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More on the "Fascist Salute at City Council" Case
I am currently appealing the federal court decision dismissing a lawsuit against three mayors involved in repressive arrests at Santa Cruz City Council. The mayors abused their powers, disrupted their own meetings, then had me arrested for "disruption". Below is the video of one of those arrests (the "Stop Acting Like Fascists" Nazi salute in March 2002) and a letter sent to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, which they have so far declined to print.
A video of the "disruptive" Nazi salute can be found at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid =-2487274467636094262 .
My letter, which the Sentinel declined to print, is reprinted here:
"309 Cedar PMB #14B
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
April 6, 2007
Editor, Santa Cruz Sentinel
City Council interrupts speakers and threatens them with arrest when they ask why. Sound fascist to you? Did to me. Hence a “fascist” salute.
The power to punish is so precious to them. We offered to negotiate reasonable Council rules five years ago. The City Attorney pocketed $100,000 in legal fees instead.
In the fascist salute case, we’ll appeal and probably win--once we reach a jury. The Council disrupted its own meeting to exclude a critic--more than once. Their rule: “Clap, but don’t boo! It’s not polite”
An anti-homeless Council still flouts the Court’s 2006 ruling that stopped Los Angeles, San Diego, and Richmond from giving homeless nighttime "sleepcrime" tickets. There’s no shelter for 95% of our 1500-2000 homeless.
Tickets start at $90 and quickly reach $800+. Mayor Reilly and Vice-Mayor Coonerty would rather fight lawsuits and empower thuggish cop activity than acknowledge their mistakes. That ain’t polite either.
A phone call to Sentinel editor Tom Honig (831-423-4242) asking why the letter was not printed has not yet prompted a reply.
The Sentinel did print the following letter from attorney Kate Wells, one of the two attorneys who will be appealing the case:
"There you go again — reporting on one of my cases without bothering to contact me. You quote the city attorney, yet fail to even attempt to contact me. Fox would be proud of you.
In a nutshell, Robert Norse's case was improperly dismissed by Judge Whyte for a second time; the first time we successfully appealed to the Ninth Circuit and the case was remanded back to Whyte.
We are confident the Court of Appeals will recognize that this was content-based repression by the City Council in violation of the First Amendment. Regardless of how you feel about Norse's salute, he has the right to silently criticize the council — the city consistently allows others to hold up signs alongside the council chambers. Norse's action was no different.
Do you seriously believe he would have been arrested and taken to jail if he had blown a kiss to Mayor Krohn?
(This letter is archived at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2007/April/06/edit/let.htm)
Finally, the actual court decision, a Sentinel article describing it, and extensive commentary can be found at: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/03/27/18383947.php?show_comments= 1#18389439 in the story and comments under "Federal Hoedown: In Court with Four Attorneys, Three Mayors, One Cop, and a Bad Judge" posted March 27th.
The right video link for the arrest as at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2487274467636094262