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View other events for the week of 10/17/2011
Santa Cruz Chapter ACLU Meeting
Monday October 17
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Louden Nelson Center
This is the first known meeting of the American Civil Liberties Union Santa Cruz Chapter since February 2011.
The beginning portion of the meeting will be open to the public to address the Santa Cruz Chapter board of directors, after which the meeting becomes closed.
Added to the calendar on
Sunday Oct 16th, 2011 6:40 PM
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Letter to the ACLU Regarding Their Institutional Failure to Defend Local Civil Liberties
by Robert Norse
Sunday Oct 16th, 2011 10:54 PM
The ACLU has been useless on local civil liberties issues with very few exceptions for years. Still, as a matter of public record, I sent them the following letter on being asked to come to tomorrow's ACLU meeting. It's lengthy, but the issues it raises are important. And habitually ignored by the ACLU in spite of its "new" Board of Directors members.
Jenn, Steve, Ed:
I understand the ACLU is having one of their "funny money" meetings tomorrow.
My prior correspondence with co-Chair Peter has resulted in continued silence. He did suggest I post my concerns directly to the ACLU list-serve at
board [at] aclusantacruz.org
. Every time I did this the message was returned refused.
I've heard indirectly that the ACLU has some interest in (a) the City Council repression (mock-Nazi salute) case, and (b) the no-dogs-with-panhandlers law. While it apparently has no interest in the Sleeping Ban which impacts hundreds of Santa Cruz homeless, or the abusive use of 647e--the anti-lodging law--being currently used to threaten Occupy Santa Cruz protesters. I find this remarkable.
I think Ed and Steve have seen this, but here's a handout I gave when invited by Bruce Bratton to speak at the Penny University in August.
I suggest you poll the Board on their reaction to each of these ordinances as described in the handout.
I also encourage you to support the right to public assembly in downtown Santa Cruz, threatened nightly at Occupy Santa Cruz at the whim of the sheriffs or the SCPD. The retaliation taken against Wes Modes, Whitney Wilde, and Curtis Reliford on New Year's Eve 2009, selectively ticketed for "parading without a permit" (with Modes taken to trial by the City Attorney explicitly authorized by Santa Cruz City Council in closed session) needs to be publicly condemned, as Bob Lamonica has urged.
Since I raised similar issues in just as specific terms way back in February, I can only assume you haven't found any of them sufficiently compelling to merit comment.
Following the hand-out is my earlier letter as requested by Peter and Jenn, again more than half a year old, which has received no substantive reply from the ACLU.
Your failure to address specific concerns raised and documented at your request does not bode well for those who believe your organization actually has any real interest in local civil liberties issues. But then, I suppose if you won't even go to court for people arrested for canvassing for the ACLU in the Trader Jo's parking lot in downtown Santa Cruz, you can't be expected to be interested in laws that criminalize poor people. If you can't even defend your own civil liberties, why should we hope you'd be interested in others?
Perhaps Occupy Santa Cruz or some new group will take up issues that you refuse to face.
The issues remain.
If any individual ACLU members are interested in these issues, please contact me. That is, assuming you'll forward this to individual members as you indicated could be done--but then refused to do.
HANDOUT AT PENNY UNIVERSITY IN AUGUST
UNQUALIFIED SLEEPING, BLANKET, AND CAMPING BAN ON ALL PUBLIC AND MUCH PRIVATE PROPERTY IN SANTA CRUZ FOR EVERY HOMELESS PERSON NOT ON A WAITING LIST
6.36.010 CAMPING PROHIBITED. 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:
[THE SLEEPING BAN:](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.
[THE BLANKET BAN: ] (b) Setting-up Bedding – 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. To establish or maintain outdoors or in, on or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, at any time between the hours of 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m., a temporary or permanent place for sleeping, by setting up any bedding, sleeping bag, blanket, mattress, tent, hammock or other sleeping equipment in such a manner as to be immediately usable for sleeping purposes.
