Friday, August 30, 2013

Fast Food STRIKE at OAK!

More info from "UNITE HERE! Local 2850" []:

2013-08-30 "Oakland Airport Workers Strike for Justice"
from "California Labor Federation Spotlight" newsletter V289N1:
On the heels of yesterday’s historic fast food workers’ strike, hundreds of Oakland Airport food and concessions workers walked off the job today. The brave workers hope to send a message to their employer, Host, that they need a living wage to survive, and that they strongly object to the hostility and aggressive retaliation the employer has imposed on the airport workers.
“I’m on strike because the Port belongs to Oakland, and our jobs here should support our families and our community.” said Ida Gonzalez, a cashier at Max’s Deli who joined the strike today. “I shouldn’t have to live in poverty to work at the Oakland Airport!”

"Oakland Airport Workers On Strike"
by Jessica Choy from "UNITE HERE 2850" [] []:
Close on the heels of yesterday's historic fast food worker strike, 180 Oakland Airport food and retail workers walked off the job today to protest unfair labor practices by their employer, Host International, including regressive bargaining and a retaliatory lawsuit filed against the union. Host’s most recent proposals would strip away benefits the workers have depended on for years.
Monica Guzman, a retail cashier: "I’m striking because I’ve worked here for 22 years, I raised my family on this job, and now Host wants us to give up the benefits my co-workers and I have fought to protect for all these years."
The workers have been in contract negotiations with Host for the past year. Their wages are already low – retail clerks earn between $9.75 and $12.64 an hour. Host’s latest proposal would gut their contract: drastically reducing vacation and sick days; eliminating pensions, paid meal breaks, and even overtime pay on shifts longer than eight hours; cutting pay for new hires and freezing longtime workers’ wages for five years; and removing workers from the union’s affordable health insurance plan.
Marisol Chavez-Lopez, a cook at Max’s Deli: "I’m striking today because Host doesn’t think we should get overtime pay if we work more than 8 hours. We don’t live in the nineteenth century!"
Re Bun Ly, who has worked at See’s Candy in the airport for 5 years, doesn't have a union, but understands the power of solidarity. "I’m a non-union food worker at the airport, and I make $9 an hour with no health care. I’m marching with the Host workers because I believe that all airport jobs should be good jobs."
The airport workers are joining a growing movement of food and retail workers fighting for better pay and benefits. Fast food workers across the country have organized actions calling for higher minimum wages – including an East-Bay-wide fast food strike on August 29th []. And Walmart workers launched a national strike last May, and are building for an action in San Francisco and several other cities on September 5th.
The workers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 2850, has tried for a year to reach a fair compromise through negotiation – but Host’s proposals have only gotten worse for workers. “We can’t reach a deal if the only movement Host makes is backward,” said Local 2850 President Wei-Ling Huber.
Workers will be on strike starting at 4am on Friday, August 30 with rallies planned for 7am, 12pm, and 5pm. You can find photos and highlights throughout the day on our Facebook page [].

2013-07-12 message from "California Labor Federation":
Rally with Striking Fast Food Workers at Oakland Airport! A year ago, fast food workers at Oakland Airport decided to take a stand for better jobs – including a fair process to decide whether to form a union. Since then, some of the workers have faced serious retaliation, and the National Labor Relations Board just charged two of the airport restaurants with breaking labor laws and firing workers who spoke out.
The Port of Oakland also found that these same employers violated the living wage policy and fired workers who complained about it, but so far, the employers haven’t faced real consequences, and the fired workers have yet to get their jobs back.. On Sunday, the airport fast food workers are launching a one-day strike to protest the management’s unfair labor practices and call for the immediate reinstatement of the fired workers. Show your support for the workers by joining them on the picket line on Sunday; mobilizations will take place at Oakland Airport Terminal 2, Sunday at 7am, noon and 5pm.

Original call-to-action from the workers at Oakland Airport fast food restaurants:
Non-union workers at Oakland Airport fast food restaurants will go on a one-day strike this Sunday - building on the momentum of recent strikes by fast food and Walmart workers around the country. “My bosses cut my hours to punish me for trying to form a union. They fired my co-worker for organizing, and they still haven’t brought her back to work. I’m tired of waiting for justice – I’m ready to fight!” said Oakland Airport Subway cashier Hayat Selmani.
A year ago, airport fast food workers launched a public campaign for better jobs – including a fair process to decide whether to form a union. Some workers have faced serious retaliation: the National Labor Relations Board just charged two OAK restaurants with breaking labor laws and firing workers who spoke out. And the Port of Oakland found that these same employers violated the living wage and fired workers who complained about it. But so far, the employers haven’t faced real consequences.
Now the workers are taking action to protest their bosses’ unfair labor practices. On Sunday, July 14, the workers will strike all day, with mobilizations at Oakland Airport Terminal 2 at 7 am, noon, and 5 pm. It takes a lot of courage for non-union, low-wage workers to go on strike – especially when their co-workers have been fired for organizing. The workers are ready, but they need your support! Please join us on the 14th and support these courageous worker leaders!

Fast Food Workers on Strike for Human Rights!

The Fast Food corporations, like the others in the service industry, are among the more fascist organizations in the USA. Their managers have done everything they can to disrupt any attempt by their workers to organize a union. The work environment is managed to create no long-term employment or stability, and creates stress on the job which leads to ill health in a short amount of time.
For many of us in the community, Fast Food restaurants, and similar service-industry jobs, are sometimes the only employment available. Men and women with dependents are forced to seek employment wherever it is offered, yet the Fast Food corporations willfully deny dignity and stability for these working class families. Instead, oftentimes, the managers (not the store managers, but the corporate managers and their board of directors) remain distant from the actual working environment, and choose to believe their own mythology that the majority of Fast Food workers are "teenagers working for a little bit of extra pocket money", and myth deeply rooted in corporate advertising which denies the basic humanity of all Fast Food workers.

For more information -
Fast Food Industry and the working poor [link]
2013-08-20 "Fast Food Workers Standing Up for Themselves – And For Us" [link]
2013-08-29 Fast Food Workers On Strike! [link]
2013-08-30 Fast Food STRIKE at OAK! [link]

Why 9-11 doesn't work for regular folks, and how the service can be reformed

2013-08-30 "Shooting and Stabbing Response System 'Broken' in Alameda County  County plans to make changes to emergency response system after Investigative Unit exposes system failures"
by Tony Kovaleski, Liz Wagner and Mark Villarreal from "NBC" []:
Alameda County is changing the way dispatchers prioritize 911 calls after the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit discovered a potentially dangerous flaw in the current emergency medical response system.
Veteran paramedics and data reviews by the Investigative Unit have exposed that emergency calls for shootings, stabbings and penetrating traumas are often given a lower priority status than calls for patients who are vomiting, intoxicated or simply feeling clammy.
“I just don’t see how someone who is vomiting is in more dire straits than someone who is shot,” said an experienced paramedic who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of being fired. “I am afraid for anyone who needs help in the 911 system.”
In November 2011 Alameda County hired new paramedic company Paramedics Plus and changed its entire emergency response protocol from a first come, first served system where paramedics respond to whoever calls first, to the widely-used Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) where calls are prioritized based on severity. 
The triage process determines the level of a call from the least serious, lowest priority “Alpha” call through the most serious, highest priority “Echo” call. Each county that uses MPDS assigns its own response priorities to the triage results, but paramedics on the front lines say the prioritization system hasn’t been applied properly in Alameda County. 
“Shootings are considered a very low priority,” said another veteran emergency responder who also wishes to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. “What it says to me is we prioritize wrong.”
On December, 30, 2011—less than two months after the county’s emergency response transition—5-year-old Gabriel Martinez Jr. was struck by a stray bullet when someone opened fire on his father’s taco truck at 55th Avenue and International Boulevard. He died in his father’s hands.
“Right over there,” said Gabriel Martinez Sr. as he fought back tears and motioned toward a gate that is now covered by a large poster of his son’s face.
When Martinez called 911, dispatchers followed protocol and categorized the shooting as a low priority “Bravo” level call. According to Alameda County records, the ambulance responded in 4 minutes and 8 seconds—well within the 15-minute response time requirement. However, because it was deemed a “Bravo” call it meant the ambulance could have been diverted to so-called higher priority calls. Paramedics say the potential for diversion in low priority shooting calls like Martinez’s is precisely what’s wrong with the current emergency response system.
“It’s very well broken,” said the first veteran paramedic.
Martinez said the county made a mistake by categorizing his son’s fatal shooting as a low priority call. When asked whether he thought it was a mistake to code the 5-year-old’s shooting as a “Bravo” call the manager of the county’s emergency response system, Joshua English, said that he “didn’t listen to those tapes.”
When pressed about why the response wasn’t the highest priority call in the system English said that he doesn’t “like to second guess our paramedics and our EMTs and our dispatchers. They do a very hard job.”
NBC Bay Area’s research has found other recent high profile shootings in Oakland have also received low priority “Bravo” responses including the death of 34-year-old Santa Clara County paramedic Quinn Boyer, who was shot in the head in April when someone pulled up alongside him at Keller Avenue and Hansom Drive, and the death of 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine who was shot at a sleepover in July at a friend’s apartment in East Oakland.  Although response times for both shootings were within the required time limits, both shootings had the potential for dispatchers to divert paramedics to other calls.
In April the Investigative Unit watched paramedics respond to an Oakland BART station for an intoxicated individual. The call offers a significant contrast to the emergency responses to the high profile shootings. According to system protocol, the call to assist a drunk was a “Charlie” category call—a higher priority than the three fatal shootings.
“The system is not being run correctly,” said Mike Dutra, another veteran paramedic in Alameda County.
Dutra and the other two emergency responders describe instances when they have been diverted from shooting and stabbing emergencies to calls for patients who were drunk, vomiting or dizzy.
According to county records, “Bravo” level shooting, stabbing and penetrating trauma calls were diverted 109 times since the start of the contract in November 2011, which equals more than one diversion a week.
“Any report of a shooting, if I was making policy,” said Dutra, “would at least come in as a Delta, if not an Echo.”
“Delta” and “Echo” emergencies receive the highest priorities and the shortest response times to metro areas at 10 minutes and 30 seconds, and 8 minutes and 30 seconds, respectively.
The Investigative Unit analyzed the first 15 months of emergency calls under the new dispatch system and found that 87 percent of all shootings, stabbings and penetrating traumas in Alameda County were classified as “Bravo” responses and therefore calls that can be diverted for higher priority emergencies. The same records show that 100 percent of the time, calls from people claiming to be clammy, received higher priority “Delta” level responses.
When confronted with these results, English said Alameda County plans to make changes to the dispatch system and that shootings and stabbings would “absolutely” become more of a priority.
“I don’t think anybody is going to have a problem with us increasing the priority level of penetrating trauma patients,” English said. “We want to make sure that when we respond to these that we are going to give them a higher priority. Say, a [“Bravo”] priority, so that the only thing that might trump that is somebody who is in cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest.”
The Investigative Unit also found that there may be problems with the number of ambulances on the street of Alameda County. Paramedics say there aren’t enough to meet the demands of the county.
Although managers in the county say response time compliance is greater than 90 percent, paramedics point to system-wide alerts that warn crews the county is operating under a level zero alert.
“That is when there are no ambulances to run a call in a certain area,” English said.
The Investigative Unit obtained photos of pagers that displayed level zero alerts, including one that stated calls were holding for 20 minutes. Paramedics say level zero alerts happen too often; sometimes multiple times a day.
English said it is not a new problem, but when asked how often the system operates under level zero alerts, English said he doesn’t know because the county doesn’t keep track.
The county does keep track of the amount of fines and penalties Paramedics Plus has paid for failing to meet contract requirements, including response time overages. According to county records, the company has paid more than $5 million since the start of its contract in November 2011.
The company’s Chief Operating Officer in California, Dale Feldhauser, admits Paramedics Plus has lost money since taking over the Alameda County contract but said the company is working to improve.
“We get better,” Feldhauser said. “We work to get better. That’s how it works.”
Emergency responders say they hope their voices will motivate the county and the paramedic company to constantly evaluate its processes and change what’s not working.
“It is for the greater good of citizens of Alameda County,” said the first veteran paramedic. “It could be me. It could be you. It could be anyone in the future. No one knows when they’re going to need an ambulance, or when they’re going to be tragically injured, sick in one kind of way. So I would hope that when all this is said and done the services may have turned around, and turned around for the better.”

Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 29th: Fast Food Workers On Strike!

"Clarion Call Rings Throughout Nation: 'Low Pay Is Not OK'  Wave of fast food worker strikes resurges on Thursday with walkouts across the US"
2013-08-29 by Andrea Germanos from "Common Dreams" []:
Fast food workers in over 50 cities across the nation are striking on Thursday in what organizers are touting as the largest ever strike to hit the industry.
The workers are demanding $15 an hour and the right to unionize, continuing the calls and momentum of a series of strikes that first started in November of 2012 [].
Federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, but, as the Economic Policy Institute has pointed out [], "if the minimum wage had kept up with productivity growth [since 1968], it would now be $18.67 per hour."
In addition to fast food workers, workers at major retail chains including Macy’s, Sears, Victoria’s Secret and Walgreens are expected to take part in the strike as well.
“When I saw the strikes on TV earlier this summer in New York and Chicago, I said to my co-workers, 'We need to bring this to Durham,'” Willieta Dukes, a 39-year-old Burger King worker in North Carolina, said in a statement.  “And now we’ve brought the fight for $15 and a union not just to Durham, but to every corner of the country. The more of us who join together, the more powerful we are.”
Dukes, who makes $7.85 an hour, decided to go on strike for the first time in her life because she can't afford not to.  She writes in an op-ed []: [begin excerpt] We are walking off our jobs because we don't know how we are going to survive on these jobs. We're on strike because we can't afford not to strike. Burger King says they can't pay employees like me higher wages because it would force them out of business. Yet last year it made $117m in profits and its CEO took home $6.47m. It would take me 634 years to earn that much. I've worked in fast-food for 15 years, and I can't even afford my own rent payments. We just want fairness and to be able to provide for our families. No one who works every day should be forced to be homeless. [end excerpt]
Striking McDonald's worker Nick Williams, whose take-home pay is less than $800 a month, was outraged when he found out McDonald's made $5.5 billion in profits last year, telling Business Insider, "I felt completely betrayed because billions of dollars are extra and the people who work at McDonald's aren't making enough to live."
Highlighting the inequality further, Catherine Ruetschlin and Amy Traub of the public policy organization Demos write on Thursday []: [begin excerpt] Right now, fast food companies keep employees at poverty-level wages while reaping billions of dollars in profits for their shareholders every year. Across the economy this practice drives increasing inequality, slow growth, and declining living standards. It is holding back our economic recovery and contributing to our high poverty rates and rates of working poor. Americans deserve better. The fast food workers’ movement shows that there is a broad demand for change—one that is only getting stronger. [end excerpt]
Dearius Merritt, a striking Church’s Chicken assistant manager in Memphis, Tenn., also sees this as a growing movement with implications for years to come.
“It’s bigger than me and it’s bigger than the workers that are standing up. It’s not just going to help my generation, it’s going to help the next generation that’s going to come, and the generation after that,” said Merritt [].

"Fast Food Workers Announce Nationwide Strike on August 29th"
announcement from "California Labor Federation Spotlight" newsletter:
The fast food industry is booming. McDonalds and Burger King are part of a $200 billion industry. But most fast food workers don’t earn enough to afford basic needs like food, clothing, and rent, and many qualify for food stamps and other taxpayer-funded public assistance. That’s why fast food workers all over the nation are joining together to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.
On Thursday, August 29th, fast food workers are holding their first nationwide strike, and thousands will be walking off the job at hundreds of restaurants in dozens of cities around the country. You can show your support for the fast food workers by respecting signing on to their online petition at, tweeting your support with the hashtag #829strike, respecting their picket lines and joining in a local mobilization.

