[Hpn] Ban the Beggars!

Becky Johnson Becky_Johnson@sbcglobal.net
Tue, 13 Aug 2002 17:37:11 -0700


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Ban the Beggars!


by Becky Johnson
August 12, 2002


Santa Cruz, Ca. -- A casually dressed tourist leans against a building =
downtown on Pacific Ave. idly sipping his iced mocha cappuccino, as he =
soaks in the pageantry of the street traffic. Next month, this act will =
most likely be a criminal act. On September 10th, the "Progressive" =
Santa Cruz City Council will reconvene to "fine-tune" the new =
anti-homeless ordinances, hustled through in a record 4 meetings in =
15days (See Fast Track Repression Stalks Santa Cruz August 2002 issue of =
Street Spirit).
Although the dramatic changes to the sitting ordinance, the soliciting =
ordinance, display of merchandise, storage of property, and the conduct =
on public property ordinance were pushed through, few of the problems =
merchants had complained about will be addressed.
Instead of address perceived problems of vandalism, shoplifting, =
shootings, stabbings, drug sales, sexual harassment, and lack of =
bathrooms, the new laws target, sitting, sparechanging, and resting an =
"unattended" backpack on the sidewalk with additional restrictions on =
street performers and political activists.=20

Gentrification seemed to be the merchant agenda, for these ordinances =
which go into effect on August 23, target the menace of blowing bubbles, =
playing hackey-sack, Frisbee, football, juggling, jacks, people playing =
music, street musicians, tarot card readers, political tables, and =
beggars. Already illegal on Pacific Ave. are dogs, skateboards, putting =
a foot on the 8" high concrete lip of a tree-well, asking for spare =
change after dark, sitting on a bench the wrong way, asking for spare =
change from a seated position or in groups of two or more, riding a =
bicycle on the sidewalk, lying down, sitting 10 feet from a building, =
dropping a cigarette butt on the sidewalk, "displaying" your artwork on =
or music for sale (or even for a donation), and, if you believe the =
police, chalking on the sidewalk.

14 FT. GHETTO

Differentially effected by the ordinances are the street musicians who =
accept donations, street entertainers such as Mr. Twister and Wild =
Willie, two clowns who twist balloons into animal shapes to the delight =
of children. They accept tips for their work, so they will be =
ghetto-ized. They will join any political table that includes a donation =
can (which is pretty much all of them) in the tiny regions left To =
perform or table after the forbidden zone is expanded to 14" from a =
building, an intersection, a mid-block crosswalk, a drinking fountain, a =
telephone, the railing of an outdoor cafe, or a bench. "The benches were =
missing from the diagrams," reports Kathy Bisbee, Downtown Commission =
Chair, commenting on the drawings that staff brought to city council as =
it rushed through the laws. The diagrams, prepared by Julie Hendee of =
the Santa Cruz Redevelopment Agency (RDA repeatedly erred in showing =
"green opportunity zones" where none existed in reality. For the RDA, =
which socially engineered "Yuppie Planter" at Pacific Ave. and Lincoln =
St. last February, with its privatization of "Hippie Planter" the green =
opportunity for homeless panhandlers will be almost non-existent.

Two and half weeks and three downtown commission meetings later, on =
August 13th, the RDA maps still failed to indicate all benches, some =
crosswalks, and at least on large planter area, exaggerating the area of =
the "opportunity zones" as Vice-Mayor Emily Reilly cheerfully renamed =
the small areas not covered by forbidden by her law.

He upbeat bigotry is not new. Last October she led the council to ban =
homeless parking in the Harvey West industrial area of Santa Cruz from =
5AM to 7AM allegedly for daily "street cleaning." 400 - 500 homeless =
people, living in their vehicles, risk losing those vehicles if they =
cannot pay the expensive tickets that can accumulate quickly. Reilly =
described this homeless-removal program as "a compromise". Reilly =
described this years steamroller downtown ordinances as "putting things =
in balance. Last year activists hoisted an "EMILY REILLY'S VOTES HURT =
THE POOR" banner in front of her Mission Street Emily's "Good Things to =
Eat" Bakery. (See "Santa Cruz Ratchets up Anti-Homeless Campaign," =
Street Spirit October 2001)

