[Hpn] Most Asked Questions about the Downtown Ordinances

Becky Johnson Becky_Johnson@sbcglobal.net
Tue, 30 Jul 2002 14:12:04 -0700


This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

------=_NextPart_000_0054_01C237D3.1489D680
Content-Type: text/plain;
	charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable


Most Asked Questions about the Downtown Ordinances

by Becky Johnson=20

7-29-02

The City of Santa Cruz passed a series of ordinances on July 24th =
regarding conduct on public property, sitting, soliciting, and storage =
of property on public sidewalks. The following questions have come up =
frequently in the resulting dialogues, meetings, and letters to the =
editor.=20

SHOULDN'T THE CITY REGULATE BEHAVIOR ON PACIFIC AVE.? Yes! And it does. =
Under the direction of Police Chief Steven Belcher, the number of =
citations issued on Pacific Ave. has been increasing. Most of the =
complaints about behavior on Pacific Ave. have been about drug dealing, =
sexual harassment, vandalism, and shoplifting. The new ordinances do not =
affect any of these activities which are already illegal under existing =
ordinances.

I FEEL FRIGHTENED WHEN I HAVE TO RUN A GAUNTLET OF PEOPLE ASKING ME FOR =
SPARE CHANGE. CAN'T AN ORDINANCE MAKE ME MORE SAFE?

There is danger everywhere whenever you go out in a public place. This =
includes going to church, to a shopping mall, as well as on Pacific Ave. =
The crime rate for serious crimes has been dropping in the same time =
period that homelessness in Santa Cruz has been rising. The presence of =
homeless people on the streets does not make the general public less =
safe. People who ask you for spare change rarely pose any threat to you. =
As with any interchange you have with someone you don't know, keep a =
three foot buffer distance away from them if possible, and be alert to =
what is happening in your surroundings.

I WORK FOR A LIVING. I STRUGGLE HARD TO GET MY MONEY. AREN'T THESE =
SPARE-CHANGERS JUST GETTING MONEY FOR BOOZE OR DOPE ANYWAY?

There is a perception that homeless people don't work. Actually, most =
able-bodied homeless people do work, and in Santa Cruz, 10% are employed =
full-time. The Santa Ana Eichhorn decision reported that only 8% of the =
able-bodied homeless are not working and not looking for work. While =
drug and alcohol abuse is higher among homeless people than among housed =
people, it is not the majority. Perhaps 35% of homeless people use and =
sometimes abuse drugs and alcohol. Even these drug and alcohol users =
still need money for payphones, bus change, Kleenex, Band-Aids, =
sunscreen, toothpaste, etc. Do we try to take money away from =
millionaires who have drug or alcohol problems? As with anyone who asks =
you for money, use your own head and your own heart to determine if you =
choose to give anything or not.

I WALK UP AND DOWN PACIFIC AVE. EVERY DAY AND I AM CONSTANTLY SEXUALLY =
HARASSED AND SWEARED AT.

Sexual harassment is a big problem in the United States. It cuts across =
economic, ethnic, and cultural lines. If a woman is being harassed in a =
confined area such as at work in her office, she has recourse to sue the =
individual and sometimes the company for failing to keep her safe. On =
the streets, she is no longer a captive audience and may stay or leave =
at will. Assertiveness training can help women to project a =
don't-mess-with-me attitude that is very helpful in warding off unwanted =
sexual come-ons from total strangers. As always, if a man goes to far, =
by making threats, following a woman, or touching her inappropriately =
she has the option of filing a complaint against the individual. =
Remember that the first step is to tell the person to stop. None of the =
ordinances passed will affect sexual harassment on Pacific Ave.

I SEE PEOPLE HANGING OUT ALL DAY LONG IN FRONT OF STORES. CAN'T THEY =
JUST GO SOMEWHERE ELSE?

Since many of the people you see are homeless, they don't have the =
option to "go home." One of the main problems homeless people suffer =
from is isolation and alienation. Hence, they have a great need to =
gather together in public places to feel a sense of belonging and =
connection with humanity. While parks may seem the obvious location, =
various police campaigns have driven gatherings of young people or =
homeless people from the city's parks. Also, Parks and Rec. keep the =
grass very wet in parks to discourage people from setting down blankets =
and sleeping during the daytime. Remember, that the right of the people =
to peaceably assemble was written into the bill of rights for a reason. =
In a City which has adamantly refused to have anything similar to a =
public commons or town square as are found in most cities in the United =
States, Pacific Ave. has become the most likely choice for people to =
meet each other.

