often pass along word to homeless people that their parents called looking for them, but have stopped confirming whether a person is there, as people are not always who they say they are.
And, of course, because some people dont want to be found.
In jail, even when mom gets through to officials past a nationwide, expensive jail phone system, and gives them her sons prescriptions, Jason is still often not able to do what jailers require, Jan Paschal said.
County jail officials say Paschal has been on an on and off hunger strike.
Jan Paschal said she just wants her son to find whatever peace he can, a daunting task in prison.
If we have a national shame, it is that we give federal money to programs with mission statements about correcting behavior, but use punitive measures, pure and simple, to extract their pound of flesh. If thats what it is, lets call it that.
She stressed that her sons abuse has come largely from East Coast jailers and from a minority.
I know the vast majority of people in Santa Cruz were kind to Jason, and we are most grateful, she said. But I ask others to stop and think what they would feel if that was their son or daughter in that situation.

For information on mental health resources in Santa Cruz County, call the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill at 458-1923. To seek treatment for an inmate, call the County Jail at 454-2444 and ask for the Crisis Intervention Team.
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Contact Cathy Redfern at credfern@santa-cruz.com

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