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USA: Human Rights Activist Ordered to Six Months of Jail, More Repression Scheduled
by Steven Argue
Sunday Jul 29th, 2012 6:44 PM
The case of Ed Frey is reminiscent of an earlier Santa Cruz case where Sandy Loranger did time in jail for feeding the homeless soup. When the judge offered her counseling instead of jail Sandy Loranger replied, "If feeding my fellow man is a crime, I am beyond rehabilitation."
ed_frey.jpg
ed_frey.jpg

[Photo Credit, by Bradley Stuart from Indybay. Human rights activist, Ed Frey, speaking, has been ordered to six months in jail starting August eighth.]

USA: Human Rights Activist Ordered to Six Months of Jail,
More Repression Scheduled in Santa Cruz, California

By Steven Argue

On August 24th Judge Moody ordered human rights activist and attorney, Ed Frey, to begin a six month sentence, ordering him to check in for jail at 9:00 AM on August 8th, 2012.

Ed Frey was arrested in 2010 for protesting on the Santa Cruz County Courthouse steps. He was opposing Santa Cruz laws that make it illegal for the homeless to sleep at night. Ed Frey’s only act of civil disobedience was sleeping outside in solidarity with the homeless. In Santa Cruz, the human rights of the poor to even survive are routinely violated on the most basic levels. Sleep at night and covering-up with blankets are both illegal in Santa Cruz for people outside or in a vehicle. Ed Frey was arrested protesting these laws at a three month protest that was called “Peace Camp 2010”. That protest initially started in response to a 63 year-old homeless minister, Robert Facer, being ticketed for sleeping on the beach on a night when all of the homeless shelters were full. Peace Camp 2010 initially attracted many homeless people and other activists, but it was eventually shut down through police repression.

Other activists still facing abuse stemming from that 2010 protest include Gary Johnson and Linda Lemaster. Gary Johnson, like Ed Frey, has also already been sentenced to six months in jail. On August 24th Gary Johnson will be subjected to a hearing similar to Ed Frey’s most recent one. At that time, Gary could also be ordered to begin his six month sentence. Activist Linda Lemaster is scheduled for jury trial on October 14th for sleeping at Peace Camp 2010 as well.

In addition to prosecuting protesters for sleep “crimes”, the Santa Cruz courts are currently persecuting nine protesters who were part of a three day occupation of an abandoned Wells Fargo Bank in 2011. The abandoned building was seen as having potential use as a community center and shelter for people without housing. Each activist is facing two felony charges and two misdemeanor charges and could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison if found guilty. These activists have become known as the Santa Cruz 11 due to the original number of defendants. Nine are still being prosecuted.

The Santa Cruz 11 are being prosecuted for a peaceful occupation that included a policy, posted to the wall, of carrying out no vandalism. Yet, protesters have been charged with “felony vandalism”, “conspiracy to vandalize and trespass” (another felony), and two types of trespassing misdemeanors. These charges are not backed by actual evidence. None of the Santa Cruz 11 were arrested on the scene and six of the 11 who were charged are high profile journalists who have been critical of the Santa Cruz Police Department and/or Santa Cruz City Council. Not targeted for police repression were individuals present who are more friendly to the status quo, like former Santa Cruz Mayor Katherine Beiers.

On August 20th, seven of the Santa Cruz 11, Cameron Laurendau, Robert Norse, Becky Johnson, Gabriella Ripplyphipps, Brent Adams, and Franklin Alcantara will be appearing in the court of Judge Burdick for their so-called “crimes”. As opposed to this kind of repression being carried out by the local liberal capitalist government of Santa Cruz, the Revolutionary Tendency of the Socialist Party demands the charges against the Santa Cruz 11 be dropped. Instead of seeing the occupation of a bank as a crime, we call for the nationalization of all banks without compensation. And we call for the proletarian seizure of all unused buildings under the control of the banks to provide shelter and housing for those who need it. Meanwhile, the local Democrat Party, which controls the Santa Cruz City Council, sends out their cops to carry out repression against people in the community demanding justice.

