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Baskett and Barisone Bludgeon the Bums: Shoring Up the Sleeping Ban in a Court Trial
by Robert Norse
Wednesday Nov 4th, 2009 8:52 AM
Robert "Blindbear" Facer, defended by attorney Ed Frey, got the official kick-in-the-ass from the highly paid city attorney and an appointed judicial stooge, in another case of "there ain't no sleepin'--for the homeless--in Santa Cruz".
THE BASKETT DILEMMA

I regularly encourage victims of the Santa Cruz City anti-homeless laws to disqualify Commissioner Kim Baskett, who is the default blackrobe who will hear infractions such as "sitting in the forbidden zones" in any business district, sleeping after 11 PM at night, or holding up a "spare change?" sign after dark. (Fines are $100 or more for each of these 'offenses'.)

Baskett is the fine-generating official in the basement of the County building, whose chambers have recently been graced with two bailiffs searching people for penknives and other weapons of mass destruction.

This offensive procedure, while standard and unnecessary practice in the court building adjacent for years is a relatively new intrusion on everyone's privacy in the basement. Now SCPD victims get mugged twice--once by cops invading their privacy with anti-homeless tickets, then by bailiffs (sheriff's deputies) with invasive searches when they given the assembly-line judicial reaming by Baskett and her fellow judges.

BEWARE THE SYMONDS

One can "ding" or disqualify Baskett (or any other judge--though you only get one disqualification) by going to the Infraction Window (now located on the main floor of the County Building as you ever from the breezeway). There you write a brief note saying "Under 170.6 CCP, I believe Commissioner Baskett is prejudiced. I swear I believe this under penalty of perjury. I move to have Baskett removed from my case and ask that another judge hear my case." This will result in your case being kicked "upstairs", i.e. to a real judge rather than a referee or commissioner.

Upstairs judges are more likely to be aware of your right to such things as discovery, audio recording, demurrer motions, and constitutional arguments, though no friends of the poor--for sure.

Unfortunately this journey may put you in the hands of the shamelessly biased Judge Ariadne Symonds of Department 1. Symonds has taken over the bench in Dept. 1,--one of the two departments you're likely to find yourself in if you disqualify Baskett. A former militant D.A., Symonds is both ignorant of the law and prejudiced in favor of police and prosecution. Baskett, on the other hand, under past criticism, has actually been improving in advising defendants of their rights, and prides herself on being "nice". You could also be sent to Department 2, where there's a new judge who I've heard little about.

Symonds is eccentric, capricious, and pro-actively pro-prosecution. See, for instance, http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/06/08/18600978.php .

BAFFLED IN BASKETTLAND

The trials of John Kealy for "sitting on the lip of a planter" in front of New Leaf Market and Robert "Blindbear" Facer for "sleeping outside after 11 PM" were held yesterday before Commissioner Baskett. To her credit, she moved both trials upstairs because the recording equipment was not working in her usual Dept. 10. She also made no objection to attorney Ed Frey making a personal recording and to me making a media recording for broadcast on Free Radio Santa Cruz. Some of the trial will be played tomorrow 6-8 PM and Sunday morning 9:30 AM to 1 PM at 101.1 FM and then archived at http://www.huffsantacruz.org .

Three cops and the head of the City Attorney's office--John Barisone--showed up to argue for the prosecution against pro-bono defense attorney Ed Frey. Shanna McCord was there for the Sentinel. And there were about ten homeless supporters there, including a rep. from attorney Jonathan Gettleman's office. Gettleman was the attorney who defended Anna Richardson, who now has the honor of being enjoined from falling asleep at night downtown on pain of immediate jail, thanks to John Barisone's good work.

Officer Warren claimed he'd seen Kealy sitting on the cement lip of the planter (where folks customarily sit) and had warned him many months before. Kealy said Warren had never warned him and that he had "begun to sit", but stopped when warned by fellow sitters, who got up as Warren approached. Warren ticketed only him, though Kealy reported others had been sitting. Baskett found Kealy guilty and sentenced him to an $80 fine, translated to $35 community service fee and, as i remember it, 10 hours of "Community Service".

