Defend those without homes [link] ! Santa Cruz attacking houseless people [link]! Also see how Santa Cruz attacks "Food Not Bombs" and other Human Rights advocates [link], and Human Rights abuse in itty-bitty Santa Cruz [link]!!
Robert Norse Notes: In Santa Cruz, a small protest sleep-out by the Visible Sleepers in front of the Post Office which went on for four nights and seemed to establish that getting documentation that you were on shelter waiting lists (at the Homeless Lack of Services Center) deterred police ticketing under the Sleeping Ban. Others are working for a long-term solution with a Sanctuary Camp Ground.
2013-04-29 " (Visible Sleepers) Sleep and Resistance in Downtown Santa Cruz"
by Alex Darocy [http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/04/29/18736087.php]:
On April 17 a group of homeless community members in Santa Cruz initiated a high visibility sleep-protest, which was held downtown at the main branch of the post office. Sleepers subsequently occupied several locations outside of the front of the building for four days, with many individuals continuing to sleep there in protest after being cited for violating the sleeping ban or for obstructing the sidewalk. Some of those cited under Santa Cruz's municipal code 6.36.010, the ban on sleep in public places, say they were on the Homeless Services Center wait list for shelter spaces at the time they were cited. The protest was organized in support of decriminalizing sleep, and individuals primarily participated in the protest because they needed a safe place for the night. "We are just looking for a safe place to sleep, and we are really trying to get the sleeping ban lifted," a homeless participant named Zack said. Yoyo, another homeless participant added, "you can't sleep anywhere...it shouldn't be illegal to sleep."
One individual at the protest felt that section 8 of the Homeless Bill of Rights (AB 5), which is currently making its way through the California State Legislature, described what motivated his participation. Section 8 asserts that homeless people have the right, "not to be subject to criminal sanctions for resting or sleeping in a public place, including vehicles legally parked on public property in a non-obstructive manner."
The same individual referred to their presence at the post office as a protest "of sorts," saying that, "there's no marching, there's no chants....we just want to be seen."
On the first night of the sleep-out on Wednesday, April 17 the group said there were about 12-15 participants who, before sleeping, crafted protest signs and displayed them to passers-bye. By Saturday, April 20, their fourth continuous night at the post office, the protest signs were gone, but the individuals continued to gather and sleep there.
"We're gearing down our main plan...I think our presence is enough here," one individual said.
Conditions were difficult for the protesters and he added, "really we just want to sleep. We are really tired...We really haven't slept much in the last week."
"This is affecting the health of the homeless community and we are seeking a change to that," Zack said. He noted the group had been taking naps in the day, but that was nowhere near sufficient.
"We need to be able to sleep, and a lot of the homeless don't because they are afraid of taking some jail time, and it leads to a lot of drug problems. It leads to a lot of people smoking crank and staying up all night just to not get ticketed," he said.
That was reflected in the number of sleepers at the post office on Saturday night. At 12am there were five individuals sleeping, but by 2am there was a total of 11 people present.
The group says they were pushed from sleeping in the woods, were they preferred to be, to the more exposed location of downtown Santa Cruz.
"I'm not trying to take anybody on tonight....I'm going to go to sleep tonight and I'm going to be woken up by a police officer no matter where I do it," said one participant.
"So we might as well do it where they can see us," Zack added.
"We really like the woods, and we are very respectful to the woods," he said.
"We don't leave trash and we're not drug users."
"They've driven us into the city" he said, adding that sleeping at the highly visible location of the post office is, "kind of the only way to get our message across."
"All we are trying to do is be peaceful and sleep in our natural environment...and this is definitely not it," he said.
The group explained they weren't asking for any expanded services for homeless people as part of their protest. They said they personally had "everything" they needed.
"We want for nothing," Zack said.
For those who need homeless services, he said it seemed "pretty good" for them in Santa Cruz.
"In this town it's comfortable, but you have to run and hide."
The sleep protest was first initiated at the Santa Cruz Main Post Office following two negative incidents Zach, Yoyo, and their friends experienced locally as self-described homeless "travelers." They also referred to themselves as "home-free" and "roofless" as alternative terms for "homeless."