[THE CAMPING BAN:] (c) Setting-up Campsite – Anytime. To establish or maintain outdoors or in, on, or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, at any time during the day or night, a temporary or permanent place for cooking or sleeping, by setting up any bedding, sleeping bag, blanket, mattress, tent, hammock or other sleeping equipment or by setting up any cooking equipment, with the intent to remain in that location overnight..
6.36.020 CAMPING PERMITTED. Camping may be permitted in the city of Santa Cruz only under the following circumstances:(a) Camping in public areas specifically set aside and clearly marked for public camping purposes; (b) Camping events authorized and permitted by the Santa Cruz City parks and recreation department; (c) Camping events authorized by the city council pursuant to Section 6.36.030; (d) Camping: (i) In the yard of a residence with the consent of the owner or occupant of the residence, where the camping is in the rear yard, or in an area of a side yard or front yard that is separated from view from the street by a fence, hedge or other obstruction; or (ii) Inside of a licensed and registered motor vehicle in the parking lot on the site of a religious institution with the written consent of such institution, where the driver/occupant of such vehicle is in possession of a valid driver’s license, provided that no more than three vehicles shall be permitted at any one location; or (iii) Inside of a licensed and registered motor vehicle in the parking lot on the site of a business institution in a non-residential district with the written consent of both the business institution and property owner, where the driver/occupant of such vehicle is in possession of a valid driver’s license, provided that no more than two vehicles shall be permitted at any one location; (iv) Inside a licensed and registered vehicle in a residential off-street driveway with the written consent of the owner and occupant of the residence, where the driver/occupant of such vehicle is in possession of a valid driver’s license, provided that no more than one vehicle shall be permitted at any one location. No particular location shall be used for camping under this provision for more than three days during any one calendar month.
6.36.040 PENALTY – SINGLE OFFENSE. Any person who violates any section in this chapter is guilty of an infraction and shall be subject to a fine of not more than twenty dollars. Alternatively any person who violates any section in this chapter, in lieu of a fine may, if that person so requests, be required to provide no more than eight hours of community service. [This translates to over $100 per ticket with added court costs even if one pays immediately without going to court].
6.36.050 PENALTY – SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE WITHIN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS.
Any person who violates any section in this chapter, other than subsections (a) and (b) of Section 6.36.010, and is cited for such violation, and who within twenty-four hours after receiving such citation again violates the same section, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
6.36.055 CITATIONS ISSUED WHEN WINTER SHELTER ARMORY IS FULL.
(a) A person shall not be in violation of this chapter if, at the time of his or her citation for a violation of this chapter either: the winter shelter at the Santa Cruz National Guard Armory is filled to capacity; or the person is currently on the waiting list for shelter service through one of the shelter programs offered by the Homeless Services Center or the River Street Shelter in Santa Cruz.
(b) Any citation issued for a violation of this chapter shall be dismissed by the city attorney in the interest of justice if, at the time of citation issuance, the winter shelter at the Santa Cruz National Guard Armory is filled to capacity or the recipient of the citation demonstrates that on the date of the citation he or she was currently on the waiting list for shelter service through one of the shelter programs offered by the Homeless Services Center or the River Street Shelter in Santa Cruz.
LAWS USED TO AVOID SLEEPING BAN TICKET EMBARRASSMENT IN THE FACE OF ACTIVIST PROTEST
13.04.010 LIMITATIONS ON ACCESS AND USE OF PUBLIC PROPERTY. Whenever this code or any ordinance or resolution of this city designates and describes any public property as having been withdrawn from personal access and use by members of the public, or as having been limited as to access and use by members of the public and notice thereof has been posted conspicuously on or adjacent to the property so designated, it is unlawful for any person to thereafter enter upon or use such property without permission or in a manner other than that prescribed.
