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Council Ducks Anti-War Issues; Kennedy Ducks Legal Service

Scott Kennedy fled City Council to avoid a subpoena in the Golder case as the Council ducked the Santa Cruz community's demand it take strong action against the Bush War
Council Ducks Anti-War Issues; Kennedy Ducks Legal Service

Tuesday night’s Council session was sparsely attended in spite of two agenda items on the Iraqi
war. Perhaps it was because a packed Resource Center for Non-Violence showing a film about 9-11 at the same time. Perhaps it was because the public anticipated that City Council would follow its usual process of churning out a pre-fabricated agenda, baked and frozen, packaged and posted--all before the public could say a word. Perhaps it was because the Sentinel kept all news of this “follow-up”
out of the papers so that few even knew the issue was on the agenda at all.

Perhaps it was because the community knew how far out of favor Rep. Sam Farr had been the week before and anticipated that the Council wouldn’t dare to cross or criticize their man in the House, even if it meant taking no meaningful follow-up action before Bush unleashed his bombers in March.

Whatever the reason, the Council lived down to its reputation again. It didn’t simply ignore all pleas that it take meaningful local action to stop the war, but maintained a total silence on virtually every such proposal presented from the public, except for responding to right-wing pro-war criticism from one former Council candidate who spoke. As has been depressingly standard, Council
passed nothing more than what its staff had prepared prior to the meeting. It disregarded virtually all input from the audience at City Hall and at the Town Hall meeting.

The Council ignored calls that it urge impeachment of Bush and Cheney or that it declare Santa Cruz a sanctuary for war “refusniks” from the military, that it support a delegation to Iraq to monitor inspections or simply support the people of Bagdad (both against tyranny of the Iraqi regime and the threat of destruction from Bush’s bombers). Ironically, the Council began the evening
session congratulating a delegation it sent to Cuba. Perhaps, Ruth Hunter and the other WILPF activists accepting the Council’s praise didn’t want to risk offending the Council by staying to question its paralysis on local action around the impending slaughter in Iraq. Perhaps they didn’t know it was happening.

Farr had ducked questions about U.S. use of uranium depleted weapons, U.S. support of sanctions and bombing, his unapologetic support of the biggest military budget in history on the same day he was voting against the Iraqi war last fall, and other relevant issues at the Town Hall forum
a week before at the Del Mar Theater. Reilly’s Council poured on the honey praising Farr and ignored all criticism of his duck-and-cover policies--even though the representative was from a safe seat and is reprising his performance from the Yugoslavia war, when he supported Clinton’s bombing policies.

More important, Reilly’s Council raised not word of meaningful local protest to distinguish itself from Farr. It simply passed the buck to state representatives (asking them to do what Hawaii and Maine had done), supported the De Fasio “withdrawal of force” resolution that Farr had already signed on to, and backed the three-month old letter to the President. The let-down follow-up
to the Town Hall meeting was presented to a nearly empty chamber.

Council ended a standard evening by hearing a laudatory presentation from Scott Kennedy, who distributed self-congratulatory buttons to the Council for supporting a “Cities for Peace” presentation in Washington, D.C. in one of his recent junkets. Kennedy’s posture of “War against the Poor in Santa Cruz; Anti-War in Iraq” is typical of the Council with its “protest nationally,
repress locally” policies. Even on the war issue, Kennedy joined the Council in fleeing any substantive actions. He declined to urge any of the local initiatives demanded by the community at the Town Hall meeting, including Sherry Conable’s passionate plea for a resolution to support impeachment. With the war two weeks off, Council “moved on” to other business.

To add insult to injury, Mayor Reilly announced she was canceling the Civic Auditorium March 19th Town Hall meeting against the war, because the Del Mar Theater had not been sufficiently packed. So there would be no emergency Council response to the war--the Civic Auditorium meeting would actually have been broadcast live on Community TV--unlike the Del Mar meeting. The Council’s only reaction to audience concerns was to reassure a pro-Bush speaker that their reasons for not voting for the War were mentioned in the (not available on line) agenda
packet.

At the same time it was ducking national issues, City Clerk Leslie Cook, and City Attorney John Barisone both refused to accept legal service of a subpoena for Scott Kennedy. Instead, they helped hustle Kennedy out the back door with unseemly haste before the end of the Council meeting to avoid a subpoena. The subpoena came from homeless activist, John Golder, who had earlier been told that if he tried to speak at City Council meeting, he would be arrested. (The exclusion of the public is a violation of the Brown Act that guarantees open meetings. After being persistently questioned, Wilson and Barisone agreed to let Golder enter the room, but by then it was too late to find him for Oral Communications.)

Wilson barred Golder from approaching any city employee or city building since mid-November. Four police officers actually escorted Golder from the library when he attempted to read a book there earlier this month. Golder’s crime was responding with persistent but legal pressure to the City stonewalling around their apparently improper booting and seizure of the vehicle in which he lived. Employees, he reported, treated him discourteously and refused him ordinary services (like copying documents).

When he politely but persistently pressed to complain to superiors, he was viewed as a gadfly and a threat. He spent 35 days in jail awaiting trial on charges that were ultimately dropped and needed Kennedy as a witness to testify in Wilson’s hearing to have a Permanent Injunction issued barring him from all city buildings and access to all City employees. That hearing takes place today at 9 AM in Dept. 5.

Former Mayor Tim Fitzmaurice pressed a similar injunction forward to stop homeless activists in the winter of 2000-2001 from legal public lobbying in the public areas of the City Council offices. Activists were urging Fitzmaurice to end his stonewalling on sleeping ban reform and shelter expansion (which violated his Green Party’s platform and principles). Fitzmaurice’s subsequent restraining order, taken to “protect” his less-than-stable secretary Anna Brooks, banned “the Koffee Klatch 3”, Becky
Johnson, Robert Norse, and Bernard Klitzner, from being within half a block of City Hall. When it reached trial six months later, Judge Sam Stevens struck down that injunction as improper.

Golder can be reached at 457-9754 X2296. Commend or criticize Mayor Reilly at 420-5022; Scott Kennedy at 420-5028. Dick Wilson at 420-5010.
 
 


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