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Police Shut Down Video Near Pacific Trading Company

On Monday June 30th, Sgt. Baker and his faithful deputy Officer Pawlak ticketed two Downtown-For-All activists for playing a video on the street in front of the Pacific Trading Company. A third man got a ticket for "sitting on" the recently-moved Walnut St. planter.
Police stepped up harassment at the Boycott Bigotry protest by Downtown-For-All activists in front of the Pacific Trading Company on Monday afternoon (June 30) around 5 p.m. when they unexpectedly and abruptly shut down a video presentation and gave out three tickets, two of them for "not having a sound permit".

A week before (June 23) police had taken away labor activist Steve Argue in handcuffs for refusing to move his table, literature, and sign when the police told him he was only allowed to be there for one hour under the Rotkin-Mathews "Move Along" law. An hour after Argue's arrest, HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) activist Robert Norse was confronted with seven squad cars parked within half a block of him and eight police, headed by Lt. Lee Sepulveda, who demanded he remove the ironing board he had set up after Argue's table had been taken away.

On June 24, police continuously surveilled the ironing board/table/blanket (different display devices were used at different times) from a distance of less than 20' using 2 and 3 police officers throughout the afternoon. At the end of the day Officer Pawlak, one of the officers staking out the "Boycott Bigotry" table, targeted Norse's car with an expired meter ticket (an action not usually taken by CSO's but left to meter attendants). When Norse drew the attention of passersby to this harassment, Pawlak's partner, Officer Phelps, gave Norse a ticket for jaywalking across Pacific Avenue in front of the Hosts center. The action was observed and criticized by numerous pedestrians.

On June 26, local resident and world-famous bubble performer Tom Noddy was arrested and held for 13 hours in jail for juggling near Borders. Sentinel writer Dan White declined to write about this story, apparently not considering it newsworthy.

And on June 30th, Sgt. Baker and Officer Pawlak without warning or discussion issued two citations for "amplified sound without a permit" to Norse and Downtown-For-All activist Jim Ross for setting up and playing a video in front of the Pacific Trading Company at a low volume. Even though Ross took responsibility for the equipment, Baker made a second ticket out to Norse--apparently eager to hold him accountable because he "helped set up the television."

Baker has witnessed the same television, speaker, and VCR set up on the same table at least half a dozen times before during regular video presentations on the sidewalk at Cooper and Pacific last fall. Though he ticketed one disabled man for lying down briefly on the sidewalk while he watched the video, the police sergeant has never cautioned the activists before.
that they were doing anything that required a permit. On this occasion, he didn't warn them, but proceeded to ticket them and turn off the television.

Though repeatedly asked by Norse, Baker refused to state whether the television could be played at any volume, simply demanding a permit. Some time later, Baker told Ross that the legal volume for the television was so that it could be not be heard beyond 15'. Baker declined to show any legal authority for this claim.

When asked if the television could be turned on at a lower volume, Baker shrugged and suggested that a second ticket might be in the offing (with the potential threat of confiscation of all the equipment). Norse and Ross apologized to their audience for the police behavior and said they would have to describe what was going on verbally in the video since Baker was making it illegal to show it. The crowd had come to see the video--a documentary made by Community Television producer Becky Johnson about the harassment of people around the Costa Brava (Walnut Ave.) planter. The documentary also showed the City's expenditure of $6600 to move the railing outwards to eliminate 20+ seating spaces so that those the Pacific Trading Company considered "undesirable" would not be able to sit there. Pacific Trading Company owners Caroline and Clark Heinrich stood nearby observing and/or videotaping the protesters and the crowd.

Pawlak had previous given Kim, a homeless man, a ticket for playing his radio at a low volume in front of Border some days before--again without warning. Kim said that playing a radio has never been held to be illegal downtown prior to this latest crackdown.

Baker has previously taken Norse away in handcuffs three times in the last two years--on all occasions, charges have been dropped or never filed. Baker faces two lawsuits from Norse in federal court and one lawsuit from musician Mike True.

Activists say they will continue to table, picket, and flyer at the Pacific Trading Company. They plan a Pacific Avenue election for "the next spot for the community to gather"--police and redevelopment agency having made the Pacific Trading Company and the adjoining planter a hostile one as well as a mobile "display device" that will move from store to store encouraging customers to ask if owners if they support the Downtown Ordinances that ban sitting and peaceful sparechanging on 95% of the sidewalk, make juggling and "amateur" bubbleblowing illegal, and encourage further police harassment and "culture war" downtown. Activists also urge the community to boycott Jackson's Shoes, adjacent to The Pacific Trading Company, which lobbied hard for the absurd and harsh Downtown Ordinances last summer.


City Council is due to quickly ratify two small "exempted" zones for performing, sitting, sparechanging etc. near the Bookshop Santa Cruz in the afternoon session of July 8th. City Council's own Downtown Commission has already rejected the "exemption zone" idea as unworkable, potentially unconstitutional, and burdensome on a few businesses--but City Manager Dick Wilson and assistant City Manager Martin Bernal are putting the plan before Council anyway.
It has been a long time since this Council rejected a proposal from these two.