13.04.011 HOURS OF OPERATION.(a) The parks and recreation director may, by regulation, establish hours during which any park, park road, park trail, grounds, building or facility is open to the general public. Said hours shall be established for the purpose of protecting park properties, park roads, park trails, and other areas from acts of vandalism and to prohibit the general public from engaging in unlawful activities. These provisions shall be applicable to all park properties, park roads, park trails and other areas under the jurisdiction and control of the parks and recreation director. For purposes of this chapter, the area under the jurisdiction and control of the parks and recreation director encompasses without limitation all city parks and greenbelts, all city park trails and roads, all city park facilities and buildings, including Lighthouse Field State Beach, DeLaveaga Golf Course, Main Beach, Cowell’s Beach, Steamer Lane, Harvey West Pool, the Beach Flats Community Center, the Louden Nelson Community Center, the Teen Center, the Civic Auditorium, City Hall Courtyard, Mission Plaza, the Town Clock, the Natural History Museum, the Surfing Museum, Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, Pacific Avenue, West Cliff Drive (Pelton Street to Swanton Boulevard), the San Lorenzo River Levee and bike path, the San Lorenzo Benchlands, the inner banks of the San Lorenzo River within the City limits, the Branciforte and Cabonera Creeks within the city limits, Jessie Street Marsh, plus any other facilities or areas assigned to the parks and recreation department by the city manager. The parks and recreation commission and the San Lorenzo River committee (as appropriate) shall be consulted to obtain input on any proposed modifications to the hours of operation of parks and open spaces. (b) Notice of such hours of operation shall be conspicuously posted and maintained. (c) No one shall enter or remain in any park, building, facility, grounds or park road (except a specifically designated, and clearly marked, public access way through a park), during those hours that the place or facility is closed to the general public. (d) Persons found to be in violation of any provision of this section are guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine... Violations occurring on separate days are separate infractions.
CATCH ALL “MOVE-ALONG” OR “YOU'RE ILLEGAL” LAW FOR ANYONE : 21ST CENTURY “NO LOITERING” LAW
9.50.010 OBSTRUCTION OF MOVEMENT IN PUBLIC WAYS. No person shall occupy any portion of a public way or public place so as to obstruct or interfere with the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic thereon, whether such person does so alone or together with one or more persons, or with equipment or personal property of any nature, and whether such person does so by standing, sitting, lying, or in any other manner.
CITIZEN AND POLICE VETO ON MUSIC OR POLITICAL SPEECH DOWNTOWN
9.36.020 UNREASONABLY DISTURBING NOISES. No person shall make, cause, suffer or permit to be made any noises or sounds (a) which are unreasonably disturbing or physically annoying to people of ordinary sensitiveness or which are so harsh or so prolonged or unnatural or unusual in their use, time or place as to cause physical discomfort to any person, and (b) which are not necessary in connection with an activity which is otherwise lawfully conducted. As used in this section, “lawfully conducted activities” shall include, but not be limited to, any and all activities conducted by the city for public health, safety or welfare purposes.
9.36.030 SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE WITHIN FORTY-EIGHT HOURS. Any person who violates any section of this chapter and is cited for such a violation, and who within forty-eight hours after receiving such a citation again violates the same section, is guilty of a misdemeanor. A person is cited for a violation when he or she is issued and signs an infraction or misdemeanor citation, or when he or she is arrested and booked, or when a complaint is filed and the person is notified of the filing of such a complaint.
CHALKING POLITICAL SLOGANS OR ARTWORK ON THE SIDEWALK IN ERASIBLE CHALK BANNED
9.20.010 DEFACING SIDEWALKS No person shall paint, write or otherwise place or affix upon any public curb or sidewalk in the city, any advertisements of any kind or character whatsoever, or any signs, marks, or paint, other than official traffic signs, marks or paint placed thereon in accordance with law, except as hereinafter provided. The director of public works may authorize, in writing, the painting, placing, or affixing of house numbers, pedestrian safety signs, or other markings serving a public interest.
