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Coonerty to Face Challenge in Obama Delegate Selection 2 PM Sunday
by Robert Norse ( rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com )
Saturday Apr 12th, 2008 1:47 PM
African-American activist Metteyya Brahmana urged all those voting in the Obama caucus at Cabrillo College Sunday April 13th to vote down Mayor Ryan Coonerty. The caucus will begin at 2 PM at the Environmental Horticulture Center, Room 5005 "Top of the Campus" 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos. Delegate candidates will be competing for two seats for the 17th Congressional District, one male and one female. Brahmana forwarded me some e-mail correspondence between himself and the Mayor which shows Coonerty's rationale for some of his positions as well as his short fuse.
I'd never heard of Metteyya before a week ago when he called and e-mailed about the upcoming Obama caucus tomorrow and his concerns about Mayor Ryan Coonerty being selected as the sole male delegate from this district.

I'm not an Obama supporter (check out his votes backing military appropriations and statements supporting a broader war in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as expanding the military by 100,000 troops). Metteyya is an Obama supporter. He had specific concerns about Coonerty's rules severely limiting public comment at City Council, about his support for the anti-homeless Sleeping Ban, and about his political ambitions (possibly switching to Clinton on the 3rd ballot).

Metteyya spoke about the issue at length Thursday evening on Free Radio at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb080410.mp3 .


THE COONERTY RECORD

Coonerty has repeatedly refused to follow the state Sunshine Act and make his public appearance schedule available to the community.

He has refused to divulge his calendar of past meetings (to assess the influence of lobbyists).

He has banned activists from his Bookshop Santa Cruz for peaceful demonstrations on the sidewalk outside the Bookshop (signing the ban with his (then) vice-mayor title).

He has failed to give coherent explanations of his anti-homeless positions (most notably his support for the absurd and abusive Santa Cruz MC 6.36.010a which bans sleeping on all public and much private property 11 PM to 8:30 AM).

At the most recent City Council meeting he allowed a speaker only 2 minutes public input on the Consent Agenda (which contained 19 items)--in violation of state law.


COONERTY'S TRACK RECORD IN MORE DETAIL

Politicians mirror this kind of mock democracy in Santa Cruz should not be rewarded. Those who search for higher office while baldly betraying basic democratic principles like Mayor Ryan should be denied a broader mandate.

Coonerty's record is anti-homeless, elitist, and local civil liberties-hostile. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_Coonerty

His ignorance and hostility to the poor on homeless issues can be seen at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/11/14/18461204.php

In addition Coonerty has supported a significant reduction in public space. He backed a radical change in the use of Santa Cruz's previously public parking lots--now banned to all unless parking vehicles--and then only for 15 minutes. See http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/10/06/18452519.php


A CHANCE TO VOTE NO ON COONERTY

Check out the casual hypocrisy of a UCSC/Cabrillo College "civil liberties" instructor eliminating civil liberties downtown, in City Council, and for the homeless generally while posturing as a progressive!

The leadership may have anointed him, but the people don't have to go along.

I encourage the Obama-supporting community to choose someone who favors transparency in office, meaningful public input in meetings, and fairness towards the poor.

The caucus meets tomorrow at Cabrillo and is open to the public. Those who want to vote must be registered Democratic.
A large turnout is expected to choose among the 23 candidates. Apparently an early attempt--possibly by Coonerty supporters--to prune the list considerably has yielded to public pressure. (See http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_8888016)
There will be an hour's public discussion and shmoozing before the final voting.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom)--which has been challenging Coonerty's reactionary policies for several years now--voted to attend the caucus in order to inform interested delegates of his background and record.

Call 423-HUFF or go to http://www.huffsantacruz.org for more info if you want to support the lawsuit against the Sleeping Ban, copwatch, or other direct actions to restore civil liberties in Santa Cruz.

There will also be further discussion on this issue tomorrow (Sunday) 9:30 AM - 1 PM on Free Radio Santa Cruz.
§Coonerty vs. Brahmana: The E-Mail Exchange
by (posted by) Robert Norse Saturday Apr 12th, 2008 9:16 PM
The following are two streams of e-mails between Mayor Coonerty and activist Brahmana, the first March 19-20, the second March 25-26. Readers can judge for themselves whether Coonerty addresses the questions Brahmana puts to him. You can also get a sense of Coonerty's temperment. I think the exchange speaks for itself.

Both Coonerty and Brahmana will be at the Obama caucus to choose delegates tomorrow morning. It is a rare opportunity to question the reclusive Mayor as well. If he hasn't banned you, that is.




THE EXCHANGE

______________________________

Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 18:52:01 -0700
From: mbrahmana [at] gmail.com
To:
Subject: Coonerty and Keeley
CC:


Hi All,

It was good to see everyone yesterday at the Obama Santa Cruz Steering Committee meeting.

It was clear that some members seemed supportive of the idea of having two local politicians as our Obama delegate, and I wanted to hear from some of these supporters concerning why they think these individuals would be great Obama delegates.

Doing a quick Google search, I did not find any "public" statements from Ryan Coonerty in favor of Obama until February 22nd, and "no" public comments from Fred Keeley in favor of Obama at all. This raises the question of whether they were hedging their bets and waiting until they could see who the voters across the country were supporting before hitching their wagon to someone who may not help them in their political careers.

I also found this disturbing article on Coonerty, in which he is dramatically reducing the public's ability to be involved in the political process, a position that contradicts one of Obama's central premises of his campaign concerning getting ordinary citizens involved:

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/02/26/18481893.php

I am VERY concerned that we may be favoring "prominence in the community" over steadfast support and commitment to Obama and his ideals by considering these politician candidates, and would therefore be interested in hearing from supporters of these candidates (or the candidates themselves) to alleviate these concerns.

-Mett



______________________________
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 8:32 PM, Ryan Coonerty wrote:


Wow Mett. Which part of Obama's message of the politics of hope would describe your email in which you attack political allies based on 5 minutes of google research and launch allegations to the whole group?

Since we have never met, I am going to work under the assumption that you are ignorant and politically inept rather than mean-spirited and desperate.

First, I agree with you. This is an election and people should select the delegate they think will best serve the Obama campaign. No one should be given any kind of preferential treatment.

As to your points:

1. I endorsed Obama one year ago. I co-wrote the Obama SC strategy last spring, attended early meetings and rode (with Fred) on the July 4 Obama parade truck. My endorsement was not released until January because I wanted to influence the vote. If it had been covered in November, then it wouldn't have come out when people were voting. That is something you learn by working on political campaigns.

2. I was the first (and Fred was the second) elected official in the 17th CD to endorse Obama. If you look at the all the elected who did not endorse (Simitian, Laird, the SC City Council, the SC and Monterey Board of Supes, etc), it is a big deal for a local elected to endorse in a primary because you tend to anger a lot of people and gain very little. I felt so strongly about Obama's message that I was willing to put my political career second.

3. The open meeting law you cite is (1) written by political opponents who have urged violence and vandalism against my family for principled political stands (2) supported unanimously by the city council which ranges from liberal to very liberal and has two ACLU board members on it, and (3) is an effort to bring more working families into the political process who weren't able to participate because, prior to this change and others, the meetings were often more than 10 hours long and didn't allow people with kids and jobs to participate in their government.

Before you send another email like this, I would appreciate it if you would take the time to : (1) learn how to build coalitions (2) understand local politics (3) ask me if you have concerns about meeting regulations and (4) become a productive campaigner

Thanks.

Ryan

_



______________________________
From: Metteyya Brahmana [mailto:mbrahmana [at] gmail.com]
Sent: Wed 3/19/2008 10:53 PM
To: Ryan Coonerty
Cc:
Subject: Re: Coonerty and Keeley

Hi Ryan,

Sorry you so felt that my invitation to tell us why you want to be an Obama delegate was a "political attack". I do not know you personally, and I suspect others do not know you as well. When you don't know someone and they are putting themselves into a position to affect the prospects of Obama at the convention, the responsible thing to do is ask questions to elicit response.

So you waited until January to release your endorsement of Obama because you "wanted to influence the vote". For us politically inept types, please enlighten us on how that works? I am having a hard time understanding how voters not knowing where you stand helps you influence them to vote for Obama, and maybe others in the group are struggling with this as well.

I do not know much about the open meeting controversy other than what I read online, so please tell us how forcing the public to get permission from you to publicly comment on city business facilitates open debate and discussion, and how do you square that with Obama's message of open government and transparency?

-Mett







______________________________
Ryan Coonerty to me

Mar 20

I apologize to everyone for the tone of my response. Brent is right and we should do better.

For those interested in the City's policy relating to the consent agenda, please see below.

The City of Santa Cruz adopted a policy that was already in use in Watsonville, the County of Santa Cruz and hundreds of other jurisdictions across the state. This policy is only for the consent agenda items which are items about which there will be no debate and unanimous votes -- it is administrative business and is moved as one motion. Members of the public have the right to speak to the council about the consent agenda and, if one councilmember agrees to pull the item (not even to vote against it, but allow for more debate), the public has another opportunity to speak to the item.

Again, this was done because council meetings were lasting more than 10 hours and therefore not accessible to members of the public. We were also making decisions after 10 pm meaning that the public and press would not cover our decisions.

In my experience, indybay is the least reliable news source about local politics. It is dominated by a few extremists and is highly biased. I would think that if this policy really was a shutting out of the people that the Sentinel, Metro, Goodtimes, KUSP, KAZU, KZSC, KION, KSBW, etc would have at least mentioned it.

I am constitutional lawyer. I teach first amendment and civil liberties at UCSC. I firmly believe in the democratic process and, as Robin says, if you come to city council meetings you will see a a commitment to participation that I would be happy to compare to any other city in the united states.

Thanks.

Ryan



______________________________
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 12:24:29 -0700
From: mbrahmana [at] gmail.com
To: ryancoonerty [at] hotmail.com
Subject: Homeless in Santa Cruz

Hi Ryan,

I am taking the suggestion of a couple of people in the Obama Santa Cruz group and email you first concerning this issue before sharing what I have found with the group.

I do not know Robert Norse, so please don't confuse or conflate my concerns with his. All I did is Google: "Coonerty, homeless" and read "all" of the articles that I found there.

In one of the articles, you admit that there are perhaps 1,500 homeless people in Santa Cruz and only 50 beds. This led you to reason that lifting the sleeping ban would be a problem for Santa Cruz so you refused to consider lifting the ban. From the articles I read, it appears that the "enemies" you described in an earlier email were actually homeless persons who were upset that you would not consider lifting the ban or solving the homeless problem with more beds.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I have been homeless in Santa Cruz for about one month following the failure of a business that I started several years ago, and have personally visited the River Street shelters as a patron and volunteer, and violated the Santa Cruz sleeping ban by sleeping on the beach (it was in a Summer month, thank God) when it was warm at night and sleeping in an electrical room in a new construction site when it was cold.

I should also tell you that I once worked at a very prominent land use consulting firm in San Francisco, where I specifically recall working on deals with developers to set aside funds for homeless services and shelter construction as a condition of approving their development projects.

Having fully recovered from my homelessness, and now working as an executive at a computer company, I have the unique perspective of having been homeless "and" being annoyed by the homeless while shopping in Santa Cruz. So I really do understand fully the issue you grappled with in deciding whether to lift the sleeping ban.

I know you described me as "politically inept", and I know if you knew my full background you would be quite embarrassed to have made that statement. But rather than toot my own horn about all I have done in the past, I wanted you to respond to the substantive issue of whether you can best represent Obama as a delegate at the convention by reflecting his views on solving the homeless crisis? Here is a speech Obama delivered on homeless veterans:http://obama.senate.gov/podcast/070412-041207_housing/ And here is a bill he introduced in the US Senate on the issue:http://obama.senate.gov/press/071109-obama_introduce_21/ And, yes, I am a veteran of the United States Air Force.

-Mett



______________________________
On Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 1:27 PM, Ryan Coonerty wrote:
Mett,

Thanks for writing. This is an incredibly difficult issue and I am happy to talk with you in person about it. I will say the following:

1. You should feel free to call Ken Cole of the Homeless Resource Center, Yolanda Henry of the Familia Center, Carolyn Coleman of the SC Community Counseling Center, Sam Storey from Community Bridges, Matt Nathanson of the Homeless Persons Health Project, Laura Marcus of Dientes Community Dental or any other person involved in providing services on a day to day basis for the homeless and they will tell you that I have fought to increase their funding in difficult times, encouraged them to develop new programs and volunteered my personal time on their boards and at their events. Seriously ask them. These are people who have committed their lives to addressing this issue locally.

2. The City of Santa Cruz spends more per capita than any other city in the United States on homeless services. As you know, counties in CA are the governmental bodies that are meant to provide social services funds and programs. The City spends a significant percentage of our discretionary budget on these programs -- and I have supported that every year that I have been on the council.

3. Pick any other city within 50 miles of Santa Cruz and tell me a place that is more compassionate, creates more affordable housing, provides more shelter beds and programs, and has more services than the city. I am proud of the commitment of our city to addressing an incredibly difficult issue of homelessness even as the federal, state and county governments cut services. I think that Sen. Obama should visit Santa Cruz to find model programs to addressing homelessness.

4. Robert Norse is not homeless and in fact has a large trust fund. Neither is Becky Johnson, Tim Rumford, Bernard Klitzner. These self proclaimed activists have been banned from various shelters and soup kitchens because of the destructiveness of their tactics. I have been approached by dozens of homeless people who thank me for my efforts and disassociate themselves from HUFF. Including the three homeless people that Bookshop lets sleep under our alcove and for whom I have personal paid for hotel rooms and provided loans.

Reading your emails, it is clear that you are not going to support me for delegate. That is fine. I am responding to you because you raise public policy questions and I am trying to provide you with answers.

Hope this helps.

Ryan



______________________________
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 16:53:05 -0700
From: mbrahmana [at] gmail.com
To: ryancoonerty [at] hotmail.com
Subject: Re: Homeless in Santa Cruz


Hi Ryan,

Thanks for that information.

One of the reasons I shared a prior experience working with a land use consulting firm is I know the county and the city can exert enormous leverage on developers to set aside funds for the homeless. What has been your experience in this regard in Santa Cruz at both the city and county level?

Contrary to your last sentence in your last email, I have not decided whether to support you or not as an Obama delegate, but do have concerns that I have shared with you.

Your open meeting stance seems to contradict Obama's plan for citizen involvement, and I often quote this plan in trying to explain one of the key differences between Barack and Hillary in checking special interests. Have you ever considered implementing an on-line public comment scheme contained in Obama's plan to get citizens involved AND shorten council meetings?

The homeless issue is certainly tough, and no support from the feds makes it even tougher. But one of the remarkable things I have noticed in traveling to places like New Zealand, Sweden or The Netherlands is that there are no homeless people on the street. Granted, Santa Cruz may be doing more than some places, but even in Monterey they allow the homeless to sleep in some designated areas (like it used to be along the river in Santa Cruz).

I think the leverage issue I mentioned earlier is the key at the county and city level. These real estate developers are pretty bottom-line oriented, and if you can make their project pencil out with set-asides for homeless services and shelter construction, they will still do the project just like they have to do with wetlands replacement.

Fred Keeley has donated money to the Obama campaign and Emily Reilly has donated money to Hillary Clinton. From the public records available, I could not determine whether or where you or your father donated, and if you think this is too personal feel free to not answer.

The only reason these issues are a bigger concern for this particular convention, is Hillary has made it a point to target "pledged" Obama delegates who can switch after the first ballot - not just superdelegates - and will lean on women and "up-and-coming" politicians in particular with appeals to sisterhood and promises of appointments and other favors. It is therefore imperative that we select the "right" pledged delegates, and it would not surprise me if the Obama Campaign rejects some delegates even though they are elected by their CD. I wish Hillary would just concede and we can all go to the convention and have one big party, but she has vowed to fight until the end so this delegate race is a much bigger deal.

-Mett



______________________________
On Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 6:38 PM, Ryan Coonerty wrote:
Mett,

1. Homeless -- We have 1500 homeless people and 500 shelfter beds. We issue at most 2 tickets a night. That means .2% of the people get tickets and all tickets are dismissed by law if the shelters are full. If Monterey allows a few homeless to sleep in parks (although my guess is that they have an informal policy that takes homeless out of the community) and provides no services, while Santa Cruz provides 500 shelter beds and dozens of programs that cost millions of dollars, you tell me who has the more compassionate community.

2. Open Meetings -- I am happy to engage you about policy, but your claims that my policies are contrary to open government are offensive and factually wrong. If you continue to assert them, then I will no longer respond. Attend an afternoon session of the council and watch the rules in action. Tell me if there is anyone that doesn't have an opportunity to speak about a subject. Also, consider this: is it more democratic to allow 5 people to monopolize a meeting or reduce some participation for those folks and create an opportunity for dozens of other to participate and the press to cover the meetings? I am not saying there is a simple answer, but it is a question. Also, unless you are willing to say that most local governments in California (including SF, LA, Berkeley who all have the same rules I just put in place) don't support open government then you can't make that claim against SC. We do allow for email comments from the public during meetings -- we are the only agency in the county to do so.

3. Fees -- The city of Santa Cruz has an inclusionary requirement that 15% of all housing built must be affordable. If government funds are used then it goes to 25%. If small units then 30%. And we offer a density bonus that require housing to be provided to very low income people. This is both for rental and ownership. National developers won't do business in SC because of this requirement. It is extraordinary in what it forces developers to do and has meant the creation of thousands of units of affordable housing. We also charge parks fees, traffic fees, and green building fees (the first in CA).

4. I have donated around $250 to Obama. I make my living by being a teacher at UCSC and Cabrillo, so, unfortunately, don't have a lot more to give. My dad was an edwards supporter until he dropped out, so I don't know if he contributed.

5. If you are really worried about delegates defecting, imagine a scenario where an elected official in the city in CA that had the highest percentage of voters for Obama betraying the trust of activists and community members by switching votes. I would effectively end my political career in Santa Cruz as well as that of my father. I would argue that the stakes for me would be the highest.