Likewise, the liberal government of Santa Cruz sends out its cops to harass the homeless. Numerous laws on the books are there specifically to target the homeless. This includes MC 6.36.010, a law that makes the acts of sleeping or covering up with a blanket punishable by $100 to $200 fines. For the homeless this is often unpayable. Democrat Mayor Don Lane recently passed another law that makes ignoring three sleeping tickets a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. And a third Santa Cruz City law now also makes any third infraction (of any kind) an automatic misdemeanor as well.

During Peace Camp 2010, however, the Sheriff’s department and Santa Cruz DA chose to arrest and prosecute Peace Camp 2010 activists under a much harsher California state law. The law they used was the so-called “Unlawful-Lodging Law” 647e. At the time of their arrest, those found guilty of violations 647e could be punished by up to six months in jail. Since that time, however, the Democrat controlled State legislature doubled the penalty. The reality in courts has now been laid bare, that under this law the act of sleeping, either by people who are homeless or people protesting in solidarity with the homeless, is punishable by up to a year in jail. Since the arrests at Peace Camp 2010 this same so-called “Unlawful-Lodging Law” 647e was also used to attack Occupy Santa Cruz and a number of Occupy activists did face 647e charges.

Gary Johnson and Ed Frey were convicted of sleeping in 2011 and sentenced to six months in jail. Their convictions were secured in the court room of the notoriously pro-police and anti-homeless Judge Gallagher, nicknamed “Grim Gavel” Gallagher. Revealing the political nature of the draconian sentences, Judge Gallagher told homeless activist Gary Johnson he “could get some sleep in jail”.

In June, 2011, with the courts facing a public outcry after two weeks in jail, Ed Frey was released on bail pending appeal with his bail of $50,000 dollars (for sleeping) reduced to $110. Supporters quickly passed the hat and Ed Frey was released from jail on bail. Gary Johnson was similarly released the next week. Those six month sentences, however, have continued to hang over the heads of Ed Frey and Gary Johnson and now the oppressive capitalist state is demanding Ed Frey do the time, starting August 8th.

Another protester charged at that time, Eliot Anderson, was freed by a hung jury that failed to convict him. A juror said of the case, “Anderson should not have to gas his dog to try to get into a shelter to legally sleep.”

In the trial of Gary Johnson and Ed Frey many potential jurors were upset by the fact that they were to sit through a two week trial for the “crime” of sleep. One example was an elementary school teacher who said, "When I first came to Santa Cruz, I lived in my van for three years. During that time, I was hassled, arrested, and jailed. There is no way I could be impartial in this case considering the pain these people are suffering." A number of potential jurors said similar things, but of course they never made it onto the jury. People who are aware of what is going on generally don’t make it onto juries in the United States. Such dumbed-down juries do as they’re told, as this one did, in a typical manner when they were told they weren’t allowed to have their own opinions. In the oft repeated mantra of blind stupidity and injustice in America’s capitalist courts, Judge Gallagher told the jury, "Even if you disagree with the law, you must follow the law."

Four protesters were convicted under 647e for sleeping at the protest. Two did not show up for the absurdity of sentencing and warrants were issued. Ed Frey and Gary Johnson were offered 400 hours of Community Service and 3 years probation for sleeping. In response, Gary Johnson who is homeless, asked, "How can I take probation to obey all laws, when you've defined "sleeping" as lodging to the jury, making it a misdemeanor crime? How can I not sleep for six months during probation?" Judge Gallagher told him “he could get some sleep in jail.” On basic principle and inability to comply, both Gary Johnson and Attorney Ed Frey turned down probation and were then sentenced to six months in jail.

This was reminiscent of an earlier Santa Cruz case where Sandy Loranger did time in jail for feeding the homeless soup. When the judge offered her counseling instead of jail Sandy Loranger replied, "If feeding my fellow man is a crime, I am beyond rehabilitation."

Peace Camp 2010 was simply an act of free speech. It was a peaceful protest with the only act of civil disobedience being the illegal act of sleeping outside. Protest facilities included a port-o-potty provided by Attorney Ed Frey. This helped provide the homeless with a safe place to sleep for months, despite the city government’s failure to provide such needed relief for its citizens.

In addition to Gary Johnson’s six month sentence, Gary Johnson has now also been convicted of additional counts of sleeping since that protest. This is for sleeping last winter outside of the Santa Cruz courthouse with a sign that read “Sleep is Not a Crime”. On those additional counts of sleeping, Judge Gallagher sentenced Gary Johnson to 2 years in prison on a suspended sentence, which means the sentence could be carried out if Gary Johnson is later harassed by police and found guilty of additional “crimes”.

