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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Police State and Prisons

Updates: Three Harassment Tickets by an SCPD Officer This Morning
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Oct 25th, 2011 11:57 AM
Yesterday morning I recorded a number of interesting interviews with Occupy Santa Cruz (OSC) folks which I'll hope to play on Thursday's night Free Radio show 6-8 PM. I also spoke with Chris ("Commander X") Doyon who has been living down there for the past three weeks. I pass on his report. With Oakland and San Jose Occupations under serious police assault, I encourage folks to join an emergency phone tree to support, resist, and/or witness any attempt to crack down on the Occupation here. Go to http://occupysantacruz.org/contact/ to contact an on-line access point for OSC, or go down to the protest and sign up. Or go down and set up your own tent.
DEALING WITH DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR

Yesterday I delivered some coffee to the protest around 8:30 AM as well as to individuals excluded because of violent disagreements. I recorded both sides of a dispute which I'll play Thursday night. The relevant thing was that the issue was resolved by OSC and dissidents without police or physical injury.

Even more moving to hear was the following reconciliation. Tank, a homeless Camp Alliance activist, was hit in the face by "Drunk Joe" (I may have the name wrong) with Joe then excluded from the camp after some heavy extended ruckus early Sunday morning. However later Sunday, Tank reported, Joe returned apologized, shook hands with him, in an act of apology and forgiveness. Disruptions happen, Chris notes, and people deal with them on an ad hoc basis.

For Chris, it's not the use of drink or drugs, but abusive behavior that's the issue. Chris strongly approves the posted "no drinking or drugs" rules (which I'm less happy with) because it encourages people who do so to do so discreetly or off site.

Chris gets passionate when reflecting on drinkers or tweekers. "Take your bottle elsewhere." As to the claim that the park has been the traditional "home" of lots of homeless folks (illegal but actual), he says, "no, the river bottom is where folks have lived, not in the benchlands." "Girl scouts and other groups can meet here; why can't we without interference?" When protesters want to enjoy a six pack after a hard day of picketing, cleaning, organizing, and recruiting, they go off site. Chris acknowledged that alcohol is an addiction and did note that some alcoholics are active workers in OSC. Or they keep a discreet low profile. "I don't judge people for their addictions, but simply hold them to a civil standard."

I tend to be more skeptical of Open Container laws, "No Drink and Drugs" rules if used as a strictly enforced club. I'm wary of mob scenes that can develop "to enforce rules", because, as Chris pointed out in the march to the SCPD on Saturday, "the cop within us" is eager to control and repress. Skidmark Bob Duran, a local musician, long-time activist and original community organizer of Santa Cruz Copwatch and the Serf City Banner put it well with his song "Kill the Cop Within You".

Disruptive incidents may distract, but they are minor compared to the broad sweep of what is happening. Often they become a false focus instead of the day-to-day institutional violence of folks losing their homes, vehicles, dignity, and friends in a system that has resources but no pity. This is the real violence that OSC has formed to fight.

Chris D. reported the camp is doing fine and growing (more than 50 people last night--I counted almost that many tents on Monday morning when I was down there).


FIRST TICKETS AT THE SAN LORENZO BENCHLANDS CAMP
On the negative side in the wake of the violent police actions against Occupy Oakland of several hours ago, Chris noted that a chunky SCPD cop, while on patrol taking photos of the camp, as apparently happens every morning, took time out to issue three citations--the first Chris has heard of. One was for heating coffee over an open fire (something that may have been happening every morning). Another was for riding a bike on the grass. A third was for "destroying vegetation".

It's been my perception that campers have been particularly concerned about respecting the environment--moving the tents regularly, setting up "do'nt walk on the grass areas", etc. Sounds like the officer involved may have succumbed to the temptation of using his badge, gun, and ticketbook or perhaps let off his leash by those above? No clear information. If anyone has the name of the cop or the victims, please post them. Moyne

Chris noted that Noah Shepardson was part of a nationwide phone conference with Occupy's throughout the nation and will be reporting on that later today at the 6 PM General Assembly.


CAUTION AGAINST ELTISM, SECRECY, AND COMMANDEERING
Chris also had some critical comments about some leaders and politicians who want to commandeer things. He said what gave him faith is that the consensus process can screen that out. Forceful speakers like Ed Frey "can't dominate people with long fucking speeches".