Councilmember Tim Fitzmaurice, who is the only incumbent seeking =
re-election this November, seems determined to bring his City Council =
rules of decorum to the public sidewalks of Pacific Ave. He has banned =
hackey-sack players from Pacific Ave. And he did so by passionately =
relating an incident he had witnessed of a young man playing Frisbee and =
crashing into an elderly woman walking by with her domestic partner and =
her daughter. "He didn't apologize. And when they complained, he turned =
and looked at them and said 'You=20

f--king dikes!' Tim's voice shook with anger. He moved to act to end =
this injustice. Did he speak to the young man in an attempt to sensitize =
him the error of his ways? No. Did he recommend that the human rights =
task force expand diversity and tolerance outreach to high school boys? =
No. Did he make a citizen's arrest of the young man for recklessly =
endangering the woman? No. He banned Frisbees!!
"How can banning hacky-sacks reduce drug dealing on Pacific Ave.?" Mayor =
Christopher Krohn asked. Councilmember Ed Porter answered back that drug =
dealers get bored waiting for a drug deal to occur and like to entertain =
themselves by playing hacky-sack.
Highlighting the public comment period on the downtown ordinances was =
the Mammary Manifesto. This ad hoc collective of three 20 yr-olds who =
wrote a colorful and well-researched critique (see www. frazadelic.com) =
of the perceived crime wave on Pacific Ave., and read it during the =
public comment period taking turns reading the entire document into the =
record 3minutes at a time.=20

The first speaker, a young woman sporting a fabulous blue and black =
Mohawk headdress began her public comment period by pulling her top off. =
She then explained that while there had been only two complaints of =
topless women on Pacific Ave. in the past six months, both of them for =
the same woman, a tourist, who has since left town, "The only time you =
ever tend to see women's breasts on Pacific Ave. is when you try to ban =
them!" Standing in line, the remaining members of the Mammary Manifesto =
removed their shirts as well. One young woman also blew bubbles through =
the council chambers. A petition circulated by Candi Jackson of =
Jackson's Shoes had recommended banning women's bare breasts from =
Pacific Ave., but no such language appeared in any of the ordinances.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BEGGARS
Moments after passing the sweeping ordinance changes into law, the =
Councilmembers planned to grant exemptions. "We won't ban professional =
bubble blowers," Councilmember Ed Porter confidently predicted. But no =
such language appeared in the text of the ordinance they had just =
passed. The Downtown Commission was given the clean-up job. In early =
August, the generally pro-ordinance commissioners walked Pacific Ave. =
looking for "traditional" areas to exempt from the 14 foot forbidden =
zones for street musicians, political tables, or street entertainers. No =
one advocated for the beggars.

In fact, it's all about the beggars. Sexual harassment is already =
illegal under existing ordinances. The ordinances expand the =
prohibitions against peaceful sparechanging from a seated position, in =
groups of two or more, or after dark to include silent sparechangers, =
performers, or political activists on all sidewalks in town. What does =
this have to do with women walking on Pacific Ave. who are getting =
unwanted come-ons from young men? Neither the Downtown Commission nor =
its "Big Brother" the City Council could say. But they worked furiously =
on "finding exemptions" for the "worthy" donation seekers (tablers and =
performers).

Less hypocritical was Orlando, Florida -- which banned sitting or lying =
on the sidewalk on August 5th. While the Santa Cruz City Council and the =
Santa Cruz Sentinel said not one word about the main target of these =
laws: "commercially unviable" homeless people according to the Orlando =
Sentinel was more outspoken.

: "The Orlando City Council voted 6-0 Monday to further crack down on =
the homeless after getting complaints that too many vagrants sleep in =
doorways or spend hours on sidewalks in front of businesses." The =
undeniable conclusion that the purpose of these ordinances is to ban the =
beggars. For the merchants are loath to see beggars outside of their =
stores.

Since the soliciting ordinance is in place citywide, and most other =
sidewalks in the commercial districts are less than 14' wide, quite a =
chunk has been taken out of public space to "discourage" homeless people =
and panhandlers.

An obscure part of the ordinance bans the purchase of an item for an =
amount that is so much larger than the value of the item that both =
parties agree its a donation. One young woman commented. "I tried to get =
some items for my apartment on Pacific Ave. $60 for a pot! Sheets for =
$125! I feel I must be donating well above the true value when I shop on =
Pacific Ave.!"
On August 23rd, the ordinances will take effect. After a two-week =
warning the period the police will begin to ticket homeless people for =
standing, holding a sign after dark which says "Cold, Hungry, Homeless, =
Please Help. God Bless!" Violators must pay the state $162. If they =
don't pay the fine, they will be arrested and jailed for an additional =
$200 booking fee.=20

Repeat offenders may face the irony of probation condition that ties =
them to the Santa Cruz area for three years, but bars them from the =
downtown area, as is being done with minor marijuana dealers in the =
latest police crackdown and selective enforcement.