2013-09-03 "SEIU 1021 members stand with striking fast food workers"
from "1021 Newswire":
While McDonalds boasted of profits that reached $5 billion last year, fast food employees across the country continue to face hardships as they attempt to make ends meet with low wage jobs at establishments like McDonalds, KFC and other franchises across the country.
Last week SEIU 1021 members joined a coalition of California fast-food workers as part of a strike that included thousands of low-wage restaurant workers who were demanding better pay and the right to exercise their rights to form a union at their workplaces without fear and intimidation. The walkout came on the heels of strikes that took place in November in New York City and later spread to Detroit, Seattle and Chicago and continues to spread across the country.
Many workers talked about the unwillingness of the company to provide full time work and the irregularity of hours making it impossible to obtain any of the bare minimum benefits. Workers also expressed concern about the fear and intimidation faced when trying to form a union with other co-workers.
Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has remained stagnant at $7.25 an hour. If an individual works full time that would come out to approximately $15,000/year at 40 hours a week.
SEIU 1021 stands in solidarity with the right of fast food workers, and all workers to form a union to improve their conditions and to address the growing divide between corporations and their workers. As the struggle for justice continues, let’s join the efforts for justice with our fellow workers!

2013-08-30 "Thousands Strike Fast Food, Picketing and Occupying"
by Jenny Brown from "Labor Notes" []:
Thousands of fast food workers walked off their jobs in 58 U.S. cities yesterday, an indictment of an economy that’s producing little more than McJobs. Some picket lines turned into temporary occupations, and several stores closed. From a McDonald’s in Peoria, Illinois, to a Burger King in Durham, North Carolina, the one-day strikes hit businesses in dozens of new cities and towns. Organizers estimated a thousand restaurants were affected. It was a significant escalation: previous fast food strikes had hit eight cities. The strikes shut down some restaurants. In others only a few workers walked off the job, leaving managers scrambling to fill shifts. A Jimmy John’s sandwich shop in Seattle was staffed entirely by managers and had to suspend deliveries, while a Burger King in Houston closed for lunch when most of the shift joined the picket line. In Memphis, 50 workers and supporters picketed a McDonald’s as cars honked and pedestrians shouted their support. “McDonald’s makes $5 billion a year,” said Anthony Cathey, a striker from the store. “They treat us like slaves. We can't make ends meet.” Another striker, Latoya Jones, said, “I’ve been here almost a year; $7.25 is not a living wage. I’m a single mom with three kids. I’m living paycheck to paycheck.” In New York, workers picketing a midtown McDonald’s were joined by politicians and sympathetic clergy. “They’re not letting workers that have been there awhile get enough hours,” striking Bronx worker Bianka Ramirez told the crowd of 300. If corporate managers had to work in her store, she said, “before long I guarantee they’d be asking for $15 and a union.”
The crowd briefly occupied the restaurant, then marched downtown to picket another. Strikers from across the city converged at an afternoon rally at Union Square where hundreds of fast food workers were addressed by more politicians and union leaders. Not all large cities had large strikes. In Los Angeles, a crowd of 300 union members and supporters assembled outside a McDonald’s, but only a few were striking workers. They marched to a Subway and briefly occupied it; managers and employees hid in the back. In Seattle, by contrast, workers struck around 30 locations, including Jimmy John’s, Subway, and Specialty’s CafĂ© and Bakery. A Qdoba Mexican Grill was entirely shut down when a crowd occupied the store. A Subway was unable to stay open because of a large crowd out front. Striking Seattle workers started the morning fanning out to restaurants to try to convince more co-workers to walk out. They were often successful if they had already discussed the strike. Few to none walked out without earlier discussion, however.

Going Nowhere -
Striking workers are winning the PR war. They shone a spotlight on McDonald’s much-ridiculed budgeting tool—the second line of which assumed the worker they were “helping” with their budget had a second job. When confronted about its low wages, McDonald’s blames franchise owners. But when asked about the roughly 20 percent of stores it runs directly, company flacks acknowledge workers there also start at minimum wage. Fast food companies have also claimed stores provide a ladder to managerial jobs or franchise ownership—but workers say promises of advancement are so much smoke. John Valdez, who walked out of a McDonald’s in midtown Manhattan, said he has now worked for three McDonald’s locations over four years, and knows all the jobs. He worked his way up from $7.25 to $7.55 an hour—but when he changed stores, they bumped him back down to $7.25 again. “It’s not fair, that’s why everybody’s here today,” he said. And there’s hardly any room at the top of the ladder. Only 2.2 percent of jobs in fast food are professional or managerial, said a recent report by the National Employment Law Project, “Going Nowhere Fast.” []
Front-line occupations like cooks, cashiers, and delivery drivers make up 89.1 percent of fast food jobs, with a median hourly pay of $8.94. Their supervisors make $13.06 per hour, but only comprise 8.7 percent of fast food jobs. And franchise owners have to prove assets of three quarters of a million dollars in most cases, the report said—so working your way up to ownership, on minimum wage, doesn’t sound realistic. Burger King striker Tamara Green, in her 30s, said she’s close to finishing her college degree—but she knows, as good jobs are destroyed, a degree is not the ticket it once was. “I have college grads standing next to me and making a burger,” she told the New York crowd.

Union Backing -
The Service Employees have been backing the effort, starting with 40 organizers in New York, the first city to hold fast food strikes, last July []. The union at first kept a low profile, but in recent weeks, as interest spread nationally, union officials started taking credit for the effort. There are signs SEIU is putting substantial resources, with as many as 10 full-time organizers each in several cities, and they recently announced they’re hiring researchers for the campaign. In Memphis the union recruited fast food workers through a social media ad campaign, following up with a live organizer, which led to the first participation in fast food strikes there. The city is iconic for the sanitation workers’ strike that drew Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s support right before his assassination [’s-assassination-memphis-reignites-labor-struggle]. Labor history was alive and being created anew on Thursday. Some Memphis workers held signs reading “I Am a Man.” The strikers ended their march at the civil rights museum, at the site of the Lorraine Motel where King was killed. To get there, they marched up Beale Street, following the same route sanitation workers often marched in 1968.

The short strikes don’t seem to be aimed at stopping production and costing the companies money, although they certainly have done that in some stores. Instead, the main targets are high-profile brands and low minimum wage laws []. They do seem to have revived a discussion of low wages and high corporate profits, reminiscent of the talk spurred by Occupy Wall Street. The path forward is unclear. Squeezing more out of franchise owners makes little sense when McDonald’s, for example, rakes in much of its profit through fees and mandatory sales to franchisees. A possible model comes from farmworker organizing. Both the Farm Labor Organizing Committee and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers have conducted multi-year campaigns to eventually win three-party agreements among farmworkers, growers, and produce buyers. CIW, in particular, has extracted money for tomato pickers directly from fast food companies like Yum Brands, which owns Taco Bell []. They did it by public criticism and boycotts of the carefully-cultivated fast-food brand names, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway and Chipotle. SEIU seems more focused on the political arena. In a planning meeting for the strike in Seattle, the only thing on the calendar after the strike was the city’s mayoral election. In New York City, mayoral candidates Christine Quinn (endorsed by SEIU 32BJ) and Bill DeBlasio (endorsed by SEIU 1199) spoke at separate fast food rallies. Quinn said she would introduce city council legislation to force fast food companies to provide workers with fixed schedules and notice of changes at least a week in advance. Workers say they are unable to go to school, arrange childcare, or plan their lives because they don’t have set shifts. “Every week my schedule changes,” said Valdez. He is often sent home early, he said, or called when staffing is short. But Quinn’s record, blocking and then watering down New York City living wage legislation indicates that such election-time promises will dissipate quickly. Nationally, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry seemed to focus on building momentum for a higher federal minimum wage. She told The New York Times that the demand “is moving people to understand that $15 is increasingly reasonable.” President Barack Obama has proposed a federal minimum that would gradually increase to $9 an hour, but Congress has not moved on it. “$7.25 isn’t enough, I can promise you that,” said Shakira Campbell, a New York McDonald’s worker. “I need my money. Where is my money?”

East Bay Fast Food Workers Walk Out!
Thu, Aug 29, 4:00 PM
Event Location: Labor Temple, 8400 Enterprise Way, Oakland,  94621
Come out and support these brave  Fast Food workers who are choosing to take a stand & attend the action on Thursday August 29th @ 4:00PM at the AFL-CIO Labor Temple, 8400 Enterprise Way, Oakland, CA 94621.
Many Fast-food workers across the country barely make enough to make ends meet. Many fast food workers make as little as $8.00 an hour, a wage that falls far below the federal poverty line. Meanwhile, Goliath corporations like McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and KFC have reaped in huge profits in the billions this year

National Strike!
Fast food and other low wage workers across the country are going on strike on August 29. We’ve had enough of struggling to get by on minimum wage or barely more, so we’re walking off our jobs to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation.
Join the fight by sharing this video right now. And if you work in fast food, bring the strike to your city [].

About this campaign -
Fast-food workers are coming together all over the country to fight for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. We work for corporations that are making tremendous profits, but do not pay employees enough to support our families and to cover basic needs like food, health care, rent and transportation. Too many of us are forced to rely on public assistance to scrape by.
These are billion-dollar companies that can afford to pay their employees better. Low-wage jobs are the fastest growing jobs in the nation, and they need to pay more so that workers like us can make ends meet, and so that we can rebuild the middle class and get the economy working again.

What people are saying about this campaign -
“The fast-food workers who have been walking off their jobs illustrate a central fact of contemporary work life in America: As lower-wage occupations have proliferated in the past several years, Americans are increasingly unable to make a living at their jobs. They work harder and are paid less than workers in other advanced countries. And their wages have stagnated even as executive pay has soared.” — New York Times Editorial, August 7, 2013
“The nation would be better off if fast-food workers earned a livable wage” — Boston Globe Editorial, August 5, 2013
“The fast food struggle is a small part of a larger thing…it has to do with the right to collective bargaining; it has to do with offshoring jobs the way we have been…it has to do with investing in our nation’s infrastructure to put people back to work…it is a re-commitment to the American dream.” — Rep. Keith Ellison on Morning Joe on MSNBC, July 30, 2013

Strike Kit -
Not a fast food worker but want to help bring the strike to your town?
Download our campaign cards and let your local fast food employees know about the national strike.
Get your cards [].

If you work in a fast food or retail store anywhere in the country, the most effective thing you can do right now is make plans to take to the streets on August 29. Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to do the same. The more of us who go on strike that day, the louder our message will be that it is not right for companies making billions in profits to pay their workers pennies.
Email us to let us know you’re in [] – or if you want to talk with a fellow fast food worker who has already gone out on strike. You can reach us at (347) 974-3944 too.
* Download 15 steps for $15 []
* Download Strike Letter []

How to Go on a One-Day Strike: 15 steps for $15 an hour and the right to form a union -
Before you strike for $15:
1. Talk to coworkers you trust and ask them to join you.
2. Set the time to meet outside the store on the day of the strike.
3. Call everyone you know to support you: friends, family, local social justice organizations, pastors, priests, and politicians and ask them to come to your strike line.
4. Ask at least one of your supporters to walk back into to work with you at your next regularly scheduled shift after the strike.

Day of the strike for $15:
5. Make signs that say why you are on strike.
6. Print out and deliver the “Strike” letter to your manager (everyone who is on strike should sign it).
7. Start your strike! Stand outside your store with your supporters and let people know you all are standing up for $15 an hour and the right to organize a union because low pay is not ok!
8. Call the local TV station and newspaper and let them know you are on strike at your store.
9. Call or text family and friends who aren’t there yet to come and support you.
10. Chant, march, sing and let everyone who is on strike explain why they are there.
11. Ask supporters to come with you when you and your coworkers return to work.
12. Post pictures of your strike on Facebook at and tweet them to @lowpayisnotok with the hashtag #829strike

After the strike for $15:
13. Meet up with your supporter who is walking with you to work.
14. Go back to work at your next regularly scheduled shift with your head held high.
15. Tell your coworkers how it felt to stand up for $15 an hour and the right to form union with thousands of other workers across the country! Sign them up at

2013-08-29 "Why I'm on Strike Today: I Can't Support Myself on $7.85 at Burger King; I know what it feels like to be afraid that your children will go to bed hungry, your heat will be turned off or you'll be evicted" by Willietta Dukes []:
Willietta Dukes works at a Burger King in Durham, North Carolina
I've worked at fast-food restaurants in North Carolina for the past 15 years. I've spent more hours at Church's Chicken, McDonald's and now Burger King than I can remember. I work hard – I never miss a shift and always arrive on time. But today, I'm going on strike.
I make $7.85 at Burger King as a guest ambassador and team leader, where I train new employees on restaurant regulations and perform the manager's duties in their absence. Before Burger King, I worked at Church's for 12 years, starting at $6.30 and ending at just a little more than $8 an hour.
I've never walked off a job before. I don't consider myself an activist, and I've never been involved with politics. I'm a mother with two sons, and like any mom knows, raising two teenage boys is tough. Raising them as a single mother, on less than $8 an hour, is nearly impossible, though.
My boys, Tramaine and Russell Jr are now 20 and 21 years old. When they were in middle and high school, I had to work two fast-food jobs to make ends meet. Most days, I would put them on the bus at 6:30am before working a 9 to 4 shift at one restaurant, then a 5-close shift at another. If I had a day off, I was at their schools, checking in with their teachers and making sure they were keeping up with their education. I wanted them, when they were grown-up, to not have to work two jobs.
My hours, like many of my coworkers, were cut this year, and I now work only 25 to 28 hours each week. I can't afford to pay my bills working part time and making $7.85, and last month, I lost my house. Now, I go back and forth between staying with Russell Jr and Tramaine. I never imagined my life would be like this at this point. I successfully raised two boys, and now I'm forced to live out of their spare bedrooms. That's why I'm on strike today.
About a month and a half ago, I saw a Facebook page for NC Raise UP, which encouraged fast-food workers in North Carolina to join with others around the country who are striking. Today, I am joining workers in 40 cities who are taking collective action for a $15 wage and the right to form a union without retaliation.
Most of the workers I've met on social media are just like me – mothers and fathers who wonder if they will ever get what they deserve, if they'll ever escape from poverty. We are walking off our jobs because we don't know how we are going to survive on these jobs. We're on strike because we can't afford not to strike.
Burger King says they can't pay employees like me higher wages because it would force them out of business. Yet last year it made $117m in profits and its CEO took home $6.47m. It would take me 634 years to earn that much.
I've worked in fast-food for 15 years, and I can't even afford my own rent payments. We just want fairness and to be able to provide for our families. No one who works every day should be forced to be homeless.
As a guest ambassador, my job is to keep customers happy, greeting them at the door, checking in with them at their tables and picking up their trash. I'm good at what I do. Customers have come in and have wanted to give me $25 gift certificates as a way of saying thank you. If only Burger King rewarded hard work in the same way.
I'm on strike today for the first time in my life, and surprisingly, I don't feel afraid. Like so many fast-food workers across this country, I know what it feels like to be truly afraid – afraid of having your children go to bed hungry, or having your heat turned off in February, or being evicted from your home. Today is not scary. Today is empowering.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hunger strike highlights horror in California's prisons

Northbay MDS Solidarity campaign page for the California Statewide Prisoner Hunger Strike to Stop Torture, Long-Term Isolation & Indefinite Solitary Confinement in Prisons [link]