SHUTTING DOWN THE SLEEPING BAN DEFENSE

In the Facer case, attorney Ed Frey presented evidence (two declarations from long-time service providers Paul Lee and Paul Brindel--see http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/05/28/18598906.php ) that summer emergency shelter was not available from the Homeless Services Center, as is widely known. Barisone objected that the documents weren't specific to the two June dates when Facer was ticketed.

In 2006, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Jones case ruled that police citations of homeless people for sleeping in Los Angeles were "cruel and unusual punishment". Since police knew there was no shelter available and that the citations would be dismissed by a "necessity" defense, it was simply an endless treadmill of harassment which amounted to punishment without trial. A year or so later, L.A. agreed in a settlement not to cite its homeless for sleeping at night if they were 10' away from storefronts unless and until 1250 units of supportive housing were built. San Diego followed suit with even broader protections. Fresno backed off harassment of its homeless encampments. Richmond and Laguna Beach changed their laws. And lawsuits against the Sleeping Ban proceeded in Sacramento, Santa Monica, and Santa Barbara.

In Santa Cruz both the ACLU and City Attorney Barisone did nothing to bring the city's laws into the 21st century. Councilmember Coonerty insisted there was nothing wrong with the Santa Cruz Sleeping Ban (see http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/11/14/18461204.php ).

Homeless Service Center [HSC] managers have advised there is NO summer emergency shelter at night for walk-in homeless clients, and hence no way to avoid the Sleeping Ban criminal penalties since sleep is a necessity. Attorney Frey tried to get Commissioner Baskett to take "judicial notice" of the fact that it was common knowledge that there was no emergency walk in shelter during the months the Armory was closed (May-October), and specifically when Facer was ticketed in June of 2009. Both Barisone and Baskett must be aware of this fact, but admitting it means sealing the doom of the Sleeping Ban.

Baskett volunteered that she regularly dismissed Sleeping Ban citations if victims brought a letter from the HSC stating there was no shelter that night. However, to my knowledge, there was no emergency shelter any night throughout the summer (except when former director Doug Loisel suspended the rules and allowed homeless people to come in out of the rain and sleep on the HSC property at night for three nights this October). The Paul Lee loft was full. This has been true for years. (In the summer of 2001, HSC managers routinely sent people to the homeless-run Camp Paradise to the chagrin of City Council and police)

Baskett's song-and-dance routine of requiring homeless people to get a form letter from the HSC--when it's sworn testimony there is no such shelter--maintains the fiction that there's shelter on some nights--a fiction that allows police to continue ticketing under the Sleeping Ban. This however is a lie and a destructive one. It does let Barisone pretend to be making reasonable arguments and Baskett to pretend to be making reasonable decisions.

THE REAL RESPONSIBILITY

Before City Attorney Barisone spent hundreds of dollars of city time and money on this case, it was his responsibility to contact the HSC to find out if on those two June nights when Facer was cited for Sleepcrime, there actually was==through some fluke--any space there, and if so, did police offer it to Facer? Police regularly suggest people "contact the shelter" (which is, of course, futile). Naturally acknowledging this reality opoenly would blow the game for the cops, city attorney, city council, and downtown association around the Sleeping Ban. Commissioner Baskett's job is to keep this machine running smoothly. Attorney Frey declined to let this happen.

Frey tried to put numerous facts on record, or clarify that Baskett wouldn't do so. Baskett, however, refused to rule whether she would take "judicial notice" of the shelter situation, of the fact that sleep is a necessity, and numerous other propositions that Frey brought forward, looking to an appeal. She said she'd informally acknowledge some of this, but not say whether she'd take "judicial notice".

Some speculated that Baskett was simply unsure of the law and didn't want to expose her ignorance. Some feared Baskett would cite Frey for contempt because he refused to back down as she kept trying to "move the trial along" without answering the crucial judical notice questions yes or no. When Frey insisted for the appeals record, Baskett ended the trial, apparently shocking even veteran police apologist Shanna McCord, if one could judge by the expressions on her face. Frey had respectfully, but insistently, demanded that Baskett make a statement for the record that could not be shmoozed or elided. Baskett ran for the exit. As did Barisone.