WIDESPREAD SITTING BAN & ONE-HOUR LIMIT ON SITTING ON A PUBLIC BENCH (those that are left)
9.50.012 SITTING DOWN ON SIDEWALKS IN DESIGNATED CITY ZONES. In the C-C community commercial, C-N neighborhood commercial, C-B commercial beach, CBD central business district, and R-T tourist residential zoning districts, no person shall sit upon the following enumerated portions of a public sidewalk: (a) At any bus stop; (b) Within 14' of any building. Where any portion of a building is recessed from the public sidewalk, the fourteen feet shall be measured from the point at which the building abuts the sidewalk; (c) Within 50' of any ATM machine or cash disbursal machine, or any other outdoor machine or device which disburse or accepts coins or paper currency except parking meters and newspaper vending machines; (d) Within 14' of any fence that abuts a public sidewalk; (e) Within 14' of any drinking fountain, public telephone, public bench, public trash compactor, information or directory/map sign, sculpture or artwork displayed on public property, or vending cart; (f) Within `14' of any street corner or intersection; (g) Within 14' of any open air dining area or cafe extension; or (h) Within 14' of any kiosk.
9.50.013 SITTING DOWN ON PUBLIC BENCHES IN DESIGNATED CITY ZONES. (a) In the C-C community commercial, C-N neighborhood commercial, C-B commercial beach, CBD central business district, and R-T tourist residential zoning districts, no person shall sit down upon or otherwise occupy a public bench or use a public bench to store property for more than a total of one hour during any given twelve-hour period. (b) No person shall be cited under this section unless he or she has first been notified by a police officer, public officer or downtown host that he or she is in violation of the prohibition in this section, and thereafter continues the violation.
9.50.014 EXEMPTIONS TO SECTIONS 9.50.010, 9.50.011, & 9.50.013. (a) Persons standing or sitting on the curb or portion of any sidewalk, street or public bench while attending or viewing any parade, festival, performance or similar event permitted under the provisions of this code; (b) Any conduct which is in conformity with the terms of any permit granted pursuant to this code; (c) Any conduct in public places that are privately owned where such conduct is in conformity with permission granted by the owner of said premises or by the person entitled to the possession of said premises; (d) Persons sitting or lying down due to a medical emergency; (e) Persons who, as the result of a disability, utilize a wheelchair or similar device to move about; (f) Persons who place chairs or stools on public sidewalks in conjunction with display devices or noncommercial uses permitted under Chapter 5.43.
WIDESPREAD PANHANDLING BAN
9.10 AGGRESSIVE SOLICITATION For the purposes of this chapter:(a) “Solicitation” means any verbal request, or any non-verbal request made with a sign, by a person seeking an immediate donation of money, food, cigarettes or items of value. Purchase of an item for an amount far exceeding its value, under circumstances where a reasonable person would understand that the purchase is in substance a donation, is a donation for purposes of this chapter. A person is not soliciting for purposes of this chapter when he or she passively displays a sign or places a collection container on the sidewalk pursuant to which he or she receives monetary offerings in appreciation for his or her original artwork or for entertainment or a street performance he or she provides. This chapter does not apply to peddling and soliciting activity governed by Chapter 5.40. (b) “Person” means any individual person, group of persons or organizations.
9.10.020 TIME OF SOLICITATION. Any person who solicits after sunset or before sunrise is guilty of an infraction.
9.10.030 PLACE OF SOLICITATION. Any person who solicits in any of the following places, or any person who solicits when the person solicited is in any of the following places, is guilty of an infraction: (a) At any bus stop; (b) In any public transportation vehicle or facility; (c) In any vehicle on the street; (d) On private property, unless the solicitor has permission from the owner or tenant; (e) Within fourteen feet of any building other than those buildings referenced in subsection (f). Where any portion of a building is recessed from the public sidewalk, the fourteen feet shall be measured from the point at which the building abuts the sidewalk (f) Within fifty feet of any bank building or other financial institution buildings, including their outdoor automatic teller machines; (g) In the parking lot of any bank, savings and loan, or other financial institution; (h) Within fifty feet of any ATM machine or cash disbursal machine, or any other outdoor machine or device which disburses or accepts coins or paper currency except parking meters and newspaper vending machines; (i) Within fourteen feet of any fence that abuts a public sidewalk; (j) Within fourteen feet of any drinking fountain,
public telephone, public bench, public trash compactor, information or directory/map sign, sculpture or artwork displayed on public property, or vending cart; (k) Within fourteen feet of any street corner or intersection; (l) Within fourteen feet of any open air dining area or cafe extension; or (m) Within fourteen feet of any kiosk.