2013-08-28 "Hunger strike highlights horror in California's prisons"
by Shakati Walsh of Arcata, published by the "Eureka Times-Standard" []:
Monday marked the 50th day of a hunger strike in California's prisons protesting the 8th Amendment constitutional violation of cruel and unusual punishment for inmates living within solitary confinement. It is estimated that 70 inmates are still not eating into the 50th day of the hunger strike. Exact statistics are hard to come by due to the politics of each prison and their unwillingness to disseminate honest information. At this time what we know is true is that people are willing to die to get our attention. As citizens of California who shape by our votes and our tax dollars what is happening in our prisons, we need to be willing to at least listen. One hunger striker has already died. If more die, the citizens of California will have a responsibility in their deaths if we do not demand immediate action to be taken by Gov. Jerry Brown to begin negotiations and end the strike.
In 1978 California housed 28,000 prisoners; in 2007 that number reached over 160,000. We made prison politics a business rather than a means to a better end. Today, over 12,000 inmates are in solitary confinement within California prisons. The average time a prisoner in California spends in solitary confinement is 7.5 years. Over 4,000 inmates are subject to solitary confinement indefinitely, 78 prisoners have been in solitary confinement for over 20 years, 513 for over 10 years. This is insane. Have we lost all humanity to torture human beings in this manner? We Americans have become comfortably numb to the suffering of others.
The United Nations has urged Americans to do away with indefinite solitary confinement. The United Nations has declared extended periods of stay within solitary confinement to be torture. Juan Mendez, spokesperson for the U.N., stated on Aug. 23, “Even if solitary confinement is applied for short periods of time, it often causes mental and physical suffering or humiliation, amounting to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and if the resulting pain or sufferings are severe, solitary confinement even amounts to torture.”
Gov. Brown has taken no action to mediate the situation; his silence is immoral and unethical. Every human being has a constitutional right to not be tortured in America. Whether you are a prisoner or not, this is true. The understanding that torture is a violation of our basic human rights has been established worldwide and is the standard held by the United Nations; it is not just an American right, it is a human right. Rather than negotiate with the prisoners who are willing to put their lives on the line, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Gov. Brown have chosen the violent path of force-feeding prisoners refusing to eat. A hunger strike is an extreme form of protest, one that risks everything for the need to be heard and addressed in a manner in which change is a result. Change will not come from force-feedings. Human rights will not be protected by force-feedings. Humanity will not evolve when denial, control, dominance, revenge, fear, hate and de-humanization rule the order of the day.
In July over 30,000 prisoners, crossing all ethnic lines, resumed a hunger strike protest for five core demands:
1. End group punishment and administrative abuse; many are punished for the actions of one, usually determined by racial identity.
2. End the policy of using solitary confinement as an interrogation practice that demands “snitching” on another prisoner as the only way out of solitary confinement and change gang status criteria, such as tattoos, reading material, and alleged associations, as being a reason for placement in solitary confinement.
3. End long-term solitary confinement; this includes releasing all prisoners from solitary confinement who have been isolated for the last 10 to 40 years.
4. Provide adequate and nutritious food; do not use food as a means of punishment.
5. Provide constructive programs that allow the enrichment of thought and well-being.
Psychology has long proven punishment to be an ineffective way to teach anything. We cannot hope for change when we provide no pathway to it.
I urge all of us to take action and call Gov. Brown, 916-445-2841, encourage him to be a leader and to take immediate ethical and moral action and work with the prisoners to end these human rights violations and effect real change. Go to the website: and get involved, please.

California Prisoner Hungerstrike Day 53, Prisoners Isolated, Disturbing News from Corcoran, Strike Participation Grows, Prisoners Remain Committed: "CDCR is not going to break us."

Statewide Prisoner Hunger Strike to Stop Torture, Long-Term Isolation & Indefinite Solitary Confinement in Prisons [link]

For Immediate Release-August 28, 2013
From Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity
California prisoner hungers strike advocates and supporters continue their efforts to compel state decision makers to negotiate with hunger strikers as they endure their 52nd day without food.  Meanwhile legal observers at Corcoran State Prison say that the 70 people are still on strike at that facility are facing harsh relation by prison officials including the denial of medical care-even for those coming off strike-and the confiscation of personal property.  At Pelican Bay, the four main representatives of the Short Corridor Collective-the interracial group in that facility's Security Housing Unit (SHU) that initially encouraged their fellow prisoners to take up the peaceful protest-have been totally isolated in a single cell block in the prison's stand-alone Administrative Segregation Unit.  Late last week 51 prisoners being held in the same area were summarily and forcibly removed to other prisons.   Meanwhile the CDCR's own numbers show a steady uptick in strike participation over the past several days.
"They presently have us four main reps on 'G row' by ourselves for now. No telling how long we'll be staying here," Said Pelican Bay striker and Short Corridor representative Aurturo Castellanos in a statement yesterday.  The outspoken Castellanos has borne the brunt of a viscious California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) smear campaign that has desperately attempted to vilify his participation in the massive protest as a "gang power play."  Of the Department's attacks on the peaceful protest, Castellanos said, "They fail to see the writing on the wall...CDCR is going to change whether they like it or not.  This only motivates us more."

Castellanos and his fellow Short Corridor Representatives have just issued the following statement:
Greetings.  We begin this update on where things stand with our struggle to force an end to long-term solitary confinement and additional major reforms to the prison system with a shout-out of solidarity, love, and respect to all of our supporters and people of conscience worldwide.
As many are aware today marks the 51st day of our peaceful hunger strike. We continue to protest decades of solitary confinement; torture for the purposes of coercion.  This is the third hunger strike in two years and yet nothing of real substance has changed for the majority of us.
We are now at a critical stage, where each minute that passes is extremely taxing mentally and physically.  Many of us participating since day one are suffering what may be irreversible damage, and are facing a very real possibility of death.  It is a fact that a major cause of death during long fasts is heart attack.  This may come at any moment for us... When it does, we're done for.
That said, you may all rest assured that our commitment to this worthy cause remains undaunted.  The world is now a witness, as Gov. Brown and his appointee [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary] Beard demonstrate callous and deliberate indifference to the extreme forms of inexcusable suffering our loved ones and ourselves are subjected to in our fight for humane treatment of the prisoner class of human beings...
Gov. Brown's response to our peaceful action has not been silence, as so many presume-rather, it has been loud and clear via the propaganda and rhetoric being spewed by his mouth piece Dr. Beard [AKA Dr. Mengele].  The fascist police state prisoncrats have attempted to misdirect the attention and the growing condemnation of their human rights abuses.  They have tried to disrupt public support by dredging up 20-40 year old histories that are for the most part portrayed in a false light.  They have desperately tried to justify and further their diabolical agenda, and indeed expand the numbers of prisoners (and loved ones outside) being tortured-to the point of death, insanity, and false confessions.   They have the audacity to claim our push for reform is a "gang power play," and that many prisoners have been "coerced into participation."  This is another tactic aimed at misleading the public so as to maintain the status quo with impunity.  They have tried to ignore the fact that our collective peaceful efforts, and our call to "end group hostilities," are contrary to their propaganda.  CDCR's decades of human rights violations is the catalyst for thousands coming together and taking up this protest...
Another clear demonstration of where Brown, Beard, et al stand is their response to this peaceful action.  They have directed their subordinates to subject participants, and non-participants alike, to systematic retaliation including, but not limited to:  additional isolation and sensory deprivation via placement in the Administrative Segregation stand-alone building; withholding mail and visits; blasting cold air into SHU and Ad-Seg cells; confiscating property; fabricating rule violations and alleging gang activity; cell-extractions; threats and intimidation; and mass relocation.  They have rescinded so-called privileges granted in 2011-2013.  And they have cut the number of allowable books from 10 (which has been a right for 23 years), down to 5.  The above are only a few examples.
We are calling on all people of conscience to make their opposition heard.  We urge the people to demand that the powers that be end this abuse now.  Today.  Before it it is too late for some of us.  On Friday August 16, CDCR transferred 51 people on hunger strike from this Ad-Seg Unit down south to a medical facility in preparation for force feeding.  This is where we'll all be soon.  Some of us are considering a challenge to such feeding.  What's going on in this nation that it has come to such a point?  The people have the power to change things now.  Know this: Our spirit and resolve remain strong and we know we can count on you all! Together we are making it happen, not only for ourselves, but, more importantly, for the generations to come.
With the Utmost Solidarity, Love, and Respect-Onward in Struggle,
[signed] Pelican Bay State Prison Short Corridor Collective
Todd Ashker, C-58191, PBSP-SHU
Arturo Castellanos, C-17275, PBSP-SHU
Antonio Guillen, P-81948, PBSP-SHU
Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), C-35671, PBSP-SHU

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mendocino County government engages in class warfare against county workers

Visit the Mend Mendocino campaign website []

2013-08-27 "Mendocino County Families Fight Back Crippling Wage Cuts"
by SEIU1021 []:
Mendocino County workers and residents took on the Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning, armed with research and facts to prove there is no financial reason for ongoing, crippling wage cuts to workers.
“When you talk about the “core structure” of your organization, it is the people, not upgrades to buildings, that help fix the economy,” said SEIU 1021 Researcher Meredith Staples. “It’s not one or the other. There is enough room in your proposed budget to build and improve infrastructure while also avoiding financial devastation to your workers.”
With only one days’ notice of the action, about 30 SEIU 1021 members and their allies filled one side of the Board of Supervisors’ chambers. The short-notice action was in response to a challenge by Supervisor John McCowan, who asked us to show him the money. Staples presented the Board with key financial information, and submitted it to the clerk for the record.
“These workers want to feed their families, keep dollars local and to be the solution to an economic recovery,” Staples said.
Workers have lost 10 percent of their take-home pay, and the county is demanding cuts again, even though there is a $12 million surplus and many county positions are paid for through federal funding.

The community impact -
That's why coalition of Mendocino workers, residents, community and business leaders — known as “Mend Mendocino” — is demanding that elected leaders fight against continued cuts to jobs and services to help Mendocino County families. As the county’s largest employer, many believe that Mendocino County has a responsibility to its workers to lead the way in the local economic recovery. The coalition's inaugural action included a food drive to benefit the Ukiah Food Bank.
As of 2012, the County had cut the number of people who administer social service programs that offer food stamps from 100 to a mere 20 positions. That created longer wait times and a delay and loss of service. Fifty percent of Mendocino County residents are eligible for food stamps or other assistance.
Last year, the County did not accept $2.5 million in federal funding that should have gone to food assistance programs like CALWorks, food stamps and to help pay for the administration of these services. A 15-percent spike in healthcare costs has prevented workers and their families from seeking the medical services they need.
The county has the largest surplus in its history, but county administrators continue to hide money from the taxpayers and cut deeper into jobs, programs and services.
Mendocino County’s Operating Budget for FY 2013-2014 relies on faulty assumptions about revenues and expenditures. That document would lead you to believe that the County is in an extremely vulnerable financial position. But we know that this isn’t the case.
Thanks to concessions, staff reductions by 30%, and other cost cutting policies implemented in the years prior, the 2012 fiscal year ended with a General Fund surplus of $12 million. Here are some financial facts, presented Tuesday:
* This figure of $12 million is cited in both the Comprehensive Annual Report (CAFR) and the latest Fitch report in February 2013. As the Fitch report states, “Net operating surpluses after transfers for 2012 were equal to 5.3% of general fund spending, raising unrestricted fund balance to 9.4% of spending ($12.4 million). Year-end cash balances also rose substantially, from $11.5 million in 2011 to $21 million in 2012.
*  However, the County’s proposed FY 2012-13 budget states that reserves were only $4,541, 741. Where did the other $7.5 million from FY2012 carry-over go?
* In the FY2013-14 budget, $1.7 million will be added to the reserves for a total of over $6 million, which is 12% of General Fund revenues. The Reserve policy is that the County should have in reserves between 5% and 15% of General Fund revenues.
County workers have started “Mend Mendocino,” a coalition of county workers, businessowners and families that believes all residents should have access to quality services, healthcare and affordable housing and most importantly — a government that works for all, not just a few.
Please log onto the web site, and sign the petition for a better future for workers and families in Mendocino County:

"Santa Cruz 11", with Linda LeMaster, Ed Fry, Gary Johnson

More information:
* Human Rights abuse in itty-bitty Santa Cruz [link]
* []
* []
* []
* []
* []
* "The Santa Cruz Eleven Are Political Scapegoats" by Linda LeMaster []
* Linda Lemaster's blogt []

"Santa Cruz Eleven, the Lessons of Food Not Bombs and The Broader Austerity Crisis"
by Keith McHenry []:
2013-09-08 Notes by Norse: Keith McHenry has visited Santa Cruz numerous times to support the Santa Cruz Eleven (four of whom are still charged with phony felonies). Their "crime" was to report on, witness, and be supportive of a peaceful occupation of a 3 1/2 year vacant bank building leased by the predator Wells Fargo Bank. McHenry co-founded Food Not Bombs over three decades ago. His non-violent direct action has inspired millions throughout the world. His example and that of other Food Not Bombs activists has prompted the creation of hundreds of local Food Not Bombs chapters in spite of repeated campaigns of official repression.
Eleven people in Santa Cruz were charged with felonies after being accused of the temporary "occupation" in November 2011 of an abandoned bank building at 75 River Street that was owned by Wells Fargo. District Attorney Rebekah Young targeted eleven local community organizers with trespass and vandalism charges. The perfect political target in a city where banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America had illegally foreclosed on families forcing them on to the streets where it is illegal to sleep outside and must risk arrest just for living in their own community.
The case of the Santa Cruz Eleven comes during an important time when millions of people are taking action against the corrupt economic system. The real criminals are those who designed and implemented the policies that have ruined families and caused the suffering of so many. Wells Fargo executives Donald James, John Stumf and the other board members should be held at the county jail waiting trial for grand theft. In my June 2013 visit to Santa Cruz several people told me how the banks and government officials robbed them of their homes taking all they had after working hard their entire lives.
In March 2011 people organized a protest outside the Watsonville Branch of Wells Fargo in Santa Cruz County. They were outraged that the bank had taken the homes of so many people in the community. Lauro Navarro came to the protest because the banks had just evicted him and his family from a home he had built with his own hands. Mayor Daniel Dodge of Watsonville attended the protest saying that “This is a real crisis that hits home.” He also told the media that more than 8,000 homes locally had been affected since 2008 worth $4 billion and a loss of $26 million in property taxes. Nearly 200 teachers had to be let go as a result.
The stress of foreclosure can be too much for some. Newbury Park resident Norman Rousseau was preparing to move his family into an RV in May 2012 when e shot himself to death distressed from a year long struggle with Wells Fargo. The bank had claimed Rousseau had not made his May 2009 mortgage payment using this to justify the taking of his home but during the law suit the bank admitted there had been a mix up. “Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Mr. Rousseau at this difficult time. The eviction has been postponed and we will continue to work with Mrs. Rousseau," a Wells Fargo spokesperson told the Huffington Post in an email. "Despite current reports, we tried repeatedly to find affordable options for the family."
Evidence that the banks systematically robbed thousands of families of their homes and saving. In a federal lawsuit in Massachusetts Bank of America employees have come forward to describe how they intentionally mislead homeowners using the Home Affordable Modification Program to take their homes. I have heard the story over and over from people eating with Food Not Bombs. They were told to qualify for a mortgage modification that they had to stop making payment for two or three months using the default to justify foreclosure. “Bank of America’s practice is to string homeowners along with no apparent intention of providing the permanent loan modifications it promises,” said Erika Brown, one of the former employees. The damning evidence would spur a series of criminal investigations of B of A executives, if we still had a rule of law in this country for Wall Street banks."
The Santa Cruz Eleven are understandably worried about having to spend time in prison if convicted and considering the evidence of a major nationally coordinated effort to permanently silence the movement this is a realistic concern. The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund recovered nearly 200 pages of FBI and Homeland Security internal memos that showed that the authorities believed that Occupy could become a threat to corporate power so much that there was even a plan to use suppressed sniper rifles to kill the leadership if necessary.
So what is the most effective way defend activists like the eleven facing prison in Santa Cruz? The first thought of coarse is hire lawyers and formulate a legal defense but that might NOT be enough under the currant atmosphere. I say this from experience having faced 25 to life in prison for my work with Food Not Bombs in San Francisco. I had the best attorneys but the pressure to silence me was larger than the fact that all the evidence made it clear I had never participated in any of the crimes I had been accused of. The only thing that keep me out of prison was political organizing.
The business and political leaders pulled out all the stops in an effort to make sure that the public would not be moved to support the idea that food should have a priority over bombs. The law was manipulated, a permit process was invented to justify an end to our effort to change public opinion. The corporate media and most local political leaders sided with the campaign to drive Food Not Bombs out of sight. When injunctions, arrests, beatings and infiltration failed to work the authorities framed the "leader" of the movement making me out to be a violent irrational terrorist attacking city officials and stealing beepers and milk crates in my crazed attempt to redirect military spending towards social services like education and healthcare.
Our legal defense was nearly impossible since those that organized my "crimes' controlled the evidence, media and the legal system. On the other hand we had the truth on our side which we did all we could share. That truth was that our society is broken and that is easy to see when hundreds of people line up twice a day to eat with Food Not Bombs outside City Hall in San Francisco while billions are spent on the military to fight wars for oil, profits and power.
We video tapped nearly every arrest of our volunteers for providing vegan meals and free literature to the public. We filmed hungry families horrified and distressed as they watched the police drag their meals away to the trash. One by one volunteers would be smashed into the sidewalk for sharing bagels or tossed salad. The images told the ugly truth of an America that would rather let its people starve then threaten the profits of the military industrial complex.
So our focus moved from the courts to the streets and offices of influential human rights groups. We organized a letter writing campaign providing flyers at every meal asking for support. The flyers included a request to write President Clinton's Justice Department Civil Rights Division, Amnesty International and the United Nations Human Rights Commission seeking an investigation into our case. Each organizations's address was included on the flyer. We also provided internal government and police memos, photos, affidavits and our video of our arrests to the organizations listed on our flyer and delivered additional copies to the offices of foreign governments at the United Nations. We also provided copies to the American Civil Liberties Union and other local allies and activist groups and asked them to ask for an investigation.
While we had our campaign to gain the support of human rights organizations and activist groups we also organized on the streets. Central to the campaign was the sharing of our meals and literature twice every day to show we would not give up. Before each meal we determined who would be willing to risk arrest. We divided the food into three parts and two or three volunteers would share the first smaller portion until they were arrested.
As soon as they were hustled off to the police station a couple more volunteers would arrive and share some more food until they were arrested. After the police took them away we would bring out enough food to provide for everyone. The police rarely stopped us the third time. We also organized a campaign called "Risk Arrest One Day a Month with Food Not Bombs" and community groups, unions and religious organizations would share our food and go to jail.
The other strategy was to provide food outside the court house before each court appearance. This too could result in a number of arrests but it also had the impact of discrediting the legal system before people who themselves had been dragged into the system.
Our campaign was dedicated to nonviolent resistance even if at time people would yell at the police during the arrests. Amazingly our persistence slowly won over the rank and file police who started to object to their participation in efforts to stop us.
Our effort to reach President Clinton worked. His office claimed to have reviewed our information and video deciding that city officials were acting lawfully in there brutal campaign to shut down our protest. They would take no action to stop the violence. We shared copies of Clintons's letter to Amnesty International and the United Nations. This was the final straw and they both announce support for Food Not Bombs.
Amnesty International announced that they would declare our volunteers "Prisoners of Conscience" and work for our unconditional release if convicted and made a public statement of condemnation of the United States on the floor of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Switzerland.
Finally one day when my "Three Strikes" trial was about to start the local media turned on the mayor and city officials. The power structure cut their loses. The arrests in San Francisco did stop and I settled my case being sentenced to credit of 500 days served and a year probation. Maybe not a total victory but a lot better than doing 25 years in prison and the campaign helped encourage the start of Food Not Bombs groups in a few hundred cities.
The global wave of protests during the summer of 2013 provide many lessons. Social change takes time. The people of Egypt mobilized to drive out the dictator Mubarak only to replace his authoritarian rule with a new dictator. Just as happened after the Berlin Wall fell global financial institutions and Western governments rushed in to fill the power vacuum. Those risking their lives to bring about change were not prepared to replace the dictatorial system with one that represents the interests of the majority.
The increase in hunger and poverty in Egypt was predictable. Morsi quickly became an ally of the United States and other powerful nations agreeing to provide access to the global financial institutions and transnational corporate interests while
 ignoring the needs of his people. It will take more than the ousting of a dictator to bring about the change required to provide food, healthcare and education. Those of us seeking to bring democracy and economic security to the United States must build an alternate system ready to replace the failing political and economic system.
The struggle of the Santa Cruz Eleven provides a good example of how we can address the growing austerity crisis. While waging an aggressive legal defense is important it may be a more effective defense to build a movement against the real criminals at Wells Fargo like Donald James, John Stumf and the other board members. The authorities were fearful of the occupations organizing a campaign to claim we did not have a coherent message and that we had failed.
However the details revealed in the internal FBI and Homeland Security documents recovered by The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, the criminal case against the Cleveland Five and the Dissent-or-Terror files obtained by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy show that the Obama administration and corporate leaders were worried that the occupations were a real threat to the economic and political system.
Wells Fargo's coordination with the FBI, Homeland Security and other financial institutions to silence Occupy is another aspect of the criminal conspiracy of the economic elite. Those responsible for destroying the economic security of millions remain free and continue to force families out of their homes, implement policies that criminalize those driven into poverty and clearly have no limits to their own crimes against society.