Hope this helps.

Ryan




______________________________
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 22:59:07 -0700
From: mbrahmana [at] gmail.com
To: ryancoonerty [at] hotmail.com
Subject: Re: Homeless in Santa Cruz

Hi Ryan,

I appreciate your efforts in responding to my concerns.

What I am getting from your responses are:

(1) You believe Santa Cruz can do no better than what it is currently doing to address homelessness, and because "housing" developers are discouraged by low-income housing requirements, "commercial" real estate developers like the ones currently building downtown would be similarly discouraged if you used city and county leverage to get them to contribute to a set-aside fund to build more shelters with more beds and more services for the homeless;

(2) Santa Cruz City Council meetings are sufficiently open to include enough citizen input to check special interests, and you do not see a need to improve in this area; and,

(3) Despite the former Santa Cruz Mayor Emily Reilly's support of Hillary Clinton and her current bid for the open State Assembly seat held by John Laird that encompasses Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, you believe if you switched your support to Hillary Clinton at the convention that this would "end" your political career in Santa Cruz.

Is this a fair summary of your position?

If this is a fair summary, I will end my inquiry here.

-Mett



______________________________
On Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 8:48 AM, Ryan Coonerty wrote:
Mett,

You are wrong.

1. I support increasing homeless services and have done so for three years. I don't know about additional fees, I was just telling you what we are already doing, since you didn't have even the most basic knowledge about the issue.

2. We can improve on public input as every government can. Again I was telling you what the rules actually are, since you have never attended/watched one of our meetings.

3. My point was not the political consequences of supporting Hillary. My point was that if I stand up and ask for Obama's supporters votes and have their trust to represent them at the convention then change my vote for personal gain, I would end my career.

Let me make a couple of observations.

1. I worked from the assumption that you cared about the homeless and open government. I was wrong. I assumed that you want to know about the programs and laws in Santa Cruz before having a discussion of the many ways that they could be improved. These are hard issues Mett and I hope that in the future you actually try to improve the community you live in, instead of playing gotcha over email which hasn't helped a single person get out of poverty or participate in government.

2. You lie. You began your email saying that you were going to "contact me personally" to address these important issues. I took you at your word and responded. Bcc'ing people is not a personal email.

3. You are the toxic politics that Obama is running against. I teach and serve in local office. I do my best to serve the community. We, supposedly, are on the same side (Democrats, Obama Supporters). You ask me my positions and I tell you. We don't have to agree, but the fact that you take my attempts to address your concerns and then misrepresent them (to me and whoever you are bcc'ing) is what makes people not want to get involved.

Never contact me again.

Ryan



______________________________
Metteyya Brahmana to Ryan
Mar 26

Ryan,

I BCC'd "your" supporters (all three of them) because they asked me to not share my exchange with the broader group until I heard from you, and the BCC was the way of informing them that I heard them and to let them know that these concerns are very real.

You continue to make erroneous assumptions about me when you obviously do not know me. Why are you so judgmental about people you don't know? I could have easily written you off as just another politician trying to advance his career by using the Obama campaign, but I stopped myself because I wanted to hear from you first.

This is not "gotcha" politics, and the fact that you would reduce my very real concerns about your commitment to Obama to gutter politics is troubling. One of the most disturbing things about Hillary Clinton is that she believes "anyone" who challenges her is "the enemy". She also likes to operate in secrecy to hide what she is really up to.

I have given you the benefit of the doubt and was wanting to hear (1) how you plan to increase citizen involvement, (2) how you plan to do more to solve the homeless problem, and (3) some personal connection to Obama's message that gives me a sense that you are committed to his candidacy. Instead, I am just getting a lot of excuses and personal insults, which really is not very impressive.

I am a business man, not a politician. I gave up on politics long ago when I saw just how corrupt the political process was first hand, and decided that I did not have the ability or the power to improve the system in any meaningful way. Obama is what brought me back into the process, not you. He gave me hope that the system could change, not you. He inspired me to do all that I could to ensure his success, not you.

This whole inquiry concerning your commitment to Obama and his ideals is about Obama, not you.

Why is this so difficult for you to understand if you really want Obama to succeed?

-Mett

p.s. I have not BCC'd anyone on this email, but I will send a note to "your" supporters that I tried to reason with you, but failed.

Ryan Coonerty lost in his bid to become an Obama delegate at the convention in Denver today. The Santa Cruz homeless advocacy group, HUFF, showed up at the election and had a protest table there, and also people handing out fliers that were critical of Ryan's opposition to the sleeping ban, his efforts to reduce citizen input at public meetings, and efforts to curb public assembly in parking lots.

These efforts by HUFF made a difference in the outcome by creating a controversy about Ryan at the election caucus, causing a sufficient number of voters to pause in their support of him as an Obama delegate.

Cudos to HUFF for all of their hard work!
§Afterthoughts
by Robert Norse Monday Apr 14th, 2008 9:18 AM
The Sentinel's coverage of the event can be found at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_8917511 .

Coonerty and Carter (the winning female delegate) were out there shaking hands. I and other HUFFsters distributed several flyers advising candidates of who not to vote for ("it's as easy as "A,B,C", "Anybody But Coonerty") and encouraged Obama delegates to take a more active role in restoring local democracy, access to public spaces, community control of police, and basic homeless civil rights.

Coonerty got 147 votes. Luis Alejo got 189 votes. I was surprised at Coonerty's defeat, considering he had oodles of relatives and schoolchums in line there to vote for him.


LIES ON A FLYER?

Coonerty's dad, Supervisor Neal Coonerty--the former Santa Cruz Mayor who gave us the abusive Downtown Ordinances in 1994--denounced our flyers as being "full of lies". So did Ryan. However, when asked to single out a specific lie, the only thing Neal pointed to was our claim that Ryan "supports the Sleeping Ban".

"He was a kid when it was passed!", bellowed Neal. "The flyer doesn't say he passed it, but that he now supports it," I responded. "Prove that he supports it. He's never said that," retorted Coonerty, Sr. "What?," I replied in disbelief, "you believe he doesn't?" "More lies," roared the father.

Some minutes later I had a conversation with a high school chum of Ryan's who was remembering Coonerty's political work to allow condoms in high school (a cause I commend Coonerty for supporting). Ryan happened by. "Hey, Ryan, do you support the sleeping ban?", I asked. He looked at me. "Do you support reforming or changing the Ban," I continued. "No," he concluded.

Nice to be able to clear up that little misunderstanding between father and son.


IT MAY NOT BE OVER YET

A word of warning. Coonerty may not be out of the race. There is a "superdelegate"-sort of election coming up on May 6th. A special "double dip" for politicians that allows them to run again. The state-wide Obama caucus will choose from among public officials.

Metteyya had previously argued that a volunteer and not a politician should be elected yesterday, because Coonerty would have a second chance on May 6th. Brahmana told me that Coonerty came up to him during yesterday's delegate selection and told him that he, Coonerty, would not be running in the May 6th election.

Whether Coonerty was saying that to counter Brahmana's argument, whether he sincerely meant it, whether he'll change his mind before May 6th--the BanMaster is still potentially in the race. And, of course, we're stuck with him as Mayor for six more months, and perhaps four more years if he runs again for City Council.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Craig
Saturday Apr 12th, 2008 2:33 PM
Robert, please get over your man-crush on Ryan Coonerty, which you express by putting him down at every opportunity possible.

One thing that you haven't made clear here is whether he is your mayor. I'm not asking for your address, but can you state for the record, once and for all, whether you live in the City of Santa Cruz? Because if you don't, then you don't pay property taxes there and, more importantly, you don't vote there. It's actually a very appropriate question to ask of someone who seeks to manipulate as much time as possible for the City of Santa Cruz, if you are not, in fact, a resident of said city.

Is that why you never run for office, but instead criticize every councilmember you can?

This is, I hope you understand, a serious question, because I think it means a great deal when those who have no concrete connection with a city, other than to frequent it and maybe pay sales tax, constantly deride the elected officials. It would certainly keep me from offering the advice of running for office yourself.

by city dweller
Saturday Apr 12th, 2008 8:33 PM
Robert lives in Felton, CA.
by Obama08!
Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 6:20 AM
The first email response from Ryan is, indeed, a bit testy. I would be, too, if someone sent out a public email to a large group that lacked a lot of basic information and was based just on a google search.

Not, however, that he apologizes for his tone, and tries to explain what the city is doing, what the rules he discussing are based on, etc. It seems to me that throughout the exchange is the other person who is annoying. He'll raise a point based on hearsay or poor research, Ryan will correct him, he writes back putting words in Ryan's mouth, Ryan tries to correct him again, over and over. Yeah, I'd be a little pissed, myself.

So, once again, Robert takes private email correspondence and makes it public for no good reason. I think the term used above is apt: just admit that you have a man-crush on the mayor! :-)
by Robert Norse
Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 7:02 AM
Actually Coonerty nowhere addresses the basic question (which all homeless people and many housed people ask), why does Santa Cruz need a Sleeping Ban and a Blanket Ban. MC 6.36.010 reads:

"No person shall camp anywhere in the city of Santa Cruz, whether on public or private property, except as hereinafter expressly permitted. "To camp" means to do any of the following:

(a)Sleeping -- 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. To sleep at any time between the hours of 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. in any of the following places:

(1)Outdoors with or without bedding, tent, hammock or other similar protection or equipment;

(2)In, on or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, whether with or without bedding, tent, hammock or other similar protection or equipment;

(3)In, on or under any parked vehicle, including an automobile, bus, truck, camper, trailer or recreational vehicle."

Pretty nasty and sweeping language. Reminiscent of "Never Contact Me Again" Coonerty himself. Our mayor evades any discussion of it except to laud the city's "social services" (which allow for only a small fraction of the homeless to get emergency shelter each night, but instead risk ticketing).

He's also wrong: courts do not automatically dismiss citations if the shelters are full (which they always are through 8 months of the year). Coonerty is not the only Mayor to evade this issue. But he is the Mayor today.

Those who think Coonerty's "an Obama progressive" while he's in power, ducking this issue and condoning police harassment of hundreds of people each month are either blindly partisan or hostile to the homeless. They're also doing sincere Obama delegates a disservice.

Those interested in supporting the lawsuit against this law should contact the Human Rights Organization at http://www.humanrightsorg.org

As for Coonerty's absurd 2-minute law. Perhaps his boosters can find another city council in California where people routinely attempt to participate by discussing Consent Agenda items where they allow only 2 minutes for 20 items. This is another "joke" from someone who bills himself as a "civil liberties" teacher and lawyer.

Or another city that cites individuals for chatting in a parking lot, or sitting in one's car for 16 minutes.

Coonerty seems to have a habit of banning and ostracizing those whose questions he finds uncomfortable. Not the best trait in a Mayor. And a toxic attribute for someone claiming to represent progressive voters.
by Thomas Leavitt
Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 9:03 AM
The City Council's ongoing attempts to limit public participation by "malcontents" is bad for democracy, and while it may be arguable, in a strictly technical sense, that at least some of their actions comport with the letter of the law (and in other cases, definitely not), they definitely don't comply with the spirit of it, and violate all kinds of precedent and established procedure.

I don't think you'll find another City Council in the state that requires the consent of the City Council as a whole to remove an item from the consent agenda, or gives members of the public a total of just two minutes to speak to every item on the consent agenda, reserving to itself the option of whether or not to engage in further discussion or a separate vote.

The political elite's abdication of protest with regards to their behavior sets a horrible precedent, and invites abuse of the consent agenda process (and indeed, the entire process of public participation) by future City Councils. I'm sure everyone thinks, "it's just Robert"... and other ragamuffin activists, but when the City Council decides to put something through that *you* object to, and it winds up on the Consent Agenda, *you* are going to be the one who pays the price, when your ability to speak to the issue has been curtailed.
by Tim Rumford
Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 10:09 AM
I have never been banned from any of the places Ryan says, except the Book Shop Santa Cruz, and never written, I am assuming this by his above email. In fact i have only been to the shelters to bring food or cloths, and once to attend a meeting. Thanks for the miss info Ryan.
Tim Rumford
by Ryan Connerty Hates Democracy
Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 11:17 AM
I am not going to retort Ryan's bullshit. I am reposting them from above because I truly believe that Ryan is a lying sack of *ish. Ryan also seems to be a control freak.

Ryan Coonerty says that

"In my experience, indybay is the least reliable news source about local politics. It is dominated by a few extremists and is highly biased. I would think that if this policy really was a shutting out of the people that the Sentinel, Metro, Goodtimes, KUSP, KAZU, KZSC, KION, KSBW, etc would have at least mentioned it."

"I am constitutional lawyer. I teach first amendment and civil liberties at UCSC. I firmly believe in the democratic process and, as Robin says, if you come to city council meetings you will see a a commitment to participation that I would be happy to compare to any other city in the united states."

Ryan Coonerty wrote to Metteyya Brahmana

"Since we have never met, I am going to work under the assumption that you are ignorant and politically inept rather than mean-spirited and desperate."

Ryan Coonerty, you are an ass. Stop making assumptions. Run the bookshop, not the City (or your aspiration for higher office, etc..)
by Becky Johnson
( becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com ) Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 11:49 AM
OPEN LETTER TO MAYOR RYAN COONERTY:

from: Becky Johnson, HUFF member
re: recent statements made to Barack Obama activist Metteyya Brahmana via e-mail Mar 19, 20, 25th 2008.

MAYOR RYAN COONERTY: "3. The open meeting law you cite is (1) written by political opponents who have urged violence and vandalism against my family for principled political stands."

BECKY JOHNSON: No, the Brown Act or Open Meetings Law applies to all govt. entities and non-profit organizations which accept public funding within the State of California. Since when did Robert Norse, HUFF, any HUFF member, or myself personally EVER threatened violence or vandalism against your family? Please give a google reference. There are thousands of examples on the internet of writings by Robert Norse, myself, or other HUFF members.

Robert Norse is not homeless and in fact has a large trust fund.

BECKY JOHNSON: Shall we talk about your own silver spoon, Ryan?

MAYOR RYAN COONERTY: "Neither is Becky Johnson, Tim Rumford, Bernard Klitzner. These self proclaimed activists have been banned from various shelters and soup kitchens because of the destructiveness of their tactics..

BECKY JOHNSON: The only place I have been "banned" from is Bookshop Santa Cruz on YOUR authority as then-Vice-Mayor Ryan Coonerty's authority. How destructive is arresting homeless people for the "crime" of sleeping outside at night when inadequate shelter exists?

MAYOR RYAN COONERTY: "The City of Santa Cruz spends more per capita than any other city in the United States on homeless services."

BECKY JOHNSON: Councilmember Mike Rotkin USED to say this. It wasn't true then, and it's not true now. Mayor Celia Scott debunked this notion back in 1996 when she reported that "San Francisco spends $54 per capita on homeless services. Santa Monica spends $16 per capita. Santa Cruz spends $4 per capita." So far from spending the most in "the nation", Santa Cruz doesn't spend the most in California. Since many cities spend nothing at all on homeless services, Santa Cruz is better than most. However, our spending is more typical of normal or average funding than some extraordinary contribution. Note how Coonerty has switched the topic from supporting the Sleeping Ban to how much money is spent on homeless services that the Mayor himself has admitted are inadequate?

MAYOR RYAN COONERTY: "The City of Santa Cruz adopted a policy that was already in use in Watsonville, the County of Santa Cruz and hundreds of other jurisdictions across the state."

BECKY JOHNSON: Putting items on a consent agenda IS policy in most jurisdictions. Getting council "permission" to pull an item and speak on it is not. That's all yours, Ryan.


MAYOR RYAN COONERTY: "This policy is only for the consent agenda items which are items about which there will be no debate and unanimous votes"

BECKY JOHNSON: Ryan, are you clairvoyant? How exactly do you KNOW that there will be "no debate" and the votes will be "unanimous?"

MAYOR RYAN COONERTY: " -- it is administrative business and is moved as one motion. Members of the public have the right to speak to the council about the consent agenda and, if one councilmember agrees to pull the item (not even to vote against it, but allow for more debate), the public has another opportunity to speak to the item.

BECKY JOHNSON: "The keyword here is "if". For every other council meeting before your tenure in office and at all those other meetings you have named, any member of the public has the opportunity to pull an item off of the "consent agenda" where it will be passed --usually unanimously and without debate. Under Coonerty's mayorship, the power to determine if that item gets to be debated and public input allowed is no longer in the hands of the citizen.

MAYOR RYAN COONERTY: "Again, this was done because council meetings were lasting more than 10 hours and therefore not accessible to members of the public. We were also making decisions after 10 pm meaning that the public and press would not cover our decisions."

BECKY JOHNSON: How does that work, Ryan? Because council meetings are SHORTER and there is LESS PUBLIC INPUT the public and the press cannot cover your decisions? You were elected to run a major city and you schedule two meetings a month. I don't think that long meetings which people in the community often watch in the comfort of their homes on Community Television are the problem. Your curtailment of public participation in our democratic process is.

Please send any response to HUFF - Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom- PMB 14B -- Santa Cruz, CA. 95060 --attention: Becky Johnson- HUFF member or by e-mail to becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com

HUFF co-founder and member can be reached by telephone at (831)423-HUFF
by Becky Johnson
( becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com ) Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 12:10 PM
CRAIG WRITES: (TO ROBERT NORSE) "One thing that you haven't made clear here is whether he is your mayor. I'm not asking for your address, but can you state for the record, once and for all, whether you live in the City of Santa Cruz?"

BECKY: Robert Norse currently lives in the County of Santa Cruz. He has lived within the city limits of Santa Cruz for over 20 years. HUFF, the all volunteer homeless advocacy organization he co-founded in 1989, is located within the City of Santa Cruz. Weekly meetings are held in Santa Cruz. Certainly people who live or work in Santa Cruz have every right to address city leaders and policies, don't they? Do you think Robert is misrepresenting himself?