On August 12, the CPRB voted to hold a special hearing to look into =
police harassment and selective enforcement downtown. A day later at the =
Downtown Commission, activists were asking the commission to use their =
positions to try to stop the new laws. "At least wait until you hear =
from Berkeley, Olympia, and Portland on alternative solutions" said an =
activist from Downtown For All, an organization that formed precisely to =
oppose the new ordinances.

It seems that internationally-famous bubble blower, Tom Noddy's "Bubble =
Magic" show will be barred in all commercial districts on August 23rd =
(when the ordinance becomes law) under MC 9.50.020 which bans "[Any] =
liquid substance to be thrown, discharged, launched, spilled, or to =
become airborne." Councilmember Ed Porter told the Downtown Commission =
he wanted traditional performers like Noddy "to be exempted."

Noddy is not grateful. "City Council just killed our successful =
voluntary Street Performers Guidelines" with bad new laws that are =
simply stupid. These guidelines took us months to hammer out in 1980 and =
have worked well for years. Now the Downtown Commission invites me to =
'help' rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic? No thanks!"
Downtown For All has begun plans to make citizens arrests of well-to-do =
citizens sitting down on the sidewalk waiting for a trendy breakfast at =
Zachary's or for jaywalking across the street by the Cinema 9. Selective =
enforcement is the key to banishing the beggars on Pacific Ave. If =
well-dressed middle-class people and visiting tourists receive $162 =
citations for sitting or crossing a street, the council may just rush =
back to reconsider.

Robert Norse contributed to this story.










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<DIV><B><FONT size=3D5>
<P align=3Dcenter>Ban the Beggars!</P>
<P align=3Dcenter><BR></B></FONT>by Becky Johnson<BR>August 12, 2002</P>
<P><BR>Santa Cruz, Ca. -- A casually dressed tourist leans against a =
building=20
downtown on Pacific Ave. idly sipping his iced mocha cappuccino, as he =
soaks in=20
the pageantry of the street traffic. Next month, this act will most =
likely be a=20
criminal act. On September 10th, the "Progressive" Santa Cruz City =
Council will=20
reconvene to "fine-tune" the new anti-homeless ordinances, hustled =
through in a=20
record 4 meetings in 15days (See Fast Track Repression Stalks Santa Cruz =
August=20
2002 issue of <I>Street Spirit</I>).<BR>Although the dramatic changes to =
the=20
sitting ordinance, the soliciting ordinance, display of merchandise, =
storage of=20
property, and the conduct on public property ordinance were pushed =
through, few=20
of the problems merchants had complained about will be =
addressed.<BR>Instead of=20
address perceived problems of vandalism, shoplifting, shootings, =
stabbings, drug=20
sales, sexual harassment, and lack of bathrooms, the new laws target, =
sitting,=20
sparechanging, and resting an "unattended" backpack on the sidewalk with =

additional restrictions on street performers and political activists. =
</P>
<P>Gentrification seemed to be the merchant agenda, for these ordinances =
which=20
go into effect on August 23, target the menace of blowing bubbles, =
playing=20
hackey-sack, Frisbee, football, juggling, jacks, people playing music, =
street=20
musicians, tarot card readers, political tables, and beggars. Already =
illegal on=20
Pacific Ave. are dogs, skateboards, putting a foot on the 8" high =
concrete lip=20
of a tree-well, asking for spare change after dark, sitting on a bench =
the wrong=20
way, asking for spare change from a seated position or in groups of two =
or more,=20
riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, lying down, sitting 10 feet from a =
building,=20
dropping a cigarette butt on the sidewalk, "displaying" your artwork on =
or music=20
for sale (or even for a donation), and, if you believe the police, =
chalking on=20
the sidewalk.</P><B><U>
<P>14 FT. GHETTO</P></B></U>
<P>Differentially effected by the ordinances are the street musicians =
who accept=20
donations, street entertainers such as <B>Mr. Twister </B>and <B>Wild=20
Willie</B>, two clowns who twist balloons into animal shapes to the =
delight of=20
children. They accept tips for their work, so they will be ghetto-ized. =
They=20
will join any political table that includes a donation can (which is =
pretty much=20
all of them) in the tiny regions left To perform or table after the =
forbidden=20
zone is expanded to 14" from a building, an intersection, a mid-block =
crosswalk,=20
a drinking fountain, a telephone, the railing of an outdoor cafe, or a =
bench.=20
"The benches were missing from the diagrams," reports <B>Kathy =
Bisbee</B>,=20
<I>Downtown Commission </I>Chair, commenting on the drawings that staff =
brought=20
to city council as it rushed through the laws. The diagrams, prepared by =