"SC-11 Back in Court: D.A. Bob Lee's BigTop Up for Fall Engagement?"
2013-08-27 by Robert Norse []:
Tentative Trial Date for the Final Four - it seems likely that the trial dates willl change due to attorney and witness scheduling conflicts. However, at the moment, trial readiness is slated for 9 AM on Sept. 12th 9 AM and jury selection due to begin 9 AM on September 16--all in Dept. 6.
correction by Brent Adams: In this article my attorney's name is reported incorrectly. Her name is Lisa McCamey. It is true that she and one other attorney are going through separate murder trials. Its true that Alexis Briggs' is pregnant and that affects the jury trial dates. Additionally we were told that at least 3 different police officer witnesses for the prosecution have schedule conflicts. Stay tuned, I've got to be in court in 6 hours. I should go to sleep.

Attorneys for the Final Four of the Santa Cruz Eleven--peaceful political activists and journalists--will meet with Judge Paul Burdick and D.A. Bob Lee's appointed flunky to determine whether the 2-3 week long felony trials will begin in September as scheduled.
The four are charged with felony vandalism and trespass charges for peaceful protest against the real master of foreclosure fraud, Wells Fargo Bank, nearly 2 years ago, at a long-vacant bank building at 75 River St. None of the four are charged with actual vandalism, just being present to "enable" or "aid and abet" the vandalism. Essentially this was a series of charges to shut down Occupy Santa Cruz (which didn't actually organize the bank occupation).

At a prior status hearing on August 16 Judge Burdick reportedly pressed for a settlement of the cases before trial. (So far the only offers have been pleading to felonies, which the defendants have rejected).
One observer felt this was because Burdick thought a guilty verdict at trial was likely, and that the trial wasn't worth the expense This would seem particularly true, given the how poor the defendants are--two of them are homeless.
If the purpose was to reimburse Wells Fargo for damages done by others to its leased and still vacant building on River and Water Streets, to undergo a trial costing over $100,000 for damages that amount to less than $30,000 (using Wells Fargo's inflated estimates)
A second observer felt Burdick might be coming around to understand how political the how prosecution is, how time-wasting, and--perhaps--how questionable in terms of the justice involved. Both observers agreed that the new prosecutor--who has taken over for the discredited and sanctioned Rebekah Young-- is still hot for a trial.
On August 16, Burdick suggested that the defendants "prepare for restitution". Some of the dialogue between judge and attorneys reportedly concerned the fact that those really responsible for damage at the River St. building weren't in court (or even known to authorities).

None of the defendants has really made any strong appeal for supporters to attend, though I'm sure Brent Adams--probably the only defendant likely to attend--wouldn't mind.
Cameron's attorney, Alexis Briggs, is reportedly six months pregnant and some police witnesses will be unable to appear at the current trial date in September. This may push the trial back to February 2014. Brent's attorney, Jesse Rubin, is appearing before Burdick in a murder trial in September which would also make a delay likely.
The prosecutor now reportedly estimated the length of the trial to be 2-3 weeks. (Rebekah Young, when she was the D.A. on the case, before retiring to Texas, estimated a week or so, with Briggs suggesting that was far too optimistic.)

 Rebekah Young, whose misconduct resulted in a $500 fine to D.A. Bob Lee's office, took off in the spring for Texas. Lee has appealed the sanctions but none of the attorneys served were willing to spend the time to file papers defending the fines against the D.A.
A private legal worker may be preparing a brief (which was due on August 19th, but perhaps there's basis for an extension). I may be willing to file that brief if no one else will and if it looks like it can be done without costing more than it's worth.
So far D.A. Lee has put thousands of dollars of work time into appealing the $500 fine and filed a 49 page brief defending his incompetent D.A. (Young).
One of the SC-11 attorneys has frankly described Lee's brief as marred by "lies"---indeed the history of the contempt-ridden behavior of Lee's D.A. Young has been notorious. (See
Attached is Lee's attempt to overturn the $500 fine, which was absurdly mild considering the repeated nature of Young's misconduct by repeatedly violating court orders and withholding evidence from the defense.
Some wags have suggested a Panhandle-In or Blacktop Benefit for Lee in order to raise the $500 to spare the community the thousands of dollars Lee is spending on appealing Burdick's ruling.

2013-04-09 "Linda Lemaster Trial in the Media" note from Robert Norse:
Street Spirit, a Bay Area homeless monthly newspaper, published Alex Darocy's account of D.A. Bob Lee's Prosecution of homeless activist Linda Lemaster. Copies of the April 2013 Street Spirit in which this story appears can be found at the main branch of the Santa Cruz Public Library (where armed security guards now wake and evict homeless people for falling asleep) or purchased from street vendors (Contact Raven at or look for her on Pacific Avenue with her massage table). 
A longer account published earlier can be found at []
Linda's blog is at [] . 

