Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Santa Cruz and Poverty Crime needs an investigation

Defend those without homes! campaign page [link]
Santa Cruz is attacking houseless people [link]

2013-01-30 "This needs a state DOJ investigation" comment by Leigh M.:
"Triple-fine zones for littering, smoking, and other "illegal activity" in parks, beaches and other areas. (Normally this is reserved for New Year's, Halloween, and 4th of July crowds--now it may be applied to areas where homeless folks hide or gather). "
 Of course these tickets will be written to people who cannot and often simply will not pay the fines leaving the tickets going straight to collections for a percentage and no criminal penalties for the victim except a ruined credit rating leaving them more liable to stay homeless for the rest of their lives compounded by the unavailability of a valid drivers license further crippling their finding a job.
 Now they'll be getting three times the money for writing those citations?
 I smell "intent to fraud" on the part of the city of Santa Cruz and think the State DOJ really REALLY needs to look at, not so much the infraction laws themselves, but the ticket writing habits of the SCPD.
 I've ALREADY asked the local ACLU to look into the SCPD's enforcement of nuisance laws against the homeless in Santa Cruz to an apparently 'interested but unable' board meeting, and NOW they're gonna bilk the taxpayers for THREE TIMES the amount of a normal fine?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Santa cruz City Council's Public Safety Committee Meeting to discuss engagement in more Human Rights abuse

Defend those without homes! campaign page [link]
Santa Cruz is attacking houseless people [link]

"New Attack on Homeless Slated in City Council's "Public Safety" Committee Meeting":
Tuesday January 29
6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
City Council Chambers [809 Center St. Santa Cruz, CA]
 The right-wing "Public Safety" Committee meeting, normally a tepid "figleaf-for-the-SCPD" affair that meets in a smaller room back of the Council chambers, will be out again in full frock in the larger City Council chambers where the usual Tuesday Council meetings are held.

 A long and toxic staff report recommends, among other things:
 ***Authorize new (and costly) police expansion.
 ***"Oversee" needle exchange (making its use more problematic)
 ***More First Alarm and SCPD patrols to destroy homeless survival camps
 *** Funding in the short-term for more SCPD arrests, citations, and property seizure along the railroad tracks and in the Pogonip of homeless survival campers
 ***Triple-fine zones for littering, smoking, and other "illegal activity" in parks, beaches and other areas. (Normally this is reserved for New Year's, Halloween, and 4th of July crowds--now it may be applied to areas where homeless folks hide or gather).
 The agenda and full staff report can be found on the City's website at [].

 Homeless-hostile groups like Take Back Santa Cruz are expected to attend in force as well as nervous city officials eager to "manage" the recent outrage over trash, needles, and inadequate city bathrooms (one of the legitimate concerns being pressed).
 Other groups sending out mixed messages about the homeless like The Clean Team (see their facebook page for the latest) will also be there.

 Last month's meeting took over 3 hours and was held in packed chambers. I'm hoping to have the whole thing taped.
 The conservative chair of the committee David Terrazas has refused to make sure the meetings are taped and publicly accessible afterwards. City Council meetings are now not only audioed, but videoed and stream on line.
 The membership of the committee includes Cynthia "no food for the homeless at the Red Church" Mathews and Pamela "co-founder of Take Back Santa Cruz" Comstock.