What about Ryan Coonerty claiming that he is not an owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz, nor an employee (hence doesn't need to recuse himself on votes affecting BSSC) but can EXCLUDE permanently TWO activists from said business?
by Brina Assiago
Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 12:45 PM
Why is it that Becky Johnson answers every question posed of Robert Norse. Can't the man speak for himself? Or is it a legal maneuver?

by Tom Kuestersteffen III
Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 1:27 PM
Brahmana, that is a ridiculous position to take regarding Coonerty. You appear to have no grasp of the context in which Constable Norse and Agent Johnson make their malicious attacks on people. Saying you haven't met them and don't know their politics is no excuse. of course it is unpleasant to contemplate meeting these two, but the rest of us have had to do so, and we have cheerfully accepted our punishment. You likewise owe it to the public and your candidate to inform yourself before writing such nonsense as you have. Of course, citing them at all in defence of any position completely invalidates you. But you would have known that if you'd done some research.

Good thing no one gives a rats ass what our resident activist-idiots think, but too bad you hitched your wagon to theirs.

by Greg
Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 2:50 PM
Very well said Tom. These two are the kiss of death for any group looking for help. It's a shame when these two attach themselves to any cause as you know it will end up going nowhere.
I donate time and money to various charitable services around town including those for the homeless. You mention these two to other workers, and even those needing the help, and eyes just start rolling.
by Doug Enns
Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 3:19 PM
Hey Mett, in your hurry to adopt an eastern surname to best symbolize your awesome spiritual connection to Mother Earth, you again have failed to do research. Brahmana loosely refers to the state of being Brahmin, the upper-caste of Hindu societal structure. Analagous would be an American-wannabe islander from the Sunda Straits calling himself Mayonnaise Whitesupremacisto. Get it?

When using Google, it's no good just typing in the subject query. You have to also hit "Search" and then read the results.
by Ben
Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 4:04 PM
Beckwad writes: "What about Ryan Coonerty claiming that he is not an owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz, nor an employee (hence doesn't need to recuse himself on votes affecting BSSC) but can EXCLUDE permanently TWO activists from said business?"

Please provide documentation that Ryan is still an owner, or employee, of BSSC. Since you are the one making the accusation you should be able to supply everyone with substantiated facts. In other posts you have made reference to his part ownership in BSSC but have never offered up even a shred of evidence that this is true. If you continue to bring these things up you need to show us that you have proof. If not, further reference to this subject by you should be disregarded as a personal attack on Coonerty and nothing else.

Also, in other posts you have made reference to Coonerty passing legislation that specifically helped BSSC. Accusations you have never proved even after 4 months of requests to do so. Yet here you are stating that he recuses himself from anything which might effect BSSC. Which one is it Becky? You contradict yourself.
by Ben
Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 4:07 PM
My bad, I read your comment wrong. He feels no need to recuse himself.

But still, you never have provided documented proof of BSSC receiving the benefit of legislation passed by Coonerty. Even after repeated requests for over four months.

Please provide evidence or stop making such statements.
by Doug Enns
Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 9:24 PM
Wow Muttolaya. For a guy who was just asking benign questions in those emails, and who repeatedly asserted that he hadn't decided how to vote, you sure sound elated about the outcome regarding Coonerty. Congratulations. I trust your adept political skills - the ones that would so embarass Ryan - were adequate to secure you the nomination for delegate. I wait with bated breath to hear the results.

Will your newfound friend Robert, the patron saint of the Meth Heads, be accompanying you to Denver? Perhaps you can both take up the issue of our undemocratic and anti-homeless city government with the President-to-be himself. Maybe he can come down here and join your protest table outside the Bookshop!
Hi Doug,

The protest against Coonerty was never about me. This self-interested thing is part of the politics of the past, and I am trying to insure that the progressive values Obama has exhibited throughout his career on behalf of the poor and those who believe that government doesn't work for them are represented at the convention in Denver.

No, I personally didn't win the delegate race, but two terrific "progressive" candidates did win, Kristin Carter and Luis Alejo.

Thanks to everyone who helped expose Ryan as less than progressive, and, together, I think we made that point quite clear which helped the progressive candidates win.

-Metteyya
by Becky Johnson
( becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com ) Monday Apr 14th, 2008 7:50 AM
REPLY TO BEN: "I work 20 hours a week there (BSSC) and receive a small salary"

"Because of this, I want to make clear that you and Bernard (Robert already is) are permanently banned from stepping foot in Bookshop Santa Cruz. If I, my sister or one of our managers see you enter the store, we will have you arrested."--- Vice-Mayor Ryan Coonerty Aug 26, 2007

READ ENTIRE LETTER AT: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/08/26/18443447.php

BECKY: As to votes where he should have recused himself, the parking lot trespass law, pushed forward by Ryan Coonerty was, according to a Sentinel article quoting him created because "Bookshop Santa Cruz customers felt uncomfortable" when they went into the parking garages and saw homeless people. The parking garage trespass law was promoted and passed in order to make customers of Bookshop Santa Cruz "more comfortable." When I suggested Coonerty recuse himself, he protested loudly that he was "not an owner" of BSSC.

He has at various times said BSSC is "his family-owned business" that he "works part-time" and that he is "Vice-President of BSSC". See: http://press.ucsc.edu/text.asp?pid=1089

Ryan Coonerty was quoted in a Feb 13, 2007 Sentinel article that "his customers felt uncomfortable in the parking garages" and that was his impetus to pass the parking garage trespass law which was written in order to drive homeless people seeking shelter in the parking garages (often late at night when they are empty) out into the rain.

Ben, you call me a "liar" but have failed to name a single "lie." Either be specific about my supposed "lie" or please post an apology.


by Craig
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 12:41 PM
Becky, you take a year-old press release from a campus publication and claim that this means that he is currently vice-president of BSSC? Was he ever a manager/part-owner of the shop? OF COURSE HE WAS. Is he now? He makes clear he isn't, and you haven't proven anything to the contrary.

In fact, the statement that he, his sister (she's the owner, correct?) or any manager saw you, you'd be arrested. Here's a news flash for you: any employee of any business that has banned a person can call the cops, even if they aren't management/owners. You have not proven anything. Does he have a level of influence on his family's business? I'm sure, at least in the very indirect way. No one is arguing otherwise. But he does not gain monetary rewards directly because of BSSC's profits, and that is where a conflict of interest would lie.

By your logic, he should vote on anything related to UCSC. Nor should half the council. Nor should Emily Reilly vote on anything related to bakeries or small businesses. So that would leave the only viable candidates for city council who? You and Robert (if he lives in the city, he still doesn't think he needs to speak for himself or answer a very apropos question), apparently. Or a homeless person. But wait-- by your logic, that homeless person wouldn't be able to vote to repeal the "Sleeping Ban" because he or she would gain direct benefit! Right?!?!

Oh, and since it's so egregious for someone to refer to a known constituency (customers of the shop) when referencing policy stances, why then are you claiming to speak for the homeless? Again, only following your logic, if coonerty can't refer to downtown customers without being the Ubermeister of Book Shop Santa Cruz (and thus, ineligible for any public position on anything) then when will you stop claiming to speak for the homeless?

Oh wait- when YOU do it it's okay! Right! I forgot the incredible double standard that you have... Not that you'll start recognizing it now, since you're too far down the rabbit hole at this point...


by Ben
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 1:16 PM
Still does not look like you have supplied any evidence that Coonerty is currently an owner of BSSC. Nor have you supplied us with the previously requested information about a single piece of legislation that has specifically benefitted BSSC and not the entire Santa Cruz business community. Not just stores, but doctors, lawyers, accountants, printers, publishers, banks, restaurants, non-profits, etc.....

It's amazing that you and Robert demand information immediately from those you question, but feel that you have no responsibility, or sense of urgency, to account for anything you throw out at people.

As for being banned from a business, employees and managers have the ability to ban someone from a business. Not only the owners.

by Sum Dim
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 2:29 PM
Mett, you are under one doozy of a misapprehension if you think that Obama intends to turn the United States into downtown Santa Cruz. Glad you're so geeked about him and the process, but I don't imagine his take on our local politics would fall between yours and Coonerty's. If I'm wrong, the man doesn't stand a bat's chance in hell of making President. Remember, not everyone in the land is as loony as the Huffsters.

Ryan is about the right amount of left for most of us in town, which is to say way out there for most everyone else who votes in the big race. Speaking of which, I heard about Ryan's 149 votes and Luis' 187. I know it wasn't about you, which fully explains why you were running, but how many votes did you get? Just curious.
by Metteyya
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 3:24 PM
Hi Dim Sum,

From my study of Obama's record as a community organizer in the South Side of Chicago working for the poor, the homeless, the jobless and ex-offenders, and his very long record as a state senator in Illinois, Obama is about as progressive as they come for a politician. Ryan Coonerty would be to the right of Obama based on his stances on the homeless sleeping ban, freedom of speech and assembly, citizen input at public meetings, and law enforcement excesses in violating our civil liberties and civil rights.

As I stated before, this race was never about me, and the number of votes I received reflects this. A lot of voters contacted me from the 1500 Obama supporters that I contacted, and asked me why I was running if I was so ambivalent and indifferent about winning, and I told them there were a number of outstanding candidates in the race that they should consider voting for, Kristen and Luis in particular. I also told them that I liked Natalie Rojas, Quinn Gardner, Ann Flowers, and Fred Keeley as well, and would be comfortable with any of these candidates, although I felt Fred Keeley should be running in the PLEO delegate race on May 6th for public officials.

Certainly, I could have just withdrawn from the race, but I wouldn't have been able to influence the race in favor of "the right" candidates if I had done so. I was also able to hand out about 150 packets at the caucus about my candidacy which showed the power and influence of ordinary citizen participation in the political process, in which I was able to influence a number of editors and journalists at major news organizations to write stories that helped put Obama over the top. My hope was that this would encourage other Obama supporters to do the same.

The politics of the past is all about self. And what I am trying to encourage is a different kind of politics that is about progressive values instead. It's the message, not the messenger, and even Obama understands this quite well. If Hillary really represented the message Obama wants to see in Washington better than himself, I have no doubt that he would urge his supporters to vote for her. This is difficult for some to understand because they are still thinking in terms of politics as usual. But if we are to create the new era in progressive politics that we all hope for, it this "message over messenger" point of view that must prevail.
by Obama volunteer
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 3:44 PM
It should be mentioned that Metteya Brahmana was also running for a position as an Obama delegate to the national convention.
While Ryan Coonerty's position on homeless issues may have been relevant to that election, I do not believe that Senator Obama would have supported this kind of campaigning by Mr. Brahmana.
by Robert Norse
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 3:59 PM
The Coonerty opposition, for the HUFFsters, was about opposition to his business-bigotry-as-usual policies. It was about his policies, not about him personally. Of course, he, personally, is responsible for his policies. After all, he's the Mayor and in the 4th year of his City Council term.

Trolls who champion the Sleeping Ban naturally don't agree. Understandably, they ignore the issues and attack those who raise them--not unlike Coonerty himself in his e-mail correspondence with Brahmana.

At issue, however were the four Bans that probably defeated Coonerty in the delegate race--considering the narrow vote difference. We gave out hundreds of flyers, and at least a few people listened and responded.

The Four Bans in question are: the Sleeping Ban, the Activist Ban, the Speaking Ban, and the Assembly Ban. See the flyer below.



FOUR BANS FROM COONERTY

The Mayor Created Bans on Activists, Public Assembly, & Speaking at City Council & Supports the Sleeping Ban

1.Coonerty's Sleeping Ban makes criminals of homeless people outside even though there is emergency drop-in shelter for less than five percent of the homeless community. Setting up a tent or or covering up with blankets after 11 PM is also a ninety-seven dollar fine. JOIN THE LAWSUIT TO END THESE LAWS. as Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno, and Richmond have done. CALL THE HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION AT 425-4467

2.Coonerty's Activist Ban bars activists from his store in retaliation for peaceful picketing in search of open public dialogue. BOYCOTT THE BOOKSHOP SANTA CRUZ: Mayor Ryan Coonerty's family business—where he still has a powerful voice BEFORE YOU BUY IN OTHER Downtown Association SHOPS DOWNTOWN, ask if they support Coonerty's anti-homeless laws. CALL MAYOR COONERTY AT 423-8939

3.Coonerty's Public Assembly Ban in parking lots & garages closes down ten blocks of previously public space. Coonerty's unprecedented Parking Lot Panic Law (MC 9.64] bans “loitering” and assembling. The only legal activity is now “parking or retrieving” a vehicle. Taking more than fifteen minutes means a one hundred+ dollar ticket. SUPPORT TRADITIONAL COMMUNITY USE; Support Nicholas Andreas—cited for staying with his legally parked car beyond fifteen minutes. CALL 423-4833 TO HELP

4.Coonerty's Speaking Ban limits all discussion of “Consent Agenda” items at City Council to two minutes, making meaningful comment on more than two or three items impossible—in violation of the state public records act. CALL THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY AT 454-2400 & THE GRAND JURY AT 454-2099 TO DEMAND INVESTIGATION.

Flyer by Norse of HUFF Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom http://www.huffsantacruz.org 309 Cedar PMB #14B, S.C. 95060 4/12/08
by Metteyya
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 4:16 PM
Dear Obama Volunteer,

Thank you for your support of Barack Obama!

"I'm not sure what you mean by "I do not believe that Senator Obama would have supported this kind of campaigning by Mr. Brahmana", but from what I know of the candidate, he clearly would prefer delegates at the convention that believe in his progressive ideals. If you believe in these ideals, it becomes a whole lot easier to fight for them on the convention floor. If you don't believe in them, then it is easier for others to persuade you that the "other ideals" of their candidate are better aligned with yours, and that you should therefore switch to their candidate.

Speaking up for these "ideals" and recommending candidates that best represent them is entirely consistent with what Barack Obama stands for, and those who felt I was "tearing down" Ryan, really didn't understand what was going on. I wasn't tearing down Ryan, I was lifting up the ideals that Barack Obama has fought for his entire life!
by Numbers please, Mett
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 4:39 PM
Great answer there, Mett. You forgot however, to mention how many votes you received. In the interest of this brave new political world you have discovered, I'm sure you intended to let us all know. Merely an oversight, no doubt.

To save you trouble, I'll characterize the number as zero. If I don't hear back from you, I'll assume this is correct. Thanks.

I'm also intrigued by your revelation that Coonerty falls right of Obama in the political universe. I imagine they both would be too.
by Metteyya
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 4:56 PM
Hi Dim Sum,

If thinking that I got zero votes makes you feel good, then I do not want to disturb that impression, as it seems like you have dire need to feel good right now. You still don't seem to understand, however, that the number of votes I got was not the issue, it was the number of votes that I was able to to sway in favor of the "right" candidates and away from the wrong candidate that was the crucial number.

Be well!
by Thanks for your compassion, Mett!
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 5:16 PM
Hi Mett. Very sweet of you to patronize me so. How many votes you got sure is the issue as I see it. Your airball in this regard does highlight your net value in this remarkably trivial election. Remember, all this delegate will do is affirm the will of Democrats in this district to vote for Obama. Apparently neither you nor Coonerty is up to this task, in the eyes of voters. Now Coonerty is a very accomplished person - Harvard Law, Mayor, blah, blah - so he's got something to go home to. You on the other hand, are a self-proclaimed "executive" with some remarkable political skills that failed to get you even your own vote. And, Robert Norse now has tape of you on his idiotic radio "show" making a jackass of yourself.

I'd rather be in Ryan's shoes. But thanks for trying to console me, brother.

Peace out!
by Robert Norse
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 5:37 PM
Actually it's a lot more significant that a Mayor got defeated than an relatively unknown African-American activist like Brahmana. Coonerty fought a hard campaign, brought out relatives by the score, shook hundreds of hands, and yet...lost! I agree with Brahmana that this was at least in part because of the informational flyering we did. Obama voters decided his "program" for Santa Cruz was not in keeping with Obama's ideals.

Sarcastic asides and personal attacks don't change the facts or the vote tally.

I respect Brahmana's patience for sticking to the issues. He responds sincerely and serously to largely anonymous snide comments from entrenched Coonerty boosters and folks who detest me, and sticking to the issues. Which is what it should be all about.

Good job to everyone who cast a vote against phony progressivism.

Apologies to the Coonerty backers.

Time to go chat with Ryan and suggest he reconsider some of his neo-liberal local policies.
by Sum Dim
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 6:02 PM
Robert, ol' Mett just ripped a page out of your playbook. Tearing down others who richly contribute to society is not any great accomplishment. Being one of them is. Neither you nor, apparently Mett, has any accomplishments to your names, at least that we can discern.

And no votes either.
by Sum Dim
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 6:21 PM
Robert, ol' Mett just ripped a page out of your playbook. Tearing down others who richly contribute to society is not any great accomplishment. Being one of them is. Neither you nor, apparently Mett, has any accomplishments to your names, at least that we can discern.

And no votes either.
by Craig
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 6:53 PM
Mett, hats off to you. You're clearly an Obama supporter, and I mean that without the slightest twinge of sarcasm. In fact, I'm glad that Luis won- he's a good person.

I think what you're facing here is a bit of backlash against the politics that Robert Norse and Becky Johnson take part in. Whether knowingly or not, you wandered into that cesspool (the cesspool being Norse and Johnson) and got caught up in it. That's my opinion, at least.

What I get continually upset about is inaccurate and unfair "reporting" by Norse and Johnson. It's one thing to be wrong on a factual basis by accident, but they both have a vested interest in keeping an antagonistic attitude towards the city of Santa Cruz. And, of course, Robert has a man-crush on Ryan, let's face it.

Becky hasn't responded to the earlier post citing her incredibly irresponsible double standard. We'll let that stand as proof that she is either homeless or, more likely, incredibly self-indulgent and unable to see the forest for the trees. If she does respond, it will be in a roundabout way that doesn't address any question posed to her. As "Ben" pointed out, if she doesn't get a response right away, then clearly there is a fascist dictatorship aligned against her. If she doesn't respond, that's no big deal.

Again, for Norse and Johnson, that's par for the course.

