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LOCAL Announcement :: Civil & Human Rights

More Police Anti-Homeless Nonsense Coming Up?

Westside Neighbors meets tonight at 7 PM with the SCPD in an another open "Neighborhood Watch" style gathering. Homeless people are likely to be affected. Check it out.
The Saturday Sentinel (8-14) reports in Coastlines that the SCPD is having another unholy meeting with the Westside Neighbors tonight (Monday 8-16).

"No homeless parking" signs financed by Westside Merchants banning all vehicular parking between 10 PM and 6 AM have appeared on a dozen streets in the industrial area. This is a backroom deal at Public Works without any meaningful public process or input from homeless service providers.

Coming on the heels of the Lighthouse Field restriping and the Downtown Permit Parking plan (with Westside Permit Parking also coming up), it means a continuing restriction of public space. Some of this is specifically directed against homeless "campers".

If anyone gets to this meeting, please give me a call HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) at 423-4833 and let us know what's happening.

Here is the Sentinel article from the Saturday paper:

"Westside Neighbors to talk crime, projects

Santa Cruz police officers who patrol the Westside will be the featured guest speakers for a Lighthouse-Cowell/Lower Westside Neighbors meeting Monday.
The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at Garfield Christian Church, 111 Errett Circle.

Neighbors will have an opportunity to learn about what is happening in their area regarding various crime issues.

For information, call 818-6376."

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Naked bigotry, pure and simple

People who are forced by economic necessity to live in their vehicles are already refugees from the high rents in the area. The City of Santa Cruz and the Westside Business Alliance don't care about what happens to these people. They just want them gone.

In reality, these people are mostly displaced former tenants of housing in Santa Cruz County. (see the Homeless Survey 2000 by CAB and the United Way).

Putting up signs where homeless people go to park their only shelter--their vehicles---banning parking late at night (while exempting truckers) is banishment and creates havoc in lives which are already under great stress. Even worse is the "solution" of ticketing, booting, and seizing the vehicles of homeless people for violating the parking restrictions.

The City, the Business leaders, and the people of Santa Cruz have a responsibility to meet the health and safety needs of ALL of its citizens. Banishing one group to satisfy the bigotry of another group is inhumane, cruel, and the antithesis to the values of the people of Santa Cruz.

Becky, you're a hypocrite

Palestinians who are forced at gunpoint to live in ghettos are refugees from the Arab/Israeli war, . The Israeli Government and the West Bank settlers don't care about what happens to these people. They just want them gone.

In reality, these people are mostly displaced former tenants. In 1948 more than 60 percent of the total Palestinian population was expelled. (see

Putting up checkpoints and roadblocks---preventing Palstinians from building homes (while exempting Israelis) is banishment and creates havoc in lives which are already under great stress. Even worse is the "solution" of blowing up, or bulldozing homes of "alleged" terrorists family members.

The Israeli government, business leaders, and the Israeli people have a responsibility to meet the health and safety needs of ALL of its citizens. Banishing one group to satisfy the bigotry of another group is inhumane, cruel, and the antithesis to the values of the Jewish people.

Local Action Please--Rather Than Attacks on Local Activists

Does "Naked bigotry, pure and simple" have anything--positive or negative--to say about the current business bigotry and attacks on homeless people?

Please start your own "Bash Becky" topic and don't muck up this discussion--which is concerned with Santa Cruz where Santa Cruzans can actually take direct or political action that could impact some of the businesses and their City Clownsil reps.

For the record, I agree with the substance of "Naked bigotry"'s comments but they are not relevant to what's being discussed here.

We need to be unite where we can and separate where we must.

Attack me? Or attack the problem

The last I heard, no homeless person has strapped bombs on his chest and gone and blown up a bunch of Westside schoolchildren.

For the record, I support a solution for the Palestinians in which they have housing, education, health care, and decent jobs ----just like I do for all people. But if you can't help the people in your own backyard, what business do you have messing with the lives of people who live half a world away?

My position on Israel and my position on homelessness in America are completely consistant. I don't advocate killing anyone or allowing suffering to continue. I think Israel is maligned unfairly and the Israelis have moved mountains to help the Palestinians have a better life.

What do you do when you build homes for Palestinians so they can leave the camps, and any family that accepts the new (Israeli-built) housing is shot?

That's not even remotely the same problem as the Westside businesses putting up "No Parking" signs all over on the streets where vehicularly-housed people park and sleep.

The question for you is this: are you going to spend your energy attacking me because you disagree with my position on a completely different issue? Or are you going to get off your butt and do something about what is happening to refugees in your own town?

Did Anyone Get to the Meeting?

Did anyone make it to the Westside Neighbors hoedown with the police on Monday night? If so, please let us all know what happened.

Again I would urge those who disagree on the Palestinian issue to do so on another stream of discussion--specifically designed for that purpose. This includes Becky.