I AM JUST SICK & TIRED OF THE ALCOHOLICS & THE DRUG ADDICTS HANGING OUT =
ON PACIFIC AVE. AREN'T THESE ORDINANCES CALLED FOR?

The ordinances will do nothing to stop alcoholism or drug addiction. =
Currently public intoxication, having an open container of alcohol, and =
drug use and sales are illegal under current laws. Please remember that =
there are only two slots available to homeless people at any given time =
to get into a drug or alcohol recovery program. With a homeless =
population of about 1500 in the city limits alone, there is little help =
for these people to enter into a recovery program. Instead, these =
ordinances will require even more of our precious public funds to be =
spent on police patrols, court appearances, and jails when we critically =
need for more rehab facilities to be opened up.

I DON'T LIKE THE PANHANDLERS. BUT I DON'T MIND THE STREET MUSICIANS AND =
STREET ENTERTAINERS. CAN'T WE JUST WRITE LAWS TO PROHIBIT PANHANDLING?

Unfortunately, street musicians and entertainers who work on tips or =
donations fall into the same enforcement category as the beggars do. It =
would not be possible to ban one form of soliciting donations and allow =
another. Even non-profit organizations that do fund-raising on Pacific =
Ave. will be affected by these ordinances. In every case, the areas in =
which they will be allowed to function have shrunk to tiny, =
postage-stamp sized locations for which all will have to compete. =
Panhandling may not be forbidden outright, as it is a protected free =
speech activity.

IF MY ORGANIZATION WANTS TO SET UP A POLITICAL TABLE AND HAS A DONATION =
CAN ON THE TABLE, WILL IT BE LIMITED BY THESE ORDINANCES?

Yes. The table must now be 14 feet from a building. 14 feet from a =
crosswalk, intersection, drinking fountain, telephone, monument, kiosk, =
or railing of a sidewalk cafe. The table may not solicit donations after =
dark, nor will two or more people be allowed to sit at the table. While =
this was not the intent of the law, this is the effect of the law. All =
speech by the Mayor and councilmembers on what their intent is will not =
count in court. It is how the actual law reads that will count.

WHAT OTHER ACTIVITIES WILL BE BANNED BY THESE NEW ORDINANCES?

Although councilmembers claim that blowing bubbles will remain legal, =
that is not what the language of the law passed says. Legal experts =
claim the new laws will outlaw blowing bubbles, hacky-sack, Frisbee, =
football, jacks, juggling, or any other game that uses a ball. Musicians =
will not be able to play after dark or in a group of two or more. =
Homeless people will be forbidden to hold up a sign after dark, and must =
now do so only from a standing position, and not in a group of two or =
more.

ARE THESE LAWS CONSTITUTIONAL?

Critics claim these laws curtail freedom of speech, the right of the =
people to peaceably assemble, and because of the likelihood of selected =
enforcement, equal protection under the law. If only homeless and poor =
people are written tickets for sitting on the sidewalk, having a foot on =
a planter, leaning against a tree (these are currently enforced under =
existing ordinances) then the law is unconstitutional AS APPLIED. =
Homeless advocates claim the new ordinances are very likely to be =
selectively enforced.

If you have any more questions or want to organize to oppose these laws =
contact HUFF

Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom at (831) 423-HUFF and leave a =
message

or by snail mail at 309 Cedar St. PMB 14B -- Santa Cruz, Ca. 95060

To contact Becky Johnson by e-mail becky_johnson@sbcglobal.net
























------=_NextPart_000_0054_01C237D3.1489D680
Content-Type: text/html;
	charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
<HTML><HEAD>
<META content=3D"text/html; charset=3Diso-8859-1" =
http-equiv=3DContent-Type>
<META content=3D"MSHTML 5.00.2614.3500" name=3DGENERATOR>
<STYLE></STYLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY bgColor=3D#ffffff>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><B><FONT size=3D4>
<P align=3Dcenter>Most Asked Questions about the Downtown=20
Ordinances</P></B></FONT><FONT size=3D2>
<P align=3Dcenter>by Becky Johnson </P>
<P align=3Dcenter>7-29-02</P></FONT><I><FONT size=3D3>
<P align=3Dcenter>The City of Santa Cruz passed a series of ordinances =
on July=20
24th regarding conduct on public property, sitting, soliciting, and =
storage of=20
property on public sidewalks. The following questions have come up =
frequently in=20
the resulting dialogues, meetings, and letters to the editor. =
</P></I><B>
<P>SHOULDN'T THE CITY REGULATE BEHAVIOR ON PACIFIC AVE.? </B>Yes! And it =
does.=20
Under the direction of Police Chief Steven Belcher, the number of =
citations=20
issued on Pacific Ave. has been increasing. Most of the complaints about =