I truly, really, in all real life an Obama supporter. I'm just sorry that these two knuckleheads tried to ride that excitement towards their own personal vendettas. And that you got caught up in it.

Becky, any thoughts? Robert, do you want to respond as to whether anyone in the city of Santa Cruz should listen to you, or do you not live there?

Still waiting from both of you...
by Robert Norse
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 8:14 PM
Does anyone have any information on Obama's position on the actual issues that contributed to Coonerty's defeat?

Such as:

Laws that criminalize essential human functions for homeless people?
Mayoral-proclaimed bans on real public comment at local legislative bodiesj?
Support for police that assign a deputy-chief to investigate political surveillance that the same deputy chief initiated?
Banning activists from private business for political dissent and signing the ban "mayor"?

Actually, more important than Obama's position is the position of those who believe they are struggling for political change. Perhaps the Obama delegates can weigh in or perhaps Obama himself has taken a position on some of these issues?

We can than evaluate Coonerty's position and actions in a more relevant context.

It's fun to talk about me, Becky, and Mettayya, but actually waaaay off topic.

The delegate election and the ensuing campaign are both about issues.

Perhaps that's why Humpty Coonerty took a great fall. Gladhanding, grinning, and ostracizing just weren't enough.

Here's a Mayor who can't deal with a couple day's worth of e-mails from a sincere organizer who would still like to support him if only he'd actually address the issues.
by Sum Dim
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 8:49 PM
And here's a trust-fund-baby-turned-activist-wannabe who can't get his secretary, Agent Johnson, to answer the most straightforward questions about him in a forthright manner.
by Becky Johnson
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 1:45 AM
Ryan Coonerty has at various times said that he works in his "family owned business" is "Vice-President of BSSC" is a part-time worker, and as of last December, that he "no longer works for BSSC". While I have no reason to disbelieve him, its hard to keep track of his ever-changing relationship with BSSC which allows him all of the power and privileges of ownership or management (including the ability to ban people permanently from BSSC on his own authority--that smacks of management level at the very least).

Moral and ethical city councilmembers recuse themselves all of the time for fairly straightforward reasons. Because its wrong to use the privilege of power and authority for self-enrichment and self-aggrandizement. Ryan Coonerty apparently hasn't learned that lesson yet.

Does anyone reading this blog believe that Neal Coonerty or Ryan Coonerty have NO INTEREST whatsoever in BSSC? Does anyone care to lay a bet that neither one will ever again be an owner or manager of BSSC once their stint in public office is finished? Ryan just wants to have it both ways. So he can legislate on behalf of BSSC and so he can claim there is no conflict of interest and he needn't recuse himself. Oh, and we can believe him because he knows so much more than the rest of us about constitutional law, or so he keeps telling us.

By the way, does anyone know of any soup kitchen, homeless service provider organization, homeless shelter, transitional housing project, or homeless employment center that I have been banned from? I'm in the dark. Please do tell! Ryan seems to think that I have been banned from somewhere other than the bookstore he doesn't own, manage, or work for.

Lulu Carpenters!! I'm banned from Lulu Carpenters! Hmmm. Not exactly a homeless shelter there.
by Doug Enns
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 9:26 AM
Actually Becks, it sounds like walking around downtown Santa Cruz must be like navigating a minefield, with all the various establishments that have banned you and Robert, not to mention the numerous other places where you are not welcome.

Good thing you and Rob don't live in the City of Santa Cruz. Things would be pretty miserable if you did, eh?
by and the parade passes on.
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 10:28 AM
Quick google searches are dangerous. “Metteyya Bramana” comes up with 28 hits. 14 are this article or other indy media pages talking about it, Three cross posted messages about the tiff with Ryan on some news groups. Three letters to the nations (for some reason google showed each twice for a total of 6). One mention in connection with Compassion Growers, and two mentions about the number of signatures that you brought to the Obama meeting on the 1st.

That strikes me as odd. For an activist, computer company executive, and some one who “once worked at a very prominent land use consulting firm in San Francisco, where I specifically recall working on deals with developers to set aside funds for homeless services and shelter construction as a condition of approving their development projects”, that’s not a lot of hits.

As for Ryan’s comment that you were “politically inept”, that was truly uncalled for. However, listening to Robert’s radio show (first and last time), you state that you have been apolitical for the last 15 years, and “missed a number of elections.” So he might have a point.

As somebody that couch surfed his first 5 years in this county (which may not be homeless enough for some), and someone involved with local politics for the last 10 years, may I offer you a piece of advice?
Stay away from Robert and huff. They can not help you. They have become clowns fixated on the mayor. The county only gives you 3 minutes to comment on the consent agenda. Even as a county and not a city resident, he doesn’t care, the mayor is the target. He had a sign at the Obama vote stating that Ryan was a “terrorist”. That rhetoric does nobody any good. Sticking with him will only hurt the good you are trying to do.

I am not a big fan of Ryan, his father or the machine that backs them. But even they look good compared to Robert.
by Craig
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 10:38 AM
I think it would be helpful to Mett if Becky and Robert could list the number of homeless that they have helped get off the street and into sustainable living situations. This would be a good indicator of how successful their activism has been. Let's make it one step easier, how many peoples lives are better, easier, and safer as a result of their assistance and activism.
by Metteyya
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 11:24 AM
Hi Craig,

You asked the absolute wrong person that question! One of the things about charitable acts that I believe is that if you give freely and anonymously, the gift is more pure. When you toot your own horn and say "look at what I did", then the gift is about "you" and not those you have helped.

American culture is fixated on self, so even in areas such as charity, the thought is to pump up yourself by boasting about what you have done, which taints ones charitable motives.

That being said, it should be considered a "good" thing that I got myself out of homelessness and into a economically sustainable lifestyle, as that means there is one less homeless person on the street taking away from services that can be used to help others.

I also volunteered at an organization called Friends Outside, which helps ex-offenders get back on their feet after incarceration. I certainly didn't count how many people I helped by creating a resource list and pointing clients to all of the resources and services in Santa Cruz that they could use to get out of homelessness, joblessness, and hunger, but let's just say that it was not a negligible number.

My entire interest in this Coonerty debate was not just to make sure that the most progressive delegates were representing Obama at the convention, but to get Ryan to get on-board with Obama's plan to end homelessness. The other night, Obama became the first presidential candidate in history to pledge to reduce the poverty rate in half. Ryan Coonerty can help in this effort by considering creative ways to end the sleeping ban.

I would suggest a "reverse curfew" in which the homeless are given a designated are to sleep (e.g., specific beach or specific area along the river) as long as they are "de-camped" by 7am AND show that they are looking for work or employed at least part-time. One of the most frustrating things about my own homeless experience in Santa Cruz is that I couldn't get into a shelter if I needed to interview or work during afternoon hours (closed to in-take by the afternoon or full) and was therefore "forced" to sleep outside in violation of the sleeping ban. I was essentially forced to be a criminal because I wanted to try my best to find work (or actually work) to get out of homelessness. By ending the sleeping ban for those who are "making the effort" to get out of homelessness, Ryan could create a win-win for the city of Santa Cruz by creating an incentive for many of the homeless to improve their condition.

As a volunteer, I can only help those who come to me for information about services, but as Mayor, Ryan can have a greater impact on the homeless situation by looking at creative ways in which to end the sleeping ban AND homelessness. Instead, what we are getting is a "not in my backyard" attitude, which is not very compassionate or insightful.

We don't want to "tear Ryan down", we want him to succeed in using his power as Mayor to improve the homeless situation in Santa Cruz.
by and the parade passes on
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 12:01 PM
"American culture is fixated on self, so even in areas such as charity, the thought is to pump up yourself by boasting about what you have done, which taints ones charitable motives. " Which is the point against Robert. He has been doing this for years, and all you hear about it is whatever Robert is barking on this time. it truely is all about him.

We need fresh voices in this town about the homeless (and related) issue(s). If you can come in without the bagage that huff brings and make positive changes, more power to you and I salute you for those efforts.

If you look at huff's top five issues (from the website), they are...

"The Sleeping Ban -- our perennial top issue. It severely impacts the ability of homeless people to survive & exhibit mental clarity. Its paired punishment is the Blanket Ban which ensures a homeless person can-not shiver thru the night under a warm blanket without risking a criminal citation.

The Ten-Minute Law -- this proposed ordinance is a thinly disguised loitering law which was concocted specifically to be able to drive homeless people out of parking structures during rainy periods. Since the City is not proposing any alternative to this attack on the poorest of the poor, and since it severely impacts the ability of the public to use extensive public spaces for innocuous and multi-faceted uses, we are not only opposed to its enactment, but are planning civil disobedience around this issue.

The Move-Along Law -- this law, which is only used on activists, musicians, and homeless people, is an affront to our rights to peaceably assemble, to redress govt. grievances, to practice freedom of speech, and interact with members of our community in public spaces. It is clearly unconstitutional (1st amendment rights can't be limited to 1 hour out of 24) & selectively enforced.

Change Machines & Benches downtown -- HUFF has documented the number of new change machines installed on Pacific Ave. coupled with one of the most punitive ATM laws in the state prohibiting sitting or begging withing FIFTY FEET of any machine that dispense change other than a newspaper stand. City officials have placed machines everywhere where young people gather to cleanse the sidewalk of these people. We urge the machines be removed other than at the Metro Bus Station where placement facilitates public use. We urge that benches removed from the downtown area be returned. Even the bus benches in front of the Vets Hall, where veterans must wait for the bus to the hospital in Palo Alto to pick them up, have been removed.

Stay Away orders from Pacific Ave. -- the city has a pattern & practise of using stay-away orders from Pacific Ave. on those they deem "undesirables." While an individual TRO restraining an individual from a specific business where there has been a problem are acceptable, banishment from the entire downtown or from Pacific Ave. is medieval. Santa Cruz is an inclusive community, and these banishment orders have no place in civilized society."

Nothing about job loss or creation. Nothing about creating more low income or rental units. Nothing about mental health or substance abuse issues. Nothing about the root causes of homelessness. But it gives him something to bark about, but fixes nothing.

And going after Ryan will solve nothing about the homeless issue. The issue is much bigger then one city, county, region, or even state, and yet all the heat comes onto Ryan. What efforts have the county or state made? When was the last time that Robert went before either to bring up his issues. I can't remember. Ryan, and the city can't help you. You have to think bigger.

The first response mentioned Robert's "man-crush" on Ryan. I think we're into the creepy stalker area now.
by Ben
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 12:50 PM
Mett, I think the question Craig posed was to solicit an answer from either Robert or Becky which would in turn show you something they do not want people to know. The reality is that with all of their protests, sit ins, council disruptions, parades, banners, accusations, lawsuits, etc, they have accomplished nothing. The homeless are no better off and their situation has remained the same. If anything, their constant drumbeat has become a distraction from the root issues. Their efforts have actually done more to tune people out on the homeless issue, an amazing feat in a very liberal community.

They have said, on many occasions, that they are not here to help people get out of their situation, only to make it possible for their state of homelessness to continue without interruption. They offer no assistance to people in order to find housing. They offer no assistance to those that want to find a job. They offer no assistance to those wanting to re-connect with family. They offer no assistance to those needing a place to sleep on a cold and rainy winter night. They offer no financial help to anyone seeking it. They offer no help to those seeking financial help.

So the answer to how many people they have helped get out of homelessness and into a better situation would be zero.

Now, Coonerty and his family have done many things to help those that need it. The Coonerty family spends over $40,000 a year to supply all the people in Santa Cruz, homeless included, with a clean bathroom in their store. They have helped people find food and shelter. They have offered financial assistance to some that need it. They have worked hard with the City of Santa Cruz to find compassionate assistance to people in need. They donate a lot of time money to organizations that deliver results and relief to those that are less fortunate than others.

In short, the Coonerty family has done much to deliver direct results to people that need it while Robert and Becky have not. Quite the opposite. Robert and Becky have done more than their fair share in turning a liberal community away from issues that need to be dealt with. In fact, they have turned many of the people they profess to help off of them as well.

Recently a homeless man, that Robert and Becky have used on numerous occasions to help support their cause by highlighting his story in publications and at rallies, has found housing. Something he asked Becky and Robert to assist him with on many occasions. Something they refused to do and never helped him achieve. How did he find housing? A businessman, that Robert and Becky have hurled accusations at, have protested, have slandered, and have tried to negatively effect from a business standpoint. He did it with no one now knowing about it. He paid for the man's rent deposit, application fee, and gave a reference. No one knew about it until the recipient came forward and gave thanks. Too your point above.
by Rico
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 1:09 PM
What a boring debate.

Here, Robert's activism has been called ineffective, a cesspool, the muck, etc., all off-topic of course.

On the other hand, Ryan Coonerty's bid to be a delegate for a candidate whose coattails he hopes to ride was rejected. If you have any doubt about his politicial aspirations, please read his own words: http://www.metroactive.com/papers/cruz/04.06.05/coonerty-0514.html

If Robert had a hand in that, awesome. Glad to see people who believe passionately step into the muck that is politics to influence things.

If Robert's activism is a waste of time, that's awesome too, because that means Coonerty's policies and politics speak for themselves -- I wouldn't guess that voters were that astute.

I'm sure Ryan's a nice guy, really. But as mayor, city councilmember, and local legislator, no thank you. As far as I'm concerned with or without Robert, Coonerty's record speaks volumes.
by scmoderate
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 2:21 PM
...you big, fat slob! How'd the "let's hack the government" meeting at your own house go? Or was someone in your circle smart enough to figure out you'd soon be crawling with feds? Leave the politics to grownups and go bang on a broken radiator or something. Indys, soilies, Critical Mascists, and "let's put up our own traffic signs" crowd: your time is done in this town. People are fed up.
by Rico
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 2:24 PM
must have touched a nerve.
by Craig
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 2:41 PM
That article is from 3 years ago. And honestly..... so what? He likes politics and wants to pursue it. Wow, someone with ambition. No wonder Roberts lackeys don't respect him. He actually wants to work.
If you also note, 16,000 people voted for Ryan Coonerty. That's a lot of people. Do even 1000 people in Santa Cruz support anything Robert does? Probably not.
This is also not off topic as the man above formed his opinion of Ryan Coonerty based on information supplied by Robert. So Robert does become part of the topic.
by Rico
( rico [at] thespoon.com ) Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 2:46 PM
Please feel free to email: rico [at] thespoon.com. I'll be happy to give you my phone number and we can talk, or maybe if you have the courage we could meet for coffee. I'm not hiding behind a pseudonym (or not a very challenging one in any case), so it really shouldn't be hard to find me.

It seems as a grownup, you'd be above anonymous and veiled threats, both of surveillance and of violence. But what do I know?

As for politics, man you and the rest of the "grownups" can have it. You get what you deserve.
AND THE PARADE PASSES ON WRITES: "Nothing about job loss or creation. Nothing about creating more low income or rental units. Nothing about mental health or substance abuse issues. Nothing about the root causes of homelessness. But it gives him something to bark about, but fixes nothing."

BECKY: First I want to thank you. I'm glad you posted HUFF's top five issues. Since we are a homeless CIVIL RIGHTS ADVOCACY organization, I'm sure you can grok that we are not known as shelter providers. However, it would be wrong to assume that we don't weigh in on issues around creation/roots of homelessness. For instance, we supported the raise in the minimum wage for Santa Cruz as poor people become homeless due to lack of money. Ryan Coonerty actively opposed this. We SUPPORTED the creation of the Nuevo Sol rental units at the end of Barson St. for chronically homeless people---the hardest to place in housing. We OPPOSED the creation of the Nueva Vista housing in Beach Flats because it destroyed 63 units of affordable housing to create 47 units, and ate up 17 years of funds earmarked FOR affordable housing. The City built it anyway and called us "career malcontents" and claimed we had "cynically manipulated" the issues for our own benefit. How we benefited from our investigative journalism and advocacy is unclear. As for substance abuse, HUFF advocates ending the drug war entirely and instead treating drug addiction as a medical problem rather than a criminal one. We have also documented how marijuana laws are used against homeless people by minor charges on Pacific Ave. that lead to stay-away orders from the entire downtown (banishment) in a publicly marijuana-friendly town. HUFF has no budget. We are just a group of volunteers, both housed and homeless, who want to get together to do something about how the cops, the courts, and the city authorities treat homeless people as criminals, pariahs, and sub-human.

AND THE PARADE PASSES ON WRITES: "And going after Ryan will solve nothing about the homeless issue. The issue is much bigger then one city, county, region, or even state, and yet all the heat comes onto Ryan. What efforts have the county or state made? When was the last time that Robert went before either to bring up his issues. I can't remember. Ryan, and the city can't help you. You have to think bigger."

BECKY: As of today, April 15, 2008, Mayor Ryan Coonerty is the biggest obstacle to ending the Sleeping Ban in the City of Santa Cruz today. As mayor, he doesn't need to ask a single person if he can put the Sleeping Ban on the council agenda for debate. His obstinance to doing this is just more evidence of his support for criminalizing people without shelter should they fall asleep.

Really, how DOES he sleep at night?
I think you and Robert have it all wrong when you say it is Coonerty as the biggest obstacle. You may want to consider that it just could be the citizens of this city that elected him and the other city council members. The council is voted in by the people of this town to do their work for them. And considering the comment made above that about 16000 people voted Coonerty in, it's quite possible he is answering to them. Not you or the 18 other people that show up to your events.

And it's not just shop and business owners downtown. The majority of the citizens of this city said they wanted him in office and to act upon the platform he ran on.

Maybe you guys could run for office and make the changes you want. Robert has the time since he's somewhat of a political dilettante. Although he would have to move into the city limits and be a citizen of record. And you don;t have much else to do but your substitute teacher work, of which the city pays your salary. Of course you would have to recuse yourself from anything that has to do with the school system.

I've always wondered something. Do the parents of your students know what you do during your free time?
by and the parade passes on
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 5:03 PM
Looks like for all the sound and fury, you have done nothing. All those years of stunts and it's the same or worse. To re-ask the question that was posted above. How many homeless people in this town has huff gotten off the street? You seemed to have missed that one.