 Come and speak up or get shut up.
 Probabilities are the crackdown will continue anyway, however, I encourage people to stand up and speak out.
 You can also contact the clowns running the circus--Mathews, Terrazas, and Comstock to express your concerns at 420-5020 or on line with contact info at .
 HUFF will meet tomorrow at 10 AM Sub Rosa Cafe 703 Pacific Ave. to discuss a response.
 Report abusive SCPD , P&R, First Alarm, and other goonsquad behavior on this website or to HUFF at 423-4833. []
2013-01-30 update from Robert Norse:
I spent half my time outside the meeting interviewing folks--interviews to be played Thursday 6-8 PM (some of them anyway).
 So I missed the final vote, but it seems from the (often questionable) coverage of the Sentinel that not only did the Public Safety Committee rubberstamp the staff's homeless-hostile and "more cops, less sanity" hysteria-happy agenda, but the City Attorney on secret vote from the Council
 I assume the vote was unanimous, though I won't be sure until I speak with others who were in the room when it was taken (or when I play the tape on Thursday evening and/or Sunday morning).
 Quite slimey was the secrecy of the Committee and other members of the Council (like Micah Posner) who didn't mention the key fact that the Council directed Posner in closed session to shut down a residential needle exchange site. I assume no one in the crowd was aware of it--though it happened yesterday according to the following Sentinel article.
 This kind of "creeping criminalization", which sounds like it's out of the playbook of Deputy-Chief Steve Clark, and may be a form of abusive "reefer madness"-style Drug Warrioring which is a real step backwards.
 I regret that indybay chose to remove a comment critical of me, whose author was straightforward enough to give his name. I encourage those who are not just trolling, but seriously in dispute, to leave comments on the HUFF website under the comment sections at [].
 I also appreciate the support from those who like my reporting.
 It's true I mix opinion and fact in my commentaries--but I don't hide that fact and don't apologize for it either. Someday when I grow more skillful (probably never), I may be able to use the "facts speak for themselves" approach.. Trouble is that I feel so strongly about my conclusions, that I always have to stick them in, if not lead with them. Still I think these articles are helpful.
 The Sentinel story is at []

2013-01-31 "Further Update" by Robert Norse:
 A noxious Sentinel editorial today endorses an ignorant and prejudiced position on needle exchange at []. The noxious and futile moralizing of the editorial and subsequent comments recalls the propaganda of the Anti-Saloon League in its drive to create Alcohol Prohibition in the early years of the 20th Century. That it has taken on an anti-homeless color also makes it particularly off-base and fascistic.
 Pretty sad, of course, and recalls the right-wing solutions to abortion and unwanted pregnancy: "abstinence". Why not call out the cops to go after moms and doctors? Oh, wait, isn't that now the law in some states?

 Deputy-Chief Clark's "more cops and crackdowns" and "ramp up the war on drugs" approach is a proven failure. His "cut off the needles and they'll go away" nonsense feeds and feeds off a widespread form of magical thinking in the community that blames "excessive Santa Cruz tolerance." Looking at the Drug War racket that funds cops, courts, jails, and prisons (and, of course attorneys) it's been clear for years that Prohibition is the real problem. One doesn't even have to be "compassionate" to understand the common sense that a black market will always find profiteers and customers. And create new criminals, even as the old ones, are stuffed into overcrowded pens. Pretty crazy stuff.

 I've asked Steve Pleich--a long-time needle exchange volunteer to write an informed response and also to speak about the issue on tonight's Free Radio Santa Cruz show between 6 and 8 PM (streams at [], broadcasts at 101.3 FM, archives at []).

 Today front-page story on the shutting down of the Lower Ocean Needle Exchange "corrects" the Sentinel story the day before that I refer to in the previous update. That Sentinel story claimed it was a unanimous secret vote at the Closed Session of City Council to authorize the City Attorney to threaten and initiate "cease and desist" actions against the landlord allowing needle exchange in his parking lot. Today's Sentinel comes out with a different tale:
 "Barisone said he had not heard about the exchange before this week but said a majority of council members -- not a unanimous number as initially reported by the Sentinel -- approved beginning code enforcement activity after Lower Ocean neighbors raised concerns about the needle exchange."
 The full Sentinel story (though what the truth is, I don't know) can be found at [].

 To find real solutions, you've first got to abandon the hype and hysteria and look closely at the effectiveness (or not) of medical approaches in other countries like Injection Rooms, Inhalation Rooms, for hard-drug users.  Unless they choose to hold a special session, there'll be no City Council meeting until the second Tuesday in February (the 12th). Sane folks better get ready to deal with a tide of Drug War Insanity.