Re: More Police Anti-Homeless Nonsense Coming Up?

why does no one ever interview the locals who are potentially impacted by camping for their view? isnt reporting expected to report all sides? maybe renters and owners have something to say

i know that my difficulty in finding a clean public bathroom seems proportional to the number of homeless in a city. i cant count the number of local businesses that have told me they had to close their bathrooms to the public becaues of so much vandalism. do you really think yuppy stock brokers get out sharpies to scribble artwork on the walls after pissing all over the doors?

Re: More Police Anti-Homeless Nonsense Coming Up?

Robert and Becky, I do not intend this to be a "slam" on either of you. This is not personal; however, more informational. For people who seem to be so immersed with other persons problems and quandries; why do you not really help the situations you profess to be horrid and unfair?

Robert you can often be found ranting and raving about "police harrasment" or poor people having to deal with the rich surrounding society. Tell them your story, Robert. Please! Tell them you drive a car and often park several blocks away walking on foot, tell them you drive to your apartment every night and sleep on a bed between undoubtedly clean sheets, tell them you do not work for a living and some how support yourself paying your bills, tickets, gasoline, insurance, and food - to say the least.

Why do you exploit other's unfortuante standings to "propel" yourself into a higher level of a self proclaimed "activist".

Becky, do not think that you are any better than Robert. You are often seen as and referred to as the side kick. You hold the video camera often standing in the background muttering your infaliable comments trying to get people to react. You must be considered the "support team"? Tell them why you do not have dirt under your fingernails, are clean, wear clean clothing, drive a car, or eat food.

Why do you both try to instigate issues between people and then capitalize on them? Are you that lonely in your lives? Do you not have anything better to do? Oh wait, you must because you didn't even attend the Westside meeting you procliamed to be so important?

Better yet, why do you not want to improve Santa Cruz to make it a better place for all? Have you ever been to any other counties and seen the issues - or non-issues - they have? Take a look at Monterey County, oh wait, that's all you can do...right? Looking from a far at Monetery County to maintain your monetary livelyhood to live in one of the most expensive cities in California.

Robert and Becky I emplore you to start being honest. Not only with yourselves but with others who seem to believe you are in their position and no better than they. To be honest, I believe the true homeless are better than you. They are trying to survive in a struggling economy while being exploited by Santa Cruz's self proclaimed street activists.

Please, by helping others by first helping yourselves.

Re: More Police Anti-Homeless Nonsense Coming Up?

As pissed off as I've gotten at Robert's clumsy attempts to undermine me and other activists, I must say that Robert often plays a positive role in raising important issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug. I must disagree with the previous writer in saying that Robert’s work is less exploitation of the homeless and more of a service.

True exploitation comes from the fake leftists who in their positions of control in the City Council direct the police to go after the homeless, writing tons of tickets for things like sleeping or sitting on a sidewalk; collecting money, court time, jail time, and vehicles from those who can least afford it.

Re: More Police Anti-Homeless Nonsense Coming Up?

Dear Mr. Argue,
While I am not a strong supporter of you I do agree with some points you raise. I must ask you this - Robert or Becky if you are reading feel free to answer as well - why do you not open up your home to the homeless to provide a warm place to stay or help someone get back on to their feet? I mean, if it really is such a problem that they are being "targeted" by the police and written tickets why not try to help. It seems that instead, Robert and Becky (not necessarily you Steve) would choose to stand next to them on the sidewalk as they beg for money and point them out to everyone passing as people in need and then leave when attention or interest drops. I am not only frustrated in the lack of respect it shows for these people in need, but for the activists who try to "help" do so verbally and not physically.

The "Santa Cruz Activist" work reminds me of a TV commercial I recently saw. There are several girls in a bathroom standing around a running sink. They all point to the sink and make comments about a waste of water, how could somebody do something so despicable, and so on. The girls remind me of the activists. Then one girl walks up and turns the fuacet off to stop the water. This is a true person helping to solve a problem. The other girls then stand in amazment.

Is Robert and Becky's so-called activism more than standing around pointing out a problem? I think not. When was the last time Robert invited a homeless person to dinner with him at 99 Bottles? Or to sleep on the couch at his home on Chestnut St? When did Becky give a some one holding sign begging money for a ride - because they were "stranded" - to their destination with one of her cars?

I am just getting sick of the Robert and Becky show. Luckily it has been gone for a while and not have had to put up with it. Did you ever wonder why they [Robert/Becky] don't use some of their money to help the problem rather than video tape it.

Or better yet, if you want the City to help the homeless more than they already have. I would think stopping wasteful and costly lawsuits could solve the problem. I am so tired of hearing Robert and Becky profess the number of lawsuits they have against the Police, City Manager, City Council, City Attorney's Office, etc.

