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"Move Along" Arraignment Updates

Legal Update on Move Along Law Cases Argue Arraigned, September 11th. Hartogh cases postponed or dropped. Bill of Rights Defense Committee votes heavily against Move Along Law and prosecutions.
Local labor and homeless activist Steve Argue was twice jailed for violating the Mathews-Rotkin "Move Along" law and demanded the right to serve as his own attorney. Commissioner Steve Siegel granted him that write and set 10 am September 11th as a pre-trial date for Argue, who waived his right to a speedy trial.

The Move Along law (MC 5.43.020(2)) was passed unanimously by City Council last January 14th, apparently in response to complaints by up-scale merchants like the Heinrichs of the Pacific Trading Company. These owners also pressured the City to destroy public seating space for 20 on the nearby planter, which was done behind closed doors at a taxpayer cost of $6600+. Activists boycotting The Pacific Trading Company and Jackson's Shoes demand that the PTC repay the City and restore the seating and that City Council repeal the Move-Along law.

Insiders speculate that the Heinrich's persuaded Councilmember Ed Porter to find a way to "move along" musicians they didn't like such as Cosmic Chris, Jeff the guitarist, and others by making the long-time voluntary Street Performers Guidelines coercive and mandatory laws. This was done over the objections of virtually all the street performers downtown including Tom Noddy, an internationally-reknowned bubble performer.

The law requires political tablers (and anyone with a "display device") to "move along" every hour at least 100' and not return for 24 hours. It prescribes a $162 fine for the first offense and up to $1000 fine and a year in jail for the second offense in 6 months.

Noddy was arrested on June 26th while juggling downtown and held for 13 hours in jail--charged with "intentionally throwing, discharging, launching, or spilling any solid object (including but not limited to footballs, hackeysacks, baseballs, beachballs, Frisbees, or other similar devices)..." (MC 9.50.020d). When Noddy threatened to bring a host of "criminal jugglers" to town, City Council passed an "emergency ordinance" that exempted juggling and bubble blowing.

Noddy's charge was dropped, but he is pressing on with his plans for a September 5th Street Performers Benefit in Louden Nelson Center, as well as his demand that the 10' forbidden zone rule, but dropped.

Bookstore owner and former mayor Neal Coonerty apparently has made significant profits on the sale of his "Keep Santa Cruz Weird" t-shirts and bumper stickers, but reportedly was dropping line identifying the merchandise as supporting Santa Cruz Street Performers and capping out any contributions at $3500 or so--a fraction of the profits he has made from the sale of these items.
Coonerty declared himself "satisfied" with the 10' forbidden zones and the Move Along law.

The Move Along law--denounced by activists as a "Santa Cruz Patriot Act" for its repressive impact on local civil liberties--was supposed to have a six-month review at City Council on July 22nd, but did not even appear on the agenda. The companion 10' "forbidden zone" law which essentially removes 3/4 of the Pacific Avenue sidewalk from use by performers, political tablers, or panhandlers, and bans outright such activities where the sidewalk is 10' or narrower in other business districts.

One small "exemption" zone--actually two tiny ones--was decreed by the City Council without committee input or meaningful discussion on July 8th near the Bookshop Santa Cruz. This was done against the recommendation of the Downtown Commission after spending more than a dozen hours on the issue, and in the face of opposition from Pacific Wave and Chocolat. Council critics described it as a special interest measure that would grant special privileges to the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom table and Planned Parenthood (which Councilmember Cynthia Matthews heads), as they usually table there. It was also not clear what was being "exempted"--distance requirements or the "Move Along" requirement.

Former homeless newspaper vendor John Maurer was also cited under the Move Along law for having a cloth while a number of small items on it and not "moving along". Maurer also goes to court in early August charged with "soliciting with profane language" for wearing a "Fuck the Pigs (Police)" sign in his hat (a response to multiple instances of police harassment, he claims). Attorney Paul Sanford will be defending him.

Argue and Hartogh were arrested one after the other on the afternoon of Sunday July 6th in front of the Pacific Trading Company. The 235 lb. Hartogh, a cancer patient and UCSC graduate, was literally hauled off and stuffed into the backsesat of a squad car while handcuffed and his table seized after he passively lay down on the sidewalk in protest.

Attempts to show a video of the arrest later that week on the sidewalk resulted in further citations to Robert Norse and Jim Ross for "no amplified sound permit"--a requirement never made of those showing video displays on the sidewalk before.

After a round of denunciations of Norse and the boycott of the Pacific Trading Company at City Council on July 8th, police were apparently directed to ignore violations of the Move Along law.

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee tabled Sunday July 22nd for several hours with no police response. Three Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom "Boycott Bigotry Brownie Giveaways" were ignored by police and their junior auxiliary, the Hosts.

But instances of massive police crackdown on Pacific Avenue for trivial reasons continue to mount. On Wednesday July 23rd, police blocked off the street to ticket "jaywalkers" in front of Borders and arrested three there. On Thursday July 24th, police engaged in a lengthy "slow chase" of a driver round-and-round, finally shooting out his window with a bean bag gun and sending in an attack dog, while keeping civilian observers too far away to watch clearly, according to witnesses.

District Attorney Bob Lee claimed that only 8 "stay-away" P (for Pacific Avenue) ban cases had been okayed by his department, but then admitted that dozens if not hundreds of others may have been included in ordinary judicial "stay-away" orders. He stated the D.A.'s office does not deal with Downtown Ordinance infractions (such as the Move Along law), but as he was making this claim, Commissioner Steve Siegel was getting a prosecution report from a D.A. opposing Steve Argue in Dept. 2. In fact, those who oppose these laws are often given pumped-up multiple charges as Argue and Hartogh were. (Argue's initial charges were misdemeanor "failure to sign a ticket" and
"failure to Move Along".

Hartogh was charged with misdemeanor "failure to sign a ticket", misdemeanor "false ID" (though Hartogh said he gave no ID info), infraction "failure to Move Along", and infraction "lying on the sidewalk."

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee voted at its twice-monthly meeting on July 28th to oppose the Move Along law and demand prosecutions be dropped.
Its next meeting is Monday August 11th at 6 p.m. at the Main Library.

HUFF will continue to table outside the Pacific Trading Company and Jacksons' Shoes, as well as at the Farmer's Market on Wednesday. On Wednesday July 30th at 3 PM, activists will table along the Farmer's Market at the Cedar St. sidewalk, a traditional Free Speech area which has been closed to the public in the last few years as part of the merchant/SCPD "culture war" downtown.

HUFF activists also may be reviving their Vigil Against Two Wars, calling it the Vigil Against Two Occupations: Iraq and Santa Cruz. The first use of the Move-Along law was against the 24-hour Vigil table, run by Olivia Brownrabbit, and Sheila Hodge at Cooper and Pacific in mid-March.

At that time homeless people with housed allies mounted the longest most visible vigil demanding the U.S. not invade Iraq.

Those interested in a second such vigil demanding the U.S. end its occupation of Iraq can call HUFF at 423-HUFF or come to a HUFF meeting at 1107 Ocean St. at Baker's Square on Wednesday mornings 8:30 AM- 10:30 AM.

HUFF also asks sympathizers to call City Council at 420-5020 to demand the Move-Along law be repealed and to call City Attorney John Barisone at 420-6200 to demand that all prosecutions be dropped (Bob Lee at 454-2400 should also be contacted, since his office regularly covers for the absent City Attorney).

Those needing or offering legal help in the struggle against the Downtown Ordinances should also give a call. Many cases resulting from the intense police presence on Pacific Avenue may be heading for court.
 
 


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