[Hpn] Sentinel Editorial on Koffee Klatch 3 Verdict

Becky Johnson wmnofstl@cruzio.com
Fri, 8 Jun 2001 15:16:11 -0000


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Note to All from Becky Johnson:

As a Koffee Klatch 3 defendant, I am glad to be free of the restraints =
which banned me from City Hall and Mayor Fitzmaurice=92s office during =
my lobbying effort to repeal the Sleeping Ban. In the following =
editorial, the Sentinel claims this is a victory for Free Speech. I felt =
it was more of a victory for the right to petition government for a =
redress of grievances. And since Robert Norse and I are both =
journalists, a victory for freedom of the press as well.=20

But this case has served the Mayor quite well despite Judge Steven=92s =
decision to dismiss the suit. Those who were there every day to remind =
the Mayor, the council, and city officials that the Sleeping Ban makes =
homeless people criminals between 11PM and 8:30 AM (The Sentinel has =
never gotten the time=92s right) should they fall asleep or cover =
themselves with a blanket, were prohibited from the area and maligned in =
the press as those who would harass female employees, disrupt business, =
and even steal food from 2nd Harvest Food Donation barrels.

City employee Suzanne Haberman, and Anna Brooks immediate superior, =
testified at the trial that she had turned down a hungry, homeless man =
when he asked for food from the donation barrel. This had been presented =
as "evidence" that Robert Norse, Bernard Klitzner, and I harassed Anna =
Brooks even though none of us were present during the incident!

Now, 5 months later, winter is over, the armory closed, and the summer =
sweeps of homeless people are in full swing. The City now has 39 shelter =
spaces for an estimated 1500 homeless people AND a law which makes it =
illegal to sleep at night.=20

It is ironic that Ms. Anna Brooks testified she had "lost sleep" due to =
the presence of the Koffee Klatchers in the Mayor=92s foyer. How much =
sleep have homeless people lost trying to keep one eye open all night =
watching for the cops?

Mayor Fitzmaurice=92s new rules of decorum in the public foyer of his =
office now prohibits "holding meetings" "prolonged conversation" and =
"distributing leaflets". This is the "right balance" the Sentinel thinks =
protects free speech?=20

    a.. Becky Johnson


Editorial from the Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz, Ca.

June 8, 2001=20

Ruling struck the right compromise=20

FREE SPEECH:=20

Judge wisely upheld activists=92 right to protest, while protecting =
employees=92 right to work free of harassment. Why is it that some of =
our constitutionally protected rights and freedoms can sometimes feel so =
... tough to take? Certainly, the right to free speech is one that comes =
up over and over, as it did last week in the case of three homeless =
activists and their protests against the city of Santa Cruz.=20

What happened was that a Santa Cruz judge dismissed the case against the =
activists, who had been accused by a city employee of disrupting her =
ability to conduct city business because they were occupying the lobby =
for several hours a day over a 17-day period.=20

The employee got a temporary restraining order against the activists, =
and wanted this order extended for up to three years.=20

But the three said their protest =97 occupying the lobby of the city =
manager and City Council office =97 was protected under the free speech =
provisions of the First Amendment.=20

While acknowledging the right to protest, Judge Samuel Stevens gave a =
ruling that seemed fair and well-considered.


He ruled that the activists could protest, but that the office lobby was =
not constitutionally protected in itself, which means the city can =
uphold some recently issued visitor-conduct rules. These rules mean that =
activists can=92t stay in the lobby for a prolonged period, and would =
have to take their protest elsewhere, perhaps outside the office.=20

The three =97 Robert Norse, Bernard Klitzner and Becky Johnson =97 have =
been protesting the city=92s camping ban, which prohibits outdoor =
sleeping from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m.=20

Norse, in particular, has long been a thorn in the side of City Council =
members and staff as he forcefully makes his arguments against the ban. =
Clad these days in a bathrobe, the bearded activist had at least one =
receptionist feeling she was continually harassed.=20

Free-speech protections, however, have nothing to do with the =
personality or manner of the person initiating a protest or other form =
of free speech.=20

That=92s why groups as loathsome as the American Nazi party or the Ku =
Klux Klan have been able to stage demonstrations and marches in this =
country, just as it=92s why you or I have the right to speak out against =
injustice, high taxes or the presidential election.=20

Few of us would want to have to work in an environment where protesters =
are a constant presence.


Even fewer would find the methods of this trio of activists comfortable =
or acceptable.=20

But choking off dissent for groups most of us disagree with or find =
unsettling is not the way to regulate protest reasonably.=20

People have the right to protest, just as employees have the right to =
work free of harassment.=20

That=92s why Judge Stevens=92 decision hit just the right balance =
between upholding the Constitution and protecting the rights of =
employees, who are not directly the object of the protests.



to contact Mayor Tim Fitzmaurice (831) 420-5017 or =
tfitzmaurice@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us =20




