[Hpn] CITY HALL ARSON Sentinel editorial & commentary

Becky Johnson Becky_Johnson@sbcglobal.net
Sun, 6 Apr 2003 09:37:33 -0700


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NOTE TO READER:  When I was cited and later arrested for using sidewalk =
chalk on a sidewalk, I was accused of vandalism.  Get real!  I know what =
vandalism is, and I am opposed to it.  The City is facing $400,000 worth =
of fire damage, the need to provide office space for all the employees =
in that wing of City Hall, and the fear that the arsonist may strike =
again.  However, as my chalking conviction shows, the City of Santa Cruz =
is far from "extremely tolerant" as the Sentinel editorial below =
suggests. Homeless people are harassed, threatened, cited, arrested, and =
prosecuted for the "crimes" of sitting on a sidewalk, looking at their =
reflection in the glass of a Pacific Ave. business, for sleeping at =
night, for covering up with a blanket to keep warm, and for holding a =
sign after dark saying "Homeless, Anything Helps, God Bless!" =20

This in a city which has 160 shelter spaces to serve an estimated =
homeless population of 1500 to 2000.  So who is "demented" here?

I have no idea who burned City Hall or what their motivations were.  I =
do know that the City of Santa Cruz has been engaged in underhanded, =
cruel, abusive, and intolerant treatment of the poor and homeless while =
promoting a liberal, progressive veneer that is akin to cosmetics and a =
face-lift on Frankenstein's monster.  Was Santa Cruz tolerant when it =
arrested Jason Paschal, a homeless black man, and jailed him this week =
for criminal possession of a milk crate?  Was Mayor Emily Reilly =
"compassionate" when she ordered "No Parking 5AM -7AM 7 days a week" =
signs be installed in the Harvey West Industrial Park in order to =
criminalize homeless people sleeping in their vehicles?  Is the Council =
being tolerant in its latest effort to privatize the on-street parking =
citywide where they can sell us back the parking areas we now use for =
free?

As for the speculation by the Sentinel over who may have committed the =
arson--- they suggest "homeless people"  "street activists angered by =
the downtown ordinances"  "anti-government" types, "anti-war" and =
"pro-war" types.  Only the last entry suggested someone other than the =
homeless and their advocates and this is potentially libelous.  It could =
have been a disgruntled ex-employee as it was the personnel office. It =
could have been the teenage kids of police officers who know nothing =
will happen to them no matter what damage they do.  It could have been a =
City Councilmember who wanted to blame the vocal critics of the =
council's actions. =20

We at HUFF have been trying to expose the vicious and criminal acts of =
the City Council and the SCPD for years and bring them to the light of =
justice.  These written attacks by smearing homeless people and their =
advocates strikes me as very self-serving since the City knows full well =
it has created many enemies along the way with no help from us.  ---- =
Becky Johnson
=20
=20
Santa Cruz Sentinel editorial
=20
April 3, 2003=20

Local attacks an outrage=20

CITY HALL ARSON:=20

Latest vandalism shows that even an extremely tolerant city can be =
targeted by demented criminals trying to make some obscure point.=20

It took an attack on Santa Cruz City Hall to knock the war in Iraq off =
the top spot on the Sentinel's front page Wednesday. That's saying =
something, since the war took a decided turn, with allied forces =
pressing in toward Baghdad as resistance began to crumble. In addition, =
Special Forces made a dramatic, thrilling rescue of a prisoner of war, =
19-year-old Jessica Lynch.=20

It was one of those news days, with a plane temporarily quarantined at =
San Jose International Airport in the ongoing scare over the mysterious =
respiratory ailment, SARS.=20

Dramatic as all this news was, the brazen early-morning arsons at City =
Hall and State Parks headquarters were stunners.=20

It wasn't that vandalism doesn't occur all the time. It does.=20

And it wasn't the scope of the damage to City Hall, estimated at =
$400,000. Insurance probably will pay most of the bills.=20

No, it was that in a city that is probably one of the most tolerant in =
the nation for any and all viewpoints, lifestyles, aberrant behaviors =
and social causes, that some demented person or persons felt it =
necessary to take such an action to make a point.=20

No one as yet has stepped forward to take responsibility for the arson, =
and we doubt if anyone will.=20

Whatever point that might be made would probably be lost in the outrage =
over the nasty and pointless actions.=20

This attack was only the latest in a puzzling, disheartening series of =
similar vandalisms.=20

City Hall was hit by vandals in 1997, then by the so-called "hosers" in =
2001, who soaked offices and businesses around town - including the =
Sentinel - in their attacks. The hosing culprits have never been =
apprehended. In the 1997 attack, a homeless activist was arrested and =
charged with vandalism, but charges were later dropped.=20