As for who is the biggest roadblock - This time it's Ryan and then it was the mayor before that and before that. It will most likely be the mayor after Ryan too. For all the theatrics you have only turned people off. As for not having any budget, big shock there. Becky, you and Robert have poisoned the well so badly, that I doubt huff will ever get anything done. As I've said before, you two are the clowns in the circus that is Sanat Cruz.
by a REAL supporter of homeless
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 5:50 PM
What? THESE are your TOP FIVE issues? What the hell? Here, I'll help you for once and give you a REAL top five.

1.Wages not moving up every year in accordance with cost of living. Food and oil not being included in CPI.
2. lack of affordable housing
3. shutdown of mental health resources under Reagan as governor. An absolute disgrace.
4. imprisonment for minor drug crimes. Contributes to the mentally ill as lower class ex-cons are unable to get work or obtain housing, which increases their mental instability.
5. education going down the tubes.

Now for YOUR top 5 issues...

The Sleeping Ban-
not the lack of beds for the homeless? Do you actually WANT people to sleep on the streets? This is how you sound...

The Ten-Minute Law -- ", and since it severely impacts the ability of the public to use extensive public spaces for innocuous and multi-faceted uses, we are not only opposed to its enactment, but are planning civil disobedience around this issue."

- A parking lot is not for "multi-faceted issues", it's for PARKING! During the rain, I've seen people smoking crack in the stairwell near Borders.

The Move-Along Law -- It is clearly unconstitutional (1st amendment rights can't be limited to 1 hour out of 24) & selectively enforced.

-loitering laws are constitutional. And yes they are selectively enforced. I see people being allowed to play music, do street theater, break dance, etc. all the time in Santa Cruz. Get out of line, yell abusive language at people, break laws, yes, they will use the "move-along law".

Change Machines & Benches downtown -- City officials have placed machines everywhere where young people gather to cleanse the sidewalk of these people. We urge the machines be removed other than at the Metro Bus Station where placement facilitates public use.

-Ooh, the grand conspiracy! Yes, I'm sure they put change machines there just to spite the homeless.

Stay Away orders from Pacific Ave. --don't know as much about this one, but considering some of the people I've seen downtown (remember the guy who harrassed O'Neill's employees and then cried "racism"?) I have no problem with this. Fuck around in our downtown, go somewhere else. Pretty simple. Not medieval, civilized.

by Becky Johnson
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 7:23 PM
REAL SUPPORTER OF THE HOMELESS WRITES: "4. imprisonment for minor drug crimes. Contributes to the mentally ill as lower class ex-cons are unable to get work or obtain housing, which increases their mental instability."

BECKY: I couldn't agree with you more. Now grasp that a law which criminalizes SLEEPING is even more punitive and wrong-headed public policy since one can presumably live without drugs, but no one can live without sleep. How can a sleep-deprived, criminal get a job or housing? The law makes no sense at all, except that in that past few years, enforcement has tripled.

Ask Ryan why.
by Ben
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 7:32 PM
You say "The Sleeping Ban- not the lack of beds for the homeless? Do you actually WANT people to sleep on the streets? This is how you sound..."

Yes Real, they do just want people to be able to sleep on the street. they do nothing to help them find housing or shelter. Becky has said on many occasions that it is not the goal of HUFF to help people find housing, only to make it so that people can be on the street without being harassed.

A few years back there was a parade in town where homeless groups from around the bay area marched down Pacific. One group was chanting about wanting jobs and housing NOW. The HUFF people were running alongside them screaming "Stop saying that! It's not what WE want in Santa Cruz. Stop saying that...We just want people to be allowed to camp!"

This is their form of compassion.
by Fred F.
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 8:00 PM
Yup, sounds like HUFF, alright.
by Ben
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 8:52 PM
Stay Away orders from Pacific Ave.

In order to obtain a "Stay Away" order placed against you, otherwise known as becoming a "P" case on Pacific Ave, you must have a committed numerous illegal infractions. It is not just handed out to this person and that person for no reason or because the police don't like you. These are people who repeatedly deal or use drugs (mostly of the non-marijuana nature), vandalize property, harass people, are repeatedly drunk in public, repeatedly shoplift, repeatedly use abusive language, have been caught with firearms or illegal knives, parole violators, etc. It's takes some doing to get a "Stay Away" and involves repeated and habitual illegal behavior.

These are people that come downtown for the sole purpose of doing something wrong. The citizens of Santa Cruz are pretty much on board with this designation of some people. And furthermore, not all "P" cases are homeless. Becoming a "P" case is an equal opportunity situation.
by Fred F.
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 9:29 PM
Very true. If it was a matter of simply not being liked, Norse and Johnson would long ago have been relegated to staying at home in Bonny Doon or Los Gatos, depending on which estate they are staying at. No, you have to do something really illegal, like Steve Argue when he punched that cop and ended up doing hard time. Too bad the bar is so high though. It would be nice to see Becky and Robert simply banned from town altogether.

Perhaps Ryan can do something about this.

Just kidding Robert and Becky! I'm sure he'd recuse himself from such a discussion, since Bookshop would obviously benefit from it.
by Emma
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 9:38 PM
Ben, there's also the point that people should be allowed to sleep wherever they want.

What if I don't want to sleep in a "home"/apartment, or even a homeless shelter? Why can't I peacefully sleep near the ocean or in the forest? There is no reason why I should not be allowed to do that.
by Fred F.
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 9:52 PM
Emma, you can infact sleep by the ocean or in the forest. Outside the city limits. Besides, there are no forests to speak of in the city. Don't be violating the camping ordinance, or you will have a 0.2% chance of getting a ticket. And then the skies will come crashing down all around us in witness to this great tragedy and travesty of justice.
by Fuck D Cops
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 1:33 AM
I don't really like either of these two characters much, but I like the cops that selectively enforce all these laws like someone was forcing them to even less.

I also find it extremely pathetic all the time and energy people have spent to denounce Robert and Becky, again, not that I'm a fan of either. Don't you cops secretly posting under psydonuems and other law enforcement twits have something better to do???

As for Ryan, I'm extremely glad he lost the delegate election, doesn't he have a city to run??? Luis Alejo is another fine SC County native son and one I would be extremely happy to support if he ever decided to run for office. The "constitutional scholar" who promotes and passes ridiculous laws restricting peoples civil liberties in ANY part of downtown just doesn't seem to compute for this nogin. One of those things that make you go HMMMMM.......
by not a cop
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 8:58 AM
1. Not everyone who disagrees with you "Fuck D Cops" is a cop. I don't know about other Becky and Bob critics, but I am certainly not one.

2. The reason people spend so much time countering Becky and Bob (and I agree, it does feel like a waste, but that is Becky and Bob's fault) is that they are given credibility by a) this site and b) the Sentinel which routinely quotes Bob as if he is a true spokesperson for the homeless. Whenever homeless issues are addressed in the Sentinel, they routinely get quotes from him. As long as this pattern continues, Bob is a public figure and open for criticism. While certainly the Sentinel doesn't agree with his politics, the fact that he is part of their "he said, she said" journalistic routine is incredibly damaging. As long as this is the case, Bob needs to be scrutinized and discredited. Not to help "the cops" or Coonerty, but to help the homeless have a legitimate spokesperson who truly represents their needs (someone who is actually homeless might be a nice place to start!)

If Bob and Becky were simply ignored like the nutcases that they are, then nobody would care. But because they are given credibility, they will continue to be countered...
by not a cop
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 9:07 AM
"Ben, there's also the point that people should be allowed to sleep wherever they want.

What if I don't want to sleep in a "home"/apartment, or even a homeless shelter? Why can't I peacefully sleep near the ocean or in the forest? There is no reason why I should not be allowed to do that."

-Thank you for being honest and clarifying this for us, Emma! This type of comment exposes exactly WHY people are so offended by HUFF.

1. I actually oppose the part of the camping ban that seems to keep people from being able to put up a tent in someone's backyard who is allowing it to happen. But that is a private property issue.

2. People are not "allowed to sleep wherever they want". Why should they be? If it's private property, it's up to the owner, if it's public property, it's up to the public as represented by elected officials. The TOWN through democracy has decided that people sleeping on the streets wherever they want is an unacceptable health and sanitation issue. Are you opposed to the democratic process?

3. You can sleep on the beach out of town. There are dozens of empty beaches for miles and the cops usually won't even notice you're there. Also, have you ever heard of a "campground"? If you are broke, pool together some money with fellow homeless and rent a site. Camping is very fun and pleasant!
by Ben
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 9:16 AM
Emma, while your proposal sounds like a free and liberating idea there are also some realities that come along with it.

Many people in the Santa Cruz homeless community have given examples of crimes performed against them while sleeping on the streets. And these crimes, while sometimes committed by housed individuals, are quite often committed by other homeless individuals. Blankets, cell phones, personal belongings, clothes, are stolen while some people sleep out in the open. There are also examples of very serious physical attacks on the homeless by other homeless. We've also been presented with examples of people camping on a beach being murdered, as happened north of San Francisco two years ago. While it sounds great, it's dangerous on many levels.

There are also too many health issues involved with living outside.

You gave your examples as saying "what if I don't want to". At that point it is a personal decision. There are many things people may "want" to do, or not want to do, but are not realistic or safe. What if someone "wants" to urinate in the middle of Pacific Ave? What if someone "wants" to throw their garbage and refuse on a sidewalk or on the beach? What if someone "wants" to light a bonfire along the levee, in the dry brush, to keep themselves warm on a cold night. All these things may signify "freedom" but infringe on the health and safety of others in addition to yourself.

A "want" is your choice and comes with consequences.
by Emma
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 9:32 AM
>There are many things people may "want" to do, or not want to do, but are not realistic or safe. What if someone "wants" to >urinate in the middle of Pacific Ave?

Why would this be a problem? Urine is actually fairly harmless and the sun will kill anything nasty. Americans are far too uptight about matters of personal hygiene. In India, for example, such things are considered normal.

>What if someone "wants" to throw their garbage and refuse on a sidewalk or on the beach?

Then that is their personal decision. We don't need to have a police state to enforce it...

>What if someone "wants" to light a bonfire along the levee, in the dry brush, to keep themselves warm on a cold nigh

If it keeps them warm, what is the problem? Housies use gas lines that occasionally explode to warm their houses, I don't see a greater risk from the homeless doing the same outside.
by Gary G
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 9:47 AM
Do you remember when the levee off of Riverside caught fire last year? If the fire dept had not come to extinguish it the fire could have jumped to the other side of the pathway and burned down homes.
If you like the sanitation standards of a third world country better then maybe you should live there rather than here. That would also be your choice. Just a thought.
by Ben
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 10:05 AM
Emma, you are free to have your own ideas and personal standards.

However, as someone posted above, we live in a democracy. The vast majority of the people in Santa Cruz have decided that such behavior is not acceptable and should not be allowed. And living in a democratic and free nation you have every right to seek out a community which will allow you to do the things you want. If there is a community that finds it acceptable to urinate on the street, smear feces on yourself, allows you to burn other people's houses down in order to keep you warm, and has lax standards about overall sanitation and refuse removal you are very free to go there. If you feel so passionate about living this way I wish you all the best of luck in finding a community that suits your needs and desires.

We do live in a society where the wishes and desires of a few cannot be subjected on the masses. This world has been subjected to societies where a few individuals can dictate the behaviors of a populace. The world has resoundingly said that this is not acceptable. In this country majority rules.
by Metteyya
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 10:11 AM
Hi Ben,

Although some of your healt and safety concerns are valid, until there are enough shelter beds AND access to them 24/7, then many, if not most, of the homeless in Santa Cruz will be forced to sleep on the street.

The question is therefore, if you are forced to sleep on the street any way because you cannot afford housing, why are we criminalizing your sleeping outside by subjecting you to multiple tickets, arrest and harassment simply because you are poor?

Poverty is not a crime, but some of the conditions that create it and our response to it are certainly a "moral crime" that must be addressed.

by Ben
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 10:29 AM
I could not agree with you more that poverty should not be a crime.

Unfortunately the city of Santa Cruz does not possess the funds and resources to handle the disproportionate amount of homeless individuals in our community. Many people actually come to Santa Cruz, from other communities, looking for services and housing they could not find in their own communities. If that were to continue the whole social services system here will eventually collapse. Perhaps if other communities around Santa Cruz would help shoulder the expense and build resources this situation would be different. Very close to here we have communities such as Monterey and Carmel that have the ability to contribute more, but don't. They have the space to allow more people in, yet they don't. Santa Cruz, for the benefit of everyone, cannot do this alone. It is unrealistic.

Maybe if Robert and Becky could take their fight to some of these other communities, in the hope those other communities could contribute their fair share, it would help.

But Robert cannot as he would endanger his own personal income if he enters those communities. So in effect, Robert is not willing to share in the expense that he expects others to do. Robert has traded his right to free speech and make change for a comfortable income.
by James R.
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 1:00 PM
It seems to me that Coonerty sorta...nay, completely, destroys Mett in his e-mail replies. I don't know what purpose was trying to be served here.
by not a cop
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 1:25 PM
Pretty obvious what Mett was up to: political payback on Coonerty for not agreeing with him on everything. Hell, I don't even like Obama and think that Coonerty is just OK. (sorry, Ryan, I like you, but you lost points by siding with the "I like my dogs to crap on the beach and I vote" crowd). But targeting him as "not loyal enough to Obama" is a cheap shot. Whether one likes Ryan or not, I have no doubt that he is sincere in his support for Obama and will not "switch" on him at the convention. He is smart and acccurate when he says his SC political career would be "over".

by Matt M.
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 1:26 PM
yes Mett, the email exchnage does speak for itself. You look foolish and and I'm glad Coonerty was honest, straighforward, and capable of putting you in your place, whether you realize it or not. Coonerty has my full support.
by of Robert Norse
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 2:05 PM
Robert Norse

5749 Highway 9
Felton, CA 95018-9294
(831) 335-4844
by Greg
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 2:13 PM
Previously Becky said that Robert lived in the city of Santa Cruz.
Looks like she lied.
by Greg
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 2:17 PM
BECKY: Robert Norse currently lives in the County of Santa Cruz. He has lived within the city limits of Santa Cruz for over 20 years.

Looks like she's a liar.
by Greg
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 2:26 PM
Ok, when you Google that address a Felton arrest record for a person living at that address comes up.
DUI
Failure to supply evidence of ownership
Trespassing.
by Becky Johnson
( becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com ) Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 2:44 PM
"I could not agree with you more that poverty should not be a crime.

"Unfortunately the city of Santa Cruz does not possess the funds and resources to handle the disproportionate amount of homeless individuals in our community."

BECKY: So if we can't house them, why are we arresting them for sleeping? You have to ask yourself, how many of this communities resources are used up moving along to nowhere, citing, arresting, jailing, trying, convicting and sentencing homeless people for the "crime" of sleeping at night? If you think this system of criminalizing homeless people saves any money, you are sadly mistaken. The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty has done two studies that bear on this issue. One found that across the board it is cheaper to shelter, transport, and counsel homeless people than to arrest them for camping. The second traced the actual cost of writing a citation through the system. With the extra costs of law enforcement, lawyers, judges, bailiffs, and jailers, a simple citation COSTS the city about $1000.

The fear that if we provide adequate or humane social services, then we will be inundated with homeless people from all over is simple ignorant fear-mongoring. Homeless people do not have the resources to get up and move thousands of miles away for a shelter or food program. Nor has there EVER been an example when this occurred. It didn't happen after the Pottinger decision in Miami. It didn't happen when the sleeping ban was found unconstitutional in Portland, Ore. And it didn't happen in Santa Barbara when the sleeping ban there was repealed for three years. Yet this is the excuse used all the time so that people allow these cruel and inhumane laws to continue to be enforced.
by Becky Johnson
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 2:48 PM
GREG WRITES: "BECKY: Robert Norse currently lives in the County of Santa Cruz. He has lived within the city limits of Santa Cruz for over 20 years. Looks like she's a liar."

BECKY: Last time I checked, Felton is IN Santa Cruz COUNTY. Looks like you either:

1. can't read
2. or are a liar yourself
by not a cop
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 2:52 PM
So, he lived in Santa Cruz for 20 years, but now lives in Felton. Fine, why isn't he bothering the Felton mayor and city council to take care of THEIR homeless issues? Smaller town, smaller problem, he might be able to do some genuine good up there!

by Greg
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 3:00 PM
You say he currently lives in Santa Cruz County. He has lived in Santa Cruz for 20 years.
Possibly you could have written: Although Robert no longer lives in the city of Santa Cruz, where he lived for 20 years, he currently resides in Santa Cruz County.
You made it sound like he has lived in the city of Santa Cruz for the last 20 years.
by Greg
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 3:04 PM
Does anyone know what school Becky works at?
by Becky Johnson
( becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com ) Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 3:41 PM
BEN WRITES: "In order to obtain a "Stay Away" order placed against you, otherwise known as becoming a "P" case on Pacific Ave, you must have a committed numerous illegal infractions. It is not just handed out to this person and that person for no reason or because the police don't like you. These are people who repeatedly deal or use drugs (mostly of the non-marijuana nature), vandalize property, harass people, are repeatedly drunk in public, repeatedly shoplift, repeatedly use abusive language, have been caught with firearms or illegal knives, parole violators, etc."

BECKY: Thank you, Ben, for so fully sharing the Police Department's propaganda about P-cases. However, none of it is correct. You do NOT need to have committed numerous illegal infractions. A single misdemeanor can result in a stay away order from the entire length of Pacific Avenue. This was the case for Chris Brozda who was convicted of annoying a waitress at the Pizza Grille. That SINGLE charge resulted in a stay-away order from Pacific Ave. Street tarot reader, Jason Paschal, was issued a year-long stay away order after a single conviction for "excessive noise." People found with tiny amounts of marijuana are charged regularly and these can and do result in stay-away orders. I myself was recommended for a stay-away order from the entire length of Pacific Ave. for using sidewalk chalk on the sidewalk--and I hadn't even been convicted yet!!! Would you like to see the police report?