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<DIV><FONT face=3D"Verdana, Arial" size=3D2>
<P>Note to All from Becky Johnson:</P>
<P>As a Koffee Klatch 3 defendant, I am glad to be free of the =
restraints which=20
banned me from City Hall and Mayor Fitzmaurice&rsquo;s office during my =
lobbying=20
effort to repeal the Sleeping Ban. In the following editorial, the =
Sentinel=20
claims this is a victory for Free Speech. I felt it was more of a =
victory for=20
the right to petition government for a redress of grievances. And since =
Robert=20
Norse and I are both journalists, a victory for freedom of the press as =
well.=20
</P>
<P>But this case has served the Mayor quite well despite Judge =
Steven&rsquo;s=20
decision to dismiss the suit. Those who were there every day to remind =
the=20
Mayor, the council, and city officials that the Sleeping Ban makes =
homeless=20
people criminals between 11PM and 8:30 AM (The Sentinel has never gotten =
the=20
time&rsquo;s right) should they fall asleep or cover themselves with a =
blanket,=20
were prohibited from the area and maligned in the press as those who =
would=20
harass female employees, disrupt business, and even steal food from=20
2<SUP>nd</SUP> Harvest Food Donation barrels.</P>
<P>City employee Suzanne Haberman, and Anna Brooks immediate superior, =
testified=20
at the trial that she had turned down a hungry, homeless man when he =
asked for=20
food from the donation barrel. This had been presented as =
&quot;evidence&quot;=20
that Robert Norse, Bernard Klitzner, and I harassed Anna Brooks even =
though none=20
of us were present during the incident!</P>
<P>Now, 5 months later, winter is over, the armory closed, and the =
summer sweeps=20
of homeless people are in full swing. The City now has 39 shelter spaces =
for an=20
estimated 1500 homeless people AND a law which makes it illegal to sleep =
at=20
night. </P>
<P>It is ironic that Ms. Anna Brooks testified she had &quot;lost =
sleep&quot;=20
due to the presence of the Koffee Klatchers in the Mayor&rsquo;s foyer. =
How much=20
sleep have homeless people lost trying to keep one eye open all night =
watching=20
for the cops?</P>
<P>Mayor Fitzmaurice&rsquo;s new rules of decorum in the public foyer of =
his=20
office now prohibits &quot;holding meetings&quot; &quot;prolonged=20
conversation&quot; and &quot;distributing leaflets&quot;. This is the=20
&quot;right balance&quot; the Sentinel thinks protects free speech? </P>
<UL type=3DSQUARE>
    <LI>Becky Johnson</LI></UL>
<P>&nbsp;</P>
<P>Editorial from the Santa Cruz Sentinel</P>
<P>Santa Cruz, Ca.</P>
<P>June 8, 2001 <BR><BR><B>Ruling struck the right compromise </P>
<P>FREE SPEECH: </P></B>
<P>Judge wisely upheld activists&rsquo; right to protest, while =
protecting=20
employees&rsquo; right to work free of harassment. Why is it that some =
of our=20
constitutionally protected rights and freedoms can sometimes feel so ... =
tough=20
to take? Certainly, the right to free speech is one that comes up over =
and over,=20
as it did last week in the case of three homeless activists and their =
protests=20
against the city of Santa Cruz. </P>
<P>What happened was that a Santa Cruz judge dismissed the case against =
the=20
activists, who had been accused by a city employee of disrupting her =
ability to=20
conduct city business because they were occupying the lobby for several =
hours a=20
day over a 17-day period. </P>
<P>The employee got a temporary restraining order against the activists, =
and=20
wanted this order extended for up to three years. </P>
<P>But the three said their protest &mdash; occupying the lobby of the =
city=20
manager and City Council office &mdash; was protected under the free =
speech=20
provisions of the First Amendment. </P>
<P>While acknowledging the right to protest, Judge Samuel Stevens gave a =
ruling=20
that seemed fair and well-considered.</P>
<P></P>
<P>He ruled that the activists could protest, but that the office lobby =
was not=20
constitutionally protected in itself, which means the city can uphold =
some=20
recently issued visitor-conduct rules. These rules mean that activists=20
can&rsquo;t stay in the lobby for a prolonged period, and would have to =
take=20
their protest elsewhere, perhaps outside the office. </P>
<P>The three &mdash; Robert Norse, Bernard Klitzner and Becky Johnson =
&mdash;=20
have been protesting the city&rsquo;s camping ban, which prohibits =
outdoor=20
sleeping from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. </P>
<P>Norse, in particular, has long been a thorn in the side of City =
Council=20
members and staff as he forcefully makes his arguments against the ban. =
Clad=20
these days in a bathrobe, the bearded activist had at least one =
receptionist=20
feeling she was continually harassed. </P>
<P>Free-speech protections, however, have nothing to do with the =
personality or=20
manner of the person initiating a protest or other form of free speech. =
</P>
<P>That&rsquo;s why groups as loathsome as the American Nazi party or =
the Ku=20
Klux Klan have been able to stage demonstrations and marches in this =
country,=20
just as it&rsquo;s why you or I have the right to speak out against =
injustice,=20
high taxes or the presidential election. </P>
<P>Few of us would want to have to work in an environment where =
protesters are a=20
constant presence.</P>
<P></P>
<P>Even fewer would find the methods of this trio of activists =
comfortable or=20
acceptable. </P>
<P>But choking off dissent for groups most of us disagree with or find=20
unsettling is not the way to regulate protest reasonably. </P>
<P>People have the right to protest, just as employees have the right to =
work=20
free of harassment. </P>
<P>That&rsquo;s why Judge Stevens&rsquo; decision hit just the right =
balance=20
between upholding the Constitution and protecting the rights of =
employees, who=20
are not directly the object of the protests.</P>
<P>&nbsp;</P>
<P>to contact Mayor Tim Fitzmaurice (831) 420-5017 or <A=20
href=3D"mailto:tfitzmaurice@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us">tfitzmaurice@ci.santa-cr=
uz.ca.us</A>&nbsp;&nbsp;</P></FONT><FONT=20
size=3D2>
<P><IMG height=3D15 src=3D"/graphics/menus/border.gif"=20
width=3D1></P></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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