Nothing, however, appeared in the Sentinel this morning. Perhaps that's because the verdict and sentencing is set for 1:30 PM today either in Department 10 (Baskett's usual court in the basement of the County Building) or Department 1 (where she held the trial yesterday), the first courtroom as you pass the metal detectors. Tune in to Free Radio tomorrow night 6-8 PM for an update.

Folks who have sleeping ban citations should get in touch with HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) at 423-HUFF. If any one is interested in starting a Tent City this winter, please call.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Craig
Wednesday Nov 4th, 2009 9:57 AM
Robert, perhaps the reason they decided to have some level of security is because their department deals with individuals with mental issues, drug and alcohol abuse, and possibly have a history of violence. For you to characterize a brief search as unnecessary and a "mugging" is, as usual, your breezy rhetoric not matching reality. While it's impossible to prove a negative, perhaps the lack of incidents (not a complete lack, there have been violent outbursts) in the main courthouse is BECAUSE there is a metal detector there?

I know you view all homeless people who break the law as simple, innocent, peacful people... but the facts don't bear this out, and not everyone lives with your rose-tinted glasses. How harmless was the homeless woman who killed two people while three times over the legal drunk driving limit, for instance?

The rest of the post is also full of sloppy over-exaggerations, but that's what everyone's come to expect from you. Lots of biased "reporting" full of sensational details that rarely fit the facts. Thanks for reminding us.
by Voice of Reason
Thursday Nov 5th, 2009 3:18 AM
You tell people to, "write a brief note saying "Under 170.6 CCP, I believe Commissioner Baskett is prejudiced. I swear I believe this under penalty of perjury. I move to have Baskett removed from my case and ask that another judge hear my case."" So you are telling peolpe to write what you tell them under "penalaty of perjury" to submit to the City your opinions that will have to be defended in court. . . Are you insane?!? [ok, I rescind that. . .you are].

Next you make inflammatory statements regarding the possible replacement judge [please note her name is Judge Ariadne Symons when she has scoffed at your attempts to weasel out of tickets in her court. . . You may want to spell her name correctly sending in your lemmings] claiming that she is "ignorant of the law"? Yes I trust the legal opinions of someone who is yet to win in the courts, streets, or forums regarding the qualifications of someone who has been a practicing attorney in California since 1983. . ., 26 years as a lawyer and most of that in the criminal court as a district attorney. . . ignorant of the law? Anyone entering a court room spouting your garbage will be looking at a larger fine and likely contempt charges. . . But what do you care. . . You can then make that patsy your new poster child of the courts run amuck. Go lemmings Go!!

I think you are doing far more harm to anyone who would think of using your retoric than any possible good. . . But helping someone else has never your goal. . .self-promotion is your goal.

Why is anyone what rules against your desperate attempts of "judicial notice" either ignorant of afraid? Robert you should go at law school. . . I hear ads for Monterey College of Law all the time. . .open enrollment. . . Think of all you could to as an attorney!?!? You certainly have both the time and money to do it. Or would that legal education only show you how clueless your rants are? If you need a letter of recommendation. . . I'll post one for you here. . .
by Becky Johnson
Friday Nov 6th, 2009 8:48 PM
November 5, 2009

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- When Robert "Blindbear" Facer slept on the beach on June 11, 2009, he was dealing with a couple of issues which were of great concern to him. "I was trying to watch my boat which was anchored offshore," he explained, and "I had all my gear on the beach. I couldn't figure out how to get my gear into the boat so I could sleep there."

Blindbear, who's been homeless for the past 20 years, and in Santa Cruz since June of 2008, first sought shelter when he came to Santa Cruz. "I went to the River Street Shelter and got on their waiting list. They already had several pages of names. They said that if you call every three days, they will keep your name on the list. "

Blindbear did call every 3 days or so, but once he waited 4 days, and his name was moved again to the bottom of the list. And that was before he lost his cellphone. "By the end of July 2008 I have pretty much given up. " He also said that he thought he might need the shelter more in the winter, and would wait to try again and time it so he'd have shelter during the coldest, rainiest month. "But they only give you a place for 30 days and then they kick you out again." Because Blindbear is Amish, his religion prevents him from using modern conveyances ( the bus) up to the winter armory as was done last winter.