Small Correction -
The paragraph in the original story reads: "Quite slimey was the secrecy of the Committee and other members of the Council (like Micah Posner) who didn't mention the key fact that the Council directed POSNER in closed session to shut down a residential needle exchange site...."
 It should read "directed BARISONE in closed session to shut down what apparently is the only residential needle exchange site, at least the only one in the Lower Ocean neighborhood." [Capitals added for emphasis]
 Sorry for any confusion.
2013-01-29 "Heartless Bastards" comment by H.:
"Destroy homeless survival camps"?  "Property seizure...of homeless survival campers"?  This is what Conshock, Tear At Us and Sinthia Badnews wrote into their agenda? Criminy. What horrible people.
 Thanks for reprinting their exact words. Nice to know our most powerful politicos are anti-survival of homeless people in peaceful camps. Real nice.
2013-01-29 "Clarifying" comment by Robert Norse:
The words are those of the staff report, not those of the City Councilmembers--though the previous comment may indeed describe their real position.
 In case it isn't clear, while City Council meetings are videoed and streamed, City Council Public Safety Committee meetings (in spite of my repeated request to Committee Chair Terrazas) have not been in the past. Unless he's decided to change his past procedure, the only record of the meeting will be the one private folks make with their recording equipment. I will try to create a record, but my equipment is primitive and my stamina limited.
 I'm not aware this meeting is being broadcast or streamed either.
 Ironically, there was a bigger turnout for the last Public Safety Committee meeting (as a result of angry community members accurately feeling city bureaucrats were unresponsive to safety and clean-up concerns) than at any City Council meeting this year and most last year. A similar large turnout is likely tonight.
"...ramp up illegal campsite removal efforts" are some of the actual words (p.3). Reports from homeless people document the behavior of the SCPD, First Alarm, Parks and Rec, and the Labor Ready crews over the last nine months in this regard.  When every homeless campsite in the city is an illegal campsite by definition, then destruction, clearing, removal, whatever words you want, involves the destruction of homeless survival gear--with no alternatives provided.
 Hopefully that clarifies matters.
 If you're not actually trolling to divert attention from the proposed funding of more "cops against campers", you might want to call in at 6 PM on Thursday to Free Radio Santa Cruz at 423-4833, where I'll be discussing the meeting and the issues ignored.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Santa Cruz PD and racial profiling against African visitors

Human Rights abuse in itty-bitty Santa Cruz [link]

2013-01-21 "Can a Black Photographer Take Pictures in Santa Cruz?"
by Alex DaRocy []:After being stopped by officers with the Santa Cruz Police Department in Downtown Santa Cruz over the summer, photographer Craig Burton explained in a video interview that he was taking a picture of a child in public and that his subsequent detainment by the SCPD was a case of racial profiling.
 Burton was clear in stating that his stop by the local police was unwarranted and that they should have known that he was not a predator. Though the authorities did not apologize to him or treat him politely, he didn't blame them, they were just doing their job he said.
 Burton instead focused on liberals in California, in general, as the source of the problem, stating that, "people act like they are really liberal, but they are not really liberal." He later added, "As you can see, this is Santa Barbara now."
 When officers Winston and Warren arrived in their patrol vehicle and first caught up to him that day on Locust Street, Burton said he was told by them to sit on the sidewalk.
 Winston later told him, "that's what we do with everybody."
 A third police officer arrived in a patrol vehicle, Officer Conner, also of the SCPD.
 They told Burton to sit down three times, and said not to make them ask again, Burton recalled.
He said he then complied, and he gave them his name. They then ran a check on him, and Burton described the process as a "sit down and 21 questions."
 As they questioned him, Burton took pictures of the police officers.
 "I've got all rights to take pictures of who I want to," he said, to which Officer Winston replied, "it's all good."
 After a short waiting period, "they realized I'm not on parole or probation."
 After being released from the detainment, Craig Burton made it clear to Officer Winston of the SCPD that what he had just gone through was not "cool."
 "I know you are just doing your job and shit, but that's not really cool dude...Make me sit on the ground like I am a suspect."
 Just minutes after they were done with Burton, Officers Winston and Warren became involved in another stop just feet away from where they had first detained him. Officer Conner remained in his patrol vehicle for some time after Burton was set free, partially blocking traffic with his patrol vehicle on Cedar Street.
 Burton explained that at approximately 2:30pm he had taken a picture of, "a little Indian kid who had a little head wrap."
 He recalled not having seen someone wear a head dress like that before.
 "I don't judge on pictures, it's not my say what's good and what's bad, my job is to take pictures and keep a document of everything I see," he explained.
 Burton described himself as being from Los Angeles, and that he also lived in Iowa City, Iowa, and other places, but mostly he self-identified as being from the midwest.
 "Taking pictures, as a black guy, in don't go through all this shit, but in California, I'm a motherfuckin thug here."
 After his encounter with the police, Burton continued to take pictures as he spoke about what had just happened.
 "I guess they are not used to seeing people taking pictures and stuff, and somebody said I was taking a picture of a little kid, and as you see I take pictures of everything and all things, but since I took a picture of a little kid...they treat me as a predator."
 Though he felt that the officers from the Santa Cruz Police Department were not polite to him during the stop, Burton said, "he's just doing his job, I understand that, no problem."
 Burton did feel, however, that their attitude was different towards him before they knew if he had a criminal record or not. "I don't have nothing and they cant get me on anything," he explained, adding, "but if they would have had anything, it would have been a whole different story."
 Burton chose to instead point the finger of blame at those who live in the Santa Cruz area, stating that, "people act like they are really liberal, but they are not really liberal," but he was also very clear when he stated, "I still think it's profiling."
 "This shit right here is so blown up, just for taking a bloody picture," he said.
 Burton has learned a lot about how to conduct himself when traveling around the country, in order to minimize interactions with the police.
 "One thing about traveling, If you are a smart traveler, you make sure you have no warrants, because you don't want to get harassed like this," he said.
 Avoiding the police effects what equipment Burton feels comfortable carrying with him as he travels. "There is a reason why my backpack is so lite and I don't carry a bed roll; why I try and wear a white shirt and jeans," he explained.
 "I realize since I've been hitchhiking since I was 17 years old, and like I was saying I am 40 now, some places got kind of burnt, and some places are cool, but some people talk the good talk, but they don't really walk the walk, and this is one of those places."
 Burton said that when traveling around California, "sometimes you get these yuppies."
 "There aren't that many African Americans taking pictures nowadays, not like they used to," he observed.
 "I told the officer...if I see anything diverse or unique or different, I will take their picture and we will go through this all over again. I have all rights."
 "I go through this shit every fucking day, it's so fucking shameful," Burton said.
 "I'm just glad you were here. I'm glad they didn't catch me in the restroom, there would be no witnesses this time," he concluded as he laughed, half-joking.
 The events described in this article, and the interview with Craig Burton, took place on August 19, 2012.
 To see Craig Burton's photography, visit his flickr page, at: []
Burton, with Officers Winston and Warren on Locust Street.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Human Rights for Prisoners