I myself had a tiff with legal worker Steve Pleich a few days ago. I'm a member of the Legal Committee and saw Steve talking with attorney Brian Murtha about a proposed Injunction to protect the protest. Steve refused to share the proposed Injunction, insisting it was all "in confidence." Ed came over and agreed that we needed to have an open transparent process and that such documents needed to be shown. Still Pleich refused and announced "we're done!", walking away. Steve is an articulate and hard-working guy, but secrecy and elitist expertise is part of what we're fighting here. We don't need issues cooked up in closed rooms and then sprung like a baked cake and pushed through using "expert" credentials. It's also wise to be wary of those seeking conventional political power, since that often involves deals with the very authorities who legitimacy we were challenging.

Chris noted he'd seen little sign of city councilmembers lurking about. Noted Chris, "unlike those with calcified agendas, I have a lot of fuckin' faith in the kids" who are the backbone of the movement.



HAPPY SIGNS
Chris noted there may be some spiffy new signs coming up. Two anonymous donors have volunteered lawn signs. Another is donating $150 pizza money per week for 12 pizzas. He also said there was a full treasury.

Prisoners coming out of jail from across the street sometimes stop by the camp in search of support. One asked for a got a blanket, Chris reports. and then noticed him leaving with it. Only two hours later he returned with the blanket folded and laundered and half a dozen bags of groceries as donation.


OTHER NEWS
For the more conventional politicos, I got the following e-mail: "

The People's Democratic Club of Santa Cruz County's October Meeting will explore how to participate in and how to support OCCUPY SANTA CRUZ, the Occupy movement in general, and what can we learn from OCCUPY. Various folk familiar with OSC and OWS will share their experiences and perspective. The meeting is Thursday, October 27, at 7:00 PM, in the Galleria Bldg., 740 Front Street, #165, Santa Cruz, CA (the building next to the Riverfront Twin Cinemas, in the suite next to Dave's Computer Services). The meeting is open, free, and accessible. Contact: Brian Murtha, bmurt [at] cruzio.com


And in Cincinnatii, cops moved against Occupy Cincinnati, in spite of the protest filing for an Injunction: http://sentientcincinnati.com/2011/10/21/piatt-park-occupiers-arrested-tents-dismantled/ . http://communitypress.cincinnati.com/article/AB/20111017/NEWS0108/110180323/Occupy-Cincinnati-sues-city-over-citations .

Tip of the hat to Alex Darocy for alerting us to the twitter website to (sort of) track arrests: https://twitter.com/#!/OccupyArrests It's still a little unclear to me which cities are getting busted (as in an ongoing list). If anyone has any info, please post...
§Update to the Updates
by Robert Norse Wednesday Oct 26th, 2011 8:16 AM
LARGE SHOWING AT CITY COUNCIL MEETING YESTERDAY
Chris Doyon reported to me that Councilmember Madrigal came by Occupy Santa Cruz on Tuesday morning and said he'd present an emergency resolution to protect Santa Cruz from the kind of violent suppression of civil liberties happening in Oakland and other cities. Apparently Madrigal didn't carry through on his promise, nor did Vice-Mayor Don Lane, who also reportedly said he'd second such a motion.

In response Doyon organized a small march to City Council at 3 PM, of about a dozen people, which swelled to a nearly full chamber of participants at 5 PM during Mayor Coonerty's segregated Oral Communications period. One articulate and passionate speaker followed another, some inviting, some denouncing City Council, but almost all urging them to rein in any police attack.

City Council seems terminally timid and coopted by the SCPD and Downtown Association. The same meeting saw City Council unanimously rubberstamped a 50's era Pacific Avenue regression reinstituting two-way traffic in spite of no stats showing a business improvement in other cities that took the same course. Business brainaics have apparently been Occupying Downtown and now want to expel any residue of communal space down there as they desperately try to "fix" the depression. Earlier such attempts such as over-policing, panhandler-punishing parking meters, and anti-homeless "Sitting Ban" laws having apparently not "worked".

J.M. Brown completely ignored the Occupy Santa Cruz protest at City Council though it actually forced Mayor Coonerty (for the first time that I remember) to explain why he was texting during a meeting. As usual Coonerty crunched Oral Communications to 2 minutes per speaker and maintained his "speak only if you're spoken to" position on the Consent Agenda items. (In most other cities, members of the public have the right to speak on the Consent Agenda items individually that make up 75% of the Council's business--not in Santa Cruz, thanks to Coonerty).

I'll be playing that Oral Communications period tomorrow on the stream of free radio at 6:30 PM (http://www.freakradio.org). It'll also be archived a day later at http://www.huffsantacruz.org.