You would LIKE the P-cases to be used with great discretion by the SCPD and the courts. But you are only sticking your head in the sand. They aren't. And it's happening right under your nose and right in your own town.
by Becky Johnson
( becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com ) Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 3:47 PM
GREG WRITES: "Does anyone know what school Becky works at?"

BECKY: Why do you want to know? Are you going to try and get me fired?
by Becky Johnson
( becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com ) Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 3:54 PM
GREG WRITES: "You say he currently lives in Santa Cruz County. He has lived in Santa Cruz for 20 years. Possibly you could have written: Although Robert no longer lives in the city of Santa Cruz, where he lived for 20 years, he currently resides in Santa Cruz County.
You made it sound like he has lived in the city of Santa Cruz for the last 20 years."

BECKY: No I didn't. I said he lives in the COUNTY of Santa Cruz and he works in the CITY of Santa Cruz. HUFF is located within the City. You IGNORED that comment because your only point is to claim that Robert shouldn't be allowed to comment on the goings on in Santa Cruz because he lives in Felton. Don't be so quick to call people "liars." It makes YOU look bad. Robert has lived at several addresses within the City of Santa Cruz, FOUR of them with me. I know of two other addresses he has lived at that are within the city limits of Santa Cruz. But what's the point? You are just trying to shoot the messenger because you don't agree with the message. Ryan Coonerty and his father , Neal complained on Sunday that our fliers were "all lies." Yet they didn't point out a single error. You seem to have the same problem. All smoke and heat and no light.
by Becky Johnson
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 4:03 PM
GREG WRITES: "why isn't he bothering the Felton mayor and city council?"

BECKY: Duh. Felton doesn't HAVE a mayor OR City Council. Its un-incorporated. They are represented by the COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS. Robert REGULARLY contacts the Board of Supervisors on homeless issues.

There are only four cities in Santa Cruz County. Watsonville, Capitola, Scotts Valley, and Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is also the County Seat. Since I AM a teacher, I don't mind educating you. Of course, it hasn't been shown that you CAN be educated.
by Becky Johnson
( becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com ) Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 4:20 PM
NOT A COP WRITES:

"1. I actually oppose the part of the camping ban that seems to keep people from being able to put up a tent in someone's backyard who is allowing it to happen. But that is a private property issue."

BECKY: There is a "backyard exception" to the current law which DOES allow for someone to erect a tent in either a backyard or a fenced in side yard that is not visible from the street.

NOT A COP WRITES: "2. People are not "allowed to sleep wherever they want". Why should they be? If it's private property, it's up to the owner.....

BECKY: No. Actually it is NOT up to the owner as the Sleeping Ban covers both public and private property. Years ago, some college students who were sleeping on the roof of their house to watch a meteor shower were ticketed for "illegal sleeping." Read the law. Then write your expert opinions.

NOT A COP WRITES: "....if it's public property, it's up to the public as represented by elected officials. The TOWN through democracy has decided that people sleeping on the streets wherever they want is an unacceptable health and sanitation issue. Are you opposed to the democratic process?

BECKY: Actually, the commission system is part of the City of Santa Cruz' democratic process. the Homeless Issues Task Force passed a resolution calling for suspension of ticketing under the Sleeping Ban until adequate shelter exists. It was ignored by Mayor Keith Sugar's city council. Ed Porter got the endorsement of the Green Party for promising to put the Sleeping Ban on the City Council agenda. He didn't. Tim Fitmaurice violated his own Green party's platform on homeless issues all 8 years he was on the council. I support a democratic democratic process. Ours isn't very democratic. The law doesn't prohibit people from sleeping on the streets. It prohibits homeless people from sleeping at night at all.

NOT A COP WRITES: "3. You can sleep on the beach out of town. There are dozens of empty beaches for miles and the cops usually won't even notice you're there. Also, have you ever heard of a "campground"? If you are broke, pool together some money with fellow homeless and rent a site. Camping is very fun and pleasant!

BECKY: Did you know that ONLY in Santa Cruz County are you limited to 30 days TOTAL per year in State Park campsites? These legal campgrounds are not open year round (two are) and in summer, only people with credit cards have a chance at reserving a site. Also they are not cheap. $25/night beats a motel but if you have no money, it won't work either. Finally, did you know there are NO campgrounds in the entire City of Santa Cruz...a city with over 2,000 acres of greenbelt, parkland, and open space?
by and the parade passes on
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 5:01 PM
Here is her actual statement...

"BECKY: Robert Norse currently lives in the County of Santa Cruz. He has lived within the city limits of Santa Cruz for over 20 years. HUFF, the all volunteer homeless advocacy organization he co-founded in 1989, is located within the City of Santa Cruz. Weekly meetings are held in Santa Cruz. Certainly people who live or work in Santa Cruz have every right to address city leaders and policies, don't they? Do you think Robert is misrepresenting himself? "

He is or you are. That statement gives a strong impression that he still lives in the city limits. As a teacher, you might want to be a little clearer on past and present tense.

Another gem of hers, which leads to my first question...

"BECKY: Duh. Felton doesn't HAVE a mayor OR City Council. Its un-incorporated. They are represented by the COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS. Robert REGULARLY contacts the Board of Supervisors on homeless issues."

My question is this. On what date was the last time either you or Robert appeared to make an ass of yourselves in front of the BoS? Remember that the time they give you to comment is only 3 minutes, even when Robert was whining about having 5 at the city. And it's not like you're not in the county building every week.

The second question is a re asking on an earlier one. You say that huff has been around since 1989. In that almost 20 years, how many people has huff changed from homeless to homed?



by Robert Norse
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 6:12 PM
For those interested in a fairly recent national report on criminalization of the poor in various cities across the country, check out http://www.nlchp.org/content/pubs/A_Dream_Denied1.pdf, to download the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty's " A Dream Denied: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities" published in January 2006.

Santa Cruz is mentioned in the report.

Repressive cities certainly aren't limited to Santa Cruz, nor is Coonerty the only anti-homeless Mayor.

There are even some at the national level who are moving to support legislation that would cut off Coonerty and other mayors supporting Sleeping Bans from federal funds if they continue to criminalize their poorest residents.

by Sum Dim
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 9:45 PM
Okay Norse, I read some of that paper. I got to about page 80 before my eyes completely glassed over and I couldn't see. I'm better now, thanks for asking.

That was the biggest load of horseshit I've seen presented under the wily cover of a sociological study. First off, it was presented by an obviously biased group of individuals, every one of whom appears to have entered this project with a preconceived notion of both the homeless problem and the moral failings of the governmental agencies in question.

The thing reads like a laundry list of places with a historically highly compassionate view of the indigent. I mean, Santa Monica, Athens, GA, Lawrence, KS, San Francisco, etc. Give me a break. Every one of these places appears to be reacting to having been tread upon a bit too heavily, a bit too long. I didn't observe that your hometown of Carmel-by-the-Sea was included in the list. Neither was Rancho Santa Fe, nor Mission Hills, KS, nor Sun Valley, ID. Why? Because they long ago kicked every poor person out and made sure they never came back. So it seems it's just easier to pick on Berkeley and Santa Cruz, because we'll actually allow you to stand up and insult us every Tuesday for your allotted 2 minutes.

Lastly, the reference to Santa Cruz reads like the Huffie manifesto, citing that awful Kate Wells and sundry "activists", presumably you and Becks. I guess I should have read that first, and saved myself the bother of reading the rest of the thing.

Nice try, though.
by Robert Norse
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 11:22 PM
Real civil rights struggles are clearly not popular with those happy with the status quo.

The need to sleep legally somewhere is not an option. Politicians without the courage to oppose laws banning visible poverty need to be exposed and ousted, particularly in towns which have any kind of conscience. As author Howard Zinn put it in 1996, “we must disturb the sleep of those who support such laws.”

Those interested in waking the City politicians from their moral narcolepsy, those who want to support “that awful” Kate Wells in her Sleeping Ban lawsuit, and and those who'd like to hold the secretive Coonerty accountable at his unannounced public appearances can check out the Human Rights Organization meetings Saturday 2 PM 131 Front St. at the Firefly Cafe.

“So Dim” and his fellow trolls are invited to rest their fingers and wits and speak up on Free Radio Santa Cruz 101.1 FM Thursday 6-8 PM. (831-427-3772).

Mayor Coonerty was invited to face Mettayya Brahmana last Thursday to discuss how his Bans were in keeping with the spirit of the Obama campaign. He failed to appear.

We put the case to the delegates. They voted Coonerty down.

Since The Sleeping Ban (and the other Bans) is a case neither Coonerty nor his masked defenders still can't coherently make, I don't expect we'll be hearing from any of them.
by tired of the spin
Wednesday Apr 16th, 2008 11:53 PM
Don't you mean substitute teacher.
by and the parade passes on
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 1:08 AM
I spotted the grinding ax about 5 pages in. So I gave up and just searched for Santa Cruz. Yes, the group claims that we're all evil here, and they based that on one letter and one newspaper story. Damn, even as for back as the 5th grade, I would have gotten an F for such shoddy research on a paper.

Also, you can get off your high horse about Ryan not getting the delegate slot. The writing was on the wall on the first of April when the Obama people turned in their signature papers for the caucus. I think the count went along the lines of Luis 45, Ryan, 16 and Mett 8. Luis had outworked everybody from the start. Although I was impressed on how Ryan came back. Still didn't vote for him though. Your little protest and "Ryan is a terrorist" sign proved ineffectual, like everything else huff does.

I'll ask you the same questions I asked Becky. When was the last time you to the public comment session at the county board of supes to state your case? Homelessness is not just a city issue. Secondly, since 1989, how many homeless people in Santa Cruz has huff helped off the streets?

Homelessness is a huge problem in the region, and more so it's a straight up tragedy. However I think that there will be no movement toward a solution as long as Robert and his ilk are on the point of the issue. The cheep theatrics and tired rhetoric and pushed whatever progress could have been made into a ditch.
by Craig
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 6:41 AM
I've been away for a few days and am surprised to see so many comments here- more than any other time! Goes to show you how "popular" Robert and Becky are!

That said, the posts from 10:38AM and 2:41PM on April 15 are not from me. I don't necessarily disagree with them, and I'm surprised that someone decided to use my name as a nom de plume, but in the interest of clarity I just wanted to put that out there. Thanks for the flattery, whoever you are!

Additionally, while I was hoping to have Robert actually admit himself that he does not live in Santa Cruz and thus the mayor is not "his" mayor, he's not man enough to do so. However, I think having his address posted (if that is the correct address) is in bad taste, especially if he is not listed in the phone book.

Otherwise, thanks for the fun morning read, and for noting the plagiarism, even though they didn't say anything outrageous that I disagree with.

Signed-
The "Real" Craig
by Sum Dim
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 9:04 AM
Norse,

Coonerty didn't "fail to appear" on your "show". He blew you off. Perhaps you should invite Obama to discuss his values with Meth. Possibly they're not in quite as much harmony as you appear to believe. Certainly Mett's evasiveness in answering the simple question of how many votes he received is very retro for such a forward-thinking activist. I thought he was going to elevate us all to his new, higher plane of thinking. A 200-word essay on why it's not important is not the same as an answer to the question. The correct answer is a number, presumably between 0 and 149. Anyway, there are some talking points for your next program. Hopefully Obama will show for you.

You didn't "put" anything to the delegates. Remember, you're not even on board with Obama. You were just crashing their party with your petty, irrelevant agenda. The voters rejected Coonerty with 149 votes and Mett with zero. I'm pretty sure your "Ryan is a terrorist" sign had precious little to do with it, though. Now we're talking about the simple task of this delegate raising his or her hand at the right moment in Denver. I know a monkey who would suffice for this. So even if you did influence the outcome of this trivial election, really, you haven't affected the course of history. Again though, mostly you provided amusement at the caucus. And for that we thank you.

by Robert Norse
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 9:44 AM
Coonerty apologists are so like the Mayor himself. You just can't get them to address the issues. Part of the work of changing the status quo involves being patient with the stream of personal abuse and irrelevant arguments that weigh down this thread. Turning discussion of real issues into namecalling contests rationalizes and justifies the laws that criminalize homeless people.

It's the City's laws, not the County's, that are the issue. Santa Cruz is the County seat. What goes on in Santa Cruz, the largest city in the County, is what we're talking about--hence we target the Santa Cruz mayor and his Council--even though his Dad, Supervisor Neal, is significantly more powerful and controls more resources than Ryan. Still, if Neal had been held accountable when he was Mayor for his abusive laws (Downtown Ordinances) and practices (rubberstamping or covering up police misconduct), perhaps he wouldn't have ascended to higher office.

HUFF is a civil rights organization, largely advocates and whistleblowers. Protecting the rights of homeless people while they're homeless is the mission. Against bigots, bullshitters, and blowhards. As well as institutional and authoritarian abusers. Getting people out of homelessness is a bigger job that involves creating housing, jobs, and fundamental change. Our job is to educate and organize around human rights issues in order for that large struggle to happen.

For some indication of HUFF's accomplishments (which are many), go to http://www.huffsantacruz.org . Of course, if you derogate or dismiss civil rights for those outside, then what we call accomplishments, you'd call intrusions.

It's interesting to hear the Obama delegate history. But obviously another participant (Brahmana)--whom I didn't know from Adam two weeks ago--was concerned enough about the Coonerty machine to make Coonerty's defeat a major priority.

Once Coonerty went through the arrogant and revealing dismissal of Brahmana's concerns documented at the beginning of this thread, I'm told it turned off a number of delegate voters.

When you trash the right of the homeless to sleep legally (not everywhere and anywhere, but somewhere) as the anonymous posters here do, it's an short trip to trashing to homeless physically with bats and torches.

Thanks again to everyone who helped punish a phony progressive. Let's do it again soon. (City Council meeting is coming up this Tuesday)
by Metteyya
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 11:08 AM
Hi NOT A COP,

My actions in ensuring that the most progressive candidates represent Obama at the convention was NOT political payback for Ryan not agreeing with every political view that I have. Reasonable people can disagree on a number of issues without being disagreeable.

The red flag for me was HOW he disagreed, and what he was trying to do by becoming an Obama delegate.

Ryan chose the low road of attacking me personally, even though he doesn't have a clue about what I have done or what I am currently doing. If he knew, he would have responded quite differently, but that is why sometimes it is important for people not to know so you can get an honest take on where they really are.

Having divergent views is great, and makes for an interesting democratic process. But what Ryan was trying to do is REPRESENT Obama at the convention as an Obama delegate. As a an Obama delegate, your political views are important, especially in a contested convention. When a Hillary person approaches an Obama delegate at the convention, she is going to focus on three things: (1) what she can do to help you politically (e.g., offers of appointments, jobs or other favors), (2) how her "political views" are aligned with yours, and (3) why she has a better chance than Barack in November.

As an "up and coming" politician, Ryan will be a serious target for number 1, and depending upon number 2 or 3, and whether Ryan thinks Hillary could win with his support, there is a "greater risk" of him switching his vote to Hillary than with many of the other delegate candidates. Number 2 above - Hillary's views are aligned with Ryan's - is what makes Ryan's views on the homeless sleeping ban, citizen input at public meetings, and law enforcement excess in violating civil rights and civil liberties very troubling, not that they diverge from my own views.

These three issues are "foundational" issues for Barack, things he has fought for his entire life, starting with his days as a community organizer, and even now with bills he has introduced to help homeless veterans and roll back law enforcement abuses in the Patriot Act. So if you are not with Barack (not me) on these issues, how can you "best" represent him at the convention in Denver?

I didn't have these concerns with any other delegate candidate in CD 17, so HUFF's ABC - Anybody But Coonerty - protest was very appropriate. I didn't ask them to steer any votes toward me, and I myself steered "a lot" of votes to other candidates. This was never about me, and only about getting Barack the progressive delegates that he deserves and needs to have his back in a convention floor fight in Denver.
by not a cop
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 1:26 PM
"Number 2 above - Hillary's views are aligned with Ryan's - is what makes Ryan's views on the homeless sleeping ban, citizen input at public meetings, and law enforcement excess in violating civil rights and civil liberties very troubling, not that they diverge from my own views."

OK, how is Ryan closer to Hillary than Obama? Do you even KNOW what Hillary's stance is on the homeless? Do you know how Obama, Ryan, and Hillary match up on:

-medical care?
-the war?
-national security?
-the environment?

Like I said, I don't particularly like Obama and am a "hold my nose" Hillary supporter. But like with your "debate" with Ryan (the equivalent of a Harlem Globetrotters/Washington Generals game in it's one-sidedness), you are not supporting your case. You are not offering evidence of how Ryan is going to "stab Obama in the back" and flip to Hillary. You are doing exactly what I said you were doing: attacking Ryan because his views on the homeless don't match up with yours or what you perceive Obama's to be, despite all your rhetoric about how great political diversity is. If they don't think like Mett on everything, then they must be attacked!

Also, on a side note, for those of you think Obama really represents "change", google these stories:

" Obama George Soros"
" Obama Zbigniew Brzezinski"
" Obama Tony Rezko"

Anything will be better than Bush, but don't kid yourselves folks!




by and the parade passes on
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 1:56 PM
The rules in Watsonville, Capitola or Scotts Valley? Better? The same? Worse?

I know there are homeless in Watsonville. Why hasn't the city cracked down on them like SC has? Or have they and nobody care? Are there any poor people in Capitola?

Robert, don't confuse my being fed up with your antics as my love for Ryan and what he stands for. If both of you left on the same bus, it would be a hugely joyous day.