behavior on Pacific Ave. have been about drug dealing, sexual =
harassment,=20
vandalism, and shoplifting. The new ordinances do not affect any of =
these=20
activities which are already illegal under existing ordinances.</P><B>
<P>I FEEL FRIGHTENED WHEN I HAVE TO RUN A GAUNTLET OF PEOPLE ASKING ME =
FOR SPARE=20
CHANGE. CAN'T AN ORDINANCE MAKE ME MORE SAFE?</P></B>
<P>There is danger everywhere whenever you go out in a public place. =
This=20
includes going to church, to a shopping mall, as well as on Pacific Ave. =
The=20
crime rate for serious crimes has been dropping in the same time period =
that=20
homelessness in Santa Cruz has been rising. The presence of homeless =
people on=20
the streets does not make the general public less safe. People who ask =
you for=20
spare change rarely pose any threat to you. As with any interchange you =
have=20
with someone you don't know, keep a three foot buffer distance away from =
them if=20
possible, and be alert to what is happening in your surroundings.</P><B>
<P>I WORK FOR A LIVING. I STRUGGLE HARD TO GET MY MONEY. AREN'T THESE=20
SPARE-CHANGERS JUST GETTING MONEY FOR BOOZE OR DOPE ANYWAY?</P></B>
<P>There is a perception that homeless people don't work. Actually, most =

