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Even More Ilegal to Be Homeless In Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz Sentinel and its city reporter Dan White continue to “white out� or distort police harassment of activists and poor people.

We salute the Houseless Community of Santa Cruz for its unreported and unappreciated human rights struggle this last year.

This article contains examples of why it is even more ilegal to be homeless in Santa Cruz.
Even More Illegal to be Homeless in Santa Cruz
August 2003 Update

These are the kinds of things that make Santa Cruz #13 in the nation among the Cities surveyed.

+ The local monopoly newspaper The Santa Cruz Sentinel and its City report Dan White continue to “white out� or distort police harassment of activists and poor people, closed city council process, and regular human rights violations against the homeless.

Activists have created their own radio at Free Radio Santa Cruz (96.3 FM or www.freakradio.org; on-air phone: 427-3772). They have also formed alternate internet media at santacruz.indymedia.org as well as the homeless civil rights website www.huffsantacruz.org where the public can post and read stories and letters which the Sentinel, the Metro Santa Cruz, and the Good Times refuse to print. Contact White at the Santa Cruz Sentinel (423-4242) and his editor Tom Honig and urge them to release the criminalization of the homeless story.

+ Picture ID cards continue to be required for admittance to the Armory Winter Shelter. The “compassionate� regime of Mayor Emily Reilly has created no significant increase in shelter facilities--which accommodate 39 people 8 months of the year, 160 in winter in a City population of 1000-2000 homeless, only available to those who can afford to replace ID.

Bakery shop owner Mayor Reilly has a history of anti-homeless legislation that has lengthened since she rode into office in November 2000. She reversed her previous pro-homeless positions and abandoned her support for overturning Santa Cruz’s infamous 11 PM- 8:30 AM Sleeping Ban on public property (and much private property). Phone Mayor Reilly at 420-5022 to demand an end to the Sleeping Ban and expansion of the minuscule shelter space available. Contact Reilly’s secretary by phone or in person at 420-5020 at 809 Center St. for a 15 minute appointment (usually a week in advance).

+ In the summer of 2002 Reilly as Vice-Mayor rushed through a series of anti-homeless laws which criminalized ‘abandoned’ property, expanded oppressive “no sit� zones in business districts to 14’ (eliminating 95% of the sidewalk), and criminalized hackeysack and bouncing a ball downtown.

The next winter, again to please her merchant allies, Reilly and her Council backed
laws that finished off the destruction of the Voluntary Street Performers Guidelines by banning open guitar cases and political tables within 10’ of a building and prescribing a 1-hour “Move Along�--used against HUFF political tablers.

Two activists, Mathew Hartogh and Steve Argue, were physically arrested under the “Move Along� law. Support Steve Argue in court on September 11th at 10 AM when he faces $2000 and 2 years in jail at 701 Ocean St.

+A new repression at City Council intensified harassment of homeless activists and other dissidents at City Council. Former Mayor Christopher Krohn had HUFF activist Robert Norse arrested for a brief silent protest (raising his arm in a Nazi salute in response to the premature cut-off of Public Comment).

Norse is suing Krohn, arresting sergeant Baker, and the City of Santa Cruz in federal court (appeal date in September). In November Councilmember Ed Porter had Norse arrested for refusing to turn off his tape recorder during a joint City Council-Downtown Commission meeting on the anti-homeless laws. Activists may be taking Ed
Porter to Small Claims Court to answer for his censorship of the media and exclusion of the public.

+ The downtown public sidewalk privatized in a giveaway to two small businesses [Sushi Now! and Ali Baba’s Cafe] prompted a successful boycott against both businesses (and adjoining New Leaf Market). Both stores went out of business. The replacement businesses agreed to open up the area to public use if the cafe tables were not being used by customers.

Support the boycott against Jackson’s Shoes for its leadership in passing the Downtown Ordinances. Support the boycott against the Pacific Trading Company for the destruction of several dozen sitting spaces along the Walnut St. planter at a taxpayer cost of more than $6700.
Support the boycott of Lulu Carpenters coffeeshop for owner Manthri Srinath’s assault on two homeless peace activists in March.

+ E-mail, phone, and letter pressure from homeless advocates like former Homeless Issues Task Force member Marilyn McGrath, helped pressure the Public Works Department into setting aside (until January) a plan to immediately ban parking--in an area heavily used by vehicular campers near the Downtown. On January 1, 2004, city officials will criminalize night-time parking of vehicles through a new downtown permit-only parking process (the first step in a city-wide plan), which will deny those whose only
home is their vehicle the right to park it, even if vacant, from midnight to 8 a.m.

