[Hpn] Green Mayor Attacks Homeless Activists & Spurns Sleeping Ban Repeal in Santa Cruz CA USA - HUFF press release Repeal in Santa Cruz CA USA - HUFF press release

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sat, 16 Dec 2000 11:44:31 -0800 (PST)


FWD  Thu, 14 Dec 2000  From: "Becky Johnson" <wmnofstl@cruzio.com>

     Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom
     309 Cedar St. PMB 14B ˝ Santa Cruz, Ca. USA 95060
     (831) 423-HUFF fax (831) 429-8529 e-mail Wmnofstl@cruzio.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, December 14, 2000

MAYOR ATTACKS HOMELESS ACTIVSITS AT COUNCIL & IN OFFICES

SPURNS WINTER SHELTER INCREASE, SLEEPING BAN REPEAL


Santa Cruz, Ca. ˝City Council under new Mayor Tim Fitzmaurice recessed
on Tuesday, December 12th and took no action to increase shelter or
restore the right to sleep for Santa Cruz's 1000-2000 homeless people
in the last Council meeting before Council's Xmas vacation recess to
January 9th. In spite of apparently having the votes to decriminalize
the City's $54 citations for sleeping in vehicles and outside, Mayor
Fitzmaurice refused to put Sleeping Ban Repeal or any shelter
increases on the agenda. At Council meetings on July 25th and August
1st, Fitzmaurice voted against putting the Ban on the ballot.

Fitzmaurice is a member of The Green Party of California which has
officially called for the end of Sleeping Bans statewide.

An earlier 4-3 vote on June 28th narrowly defeated the proposed Safe
Sleeping Zones last summer; with four new Council members including
several "Safe Sleeping Zones" advocates elected in November, a fourth
vote would have been fairly certain. A second summer resolution,
authored by Councilmember Christopher Krohn and passed unanimously,
directed Council staff "to work with the Homeless Resource Center
[sic] to identify other suitable sites to house the homeless which are
not on City streets nor sidewalks." In early November, Homeless
Services Center director Ken Cole responded no one from the City had
approached him on the issue, and City Manager Dick Wilson confirmed
nothing had been done.

On December 12th the Mayor also cut off Sleeping Ban opponent Robert
Norse from public comment, after extending it for a list of other
speakers. This differential treatment followed a November 28th arrest
of Norse for presenting City Council's outgoing Sleeping Ban Supporter
Councilmember Katherine Beiers with the Golden Potty Award for
refusing to put in portapotties and dumpsters into the industrial
zones as mandated in February 1999 when the Krohn's Task Force on
Bathrooms was formed.

On October 31st then-Mayor Keith Sugar directed a prior arrest of
Norse for a silent "more blah blah" hand signal motion from the
audience. Norse's "yak yak" gesture criticized Fitzmaurice's $1.5
million grant-donation to hand the Dolphin Apartments over to Mercy
Charities with no explicit relocation and return protection for
current tenants. Both Norse arrests and a prior June 13th "psychiatric
hold" on activist David Silva are the subject of legal claims against
the City, preceeding a lawsuit for false arrest. Fitzmaurice's new
printed "Decorum" rules also announce new restrictions on the public
and warn "persons who disrupt" of "arrest & prosecution." New policies
being implemented by the City Clerk bar media from videotaping behind
the Council dais, restricted the first three rows of chamber seats for
special groups, & prohibited "unattended" tape recorders.

On Wednesday afternoon (12-13), the Mayor confronted Homeless Working
Group activist Bernard Klitzner in City Council offices where Klitzner
and others have waited daily to talk with City Council members about
holding a special session to deal with the Shelter Emergency
(officially recognized by the City and documented by the United Way
Needs Assessment released this fall). Fitzmaurice told Klitzner he was
"a public nuisance" & directed office worker Anna to write Klitzner up
in a memo for future action.

The write-up was apparently in retaliation for Klitzner's continuing
presence in the small public foyer of City office as part of what is
called the City Council Coffee Klatch and Tag-Team Teach-In. The low
profile lobbying effort has had people in the office every day since
December 4th and will go on during office business hours asking
Council members to act before Christmas on homeless survival issues.
Unofficial reports from the Homeless PersonÝs Health Project suggest
the City's homeless death toll will top City last year's list of 19
homeless dead.

END FORWARD

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