In one incident, the group says they were trying to find a place to sleep in Pogonip, a large wooded city park located along the green belt of Santa Cruz. Members of their group were arrested for being in an area that was closed, which they say they was unclear due to the signage. When the authorities found them in the closed area, according to the group they were asked, "what if a family came by here to hang out?"
"We're a sore sight to see, I guess," Zack said, interpreting the implications of the comment. To him it didn't make sense, and he wondered how, if the area in Pogonip was clearly off limits, would a family see them in the first place.
He and the group said they are used to being discriminated against because of their appearance, even though they are clean and dress like average hikers. "We weren't doing anything wrong."
"They've singled us out," Zach said. "I think they are trying to make it known that they don't want the travelers here."
"Because we choose to live outside should not strip us of our basic rights of sleep and of being able to sit in a place," he said.
The second negative incident the group experienced was when a group of individuals they say had "Eastsiders" tattoos picked a fight with them as they were returning from Seabright Beach along the train trestle over San Lorenzo River. That encounter was brief, but four days later on the levee they say the "Eastsiders" came out of nowhere and immediately resumed the conflict.
The Santa Cruz Police Department became involved and the group of travelers said they told officers that the "Eastsiders" were the ones to attack them first, but officers told them that they "shouldn't hang out in the areas that the people could find us."
Zack claims that officers knew that he and his group of friends were homeless, and as a result he felt they were, "basically saying you guys are not welcome here," and he said that even though the Eastsiders were giving them a hard time, the SCPD were, "not going to do anything about it."
"We were downtown in spots we hang out at all the time," Zack said. "They know I am roofless and homefree."
Zack wanted to make it clear that, "we're not looking to fight with anybody ever, we are looking to exist peacefully."
When asked if the police have ever told them where they are supposed to go when they have been forced to move on from where they wanted to sleep, Zack said they, "suggest things that don't really make sense."
"Like go to Capitola [or] Monterey," but Zack noted that, "it's illegal to sleep in Capitola too. It's illegal to sleep anywhere in Santa Cruz County."
"There is no help from them at all, and we didn't expect any help from them," he said.
Zack and the group are seeking broader political change related to the sleeping ban, as opposed to the expansion of specific services, and they have been active politically, attending Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom, Take Back Santa Cruz, and Santa Cruz City Council meetings.
Zack said he has been concerned that community members in Santa Cruz were using the terms drug addict, transient, and homeless person, "almost interchangeably," after he attended a recent forum on public safety put on by the city.
This was especially pertinent to the group because, as Zach's friend explained, "intravenous drug users don't travel much."
They feel that travelers have been miss-characterized on a variety of levels and that has lead to poor policy decisions regarding public safety and the homeless in Santa Cruz.
"The whole take back Santa Cruz thing is kind of ridiculous because they are trying to take back Santa Cruz from people who don't have anything," Zack said. "We don't have anything to begin with."
"They are pushing us into a smaller and smaller smaller corner," he said, "and eventually it is going to be a FEMA camp or something like that."
When Zack attended the "Families First" rally that was organized by Take Back Santa Cruz and held at Harvey West Park on March 26, he observed that, "a lot of those speeches were very very very reminiscent of what Third Reich speeches and what Hitler had to say, and they are scapegoating the homeless."
"I followed the march to make sure that nobody was going to screw with the homeless people," he said. "Me and a couple of other people were kind of policing it...to make sure that nobody got violent with any of the people out here."
While Zack has not heard of any incidents where Take Back Santa Cruz members have directly attacked homeless people, he feels the "sentiment" is there in the group.
One of the signs that Zack made and held at the post office during the protests read, "Why is it illegal for me to exist?"
One other issue raised during the protests has to do with one the chapters of the local sleeping ban that provides relief from prosecution under the ordinance if those cited are on one of the homeless shelter's waiting lists.
Santa Cruz municipal code 6.36.055 states that, "A person shall not be in violation of this chapter if, at the time of his or her citation for a violation of this chapter, either: the winter shelter at the Santa Cruz National Guard Armory is filled to capacity; or the person is currently on the waiting list for shelter service through one of the shelter programs offered by the Homeless Services Center or the River Street Shelter in Santa Cruz."
