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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Police State and Prisons

View other events for the week of 12/22/2009

Title: Unsafe to be Homeless in Santa Cruz
START DATE: Tuesday December 22
TIME: 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Location Details:
In front of Bookshop Santa Cruz at the Scribner Statue at 1520 Pacific Ave.
Event Type: Protest
Contact NameRobert Norse
Email Addressrnorse3@hotmail. com
Phone Number831-423-4833
Address309 Cedar PMB #14B Santa Cruz 95060
---HUFF caroling
---HOT nourishing VEGAN soup for free
---COLD, HARD FACTS for the public to ponder in the Christmas season

Every year, the Homeless Persons Health Project issues a report documenting those who have died on our streets while homeless.

Inclement weather, violence, suicide, overdose, and disease take their toll each year. In 2008, 20 homeless people died on our streets. Earlier in the day at the Homeless Service Center at 115 Coral St., a 10 a.m. ceremony will mark the Homeless Deaths of 2009.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) feels the harsh laws of the City have contributed to homeless hardships and violate basic human rights.

The DOWNTOWN ASSOCIATION backed ordinances which expand forbidden zones. These zones severely restrict where one may sit, beg, play music for donations, or set up a political table.

Homeless people who are targeted for enforcement, can neither afford the fines, nor fight the banishment they represent. Ill health, depression, isolation and death are the result.

HUFF deplores that the City of Santa Cruz in conjunction with the Downtown Association, has systematically destroyed the physical, mental, emotional, and social health of homeless people by making the following innocent behaviors illegal:

--- to stand, sit, or socialize in a downtown parking lot or garage unless specifically parking or retrieving a car or bike (and then only for 15 minutes).
--- to sit, beg, play music for tips, or set up a political table within 14"of a statue. The City setup a for-profit art gallery on public property with the intent to eliminate peaceful public assembly near these statues.
--- to smoke anything on Pacific Ave, Beach St, the Municipal Wharf, and the entire length of W. Cliff Drive. Homeless people report being cited selectively.
--- to park longer than 20 minutes in the 3-Trees Parking Lot on W. Cliff Dr


The City has used public funds to launch civil suits against homeless people on behalf of anti-homeless downtown merchants.

The City spent over $5000 needlessly to move the planter railing outward in front of the New Leaf Market in order to prevent sitting.

The City has removed bench after bench so that seniors, disabled folks, and poor people are unable to find a place to sit down on Pacific Ave.

The City has made 95% of the Pacific Ave. sidewalks a "forbidden zone" for sitting, sparechanging, tabling, or performing. 100% of sidewalks in all other business districts are now forbidden zones.

The City Council has bypassed both the Downtown Commission and the Parks and Rec Commission to jam these anti-homeless laws through with little public scrutiny and close other public spaces targeting homeless survival sleeping.


STILL ILLEGAL AFTER ALL THESE YEARS:

--- to sleep at night anywhere out of doors or in a vehicle with few exceptions in a city with shelter for less than 10% of its homeless population
--- to use a blanket between 11PM and 8:30AM out of doors
--- to set up a survival tent against the cold and rain on any public property.

The political table HUFF will be setting up will be less than 14" from The Tom Scribner Statue--and hence illegal if it weren't for the "free-speech" zone located there

For more information call: (831) 423-HUFF

To get HUFF e-mail, contact rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com

More on this subject on Free Radio Santa Cruz at 101.1 FM (http://www.freakradio.org) Sundays 9:30 AM - 1 PM, Thursdays 6-8 PM.

More info on recent anti-homeless activity downtown:

"WARNING SIGNS"
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/12/16/18632781.php?show_comments=1#18632839

"Downtown Association Holiday Parade"
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/12/08/18631869.php

"After 15 Months, Drum Circle Defenders Case Resolved"
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/12/04/18631446.php?show_comments=1#18632701

Join Us Singing Out Against Stupidity on December 22nd !



