Santa Cruz Indymedia : http://santacruz.indymedia.org
Home
Santa Cruz Indymedia

LOCAL Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights

Patriot Act Pattycake Coming Up at City Council May 25th

Item #16 on the afternoon City Council agenda Tuesday March 25 is a toothless meaningless response to real demands that protection against the "Patriot Act" be strengthened--after Mayor Kennedy gutted a better resolution back in November 2002.
For those interested, the toothless Porter-Rotkin resolution putting the City of Santa Cruz on record as opposing the federal Patriot Act will be on Tuesday's Council agenda at 3 PM (item #16).

In spite of more than a year's worth of pleading, lobbying, petitioning (over 2500 local signatures turned in), and public speaking, the Santa Cruz Bill of Rights Defense Committee is not even getting a hearing on a tougher statement protecting Santa Cruzans against Ashcroft's wandering agents.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has already passed a resolution that bars the local government's 20,000 employees from assisting the feds in its raids violating residents civil rights "to the extent legally possible". Identical language was struck from a Santa Cruz resolution a year and a half ago by Mayor (then Councilmember) Scott Kennedy, apparently wary of offending the police chief, city manager, and city attorney.

More recently Proposition E won in the March primary election in San Francisco--authorizing the Board of Supervisors, rather than individual employees of the city government to review federal subpoenas for violation of citizen's rights, providing even greater theoretical protection and sending another strong negative message to the Bush-Ashcroft bunch.

I include the staff report on the weak-as-water Santa Cruz resolution and the resolution itself for Tuesday's agenda below.

Following that is the original Nov 2002 resolution and its watered down version which finally passed--which motivated John Gibson to start the Santa Cruz Bill of Rights Defense Committee [SCBORDC] over a year ago.

None of this is posted on the local BORDC website, though these documents are readily available through the National BORDC site under "Santa Cruz".

Instead the BORDC has spent its time endlessly meeting, eliminating any local human rights violations concerns from its agenda (so as not to alienate the "no rights for the homeless" City Council), and delaying any meaningful or persistent public protests.

They haven't as of yet challenged the City Attorney's preposterous claim that a San Francisco-style resolution violates the City Charter by getting an independent legal opinion.

Apparently their latest hope is that the 3 PM agenda item will provide a fruitful opening for community discussion. Sadly, they don't know the City Council. They'll get three minutes each and the prefabricated token resolution as it came out of the Public Safety Committee. This resolution does not address and has nothing to do with the concerns originally raised by the BORDC.

Cheers,

Robert Norse


NEXT TUESDAY'S STAFF REPORT & TOOTHLESS RESOLUTION

Council Policy Statement on the Constitutionality of the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act and the Amicus Efforts (Vice Mayor Rotkin). (CM122)

RECOMMENDATION: That the City Council:

1) by motion, adopt a policy statement regarding the constitutionality of the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act; and,

2) authorize the City Attorney on behalf of the City to lend amicus support in the case of Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor et al. v. John Ashcroft.
BACKGROUND: On April 19th, the Council’s Public Safety Committee considered a recommendation from Councilmember Porter that it refer to the City Council consideration of a response to the Bill of Rights Defense Committee Request for a Council policy statement on the constitutionality of the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act. The committee passed a motion 2-1, with Mayor Kennedy voting no, to forward this to the Council as a whole.

DISCUSSION: Councilmember Porter’s memorandum to the Committee, with background information on these issues, is attached.

Policy Statement
The proposed policy statement is as follows:

It is the policy of the City Council to uphold the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights which amends the United States Constitution, and the Constitution of the State of California. Each member of the City Council has taken an oath of office affirming that dedication. Likewise, employees of the City of Santa Cruz have all taken a similar oath.

The City Council has clearly expressed certain concerns about the constitutionality of the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act.

This statement of policy is intended to clearly state that, should any conflict arise between legislation including the Patriot Act, Homeland Security Act, or Executive Order, and the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or the Constitution of the State of California, the latter three documents shall hold authority and take precedence when making decisions about what action should be taken when the constitutional rights of individuals are in question.

Amicus Efforts
Amicus briefs for the Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor et al. v. John Ashcroft case were filed in November, but there may be the possibility of joining future amicus efforts. The Committee’s recommendation is that the Council authorize the City Attorney’s office to file an amicus brief if and when the case is appealed by either party.

FISCAL IMPACT: None.



INITIAL ANTI-"PATRIOT ACT" RESOLUTION SUBMITTED TO SANTA CRUZ CITY COUNCIL AND BROUGHT FORWARD BY MAYOR KROHN ON NOVEMBER 12, 2002:

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the City of Santa Cruz, acting in the spirit and history of our community, make the following resolutions:

1. The City of Santa Cruz affirms its strong opposition to those parts of the Patriot Act, and to certain Justice Department directives and executive orders which weaken or destroy our civil rights and liberties.