"Activist Linda Lemaster Convicted of Illegal Lodging"
by Alex Darocy from "Street Spirit" []:
 Homeless advocate Linda Lemaster asked, “Is Santa Cruz County still under the Constitution that we think of as the lead legal document of our land, where people — even if they happen to be homeless — have certain civil rights, and even some human rights are acknowledged in our constitution?”
More than two years after originally being cited for illegal lodging on the morning of August 10, 2010, during the Peacecamp demonstrations held to protest the sleeping ban that criminalizes homelessness in Santa Cruz, Linda Lemaster’s trial began on Nov. 6, 2012. After three days of listening to testimony, a jury found her guilty of lodging during Peacecamp, and on Dec. 6, 2012, Lemaster was sentenced to community service and probation by Judge Rebecca Connolly.
In an interview conducted in the aftermath of her trial, Lemaster said she now believes that the police cited her for unlawful lodging in order to break up a political protest by utilizing a law-enforcement strategy that is anti-homeless and has “a homeland security agenda.”
“I don’t think that trial had much, if anything, to do with justice,” Lemaster said. “I think it was a political trial.”
“One of my goals is to get rid of this law,” Lemaster said, referring to the state law against unlawful lodging, California Penal Code 647(e). The law is mostly used as a move-along law for homeless people in San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Monica, according to Lemaster.
“The law seems to be used entirely against homeless people and demonstrators right now in California,” she said. “We haven’t been able to find another recent example of its use.”
She plans to appeal the conviction, saying, “The appeal is more of a chance to focus on the law, rather than me.”
Linda Lemaster had been a social and political advocate for the homeless and an activist in Santa Cruz County for more than 30 years when she was issued a citation for “unlawful lodging” during the Peacecamp demonstrations.
Originally held to protest the sleeping ban in the City of Santa Cruz (Municipal Code Section 6.36.010), which makes it illegal to sleep outside during the hours of 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. in the city, Peacecamp was initiated at the Santa Cruz County Courthouse by a group of local homelessness activists on July 4, 2010.
Community members gathered at the courthouse during the evenings and either slept or protested there to make a strong statement against the criminalization of homelessness locally. The action quickly grew and began to include a large number of homeless community members looking for a safe place to be at night.
Lemaster, founder of the organization Housing Now! in Santa Cruz, attended Peacecamp to make contact with both homeless people and other advocates.
“I use Housing Now! in Santa Cruz as a vessel to stay in touch with how homeless people feel about stuff,” she said.
“Sometimes I’m warning homeless people how to be discreet at night, or this is where the services are. It takes different forms, but because it is ongoing, I think of it as a medium to help me to know when, and how, we can do more. I feel like it is my job through Housing Now! in Santa Cruz to inform other people … to let people know, ‘Look, this isn’t right, you can’t even have a blanket.’”
At Peacecamp, she found the one-on-one contact with homeless people and advocates she was looking for. “I’ve gone to a lot of demonstrations,” Lemaster said. “That’s what is consistent — no matter where I have been, no matter whether it is a few people or it’s a hundred people — there are people who never get to express themselves.”
Eventually, she became part of a support network at the camp and attempted to stay up all night on the evening of August 9, 2010, trying to help a sick friend who wouldn’t leave the Peacecamp.
Over the course of that evening, her friend noticed it was sprinkling and covered Lemaster with a blanket. She lay down on the concrete outside of the courthouse, and may have fallen asleep. When deputies arrived early that morning as part of their enforcement campaign against Peacecamp, Lemaster fit their description of who to target for a lodging citation, and cited her at 4 a.m. that morning.
Later, according to the district attorney, this incident was one of the major pieces of evidence used in court to show that she was “unlawfully lodging.”
The definition of lodging that was used can be applied, according to the California penal code, to both public and private places, and in the case of Lemaster’s trial, was worded specifically as follows:
“To lodge means to occupy a place temporarily, or to permanently or temporarily settle or to live in a place. It may, but does not have to include, sleeping, the laying down of bedding, the storing of personal belongings, or carrying on cooking activities. Lodging means more than merely falling asleep, but less than moving in permanently.”
Lemaster felt that the process of arriving at the legal definition of lodging to be used in her trial was not fair. “To me it was very frustrating,” she said. She feels that the definition of lodging that deputies were using when they cited people at Peacecamp in 2010 was vastly different from the legal definition arrived at for the purposes of her trial in late 2012.
“Four days in a row,” she recalled, “the judge changed her mind out of hearing of the jury about what that would mean.”
Furthermore, whenever the district attorney came in and said he didn’t like part of the definition of illegal lodging they were working on, Lemaster said that the judge “accommodated him every time.”
Even after the trial had begun, the district attorney wanted to change the definition once again, she recalled. “How can you prepare on either side for your trial, if every day it’s a different meaning?” Lemaster asked.
Whether she fell asleep or not on the morning of August 10 at Peacecamp may not have been the primary reason the jury sided against her, according to two jurors who stayed to discuss their motivations after the verdict was read.“The jury foreman said that they all felt that the lodging law would have pertained to anyone once the policeman made his first warning to go, and so they had no choice but to find me guilty,” Lemaster said. She added, “the other guy, not the foreman, said, like two to three minutes passed and you were still there like you wanted to talk to him.”
Lemaster explained, “I tried to talk to him [the sheriff’s deputy] when they came around ticketing people, which is what made it look like I wasn’t going to leave to some jurors — that I stood while people scrambled, so I wasn’t afraid enough.”
She said the law seemed so vague and “soggy” as to be incomprehensible to ordinary people. “Not moving fast enough makes you lodging, and someone else who is scrambling for cover isn’t lodging,” she said, adding that the slippery, ever-changing definition of lodging “is another good reason that it should be exposed” and eliminated from the law books.
Lemaster said that the jury also apparently felt that using the lodging law was justified in breaking up a political protest. She also charged that the judge in her trial refused to treat Peacecamp as a nonviolent demonstration, but rather as a public safety issue.
“The inclination of Judge Rebecca Connolly was to not acknowledge the demonstration, but look at it as a public health and safety issue,” Lemaster said. “But, as my attorney, Johnathan Gettleman, pointed out, if it was a health and safety or public safety issue, there’s an appropriate department of the county government to deal with that, and they didn’t even think to call them.
“You just can’t have a law that is both landlord-tenant law, pushing-homeless-around law, a status crime, a public safety code, and whatever use you want to put it to…. It’s too broad in general.”
Ultimately, she said she was targeted for lodging because she didn’t leave the scene when deputies arrived. “Because I didn’t scurry in fear when the deputies walked up, I must be guilty of lodging.”
She sees the possibility of appealing her case as a method of challenging the state’s lodging law, but adds that Peacecamp’s original goal of challenging the sleeping ban of the City of Santa Cruz is still the main issue on her mind.
Over the course of the three decades Lemaster has been involved in homeless issues, she has done everything from feeding people through Food Not Bombs, to working for the county in various official capacities to help the homeless community. She has participated in a number of demonstrations, and has chaired governmental bodies concerning homelessness and violence against women. She also has first hand experience: Lemaster has been homeless herself.
She recalls an early success in her endeavors to help those without a fixed address, when she fought for the rights of homeless people to vote.
“Even though it had already been litigated, the county wasn’t letting them register to vote,” Lemaster said. “This was in the very late ‘70s or maybe 1980 and it took an attorney I was working for taking them to court.” The attorney successfully argued in court that even if homeless people were staying “on a heater grate on the sidewalk,” as long as they were willing to describe where that was, and apply to be a valid voter, they were entitled to vote.
Lemaster also helped motivate county officials to establish a location where welfare recipients in Watsonville could cash their checks. There was a time when those living in the southern part of Santa Cruz County would have to travel all the way to Santa Cruz to cash their benefits checks. After Lemaster paid a personal visit to county officials, a solution was found within two weeks.
The manner in which the authorities dealt with Peacecamp was different, Lemaster noticed. “What I think is most different now,” she said, “is there is a set of, I don’t know if they are beliefs, policies, or a driving philosophy, but it seems to me that there is a homeland security agenda that has changed how government responds to some situations.”
Lemaster said that more governmental agencies should have been involved in the decision-making process regarding Peacecamp, but none appeared to take an interest in getting involved.
“Now there were people (going) through Peacecamp, there was someone from the SPCA, someone who used to be a county social worker, people who in their own conscience, during the day mostly, came down and checked out who was there. But in the whole infrastructure of county government, nobody thought to do that.”
In their absence, Lemaster felt that law enforcement was left to deal with Peacecamp on their own, and they handled it as a complaint-driven process.
“They made this plan to wipe the whole thing out,” she said, “and give people like me a ticket based on the complaints they had, as it was shown in the testimony during my trial.”
Lemaster believes local authorities “were remiss” in dealing with the issues surrounding Peacecamp. “They didn’t even think of talking to social workers.”
She said, “All of these executive decisions were left more or less to Plageman [Lieutenant Fred Plageman of the sheriff’s department].” She pointed to Plageman’s testimony during her trial where he stated that he had looked to law enforcement models that were being employed outside of Santa Cruz County to enforce the lodging law, as opposed to looking to social workers within the county.
Lemaster faulted the police decision to “shut down what they knew was a First Amendment protest,” adding that it would have been more appropriate to have officials from the County Administrative Office and County Board of Supervisors setting policy regarding the demonstration.
Instead, deputies handed out fliers at Peacecamp warning participants that they were lodging illegally. Lemaster said, “I know they carefully put words in that warning saying we were guilty of lodging to make it sound like a demonstration doesn’t count at night, but that’s not true.”
Beyond the police-centered decision-making, Lemaster also said that deputies conducted law-enforcement activities in a manner influenced by a “homeland security” approach to dissent.
She said that the deputies’ approach to monitoring the protest shifted notably from a somewhat informal and easygoing interaction with camp dwellers, into a more repressive, law-and-order approach.
“They were like people one day,” Lemaster said, “and then when they decided they got their lodging law and decided on a campaign, they stayed in the role of this military, four-man team.”
She also felt that this “military” approach, as she put it, was expanded on when the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department used similar law-enforcement techniques during the period that Occupy Santa Cruz spent at the courthouse in 2011, which was during the height of the national Occupy movement.
“Because Peacecamp had happened, and up to that point they had gotten away with it, they seemed willing to feel a little more emboldened and capable of (utilizing) this homeland security-type approach at Occupy Santa Cruz,” she said.
An even deeper problem for Lemaster is anti-homeless bigotry, which she feels is “pervasive.” She said it also had something to do with law enforcement’s strategies for dealing with Peacecamp.
“I really believe the sheriff’s deputies would have had a more adequate strategy if they weren’t being reactionary, and I believe they were reacting to people in the County building complaining.”
Peacecamp was reportedly receiving sanitation-related complaints and complaints from County employees working in the building, who were coming into first-hand contact with the demonstration. Lemaster felt the complaints were really about homeless people themselves, and they weren’t fair.
“We don’t go around excoriating each other for smoking cigarettes,” she observed, “but we go around excoriating homeless people for leaving a butt behind, as if they had a choice. As long as they were looking at all the homeless people crashed there, and their friends, as ‘the other,’ they’re not really looking at the whole situation when they have to resolve a problem.
“Homeless people come from the same culture that we come from when we are not homeless, but they have to live in a culture that is much more immediate and much more dangerous. I expect more from law enforcement. When they are bringing extra people out, I think they need to study the problem beforehand.”
Even though Lemaster feels her ability to communicate directly with county officials has changed over the years, she said, “I consider them my allies still.”
“We used to go to the same workshops together,” she said about some of the county officials who had a say in the decision-making process regarding law enforcement strategies at Peacecamp.
“We used to be immediate allies. We used to be part of a team that would confront people. Because of the adversarial nature of the court, we are put like we are on two different sides of a team that is at war with each other, and that is the opposite of what I just tried to do for most of my time. It was frustrating.”
Even more frustrating for Lemaster was how she effectively became silenced during her trial, saying, “I was put out of my life. I was put out of my volunteer work, my relationship to my community, because I had to hold my tongue as far as anything in the county was concerned.”
While Lemaster felt that she was once able to visit in person any county official she wanted to communicate with, being on trial for lodging forced her to hold her tongue in many situations she once would have openly confronted, because her attorneys and the district attorney told her “it was bad form and could infect the legal case to come, if I talk with the other side before trial,” she said.
“I’ve been doing something for 40 years to help poor people, and one part of that is when I find something where the system doesn’t work, I try to show that to people, or even fix it, or help fix it, or find out who can fix it,” she said.
“So if it is people on GA [General Assistance] can’t get GA if they are not already in the system, that’s easy to fix. You just tell everyone, and then they’ll say, ‘OK,’ and it somehow trickles up to the Board of Supervisors eventually.”
“Real people suffered because I wasn’t able to be that liaison for them,” she said.
When defending her decision to not plead guilty, or take a plea deal, Lemaster was not only informed by her outlook as a Quaker, which guides her to never lie, but also by a need to maintain integrity in the community as an advocate for others.
“Doing the kind of changes that affect people in some way in their lives for the better requires a credibility,” she said.
Lemaster said she was offered a plea deal by the District Attorney’s office in 2011 which would have reduced her misdemeanor to an infraction if she would plead guilty to “disturbing the peace.”
“I wouldn’t have minded the infraction’s apparent purpose,” she said. “But I was being asked to say that I was disturbing the peace on Dec 10th at 4 a.m. or so. I mean, they wanted me to say either guilty or no contest. They were asking me to say an outright lie, expecting me to.
“I couldn’t.”
Pleading guilty would have felt to her like “totally denying Peacecamp 2010, my new friends from there, and what it had meant to me.” She said that it “felt like being pressed to lie.”
“I don’t think that trial had much, if anything, to do with seeking justice,” she said. “I think it was a political trial, and I feel strongly about that, more so than when I left the trial. I think the district attorney was given political marching orders when they picked him.
“In our country and in Santa Cruz County, is this a homeland security state where the government decides who is a terrorist, or who is a good citizen, or who is not even worthy of naming? Or is Santa Cruz County still under the Constitution that we think of as the lead legal document of our land, where people — even if they happen to be homeless — have certain civil rights, and even some human rights are acknowledged in our constitution, and even more clearly so in the state constitution.”
Lemaster said that she plans to continue raising awareness about the laws that outlaw sleep in Santa Cruz.
She also plans to file an appeal in her case to fight Judge Connolly’s claims that the lodging law is constitutional, and she also wants to begin a campaign that she hopes will achieve statewide participation of “homeless-friendly” groups and supporters to “take the lodging law 647(e) off the books.”
She calls her motivation a “simple and moral imperative,” because, “consequences are way too harsh for houseless and homeless folks. It has to get exposed.”
Lemaster has thought long and hard about why local government officials appear bent on persecuting homeless people and driving them out of public view.
“The legislature is under the same pressures that the court is, and the county is, and their deputies, to keep the homeless out of sight,” she said. “Because within the scheme of things, they don’t have the tools they need to solve the problem.
“So, under pressure from the citizenry at large, and whatever delusions some of them are carrying with them, the police just keep pushing them back, and criminalizing them, sweeping them. If you have to shove them in a van, or put them in jail overnight, at least that curb is clear.
“They are going to have to be a leader, in either a kind of demonic abuse of people, or solutions that are inclusive. One way or the other, just because of the cost of housing here, and not having the infrastructure that a city would have for people when they fall, or when they are hurt, or when they can’t get to the hospital.”

2012-04-05 "Attorneys for 4 of the Santa Cruz 11 go to Status & Sanctions Hearing Monday"
by Robert Norse []:
The persecution and prosecution of Gabriella Ripply-Phipps, Brent Adams, Angel Alcantara, and Cameron Laurendeau grinds on Monday 8 AM in Department 6 in Santa Cruz Superior Court. The status hearing will schedule pre-trial motions and the trial itself, now slated for early May, but likely to be postponed because of one of the attorneys has a conflict. Meanwhile attorneys for the four have appealed to a higher court for a Writ to stop the proceedings and throw out the cases in a challenge to Judge Volkman's dismissal of a 995 Motion last month that itself challenged the forwarding of felony vandalism charges against the 4 to trial. If the trial proceeds, it's expected to take 2 weeks.
These four defendants are the last of the Santa Cruz Eleven.

 Several weeks ago, Bob Lee's District Attorney's office revealed that assistant D.A. Rebekah Young, who earned the dubious distinction of being the only D.A. in memory to be sanctioned by the court for misconduct in repeatedly failing to turn over police video and records to attorneys for the eleven defendants. Rumor had it that Young was headed for Texas to resume her career as a reporter in Austin or Dallas.
 Some wondered why such a young and inexperienced lawyer was assigned to face eleven attorneys in court in such a high-profile case Considering defendants--if found guilty and given the maximum--could have faced seven years in prison--each. Defendants and their allies expressed both a sense of vindication that Young was gone from the department and apprehension that a more experienced team was likely to be taking over the prosecution.

 The unprecedented $500 "slap on the wrist" fine leveled against the prosecution for misconduct had neither been paid nor formally appealed after the 60 day period ran out in March. The D.A.'s Office (or Young herself) reportedly asked the Court whether the fine was against her personally or the office of D.A. Bob Lee. No answer was forthcoming, and the time to appeal the sanction ran out after that 60 day period expired.
 Scuttlebutt around the Superior Court Clerk's office had it that the issue might come up at this April 8th hearing. The actual costs to at least two of the attorneys involved ran into the tens of thousands of dollars for the dozen or so hearings and multiple motions and ignored discovery demands. These were disallowed by Judge Burdick in his token fine of Young. He also refused to dismiss the cases as a sanction for the abusive prosecution that has repeatedly concealed or failed to present evidence demanded by the defense (and ordered by the Burdick himself).

 In spite of the fact that seven of the defendants after months of ordeal had their cases dismissed for lack of evidence, though none have yet demanded a factual innocence hearing (which reportedly is nearly impossible to win).
 None have filed complaints of misconduct and malfeasance with the Bar Association and/or the Commission on Judicial Performance for the political prosecution and failure to turn over documents in repeated contempt of court orders to do so.

 The Final Four defendants face a possible four year sentence and a "restitution fine" to Wells Fargo Bank of $23,000 or more. There has been no evidence presented in the many hours of hearings that any of the four destroyed or vandalized any property. Rather the tangled theory of the discredited Young was that the mere presence of the four in the building was sufficient evidence of their vandalism under an "aiding and abetting" theory.

 Critics pointed out that though Young had presented some evidence that some were in the building (though no clear evidence that they had refused to leave after being warned), there was no testimony that they "aided and abetted" the trespass action--a requirement for the finding that they were also responsible for the "probable consequence" of felony vandalism by parties unknown.

 The "trespass" is described by others as a First Amendment activity shared by hundreds as well as a form of direct action whistle-blowing against the acknowledged criminal bankster Wells Fargo, who leased the vacant building for the last 3 1/2 years prior to the occupation and continue to lease the vacant structure.
 That building like other vacant banks downtown has become a squat refuge for some of the more desperate or audacious of the city's homeless population. Santa Cruz has legal shelter for less than 5% of its homeless population two-thirds of the year and a perpetual waiting list. One of the stated objectives of those who actively occupied the building and announced their intentions (none of whom are on trial) was to create a Community Center that might also serve to shelter those in need.

* For recent history of the case, see "Four Individuals to Stand Trial for 75 River Street Bank Occupation" at [] .
* For more of the legal documents involved, see "Santa Cruz Eleven--The Final Four Demand Dismissal of Charges" at []
* For a transcript of the March 11th Hearing which sent the cases forward to trial and the legal papers challenging that misuse of legal power see below.
* For a broader perspective of the occupation and subsequent legal history see [] .
 A benefit for Food not Bombs August 14th at India Joze 3:30 - 6 PM will also feature speakers from this case.
To view the appeal briefs and transcript of the March 11th Hearing go to

Two Years for Sleeping on a Courthouse Bench? The Appeal []: 
Thursday March 21, 4:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Location Details: 701 Ocean St. Dept. Dept. 5
"Ground Zero" Gary Johnson, sentenced to two years by Judge GrimGavel Gallagher, last year, was "guilty" of four counts of sleeping on the bench in front of the courthouse with a sign "Sleep is Not a Crime".
 He was protesting the 6 PM to 6 AM curfew unilaterally imposed by Susan Mauriello to kill the Occupy Santa Cruz demonstrations.
 Gary's blog is [] where you can find links to attorney Ed Frey's brief on the case.
 A three judge panel is expected to rubberstamp Gallagher's decision, however members of the public are welcome to come and be witnesses to this travesty.
 As a tangential but not entirely irrelevant sidenote, the incompetent and relentless prosecutor of the Santa Cruz Eleven, Rebekah Young has left the D.A.'s office as of last Friday and reportedly is going to work as a reporter in Texas. Apparently exposing abuses may have an impact. []

2013-03-11 "Judge Timothy Volkmann denies dismissal for 'final four' in River Street bank occupation"
by Cathy Kelly from "Santa Cruz Sentinel" []:
SANTA CRUZ -- In a courtroom full of activists, Judge Timothy Volkmann on Monday denied a motion to dismiss trespassing and vandalism charges against four remaining defendants accused of the takeover of a former Wells Fargo Bank building on River Street.
Gabriella Ripley-Phipps, Franklin Alcantara, Cameron Laurendau and Brent Adams are among 11 people originally charged with trespassing, vandalism and felony conspiracy for a high-profile occupation of a vacant former bank on Nov. 30, 2011.
Summarizing the 350-page preliminary hearing transcript, Volkmann described Ripley-Phipps as the group spokesperson and said the other three were seen inside the building at least twice. He then noted "it appears the major tussle centers on the felony vandalism charge" and whether that was a "natural consequence of the (misdemeanor) trespass (charge)."
Volkmann said his colleague, Judge Paul Burdick -- who presided over the preliminary hearing -- found that the vandalism was a natural and probable cause of the trespass due to the size and emotionally charged nature of the crowd, the stacking of furniture against the doors and other barricading behavior, the length of time they stayed inside, and other factors.
As prosecutor Rebekah Young put it, "They were in there for the long haul."
The defense challenged Young's theory that the four are guilty as aiders and abetters. In other words, that if they entered the bank with the crowd, and if the damage to the building was a "natural and probable" result of that entering, they are guilty of vandalism even without direct evidence of their part in the destruction of property.
Volkmann listened to Santa Cruz defense attorneys Lisa McCamey, Jesse Ruben, Bryan Hackett and Alexis Briggs argue that there is little or no direct evidence of who damaged the bank. They also argued the vandalism charge could not hold under the aiding and abetting theory without more proof of the circumstances surrounding the entering of the building.
"There is no evidence they agreed to trespass," McCamey said. "Their mere presence is not enough for this theory."
Volkmann ruled against them, noting there is a lower standard of proof the District Attorneys' Office must meet at the preliminary hearing stage. He said the defense attorneys' arguments "may be applicable" at trial.
Trial is set for May 13, but Ruben said he anticipates a conflict due to a homicide trial he is taking part in.
The group is due back in court April 8 for a status hearing.
A group of supporters and activists came to court for the afternoon hearing, as they have several times, with flyers urging "Drop the Charges! Santa Cruz Eleven: The Final Four."
The case began after people swarmed into the former bank after an Occupy Santa Cruz march, causing damage now estimated at about $25,000 and sparking a tense situation with police. Three days later, the group walked away.
The four remaining defendants are out of custody.
Earlier, Burdick dismissed charges against seven people due to insufficient evidence. He also dismissed a conspiracy charge the group had faced and fined the District Attorney's Office $500 for failing to provide evidence to defense attorneys.