Bathrobespierre's Broadsides, a Free Radio Santa Cruz show 9:30 AM to 1 PM on Sunday July 6th will be discussing the Downtown Ordinances and replaying the broken promises of City Council from the January 14th Council session where these were passed. Tune in at 96.3 FM (or www.microradio.net) and/or call in at 427-3772. It you oppose the laws, call City Council at 420-5020 and leave a message for them. Or e-mail them at citycouncil (at) ci.santa-cruz.ca.us .

Recent public pressure to stop the posting of "No Parking 1 AM - 5 PM" signs at Pacific and Front around Kinko's, which would have targeted poor people in vehicles, was successful (though the City Wide Permit Parking Scheme and the Downtown Parking Area pushed by the anti-homeless Downtown Neighbors Association and the Downtown Association will have even harsher signs going up in January 2004. (Call or e-mail Council above to stop this)

Council should also be contacted to urge them to cut the police budget at least in the same proportion as all the other services that are being slashed--and preferibly to investigate the huge amount of time being used to intimidate poor, young, and counterculture (read: perceived non-shoppers) downtown. Funds for harassing bicyclists, jailing those who chalk political messages, and citing those who sleep outside when they have no other place should be removed in favor of supporting police when they go after real crimes of violence.

Those concerned about "Ashcroft in Santa Cruz" policies--such as the proposed banning of repeat minor offendors downtown--can contact City Council and demand they stop pressuring the D.A. to adopt such unconstitutional and sledgehammer solutions.

Please leave accounts of police conduct downtown on Pacific Avenue.
 
 


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Text of Sound Permit Required Law

9.40 Sound Amplifiers

9.40.010 Sound Amplification Permit Required No person shall use or cause to be used at any place in the city whether on public property or private property any sound-amplifying device or equipment without first having secured a permit to do so
from the police department, except as provided in Section 9.40.60.

9.40.020 Application for Permit Any person desiring to obtain an amplification permit shall submit a written application to the police department. The application shall describe in detail the activity proposed to be conducted for which the sound amplification permit is requested, shall describe the amplification equipment or devices to be used, shall set forth the steps that the applicant will take to insure that the sound amplification will not unreasonably disturb other people within the
vicinity, shall describe the location where the sound amplification is to take place, shall describe the neighborhood surrounding the location where the sound amplification is to take place, shall include the name of the person who shall be responsible for monitoring and insuring compliance with the terms of any permit that is granted, and shall include such other information that the police department may require.

9.40.030 Granting or Denial of Permit The police chief may grant the sound amplification permit if he determines that the sound amplification will be conducted in such a manner as not to unreasonably disturb the neighbors or other persons in the vicinity of the sound amplification, and if he further determines that if actually implemented, the steps to be taken by the applicant to minimize or avoid such disturbance will be adequate. In granting a permit, the police chief may impose such
conditions as may be appropriate or necessary in order to protect the public peace and safety.

9.40.040 Revocation of Permit Any permit granted pursuant to this section shall be revocable at any time by the police chief for good cause.

9.40.050 Repeal Any person aggrieved by any decision rendered by the police chief pursuant to this chapter, shall have the right to appeal the decision to the city council, as provided in Chapter 1.16. 9.40.60 Exceptions The permits otherwise required by this chapter shall not be required of sound-amplifying equipment or devices under the following circumstances:
(a) Sound-amplification equipment or devices used on privately owned property, whether indoors or outdoors, where the sound produced does not carry beyond the property line or does not unreasonably disturb any person outside the
property where the sound is generated;
(b) Sound-amplification equipment or devices used in conformity with an entertainment permit issued by the police department;
(c) Sound-amplification equipment or devices used in conformity with a use permit under the provisions of Title 24 of this code;
(d) Radios, record players, TV's, and tape players wherever used, when the volume does not exceed the volume or normal conversational speech;
(e) Sound-amplification equipment or devices used on emergency vehicles or by government employees in connection with any activity undertaken for the protection of the public welfare or safety;
(f) When a permit has been issued by the parks and recreation department for sound amplification in a city park.

9.40.070 Violations Any person who uses or causes to be used any sound-amplifying equipment or device in violation of the provisions of this chapter, whether by failing to obtain a permit when required or by failing to comply with the terms and conditions of a permit when issued is guilty of an infraction.

9.40.080 Subsequent Offense Within 48 Hours Any person who violates any section of this chapter and is cited for such a violation, and who within forty-eight hours after receiving such a citation again violates the same section is guilty of a
misdemeanor. A person is cited for a violation when he or she is issued and signs an infraction or misdemeanor citation, or when he or she is arrested & booked, or when a complaint is filed & the person is notified of the filing of such a complaint.
 

Re: Police Shut Down Video Near Pacific Trading Company

Have you noticed the window display at Pacific Trading Company lately. It showcases a selection of Diesel posters with pictures of artificial fashion protesters protesting for trivial things like "more green lights" and "free the goldfish".
 

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