[Hpn] SLEEPING BAN SIT-IN at Santa Cruz City Council offices enters Day 5 - HUFF press release 5 - HUFF press release

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Fri, 8 Dec 2000 10:54:46 -0800 (PST)


FWD December 8, 2000 / REPLY TO: "Becky Johnson" <wmnofstl@cruzio.com>
INFO: PHONE Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom  (831) 423-4833

      SIT-IN AT CITY COUNCIL OFFICE ENTERS 5TH DAY

      Sleeping Ban Repeal Still Not on Agenda [for Tues 12 Dec]
      Santa Cruz City Councilmembers Urged to Place Item on Agenda

SANTA CRUZ, CA. -- Activists are entering a 5th day of a Sit-in  at the
City Council offices in an effort to get the Sleeping Ban and Blanket Ban
on the agenda. The next City Council meeting will be on Tuesday, December
12th, the last of the year, when Council recesses for a month.

At issue is MC 6.36.010 section A and section B of Santa Cruz's  Camping
ordinance which criminalizes by prohibition the acts of sleeping or
covering up with blankets between the hours of 11 PM and 8:30 AM virtually
anywhere in the City limits at. Activists claim the law targets homeless
people  who have no other choice but to sleep at night and try to keep
warm.

Mayor Tim Fitzmaurice, Santa Cruz' first Green Party  mayor, is already
facing criticism from his own party which has declared it will  not support
any candidate who is not willing to repeal the Sleeping and Blanket  Ban,
to give homeless relief from the Sleeping Ban this winter. Incoming  City
Councilmember Ed Porter, who was endorsed by the Green  party and said at
the November 14th Council meeting he would take up  Repeal soon, has not
returned calls.

After the business & police-orchestrated defeat of the Safe  Sleeping Zones
proposal, Fitzmaurice and Krohn in July voted to kill any attempt  to put
Sleeping Ban Repeal on the November ballot, fearing it would interfere
with their election strategy. In spite of several resolutions passed in
June  directing city staff to find suitable buildings and private parking
lots  available for shelter, City Manager Dick Wilson has done nothing.
Homeless Services Center executive director Ken Cole said he had  not even
been informed by Wilson of the June 28th resolution.

On November 11th, "Boxer" Billy Denson  froze to death in his wheelchair in
a carport in the Beach Flats area  of Santa Cruz. "And the night before, he
slept behind the Del Mar  Theatre on Pacific Ave. with no blanket." said
his friend,  David Fullerton. The National Guard Armory did not open  until
November 15th.

"Boxer Billy did not use the services here at the  Homeless Services
Center" said Ken Cole. Boxer  Billy's use of alcohol made him ineligible to
use existing shelter options in  Santa Cruz as the rules do not permit
alcohol consumption or anyone inebriated  >from staying in the Interfaith
Satelite Shelter Project emergency  shelter program. The recent United Way
Homeless Census and Survey  reported that 45% of homeless people do not use
existing shelters. A  point-in-time census last March counted 1273 homeless
people within the city  limits of Santa Cruz. This represents a near
tripling of homelessness since  1990. "With the lack of shelter, the high
rents, and the number of people  on the streets, a ban on Sleeping amounts
to cruel and unusual punishment."  said activist, Becky Johnson.

Those wishing to join the Sit-in at  Mayor Tim Fitzmaurice's office, can
come any regular business day between 8AM  and Noon, 1PM - 5PM, rm 10, 809
Center St.

Bathrobes and nightware are optional. Supporters are urged to  call the
mayor (831) 420-5025 & ask him  to place Strike "A" and "B" on the  City
Council agenda.

For more info: call Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom  (831)423-4833

  

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