able-bodied homeless people do work, and in Santa Cruz, 10% are employed =

full-time. The Santa Ana Eichhorn decision reported that only 8% of the=20
able-bodied homeless are not working and not looking for work. While =
drug and=20
alcohol abuse is higher among homeless people than among housed people, =
it is=20
not the majority. Perhaps 35% of homeless people use and sometimes abuse =
drugs=20
and alcohol. Even these drug and alcohol users still need money for =
payphones,=20
bus change, Kleenex, Band-Aids, sunscreen, toothpaste, etc. Do we try to =
take=20
money away from millionaires who have drug or alcohol problems? As with =
anyone=20
who asks you for money, use your own head and your own heart to =
determine if you=20
choose to give anything or not.</P><B>
<P>I WALK UP AND DOWN PACIFIC AVE. EVERY DAY AND I AM CONSTANTLY =
SEXUALLY=20
HARASSED AND SWEARED AT.</P></B>
<P>Sexual harassment is a big problem in the United States. It cuts =
across=20
economic, ethnic, and cultural lines. If a woman is being harassed in a =
confined=20
area such as at work in her office, she has recourse to sue the =
individual and=20
sometimes the company for failing to keep her safe. On the streets, she =
is no=20
longer a captive audience and may stay or leave at will. Assertiveness =
training=20
can help women to project a don't-mess-with-me attitude that is very =
helpful in=20
warding off unwanted sexual come-ons from total strangers. As always, if =
a man=20
goes to far, by making threats, following a woman, or touching her=20
inappropriately she has the option of filing a complaint against the =
individual.=20
Remember that the first step is to tell the person to stop. None of the=20
ordinances passed will affect sexual harassment on Pacific Ave.</P><B>
<P>I SEE PEOPLE HANGING OUT ALL DAY LONG IN FRONT OF STORES. CAN'T THEY =
JUST GO=20
SOMEWHERE ELSE?</P></B>
<P>Since many of the people you see are homeless, they don't have the =
option to=20
"go home." One of the main problems homeless people suffer from is =
isolation and=20
alienation. Hence, they have a great need to gather together in public =
places to=20
feel a sense of belonging and connection with humanity. While parks may =
seem the=20
obvious location, various police campaigns have driven gatherings of =
young=20
people or homeless people from the city's parks. Also, Parks and Rec. =
keep the=20
grass very wet in parks to discourage people from setting down blankets =
and=20
sleeping during the daytime. Remember, that the right of the people to =
peaceably=20
assemble was written into the bill of rights for a reason. In a City =
which has=20
adamantly refused to have anything similar to a public commons or town =
square as=20
are found in most cities in the United States, Pacific Ave. has become =
the most=20
likely choice for people to meet each other.</P><B>
<P>I AM JUST SICK &amp; TIRED OF THE ALCOHOLICS &amp; THE DRUG ADDICTS =
HANGING=20
OUT ON PACIFIC AVE. AREN'T THESE ORDINANCES CALLED FOR?</P></B>
<P>The ordinances will do nothing to stop alcoholism or drug addiction.=20
Currently public intoxication, having an open container of alcohol, and =
drug use=20
and sales are illegal under current laws. Please remember that there are =
only=20
two slots available to homeless people at any given time to get into a =
drug or=20
alcohol recovery program. With a homeless population of about 1500 in =
the city=20
limits alone, there is little help for these people to enter into a =
recovery=20
program. Instead, these ordinances will require even more of our =
precious public=20
funds to be spent on police patrols, court appearances, and jails when =
we=20
critically need for more rehab facilities to be opened up.</P><B>
<P>I DON'T LIKE THE PANHANDLERS. BUT I DON'T MIND THE STREET MUSICIANS =
AND=20
STREET ENTERTAINERS. CAN'T WE JUST WRITE LAWS TO PROHIBIT =
PANHANDLING?</P></B>
<P>Unfortunately, street musicians and entertainers who work on tips or=20
donations fall into the same enforcement category as the beggars do. It =
would=20
not be possible to ban one form of soliciting donations and allow =
another. Even=20
non-profit organizations that do fund-raising on Pacific Ave. will be =
affected=20
by these ordinances. In every case, the areas in which they will be =
allowed to=20
function have shrunk to tiny, postage-stamp sized locations for which =
all will=20
have to compete. Panhandling may not be forbidden outright, as it is a =
protected=20
free speech activity.</P><B>
<P>IF MY ORGANIZATION WANTS TO SET UP A POLITICAL TABLE AND HAS A =
DONATION CAN=20
ON THE TABLE, WILL IT BE LIMITED BY THESE ORDINANCES?</P></B>
<P>Yes. The table must now be 14 feet from a building. 14 feet from a =
crosswalk,=20
intersection, drinking fountain, telephone, monument, kiosk, or railing =
of a=20
sidewalk cafe. The table may not solicit donations after dark, nor will =
two or=20
more people be allowed to sit at the table. While this was not the =
intent of the=20
law, this is the effect of the law. All speech by the Mayor and =
councilmembers=20
on what their intent is will not count in court. It is how the actual =
law reads=20
that will count.</P><B>
<P>WHAT OTHER ACTIVITIES WILL BE BANNED BY THESE NEW ORDINANCES?</P></B>
<P>Although councilmembers claim that blowing bubbles will remain legal, =
that is=20
not what the language of the law passed says. Legal experts claim the =
new laws=20
will outlaw blowing bubbles, hacky-sack, Frisbee, football, jacks, =
juggling, or=20
any other game that uses a ball. Musicians will not be able to play =
after dark=20
or in a group of two or more. Homeless people will be forbidden to hold =
up a=20
sign after dark, and must now do so only from a standing position, and =
not in a=20
group of two or more.</P><B>
<P>ARE THESE LAWS CONSTITUTIONAL?</P></B>
<P>Critics claim these laws curtail freedom of speech, the right of the =
people=20
to peaceably assemble, and because of the likelihood of selected =
enforcement,=20
equal protection under the law. If only homeless and poor people are =
written=20
tickets for sitting on the sidewalk, having a foot on a planter, leaning =
against=20
a tree (these are currently enforced under existing ordinances) then the =
law is=20
unconstitutional AS APPLIED. Homeless advocates claim the new ordinances =
are=20
very likely to be selectively enforced.</P></FONT><FONT size=3D2><I>
<P align=3Dcenter>If you have any more questions or want to organize to =
oppose=20
these laws contact HUFF</P>
<P align=3Dcenter>Homeless United for Friendship &amp; Freedom at (831) =
423-HUFF=20
and leave a message</P>
<P align=3Dcenter>or by snail mail at 309 Cedar St. PMB 14B -- Santa =
Cruz, Ca.=20
95060</P>
<P align=3Dcenter>To contact Becky Johnson by e-mail=20
becky_johnson@sbcglobal.net</P></I>
<P>&nbsp;</P>
<P>&nbsp;</P>
<P>&nbsp;</P>
<P>&nbsp;</P>
<P>&nbsp;</P>
<P>&nbsp;</P>
<P>&nbsp;</P>
<P>&nbsp;</P>
<P>&nbsp;</P>
<P>&nbsp;</P>
<P>&nbsp;</P></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

------=_NextPart_000_0054_01C237D3.1489D680--