Participants who were on the Homeless Services Center wait list say they were cited by SCPD at the protest regardless of their wait list status, and critics have questioned the efficacy of this enforcement strategy. Civil rights issues aside, sleeping bans nationwide similar to MC 6.36.010 have been shown to be very costly for cities to enforce.
When interviewed on the fourth and final evening of the protest, the young group of travelers who initiated the action didn't recognize some of the other people sleeping there with them at the post office. A small group of individuals that was sleeping to the south end of the post office steps was made up of older individuals who carried their possessions in a shopping cart.
Those present at the post office during the course of the protests appeared to represent a cross section of homeless people in Santa Cruz, and their stated intentions were similar to that of those participating in previous local sleep-protests such as PeaceCamp 2010 and Occupy Santa Cruz. During those actions, a segment of those participating included homeless people who were hoping to make a political statement through the action, as well as homeless people who were motivated not necessarily out of political justifications, but because they were looking for a safe place to sleep as part of their nightly routine of survival.
"Traveler" Yoyo said he has lived in the area on and off since 2007, and he recalled much of the political change that led up to several anti-homeless policies being enacted during that time period.
Other community members present had long term political ties to homeless issues in the area as well. One woman who slept for all four nights of the protest has made her home in Santa Cruz on and off since her involvement with Occupy Santa Cruz in 2011.
One man who said he slept in front of the post office on April 19, passed by on the evening of the 20th, saying he wished he could participate for one more evening but that he had received a citation that morning from the SCPD for laying on the sidewalk. The man has been homeless for several years locally, and he described the difficulties he has had as a result of losing his career in the economic downturn.
He said that recently it has been very difficult for him to find a place to sleep in Santa Cruz.
At 3am on Sunday morning (April 21), approximately two dozen people could be seen sleeping in a variety of other public locations that were within a two block radius of the post office.
[Photos were taken the evening of April 20 through the morning of April 21]
Imagine Positive Change (If you need help, call 2-1-1)
2013-04-19 " (Visible Sleepers) Morning Report"
by Robert Norse [http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/04/18/18735455.php?show_comments=1#comments]:
SIX TICKETED FOR SURVIVAL SLEEPING IN A VISIBLE SPOT
Zack, one of six people who, he says, slept at the post office steps area last night called in with a report a few minutes ago. They all received "camping" tickets for survival sleeping in a visible area. I call them the Visible Sleepers.
He says some of the folks from the previous night left for the North, but they intend to continue their protest tonight and in the nights that follow.
COPS VIOLATING THE LAW?
He said several police arrived around 6 AM and did ask them if they had Homeless (Lack of) Service Center receipts, but ticketed them anyway with the Camping Ordinance MC 6.36. (subsection 6.36.010).
A key paragraph of 6.36.055(a), a key subsection of MC 6.36, reads
(a) A person shall not be in violation of this chapter [the Camping Ordinance] if, at the time of his or her citation for a violation of this chapter, either: the winter shelter at the Santa Cruz National Guard Armory is filled to capacity; or the person is currently on the waiting list for shelter service through one of the shelter programs offered by the Homeless Services Center or the River Street Shelter in Santa Cruz."
The officers gave citations anyway in apparent violation of the law. They suggested the citations "might be dismissed in court." Zack said the group explained they had nowhere to go, were told the shelters were full, were given a receipt by Christine Younger of the HLOSC so asserting (that is, they were put on the Waiting List), and had no legal place to sleep. Police then left, and they went back to sleep, Zack continued.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
Some of the signs they were displaying read, according to Zack, "If every life has value, then why is our life illegal?"
"If safety is a priority in this community, why do we have to fight for a safe place to sleep?" "When you privatize public space, you silence the voice of the very community it was designed for." "Any law against sleep is unjust." And other signs as well. They can be viewed again tonight, presumably, when the protest is slated to resume.
Some locals suggested that to avoid tickets they could leave early in the morning, but Zack noted he told them that the point is we shouldn't have to move since there is no legal place and we're not doing anything illegal. First Alarm "security" thugs arrived after 8 AM and told them they'd have to lie outside their sleeping bags or be ticketed. Freedom initially declined, saying it was cold, but when another woman came up with a problem for First Alarm, she complied in order to facilitate First Alarm's helping with that other problem.
DEFENDING FIRST ALARM THUGS
A police officer advised the group that First Alarm was "just doing their job; they are the middle men between business and the people."