<B>Julie Hendee </B>of the <I>Santa Cruz Redevelopment Agency </I>(RDA=20
repeatedly erred in showing "green opportunity zones" where none existed =
in=20
reality. For the RDA, which socially engineered "Yuppie Planter" at =
Pacific Ave.=20
and Lincoln St. last February, with its privatization of "Hippie =
Planter" the=20
green opportunity for homeless panhandlers will be almost =
non-existent.</P>
<P>Two and half weeks and three downtown commission meetings later, on =
August=20
13th, the RDA maps still failed to indicate all benches, some =
crosswalks, and at=20
least on large planter area, exaggerating the area of the "opportunity =
zones" as=20
<B>Vice-Mayor Emily Reilly </B>cheerfully renamed the small areas not =
covered by=20
forbidden by her law.</P>
<P>He upbeat bigotry is not new. Last October she led the council to ban =

homeless parking in the Harvey West industrial area of Santa Cruz from =
5AM to=20
7AM allegedly for daily "street cleaning." 400 - 500 homeless people, =
living in=20
their vehicles, risk losing those vehicles if they cannot pay the =
expensive=20
tickets that can accumulate quickly. Reilly described this =
homeless-removal=20
program as "a compromise". Reilly described this years steamroller =
downtown=20
ordinances as "putting things in balance. Last year activists hoisted an =
"EMILY=20
REILLY'S VOTES HURT THE POOR" banner in front of her Mission Street =
<I>Emily's=20
"Good Things to Eat" Bakery</I>. (See "<I>Santa Cruz Ratchets up =
Anti-Homeless=20
Campaign</I>," <I>Street Spirit </I>October 2001)</P><B>
<P>Councilmember Tim Fitzmaurice</B>, who is the only incumbent seeking=20
re-election this November, seems determined to bring his City Council =
rules of=20
decorum to the public sidewalks of Pacific Ave. He has banned =
hackey-sack=20
players from Pacific Ave. And he did so by passionately relating an =
incident he=20
had witnessed of a young man playing Frisbee and crashing into an =
elderly woman=20
walking by with her domestic partner and her daughter. "He didn't =
apologize. And=20
when they complained, he turned and looked at them and said 'You </P>
<P>f--king dikes!' Tim's voice shook with anger. He moved to act to end =
this=20
injustice. Did he speak to the young man in an attempt to sensitize him =
the=20
error of his ways? No. Did he recommend that the human rights task force =
expand=20
diversity and tolerance outreach to high school boys? No. Did he make a=20
citizen's arrest of the young man for recklessly endangering the woman? =
No. He=20
banned Frisbees!!<BR>"How can banning hacky-sacks reduce drug dealing on =
Pacific=20
Ave.?" <B>Mayor Christopher Krohn</B> asked. <B>Councilmember Ed Porter=20
</B>answered back that drug dealers get bored waiting for a drug deal to =
occur=20
and like to entertain themselves by playing hacky-sack.<BR>Highlighting =
the=20
public comment period on the downtown ordinances was the <I>Mammary=20
Manifesto</I>. This ad hoc collective of three 20 yr-olds who wrote a =
colorful=20
and well-researched critique (see www. frazadelic.com) of the perceived =
crime=20
wave on Pacific Ave., and read it during the public comment period =
taking turns=20
reading the entire document into the record 3minutes at a time. </P>
<P>The first speaker, a young woman sporting a fabulous blue and black =
Mohawk=20
headdress began her public comment period by pulling her top off. She =
then=20
explained that while there had been only two complaints of topless women =
on=20
Pacific Ave. in the past six months, both of them for the same woman, a =
tourist,=20
who has since left town, "The only time you ever tend to see women's =
breasts on=20
Pacific Ave. is when you try to ban them!" Standing in line, the =
remaining=20
members of the <I>Mammary Manifesto </I>removed their shirts as well. =
One young=20
woman also blew bubbles through the council chambers. A petition =
circulated by=20
<B>Candi Jackson</B> of Jackson's Shoes had recommended banning women's =
bare=20
breasts from Pacific Ave., but no such language appeared in any of the=20
ordinances.<BR><B><U>IT&#8217;S ALL ABOUT THE BEGGARS<BR></B></U>Moments =
after passing=20
the sweeping ordinance changes into law, the Councilmembers planned to =
grant=20
exemptions. "We won't ban professional bubble blowers," <B>Councilmember =
Ed=20
Porter</B> confidently predicted. But no such language appeared in the =
text of=20
the ordinance they had just passed. The <I>Downtown Commission</I> was =
given the=20
clean-up job. In early August, the generally pro-ordinance commissioners =
walked=20
Pacific Ave. looking for "traditional" areas to exempt from the 14 foot=20
forbidden zones for street musicians, political tables, or street =