Added to the calendar on Saturday Dec 19th, 2009 11:14 PM

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Comments  (Hide Comments)

by roknich
( roknich [at] electromagnet.us ) Sunday Dec 20th, 2009 1:32 PM
Having been "down and out" more than once (in spite of my bourgeois history), I will quibble about the smoking issues. First of all, cigarettes are expensive. How can the poorest people always afford the?

I know there are answers to this, but there are people on the street who are there becuase they have suffered from chemical sensitivities which have ruined their lives, which are made even more impossible by the usual habit of incessant smoking among street people - some of whom have chosen the "lifestyle" rather than having had it forced upon them.

Most people who are homeless are not that way because of their addiction, but unfortunately the majority in society treat them as if that's the case, especially liberals. But the most pernicious among the homeless are the ones who will spend their last dime on a bottle of booze and a pack of smokes - thus making life absolute hell for the non smokers and drinkers among the homeless who are demonized along with them.

I've suffered enough to know this is true - and some of your friends, Bob, are very assertive with their smoking to the extent that it threaten the lives of others who are homeless.

If there really is to be solidarity among the homeless - well, lets just say that the ranks have grown to the extent that they are a very diverse group, and need real leadership. There are members of this group who intentionally oppress and exploit others who are as poor as they are. An the non-smokers suffer the most, because they become targets of the "in crowd" among the street people, especially when they are seen to suffer as they result of someone else's luxury. So it become a microcosm of the larger world - those who can inflict suffering while enjoying themselves continue to do so. It's time for a wake-up call, and I hope this is it.

It is extremely difficult to "maintain a respectable front" while homeless, but I will tell you that it has been done.
To the extent that the bourgeois targets of homeless rage feel threatened, the oppression will worsen, and it has. That's the challenge, and in spite of all your good work, Bob, I think you need to consider this in a constructive way.

- David
by Becky Johnson
Sunday Dec 20th, 2009 5:23 PM
ROKNICH WRITES: "Most people who are homeless are not that way because of their addiction, but unfortunately the majority in society treat them as if that's the case, especially liberals. But the most pernicious among the homeless are the ones who will spend their last dime on a bottle of booze and a pack of smokes - thus making life absolute hell for the non smokers and drinkers among the homeless who are demonized along with them."

BECKY: First, let me thank you for your well thought out post. Few take the time to ponder the issue of smoking and the houseless with such depth. Smoking helps to sooth the nerves of those under extreme stress. Hence soldiers on the battlefield and homeless people smoke more than the average person. But while second hand smoke is unpleasant, it can't really be quantified as a health hazard.

I've posted a very persuasive and well-documented article "The Myth of Second Hand Smoking" on my blog at: http://beckyjohnsononewomantalking.blogspot.com/2009/10/myth-of-second-hand-smoke.html

And Linda Lemaster, who suffers from COPD and asthma, has also written her own thoughts "An Asthmatic Against the Smoking Ban" here: http://beckyjohnsononewomantalking.blogspot.com/2009/10/asthmatic-against-smoking-ban.html
by roknich
( roknich [at] electromagnet.us ) Sunday Dec 20th, 2009 11:22 PM
Becky, tell people who are homeless that homelessness is a myth and you'll get just about as much mileage as with your statement above.

In other words, try telling those who suffer that they are not suffering.

Merry Christmas. Peace on earth and goodwill toward all.

David
by Robert Norse
Monday Dec 21st, 2009 4:30 PM
Hopefully this isn't a repost, but the lyrics to some of the carols can be found at...

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/12/19/18633181.php?show_comments=1#18633339
by Becky Johnson
Monday Dec 21st, 2009 5:43 PM
Today (Dec 21 2009) the Homeless Persons Health Project released their annual report on homeless deaths in the past year. While in 2008, only 20 deaths were reported, this year a shocking 47 deaths occurred, 31 in the City of Santa Cruz alone!

See the entire report at: http://beckyjohnsononewomantalking.blogspot.com/2009/12/2009-annual-report-on-homeless-deaths.html