Zack concluded, “We're not trying to incite any anger against us by the police. They spent a lot of time trying to justify what they were doing. They could have been out arresting violent criminals instead of explaining...cause we're peaceful, and we need a place to sleep.”
Camping citations carry a potential fine of $100-200. As mentioned in a prior posting, interviews from last night's Free Radio Santa Cruz show with Freedom, Andrew, and Cody are archived at [http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb130418.mp3].
Workshop Tomorrow -
There will be a workshop tomorrow led by Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry around broader issues of homeless civil rights (the California Homeless Bill of Rights) and deeper issues of housing (foreclosures and occupying vacant buildings as Homes Not Jails does). At the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific Ave. as mentioned above and described at [http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2013/04/15/arm_the_homeless.pdf].
Protecting ourselves from Santa Cruz thugs. Reclaiming our housing in the face of foreclosures. Help Organize Protection Against a New Rash of Attacks on Homeless People. Discuss the Formation of a Homes Not Jails Housing Occupation Movement. Learn More About the California Homeless Bill of Rights... and more. See [http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/04/15/18735243.php]
[2013-04-19 update] Revised Estimate -
Andrew, one of the group at the post office last night, says he kept watch through the night (as designated non-sleeper) and noted five not six sleeping tickets were given by police--in spite of documentation shown the cops indicating Waiting List status and hence immunity under MC 6.36.055. He hopes to post some photos of the protest.
[2013-04-20 update] Night #3 Report -
Zack reported by phone this morning that two cordial cops ticketed them again--this time with "lying down on the sidewalk" citations. 6 people got those citations ($100-200 or more), and 1 (on the steps of the post office) got a camping ticket.
The officers who cited them advised them that they wouldn't be "on shift" tomorrow morning to "expect a response that might not be so cordial." Zack noted favorably that they didn't insist they leave. He also noted they've been treated better downtown than in the Pogonip-- a response he made to Brent Adams, who suggested they move back into the woods where they'd be less noticeable.
Brent, who stopped by and spoke with the group last night, said he was concerned the public protest would discredit his Sanctuary Camp proposal (see [http://www.youtube.com/embed/tBWhgjXrKaY]). He also continued to insist the camp was a "Robert Norse"-inspired production, which the sleepers disputed--to no avail. I made several jokes about the campers being "my minions", but Brent was not amused.
I gave the group with some HUFF flyers, advising people how to sign up for the Paul Lee Loft Waiting List (which should immunize campers from camping citation prosecution if the city follows its own MC 6.36.055). (See [http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/04/15/18735243.php] & [http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/04/17/18735380.php?show_comments=1#18735440] for more info and a copy of the receipt that should be presented to the Homeless Lack of Services Center when homeless folks sign up for the Waiting Lists as documentation that they are on the list).
A particularly chilling analysis of the anti-homeless agenda of Councilmember Pamela Comstock and her Take Back Santa Cruz group can be found at [http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/04/15/18735243.php?show_comments=1#18735301].
Zack thought they might take a respite from the sleep-out tonight, awaiting the return of some companions. "We need more people," he noted. Several phone calls to the Sentinel advising them of this protest have gone unanswered.
[2013-04-21 update] Visible Sleepers May Call It A Night and a Victory; Options Debated -
The group of counter-culture travelers who responded to police repression in the Pogonip by doing a public sleep-out downtown in front of the Post Office spoke to the Saturday afternoon Occupy Santa Cruz group. They noted they had made their point and were worried about suggestions from the SCPD of an increased crackdown that might target their dogs.
Police have also shifted from giving camping citations to "blocking the sidewalk" and "laying on the sidewalk" ciations in a move reminiscent of attacks on protesters for "parading without a permit" in 1960's segregated Montgormery, Alabama.
The sleepers may continue their nightly vigil, but acknowledged that diminished numbers and the growing exhaustion of the group makes it more problematic. Cody, an activist who spoke of prior experience with such protests in Seattle and elsewhere, described their growing difficulties and encouraged people to come down and support the night-time protest, even if only for a short time.
Last Wednesday this group visited the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center [HLOSC] en masse and prompted them to give out for the first time documentation that homeless people are on the long waiting list (4-6 weeks) for 46 spaces at the Paul Lee Loft Shelter. See [http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/04/17/18735380.php].