Support the new Housecar-Homeowner’s Association: Call Shannon at 457-9754 X 2317 or Linda at Housing Now in Santa Cruz at 423-4663

+ Direct civil disobedience where activists refused to halt innocent but “illegal� activity resulted in the restoration of rights for
street jugglers, thanks to street performer advocate and local resident Tom Noddy.

Noddy’s 13-hour jail stint for juggling on June
26th, followed by a call to encourage professional out-of-town street jugglers to perform on the sidewalks, prompted City Council to
enact an “emergency ordinance� on July 8th legalizing juggling (though keeping hackeysack and all other activities involving balls
illegal) downtown.

Support those who resist the Sitting, Peaceful Sparechanging, Political Tabling, and Street Performing Bans by peacefully joining in their behavior, drawing others over to witness, or publicizing the police repression through the media and by word-of-mouth. Support Noddy’s Street Performers Benefit on September 5th and 6th and the Louden Nelson Center.

+ Social Cleansing downtown and Removal of Seating Spaces to eliminate “undesirables� prompted the city’s giveaway of 2/3 of the sidewalk at Church and Pacific, removal of benches across the street, and then the fencing of the Walnut and Pacific “Costa Brava� planter seating area in front of the Pacific Trading Company. Most of this happened with no public notice, hearing, or input, through closed staff-merchant meetings. Wildly selective police enforcement polices have given merchants carte
blanche on the sidewalks HUFF [Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom] tried mediation, but was ignored. It is now calling for mass sit-in’s, boycotts, + an old-fashioned Wobbly-style downtown-for-all struggle.

+ Targeting of sidewalk food providers such as Food Not Bombs and The Potters Hand is apparently next on the City/merchant gentrification agenda. Following crackdowns in cities like Santa Monica and City Council’s evasion of the promised 6-month
review of the repressive Downtown Ordinances, groups like the Downtown Association are reportedly hosting secret meetings.

Their next objective: to drive away or indoors those who make the city’s poverty and growing economic crisis visible by serving food outside on Pacific Ave. Activists are consulting attorneys and discussing a campaign of civil disobedience--which won the right to serve free food fourteen years ago in the SWAP [Soup Without a Permit] wars.

+ In the wake of a repressive psuedo-liberal City Council regime, the new more conservative Rotkin-Mathews Santa Cruz City Council has openly endorsed closed, secret, and repressive city staff decision-making practices. Under the leadership of $160,000-per-year City Manager (since 1984) Dick Wilson, the Council has eliminated, weakened, and bullied public commissions.

Staff heads have facilitated the destruction of public seating space to “eliminate undesirables� at the behest of bigoted businesses such as the Pacific Trading Company [PTC] and Jacksons Shoes [JS]. Using backroom staff decisions overseen from the City Manager’s office, merchants have been able to remove benches and sittable planters to increase their control over the sidewalk. Join
the HUFF picket and boycott of the PTC and JS to put the merchants and their Council pals on notice the community is watching.

+ The City’s police budget continues to soar (up $1.7 million this year), while social services for the poor and homeless are cut back. When the Citizens Police Review Board began investigating selective enforcement, the SCPD’s failure to document “display, of force�, racial profiling, and other institutional police abuses, the Kennedy-Rotkin Council abolished the Board and turned its functions over to a $40,000/year Palo Alto attorney and established closed sessions for its Public Safety Committee. Secret budget
meetings in August will exclude the public. HUFF encourage the public to observe, document, protest, and report abusive
police behavior to santacruz.indymedia.org, SPAN (Stop Police Abuse Now!) at 475-2012, and Free Radio Santa Cruz.

+ Massive police presence on the Pacific Garden mall openly targets the visibly poor, homeless, and young as well as activists who support them in such expeditions as the July 23rd “Jaywalking Massacre� when three were jailed and four more cited for “jaywalking� across Pacific Avenue, while middle-class “walk-criminals� were ignored. Activists given tickets are demanding full
discovery in court to expose the expensive and discriminatory tactics being used by police to further the merchant agenda.

+ 78-Year-Old Mary Kourie reports she was denied access to the Interfaith Satellite Shelter Program in July because of incontinence problems. Rather than provide her with a bedside commode, they barred her from program on the two nights they use Holy Cross Church, because the Church has an upstairs bathroom, which the elderly Kourie has difficulty reaching. Kourie has asked HUFF to file a grievance against the HSC and may be considering a lawsuit.

+ Judge “Junk Justice� Irwin Joseph denied chalking “Sleep is NOT a Crime!� on the sidewalk was traditional constitutionally protected First Amendment activity. He found Tim Rinker and Becky Johnson guilty of “defacing the sidewalk�
under the discredited “broken windows� theory. Johnson is appealing both the decision & a subsequent add-on “cleaning and removal� charge (removing chalk from the sidewalk takes less than 30 seconds with water and a rag).