City Attorney John Barisone in his closing arguments before Commissioner Kim Baskett openly claimed that Blindbear could have "swam out to his boat and slept in it" despite the fact that the ocean is icy cold, and once he got into his 17" boat anchored just past the surf he'd be soaking wet. But Blindbear had testified that keeping his gear dry was his bigger concern, a detail Barisone conveniently forgot. Barisone also suggested that Blindbear, who is Amish "could have traveled to an Amish community and slept there."



READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE AT THE LINK BELOW


http://beckyjohnsononewomantalking.blogspot.com/2009/11/barisone-says-homeless-man-sleeps-on.html
by Bernard G.
Saturday Nov 7th, 2009 10:07 AM
and will still do so, but they're slightly changed by what Becky posted.

1) if there was shelter, and the cop said "go or get a ticket," would not HUFF be screaming about trying to clear the streets and put all the homeless in concentration camps? Which would mean even more shows which Robert doing his (not very good) German accent.

2) Robert, using your argument in the last section, let's try this example. I'm parked in a red zone. A local law enforcement officer comes up and hands me a ticket. Is it his fault that he didn't point me to a parking lot?

None of that makes any difference now that Becky pointed out that he had (has?) safe, legal shelter. "Not anywhere and everywhere, but somewhere"

As for court security. You think it's bad here? Try Placer Country, where you go though it just to get to the history museum. Why? There was a little incident in Marin back in the 70s. Look it up.
by Really?
Saturday Nov 7th, 2009 12:00 PM
So Becky wants me to believe that this Amish dude can't ride a bus, but he uses a cell phone?

*lol*..sounds about as credible as Becky's claim that she doesn't post racist statements against palestinians.....not credible at all.
by um
Saturday Nov 7th, 2009 12:38 PM
Not to defend Becky on anything else but the Amish do use cellphones. See
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.01/amish.html

"the Amish have an elaborate system by which they evaluate the tools they use; their tentative, at times reluctant use of technology is more complex than a simple rejection or a whole-hearted embrace.Amish churches, he said, will spend the next year wrestling over whether to allow members to own cell phones. This seemed odd to me, since Amish beliefs forbid members to drive a car, go to school past eighth grade or have phones in their homes. But someone found a loophole in the phone rule, discovering it was very specific about not allowing wires from the outside world into their houses. They can't use electricity from public-utility grids either, which you would think would mean having to buy a new cell phone every two days. It turns out, though, that while the Amish shun cars, they are actually pretty clever about jury-rigging car batteries."
http://www.time.com/time/columnist/stein/article/0,9565,1118526,00.html#ixzz0WCxwdfT8
by Sailboat, right?
Saturday Nov 7th, 2009 4:43 PM
...cause motors are verboten too! *lol*

Face the facts: Becky is fabricating a religious protection in an attempt to deflect from the real issue of Bear's making a conscious decision to ignore the sleeping ban.

He couldn't find another cell phone to use in the 11 months between July 08 and his bust in June 09?

It's obvious that the issue here is not religious choices or protections. Those are dodges to avoid the real issue.
by John Thielking
Saturday Nov 7th, 2009 8:56 PM
All distractions asside, I can't argue with the fact that Ed Frey put on an excellent defense. I can't wait till all parties are back in court again for the conclusion.
by Becky Johnson
Saturday Nov 7th, 2009 11:28 PM
BERNARD G WRITES: "1) if there was shelter, and the cop said "go or get a ticket," would not HUFF be screaming about trying to clear the streets and put all the homeless in concentration camps? Which would mean even more shows which Robert doing his (not very good) German accent."

BECKY: Robert's German accent is quite excellent! You sound jealous! HUFF holds that if a shelter space is not offered, ticketing for illegal sleeping/camping constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. However, we do not believe that any homeless person should be obligated to take a shelter space. Going to a shelter should always be a voluntary act. There are also issue re: whether the shelter is adequate. Is it safe? Is it clean? Are the services offered humanely?