This page created by the Committee for the Investigation of Civil & Human Rights abuse.* Solidarity with the Prisoner Hunger Strike for Human Rights! [link]

* End Long Term Solitary Confinement [link], a Human-Rights abuse, according to international law!
* "Free 'em All" [link], a committee for the eduction of the public of Political, Conscious, and Innocent prisoners.
* "Occupy For Prisoners!" campaign, 2012-02 [link], a community-led series of actions in support of unjustly incarcerated prisoners and their families!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Human Rights abuse in Vallejo, "the City of God"

Read the "Declaration of Human Rights" [link]
All governments are beholden to a set of standards which, if broken, are called "Human Rights Violations". Often, we hear about violations of Human Rights in Iraq, Colombia, China and elsewhere... and nowhere near do we hear about similar violations happening against our own People. But it is happening systematically in Solano County, and in the City of Vallejo (the "city of God"). For more information, read .

Christian Dominionism is Fascism [link]
Human Rights abuse by agencies of the City of Vallejo is made manifold by the common discourtesy by many residents of Vallejo to not advocate for Human Rights alongside those who are abused, including (sad to say) many churches, faith and civic organizations.
During 2007, members of the "Apostolic Reformation" created a political action network, and illegally secured one of their own to the office of Vallejo's Mayor. Under his regime, human rights abuse has increased alongside poverty, and it is acknowledged by their supporters that such freedoms as "human rights" are "Satanic" except, perhaps, the freedom of push their point-of-view.
As seen by the conduct recently of Vallejo's Civilian Review Board, those who are of the dominant set will shut down any criticism of their regime. "Their" officers of law have all the power to obstruct any inquiry into history of violations of Human Rights against people not of the society in power. 
Until these goodly folk of "High Society" subordinate themselves to a higher purpose for truth and justice, nobody in any of Vallejo's higher offices will seek to uphold Human Rights.
And this problem is repeated in any tyranny across the world, so what is seen as good by the monopolized media when reporting about "people's movements" against tyranny abroad, is vilified here, at home by our neighbors, and by fascists elsewhere who care not to uphold Human Rights and the Constitution.
Many people still view the many incidents of violence by police against their neighbors to be an issue affecting only a certain "minority" or of people with a criminal history, as an issue of no consequence by the dominant set of the "good ol' boys" of the many races & cultures within the City of Vallejo.
Their works include...
* Theocracy taking hold in Vallejo: Christian Dominionism
* Privatization, Terrorism and lack of Services for the Homeless.
- Human Rights abuse against the Homeless residents in Vallejo [link]