Santa Cruz Eleven--The Final Four Demand Dismissal of Charges Monday March 11
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Location Details: 701 Ocean St. County Courthouse Dept. 3
 Fighting Back Against D.A. Bob Lee's Attack on Occupy Santa Cruz activists. They are falsely charged with vandalism for a peaceful protest in the now 5-years vacant Wells Fargo-leased bank building at 75 River St.
 Most recent stories:
* What Your $100,000+ is paying for: Transcript of the Santa Cruz 11 Preliminary Hearing 1-7 []
* Laurendeau Arraigned Yet Again As D.A.'s Merry-Go-Round Twirls On []
* Another Ridiculous Round of Arraignments []

Message by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) [831-423-4833] [] [309 Cedar PMB #1B S.C. 3-6-13]
 Santa Cruz Eleven: The Final Four
 Monday, March 11th 1:30 PM Department 3
 Motion to Dismiss All Charges
 Gabriella Ripply-Phipps, Brent Adams, Cameron Laurendau, & Angel Alcantara face concocted charges of felony vandalism & misdemeanor trespass in the discredited SC-11 case. Scores of people protested the fraudulent foreclosure actions of Wells Fargo Bank by peacefully occupying the now 5-years vacant Wells Fargo-leased bank building at 75 River St. for 3 ½ days in late 2011. Unable to negotiate a community center there, the protesters left without citation or arrest. 2 ½ months later, SCPD and D.A. Bob Lee targeted eleven community activists with false felony charges for trespass and vandalism in the building, as part of a crackdown on the Occupy Movement.
 What followed was 13 months of harassment and tens of thousands of dollars of public expense in endless court hearings. Several of the 11 lost their jobs; one attempted suicide, and one has her housing ripped from under her.
 D.A. Lee's prosecuting attorney Rebekah Young repeatedly withheld evidence & refused to obey court orders. In an unusual and unprecedented sanction, Judge Paul Burdick fined her $500. In an exchange caught on video at , Lee publicly told his victims “if you will pay [Wells Fargo] $23,000, it would be a different ball game”. Apparently acting as the bank's bill collector, Lee wants inpoverished and innocent defendants to pay for the inflated clean-up costs at the still-vacant structure. There was some graffiti and some damaged furniture done by parties unknown. SCPD took no action to pinpoint actual vandals, instead using the protest as an opportunity to frame well-known long-time police critics & media at the protest.
 No evidence links any of the four with any vandalism. They face a possible four years in prison if convicted under a tortured “if they were there, they aided and abetted” theory. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo continues to destroy families, confiscate homes, and pass on obscene bonuses to its top brass.
 Charges against Occupy activists have been dropped in many cities including Chicago, Occupy Nashville, Occupy Oakland (the Ice Cream 3), Occupy Phoenix, Occupy Santa Rosa, Salt Lake City, Boston, Minneapolis, Albany, St. Paul, New York, Dallas, Erie, Charleston, Raleigh, and D.C. Santa Cruz authoritieed still ignore bankster crimes and ignore human rights for homeless people.
 Support Activists Under Attack in Santa Cruz!
 Drop the Charges: End the Witchhunt!
 Sign the petition at []
 The opinions on this message are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the SC-11.

"Motion to Dismiss in the Case of Gabriella Ripley-Phipps" []:
The motion is also publicly viewable at the County Building at the Clerk's Office. Attorneys for Brent Adams and Cameron Laurendau filed separate motions. The attorney for Angel Alcantara joined in the motions, but didn't bother to write one of his own.

"Response to the District Attorney's Motion Contesting the Motion to Dismiss" []: 
D.A. Rebekah Young filed a motion I have not yet been able to secure a copy of. Her motion responded to Hackett's initial 995 motion to dismiss all charges against Gabriella. The brief above is Hackett's response to Young's motion.

"Rebekah Young's Response to the Three 995 Motions" []:
Why the mendacious, incompetent, and contemptuous assistant D.A. Rebekah Young should be allowed to continue on this case is the real question that needs answering. Just as Wells Fargo is the real criminal that needs prosecuting.
 I've only had a brief look at the motions. Still...
 Young misrepresents the testimony describing Gabriella as a "leader" and "spokesperson".
 Actually, since there was no evidence presented that Gabriella was in the building at all, she can't be guilty of trespass. And if that's not true, she can't be guilty of "aiding and abetting vandalism". It's quite a stretch to claim that vandalism is a foreseeable, probable, and/or necessary consequence of trespass.
 In fact, Young substitutes the word "possible consequence" in her argument--which, may misstate the law.
 In point of fact didn't the testimony show that Gabriella was an intermediary who, at the request of the SCPD, facilitated a peaceful exit from the building?
 For those who want to pore over the actual transcript of the Preliminary Hearing, go to "What Your $100,000+ is paying for: Transcript of the Santa Cruz 11 Preliminary Hearing 1-7" at [].

"Attorney Alexis Briggs Dismissal (995) Motion for Cameron Laurendeau" []:
Alexis Briggs, who arguably was the most high-profile in challenging the bogus Young/Lee prosecution as well as filing the most motions, supplied most of the motions for this story (which are public documents).

"Response to Rebekah Young's Defense of Her Persecution/Prosecution" []:
Rebekah Young's Motion was the same for all four defendants and can be found in the main story above. This is Briggs's response on behalf of Cameron Laurendeau.

995 Motion to Dismiss for Brent Adams []:
Lisa McCamey, court-appointed attorney for Brent Adams, filed this Motion to Dismiss.

"Response in Reply to Rebekah Young's Motion for Brent Adams" []:
Only 3 of the 4 attorneys filed 995 Motions. Attorney Jesse Rubin, who has had little communication with his client out of court, declined to do so, other than joining in with the arguments of the three other attorneys. Rubin argues vigorously in court, but apparently doesn't have much use for input or dialogue with his clients outside of court. Or such is my impression. Angel might disagree.

"Transcript of the Preliminary Hearing On-Line in Prior Indymedia Posting":
To follow the references in the defense and prosecution documents, go to "What Your $100,000+ is paying for: Transcript of the Santa Cruz 11 Preliminary Hearing 1-7" at [].
The Sentinel's typical coverage of the 995 hearing, which resulted in the rubberstamping of all of the charges against the 4 defendants, can be found at [].

Last of Santa Cruz Eleven Goes to Arraignment
Friday, February 01, 8:15 AM - 8:45 AM
701 Ocean St. County Courthouse Department 6 (though the calendar may then be moved to another courtroom).  
 Cameron Laurendeau, one of four defendants against whom reckless and false prosecution is still proceeding, from the original Santa Cruz Eleven, goes to another arraignment in Judge Burdick's court.
 Seven of the Santa Cruz Eleven have already had all charges dismissed against them. Cameron and three others still face a possible four years in prison for a peaceful protest involving the occupation of a vacant bank building leased by Wells Fargo Bank, and owned by Barry Swenson.
 Cameron's lawyer, Alexis Briggs, has been the most active defense counsel of the group, pressing successful (if small) sanctions against prosecution D.A. Rebekah Young for violating court orders to turn over evidence.
 For more background go to "Another Ridiculous Round of Arraignments" at [].
 Even though this is simply another in a series of unending and fruitless court dates, supporters are encouraged to attend in solidarity.
2013-01-02 "Laurendeau Arraigned Yet Again As D.A.'s Merry-Go-Round Twirls On" by Robert Norse:
Visiting Judge Sillman presided in Courtroom 6 as the last of the SC-11 defendants Cameron Laurendeau pleaded not guilty to felony vandalism and misdemeanor trespass in the Now-entering-its-second-year Crush-the-Occupy-Movement sideshow orchestrated (rather badly) by D.A. Bob Lee and his fumbling deputy Rebekah Young.
 Laurendeau's attorney Alex Briggs advised the court they would be filing a 995 Motion (Motion to Dismiss) slated for a hearing March 11 1:30 PM in Department 6. A similar motion resulted in the dismissal of charges against Alex Darocy and Bradley Stuart last year. Charges were initially dismissed against Laurendeau and Angel Alcantara at a earlier Preliminary Hearing, but Young insisted on refiling them. I went into some of the details in "Another Ridiculous Round of Arraignments" at [].
 I hope to post Brigg's motion some days before the hearing. I'll be playing an interview with Briggs on Sunday February 2 at 11 AM at 101.3 FM (or []).
 Young suggested the trial of Laurendeau and three others would take a week; Briggs suggested it would take several. Previously Young had suggested the Preliminary Hearing would take hours--when it ended up taking several days in all cases.
 Trial readiness will be 9 AM on May 9th; jury trial to begin on May 13th for Laurendeau, Alcantara, Ripplyphipps, and Adams. Unless the D.A. responds to public pressure (or private wisdom) and drops the charges.
 I have a copy of the last Preliminary Hearing--on the basis of which, Laurendeau and the three others were forwarded for further court and D.A. harassment if anyone wants to see it. Perhaps I'll post a hard copy in the Public Library (it's about 250 pages). The same Preliminary Hearing resulted in myself, Becky Johnson, and Desiree Foster having all charges dismissed.
 It's not clear if or to whom the D.A.'s office will appeal the unusual (and token) finding that Young violated court orders in denying 11 defendants important evidence. If they do appeal, as Lee has said he will in the Sentinel, then he and Judge Burdick may fight it out in some higher court (though we're talking about the slightest slap on the wrist here).
 We are all of course innocent of an violent or arguably any illegal behavior, as I've detailed in past posts. See [] for the thoughts of others. For my analysis simply search on this website for "Norse".
2013-02-03 "DA Bob Lee's witch hunt meant to cow prospective activists" by John E. Colby:
DA Bob Lee's witch hunt against the Santa Cruz Eleven is meant to cow potential activists — fired up by the success of the Occupy movement — from performing mass acts of civil disobedience. DA Bob Lee sent a message that anyone who performs acts of civil disobedience will be charged will felonies and dragged (even w/o evidence) through the courts.
 It's a rather crude way of stifling dissent. That's why it is so important that the Santa Cruz Eleven fight back to hold DA Bob Lee and his prosecutor Rebekah Young accountable for abusing their positions of authority under color of law to deprive the Santa Cruz Eleven of rights guaranteed by the Constitution and U.S. law.
 DA Bob Lee is practicing a crude kind of social control in case anyone in Santa Cruz considers organizing mass civil disobedience against entrenched authority.

"Santa Cruz 11" update from G. Walkabouting:
To clarify; the SantaCruzEleven (now four?) were closer to OccupySantaCruz (2011) than PeaceCamp2010, although there were some people common to all three situations (especially Becky & Robert):
* Linda continues to struggle against 647(e), PeaceCamp2010 [].
* As does Ed Frey (the lawyer and former 'cellie'), PeaceCamp2010 [].
* And me, PeaceCamp2010 (2011 and 2012 too, although that was a 602 thing, until trial) [] [].
My understanding is that Ed, and eventually Linda's lawyer (as well as the remaining SantaCruzEleven lawyers), could use some help locating amicus brief writers.  After the appellate process hits a dead end (as it has for Ed and I, for the PeaceCamp2010 persecution), a writ of habeas corpus seems to be the last hope, for anyone seeking traditional redress.
The main takeaway from the experience, for me, is that District Attorney is possibly the most important vote one can cast locally, if one can vote locally via an honest election process.

"Santa Cruz 11" update from Steven Argue:
Santa Cruz courts are currently persecuting people who were part of a three day occupation of an abandoned Wells Fargo Bank in 2011. The abandoned building was seen as having potential use as a community center and shelter for people without housing. Each activist is facing two felony charges and two misdemeanor charges and could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison if found guilty. These activists have become known as the Santa Cruz 11 due to the original number of defendants.
 The Santa Cruz 11 are being prosecuted for a peaceful occupation that included a policy, posted to the wall, of carrying out no vandalism. Yet, protesters have been charged with “felony vandalism”, “conspiracy to vandalize and trespass” (another felony), and two types of trespassing misdemeanors. These charges are not backed by actual evidence. None of the Santa Cruz 11 were arrested on the scene and six of the 11 who were charged are high profile journalists who have been critical of the Santa Cruz Police Department and/or Santa Cruz City Council. Not targeted for police repression were individuals present who are more friendly to the status quo, like former Santa Cruz Mayor Katherine Beiers.

2013-01-22 UPDATE: "This morning 3 of 4 remaining SC11 defendants were in court for our scheduled arraignment. .... Jury trail is scheduled for May 13. I'm grateful for your continued support." -Brent Adams

2013-01-09 "Police, D.A.'s Office Respond To Charges Dropped For 3 Bank Protesters" by Jacqueline Tualla from "46 KION-CBS"
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- A Santa Cruz judge drops charges for three of seven protesters accused of taking over an empty bank building in 2011. On Wednesday, law enforcement expressed its concern with the decision.
"It's an absolutely ridiculous, legal decision," said Steve Clark, deputy chief for the Santa Cruz Police Department.
Deputy Chief Clark said the court opened the door for other people who think they can get away with breaking the law.
"Essentially what the court has done is given approval for this kind of behavior and said it's ok to go in and violate somebody's property rights to this degree and we won't hold you accountable," he said.
Police said what the outcome means is they can't handle similar situations in a way that they said is most appropriate, so they might have to get more aggressive in the future.
On Tuesday, the judge decided prosecutors didn't have enough evidence on the three protesters.
"The trespass laws are really, oddly specific, and they require a sequence of events to occur and I couldn't show that they occurred for three out of the seven defendants. I can't say that he was acting arbitralily. I can't," said Rebekah Young, assistant district attorney for the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office.
Young said there were technical issues with formatting the video used as evidence in the case, in addition to audio issues. She said for that, the judge fined the D.A.'s Office $500.
Still, she said while she feels the judge did everything he could, the protesters shouldn't have been able to walk.
"He followed the letter of the law, but unfortunately those laws are overly convoluted and out of date," she said.
"How the court can look at property owners with a straight face and make them believe in any way that they're going to protect their interests astounds me," he said.
The D.A.'s Office said it plans to appeal the fine.

2012-09 "Linda Lemaster Convicted for Resting at Human Rights Protest for the Homeless, Sentencing December Third" update from Steve Argue of "Liberation News (RT-SP)": Linda Lemaster, disabled, cannot sit for long periods of time, so she laid down at a 2010 protest against the anti-homeless laws that make it illegal for homeless people to sit, lie-down, or sleep in the city of Santa Cruz.
On November ninth she was convicted for this "crime" and now faces up to six months in jail under the California "anti-lodging" law.
Her sentencing will be on December third. Linda is the third person now convicted for participating in that 2010 protest.
Gary Johnson and Ed Frey have been convicted for sleeping at that same protest under the same law that Linda is being persecuted.
Gary Johnson began a six month sentence on August 27, 2012 at the Santa Cruz County jail and Ed Frey was put under house arrest for six months on August 8, 2012.
Along with the need for a revolution, a strong protest is needed for Linda on October third.

For more on these cases see:
* USA: Human Rights Activist Ordered to Six Months of Jail, More Repression Scheduled []
* Some History of Blatant Political Repression in Santa Cruz, California []
Post-sentencing observations from Steve Argue:
Linda was sentenced to community service and probation for violating the anti-homeless law against sleep. She did so at a protest that was bringing attention to just these kinds of anti-homeless laws.
They were a bit softer on her than others arrested at the protest for the same "crime". Gary Johnson got jail time and Ed Frey was sentenced to house arrest.