The “Unlawful-Lodging Law” 647e for which Gary Johnson and Ed Frey were arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced was also recently used in Santa Barbara. This was in August 2010 when the Santa Barbara Police ticketed Courtney Caswell-Peyton, a Santa Barbara disabled woman who fell asleep in her wheel chair. She showed-up for court worried about the possibility of getting her first conviction for any crime. Facing strong protest in that case, the Santa Barbara DA dismissed the charge in the “interests of justice”. While happy about not being convicted, she left court saying she was still homeless and questioning why she had no place to sleep.

Unlike the Santa Barbara dismissal, Gary Johnson and Ed Frey were convicted in the notoriously bad Santa Cruz courts. Judge Gallagher is making an example of them for standing-up against the anti-homeless laws of Santa Cruz and California.

“Unlawful-Lodging Law” 647e states, “Who lodges in any building, structure, vehicle, or place, whether public or private, without the permission of the owner or person entitled to the possession or in control of it” “are guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor". According to the Santa Cruz courts, Santa Barbra Police, and the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s department, “lodging” means the same thing as “sleeping”. In May 2011, this same anti-homeless law 647e was made even worse with the State Legislature making a second violation punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. So now homelessness in the state of California is punishable by up to a year in jail if one is caught sleeping twice.

Voting for this worsened anti-homeless law were Democrats and Republicans alike, including local Santa Cruz Democrat and darling of many reformist liberals, Bill Monning. He voted for that increased penalty at the same time that people who actually stand-up for human rights were fighting against it with their personal freedom on the line. Not a single Democrat or Republican voted against.

As the California state government, dominated by Democrats, passes anti-working class austerity and extremely harsh anti-homeless legislation, the Democrat holding power in Washington DC, Barrack Obama, wages wars in an increasing number of the world’s countries. These are wars for the profit of arms manufacturers, oil corporations, and other imperialist capitalists. Likewise, Obama locks-up suspected whistle blower, Bradley Manning, for exposing U.S. crimes against humanity in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bradley Manning is accused of releasing the helicopter footage that shows U.S. troops nonchalantly gunning down civilians including journalists, first aid respondents, and children in cold blood. Instead of charges of murder for those who committed it, it is Bradley Manning who goes to prison under Obama while Obama has publicly stated his opinion that Manning “is guilty”. Likewise, trillions of dollars that could be used in a saner socialist society for housing, healthcare, jobs, and education are instead squandered on war under this insane capitalist system.

Meanwhile, the local Democrats in power in Santa Cruz send out their cops to silence protests for human rights for the homeless, to silence protests against the trillions of tax dollars given to the banks, and cut the hours of care under the In Home Support Services program by 3.6% in 2011, hours of care that are needed to keep the disabled, elderly, and dying living and in their homes. While the Democrats of the Santa Cruz City Council support the city’s anti-homeless laws and police repression, they oppose measures that would help fight homelessness like an increase in the minimum wage and have been part of carrying out austerity that includes the lay-off of workers and cuts in homeless services while at the same time hiring more cops.

As the current crisis of capitalism threatens the break-down all that is left that is civil in our society, the Democrats charge ahead with the Republicans in making sure it is the poor and working class who pay for the crisis of capitalism, not capitalist profits. All reformist dreams of the Democrat Party in any way being a source of any sort of “hope” should be abandoned in favor of recognizing reality. Labor unions must abandon their illusions in the Democrats and stop giving them our money and instead prepare to fight by putting union dues into strike funds. The true power of labor will never be found groveling at the feet of hostile Democrat politicians. Instead, labor has the potential to win demands by shutting down the profits of the capitalists.

As opposed to the Democrat’s program of more war, more cops, criminalization of poverty, political repression, and austerity; labor must move forward with our own demands. Those could include a massive jobs program to house the homeless and slow climate change, the seizure of housing foreclosed by the banks to be used by those who need it, and an end to capitalist medicine in the United States, a major cause of debt, homelessness, and death. Without an independent fight-back of the working class, using the power of the strike for political demands, the situation will just continue to grow bleaker.