2. The City of Santa Cruz has been and remains firmly committed to the protection of civil rights and civil liberties for all people including those who are citizens of other nations. We affirm this commitment to embody the spirit of democracy, to embracing and defending the human rights and civil liberties now under siege, to make those liberties viable for all, regardless of citizenship status, gender, racial identification, religious affiliation, age, or country of origin.

3. The City of Santa Cruz calls upon its citizens, residents and local peace officers to join in affirming the following principles: Every person has the right to freedom of speech and association. Every person has the right to freedom of religion. Every person has the right to assembly and privacy. Every person has the right to due process in judicial proceedings. Every person has the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Stops or arrests may not be made without establishing reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed. Every person has the right to equal protection under the law and the right not to be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.

4. To the extent legally possible, no City of Santa Cruz employee or department shall officially assist or voluntarily cooperate with investigations, interrogations, or arrest procedures, public or clandestine, that are judged to be in violation of individuals' civil rights or civil liberties as specified in the above Amendments of the United States Constitution. Also, request that no city of Santa Cruz police officer shall spy on or gather information on religious or political meetings or rallies in the absence of some evidence that the organization is involved in terrorism or some other illegal activity.

5. The City of Santa Cruz shall employ all possible leverage to ensure that Federal and State law enforcement officials working within the city not engage, to the extent legally permissible, in law enforcement activities that threaten the civil rights and civil liberties of the people of Santa Cruz, such as surveillance, wiretaps, and securing private information, which the Patriot Act and Executive Orders authorize. Organizations should not be monitored based on their religious or political views. Also request that no information about political, religious, or social views, associations or activities should be collected unless the information relates to public safety concerns or establishes suspicion of criminal activity or the potential for criminal activity.

6. The city of Santa Cruz requests that our United States Congressional representatives monitor the implementation of the Patriot Act, directives from Attorney General John Ashcroft, and executive orders cited herein and actively work for the repeal of those parts of the Patriot Act and the withdrawal of those Justice Department directives and executive orders that violate fundamental rights and liberties as stated in the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of California, in the UN Charter and the ratified International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture, and the Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

7. The City of Santa Cruz sends copies of this resolution to the President of the United States, to local Congressional representatives and to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.


FINAL TOOTHLESS RESOLUTION OF THE NOVEMBER 12, 2002 City Council AS AMENDED BY COUNCILMEMBER SCOTT KENNEDY AND UNANIMOUSLY PASSED BY COUNCIL:

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Santa Cruz, acting in the spirit and history of our community, does hereby resolve:

1. The City of Santa Cruz affirms its strong opposition to those parts of the USA Patriot Act and to certain Justice Department directives and executive orders that weaken or destroy our civil rights and liberties.

2. The City of Santa Cruz has been and remains firmly committed to the protection of civil rights and civil liberties for all people, including those who are citizens of other nations. We affirm this commitment to embody the spirit of democracy, to embracing and defending the human rights and civil liberties now under siege, to make those liberties viable for all, regardless of citizenship status, gender, racial identification, religious affiliation, age, or country of origin.

3. The City of Santa Cruz calls upon its citizens, residents, and local peace officers to join in affirming the following principles: Every person has the right to freedom of speech and association. Every person has the right to freedom of religion. Every person has the right to assembly and privacy. Every person has the right to due process in judicial proceedings. Every person has the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Stops or arrests may not be made without establishing reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed. Every person has the right to equal protection under the law and the right not to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

4. The City of Santa Cruz urges federal law enforcement officials working within the City to engage only in legally permissible law enforcement activities which do not violate the civil rights and civil liberties of the people of Santa Cruz. To this end, organizations should not be monitored based solely on their religious or political views and no information about political, religious or social views, associations, or activities should be collected unless the information relates to public safety concerns or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

5. The City Council requests that the Mayor send copies of this resolution to the President of the United States, to local Congressional representatives, and to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

PASSED AND ADOPTED this 12th day of November, 2002, by the following vote:

AYES: Councilmembers: Reilly, Fitzmaurice, Sugar, Primack, Kennedy, Porter; Mayor Krohn.

NOES: Councilmembers: None.
ABSENT: Councilmembers: None.
DISQUALIFIED: Councilmembers: None.



Note the Kennedy deletions remove any local accountability, even accountability by "our" Congressional rep, Sam Farr.

It's not that a strong resolution would actually stop the feds and the tendency of local cops to the kind of resolution passed by the Arcata City Council--which prescribes criminal penalties for city employees who cooperate with the Patriot Act--does send a symbolic message. More important locally, it asserts independence of the real bosses who run the City--the City Manager, City Attorney, and Police Chief.
 
 


New Comments are disabled, please visit Indybay.org/SantaCruz

Calendar

No events for this day.

view calendar week
add an event

Views

Media Centers

Syndication feeds

Account Login

This site made manifest by dadaIMC software