BERNARD G WRITES: "2) Robert, using your argument in the last section, let's try this example. I'm parked in a red zone. A local law enforcement officer comes up and hands me a ticket. Is it his fault that he didn't point me to a parking lot?"

BECKY: Some laws have a written warning section. I don't think parking in a red zone is one that requires a warning. However, you were comparing this to a person who is sleeping out of doors out of necessity because they have no money and no shelter space is available. If you ban sleeping everywhere, it is the same as banning sleeping at all. And if you ban sleeping, it is torture, it is inhumane, and it is pointless. the law is pointless---unless your purpose is to harass and target homeless people in an endless game of citations, court appearances, and jail.

As Ed Frey said: "Who is harmed? Who is the victim?"

BERNARD G WRITES: "None of that makes any difference now that Becky pointed out that he had (has?) safe, legal shelter. "Not anywhere and everywhere, but somewhere"

BECKY: While Blindbear has slept on his boat in many places, Santa Cruz was not a place where this was practical. He could not tie in at the yacht harbor because he couldn't pay the $20/day tie in. HE couldn't go up the river, though I'm not sure why. He said "they didn't like it".
He COULD swim out and sleep in the boat but he would be cold and wet when he got there, and he couldn't figure out how to get his gear into the boat safely. So he ended up sleeping on the shore to watch his gear and keep an eye on his boat.

Are you saying his shelter was his boat?


by Bernard G.
Sunday Nov 8th, 2009 2:27 AM
BECKY says: Robert's German accent is quite excellent! You sound jealous!

Bernard: I don't think it could get him a spot as an extra on Hogan's Heros. He really needs to tone down the Nazi fixation, as it's starting to get him into trouble.

BECKY continues: HUFF holds that if a shelter space is not offered, ticketing for illegal sleeping/camping constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. However, we do not believe that any homeless person should be obligated to take a shelter space. Going to a shelter should always be a voluntary act. There are also issue re: whether the shelter is adequate. Is it safe? Is it clean? Are the services offered humanely?

Bernard: In your posting, you said he did have legal shelter, and your saying that he needs a spot in an emergency shelter only takes that space from a person that doesn't have a boat. As for whether the shelter is adequate - being Amish, could he claim that it's not because it has electric lights and wired telephones? Do we then have to try to accommodate that? Anna and Miguel were offered assistance, and turned it down because it didn't meet their "lifestyle" needs to be able to play music late at night. We all know how that turned out.


BECKY: Some laws have a written warning section. I don't think parking in a red zone is one that requires a warning. However, you were comparing this to a person who is sleeping out of doors out of necessity because they have no money and no shelter space is available. If you ban sleeping everywhere, it is the same as banning sleeping at all. And if you ban sleeping, it is torture, it is inhumane, and it is pointless. the law is pointless---unless your purpose is to harass and target homeless people in an endless game of citations, court appearances, and jail.

Bernard: Actually, my goal is to try to get people off the street and into some kind of housing. I am not saying that it should be banned everywhere. In another thread here on indybay, I was trying to work out with Robert where some form of campground could be located. Robert quickly seemed to become disinterested, and I let it drop. I have not given up, but I've come to the conclusion that solving homelessness in Santa Cruz County is greatly hampered if you try dealing with HUFF.

BECKY: While Blindbear has slept on his boat in many places, Santa Cruz was not a place where this was practical. He could not tie in at the yacht harbor because he couldn't pay the $20/day tie in. HE couldn't go up the river, though I'm not sure why. He said "they didn't like it".
He COULD swim out and sleep in the boat but he would be cold and wet when he got there, and he couldn't figure out how to get his gear into the boat safely. So he ended up sleeping on the shore to watch his gear and keep an eye on his boat.

Bernard: ok, forget my red zone example. A better one might be this. The first 15 years I was in the county, I lived way the hell up in Boulder Creek. Being poor, I did not have a car. Therefore I always made sure that my plans included some way of making sure I could reach what shelter I had. Maybe we could chip in and buy him a dinghy, that way he has transportation to/from his boat. Thinking about it now, I don't think the city has any laws against boat camping unlike sleeping in a car. I'll have to ponder that line of thought.