City law states that citations for camping will be dismissed if one is on a Waiting List. As activists suspected, it is also questionable for police to even issue those citations if a homeless person can show she or he is on the list--and police have responded (at least against this group) by turning to other harassment tools.
It's too early to tell whether the victory achieved by this group will last. It depends in part whether homeless people choose to continue to demand receipts for being on the small shelter HLOSC Waiting List.
There was universal praise for the persistent protesters at the Saturday Occupy Santa Cruz meeting in front of the main post office along with discussion of the upcoming California Homeless Bill of Rights (scheduled for hearing early this week) as well as the newly-formed Homes Not Jails chapter to investigate occupation of long-vacant corporate housing in Santa Cruz. Occupy Santa Cruz meets weekly 5:30 PM there after the 4 PM Food Not Bombs meal.
There may be further updates on today's radio show 9:30 AM to 1 PM at 101.3 FM (streams at [http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/], archives at [http://www.santacruzcopwatch.org/robert/brb130421.mp3]).
[2013-04-21 update] Update for Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
FOUR A.M. WAKE-UP
Cops reportedly came around 4 AM Sunday morning and gave out a slew of "blocking the sidewalk" tickets at a point where the sidewalk is 70' wide at least (the circular area surrounded by posts where the Pacific, Front, and Water streets intersect on the Post Office side. They then moved across the street to harass sleepers in Scope/Scriber Park next to Serpent's Kiss.
Some of the sleepers went back to sleep where they were, others trekked off. I came by around 7 AM with some coffee and got some audio for the morning radio show, which was replayed several hours later and is archived at [http://www.santacruzcopwatch.org/robert/brb130421.mp3].
Cody, Freedom, and Yoyo spoke on the air in person later in the same segment. Likely tonight they will not be doing the sleepout, but may resume it when their group grows again.
I hope to be playing the audio from Keith McHenry's talk on the Homes Not Jails strategy of occupying vacant buildings on Thursday evening. A start-up HNJ group is slated to get together at the Wednesday HUFF meeting 10 AM at the Sub Rosa.
Dreamcatcher, a local artist, and one of those wakened by police across the street from the protesters, said he thought the protest was an educational process for those doing it and perhaps for the community. As to its effectiveness, "we don't know. It isn't over."
Whether it's over or not, I thank the group of protesters for finally getting Homeless (Lack of) Services Center director's staff to provide the documentation that folks are on a Waiting List, enabling them to get sleeping tickets dismissed and deter police ticketing under the camping ordinance. This was confirmed by police switching to other (actually less credible) charges like the absurd "blocking the sidewalk" charges in their campaign to shut down the protest.
Keep posting those reports of police conduct (and misconduct). The clearer the picture is, the less are able those who wish to obscure the "Public Safety" issue. The real issue in these contacts is the intentional insecurity imposed on those outside.
As for those who criticize the protesters as "travelers", I'd say that the Sleeping Ban impacts everyone who sleeps outside--and that travelers as well as those who have had to face this crap for years are entitled to the right to sleep.
2013-04-18 "(Visible Sleepers) Sleep-Out Continues For Second Night"
by Robert Norse [http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/04/18/18735455.php]:
Interviews with Cody, Freedom, and Andrew, three of the visible sleepers who were in last night's protest will be speaking about the issues at the Sub Rosa Cafe Tonight from 8 to 9 PM, and then in front of the post office continuing the Sleep-Out for a second night.
The interviews both lived and taped from last night are archived at [http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb130418.mp3].
Freedom encourages anyone who wants to contribute food, blankets, or other supplies to come on down or leave a message at 831-423-4833.
I also include a survey that folks may want to fill out and bring to the "Arm the Homeless" forum on Saturday at 2 PM at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific.
2013-04-17 " (Visible Sleepers) Sleepless in Santa Cruz: Survival Sidewalk Sleep-Out next to Main Post Office"
9:00 PM - 9:00 AM
Location Details: Santa Cruz Main Post Office, corner of Water Street and Front Street, Santa Cruz
6-9 homeless people carried forward their plan to document the lack of shelter in Santa Cruz and then educate the public through direct action tonight. I am told they plan to rally on the sidewalk outside the main post office in downtown Santa Cruz at the intersection of Water and Pacific Avenuen at 9 PM. Anyone interested is invited. Bring a cell phone if you have one to help document. I was asked to pass on this and the following information.