The State Parks office on Ocean Street suffered only minimal damage in =
Tuesday morning's arson. The office was hit in 2001 by the hosers as =
well, suffering more damage than City Hall in that attack. Even the =
bakery business owned by current Santa Cruz Mayor Emily Reilly was =
targeted.=20

Many theories have been advanced as to who is behind the attacks: the =
homeless who have lost their rights to stay indefinitely at state =
campgrounds; street activists angered by downtown regulations; =
anti-government types; pro-war; antiwar.=20

Who knows?=20

What is odd is that these attacks are occurring in this city, which is =
hardly a symbol of American corporate power or a government out of touch =
with the people.=20

Indeed, comments by City Council members showed the reluctance of local =
leaders to express anger or call for greater security.=20

Instead, several opined on "psychological sources" that might drive =
someone to strike out, and compassion for those driven to commit such =
acts.=20

We'd like to hear from the liberal leadership that runs Santa Cruz that =
enough is enough. Even in a city where tolerance apparently knows no =
bounds, criminal behavior that has a big impact on hard-working people =
will not be tolerated.=20

Let's hear some outrage and some anger. These acts of vandalism may not =
be a form of terrorism, but someone could have been seriously hurt in =
the latest attack and employees are scared and disheartened by the =
apparent ease with which vandals can strike.=20

And let's hope the criminals who are behind these attacks done in the =
darkness are exposed to the light of justice.=20