2012-07-29 "Human Rights Activist Ordered to Six Months of Jail, More Repression Scheduled in Santa Cruz, California"
by Steven Argue from "Liberation News" newswire, cross-post "" newswire
This article is edited, and can be seen in it's complete form at the link cited. This is an article of Liberation News, subscribe free: []
Radio Update on Santa Cruz Repression: Matt speaks with Steven Argue, writer and editor at Liberation News, about the case of Ed Frey, lawyer and human rights activist sentenced to six months in jail for protesting homelessness. 3PM pacific/6PM eastern, Friday, August 10th. The live stream and the archived interview will be linked here: [].
Also, read up on "Some History of Blatant Political Repression in Santa Cruz, California" by Steven Argue
The case of Ed Frey is reminiscent of an earlier Santa Cruz case where Sandy Loranger did time in jail for feeding the homeless soup. When the judge offered her counseling instead of jail Sandy Loranger replied, "If feeding my fellow man is a crime, I am beyond rehabilitation."
[Photo Credit, by Bradley Stuart from Indybay. Human rights activist, Ed Frey, speaking, has been ordered to six months in jail starting August eighth.]

 On August 24th Judge Moody ordered human rights activist and attorney, Ed Frey, to begin a six month sentence, ordering him to check in for jail at 9:00 AM on August 8th, 2012.
 Ed Frey was arrested in 2010 for protesting on the Santa Cruz County Courthouse steps. He was opposing Santa Cruz laws that make it illegal for the homeless to sleep at night. Ed Frey’s only act of civil disobedience was sleeping outside in solidarity with the homeless. In Santa Cruz, the human rights of the poor to even survive are routinely violated on the most basic levels. Sleep at night and covering-up with blankets are both illegal in Santa Cruz for people outside or in a vehicle. Ed Frey was arrested protesting these laws at a three month protest that was called “Peace Camp 2010”. That protest initially started in response to a 63 year-old homeless minister, Robert Facer, being ticketed for sleeping on the beach on a night when all of the homeless shelters were full. Peace Camp 2010 initially attracted many homeless people and other activists, but it was eventually shut down through police repression.
 Other activists still facing abuse stemming from that 2010 protest include Gary Johnson and Linda Lemaster. Gary Johnson, like Ed Frey, has also already been sentenced to six months in jail. On August 24th Gary Johnson will be subjected to a hearing similar to Ed Frey’s most recent one. At that time, Gary could also be ordered to begin his six month sentence. Activist Linda Lemaster is scheduled for jury trial on October 14th for sleeping at Peace Camp 2010 as well.
 In addition to prosecuting protesters for sleep “crimes”, the Santa Cruz courts are currently persecuting nine protesters who were part of a three day occupation of an abandoned Wells Fargo Bank in 2011. The abandoned building was seen as having potential use as a community center and shelter for people without housing. Each activist is facing two felony charges and two misdemeanor charges and could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison if found guilty. These activists have become known as the Santa Cruz 11 due to the original number of defendants. Nine are still being prosecuted.
 The Santa Cruz 11 are being prosecuted for a peaceful occupation that included a policy, posted to the wall, of carrying out no vandalism. Yet, protesters have been charged with “felony vandalism”, “conspiracy to vandalize and trespass” (another felony), and two types of trespassing misdemeanors. These charges are not backed by actual evidence. None of the Santa Cruz 11 were arrested on the scene and six of the 11 who were charged are high profile journalists who have been critical of the Santa Cruz Police Department and/or Santa Cruz City Council. Not targeted for police repression were individuals present who are more friendly to the status quo, like former Santa Cruz Mayor Katherine Beiers.
 On August 20th, seven of the Santa Cruz 11, Cameron Laurendau, Robert Norse, Becky Johnson, Gabriella Ripplyphipps, Brent Adams, and Franklin Alcantara will be appearing in the court of Judge Burdick for their so-called “crimes”. As opposed to this kind of repression being carried out by the local liberal capitalist government of Santa Cruz, the Revolutionary Tendency of the Socialist Party demands the charges against the Santa Cruz 11 be dropped. Instead of seeing the occupation of a bank as a crime, we call for the nationalization of all banks without compensation. And we call for the proletarian seizure of all unused buildings under the control of the banks to provide shelter and housing for those who need it. Meanwhile, the local Democrat Party, which controls the Santa Cruz City Council, sends out their cops to carry out repression against people in the community demanding justice.
 Likewise, the liberal government of Santa Cruz sends out its cops to harass the homeless. Numerous laws on the books are there specifically to target the homeless. This includes MC 6.36.010, a law that makes the acts of sleeping or covering up with a blanket punishable by $100 to $200 fines. For the homeless this is often unpayable. Democrat Mayor Don Lane recently passed another law that makes ignoring three sleeping tickets a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. And a third Santa Cruz City law now also makes any third infraction (of any kind) an automatic misdemeanor as well.
 During Peace Camp 2010, however, the Sheriff’s department and Santa Cruz DA chose to arrest and prosecute Peace Camp 2010 activists under a much harsher California state law. The law they used was the so-called “Unlawful-Lodging Law” 647e. At the time of their arrest, those found guilty of violations 647e could be punished by up to six months in jail. Since that time, however, the Democrat controlled State legislature doubled the penalty. The reality in courts has now been laid bare, that under this law the act of sleeping, either by people who are homeless or people protesting in solidarity with the homeless, is punishable by up to a year in jail. Since the arrests at Peace Camp 2010 this same so-called “Unlawful-Lodging Law” 647e was also used to attack Occupy Santa Cruz and a number of Occupy activists did face 647e charges.
 Gary Johnson and Ed Frey were convicted of sleeping in 2011 and sentenced to six months in jail. Their convictions were secured in the court room of the notoriously pro-police and anti-homeless Judge Gallagher, nicknamed “Grim Gavel” Gallagher. Revealing the political nature of the draconian sentences, Judge Gallagher told homeless activist Gary Johnson he “could get some sleep in jail”.
 In June, 2011, with the courts facing a public outcry after two weeks in jail, Ed Frey was released on bail pending appeal with his bail of $50,000 dollars (for sleeping) reduced to $110. Supporters quickly passed the hat and Ed Frey was released from jail on bail. Gary Johnson was similarly released the next week. Those six month sentences, however, have continued to hang over the heads of Ed Frey and Gary Johnson and now the oppressive capitalist state is demanding Ed Frey do the time, starting August 8th.
 Another protester charged at that time, Eliot Anderson, was freed by a hung jury that failed to convict him. A juror said of the case, “Anderson should not have to gas his dog to try to get into a shelter to legally sleep.”
 In the trial of Gary Johnson and Ed Frey many potential jurors were upset by the fact that they were to sit through a two week trial for the “crime” of sleep. One example was an elementary school teacher who said, "When I first came to Santa Cruz, I lived in my van for three years. During that time, I was hassled, arrested, and jailed. There is no way I could be impartial in this case considering the pain these people are suffering." A number of potential jurors said similar things, but of course they never made it onto the jury. People who are aware of what is going on generally don’t make it onto juries in the United States. Such dumbed-down juries do as they’re told, as this one did, in a typical manner when they were told they weren’t allowed to have their own opinions. In the oft repeated mantra of blind stupidity and injustice in America’s capitalist courts, Judge Gallagher told the jury, "Even if you disagree with the law, you must follow the law."
 Four protesters were convicted under 647e for sleeping at the protest. Two did not show up for the absurdity of sentencing and warrants were issued. Ed Frey and Gary Johnson were offered 400 hours of Community Service and 3 years probation for sleeping. In response, Gary Johnson who is homeless, asked, "How can I take probation to obey all laws, when you've defined "sleeping" as lodging to the jury, making it a misdemeanor crime? How can I not sleep for six months during probation?" Judge Gallagher told him “he could get some sleep in jail.” On basic principle and inability to comply, both Gary Johnson and Attorney Ed Frey turned down probation and were then sentenced to six months in jail.
 This was reminiscent of an earlier Santa Cruz case where Sandy Loranger did time in jail for feeding the homeless soup. When the judge offered her counseling instead of jail Sandy Loranger replied, "If feeding my fellow man is a crime, I am beyond rehabilitation."
 Peace Camp 2010 was simply an act of free speech. It was a peaceful protest with the only act of civil disobedience being the illegal act of sleeping outside. Protest facilities included a port-o-potty provided by Attorney Ed Frey. This helped provide the homeless with a safe place to sleep for months, despite the city government’s failure to provide such needed relief for its citizens.
 In addition to Gary Johnson’s six month sentence, Gary Johnson has now also been convicted of additional counts of sleeping since that protest. This is for sleeping last winter outside of the Santa Cruz courthouse with a sign that read “Sleep is Not a Crime”. On those additional counts of sleeping, Judge Gallagher sentenced Gary Johnson to 2 years in prison on a suspended sentence, which means the sentence could be carried out if Gary Johnson is later harassed by police and found guilty of additional “crimes”.
 The “Unlawful-Lodging Law” 647e for which Gary Johnson and Ed Frey were arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced was also recently used in Santa Barbara. This was in August 2010 when the Santa Barbara Police ticketed Courtney Caswell-Peyton, a Santa Barbara disabled woman who fell asleep in her wheel chair. She showed-up for court worried about the possibility of getting her first conviction for any crime. Facing strong protest in that case, the Santa Barbara DA dismissed the charge in the “interests of justice”. While happy about not being convicted, she left court saying she was still homeless and questioning why she had no place to sleep.
 Unlike the Santa Barbara dismissal, Gary Johnson and Ed Frey were convicted in the notoriously bad Santa Cruz courts. Judge Gallagher is making an example of them for standing-up against the anti-homeless laws of Santa Cruz and California.
 “Unlawful-Lodging Law” 647e states, “Who lodges in any building, structure, vehicle, or place, whether public or private, without the permission of the owner or person entitled to the possession or in control of it” “are guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor". According to the Santa Cruz courts, Santa Barbra Police, and the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s department, “lodging” means the same thing as “sleeping”. In May 2011, this same anti-homeless law 647e was made even worse with the State Legislature making a second violation punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. So now homelessness in the state of California is punishable by up to a year in jail if one is caught sleeping twice.
 Voting for this worsened anti-homeless law were Democrats and Republicans alike, including local Santa Cruz Democrat and darling of many reformist liberals, Bill Monning. He voted for that increased penalty at the same time that people who actually stand-up for human rights were fighting against it with their personal freedom on the line. Not a single Democrat or Republican voted against.
 As the California state government, dominated by Democrats, passes anti-working class austerity and extremely harsh anti-homeless legislation, the Democrat holding power in Washington DC, Barrack Obama, wages wars in an increasing number of the world’s countries. These are wars for the profit of arms manufacturers, oil corporations, and other imperialist capitalists. Likewise, Obama locks-up suspected whistle blower, Bradley Manning, for exposing U.S. crimes against humanity in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bradley Manning is accused of releasing the helicopter footage that shows U.S. troops nonchalantly gunning down civilians including journalists, first aid respondents, and children in cold blood. Instead of charges of murder for those who committed it, it is Bradley Manning who goes to prison under Obama while Obama has publicly stated his opinion that Manning “is guilty”. Likewise, trillions of dollars that could be used in a saner socialist society for housing, healthcare, jobs, and education are instead squandered on war under this insane capitalist system.
 Meanwhile, the local Democrats in power in Santa Cruz send out their cops to silence protests for human rights for the homeless, to silence protests against the trillions of tax dollars given to the banks, and cut the hours of care under the In Home Support Services program by 3.6% in 2011, hours of care that are needed to keep the disabled, elderly, and dying living and in their homes. While the Democrats of the Santa Cruz City Council support the city’s anti-homeless laws and police repression, they oppose measures that would help fight homelessness like an increase in the minimum wage and have been part of carrying out austerity that includes the lay-off of workers and cuts in homeless services while at the same time hiring more cops.
 As the current crisis of capitalism threatens the break-down all that is left that is civil in our society, the Democrats charge ahead with the Republicans in making sure it is the poor and working class who pay for the crisis of capitalism, not capitalist profits. All reformist dreams of the Democrat Party in any way being a source of any sort of “hope” should be abandoned in favor of recognizing reality. Labor unions must abandon their illusions in the Democrats and stop giving them our money and instead prepare to fight by putting union dues into strike funds. The true power of labor will never be found groveling at the feet of hostile Democrat politicians. Instead, labor has the potential to win demands by shutting down the profits of the capitalists.
 As opposed to the Democrat’s program of more war, more cops, criminalization of poverty, political repression, and austerity; labor must move forward with our own demands. Those could include a massive jobs program to house the homeless and slow climate change, the seizure of housing foreclosed by the banks to be used by those who need it, and an end to capitalist medicine in the United States, a major cause of debt, homelessness, and death. Without an independent fight-back of the working class, using the power of the strike for political demands, the situation will just continue to grow bleaker.
* Stop the Repression! Overturn the Convictions of Ed Frey and Gary Johnson! Drop the Charges Against Linda Lemaster!
* Drop the Charges Against the Santa Cruz Eleven!
* End Laws making it Illegal for the Homeless to Sleep at Night!
* Nationalize the Banks! Seize Housing From the Banks for those Who Need Housing!
* Expropriate the 1%! For a Socialist Planned Economy to Provide Housing, Jobs, Healthcare, and Education For All! No Rent Charged Above 10% of Income!
* Smash the Capitalist State in a Proletarian Revolution! Disband all U.S. Police Forces, Prisons, and Courts (all of which are anti-poor, anti-working class, and racist). Build a Proletarian Democracy!
A revolutionary workers’ party should be built to advocate and lead on just such a class struggle program. To remain a tool of the working class in the long run such a party also needs to have an anti-capitalist program for the building of socialism. Political parties without a clear and rapid revolutionary anti-capitalist program, once in power, just become mere rulers over the inherent injustices of the capitalist system. Instead of capitalism, an egalitarian socialist economy in the United States with production based on human need rather than capitalist profit could easily provide everyone with a job, housing, health care, and free education. Such a society needs to be built on principles of workers’ democracy rather than Stalinist dictatorship or American style dictatorship of the wealthy.
Check out the Statement of Purpose of the Revolutionary Tendency of the Socialist Party (RTSP) []
Join RTSP discussions on Facebook: [!/groups/RevolutionaryTendency]

2012-03-05 "Foreclosure Fight Coming Up!"
by Robert Norse ( rnorse3 [at] )
The legalized persecution of the Santa Cruz 11 continues--as does the Occupy Santa Cruz struggle to mobilize the community against abusive foreclosures locally.
Sunday March 11th 1 PM Courthouse Steps
Sheriff Wowak: Stop the Foreclosures !
Join the Raging Grannies, Street Theatre, Robbie & Friends, & more. Bank pit stops to include mic-checks,
inspirational speakers, signs, chants, drums. Moderator training & meditation at 12:30 PM
Sponsors include Occupy Santa Cruz Foreclosure Working Group, WILPF, Brown Berets, RCNV,
Occupy Monterey, Occupy Cabrillo,and the UCSC General Assembly.
Fight Foreclosure Fraud. Meetings every Saturday at 4pm. More info: [].
Cautionary Note: Daylight Savings Time Begins March 11th Set your clocks ahead an hour!
Exploiting unused building space for corporate profit in a era of deepening unemployment and homelessness should be a crime. However, local authorities instead make it a crime to sleep outside or in a vehicle on any public property. This degrades the health, dignity, and safety of Santa Cruz's 1500-2000 homeless people for whom there will be less than 200 beds on April 15 when the Armory Winter Shelter closes.
Some OSC activists continue to maintain a presence at the Occuplaza in front of the Courthouse on Water
St. in spite of harassment, assault, and the seizure of the information table by Sheriff Phil Wowak's deputies. The
6 PM OSC General Assembly continues to defy the unconstitutional 7 PM to 7 AM curfew Tuesdays & Thursdays.
D.A. Bob Lee continues his selective and harassing prosecution of OSC activists on inflated, inflammatory charges of “conspiracy”, “vandalism” and “trespass”. The charges appear to be SCPD payback for the embarrassing though brief peaceful occupation of a 3 ½ year vacant bank building downtown, leased by Wells Fargo Bank, a major predatory lender, as speculative investment.
Five of the eleven charged are reporters for alternative media. Total charges: 44; Total Felony charges:
22 Our District Attorney's Office may now lead the country as the False Felony Fabricating Capital of the Country, with Santa Cruz's D.A. Bob Lee charging more felonies against OSC activists than any other city, including Oakland and New York. Estimated cost: Several hundred thousand dollars and rising.
Ed Frey, Gary Johnson, Linda Lemaster, & Chris Doyon, the PeaceCamp Four face 6 months jail for
protesting the City's Sleeping Ban with Judge John Gallagher's backing the unconstitutionally vague PC 647e.