PILGRIMAGE TO CORAL STREET
As planned a week before, the group of people went to the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center at 115 Coral St. earlier this afternoon and requested to be put on the Waiting List for the Paul Lee Loft. They were advised by Charles, a worker there, that the shelters were full but that they'd be put on the Waiting List after filling out an application. When asked if they could get a receipt or some documentation for their Waiting List status, Charles said no, nor would he give them any written statement about the shelter being full.
Other asked Charles the same question and told him that Executive Director Monica Martinez had publicly stated that on request, the HLOSC would provide receipts that one was on the Waiting List. Christine, another worker, and he then agreed to do so. He acknowledged he'd not done so before in the last year.
Since they had no receipts available, HUFF workers provided their own version of a receipt which they'd created, anticipating that the HLOSC wouldn't have any handy. Christine and the HLOSC staff helpfully copied, filled out, and signed them for the 8 or so clients applying, documenting that each person was on the Waiting List for the Paul Lee Loft.
THE IMPORTANCE OF WAITING LIST STATUS
Waiting List status means that camping tickets will automatically be dismissed by the City Attorney's office prior to court, as stipulated by MC 6.36.055. It might also persuade the police of the futility and even impropriety of giving out camping tickets at all, since all such tickets are supposed to be automatically dismissed.
We also interviewed a few workers out there who confirmed that there were no spaces available on the Paul Lee Loft--suggesting that anyone cited for the more serious offense of "illegal lodging" (PC 647e) would have a "necessity" defense in court.
I hope this procedure will be followed by every homeless person so that they can more safely sleep in groups, well-lighted areas, and closer to police protection--given the increased risks homeless people face outside from violence. The procedure again is to go to the HLOSC M-F around noon, sign up for the Paul Lee Loft Waiting List, and get a receipt indicating you are on the list. You then have to check in once a week or your name will be removed from the list.
TONIGHT OUTSIDE ON THE SIDEWALK NEAR THE MAIN POST OFFICE
This group of homeless people claims to have repeatedly been harassed by police and/or rangers for simply being on public property, to say nothing of sleeping. In response, it is my understanding they intend to exercise their right to be on the sidewalk (perhaps another group might call it "Positive Loitering"), even to sleep there, since they have no legal place to sleep.
Two of those involved--Freedom and Andrew--were arrested yesterday and apparently face misdemeanor charges involving something like "disobeying an officer". (See "ALERT: Two Arrested For "Being" in the Pogonip" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/04/16/18735297.php) with trial slated for May 14th.)
Activists hope to alert the community to the human rights that are being ignored or trampled. To me these would be (as starters): (a) there is no legal shelter for 95% of the homeless community; (b) police, rangers, and vigilantes are targeting homeless people anyway with false "public safety" concerns; (c) there are no public bathrooms open downtown at night, yet homeless people are blamed for human waste; and (d) homeless people receive a level of over-policing for their very existence under both existing laws and the recent needle hysteria.
The recently formed hand-picked right-wing "Public Safety" Task Force (which includes no homeless people or advocates) is an example of the "wrong road" City Council has taken.
I encourage people to support this demonstration
Update by Robert Norse, Thursday Apr 18th, 2013 12:37 AM:
Looks like about a dozen folks on the steps of the post office festooned with many signs against the Sleeping Ban. No overt police activity.
"Word from the Sidewalk" by Robert Norse, Thursday Apr 18th, 2013 8:26 AM:
According to Sonny in a phone conversation, the group spent the night peacefully, moved from the steps so they could be swept by a postal official, and had a polite encounter with three cops who neither ticketed them nor asked them to move from their new spot on the sidewalk. Reportedly, they plan to continue their protest through the day with signs educating the community about the Sleeping Ban.
Brent Adams has created a great video (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBWhgjXrKaY) pressing for a Sanctuary Camp. My own conversations with local homeless people on Pacific Avenue last night indicated that they were generally supportive of the Visible Sleepers, though not willing to risk harassment, citation, or arrest themselves.
