Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

LOCAL Announcement :: Civil & Human Rights

HUFF Counter-Press Conference on Human Rights Day (12-10)

At 11:30 a.m. on Friday Dec 10th, HUFF activists will announce the latest legal developments in their "Last Rites or Human Rights" Press Conference, half an hour before Mayor Rotkin's "Human Rights Day" Shindig on the steps of the County Courthouse
309 Cedar St. PMB 14B -- Santa Cruz, Ca. 95060
(831)423-HUFF fax (831) 479-9291

December 9, 2004

announcing LEGAL challenges to anti-homeless SLEEPING BAN and other repressive laws

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- One half hour before Santa Cruz Mayor Mike Rotkin speaks on the steps of the Santa Cruz County Courthouse (701 Ocean St.) in honor of "Human Rights Day", HUFF members will announce recent developments in the homeless civil rights struggle locally. Robert Norse of HUFF, recently won a lawsuit for false arrest against the City of Santa Cruz when SCPD Sgt. "Butchie" Baker had him arrested for obstructing a 20 foot sidewalk with a 3 foot wide table.

Norse will also announce new developments in his false arrest at City Council case from March 2002, also by Sgt. Baker. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Friday reversed Federal District Judge Robert Whyte and returned Norse's lawsuit against the City, the City Council, and the SCPD to federal trial court. Norse was arrested & jailed for five hours for refusing to leave City Council chambers on March 13, 2002 after he made a brief silent mock-Nazi salute reacting to the Mayor's premature closure of Public Comment under the Fitzmaurice "decorum" rules.

Civil rights attorneys Paul Sanford and Kate Wells filed a second civil rights lawsuit, challenging the constitutionality of a municipal code under which homeless local John Maurer was twice-cited for "profanity while soliciting." Maurer placed a small sign in his hat protesting police harassment as he sat in one of the limited legal locations permitted the poor on Pacific Avenue. The City Attorney & local judiciary blocked a constitutional judgment in court. Commissioner Irwin Joseph dismissed the case, ignored Sanford’s pleadings, & left the anti-homeless law active. Sanford promised to take the issue to federal court and did so on Monday, November 29th.

HUFF members will also address the recent homeless deaths of Scottie who died of exposure under the Soquel Ave. bridge and Robert Wagner who froze to death on a bench outside of Mayor Rotkin’s council chambers, as well as reports of two new homeless deaths, both near Ocean St. With shelter for only a fraction of the people who are experiencing homelessness, HUFF is preparing a lawsuit unless the council moves to implement Pottinger-style guidelines (acknowledging the right and need of homeless people to engage in life-sustaining behavior like sleeping). Homeless and housed plaintiffs will sue the City of Santa Cruz for arresting people for sleeping or covering up with a blanket at night to keep warm.

Former Mayor Scott Kennedy and Mayor Mike Rotkin have resisted passing a resolution calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, although their resolution in 2003 opposing the invasion in the first place received widespread community support. The Arcata City Council passed a strong “U.S. Out of Iraq and Afghanistan? resolution in July 2004.

Four Santa Cruz County residents have been killed in Iraq in the last year and a half. The $6 billion/month war squanders money desperately needed for the poor, creates more dead and homeless abroad, and leave us with more homeless and impoverished vets in Santa Cruz, missing limbs and in wheelchairs.

Following the HUFF press conference, Mayor Rotkin and others will speak on the courthouse steps at 701 Ocean St. on behalf of Human Rights Day.

[A flyer is also available for those who can open the file]

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