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More Homeless Human Rights Updates
Some brief comments on Councilwoman Beier's meeting with folks on the sidewalk in the "forbidden zone" next to the library...the upcoming Robert "Blindbear" Facer appeal of his Sleeping Ban convictions today at 4 PM...More tickets and arraignments for PC2010...HUFF is heading for UCSC next Wednesday in support of Steve Pleich for City Council and Outreach to the Students--Stevenson college 2 PM 9-29....Councilmember Lane's upcoming meeting today 1:30 PM at Joe's Pizza on Pacific Avenue
BEIERS CHATS WITH HER VICTIMS:
In the recent past, Councilmember Beiers supported the anti-homeless expansion of Forbidden Zones on Pacific Avenue in early 2009 (increasing the "security space" around statues, directory signs, benches, and other obstructions on Pacific Avenue. She supported the "don't pay off three ridiculous infractions". and the City Attorney canc charge you with a new "Failure to Pay" misdemeanor crime. In July, she backed the "ignore three sleeping tickets" and the fourth becomes a misdemeanor--even though there's no shelter space.
And yesterday she refused to commit herself to changing any of these votes. She also declined to promise that she'd agree to allow the public to discuss consent agenda items as they do in other cities. She insisted that Homeless Services Center Monica Martinez had provided verbal confirmation that there were 2-3 walk-in spaces per week at the Paul Lee Loft (meaning that each month there are walk-in spaces for a total of 12 people not on waiting lists for a total of 1500-2000 homeless in Santa Cruz, with 40-60 of those currently on waiting lists for shelter).
On the plus (?) side, Beiers took notes and agreed to ask our new City Fuhrer (City Manager Martin Bernal) for the paperwork and rationale behind his latest closing of City Hall, the Library grounds, and the police station grounds at night without the required legal participation of the Parks and Recreation Commission (and in the case of the library, without the authorization of the library board). However she said she didn't want to bring up the matter publicly at City Council.
When asked if she'd sponsor a real modification of the sleeping ban that might read: "“Police shall call the HSC during business hours to determine if there are any beds available. If there aren't, they shall issue no citations that night under MC 6.36.010 unless provision MC 6.36.070 is violated" ]Proposed MC 6.36.070: "An individual who sleeps, camps, or sets up bedding on any public properrty in the City of Santa Cruz between the hours of 11 PM and 8:30 AM is responsible for assuring that area is clean and free of litter and debris of all sorts. If a radius of 15' around the person's sleeping area is not free of such debris, that person is guilty of an infraction." ...she said "no--not without a second."
She agreed to "get back to us" on a number of matters, but since I originally e-mailed her last year on some of these and other issues, again in March, and again this summer, it may be long fall before we get any answers at all, much less substantive ones.
In her favor, she was a amiable as ever, hung out without self-consciousness, and sat down with the riffraff. Perhaps a last memorial sitdown before the library benches begin to disappear along with the rest of the downtown benches in the city's attempt to "thin out" the homeless population downtown and disperse all First Amendment protest at night.
She patiently listened to a lot of criticism, but expressed no willingness to change her positions--as far as I coiuld see.. I'll be playing our discussion on Sunday morning Free Radio Santa Cruz at 101.1 FM (http://www.freakradio.org) probably around 8:30 AM.
BLINDBEAR'S BRAVE APPEAL
Attorney Ed Frey will be taking the two convictions of Peace Camp 2010 musician and activist Robert "Blindbear" Facer to a 3-man appeal court today at 4 PM--I think it's Dept. 5, but show up and check the calenders. Hmm, I got that info from Frey (pronounced "fry") himself, but it's my understanding that the courts usually close at 3 PM, so call the courts to confirm this info. The Facer case was discussed at "Baskett and Barisone Bludgeon the Bums: Shoring Up the Sleeping Ban in a Court Trial " http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/11/04/18627796.php .
CITY COPS DEATH OF A THOUSAND CUTS CONTINUES
Even as Collette Connolly and Chris Doyon had pre-trial dates set, taking on Ed Frey as their defense counsel, Collette and Gary Johnson (whose arraignment is today at 8:30 AM) got tickets two nights running. Sleeping ban tickets on nights when there simply is no legal shelter for the overwhleming majority of those outside. Tickets that will be dismissed by the necessity defense, even if the city attorney/service provider's new tactic is to insist you have been on a "waiting list" to have a letter issued or a city attorney dismiss your ticket. Instead, victims will simply have to subpoena shetler bureaucrats to testify that they had no space that night.
MEETINGS, MEETINGS, EVER MORE MEETINGS
Councilmember (and backer of anti-homeless laws) Don Lane meets with homeless advocates today at 1:30 PM at Joe's Pizza in another recorded conversation to be rebroadcast later. That's downtown on Pacific Avenue next to the Pacific Cookie Company, at Soquel and Pacific.
HUFF hits UCSC next Wednesday at Stevenson College with an outreach meeting to mobilize the somnolent student population in support of restoring public space, public dialogue, public accessibility, and civil rights, as well as backing lone civil libertarian Steve Pleich, whose underfunded campaign is looking for support. Pleich is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Pleich/100000740321530 and needs money!