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<META content=3D"text/html; charset=3Diso-8859-1" =
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<STYLE></STYLE>
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<BODY bgColor=3D#ffffff>
<DIV><FONT size=3D2><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>NOTE TO READER:&nbsp; =
When I was cited=20
and later arrested for using sidewalk chalk on a sidewalk, I was accused =
of=20
vandalism.&nbsp; Get real!&nbsp; I know what vandalism is, and I am =
opposed to=20
it.&nbsp; The City is facing $400,000 worth of fire damage, the need to =
provide=20
office space for all the employees in that wing of City Hall, and the =
fear that=20
the arsonist may strike again.&nbsp; However, as my chalking conviction =
shows,=20
the <EM><STRONG>City of Santa Cruz </STRONG></EM>is far from "extremely=20
tolerant" as the <STRONG><EM>Sentinel </EM></STRONG>editorial below =
suggests.=20
Homeless people are harassed, threatened, cited, arrested, and =
prosecuted for=20
the "crimes" of sitting on a sidewalk, looking at their reflection in =
the glass=20
of a Pacific Ave. business, for sleeping at night, for covering up with =
a=20
blanket to keep warm, and for holding a sign after dark saying =
"Homeless,=20
Anything Helps, God Bless!"&nbsp; </FONT></FONT></DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>This in a city which has 160 shelter =
spaces&nbsp;to=20
serve an estimated homeless population of 1500 to 2000.&nbsp; So who is=20
"demented" here?</FONT></DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>I have no idea who burned City Hall or =
what their=20
motivations were.&nbsp; I do know that the <STRONG><EM>City of Santa =
Cruz=20
</EM></STRONG>has been engaged in underhanded, cruel, abusive, and =
intolerant=20
treatment of the poor and homeless while promoting a liberal, =
progressive veneer=20
that is akin to cosmetics and a face-lift on Frankenstein's =
monster.&nbsp; Was=20
Santa Cruz tolerant when it arrested <STRONG>Jason Paschal</STRONG>, a =
homeless=20
black man, and jailed him this week for criminal possession of a milk=20
crate?&nbsp; Was <STRONG>Mayor Emily Reilly </STRONG>"compassionate" =
when she=20
ordered "No Parking 5AM -7AM 7 days a week" signs be installed in the=20
<EM><STRONG>Harvey West Industrial Park</STRONG></EM> in order to =
criminalize=20
homeless people sleeping in their vehicles?&nbsp; Is the Council being =
tolerant=20
in its latest effort to privatize the on-street parking citywide where =
they can=20
sell us back the parking areas we now use for free?</FONT></DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>As for the speculation by the =
<STRONG><EM>Sentinel=20
</EM></STRONG>over who may have committed the arson--- they suggest =
"homeless=20
people"&nbsp; "street activists angered by the downtown =
ordinances"&nbsp;=20
"anti-government" types, "anti-war" and "pro-war" types.&nbsp; Only the =
last=20
entry suggested someone other than the homeless and their advocates and =
this is=20
potentially libelous.&nbsp; It could have been a disgruntled ex-employee =
as it=20
was the personnel office. It could have been the teenage kids of police =
officers=20
who know nothing will happen to them no matter what damage they =
do.&nbsp; It=20
could have been a City Councilmember who wanted to blame the vocal =
critics of=20
the council's actions.&nbsp; </FONT></DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>We at HUFF have been trying to expose =
the vicious=20
and criminal acts of the City Council and the SCPD for years and bring =
them to=20
the light of justice.&nbsp; These written attacks by smearing homeless =
people=20
and their advocates strikes me as very self-serving since the City knows =
full=20
well it has created many enemies along the way with no help from =
us.&nbsp; ----=20
<STRONG>Becky Johnson</STRONG></FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><FONT face=3D"Verdana, Arial, =
Helvetica, sans-serif"=20
size=3D2></FONT></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><FONT face=3D"Verdana, Arial, =
Helvetica, sans-serif"=20
size=3D2></FONT></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT size=3D2><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>Santa Cruz Sentinel=20
editorial</FONT></FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><FONT face=3D"Verdana, Arial, =
Helvetica, sans-serif"=20
size=3D2></FONT></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><FONT face=3D"Verdana, Arial, =
Helvetica, sans-serif"=20
size=3D2>April 3, 2003 <BR><BR><B>Local attacks an outrage </DIV>
<P></B>
<P><B>CITY HALL ARSON:=20
<P></B>Latest vandalism shows that even an extremely tolerant city can =
be=20
targeted by demented criminals trying to make some obscure point.=20
<P>It took an attack on Santa Cruz City Hall to knock the war in Iraq =
off the=20
top spot on the Sentinel&#8217;s front page Wednesday. That&#8217;s =
saying something, since=20
the war took a decided turn, with allied forces pressing in toward =
Baghdad as=20
resistance began to crumble. In addition, Special Forces made a =
dramatic,=20
thrilling rescue of a prisoner of war, 19-year-old Jessica Lynch.=20
<P>It was one of those news days, with a plane temporarily quarantined =
at San=20
Jose International Airport in the ongoing scare over the mysterious =
respiratory=20
ailment, SARS.=20
<P>Dramatic as all this news was, the brazen early-morning arsons at =
City Hall=20
and State Parks headquarters were stunners.=20
<P>It wasn&#8217;t that vandalism doesn&#8217;t occur all the time. It =
does.=20
<P>And it wasn&#8217;t the scope of the damage to City Hall, estimated =
at $400,000.=20
Insurance probably will pay most of the bills.=20
<P>No, it was that in a city that is probably one of the most tolerant =
in the=20
nation for any and all viewpoints, lifestyles, aberrant behaviors and =
social=20
causes, that some demented person or persons felt it necessary to take =
such an=20
action to make a point.=20
<P>No one as yet has stepped forward to take responsibility for the =
arson, and=20
we doubt if anyone will.=20
<P>Whatever point that might be made would probably be lost in the =
outrage over=20
the nasty and pointless actions.=20
<P>This attack was only the latest in a puzzling, disheartening series =
of=20
similar vandalisms.=20
<P>City Hall was hit by vandals in 1997, then by the so-called "hosers" =
in 2001,=20
who soaked offices and businesses around town &#8212; including the =
Sentinel &#8212; in=20
their attacks. The hosing culprits have never been apprehended. In the =
1997=20
attack, a homeless activist was arrested and charged with vandalism, but =
charges=20
were later dropped.=20
<P>The State Parks office on Ocean Street suffered only minimal damage =
in=20
Tuesday morning&#8217;s arson. The office was hit in 2001 by the hosers =
as well,=20
suffering more damage than City Hall in that attack. Even the bakery =
business=20
owned by current Santa Cruz Mayor Emily Reilly was targeted.=20
<P>Many theories have been advanced as to who is behind the attacks: the =

homeless who have lost their rights to stay indefinitely at state =
campgrounds;=20
street activists angered by downtown regulations; anti-government types; =

pro-war; antiwar.=20
<P>Who knows?=20
<P>What is odd is that these attacks are occurring in this city, which =
is hardly=20
a symbol of American corporate power or a government out of touch with =
the=20
people.=20
<P>Indeed, comments by City Council members showed the reluctance of =
local=20
leaders to express anger or call for greater security.=20
<P>Instead, several opined on "psychological sources" that might drive =
someone=20
to strike out, and compassion for those driven to commit such acts.=20
<P>We&#8217;d like to hear from the liberal leadership that runs Santa =
Cruz that=20
enough is enough. Even in a city where tolerance apparently knows no =
bounds,=20
criminal behavior that has a big impact on hard-working people will not =
be=20
tolerated.=20
<P>Let&#8217;s hear some outrage and some anger. These acts of vandalism =
may not be a=20
form of terrorism, but someone could have been seriously hurt in the =
latest=20
attack and employees are scared and disheartened by the apparent ease =
with which=20
vandals can strike.=20
<P>And let&#8217;s hope the criminals who are behind these attacks done =
in the=20
darkness are exposed to the light of justice.=20
<P>
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