entertainers.=20
No one advocated for the beggars.</P>
<P>In fact, it&#8217;s all about the beggars. Sexual harassment is =
already illegal=20
under existing ordinances. The ordinances expand the prohibitions =
against=20
peaceful sparechanging from a seated position, in groups of two or more, =
or=20
after dark to include silent sparechangers, performers, or political =
activists=20
on all sidewalks in town. What does this have to do with women walking =
on=20
Pacific Ave. who are getting unwanted come-ons from young men? Neither =
the=20
<I>Downtown Commission </I>nor its "Big Brother" the City Council could =
say. But=20
they worked furiously on "finding exemptions" for the "worthy" donation =
seekers=20
(tablers and performers).</P>
<P>Less hypocritical was Orlando, Florida -- which banned sitting or =
lying on=20
the sidewalk on August 5th. While the Santa Cruz City Council and the =
Santa Cruz=20
Sentinel said not one word about the main target of these laws: =
"commercially=20
unviable" homeless people according to the Orlando Sentinel was more=20
outspoken.</P>
<P>: "The Orlando City Council voted 6-0 Monday to further crack down on =
the=20
homeless after getting complaints that too many vagrants sleep in =
doorways or=20
spend hours on sidewalks in front of businesses." The undeniable =
conclusion that=20
the purpose of these ordinances is to ban the beggars. For the merchants =
are=20
loath to see beggars outside of their stores.</P>
<P>Since the soliciting ordinance is in place citywide, and most other =
sidewalks=20
in the commercial districts are less than 14' wide, quite a chunk has =
been taken=20
out of public space to "discourage" homeless people and panhandlers.</P>
<P>An obscure part of the ordinance bans the purchase of an item for an =
amount=20
that is so much larger than the value of the item that both parties =
agree its a=20
donation. One young woman commented. "I tried to get some items for my =
apartment=20
on Pacific Ave. $60 for a pot! Sheets for $125! I feel I must be =
donating well=20
above the true value when I shop on Pacific Ave.!"<BR>On August 23rd, =
the=20
ordinances will take effect. After a two-week warning the period the =
police will=20
begin to ticket homeless people for standing, holding a sign after dark =
which=20
says "Cold, Hungry, Homeless, Please Help. God Bless!" Violators must =
pay the=20
state $162. If they don't pay the fine, they will be arrested and jailed =
for an=20
additional $200 booking fee. </P>
<P>Repeat offenders may face the irony of probation condition that ties =
them to=20
the Santa Cruz area for three years, but bars them from the downtown =
area, as is=20
being done with minor marijuana dealers in the latest police crackdown =
and=20
selective enforcement.</P>
<P>On August 12, the CPRB voted to hold a special hearing to look into =
police=20
harassment and selective enforcement downtown. A day later at the =
<I>Downtown=20
Commission</I>, activists were asking the commission to use their =
positions to=20
try to stop the new laws. "At least wait until you hear from Berkeley, =
Olympia,=20
and Portland on alternative solutions" said an activist from <I>Downtown =
For=20
All</I>, an organization that formed precisely to oppose the new =
ordinances.</P>
<P>It seems that internationally-famous bubble blower, Tom Noddy's =
"Bubble=20
Magic" show will be barred in all commercial districts on August 23rd =
(when the=20
ordinance becomes law) under MC 9.50.020 which bans "[Any] liquid =
substance to=20
be thrown, discharged, launched, spilled, or to become airborne."=20
<B>Councilmember Ed Porter</B> told the Downtown Commission he wanted=20
traditional performers like Noddy "to be exempted."</P>
<P>Noddy is not grateful. "City Council just killed our successful =
voluntary=20
<I>Street Performers Guidelines</I>" with bad new laws that are simply =
stupid.=20
These guidelines took us months to hammer out in 1980 and have worked =
well for=20
years. Now the <I>Downtown Commission </I>invites me to 'help' rearrange =
the=20
deck chairs on the Titanic? No thanks!"<BR><I>Downtown For All </I>has =
begun=20
plans to make citizens arrests of well-to-do citizens sitting down on =
the=20
sidewalk waiting for a trendy breakfast at <I>Zachary's</I> or for =
jaywalking=20
across the street by the <I>Cinema 9. </I>Selective enforcement is the =
key to=20
banishing the beggars on Pacific Ave. If well-dressed middle-class =
people and=20
visiting tourists receive $162 citations for sitting or crossing a =
street, the=20
council may just rush back to reconsider.</P><I>
<P align=3Dcenter>Robert Norse contributed to this story</I>.<BR></P>
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