9.10.040 MANNER OF SOLICITATION. Any person who solicits in any of the following manners is guilty of an infraction:
(a) By coming within three feet of the person solicited, until that person has indicated that he or she wishes to make a donation; (b) By blocking the path of the person solicited, or other pedestrians, along a sidewalk or street; (c) By following a person who walks away from the solicitor; (d) By using abusive language as part of the solicitation or following a refusal that is directed at the specific individual or individuals being solicited; (e) By soliciting in a group of two or more persons; or (f) While under the influence of alcohol or any illegal narcotic or controlled substance; (g) By soliciting while in the immediate possession of a dog, by leash or otherwise.
9.10.050 FALSE OR MISLEADING SOLICITATION. (a) Any person who knowingly makes any false or misleading representation in the course of soliciting a donation is guilty of an infraction. False or misleading representations include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) Stating that the donation is needed to meet a specific need, when the solicitor already has sufficient funds to meet that need and does not disclose that fact; (2) Stating that the donation is needed to meet a need which does not exist; (3) Stating that the solicitor is from out of town and stranded, when that is not true; (4) Stating that the solicitor is homeless, when he or she is not; (5) Stating that the solicitor is soliciting on behalf of an organization which does not exist or which has not authorized the solicitor to seek donations on its behalf. (b) Any person who knowingly solicits a donation stating that the funds are needed for a specific purpose and then spends the funds received for a different purpose is guilty of an infraction.
9.10.060 MISDEMEANOR. Any person who violates one or more of the sections of this chapter twice within a six-month period is guilty of a misdemeanor.
BLANK CHECK FOR POLICE TO STOP, INTERROGATE, ID, SEARCH ANYONE IN A PUBLIC PARKING LOT OR GARAGE EVEN IF THERE ON LAWFUL BUSINESS
9.64.010 USE OF DOWNTOWN CITY PARKING GARAGES AND PARKING LOTS. Parking garages and parking lots owned or operated by the city of Santa Cruz in or adjacent to the Downtown Parking District ...shall be used by members...only for the purpose of parking and retrieving motor vehicles and bicycles and for no other purpose. Parking lots may also be used by pedestrians to walk from one sidewalk to another or to walk to buildings that border the parking lot. ...includ[ing] any parking lots which, in the future, are made part of the Downtown Parking District..
9.64.020 PARKING OR RETRIEVING MOTOR VEHICLES OR BICYCLES (a)... When parking...or retrieving a motor vehicle or bicycle from, a parking garage or parking lot ...no member of the public, whether driver or passenger, shall remain on the parking lot or garage premises for more than 15 minutes. (b) ...extended to 30 minutes for disabled persons driving and parking vehicles that display disability placards...
9.64.030 TRESPASS... violation of Section 9.64.010 or ...remaining on a... parking garage or parking lot...for longer than f15 minutes... shall be guilty of trespassing,...
9.64.040 EXCEPTIONS. (a)...pursuant to a permit issued by the city in accordance with another provision of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code...(b)...city employees engaged in the performance of city business or the maintenance of city parking lots or garages...(c)...in areas of city parking garages and parking lots where there is posted permission...
WIDESPREAD POLITICAL TABLING & PERFORMING-FOR-DONATION BAN
MOVE-ALONG EVERY HOUR LAW FOR POLITICAL TABLERS, PERFORMERS, & PANHANDLERS
5.43.000 DEFINITIONS. For purposes of this chapter, ...: (a) “Noncommercial use” means any political, civic, religious or other public service or charitable activity, including speech, or the distribution of literature, whether or not such activity is conducted with the assistance of a display device, and where the use is conducted for either the sale of merchandise or the solicitation of donations. (b) “Display device” means a table, rack, chair, box, cloth, stand, or any container, structure or other object used or capable of being used for holding or displaying tangible things, together with any associated seating facilities; “display device” does not include any street furniture such as benches or planters, or any other structure permanently installed by the city of Santa Cruz or with the consent of the city of Santa Cruz, or newsracks placed in conformity with the provisions of this code regulating newsracks.
