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Sunday April 12th Know Yr Rights, Feed, Film, and Sleep-Out at City Hall
The culmination of six weeks of organizing for a federal lawsuit against the Sleeping Ban will feature a Know Your Rights forum on the Sidewalk in front of Coonerty's BS Santacruz, followed by songs, stories, and celebrity speakers at City Hall, food and films, and late-night videos. Followed by a sleep-in. Followed by a "Meet the Mayor" line Monday morning.
After six weeks of tabling, picketing, and partying outside Vice-Mayor Ryan Coonerty's Bookshop Santa Cruz, Coonerty remains mum on the basic issue: The judically-established fact that nighttime sleeping bans violate the federal and state Constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.
More than 16 months ago, such a ban was overturned in Los Angeles in Skid Row. A year ago, Richmond changed its law to comport with this ruling (the Jones decision). This spring San Diego settled with its homeless community, agreeing not to enforce laws against sleeping and camping at night.
Santa Cruz has a similar glaring shelter deficiency. It is so regular and glaring that the Homeless Service Center regularly issues letters to homeless campers given $97 citations which Referee Baskett and Judge Guy regularly dismiss.
This known revolving door hassle--where tickets are regularly dismissed--is known by police, rangers, and courts. Hence the tickets have no judicial merit, no hope of being successful prosecuted, and are simple harassment.
Nonetheless, the SCPD has doubled the number of tickets they gave over a similar six month period last year.
John Wallace, now chief Parks and Recreation ranger, singlehandedly gave out more camping citations April-November of last year than the entire SCPD. The City spent over $250,000 this year adding three rangers and four SCPD helpers to his homeless hit team. We haven't yet computed how many tickets, this new task force has given out in addition to the SCPD's ticketing total. Wallace's enthusiasm, his seven-fold increase in help, & the new"forbidden zones" and "clean-up zones" along the San Lorenzo River make it likely Wallace's Parks & Recreation has also increased its citations.
In addition, Wallace openly declared he destroys homeless property after posting camps, instead of saving and storing it, as required by the federal court in Fresno.
All of this amounts to brazen disregard for the federal court decisions. Attorneys Kate Wells and David Beauvais, HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom), the Human Rights Organization, Housing Now! in Santa Cruz, and the newly formed Homies for the Homeless are organizing a lawsuit. It will hopefully secure the protection that Los Angeles, San Diego, and Richmond homeless are now provided by law (though not always in fact).
L.A. heavies will be coming up to discuss what's happening down there. There will be videos, a showing by the Guerrilla Drive-In, food by Joe Schultz, and more! Perhaps citations by the Santa Cruz Police Department for....violating the Sleeping Ban.
Bring your bags, blankets, and friends. More details and a schedule of events to be posted.
Download the flier and spread the word!