I was also glad to see Food Not Bombs activists there supporting the Sleepers. The issues involved are basic and important ones in a city with no shelter for 95% of its homeless.
I'll be playing interviews tonight on Free Radio Santa Cruz from 6-8 PM at 101.3 FM (streams at http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/). Feel free to call in with your thoughts at 831-427-3772.
I encourage all homeless people to sign up for the Waiting List at the Paul Lee Loft at 115 Coral St. so that their camping tickets will be dismissed under MC 6.36.055.
MC 6.36.055 reads
(a) A person shall not be in violation of this chapter [the Camping Ordinance] if, at the time of his or her citation for a violation of this chapter, either: the winter shelter at the Santa Cruz National Guard Armory is filled to capacity; or the person is currently on the waiting list for shelter service through one of the shelter programs offered by the Homeless Services Center or the River Street Shelter in Santa Cruz.
(b) Any citation issued for a violation of this chapter shall be dismissed by the city attorney in the interest of justice if, at the time of citation issuance, the winter shelter at the Santa Cruz National Guard Armory is filled to capacity or the recipient of the citation demonstrates that on the date of the citation he or she was currently on the waiting list for shelter service through one of the shelter programs offered by the Homeless Services Center or the River Street Shelter in Santa Cruz.
A discussion of the California Homeless Bill of Rights will be held at 2 PM Saturday at the Sub Rosa Cafe with Keith McHenry a featured speaker. See [http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2013/04/15/arm_the_homeless.pdf].
I encourage folks to support the protesters with blankets, food, dialogue, and calls to City Hall demanding lifting the police harassment and Sleeping Ban citations and/or providing a safe place to sleep as an emergency measure whether in a parking garage, a campground, or somewhere else. Call 831-420-5020. E-mail them at citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com . But don't hold your breath.
"No Norse to be seen" by brent adams, Thursday Apr 18th, 2013 6:44 AM :
I visited these out of town travelers 3 times this morning. They've taken over the post office steps.
I video taped them snoring, shivering and rising.
A cop arrived at about 6am and told them to wake up.
At no point did I see Robert "where's my hug?" Norse, Becky Johnson or Colin "monkey" Clyde who rallied
and encouraged this band of Los Angeledans to protest city laws by sleeping out.
Also there weren't any local homeless folks who'd been booted from the Armory as it was closed for the rest of the year last night. This band of travelers (spurred on as they were by Norse,Johnson,Clyde) had hoped
to drag local homeless survival campers into contact with law officials to bulster their protest but very few locals joined this hearty band of so-cal travelers.
They were rising and shining at the crack of dawn ....
Again, I repeat, R. Norse goaded these kids into staging a sleeping protest homeless encampment on the Post Office steps and then he himself went home to sleep in his lair of cowardice.
"So, Brent..." by (A), Thursday Apr 18th, 2013 7:49 AM:
It's clear that Robert was there at the protest until nearly 1am. I hope I have that energy when I am his age. Good job, Robert, thanks for all of your work in the community.
So Brent, now that you have made your money off of Occupy Santa Cruz, you are a critic of that type of protest?
Are you anti-occupy now?
Can the people who donated money to you get a refund now?
It's sad to see you trolling other activists, especially when you have profited financially off of very similar activities to what they are doing now for free.
It's also sad to see you discourage people from speaking out in the way they feel is right.
I guess they all should just do what you tell them to do?
The community is tired of your mud slinging and hypocrisy, Brent.
When you say you are "invested" in those kids, we take it literally. You now have stock footage of them snoring, as you put it, and that you will no doubt put the footage in some video of yours to fit whatever agenda of the day you are obsessed with.
Brent, I heard that the total amount you made from that video was at the minimum in the hundreds of dollars.
How about some transparency here? How much money in total did you collect for your projects relating to Occupy Santa Cruz?
Now go spend some more of that cash you got from Occupy Santa Cruz...or is it all gone now?
And Brent, I think we are all wondering now if your precious sanctuary camp will be for locals only?
I guess homeless people from Los Angeles don't have any rights in Santa Cruz?
They shouldn't protest in this town, right?
Are you now on the side that is against providing homeless services to out of towners?
Wasn't the camp at Occupy Santa Cruz also largely comprised of non-locals?