BECKY: Are you saying his shelter was his boat?

Bernard: no Becky, you said his shelter was his boat.
by Amish question
Sunday Nov 8th, 2009 7:10 AM
If he used dray horses to tow it hear, or sailed it here, then I'll buy the Amish ploy. But if he used a car to tow it or an engine on the boat, then your Amish scam vis a vis the cell phone dodge doesn't work.

Oh wait; you said he wanted to take it up the river. That confirms its no sailboat; a keel would never draft in that shallow estuary.

So it's a motorboat, and your "Amish Defense" is just another huff joke.
by Becky Johnson
Sunday Nov 8th, 2009 5:33 PM
BECKY: Robert's German accent is quite excellent! You sound jealous!

Bernard: I don't think it could get him a spot as an extra on Hogan's Heros. He really needs to tone down the Nazi fixation, as it's starting to get him into trouble.

BECKY: Sour grapes, man. Norse is a Shakespearian-trained actor and quite adept at acting, dialects, and assuming a character. He also has a pretty fair singing voice.

As far as the Nazi references, the salute, mustaches on pictures of Ryan Coonety, or the endless references to the Nazi State and the State of Israel we see at demonstrations and protests, I really think do go too far. I think it really does offend the sensibilities of those who lost loved ones in Nazi Germany. On the other hand, part of making sure it never happens again is to remind ourselves again and again when we are tempted to go down those paths of blind allegiance to misused power. Maybe if someone gives you a Mock Nazi Salute now and then it might cause you to reconsider what you are doing.

Bernard: In your posting, you said he did have legal shelter, and your saying that he needs a spot in an emergency shelter only takes that space from a person that doesn't have a boat. As for whether the shelter is adequate - being Amish, could he claim that it's not because it has electric lights and wired telephones? Do we then have to try to accommodate that? Anna and Miguel were offered assistance, and turned it down because it didn't meet their "lifestyle" needs to be able to play music late at night. We all know how that turned out."

BECKY: He testified at the trial that he has slept on his boat in the past and he would again if he could figure out how to do it. I personally couldn't even imagine swimming out past the breakers to where his 17' open row boat was anchored, getting in it all wet and cold, and then figuring out how to sleep in it without dry clothes or bedding. But Barisone put it forth in his closing arguments as a rational choice that Blindbear did not take advantage of, hence justifying his being cited for SLEEPING. And no, he didn't have a motor. He said it took him 10 days to come down the coast from San Franciso. He said he rowed the whole way.

His attitude about the shelter is that it should be saved for someone who really needs it. He feels that in 20 years of being homeless, that he has adapted to living out of doors all of the time. I can't imagine it myself. But he seems to be resigned to it. He's been cited for sleeping out of doors at least 5 times now. He's also been moved along over a dozen times as well. Anna and Miguel found their best tip times were when to be in the shelter, they couldn't be downtown. The shelter didn't work for them. But you have to ask, why did the City take their RV? That was cruel. ANd it really hurt them. And it caused much of hte problem with them sleeping on private property.

re: religious accommodations for those in shelters
Traditionally we do accommodate religious preferences. And there are some constitutional protections against making laws that abridge freedom of religion. I'm not sure if Blindbear has an Amish defense against using the shelter. I think not, since he was trying to get into the River St. Shelter and couldn't seem to pull it off.

And you have to ask yourself, why do we even need a sleeping ban? Who is the victim? What public interest is served?


by balancer
Monday Nov 9th, 2009 7:44 AM
" But he seems to be resigned to it. He's been cited for sleeping out of doors at least 5 times now. He's also been moved along over a dozen times as well."

-great, if he's resigned to it, then he can accept the tickets and shut the hell up.

" Anna and Miguel found their best tip times were when to be in the shelter, they couldn't be downtown. The shelter didn't work for them. "

-It "didn't work for them"? Are you kidding me? Are we supposed to go out of our way for these people and let them sleep where they want because the homeless shelter "didn't work for them". A laughable defense. And a perfect example of why most Santa Cruzans cheered when they heard Norse lost his case.