5.43.010 CONDITIONS OF USE. Persons may place, erect, or maintain a display device for noncommercial use on any public sidewalk only as provided in this chapter. A display device may not exceed 6' x 3' in size. A display device may not exceed 6' in height.
5.43.020 PROHIBITED LOCATIONS. (1) In order to assure safe, orderly and adequate public access and pedestrian traffic on city streets and sidewalks, no display device shall be placed in any of the following locations in the C-C Community Commercial, C-N Neighborhood Commercial, C-B Commercial Beach, CBD Central Business District, and R-T Tourist Residential zone districts: (a) Within ten feet of any building. Where any portion of the building is recessed from the public sidewalk, the ten feet shall be measured from the point at which the building abuts the sidewalk; (b) Within ten feet of any street corner or intersection; (c) Within ten feet of any kiosk; (d) Within ten feet of any drinking fountain, public telephone, public bench, public trash compactor, information or directory/map sign, sculpture or artwork displayed on public property, ATM machine or other cash disbursal machines or any other outdoor machine or device which disburses or accepts coins or paper currency except parking meters and newspaper vending machines; however, the distance restriction set forth in this subsection shall not apply to the public sculptures or directory sign located on the southeast
corner of the Cooper Street and Pacific Avenue intersection; (e) Within any portion of the sidewalk between the license-area limit line of any sidewalk cafe or other open-air eating establishment and the curb of the sidewalk and in no other location within ten feet of any such license-area limit line; (f) Within ten feet of any vending cart; or (g) Within 10' of any fence that abuts a public sidewalk.
(2) No person shall allow a display device to remain in the same location on the sidewalk for a period of time exceeding one hour. After one hour the person who placed the display device on the sidewalk shall not place a display device on the sidewalk within one hundred feet of the original display device location. After one hour the person who placed the display device shall not place a display device in the original display device location, or within one hundred feet of the original display device location, for twenty-four hours.
(3) No person shall be cited under this section unless he or she has first been notified by a police officer, public officer or downtown host that he or she is in violation of the prohibition in this section, and thereafter continues the violation.
(4) As used in this section the term “person” shall refer to any individual person, group of persons or organization.
5.43.025 DISPLAY OR SALE OF MERCHANDISE PROHIBITED Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter or this code, it shall be unlawful for any person or organization to display, sell, offer for sale, rent, offer for rent, or offer in exchange for a donation, goods, wares, merchandise, foodstuffs, refreshments, or other kinds of property or services...(f) While accompanied by or in the custody or possession of a dog.
5.43.030 EXEMPT ZONES . ...the city council by resolution may from time to time designate exempt zones where display devices may be placed on city streets and sidewalks at locations where placement would ordinarily be prohibited...[apparently there are two exempt zones—one near the Bookshop Santa Cruz and the Scribner Statute, a second in front of O'Neill's]
MAY E-MAIL TO THE ACLU
rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
pbgelblum [at] gmail.com
jennlaskin [at] gmail.com
bob [at] cruzexpo.com
spleich [at] gmail.com
openup [at] ucsc.edu
Subject: List of Concerns to Be Presented to the ACLU Board of Directors Meeting in Santa Cruz Today
Date: Mon, 16 May 2011 10:20:12 -0700
Board of Directors
Santa Cruz ACLU
Dear Board Members:
Specifically, Jenn, Peter, Mike, Steve--who are probably familiar with several of these issues.
I mentioned a number of these issues in at the March ACLU Board meeting, and in a subsequent letter to Peter (which I append). You requested current issues of concern to be brought to the attention of the ACLU.
Please bring up these issues at your Board meeting tonight to determine if there is any support around pursuing any of them.