With blatant crackdowns the order of the day in places like Oakland, San Jose, Chicago and elsewhere, I hope Occupy Santa Cruz supporters are considering a Roust Response (advice for folks coming down in response to an emergency call when there's a real police raid, a plan to return and restore the Occupation once that happens, and doublechecking to be sure that folks aren't called down on "wolf" false calls). I also suggest that individuals each adopt one city in California as a sister city and keep tabs on what's happening there--particularly the hot spots--as well as setting up a liaison person in that city.



SACRAMENTO FIGHTBACK AND VICTORIES

Just as the Oakland community returned to reclaim its space facing down police violence and teargas last night, Sacramento has been waging a street and legal struggle to restore basic political rights in that city. See below.

(most recent story first)

http://www.occupytogether.org/
http://www.news10.net/news/local/article/160106/2/DA-Will-not-charge-arrested-Occupy-Sacramento-protestors
http://www.examiner.com/liberal-in-sacramento/occupy-sacramento-sues-the-city-over-first-amendment-violations
http://occupysac.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/OCCUPY_MERIN_LETTER_LAWSUIT_10-24-11_Shirey_Teichert_Council.001.pdf
https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=1zJvMGeTD38N-Q1oyorvobZnDdc3gC4bYiWRhERI3XMO9NuSq--3Nv_2WY66x&hl=en
http://www.examiner.com/liberal-in-sacramento/city-council-ignores-occupy-sacramento-and-so-the-arrests-continue
http://www.examiner.com/liberal-in-sacramento/occupy-sacramento-heads-to-city-council-again-tonight#ixzz1bFFLApLm
http://www.examiner.com/liberal-in-sacramento/cindy-sheehan-visits-occupy-sacramento-and-19-protesters-arrested
http://www.examiner.com/liberal-in-sacramento/occupy-sacramento-attends-the-city-council-meeting
http://www.examiner.com/liberal-in-sacramento/arrests-continue-at-occupy-sacramento-but-protesters-want-to-camp-legally


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by It's over.
Tuesday Oct 25th, 2011 6:46 PM
The "Occupy" protests began as a statement against the top 1% by the 99%.But in the month since that original statement, the math has flipped; at least in the case of Santa Cruz and Oakland.

The current reality is that the bottom 1% have co-opted the movement. (And when I say bottom 1%, I mean economically only and by U.S. standards only. I'm not making a value statement about the morals or beliefs of the protesters. I'm not saying they are inferior in any way but economically. And I'm saying that while they may be the bottom 1% here, they live a life of luxury by most world standards.).

But there's no question the percentage has been flipped. Homeless advocates and Anarchist believers have co-opted the protest to use it for their self-serving purposes. The people living in San Lorenzo park didn't come to support the Occupy movement; they were already here. They don't really care about the Occupy movement; it simply gives them a (temporary) loop hole to camp without harassment.

Robert and Chris (the name "commander x is nothing more than ego stroking) have whored the original premise of the Occupy movement out to further their own agendas and goals.

The fact that there is no set of demands, or a clear objective, after a month, would seem to me to support my belief. Disagree? I would like to hear the alternate opinion of anyone but Robert. His opinion is already obvious, and irrelevant to me.
by Melinda Kuestersteffen-Enns (Mrs.)
Tuesday Oct 25th, 2011 10:28 PM
I'd have to agree on this point. I found the Occupy protest interesting, if somewhat disjointed and lacking clear vision. It seems this lack of a clear mission has made it a fertile target for co-option by people like our local "homeless advocates". It's unfortunate, but there it is. Too bad. It looked for a moment there like we might rise to the greater occasion, but in the end, we have come right back to the same tired "activists" belaboring the same specious points that they have for the last three decades, or whatever it is. Points, it's worth noting, that almost no one seems to concur with, or even remotely care about. This is why these activists have become the butt of so much merriment and mirth amongst their gathered detractors. It really is sad that OSC will amount to the same thing, after all the other serious participants, with a real point about our societal iniquities, have left in frustration.

Okay. I'm outta here.
by Linda Ellerbee
Wednesday Oct 26th, 2011 1:39 PM
So OSC has devolved into a slobbering brawl between Drunk Joe and Curbside Chris over whether people should be allowed to drink and do drugs in public places, eh? Figures. I hope the Occupy movement is going better elsewhere.

Sigh.
by Ed Natol
Wednesday Oct 26th, 2011 4:48 PM
When you go into the river bed to pee - even though you got behind a bush to shield you from the camp, everybody on the other side of the river can see everything. Just so you know, my wife was not impressed.