"But you have to ask, why did the City take their RV? That was cruel. "

-I don't know. Why don't you let us know? Was it impounded? Did they have tickets?

by The City took it because...
Monday Nov 9th, 2009 7:44 AM
...they parked it illegally and it was towed.

Becky tries to paint this as selective enforcement to do injury, when in fact it was a routine tow away. You leave your vehicle illegally parked and ignore citations, it gets towed away. No special rules for the homeless.
by Jack Darden
Tuesday Nov 10th, 2009 11:37 AM
I'm intrigued by Becky's response on this one. "But you have to ask, why did the City take their RV? That was cruel."

What about me? If I parked my car in a city lot and had it towed because I left it there too long would Becky say that was cruel? I really need my car to get to work. And if I have no car I have no work. This is true for many people here in town. And if I had my car towed it's not like I have the money to get it out fast. So it would cause me financial stress. But it would be my fault for leaving it there.

I'm really getting tired of this whole "selective enforcement" argument by HUFF. They only use it when it negatively impacts their chosen group. In this case she is advocating that police selectively NOT enforce the law. I find that a crock and a double standard.
by not me
Thursday Nov 12th, 2009 12:50 AM
Hey Hey Hey people! Just lay off my buddy Robert for one second, will you? granted, he has antagonized the great mass of humanity, but, hey, most of humanity wants to wash their hands of the homeless and wish them not so fondly on their way. to where? this court case sounds like another valiant attempt to earn the homeless a modicum of respect: a place to sleep. that is the big outrage, let's not forget this! not robert's accent nor peevish behavior. eegad man, something needs change and the same old tired tactics don't seem to be working and no self-respecting individual is going to involve themselves in norse's valiant yet quixotic tent city as winter bears down upon us, but the courts remain open to the educated and connected so let's take advantage of that before jesus comes back to save us all.
I SALUTE YOU ROBERT, and not with a nazi heil hitlerish sort of manner neither. no, as the lance corporal to the doomed colonel custer ready for the coming slaughter. captain, my captain! arm the homeless, disarm the israelites, and please invite the homebums over to robert's tonight for some india joze soup and a place to crash!
ok, this is becoming more ironic than intended, but we all know the homeless are just a drumming lesson, a shave + haircut, and a nice pre-fabricated begging sign with clever yet heartfelt statement away from respectability, or at least their next beer.
We do love you robert, it's just in an ironic, apathetic, toughlove sort of way, as long as we don't have to give you a hug (not sure about the song singing you are supposed to be good at, but open to it. once, or at least until we politely ask you to step aside for the next yodeler waiting to have their turn, thank you much)!
by Robert Norse
Friday Nov 13th, 2009 8:48 PM
For those confused by the hostile trolltalk on this thread:

Santa Cruz's law against sleeping at night on public property combined with its lack of adequate shelter space makes homelessness at night a crime (unless you stay awake from 11 PM to 8:30 AM). Sleep is a survival necessity even for those poor dirty homeless people. Dismissing homeless people who sleep during those hours as “lawbreakers” is either very thick or unrealistically legalistic. Or perhaps just downright mean.

For an increasing number of people, the car is the only affordable housing, not only here, but in many other cities along the coast. It is a selective act of anti-homeless harassment to mandate “permit parking” expressly including “no nighttime parking” in much of the city, which specifically targets homeless people and their vehicles.

Those interested in hearing the closing arguments in the Facer trial can tune in to 101.1 FM Sunday 9-15 at 10 AM when I'll be playing some selections. The show will be archived several days later at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb091115.mp3 . Call-in number for those with questions or comments (trolls included): 831-427-3772. Those seriously interested in these issues will probably find the NIMBYs who litter the comment section are not interested in any real discussion on the radio. Such has been my experience.

I welcome any attempts to set up campgrounds as has happened in Ontario (CA), Fresno, Sacramento, and other places. If Bernard G. wants to give a call to Councilwoman Katherine Beiers (420-5020), they'll probably find that her City Council committee found (a) there's no “magnet effect” in cities that have eliminated their sleeping bans (she headed the Task Force to Examine the Camping Ordinance in 1998-9), and (b) there's just “no place” for a campground in Santa Cruz. The first finding is true, but repeatedly denied by the likes of incoming Mayor Rotkin. The second finding is false--but actually translates to "we don't have the political will to open up a parking lot at night" (as Eugene, OR has done).