Please consider issuing a public statement, seeking local legal support, or writing a letter to Santa Cruz City Council regarding the following concerns. Stronger action, of course, would be welcome as well.
1. Oppose the current prosecutions of homeless activists Gary Johnson and Linda Lemaster--both facing a year in jail for protest actions in the PeaceCamp2010 protests last year. The City Attorney's office is heavily involved in, if not the motive force behind these prosecutions.
2. Urge the City to reopen the City Hall, library, and police station grounds at night which were unilaterally (and illegally) closed last fall, apparently to further burden peaceful PC2010 protesters and set them up for tickets and arrest.
3. Support Public Records Act requests (as the Northern California ACLU did in 2006 uncovering the Vogel-Skerry policespying scandal) to determine the extent of selective enforcement for the “Sitting Ban” law (MC 9.50.012) and whether it is being unfairly enforced against homeless people. The City's highly restrictive Sitting Ban bans sitting on public sidewalks in business districts on all but 5% of the sidewalks, even when business are closed or vacant
4. Ask for the repeal of the City's new code sections (MC 4.04.010 and MC 4.04.015) which turn "unattended" infractions (such as sitting next to a building, sleeping at night after 11 PM, sitting on a public bench for more than an hour, drinking a beer in a public place) into misdemeanor crimes. At least nine people have been charged under this law which turns infractions into misdemeanors without any finding of guilt on the misdemeanor.
5. Examine and oppose harassment of street performes The City's prosecution of three of us for singing the song "Downtown" with homeless lyrics at mid-day in front of the Bookshop Santa Cruz prompted the longest infraction trial in Santa Cruz history in my experience with the City Attorney's office spending at least 14 hours there on the public payroll. The case is on appeal and the harassment of musicians is ongoing.
6. Denounce the City's use of costly and abusive civil injunction against two homeless people to deny Anna Richardson and Miguel de Leon a jury trial or a public defender at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars for the crime of "sleeping outside" in a city with no legal shelter for 90% of its homeless population last year. This new procedure is a way of denying homeless people access to due process.
7. Demand changing the City's unusual procedures at City Council which deny members of the public the right to speak on specific "Consent Agenda" items (which make up 3/4 of the average agenda and contain the big money items)--unlike most other cities in California.
8. The most high-profile recent issue is the City's continued prosecution of me for making a mock-Nazi salute as a silent dissenting gesture when the Mayor evicted speaker, threatened another with arrest, and cut short Oral Communications. Though this incident happened in 2002, the City Council is now funding an appeal in this case--with costs exceeding $150,000 (and more than twice that likely to go to the opposing attorneys. The local ACLU should appeal to the northern California ACLU to write an amicus brief as well as issue its own statement.
9. Gather information for action against the City Parks & Recreation Department whose policy of destroying homeless property taken from those in "sweeps" of the Pogonip and other areas is particularly brutal because of the need for survival gear. Fresno has already been successfully sued for this in the Kinkaid case for $2.3 million. The City of Sacramento is currently in trial.
10. Support those who wish to petition or distribute fliers in the Trader Joe's parking lot. Last year those canvassing for the ACLU (!) were cited and subsequently barred from the Trader Jo's parking lot in downtown Santa Cruz last year resulting in a current situation that bans all signature gatherers and solicitors from the area, except those hand-picked by the property manager and Trader Joe's. If you won't defend those working for your own organization in your own city, why should any funding be given to you at all?
I have still not received a list of your Board of Directors after repeated requests. Is this information being kept secret or confidential for any particular reason?
Please pass this letter on to Board members and any interested ACLU members.
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7 PM TODAY
by Bob Lamonica
Sunday Oct 16th, 2011 11:56 PM
That's 7 PM today folks. 7 PM Monday at the LNC for an address to Santa Cruz Chapter of the ACLU, "Defending the Bill Of Rights in Santa Cruz County"
. 2010 Hammer Of Justice Award to Ryan Coonerty.
This organization has been defrauding the public for decades. Mike Rotkin is ACLU dereliction of purpose personified.
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