+ Constriction of legal rights for the poor at the city attorney and local court level includes police-oriented reinterpretation of
older laws like “defacing the sidewalk� (which had never previously included chalking political messages).

Robert Norse faces a new “defacing the sidewalk� charge for chalking “End the War� in the street itself as well as a charge of “jaywalking� during
a 5-7,000 strong Peace March of February 15th.

After 6 months of delay in providing the audio recording for the Camp Paradise “necessity to sleep� trial in 2001-2, Judge Joseph also eliminated (by decree) the right (In re Armstrong 1981, 1st Dist 126 Cal App3rd 565) to have a court-produced audio of criminal proceedings. He declared that the budget “did not allow� for it.

Victims of city and police harassment should seek extensive discovery to document police surveillance and prepare for selective enforcement motions.

+ Mayor Reilly and Vice-Mayor Kennedy have repeatedly violated the Brown (open meetings) Act, particularly targeted homeless advocates.

Reilly has selectively denied disfavored members of the public the right to speak by putting off their public speaking area three or four hours to an indefinite time (7-8 and 7-22). She threatened activists with eviction from City Council for “using Council member’s names� (Kennedy to activist Steve Argue [early summer]).

Activists have issued a Brown Act alert to
encourage other members of the public to file formal complaints and consider litigation to stop such repeated abuses.

+ Refusal to rein in Sgt. “Sticky Fingers� Butchie Baker, whitewashed a decade ago after relentless harassment of the homeless (1990) and complaints from 10 women for sexual misconduct (1992).

In 2002-3, Baker used six officers to harass and ticket disabled local Richard Parsons for lying briefly on the sidewalk, (b) encouraged targeted political surveillance and harassment of the Cooper-Pacific St. “Merry Monday� Downtown-For-All.

Baker okayed the arrest of a homeless man for advising another of his rights and arrested a street musician for possessing CD’s of his work while performing on the mall (now a federal civil lawsuit). He targeted the summer 2003 “Boycott Bigotry� protests in front of the Pacific Trading Company with arrests for “no sound permit�--for playing a television video about police misconduct on the sidewalk.

Baker beat a homeless man (Norman Friedberg) who refused to sign a citation for littering when he fed the birds breadcrumbs at a Food Not Bombs meal.

Some HUFF activists propose updating & reissuing the famous Baker “Wanted� poster that went out in 1992.

+ Baker also pursued a campaign showing racial and class discrimination with a particularly cruel and persistent vendetta against African American spiritual reader Jason Paschal. In August 2002, Baker falsely arrested Paschal, a medical marijuana patient and diabetic, held his needles up in the air and proclaimed “is this what we want for Santa Cruz?�

When Paschal was released and returned to continue his readings, Baker tried to have Paschal deported back to New Hampshire on a petty marijuana charge (less than an oz.) which failed. Subsequently Baker had Paschal arrested for “tarot reading without a license� and “use of
milk crates without permission�.

In April Baker’s efforts to have Paschal returned to New Hampshire succeeded. Paschal’s
mother & attorney report he was racially abused & assaulted in prison, until a whistleblower exposed the situation. They are
planning a lawsuit against New Hampshire & Jan Paschal intends to return to Santa Cruz to speak publicly about the Baker’s abuses.

+ City Council won't reform or reconsider the 11 AM-8:30 PM Sleeping, Blanket, and Camping Bans in spite of political promises, voter mandates, and clearly insufficient shelter space.

HUFF activist Pebbles is circulating a spiritual “right to camp� Initiative. Others are seeking to raise funds for a federal injunction against the Sleeping Ban. HUFF calls for implementation of the Pottinger guidelines, which require no police contact for “life-sustaining� crimes unless shelter beds are actually open and available. The Pottinger guidelines would allow homeless people to build their own shelters in certain areas.

+ Harassment of the homeless on Pacific Avenue for peaceful “signing� and sparechanging. Street Spirit vendor John Maurer put a “Fuck the Pigs� sign in his hat after being repeatedly ticketed and harassed by police for “not moving along� “displaying merchandise�, and responding to a merchant’s harassment with a humorous sock pocket ‘fuck you� skit.

Tarot-card readers have been banned. Jewelers displaying their hemp necklaces and stonework have been threatened with jail and “moved along�. HUFF has called for a Eugene/Berkeley style crafts market and action on the endlessly-delayed Downtown Plaza.

+ Homeless, street people. musicians, and activists rolled back an attempt by a repressive Farmer’s Market manager to disperse drummers, bar political activity, and fence off the street scene two years ago.

In late July HUFF activists returned to
the Farmers Market to pressure for restoration of political tabling areas along the Cedar St. sidewalk, “meshed off� under pressure from city bureaucrats and conservative merchants.