Santa Cruz is also surrounded by greenbelt area—which becomes a defacto campground without the needed amenities.

Let me know what you find out, Bernard. And don't forget to call in Sunday.
by And you know it
Sunday Nov 15th, 2009 9:54 AM
You know as well as anyone that the Ontario campground doubled then tripled in population as homeless from outlying communities moved into the camp. It absolutely had a magnet effect.

And you also know, because we've discussed it before, that the city eventually evicted anyone who didn't come from Ontario, which shrunk the camp by more than half.


Also, a recent survey conducted by mental health professionals of reisents of the camp found that more than half the residents were homeless-by-choice and drug addicted.

"When San Bernardino County mental health workers first surveyed Tent City residents in October, they talked with 140 people. Manuel Aybar, mental health consultant, said the results showed they fell into three major groups.The majority - 72 - were homeless by choice, and included those with substance-abuse issues, Aybar said. "

http://www.dailybulletin.com/tentcity/ci_8907602



Keep it real; the reality is these camps are magnetic messes.

by Robert Norse
Monday Nov 16th, 2009 11:14 AM
The data that there's no magnet effect (i.e. no increased draw on social services or influx of homeless people) has to do with cities that have eliminated (temporarily or permanently) their Sleeping Bans. These include Miami, FL (the first Pottinger decision), Austin, TX, Portland, OR, & Santa Barbara, CA (in the mid-80's). I have researched cities that recently eliminated nighttime sleeping bans (Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, San Diego, Richmond, Fresno), but haven't read of any influx there.

It doesn't refer to places that have set up additional services like campgrounds.

The anonymous NIMBY who cites the increase in Ontario's Tent City population is likely correct about the increase in usage. But that may be due to economic conditions around foreclosures as well as the bigotry of surrounding communities driving out homeless people. The traditional wisdom is that increased jobs and available housing (and in desperate times, Tent Cities might qualify) draw people, but not relaxing penalties on emergency sleeping behavior.

While HUFF supports campgrounds for sure, one of our main contentions is that homelessness should not be criminalized by making sleep itself a crime in public spaces (SOME not ALL public spaces) as long as a shelter emergency exists. And that's what the Facer case (and all Santa Cruz Sleeping Ban tickets) is about.

Thanks for the interesting link. It's not clear what criteria were used to establish the "homeless by choice" but my experience in Santa Cruz leads me to believe that this category usually involves young travellers or independent life stylers and is only a small fraction of the homeless community.

The point, of course, is that Santa Cruz has NO emergency shelter for the overwhelming majority of homeless people--which means criminalizing sleep criminalizes homelessness. Enabling police cites and arrests of life-sustaining behavior is both unconscionable and unconstitutional (as the court found in Los Angeles).
by pro-choice
Wednesday Nov 18th, 2009 3:38 PM
choice for the homeless a tricky and overused term. we all have choices, but those available to the homeless less. sure, people should have the right to vagabondage, escape a bad situation, etc. BUT, it is in getting out of that situation where problems happen and what was choice becomes "there ain't no choice but this." like felons, homeless are not the easiest to find employment. no address, nowhere to sleep nor bathe, etc. is a major liability. i think people make the best of it, see their choices, and live with it. true, being homeless in santa cruz is better than detroit, but not providing a place for them to sleep legally exacerbates security and mental health issues, which can go together...this is no easy situation to mitigate. the homeless situation is a blight on the US, a sign that people can keep falling, have nowhere to go, no one to turn to. congrats to robert for trying. i don't think his solutions like a legal camp spot or place to park are bad ones, though like the homeless, where is one to turn to make this happen? maybe people utilizing these services should need to put in a little sweat equity, volunteerism? people who want a way out should have one, people stuck a place to stay & get fed. hey, there's some troubled people out there and the bell tolls for thee, right?. and tho i'm not actually doing anything about it, i will say my piece here...peace.