- Vallejo's services to the Homeless are cut-back [link]

- Dignity Village [link]
* Harassment for the Lumpenproletariat (the bottom-class)
* Vallejo Police's Street-Executions of law-abiding individuals, and the systematic cover-up:

- Guy Jarreau, jr.! (d.2010-12-11) [
- Justice 4 Mario Ramiro (d.2012-09-03) [
* Vallejo's "Holy War" against medicinal cannabis, during which Vallejo city agents
illegally destroy voter registrations, threaten to kill registrants, harass practitioners, abuse elderly patients, and spend millions on unlawful "law" enforcement. [
link] The Northbay Uprising media collective members joined in with nearly ALL publicly known medicinal cannabis clinics within Vallejo during 2011-12 to 2012-12, and our community journalists were allowed to act as observer of almost all of their operations (with the kind permission of their operators). The greatest danger from the medicinal cannabis "industry" are grow-houses within residential areas whose operators modify the electrical line into "live-wire" mode. The other result was that dispensaries set the official "street-price" by which so-called "street-gangs" bought cannabis products for re-sale (like with all prescription medicines), thereby taking business in cannabis away from street-dealers and brought business to reputable dispensaries. Dr.G. observed that most of the dispensaries within Vallejo acted within the spirit of California law as concerned medicinal cannabis, but also that the Vallejo Police never went after the medicinal cannabis dispensaries controlled by known so-called "street-gangs", and instead chose to target mainly those dispensaries controlled by operators who paid the operating fee to the City of Vallejo.

2012-09-17 "Our own Civil War"
by James D. Davis [link] (Note: All opinions expressed in the "Primal Scream" column are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Vallejo Independent Bulletin):

This is the first town I’ve lived in where there is a civil war between a part of the community and the police. 
A part of the community thinks it is disrespected, mistreated, and murdered by the police. 
[ ... ]
The police, on the other hand, slough off accountability. 
The mother could not see the body. The chief told her it was out of his hands. 
Whether she can see the body is the business of the coroner, not the chief. 
And the coroner? 
He’s unavailable. 
The police have not explained why officers thought it necessary to fire more than thirty times at a young man with a replica gun. 
What was so scary for the police about this encounter?
The police have not taken the statement of the mother. 
She’s welcome to come down to the station any time. 
The police have not met with the mother. 
(It’s not likely she has any useful information, but it might make her feel better to talk about it, or shout, if she chooses).
I’ve encountered this lack of government responsibility throughout my years in Vallejo. 
I was told plainly by a council member that whether or not the chief busts marijuana dispensaries, wasting police resources, is none of the member’s business; it is out of the member’s hands. 
When I tried to investigate the officer-killing of another man (Guy Jarreau, Jr.), a few years ago, I was told the police and DA were doing an investigation. 
They weren’t sure when it would be done; I was not going to be given a copy of the report anyway. 
No one was going to be given a copy. 
It was police business.
I don’t blame the complaining community.  
They are overcome with emotion, resentment, and victimhood. 
They generally lack the sophistication and maturity to deal with the government. 
I blame the police department and an incompetent council and city manager. 
They should have been on top of this; that is why we have a government. 
They are supposed to be the adults in the room, but they are helpless.
This civil war has to stop. 
It feeds on itself. 
There are ways to stop it. 
This should be at the top of the agenda for the newly created Public Safety Committee. 
Our city-manager form of government is not working. 
The council has no jurisdiction over anyone. 
The mayor stays out of it (he “prays”). 
And the city manager? 
He leaves it up to the police. 
No one is in charge.