Activism once had a great day in straightening crooked behavior. Now with Robert and Becky at the helm, it has gone straight to the social elitist yuppie thing to do.

Re: More Police Anti-Homeless Nonsense Coming Up?

"Anti-Exploiter", the problem with your analogy about the faucet is that the problems we are dealing with are more on the level of the flow of a river than that of a simple faucet that can be shut off.

The issues we are dealing with are systemic and could not be solved by just a few activists, no matter how big our couches may be. While helping people in need is a good thing to do, and I have seen both Robert and Becky do it, small acts of charity will never fix a system that is broken. While Robert and Becky never truly get to the root of that systemic problem, at least they educate on some of the many local problems that do exist.

It is my opinion that most of the lawsuits that Robert and Becky have against the City government are a result of the wrongdoing by said City government. I support Robert and Becky in fighting these violations of democracy by the City of Santa Cruz. Blame for this wasted money should be put squarely on the shoulders of the Santa Cruz government.

Open more public restrooms!

To the person who complains about the dearth of public restrooms in Downtown Santa Cruz:

You are wrong to peg this problem on the homeless.

Public facilities sometimes get vandalized. That's why smart people install simple, strong fixtures. That's why smart people install partitions that provide only the minimum necessary level of privacy. That's why smart people put restroom doors in plain view. That's why smart people hire monitors to check and clean restrooms on an hourly basis. That's why smart people carry insurance.

I don't want to peg the problem entirely on stingy or shortsighted businesspeople, either.

People-oriented cities provide public facilities. If San Diego can have public showers in a central, downtown location, why can't we? If Calistoga can have several clean, well-maintained public restrooms, why can't we? If it takes a special tax, I'll be the first to sign up. Public facilities benefit everyone.

I am so tired of these attacks on the homeless, and on people like Robert, who have the courage to speak up.

Kennedy to Hold Public Meeting Wed 8-25 7 PM

"Santa Cruz Local Anti-Exploiter"--as one who seeks honesty from others, I'm sure you'll have no trouble in starting at home. Any problem with telling us who you are, for instance?

I don't own a home. I live in close quarters in a trailer with a housemate. When I lived in a bigger place (sharing a house), I regularly put up people. Becky frequently does this, though she's on the edge of homelessness herself. But, as Steve points out, that's no solution.

What little help I provide lies in speaking out about issues in a time when there doesn't seem to be the political will to do the decent thing.
And lots of clueless bigots are attacking activists instead of addressing the issues.

Treating people like criminals for exercising basic human functions like sleeping is morally wrong, politically backward, economically unsound, and socially degrading.

When governments, residential associations, businesses, strip poor people of their rights systematically, it is important to raise the alarm, to document and expose these abuses, and to encourage people to organize against them.

People need to demand their rights--the right to use public spaces, the right to a decent standard of living, the right not to be treated like a charity case or a piece of shit. That will happen when people band together and come out. Whether we're talking about renters, street performers, workers generally, or homeless people.

Practically speaking, as Frederick Douglass wrote, power concedes nothing without a demand.

Most of the improvements we've gotten in Santa Cruz for homeless people have come from loud noisy embarrassing protests--ranging from Jane Imler's 1985 33-day-fast to open the first cold-and-rainy-overnight-shelter at Cedar St. to the repeated sleepouts at City Hall and downtown that led to the expansion of the Interfaith Satellite Shelter Program, the opening of the Back 40, the Free Meal, and the Homeless Services Center to the late 90's fasts and Sleeping Ban Reform Initiative organizing that prompted the few pathetic portapotties and public bathrooms we have.

There's a steady relentless gentrification going on in Santa Cruz that is creating homelessness, driving locals out, and deforming the face of the City.

For those who want to jump on board and raise a few embarrassing questions--Mayor Scott Kennedy is meeting with the Downtown Neighbors in a public meeting in the Community Room of the S.C. Police Dept. Wednesday night August 25th at 7PM.

If folks are interested, they can come to the SAFE (Society for Freedom and Expression) singout in front of New Leaf Market at 6 PM Wednesday and then meander over to where Kennedy, the cops, and some of the reactionary residents may be cooking up new anti-homeless laws and policies.

Kennedy and his Council can also be called at 420-5020 (24 hour message line).

How to get more bathrooms in only 2 readings

I've often felt the bathroom situation in Santa Cruz (which has a large number of restaurants and coffee shops) could be resolved by ordinance.

If the Santa Cruz City Council would simply legislate that any restaurant that has sit down service be required to provide adequate sanitary facilities for its customers, we would not have this critical bathroom shortage such as exists now.

Lacking such legislation, what we have are a few overburdened businesses who are providing both the service and paying the higher operating costs for other less hospitable business owners.

This penalizes the public service minded businesses while rewarding those with only their self-interest and bottom line of profitability in mind.


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