[Hpn] Homeless PROTEST in Santa Cruz CA / 11-29 update by Becky Johnson of HUFF fw of HUFF fw

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sun, 3 Dec 2000 04:24:37 -0800 (PST)


FWD
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 17:00:05 -0800
From: Becky Johnson <wmnofstl@cruzio.com>
Subject: Update on Tuesday Night Homeless Protest at City Hall in Santa
    Cruz CA


UPDATE ON THE PROTESTS FOR SHELTER AND HOMELESS DECRIMINALIZATION

Much thanks to the many groups who sent representatives to the protest
outside City Hall last night (11-28) to add an element of reality to the
coronation shmoozing going on indoors while people were freezing and
getting drenched outside.››› Thanks to› Joe Schultz for his fine soup,
Starlight for her fabulous picket signs,› Jim Cosner, Steve Argue,FWD
Bernard Klitzner, and Flower Hopkins for their tireless flyer
distribution,› Becky Johnson for her persistent press releases, and
Bonnie Morr--for taking the time to be an activist as well as an aspiring
politician by showing up to read David Silva's statement to the media.
›
Thanks too the many homeless people who came, even though Ken Cole (or
perhaps we should blame Don Lane and Katherine Beiers--key members on the
Homeless Services Center Board of Directors) would not allow a bus to go
up to make a late-night drop-off at the Armory Winter Shelter, making it
very difficult for homeless clients to attend.› (Cole did say that
arrangements might conceivably be made for the smaller Interfaith
Satellite Shelter Church floor program, but apparently it was too late to
do that on the day Steve Argue was advocating for transportation for
people--the day of the protest.)
›
For those interested in the outcome of my arrest for raising the issue of
the Council's failure to provide dumpsters and portapotties in the
industrial zones for those outside, I was detained outside and released
with an injunction not to return to Council.›› Mayor Sugar, for those who
didn't see the afternoon Council session yesterday, interrupted me in the
middle my 3-minute speaking period during the Oral Communications section
and told me I couldn't talk about awarding the "Golden Potty Award" to
Katherine Beiers, as the Council woman most responsible for the death of
the safe zones and the failure of Council to deal with basic sanitation
issues.› He claimed I was "addressing an individual Council member".› In
fact, I was referring to an individual Council member, but addressing the
entire Council.› This naked act of censorship violated both the Brown Act
(right to speak at public meetings) and the state and U.S. Constitutions
(freedom of speech).› It showed up rather absurdly the extremes to which
Mayor (now Councilmember) Sugar will go to silence uncomfortable
dissent.› When I asked Mayor Fitzmaurice if he would have me arrested for
bringing a prop (a light-weight bedside commode stool painted gold) to
the podium for a speech, he turned away without answering.
›
Many spoke eloquently outside Council chambers about the Sleeping Ban,
including some Eveline and Linda.› A number braved the crowd and
mind-numbing speeches inside the Council chambers and brought signs in to
remind the community that the Council had failed to put anything on its
agenda regarding homeless shelter or sleeping spaces, in spite of the
fact that winter is upon us and the issue has been endlessly debated.
›
Safe Sleeping Zones were defeated 4-3 in July.› With Ed Porter as the
fourth vote, they could be passed immediately unless one of the Timid
Three have changed their minds.› However there is only one more regular
Council meeting before Council recesses for Xmas (December 12th).› This
means the item has to be an urgency one (requiring an urgency finding and
a 5-2 vote) or special sessions have to be held.›
›
For that to happen, I believe particular pressure has to be put on City
Council--perhaps through dawn-to-dusk (lawful) sit-in at the City Council
offices, perhaps by Downtown Demonstrations urging boycott of merchants
who support maintaining the Sleeping Ban, perhaps through occupation of
an empty building at night to expand shelter (since council refuses to
act).›
›
In any case, I'm wondering how many people have time to commit to any of
these projects (or others which they'd suggest)?› I'd also like to know
what folks thought of the protest--the good and the bad, how things could
be improved, etc.
›
The Homeless Working Group has a special meeting tomorrow at 7:30 AM at
Tasting Restaurant in the Holiday Inn for those who want to come.› The
next regular meeting is Friday from 3-5 PM at the Area Chamber of
Commerce Offices in the Holiday Inn.
›
There will also be a "Xmas" parade downtown on December 2nd (Saturday).›
A good time to do impromptu protest and flyer distribution.›› Call
423-4833 for more info on this and other subjects mentioned here.›› Or
e-mail me.
›
Robert Norse
HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom)› worker.
›
P.S.› Below is the unanswered letter we sent to City Council suggesting a
number of different sites for homeless shelter.› Feel free to call
Council members at the following numbers to get them off the dime to act
on these issues or on ending the Sleeping Ban.
›
The final proposal we came up with didn't involve Sleeping Zones, since
we were afraid the Council would be debating until next summer about
where to put them.› We suggested simply removing (as Santa Barbara did in
1986, and as Portland, OR, Austin TX, and Miami, FL were court-ordered to
do) "sleeping" as a definition of "camping".› Maintaining a campsite
would still be illegal;› sleeping would not.
›
This did NOT produce a magnet effect in these communities, as far as I
know.› It did prompt Miami and Fort Lauderdale to significantly increase
their social service appropriations because they were so embarrassed to
actually see the homeless people sleeping in public who had previously
been hiding out.
›
›
›
›
The following letter was sent to all City Council members (both the old
and new) more than a week before the 11-28 meeting.› No one replied.