OSC is really starting to feel like transient camp now. Although I will give them props for not having that ugly vibe that the drug seller/users down at the south end of the park do. When the pile of bike parts show up, it's pretty much over.
by Robert Norse
Thursday Oct 27th, 2011 5:07 AM
Wouldn't it be nice if Santa Cruz authorities did the decent thing and opened the bathrooms in San Lorenzo Park, City Hall, and elsewhere at night? Instead of closing them for "repairs" as they did at the beginning of the protest at the Soquel/Front St.. garage?

Meanwhile, I've found it hard to locate good coverage of this night's events in Oakland. But inspirational were the victorious fence-removal, the huge (1500+) General Assembly, call for a General Strike on November, massive march in Oakland, and re-occupation of Oscar Grant Plaza there.

A good introduction is http://m.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/27/oakland-police-protest-wounding-veteran?cat=world&type=article .
There's a brief video at http://storyful.com/stories/1000010692

A blistering indictment of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan can be seen at http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/10/26/olbermann-oakland-mayor-must-fire-police-chief-or-resign/

Let's hope the strong cry for removal of Quan for her support of the police violence on October 25th may spread south to a call for the removal from Council of our own Mayor Coonerty and any successors who follow his closed-meeting, muzzled-public-comment, over-policing policies. Coonerty is due to rotate the mayorship to Vice-Mayor Don Lane in November). The Coonerty-Lane Council didn't reply to the many who spoke to them Tuesday night. Not even the dignity of a reply, much less any assurance of protection against Oakland-style back-stabbing and police violence.

Commander X (Chris Doyon) may be back tomorrow with an on-the-spot report from Oakland.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) met yesterday and is trying to organize a written bulletin about protest events. We're also working to organize sympathetic activists in OSC who report on and organize emergency responses to police harassment of homeless people along the riverbank, downtown, and elsewhere in Santa Cruz. Class warfare by police and merchants has been business-as usual here for years. It's only with the blatant overreaching of the 1% nationally, that the broader middle-class is beginning to realize it.

Please contact me or folks at the camp with your reports, so we can put them out to the broader community.
by Seriously
Thursday Oct 27th, 2011 4:48 PM
Robert,

I respectfully request that you stop reporting on the Occupy Santa Cruz movement. In part because you are more and more being accurately characterized as someone who is hijacking the movement's true message and goals for your own long-held agenda. And in part because your reputation in this community so precedes you that you are causing more people to not join the movement than join it.

Seriously.

If you truly support the values of Occupy Santa Cruz, the best thing you can do to show your support is to stop posting on it as if you're one of the leaders of the movement. Posting as one of the many is fine. Posting as you do as a self-appointed spokesperson or owner of the movement is not.

If you continue posting on it, I'll characterize your continuance as proof that you are using the movement, and I'll keep that in mind the next time you try to rally any support for your HUFF actions.

Thank you.
by Robert Norse
Friday Oct 28th, 2011 4:57 AM
For those interested in Oakland's upcoming November 2nd General Strike planning (and the prospect that something similar be mounted here), check out the interesting "1946: The Oakland General Strike [the last general strike in the U.S.]" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/10/28/18695630.php .

For any newcomers, I don't claim to represent anyone or anyone's opinions other than myself, though I do post at the request of and with the support of some Occupy Santa Cruzers. I'll continue to do so. The depth and validity of criticism can be judged by its specificity and relevance to the real issues and events reported on. The fact that there are conflicting views and personalities involved here shouldn't prevent us from supporting the growing movement. It won't stop me at any rate.

I'd be happy to see others post their accounts as well. That might be more productive than vague personal attacks.

For those who want t hear other voices directly, check out http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb111127.mp3. Community organizer Mike Rhodes describes growing support of resistance to police attacks on the Santa Fe homeless encampment with Occupy Fresno joining in, and a proposed joint homeless/OF occupation of the grounds near City Hall. That and the comments made by Occupy Santa Cruz at Tuesday's City Council meeting.
by Robert Norse
Friday Oct 28th, 2011 4:59 AM
...that's http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb111027.mp3. It's a little early this morning.
by Ed Natol
Wednesday Nov 2nd, 2011 9:03 AM
"Wouldn't it be nice if Santa Cruz authorities did the decent thing and opened the bathrooms in San Lorenzo Park, City Hall, and elsewhere at night? Instead of closing them for "repairs" as they did at the beginning of the protest at the Soquel/Front St.. garage?"

It would be great if those restrooms could be kept open for longer periods of time. But this was at 4:30 in the afternoon and all those were open. As was the ones at Bookshop, the county building and the OSC potapottie. Maybe he didn't feel like walking to any of those, or maybe he just thinks that urinals are a tool of the Man.