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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Police State and Prisons
Camp-Out Against the Coonerty Crackdown: 5th Sunday on the Sidewalk
With new stats revealing SCPD tickets for "illegal sleeping" have doubled from a year ago, homeless activists and their housed supporters will be back in front of Vice-Mayor Ryan Coonerty's Bookshop Santa Cruz Sunday at 2 PM to build support for a Tent City at City Hall on August 12th. Come on down to 1520 Pacific to sign up and sing out!
Vice-Mayor Coonerty is a particular target of this protest because of his attorney status, his outspoken opinions at Santa Cruz justifying criminalizing the homeless (he proposed the Parking Garage Paranoia Law--which criminalizes walking into city parking garages without a vehicle or bicycle), his bizarre claim to being a civil liberties advocate (teaching civil liberties classes at UCSC and Cabrillo), his position on the Public Safety Committee (overseeing the SCPD), and his backroom decision via the meets-in-secret Downtown Working Group to orchestrate an anti-homeless crackdown downtown this spring.
At the last Council meeting of the summer on July 24th, Mayor Reilly and Vice-Mayor Coonerty ignored an appeal to respect the federal court's JONES decision [http://www.aclu.org/rightsofthepoor/housing/25070prs20060414.html] halting police from citing homeless people in Los Angeles in the large inner city area known as Skid Row. Some quotes from that decision:
"(This) case stands for “the proposition that the Eighth Amendment prohibits the state from punishing an involuntary act or condition if it is the unavoidable consequence of one’s status or being.”
“The City…apparently believes that [the plaintiffs] can avoid sitting, lying and sleeping for days, weeks, or months at a time to comply with the City’s ordinance, as if human beings could remain in perpetual motion. That being an impossibility, by criminalizing, sitting lying, and sleeping, the City is in fact criminalizing [the plaintiffs] status as homeless individuals.”
Activists will offer homeless folks some possible retorts to midnight police wake-ups (see rough draft of flyer in comment section following).
Vice-Mayor Coonerty has again been invited to show up to discuss the issue, either on the sidewalk or on the radio on Bathrobespierre's Broadsides, a Free Radio Santa Cruz show airing Sunday 9:30 AM to 1 PM at 101.1 FM (http://www.freakradio.org). He has thus far refused all such offers and declined to reread the Jones decision, which he said he read a year ago but "forgot" the details of.
An activist from L.A. Community Action Network is scheduled to call in during the Sunday radio show to discuss the latest updates from Los Angeles.
Archived discussion of the Sleeping Ban struggle can be found in past shows archived at http://www.huffsantacruz.org.
More info at http://indybay.org/newsitems/2007/07/19/18436479.php ("Building Towards Tent City: Week Four In Front of Coonerty's Bookshop")