Mett, earlier in the thread, you mentioned an idea that would help get the home into a safe area so they could work toward getting off the street. I'd like to hear if you'd have any other ideas like that. I think a homeless rights group that is not huff, might actually accomplish helping the homeless.
by Sum Dim
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 2:08 PM
Mett, your written skills are impressive, as is your capacity for debate. Which makes your sophistry all the more galling. I think many here respect and share your support for your candidate. What you seem to miss is the contradiction between the uplifting message you are evangelizing, and the gutter politics you are using to do it. Yes, gutter politics. Tearing down another highly productive, accomplished and respected member of the community is just that. Allowing your name to be associated with the jackasses who call good public servants terrorists is just that. Dismissing all of the work done for the homeless by this community during the last fifteen years while you were asleep and couldn't be bothered, is just that. Norse has wasted a lifetime doing this. You sound smart enough to know better. Sometimes.

I'd bet no one here cares about Ryan being a delegate. Like I said, I've got a monkey who could fill in if need be. The point is that your politics of personal destruction is an old saw that we're waaay over, to quote ol' Norse. You say you are too. Prove it.
by Metteyya
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 2:09 PM
Hi Not a Cop,

So you are a Hillary supporter! That explains everything.

If I were a Hillary supporter, I would want Ryan Coonerty as an Obama delegate as well, and would be angry at me for whatever role I played in cutting down his support.

But I am not interested in supporting a delegate that makes Hillary supporters more comfortable, as this is the key issue I have with Ryan. It is not that he WILL switch, it is that there is a "greater risk" of him switching because of the comfort level her supporters have with him.

No, not every issue I believe should line up with mine to get my support. I think even Obama could be stronger on green energy, stronger in his even stance between Israel and the Palestinians, and more creative with how we deter aggression around the world so that the burden does not fall on the United States. But I support him anyway, because I believe on a range of progressive issues we do agree, particularly foundational issues like uplifting the human condition in the US and around the world, and establishing a sustainable progressive majority that could govern for decades.

What bothers me about Hillary is her distrust of the opinions and ideas of ordinary folk, which causes her to govern in a top-down manner. This is what the citizen input issue is about, because if you are for rolling back citizen input, you are just like Hillary in her fundamental style and philosophy of governance.


It is not just the issue, it is what the issue represents in terms of one's overall philosophy and approach to politics. Barack has made it clear that GREATER citizen input is going to be his "key" to checking the special interests in Washington, by shining a bright light on the process so that it is transparent and therefore reflects the will of the people. If you do not favor this approach, forget about being a delegate because I don't think you could even serve in an Obama administration at all. You simply wouldn't fit if you believe in top-down and the type of special interest influenced government that it produces.
by not a cop
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 2:30 PM
Cool, Mett, now you've exposed yourself as delusional and paranoid.

>So you are a Hillary supporter! That explains everything.If I were a Hillary supporter, I would want Ryan Coonerty as an >Obama delegate as well, and would be angry at me for whatever role I played in cutting down his support.

Yep, you got me, pal! I'm part of a grand conspiracy to throw the election to Hillary. While I held my nose and voted for her, the LAST thing I want to see is any of this "superdelegate" or "convention switch" bullshit have anything to do with it. If Hillary pulls off the nom with those tactics, it will throw the election to McCain as the disgust would be cross-party and nationwide. As the last poster here mentioned, I really don't care if Ryan is an Obama candidate or not. And, honestly, Mett, I really have no bone to pick with you other than you've apparently thrown your lot in with Norse, which you will soon learn was a huge mistake!

>But I am not interested in supporting a delegate that makes Hillary supporters more comfortable, as this is the key issue I >have with Ryan. It is not that he WILL switch, it is that there is a "greater risk" of him switching because of the comfort level >her supporters have with him.

Again, you base this on nothing. It is just a cheap attack on his character.

>I think even Obama could be stronger on green energy, stronger in his even stance between Israel and the Palestinians,

Yes, this is what it boils down to with many Obama supporters, just like the Ron Paul supporters: "get the jews!" That's what you meant, isn't it Mett? Support Hamas, Mett? How about Hezbollah?

>and >more creative with how we deter aggression around the world so that the burden does not fall on the United States. But I >support him anyway, because I believe on a range of progressive issues we do agree,

Then you're a sucker. His father was brought over here in a CIA/State Dept program. His mother traveled the world on Ford Foundation (CIA) grants, marrying an oilman and consultant to the Indonesian military under Suharto. His grandmother (the main player behind him during her life) worked for a bank run by a guy who distributed money in Vietnam during the war for Chase Manhattan bank. He is not a "progressive". He is part of the machine and if he wins, he will be REPRESSIVE.

by Metteyya
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 2:44 PM
Hi Dim Sum,

Doing all I can within the rules to defend Barack's values and support delegate candidates that reflect these values is not "tearing down" someone. There is not "gotcha" moment or "personal" failing of Ryan's I am trying to exploit, no attacks at all on his as a person. You really should consider the implications of this restraint, especially since Ryan did chose to attack me personally.

A local group deciding on their own to exercise their free speech rights to peacefully protest Ryan's policies that they disagree with is NOT "negative" politics. Nor is recommending to supporters that they vote for progressive candidates, and expressing an opinion to them on whom I think is most progressive is "negative" politics.

I think this is only "perceived" as negative because it was not restricted to simply promoting one's own candidacy. But like I said earlier in this thread, it is the "politics of the past" that is all about promoting oneself, the new politics that Barack is trying to usher in is about progressive values and uniting around a common purpose based on these values. If you don't share those core values, yet you want us to unite around you anyway out of fear of being "negative", then I think you have a mistaken notion as to what Obama is all about.

We unite with those who disagree with us on "other" issues, as long as they agree with us on the issue at hand - in this case, electing the delegate that best reflects Obama's values. We don't "demonize" those with whom we disagree with on a particular issue, but we do make efforts to persuade that person to our side or ensure that their divergent views don't prevail. This approach has been the key to Obama's political success, and I don't think it is particularly negative, although tactically one must make some tough decisions sometimes that may upset some folks.
by Ben
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 3:05 PM
Mett, if you were to ever meet Ryan Coonerty this would not even be a discussion. If Ryan were a child he would be wearing Obama pajamas with Obama posters on his wall, with an Obama lunch pail, and a subscription to Obama-Beat magazine. The man WORSHIPS Obama. He makes calls for Obama, walks for Obama, emails for Obama, basically harasses everyone he knows to vote for Obama. With all he has done for Obama, and the people that are with him on the campaign, Ryan is right to say he would be dead meat in this town if he switched.

I cannot help thinking there is something else behind this. As if you're trying to make this into a "Sophie's Choice" kind of thing. Or perhaps you have doubts about your own commitment which are taking you down this path.
by Sum Dim
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 3:06 PM
"We don't demonize those with whom we disagree on a particular issue..."

Except when we're calling them terrorists. LOL!

Well Mett, you appear to be beyond the fragile reach of redemption. Not much one can do to reason with the delusional. Enjoy hanging out with your new friends in the breezeway.

Welcome the new Norse, everybody!
by Metteyya
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 3:24 PM
>

But when he grows up, he re-affirms the criminalization of the poor by affirming the homeless sleeping ban, cuts the microphone off on those with whom he disagrees, and gives local law enforcement carte blanche to violate the civil rights and civil liberties of dissident groups.

He may have been more like Obama when he was a kid, but something about adulthood is taking him down a different political road, and that is what troubled me. I have met a lot of energetic volunteers who really don't get Obama at all. Many of them heard his 2004 speech at the convention about "no liberal or conservative America" and assumed he was a middle-of-the-road centrist, and that is why they support him. I am not saying this is the case with Ryan, but some of his city policies like the one's that concern HUFF, are consistent with a centrist point of view.
by Sum Dim
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 3:37 PM
Wow, so even Obama volunteers don't understand the man. Good thing we have you here to explain it to us all, Mett!

Incidentally, telling the Huff idiots where they get off doesn't make one a centrist. It makes one a non-loony, non-extremist normal person. That's it.
by Tim Rumford
Thursday Apr 17th, 2008 4:09 PM
i_want_change.jpg
i_want_change.jpg

Mett,
These people who always post anonymously because they fear their own beliefs. They will spend the entire month debating you, and never address the real issues. They are here to distract from any real dialog. In the internet world, they are called trolls. Not to be confused with the street term, which I may use later in this comment.

You have made some good points, let it go, in other words, stop feeding the trolls as it has broken down to the point it serves no purpose. They appear at every post having to do with Connerty or homelessness. Coonerty claims that activists like Robert or Becky or me have threatened violence on his sister and family. We all know that if that was true, there would be an arrest. I have never condoned violence nor known of Robert or HUFF to either. If Robert lives off a trust fund, so fucking what. He spends his time fighting for what he believes in, lives simply, and all the more power to him for it. It only makes me respect him more. Whatever rights they believe in, few would do the same.

I don't agree with everything Robert says and does. I don't think I do with anyone; but I would rather stand with him who has devoted his life to ending laws he finds repressive and unconstitutional, rather then to stand with those who spend their lives inflating their egos online anonymously by putting others down, but fail to ever address the issues or answer direct questions.

Welcome to the world of online forums. Check out the sentinel forums where people have suggested killing the homeless, pesticiding them, or suggested returning to the troll busting 80's, where cops beat the homeless with impunity, as well as gangs of punks, some the children of the very same cops.

These above online trolls are here to distract, that is their agenda. It has nothing to do with helping stop poverty or the rights of others.

Robert has always said "We ask for the right not to sleep anywhere and everywhere, but somewhere."

I personally believe that to be very fair take on the sleeping ban, which even Ryan Connerty calls it -- not a camping ban, a sleeping ban. Watch the debate, but then check Ryan's facts as he is wrong on nearly every answer he gives, like the cost of a fine, etc. As then vice Mayor, I would have thought him to be better versed in our own laws, but he was worse than ill informed.

Never fear using your own name to voice an opinion.

I appreciate your comments and working on what you believe in. I am neither a Hillary or Obama supporter yet. Certainly not Hillary. Still not sure. I do not see Obamas history as being that great on poverty issues, maybe you can change my mind.
I do applaud you for working on something you believe in and have the guts to use your name. I am sorry you have to wade through these silly distraction tactics.

Just remember the more you feed them, the more the whole article is undermined by their ignorance and us feeling into it. Imagine reading this with the comments as someone who was new to the entire issue.

Ignore them.
Peace and thanks
Tim Rumford

by Robert Norse
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 4:38 AM
I sympathize with Tim's comments about online trolls and their attempt to divert the thread with personal challenges that ignore the basic issues. On the other hand, I'm reassured that the thread time and time again returns to the basic issue involved--Does Coonerty's position on the Bans and expanding police power match the values of the Obama campaign?

It's impossible to get a straight answer from Coonerty and his supporters on this--and for good reason. The Four Bans are not really very popular--either in the Santa Cruz community, and especially among Obama voters. Beyond facile assertions of "public safety" and "every other city does it" (both false claims), these Bans don't stand up to close scrutiny. If you favor liberal Constitutional principles & basic ACLU-type stances--though the local ACLU, dominated by Coonerty and Rotkin types is silent here unlike in southern Californa.

I, like Tim, am not am Obama fan. I am not convinced that Obama isn't just another Democratic party statusquo-er. Obama supports the myth of the War on Terror, expanded war in Pakistan and Afghanistan, an enlarged military, and no plan to remove the U.S. presence in Iraq in a timely way or hold the war criminals who shredded the Constitution accountable through impeachment or other avenues. (See Matt Gonzalez's critique of Obama at http://www.counterpunch.org/gonzalez02292008.html for a discussion of other domestic issues where Obama's record is dismaying)

Obama supporters locally, however, seem to be far more liberal, and many anguished critics feel they have nowhere else to go. If the country moves far enough left, it could drag Democratic party politicians with them. I don't think Obama is specific enough or surrounded by good enough advisers to go there himself.

That said, I want to thank the Obama people for holding an open and inviting delegate selection process, where critics were not made uncomfortable, ostracized, or banned (as Rotkin attempted to do when we brought signs to the ACLU meeting last fall--see http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/08/26/18443532.php?show_comments=1#18446049)

Neither Coonerty nor his internet apologists and attack poodles showed up on my radio show last night, where we discussed the Obama voter rejection of Coonerty as delegate. The show is archived at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb080417.mp3 .

Politicians in power and their friends don't need to come to real debates about real issues. They have real power already. Our job is to wrest it away from them and return it to the community.
by The Real Craig
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 4:56 AM
Tim, I mean no disrespect to you, but I'd like to fervently point out a factual error in your post, at least as it refers to me. My beef is not with homelessness, and my love affair is with my wife, not Ryan Coonerty. To be 100% clear: Robert Norse, Becky Johnson and their vilifying, lying, personalizing, demonizing, aggrandizing ways are absolutely repulsive to me. They represent the worst part of activism, while claiming the highest road possible and self-appointing themselves saviors of the homeless.

What upset me was, as an Obama supporter, seeing these two clowns take an intra-party election (to be honest, were either of them eligible to vote in it?) and use it to satisfy their freakish craving for attention from Coonerty. They've been weirdly attracted to past mayors here in town, but their obsession with Ryan is slightly insane. For instance, did they ever picket Emily's Bakery? Host a sit-in on Mike Rotkin's "Intro to Marxism" class?

No. They have made their battle, which has been loony and unproductive from the get-go, and made it a personal vendetta. I don't agree with all that the city has done and does do, and as I said, I have no particular affection or affiliation with the Coonerty family (I doubt they'd know me if I bumped into them on the street, other than as a customer at the bookshop that the sister owns). But it sickens me to see someone, anyone, who actually has stepped up to the plate to be a public servant, to sacrifice their time, their income, and their personal life for the greater good (and not just one narrow pet project) be personally attacked and vilified at every possible turn, no matter how weak the connection.

This long thread started with Robert posting mostly private email correspondence between two people. I doubt highly that he even sought Ryan's permission to do so, but he's so concentrated on bringing him down in a personal way that he's blinded. That thread of emails purportedly showed him not answering the questions asked. I didn't see that at all. What I saw was Mett taking Ryan's answers, and putting words into his mouth (just like Robert does). And he claimed that this was somehow indicative of how bad a person Ryan is.

For those who have ever interacted, or seen Robert interact with people, there is no way to satisfy him. That is his game, his "debate" style, and I've pointed it out before. If tomorrow Ryan, in his awesome and powerful role as honorary mayor of a tiny town in the largest state, were to strike down the ban on people sleeping wherever the hell they feel, do you really think he would hike back up highway 9 and leave Santa Cruz alone? Really? Think deep and answer the question honestly, and you'll know the answer.

No, Robert is all about himself. And it's the most sickening because it comes in the guise of selflessness. But he isn't really about homeless rights. If he were, he'd be working to allow homeless camping in the county (but he isn't), or the City of Scotts Valley (but he isn't). Or Watsonville. Or Capitola. But he isn't. He has a focus on this one town that he doesn't live in because he knows he can get away with it and be a local hero to himself.

There are those who do everything for the camera, and those that get things done. He is the worst part of the former. People call us trolls because we attack the messenger and not the message, but with Robert and Becky, to them it is ALL ABOUT THE MESSENGER AND THEIR EGOS. And THAT, Tim, is why I personally am so disgusted with them.
by Becky Johnson
( becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com ) Friday Apr 18th, 2008 7:39 AM
THE REAL CRAIG WRITES: "However, I think having his address posted (if that is the correct address) is in bad taste, especially if he is not listed in the phone book."

BECKY: I agree, monitors. Isn't this one of the things that are considered a "no,no" in both activist circles AND at Indybay.org? It's certainly one of the complaints I hear about leftists and protesters--using the unscrupulous tactics of posting home addresses and phone numbers of people who are targeted for abuse.

Finally, the anonymous comment feature here just registered another abuse: someone posting under another person's name. This should not be "flattery" but "fraud."
by Sum Dim
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 8:43 AM
Robert, I didn't realize that all of us trolls were required to show up for your radio "show" last night. Actually, I didn't realize you had a radio "show" last night. With so many trolls out here, where would you put us all? Do you have a special troll green room?

Yeah, I too was surprised the Obama people didn't kick you out. They're amateurs. Give them four years. I bet you don't make it past the parking lot for the next delegate caucus.

Mett, my friend, you may have noble ideas, but your approach here gives the lie to the notion that you have superior political skills. Robert claims his mission is to improve the condition of homelessness for those in that state. Even in this torturedly narrow worldview, he has failed miserably. Do you really believe that the homeless would say they are better off today than they were at any time in the past? Even Robert has to deliver a result to validate his position. This he has abjectly failed to do during his entire life. You have signed up for this program.

We'll check back in with you in a few years to look at your progress. My guess is you'll be back on the couch, watching TV and waiting for the next great savior to come along.

By the way, Tim is doing a great disservice to the Indymedia community in lumping us together with the posters on the Sentinel site and elsewhere. We're detractors of Norse et al., not the homeless, or Obama or world peace. Only in the strangely convoluted world of Norse and the Huffies are these all the same thing. It's those egos getting in the way of common sense.
by Gary G
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 9:19 AM
You write the statement "Do you really believe that the homeless would say they are better off today than they were at any time in the past?"
One is, for sure. Craig Canada. He's now living in an apartment and has a warm bed to sleep in.
Did Robert or Becky have a hand in that one?
by Gary G
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 9:22 AM
"using the unscrupulous tactics of posting home addresses and phone numbers of people who are targeted for abuse. "
Don't you do that? Posting pictures of people, giving out their email addresses, phone numbers, tell people where they work, making up posters of people saying they are terrorists?
That means you must be unscrupulous. Eh, Becky?
by obelisky
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 9:25 AM
"Even in this torturedly narrow worldview, he has failed miserably. Do you really believe that the homeless would say they are better off today than they were at any time in the past? Even Robert has to deliver a result to validate his position. This he has abjectly failed to do during his entire life. You have signed up for this program."

-That says it all. The most significant " unanswered question" from Bob and Becky is the "how many people have you gotten off the streets?" And the silence on that matter is deafening and completely telling.
by Tim Rumford
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 9:33 AM
Craig,
You make your comments with some respect for others. I may disagree with them but at least you make points and have dialog -- from the comments I have read anyway. I hope I am not wrong about that. I am glad your here despite our differing opinions. If not we would all be preaching to the Choir.

