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Mercury "News" Lies On Downtown Ordinances

The following is an unpublished letter to the Mercury "News" regarding their false statements on the new downtown ordinances.
Dear Editor,
In the Mercury News article "Santa Cruz Groups Pick
Candidates" by Ken McLaughlin it is falsely stated
that the City Council imposed "tough new ordinances on
aggressive panhandling and harassment of women and gay
people downtown."
There is in fact nothing in these new ordinances
that targets stopping the harassment of women or gays.
Nor do the new laws prohibit aggressive
panhandling, although there already is a law
prohibiting such activity.
The laws do however prohibit blowing bubbles and
playing hackysack downtown and in other parts of the
City. In addition the new laws make playing music and
any other performance for donations, along with
political tabling with donation cans, and panhandling
in any manner (including with a silent sign) illegal
in most of the downtown area as well as in some other
parts of the City.
Not only do these laws not protect women and gays,
they will be used by the police against any woman or
gay that the police choose to deem in violation of
these new laws. In fact the laws were drafted, not
out of concern for these groups, but out of concern
for a few downtown merchants who complain that certain
groups of people that they consider riff-raff scare
away their customers.
Ken Mclaughlin did correctly quote me in saying the
new ordinances were "passed for selective enforcement
against the poor, activists, and street musicians."
Opposing these new laws are an important part of my
campaign for City Council.

Steve Argue,
Santa Cruz

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Good Catch

The following is a comment to Steve Argue posted on Santa Cruz Independent Media Center.

Dear Steve,

Thank you very much for your perceptive anylsis of blant media lies. And to think that he (Ken) actually makes money mis-informing people. I hope that the letter you wrote does get published by the SJ Mercury.

By the way, I heard you on Free Radio Santa Cruz 96.3 this morning and I admire your ideals. You acknowledged that you do not have the answers to the social problems in our society, however you will not stand to see unjust laws passed (which target specific groups or types of people including the monetarily handicaped, social activists, street musicians and other artistic and spiritual people.

Good luck with the stab at a seat in city council. Heavy Traffic supports your efforts.


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