›

›

Unanswered Letter to the Santa Cruz City Council

By Becky Johnson of the Homeless Working Group 11-22-00

As you know, there is not enough shelter space for all the homeless
people who live in Santa Cruz. It is also illegal to sleep or cover up
with blankets each night. With 5 homeless deaths recorded in the 2 months
alone, one apparently by freezing to death, immediate response by the
City of Santa Cruz is absolutely necessary to protect the health and
safety of the most vulnerable section of your constituency: Homeless
People.

We, members of the Homeless Working Group, and other concerned citizens
urge you to propose striking sections "a" and "b" of MC 6.36.010 so
homeless people can begin to shelter themselves.

We understand many of you have expressed you would prefer to address this
issue by providing more shelter space instead of de-criminalizing
sleeping and covering up with blankets. While this is an acceptable
solution, provided you do it, rather than talk about doing it, I have
included for your benefit a list of possible shelter options which you
could entertain. A member of our group will be contacting you directly to
discuss this matter with you more fully.

Some of the following options should be legal, but are still ILLEGAL or
unavailable:

Car Camping Options:

 1. Harvey West Park parking lot
 2. Emeline County Services Parking lots
 3. Parking Structure #10 (between Front St. and River St) 2nd and 3rd
    tier
 4. 2 cars per business, 3 per church: Solicit businesses to participate
    & create master list
 5. Sleeping Ban Repeal Initiative of 1997: allows sleeping in cars in
    the non-residential areas or nearly 40% of the City
 6. Sleeping Ban Repeal Initiative of 1999: same as in 5, but excludes
    the Downtown - about 25% of the City
 7. 1 car per driveway per legal unit (current law only allows 3 days)
 8. City Streets in residential areas with the sponsorship (and bathroom
    availability) of a housed resident
 9. Industrial zones only
10. County building parking lot, SCPD parking lot
11. Lower Delaveaga Park
12. Parking lot of the Armory
13. Permit system city-wide

Campground Options:

 1. Sycamore Grove on Hwy 9
 2. Bob&rsquo;s Pinegrove Campground on Golf Club Dr.
 3. The Kelley property on Golf Club Dr.
 4. Large field behind Costco
 5. Upper end of Arana Gulch
 6. Benchlands behind County Building
 7. 1 or more City parks (Harvey West Park is most feasible)
 8. Large field near Lipton Company on Delaware Ave.
 9. North of town on Hwy one

›

Shelter Expansion Options:

 1. Double ISSP, double budget/recruit more churches to participate
 2. Armory use year round
 3. Building behind Mission St. Safeway
 4. Former police station space at City Hall
 5. Empty Bank building on River and Water St. (currently being
    re-modeled by Barry Swenson)
 6. Front St. theatres 1 and 2 - empty for 2 years
 7. Building near Coral St.

END FORWARD

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