I don't consider you as a person here only to distract. They don't have the basic respect for others you at least show when posting such a comment as this. Maybe I am wrong, I don't have the time to read every post. I have epilepsy and get seizures from light sensitivity, so I am limited in the amount of time on the PC. You have been respectful when addressing me as I recall, even when we disagree. I only wish that people would all be respectful of others, regardless of their views.

Robert has done nothing illegal. Ryan has lied openly in these emails and many others. He apologized to me in the most childish and ridicules manor for the lie. The lie being that I was banned from any shelter. I have spent allot of time helping people through the system, feeding and getting cloths to people who need them. I am not banned from any shelter.

We disagree and thats fine, because we can talk civilly. Or am I wrong?
I only care about Anonymous posters when they do nothing but personally attack others and stray from the issue at hand and say the same childish things over and over. At least Robert largely responds with facts.

Rarely do I see someone cite an actual position or even better, and idea. Anyone can personally attack another using a fake name. It takes no courage and serves no purpose. That I believe very much.

I don't care about publishing emails of public officials as it is legal and for a reason.

I don't care where people get their income especially when they are living simply and fighting for what they believe in.

I don't care where people live. I disagree with the Anti feeding ban in Orlando and have written the Mayor. Our Mayor often strays into issues that are far from City issues. Lou Dobbs etc. Many people care about the City who live in this County. I do wish people posting at least knew that Felton is part of the County.

I think all unethical laws should be stopped. But I also think the whole system is a fixed game and in fighting it we sometimes only validate it. So my views are changing and evolving. I did not got this tabling because of that very reason. I did not like the idea, but for very different reasons.

People have every right to oppose Robert , thats fine. I just wish people did it without the bullshit and a shred of dignity. I have every right to also spew my own opinions. I personally don't care who wins the delegate position because its all bullshit.

But I do think Mett should have a right to post without all this rhetoric. and I disagree with him too.

Your correct, the issue is larger than the sleeping ban, i agree and Robert knows that. That is not HUFFS only issue. Will ending the Ban do much? No It will not end homeless or have much effect in MY opinion. But it will stop people from dropping further into poverty on a small level since about 80 tickets are given a month and most cant pay their fines. It would also curb police harassment which I have witnessed and the huge waste of our City's time and money. I am against any law that is unethical and only adds to people dropping further into poverty. 50 People on the mall are not the poster children for poverty.

You might want to read about what the Mayor in Fresno is doing - or not -- its up to you.

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/04/15/18493038.php


Those who hate Robert that much would do more damage by simply ignoring him. But they keep largely to the same personal attacks we see on every post for years now. It serves no purpose. Its pure ignorance.

I care that people continue to be able to fight for what the believe in. Most here never write opposing views or articles, they simply spew childish remarks about Robert and Becky. That teaches me nothing. I don't agree with everything Becky says regarding Israel, but that does not negate her view on poverty issues in my book. I try and be a little more flexible.

Thats my take, we simply disagree.

Tim Rumford

by and the parade passes on
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 9:34 AM
I know I hadn't seen him in a while, and was a little worried because he was having a tough go of it. I'm very happy to hear that he got some help. Before I gave up on the sentinel boards, I was enjoying his family history posts.

One down and too many to go...
by Gary G
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 9:39 AM
He sure is. And he sounds good these days.
There are alot of references to a businessman in town helping him out. The guy did it proactively and then told Craig to go for it. All he asked was that when Craig moves out he get the deposit back. It looks like Craig really appreciates the help he got, finally.
by New Craig
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 9:52 AM
Sorry Becky. Nothing sinister here as you claim. Since my name is Craig I used it. If I offended the previous person that listed as Craig I am sorry for that.
I will now go by New Craig!
by Robert Norse
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 10:05 AM
The key to identifying trolls on this thread (such as Sum Dumb , the Real Sum Dumb, Sum Dumber in the Parade, Not Sum Dim Cop, Obeldumski, Gary G. Dum, BenDumDum, and Doug "Dumbsky" Ems) is the amount of energy they spend denouncing activists compared with the amount of time they spend addressing the issues raised. Look over the thread and see how little time is actually spent on the issues we raise. This is really the test.

Another useful identifying mark of the trollista is anonymity and lack of accountability. In direct actions where revealed identity is likely to lead to police harassment, anonymity is understandable, but on line there's less justification for this. Becky, Tim, Mett, and I have real names and real phone numbers--we can be reached. Trolls cannot. Real simple.


The job of the whistle blower is to identify corruption and repression in high places. The details of his or her life, their address, their personal habits, is of far less importance (if any) than the public behavior of elected officials or appointed bureaucrats. Mettayya, Becky, Tim, and I are not politicians in power. We question or expose them. It's what we expose that need to be judged. When the poster focuses their sarcasm and rage on us instead of addressing the message. Voila! The distinguishing mark of the Trollata Santacruziana!

Apologists for politicians in power (or their policies) let out a torrent of abuse against the whistle blowers, but are soft on the politicos or breeze over the policies. An example: Craig writes of Coonerty “Sacrific[ing]..time, ...income, and ...personal life for the greater good”. Sum Dim's response to the Four Bans " is to praise supporters of the bans as "non-loony, non-extremist normal"--but, as with Coonerty, nothing about the substance of the Bans themselves.


Another troll pawprint is the irrelevant deflecting question (“where do YOU live? What have YOU done?”). Would people reading the “Four Bans” flyer last Sunday have cared about such questions? I think not. The real questions were: Were we accurately describing Coonerty's positions? Did his positions and record compromise his suitability for Obama delegateship?


Examine the 5 or 7 posts by “Craig”. [It's unclear which were by “the Real Craig”. Indybay may have deleted some, as they did the post immediately following Tim's last post by “not a cop”.] you find virtually no discussion of the Four Bans—which were the substantive reasons we presented to the Obama delegates to reject Coonerty.


It's also important to allow room for real critics, even harsh ones, on indybay. I've denounced censorship here before (see http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/01/18/18473304.php) and am pretty libertarian about it. Admittedly one person's troll is another person's commentator.

Some trolls are so focused on particular personalities (e.g. me, Becky) that virtually anything we write gets trashed. It's just another chance to trash your least favorite activist. Boys will be boys (Becky, Brina, and Emma are the only three women's names on the thread). Perhaps another reason the anonymous trolls don't want to post their names is that their personal attacks are so abusive and irrelevant that they don't want to be held accountable in other forums where they'd still like to retain credibity. More likely, it's just fun to vent.

But frothing at the mouth and filling up a thread with attacks on the writer, without going to the substance of what is written, even if it's involuntary, is an irresponsible approach. Some of the comments do have brief apologias or disclaimers, suggesting they favor the homeless, but hate me, they're not friends with Coonerty either, etc. Every time the focus is shifted to the activists personally or details not relevant to the issues instead of what we're writing about. In so doing, the critics do themselves and their readers a disservice. Why not start another anti-Norse thread, if you're so hot to denounce me. But while on this thread, stick to the issue. Trolls, of course, will not. Their point, conscious or unconscious, is to distract from the issue.

One interesting fact is that Coonerty has not appeared (under his real name) to answer any of these criticisms or concerns. He's big on the personal confidential reply, but not too strong on actually addressing things substantively and publicly. I guess that's the mark of the aspiring politician—don't offend any constituencies if you can avoid it. Still on issues where Coonerty has been publicly confronted (the Four Bans), this “you're too trashy to respond to” stance doesn't really stand up to close analysis or play well with significant sectors of the public. Probable case in point, the vote outcome on Sunday.

Finally I encourage real Obama supporters (even reformed trollee's if they have some real new information) to get Obama's position on the Four Bans and anti-homeless laws generally. It's not enough that at one time he was an organizer on the street of Chicago. He's been a Senator for a number of years now. Did he support the “Bringing Home America” Act (withdrawing federal funding from Coonerty-look-alike policies that criminalize the homeless)? Who can tell us? How about a new thread on this issue, since the Coonerty race for the Obama delegacy is now history?

Finally, thanks to Tim for showing more honesty and vulnerability than I'd ever have the courage to show on this thread. I'd say it's the wrong group of wolves to supplicate, but there's a moving dignity in Tim's appeal.
by Sum Dim
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 11:28 AM
I dunno Robert. You say calling people names and attacking their persons is verboten. So where do you get off calling every poster who has disagreed with you here "dumb"? And calling Coonerty a "terrorist" is not a personal, malicious attack? Oh no, that's a statement of fact. LOL!

You don't own the issue of homelessness buddy. I know it drives you crazy that you can't just run the table in this town like you did in the 80's. Sadly for you, many in the progressive community have come to a heightened awareness of the realities that govern the process of real change. Yes, we do care about issues. Which is why we are exposing you for the fraud and jackass that you are. The last thing we need is for people to conflate your petty, malicious politics and an agenda for actual progress towards solving these enormously difficult issues. There is a reason that the mist credible platform you have after 30 years of this bullshit is a 2 by 4 Formica table outside Bookshop.

One's identity trancends a given, or in your case, adopted name. All you will admit to is this name you have taken. I agree that one's identity matters. Which is why so many people ask for your bonafides. Your complete stonewalling on this matter thoroughly discredits you in this regard. One thing worth noting is your fascinating call for accountability from all of us despicable trolls. Remember, you're the trust fund baby who has never worked a day in his life, and who conducts himself in the vicious manner he does with impunity, assured that he will never have to answer for his actions or their consequences. I believe the last time someone held that gun to your head, you skipped town for warmer climes. Correct me if I'm wrong.

The messenger does matter here. You need to have demonstrated some record of genuine concern for the issue at hand, concern that transcends a political agenda. You also need to demonstrate an empirical record of success. You can't do this because you don't have one.

By the way, I looked at HUFF's website. Among the accomplishments I observed, an update after 2006 wasn't one. You might want to spend more time there and less here.
by Becky Johnson
( becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com ) Friday Apr 18th, 2008 12:09 PM
emily_reilly.jpg
emily_reilly.jpg

THE REAL CRAIG WRITES: "To be 100% clear: Robert Norse, Becky Johnson and their vilifying, lying, personalizing, demonizing, aggrandizing ways are absolutely repulsive to me. They represent the worst part of activism, while claiming the highest road possible and self-appointing themselves saviors of the homeless."

BECKY: Lying? Who is lying? Perhaps you would like to use google to search and find a single lie that Robert or I published, or was published by HUFF and report back here. Really. We are all waiting. While all reporters make errors from time to time, neither Robert nor I have ever been sued for libel. Mayor Scott Kennedy did have to issue a public retraction for a lie he told about Robert Norse. As far as vilifying, personalizing, and demonizing, isn't that what you are doing right now? If you think its a bad practice, why are you setting such a poor example?

THE REAL CRAIG WRITES: "They've been weirdly attracted to past mayors here in town, but their obsession with Ryan is slightly insane. For instance, did they ever picket Emily's Bakery? Host a sit-in on Mike Rotkin's "Intro to Marxism" class? No. "

BECKY: See: http://projects.is.asu.edu/pipermail/hpn/2001-November/004824.html

Protest at Emily's Bakery to Continue Friday, November 2, 2001 8:30 AM -
10:30AM

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- Following three days of protest, organizers have
scheduled a picket for this coming Friday. Emily Reilly, owner of Emily's
Bakery at 1129 Mission St. (at Laurel St.), is being held accountable for
two recent votes that have the combined effect of displacing an estimated
80 homeless people from their marginal locations.

In September, on Reilly's motion, the City voted to install 5AM -7AM 7-day
a week "NO PARKING" signs on two streets in the weedy, dusty industrial
section of the City of Santa Cruz. Reilly called this a "wonderful
compromise" despite the fact that the vehicularly-housed people were never
consulted.

The motion passed 4-2 with Councilmember Scott Kennedy absent. Christopher
Krohn and Keith Sugar voted against the motion.

ARTICLE CONTINUES AT LINK ABOVE
by Becky Johnson
( becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com ) Friday Apr 18th, 2008 12:15 PM
My apologies New Craig. And welcome.

I'm sensitive because people have posted embarrassing
statements and photos fraudulently using my name
in the past. Indymedia is often unwilling or unable to remove
these posts. I think its an inherently flawed part of the
anonymous posting allowed on these sites. Fraud and libel
are committed, and the software plus the monitor's prejudices
allow the criminals to get away with it.
SUM DIM WRITES: "There is a reason that the mist credible platform you have after 30 years of this bullshit is a 2 by 4 Formica table outside Bookshop."

BECKY: Robert has a radio show too. Bathrobespierre's Broadsides: Civil Rights for the Poor on 101.1 FM Thurs. 6PM - 8PM and Sun. 9:30AM - 1PM (I produced this show for 11 years)
Robert has also self-published his "Street Shit Sheet" --over 150 issues beginning in 1989. We have the HUFF website too at http://www.huffsantacruz.org as a platform. A little over a year ago, Robert hosted a segment of the nationally syndicated "Homelessness Marathon" and has been on national television. He and I have both written for Street Spirit, a homeless newspaper. I'd say he has a few more platforms than the card table you so derisively mentioned.

He also appeared in the movie "Walker."
by Sum Dim
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 12:41 PM
That's right, you Craigs. Becky will stalk and harass any Mayor. Not just Coonerty. Get your facts straight.

Becky, you haven't been sued for libel because no one that matters reads the media you post in. Try publishing your claptrap in some mainstream medium, do some real damage to someone or their business, and see how quickly that changes. Around here, you're just the embarrassing cousins from downstate who crashed the party. You could say the world is flat, with a slight concavity around Rhodesia, and we'd just laugh at you and throw some stones to piss you off. It doesn't actually matter.

Speaking to this, and also to "vilifying, personalizing and demonizing", as well as setting "bad examples", will you tell us more about Ryan being a terrorist? Since you obviously are not doing any of the above, perhaps you could offer up the factual basis for this statement. Thanks.
by Sum Dim
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 1:07 PM
Becks, you forgot Spare Change? Magazine and your ASSNA award.
by Robert Norse
Friday Apr 18th, 2008 10:43 PM
Check out today's Sentinel at http://www.topix.net/forum/source/santa-cruz-sentinel/T6T4LCCD5C2U1OU4C for even less illuminating discussion of this topic.
by tired of the spin
Saturday Apr 19th, 2008 2:27 PM
We need a new post or article, this is getting beatn to death.
by Rico
Tuesday Apr 22nd, 2008 2:57 PM
I check in on this post every once in a while, and just want to say that after 125 posts on this subject (maybe 25% of which are on topic) I am becoming warmly fond of all of you. The thread is still going and going and going and all your sparkly personalities come out so well.

Yep, things learned here: If you dare to speak out about (local) laws that snatch away your liberties, you are a fringe lunatic.

This a thread in which scmoderate dropped hints that he knew who I was and what I was up to and intimated violence, so how could I not feel warmly tied to this thread. No one took me up on my offer to chat or even meet for coffee!
by Sum Dim
Tuesday Apr 22nd, 2008 5:46 PM
Rico, I too am becoming warmly fond of everyone here, especially Becky. Yay for dialogue! You know, you're only a fringe lunatic if you speak longer than two minutes, or if you're Robert. Or both.

I'm glad you feel all of my posts were on topic. Thanks.
by Sum Dim
Tuesday Apr 22nd, 2008 6:30 PM
I forgot to mention that Robert and Becks are banned from most cafes in town, I think. I know they're banned from both Lulu's downtown and Coffee Cat in Scotts Valley, which us why they couldn't take you up on your offer to meet for coffee. I don't know what everyone else's excuse is.
by Becky Johnson
Saturday Apr 26th, 2008 9:51 AM
SUM DIM WRITES: "I forgot to mention that Robert and Becks are banned from most cafes in town, I think. I know they're banned from both Lulu's downtown and Coffee Cat in Scotts Valley, which us why they couldn't take you up on your offer to meet for coffee. I don't know what everyone else's excuse is."

BECKY: Correction. LuLu's is the only cafe I am banned from. If I am also banned from the Coffee Cat in SV, I am unaware of this. But given Manthri Srinath's temperment, I most likely am. According to Srinath, I was banned for "sticking a video camera in someones face." This is untrue. When Srinath was accused of throwing hot coffee at a homeless, anti-war activist across the street from Lulu's in 2003, I went there to try to interview any employees/witnesses to the event. No one at Lulu's agreed to be interviewed, so I left without videoing anyone. I was still banned in Srinath's irrational, hateful, and dictatorial manner.

by Tired of the spin
Saturday Apr 26th, 2008 5:49 PM
Lets change the subject and get a new post.
by Dahhh
Wednesday Apr 30th, 2008 1:53 PM
For all those who spend there time reading, and then commenting negatively about Robert or Becky off topic, you are only bringing them more advertising. The more comments, the higher in the search engines, and longer they will stay here and often highlighted on the main page. You must get something out of reading them.
Since it seems many read them for the sole purpose of berating Robert, like Dim. It looks childish to me and presents a sort of strange fascination with him you must have, since you read everything written by him and comment or rant about it. Its free advertising, all forms of comment in the end simply force the issue to hang around longer and help it continue.

You make a bit more sense than you did months ago, but what the hell do you do besides this? Play video games or do you have a list of those you berate. It makes more sense to pay no attention at all to those you oppose in this type of forum rather than comment over and over about where they are banned from or where they live, who cares. You do, and I wonder why. It serves the author of the article who you seem to have such a ... deep seeded fascination with. I wont go as far as many who used the term man crush, but I really wonder what motivates such a person and what do you think your getting accomplished?

I would truly like to know.
Curious and have no opinion on this subject.
by Sum Dim
Friday May 2nd, 2008 6:43 PM
Dahhh, we chase Robert for the same reason he chases Coonerty. It's the thrill of the chase. The hot summer air blowing through our hair as we speed up a Rocky mountain pass in a fifties-vintage ragtop, all caution thrown to the wind, our thoughts held high. You would have to do it to understand. It's a contact sport, not for the faint of heart.

Besides, none of us really knows what else to do with our trust fund checks, any more than Robert.