HUFF and Bill of Rights Defense Committee activists resumed tabling in public
areas, recognizing they might be unjustly arrested, but willing to take that risk to restore democratic rights in Santa Cruz.

We salute the Houseless Community of Santa Cruz for its unreported and unappreciated human rights struggle this last year.
 
 


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Debate Continues on the Radio

Hot Sunday Morning Radio Feast with Arcata activists against the Patriot Act and the Sleeping Ban (civil rights locally and nationally--what a concept!)
HOT RADIO ON SUNDAY MORNING

9:30 AM- 1 PM
Bathrobespierre's Broadsides: Civil Rights on the Street 96.3 FM www.freakradio.net

Live studio call-in at 831-427-3772. E-mailin questions to rnorse (at) hotmail.com during the show.
Pre and post show information: 831-423-4833. Free Radio Info: 427-4523

Featuring:

Report on the Tuesday Press Conference--Santa Cruz Unlucky 13th Meanest City in the Country?

Update and Discussion of the Santa Cruz Bill of Rights Committee's move to put teeth in the anti-Patriot Act resolution of November 12, 2002 including the full City Council discussion of that issue. (Next meeting of the SCBORD committee Monday 6 PM August 11th--second floor of the downtown library.

Arcata Freedom Fighters Struggling to Legalize the Right to Sleep

Advance information: go to www.arcataeye.com, click on Feature Stories, then on 7-23-03 "Right to Live" Activists Mount Marsh Protests

10:30 AM
Tad Robinson, jailed for non-violent political struggle for the homeless of Arcata
Roger Herick, ACLU activist, concerned with local civil rights struggles

11 AM
Dave Meserve, Arcata City Councilmember bringing the issue of the Sleeping Ban to the August 20th City Council session. Author of the gutsy anti-Patriot Act of Arcata. Talks about both issues.

11:45 AM Sally Zinman, Executive Director of the California Network of Mental Health Clients, discussing the new "needles on wheels" forced treatment bill AB 1421, passed last year by the California Legislature and signed into law by Governor (Thorazine for All!) Davis.

Other issues:

Stopping the Food Not Bombs Meals and the Bigotry Brownies Giveaways: The new Downtown Association move to criminalize free food serving onthe sidewalk.

Privatizing the public sidewalk in front of O'Neill's--the next step in the merchant Culture War against the poor, the weird, and the traditional Santa Cruz counterculture.

Victory in court! City drops chalking charge against Bathrobespierre for chalking 'No War!" on Pacific Avenue.

Crackdown on Campers: Big Boot tells us the cops have trashed the campsites at Poverty Hill and near Carbonera Creek, seizing and destroying homeless property with no warning.

HUFF booth at Santa Cruz Night on Tuesday August 12th downtown (5-8 PM): Is Santa Cruz the 13th Meanest City in the U.S. in its treatment of homeless people as the annual "Illegal to Be Homeless" report says? Call in and tell us!

Street Performers Getting Together! Want to be a part of the September 5-6 Louden Nelson shows? What can be done about increasing police repression on the streets? Meeting at Tom Noddy's House Tuesday night after the Santa Cruz Night Out 322 Maple St.


Tune in, call in, and speak out. Or listen in and ponder.
 

Freak Radio (dot) ORG

Santa Cruz Freak Radio's website is www.freakradio.org, not www.freakradio.net. I am pointing this out because Robert listed the URL incorrectly.

freak out! on 96.3fm

Fuck the FCC!
 

Re: Even More Ilegal to Be Homeless In Santa Cruz

For people who are so concerned about city money, it seems like these activists are spending a lot of the city's time and money in lawsuits. Put your time and money where your mouths are and try to help the city's homeless find jobs and places to live. Perpetuating the problem isn't helping anything. Try for solutions, not just bandaids. The ability to panhandle or sleep on the mall doesn't solve or help anything...if anything you are cutting off your nose to spite your face. If people don't spend money on the mall, buisnesses fold as you so gleefully report. When these shops close down, they don't pay taxes. When there is no tax revenue, there are no homeless shelters. That isn't good for anyone.
 

Re: Even More Ilegal to Be Homeless In Santa Cruz

I used to go to downtown Santa Cruz a lot when I was younger, to shop, or sit outside and drink coffee, or whatever. I don't go there anymore, because of all the homeless bums, it has become too unpleasant. I'll shop somewhere that I'm not harassed for spare change or a spare cigarette. I don't blame any of the business owners for having seating removed from near their businesses, because wherever such seating exists, it is taken over by bums.
 

Re: Even More Ilegal to Be Homeless In Santa Cruz

we are just strapping on the guns to fight san diego can't sleep in your hose car debacle. we could use all the help we can get cause we are going to win. gtfrombc (at) gmail.com
 

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