Anti-Activist Arraignments 8:15 AM Dept. 7
Tuesday March 6th
Foreclosure Speak-Out 9 AM 5th Floor County Bldg
Other Court Dates
• Arraignments: Becky Johnson & Robert Norse 8:15 AM Tuesday March 6th Dept. 7
• Jury Trial for Gary Johnson 9 AM Monday March 19th Dept. 2
• Preliminary Hearing Santa Cruz Eleven 9 AM April 23 Dept. 7
Other Local Protest and Solidarity & Events Actions:
• Non-Violence Training March 7th 5 PM Courthouse steps on Water St.
• March Against Foreclosure Fraud March 11th 1 PM Courthouse steps on Water St.
• Mid-March: Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry speaks and marches TBA
• April 1 National Day of Action for the Homeless Right to Exist: Housekeys not Handcuffs TBA
D.A. Lee: Drop all charges against the Santa Cruz Eleven & the PeaceCamp Four ! 831-454-2400
OSC meets Tuesdays & Thursdays at 6 PM, Saturdays 2 PM on the steps of the County courthouse; Sundays at Main Post Office
More on OSC at [] & []
HUFF meets Wednesdays 10 AM to noon at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific Ave.
Free Radio Santa Cruz Updates Sundays 9:30 AM to 1 PM, 6 PM- 8 PM, Tuesdays 6-9 PM, Thursdays 6-8 PM 427-3772
Flier by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 [] 309 Cedar PMB #14B S.C. 3-5-12

2012-01-11 "Indefinite Detention Santa Cruz Style: SleepCriminal Gary Johnson Held on $5000 Bail" by Robert Norse
Gary Johnson, the homeless activist doing a nightly protest against the Sleeping Ban, the Lodging Ban, and the curfew at the Courthouse, was held from Friday 1-6 through Tuesday 1-10. On Tuesday morning he was brought into Department 2 (John Gallagher's court) in shackles and manacles in his orange jump suit on $5000 bail. He left in the same condition after getting a February 3 1:30 PM date for a demurrer hearing before Gallagher (challenging the Constitutionality of PC 647e, the Lodging Ban. He was refused release and returned to jail on a bail of $5000.
Ed Frey, who was convicted with Johnson last year, of the same crime he's been charged with for last week's peaceful political protest, made several arguments before Judge Gallagher. Frey argued that Gary had made all his court dates, his so-called crime was a non-violent action which hurt no one, and that, as a homeless man, he had no legal place to sleep in the City of Santa Cruz.
 Judge Gallagher insisted he could go to the "homeless shelter". To this, Frey responded that the waiting list was many weeks long and the shelter could only accommodate a fraction of the homeless community. Gallagher echoed the district attorney's argument against a no-bail release pending trial saying that Johnson had told deputies he would be returning to sleep there in protest when he was initially arrested.
 Johnson, however, said, through Frey, that he would obey all laws, presumably including 647e, the Lodging Ban, which Gallagher has previous interpreted to include sleeping. Frey pointed out that under that ruling, there was no legal place at all for Gary to sleep, and that sleep was a biological necessity.
 Gallagher pointed out that Frey was "getting angry". Frey agreed. February 3 at 1:30 PM was the date and time set for a "demurrer" hearing, which will argue that the law is unconstitutional. Two similar arguments in prior cases have been turned down by Gallagher.

 Jury nullification is the right of a jury to say "not guilty" in spite of the judge's instructions and the law's wording in the interests of justice.
 Gallagher's clear bias led me to suggest to Frey that instead of another demurrer hearing before Gallagher, Johnson demand a speedy jury trial (required within 30 days, since he's in custody). If one juror refused to find Johnson guilty--seeing the absurdity of the charges perhaps--then the D.A. might be less likely to go for a second trial (costing thousands of bucks). It might also discourage deputies from citing Occupy Santa Cruz protesters for the offense---something repeatedly done, followed by "disappearing charges" which don't show up when the victims come to court. Frey said he would propose this to Johnson.
 Linda Lemaster's attorney Jonathan Gettleman has used a different strategy against the protest-smashing 647e charge. He filed a writ of habeas corpus in response to her 647e charge to which the D.A.'s office has recently responded. Gettleman's brief can be found at []

 Meanwhile a review of court records reveals that the City's Sleeping Ban (MC 6.36.010a), the law against which Johnson has been protesting for several years as far back as PeaceCamp2010 shows that the new fine for sleeping after 11 PM outside or in a vehicle on public property is $155.
 Those cited with this law are advised to get on a waiting list at the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center in order to have such future tickets dismissed. HLOSC Director Monica Martinez is refusing to write letters to the court acknowledging that the shelter is full--something previously done as a matter of course under HLOSC Directors Ken Cole and Doug Loisel. However, a law passed under protest pressure in the fall of 2010 requires the City Attorney to dismiss MC 6.36 charges if the person charged was on a waiting list for the HLOSC or the River St. (mini) Shelter.
 For those convicted of the City's Sleeping Ban or Blanket Ban (MC 6.36.010b), the law limits judges from giving more than 8 hours of Community Service. In Johnson's case, Commissioner Kim Baskett has twice defied this requirement and given him 25 hours last spring.
 Just as Gallagher refuses to follow the U.S. and California Constitutions, Baskett apparently has no problem ignoring even the city's own legal code when by doing so, she can punish poor people more severely.

2011-11-07 "Occupy Santa Cruz Stands Up to Order to Leave on November 16th; Protests to be held Monday and Tuesday" by Steven Argue
This is an article of Liberation News, subscribe free:
The Santa Cruz City Government has issued a permit to Occupy Santa Cruz that falsely accuses the camp of being unsafe and unsanitary. Yet the permit has a deadline of noon on November 16th at which time the city’s “authorization” of the right to protest ends.
In response the General Assembly of Occupy Santa Cruz passed a resolution on November 6th that states in part: “While the General Assembly of Occupy Santa Cruz appreciates the City authorities’ public recognition that our assembly is within our First Amendment rights, we want to make known that the unsolicited permit issued to us violates these rights. Our permit is the First Amendment.”
Yet in a letter from Democrat Mayor Ryan Coonerty to Occupy participant Justin White, Coonerty defends the City’s position saying, “First Amendment case law for the past hundred years recognizes that government can issue ‘reasonable time, place and manner" restrictions on public gatherings.’”
The Occupy Santa Cruz statement, however, states in no uncertain terms, “As people of the United States of America, our rights to freedom of speech and assembly do not end at a certain time of night, nor at noon on November 16th as indicated in the permit.”
After defending the City’s position, Coonerty goes on to say, “I hope the protest complies with the reasonable terms of the permit…” This request for compliance comes after he also tried to distance himself from the letter saying he didn’t write it and, “The permit and its enforcement was done by the Police and City Attorney.”
So Occupy Santa Cruz is supposed to believe that Mayor Coonerty has nothing to do with actions he supports and that are being carried out by the police department and city attorney’s office that he is the boss of.
In addition to the eviction notice masked as a “permit”, the cops of the local Democratic Party controlled government have been ticketing protesters under an anti-homeless law that makes sleep illegal. The law is 647e, a California state law that was recently toughened up by the Democrat controlled state legislature making two acts of sleeping potentially punishable by a year in jail.
Two Santa Cruz protesters for the homeless, Ed Frey and Gary Johnson, were convicted last summer of 647e and sentenced to 6 months in jail. This was for protesting on the county steps against Santa Cruz laws that make it illegal for the homeless to sleep at night. Bail was set for Ed Frey, pending appeal, at $50,000. Their only act of civil disobedience was sleeping. This occurred at a three month protest called “Peace Camp 2010”. Revealing the political nature of the draconian sentences, Judge Gallagher told homeless activist Gary Johnson that he “could get some sleep in jail” before they were dragged away in chains for their 6 month sentences. The law they were protesting makes it illegal for the homeless to sleep at night, outside, in a tent, or in a vehicle.
On Friday, June 24, after two weeks in jail, Ed Frey was released on bail pending appeal with his bail of $50,000 dollars reduced to $110. Supporters quickly passed the hat and Ed Frey was released from jail on bail. Gary Johnson’s bail was reduced the next week and he too was released pending appeal. Both face a continuation of their six month sentences if their appeals fail.
Another Peace Camp 2010 protester, Linda Lemaster, is still awaiting trial for the crime of sleeping. Dozens of other protesters were ticketed during the protests with tickets going to arrest warrants. Government repression eventually shut down the Peace Camp 2010 protests.
Now the liberal government of Santa Cruz has issued half a dozen 647e tickets to Occupy Santa Cruz protesters as well. In addition, they have arrested one protester, Felix Krull, who has been held in jail on $500 bail. He may or may not have been released as of this writing. His “crime” was being caught sleeping and then failing to show adequate ID to the police.
The Occupy Santa Cruz statement says, “We are seeking cooperation from city officials to prevent police repression of our assembly.”
The local Democrats in power in Santa Cruz send out their county and city cops to silence protests for human rights for the homeless, support legislation against immigrants like the “Secure Communities” program, and threaten to cut the already meager wages of In Home Support Workers, wages needed to provide the care that helps keep the disabled, elderly, and dying in their homes. While Santa Cruz Mayor Ryan Coonerty supports the city’s anti-homeless laws, police repression, and has signed on with the anti-immigrant “Secure Communities” program, he opposes measures that would help fight homelessness like an increase in the minimum wage and has been part of carrying out austerity that includes the lay-off of workers and cuts in homeless services while at the same time hiring more cops.
As the current crisis of capitalism threatens the break-down all that is left that is civil in our society, the Democrats charge ahead with the Republicans in making sure it is the poor and working class who pay for the crisis of capitalism, not capitalist profits. All reformist dreams of the Democrat Party in any way being a source of any sort of “hope” should be abandoned in favor of recognizing reality. Labor unions must abandon their illusions in the Democrats and stop giving them our money and instead prepare to fight by putting union dues in strike funds. The true power of labor will never be found groveling at the feet of hostile Democrat politicians. Instead, labor has the potential to win demands by shutting down the profits of the capitalists.
As opposed to the Democrat’s program of more war, more cops, criminalization of poverty, political repression, and austerity; labor should move forward with our own demands. Those could include a massive jobs program to house the homeless, the seizure of housing foreclosed by the banks to be used by those who need it, and an end to capitalist medicine in the United States, a major cause of debt, homelessness, and death. Without an independent fight-back of the working class, using the power of the strike for political demands, the situation will just continue to grow bleaker.
Showing the potential of a real and massive fight for economic justice and against brutal police repression, Oakland workers participated in a general strike on November 2nd that shut much of the city down including closing the Port of Oakland. At least 50,000 people protested.
Likewise, on October 14th New York’s Mayor Bloomberg (Democrat) tried to take the brutal repression that has taken place there a step further by clearing the Occupy Wall Street Protesters from Liberty Plaza. Yet, a mass protest defending the square that included strong union participation caused Mayor Bloomberg to back down with his police.
The organization of a mass defense of Occupy Santa Cruz at noon on November 16th should begin now. Mass support may be needed to defend Occupy Santa Cruz at the time the “permit” expires. Union participation and the participation of the entire community is urgently needed. People should show up early. Hands off Occupy Santa Cruz!

In addition, the following actions have been called by the "Occupy Santa Cruz!":
Join the Occupy Santa Cruz March to City Hall
Monday, November 7th at 2:30
Meet at the Santa Cruz County Court House (at Ocean and Water at the Water street side)
March to City Hall and confront the City Council and City Manager at 3:00 PM
And on Tuesday, November 8th, at 5:00 PM
People will speak out at Oral Communications of the Santa Cruz City Council
Location: City Hall (809 Center Street)
Hands off Occupy Santa Cruz! No to the November 16th eviction date!
Drop the Charges Against Occupy Santa Cruz Protesters! Free Felix Krull!
Drop the Charges and Overturn the Sentences all Peace Camp 2010 Protesters!
End Laws making it Illegal for the Homeless to Sleep at Night and Occupy protest!
Seize Housing From the Banks for those Who Need Housing! For a Nation Wide Jobs Program Building Housing for All! Expropriate the 1%!

2011-09-20 "Santa Cruz Sleeping Ban Struggle: Judge Accepts Considering "Writ of Habeus Corpus" by Becky Johnson, Linda Lemaster, Robert Norse
Under pressure from pro bono attorney Jonathan Gettleman in an extensive Writ of Habeas Corpus brief, Superior Court Judge John Galllagher postponed the scheduled misdemeanor trial of long-time homeless activist Linda Lemaster for at least a month. Before the trial, Gallagher will hear the Habeas Corpus motion, which claims that Lemaster cannot even be tried for "lodging" because the case is really one of political dissent being suppressed by authorities.
Lemaster PC 647 (e) Case Postponed until October 28th
Santa Cruz, Ca. -- Appearing in court on Wednesday, September14th for a pre-trial readiness hearing, Linda Lemaster still faces misdemeanor "illegal lodging" for allegedly falling asleep at PeaceCamp2010 on a single night in August 2010.
Her pro bono attorney, Jonathon Gettleman, filed a comprehensive writ of habeas corpus, claiming that 647(e) is vague and overbroad, and that Lemaster's freedom of speech was truncated when County Sheriff Deputies used the antique "lodging" law to break up an otherwise legal protest.
Deputy District Attorney Sara Dabkowski again offered to reduce Lemaster's charges to an infraction with zero public service as a consequence. Having previewed the Writ a week earlier, Lemaster declined again.
In court, Judge John Gallagher, Dept 2, ordered DA Dabkowski to answer Gettleman's "well-written, voluminous" brief by October 14th, with Gettleman's response to hers due by October 21st. A hearing on the 'writ' is set for October 28th. If a trial is to result, the date will be set then. The hearing is to take a closer look at the Lodging law as applied during PeaceCamp2010.
In related news, Ed Frey and Gary Johnson, convicted of PC 647(e) in May 2011, have received the court-approved complete transcript of their trial in order to file their appeals. Frey and Johnson still face the remainder of their 6 month sentences should their appeals fail.
# # # #
Linda Lemaster herself on Linda's Hearth at [] notes: I was very impressed by the "Writ of habeas Corpus", eighty pages my attorney brought together to bring the First Amendment back into these trials and hearings. As a long time advocate for homeless families and individuals, I felt a kind of validation when I saw the Jones and Eichorn cases, and the ghost of Mitch Snyner in gettleman's citing the Community for Creative Nonviolence's supreme court's decision, in this Writ.
I hope to be able to focus for a bit now, health permitting, on a fundraising dinner. To raise money for legal costs, but this event also hopes to function as a thank-you for both attorneys involved so far with this lodging law stuff.
I'm forming a "dinner committee" (and it 'may' not be a consensual one?). If any of you would like to be contacted or included in planning and carrying out such an event, e me back with your phone number or preferred contact info (I have neither a meeting directory nor a computer in my home at present).
If you have not read "my" article in Street Spirit's September issue, here's the URL to their dynamic website: Putting "my" in quote marks because it was largely and sensitively edited (two stories into one!) by Street Spirit's editor Terry Messman, who deserves equal credit on the writing in this instance.
More recent stories about PeaceCamp 2010, the struggle against the City's anti-homeless Sleeping Ban, and those being prosecuted for Sleepcrime can be found at "D.A. Bob Lee Tries Linda Lemaster for Sleep Ban Protest" at [] Follow the links there.