A revolutionary workers’ party should be built to advocate and lead on just such a class struggle program. To remain a tool of the working class in the long run such a party also needs to have an anti-capitalist program for the building of socialism. Political parties without a clear and rapid revolutionary anti-capitalist program, once in power, just become mere rulers over the inherent injustices of the capitalist system. Instead of capitalism, an egalitarian socialist economy in the United States with production based on human need rather than capitalist profit could easily provide everyone with a job, housing, health care, and free education. Such a society needs to be built on principles of workers’ democracy rather than Stalinist dictatorship or American style dictatorship of the wealthy.

The alternative to socialist revolution becomes increasingly clear as capitalist society becomes less and less able to take care of its people; climate change caused by capitalist greed becomes an increasing threat to the future of human civilization; the capitalist state becomes increasingly repressive; and the leading capitalist countries plunge the world into war after war of imperialist domination and conquest. As the great German revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg said in 1918, our alternatives are socialism or barbarism.

Stop the Repression! Overturn the Convictions of Ed Frey and Gary Johnson! Drop the Charges Against Linda Lemaster!

Drop the Charges Against the Santa Cruz Eleven!

End Laws making it Illegal for the Homeless to Sleep at Night!

Nationalize the Banks! Seize Housing From the Banks for those Who Need Housing!

Expropriate the 1%! For a Socialist Planned Economy to Provide Housing, Jobs, Healthcare, and Education For All! No Rent Charged Above 10% of Income!

Smash the Capitalist State in a Proletarian Revolution! Disband all U.S. Police Forces, Prisons, and Courts (all of which are anti-poor, anti-working class, and racist). Build a Proletarian Democracy!


This is an article of Liberation News, subscribe free (not affiliated with the Stalinist PSL who stole our name):
https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/liberation_news

Check out the Statement of Purpose of the Revolutionary Tendency of the Socialist Party (RTSP)
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/01/07/18704314.php

Join RTSP discussions on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/yahoo#!/groups/RevolutionaryTendency/


§July not August, Judge ruled for Aug 8 incarceration
by lighthouse Linda Sunday Jul 29th, 2012 7:25 PM
Nice writing, Steve.

the date Ed was recently in front of Judge Moody is in July.

Love the way you invoked Sandy Loranger. We all need to cherish our alternative and street history/herstories, and remember our martyrs.
§Thanks Linda
by Steven Argue Sunday Jul 29th, 2012 7:56 PM
Thanks on the date correction, and I'm glad you liked the article.
§Protest August 7
by Steven Argue Thursday Aug 2nd, 2012 3:11 PM

Free Ed Frey!
§Weds. Morning Update
by Steven Argue Wednesday Aug 8th, 2012 7:23 AM
The protest is continuing into the morning. People slept out, but nobody was arrested this time for sleeping under city or state anti-homeless laws. The cops did show up to force signs to be taken down and force people off the courthouse steps. The protest will continue until 9:00 AM when Ed Frey is ordered to turn himself in for jail. It appears that the government has backed off on forcing Ed Frey to do his sentence in jail and will instead allow him to do his sentence under house arrest where he will pay the government 16 hours a day to wear an ankle bracelet and only be allowed to leave his house for work. Ed Frey, as an attorney, feels he will need to take this deal in the interests of his clients, especially a wrongful termination case he's been working on. He's been offered two very bad choices and should be supported either way. The other victims of this repression will not likely be able, or willing, to pay the money for house arrest even if it is offered. Free Ed Frey! No to the six month jail sentence of Gary Johnson for sleeping! Drop the sleep "crime" charge against Linda Lamaster! Drop the charges against the Santa Cruz 11!

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Jake
Sunday Jul 29th, 2012 7:57 PM
So fucked up. Just... so fucked up.
by Lydia K.
Sunday Jul 29th, 2012 8:00 PM
This is insane!
by Jack G.
Sunday Jul 29th, 2012 8:07 PM
I read your detailed report of these sleep courageous sleep violators/protestors, and the excellent demands. I confirm that although years ago juries were allowed to judge both the law and the facts, nowadays they are instructed that they must accept the law as given by the judge and may only judge the facts. They are not allowed to sit on juries unless they agree to follow the judges instructions as to the law. During fugitive slave days juries would refuse to convict on those charges and that refusal had important social consequences. Nowadays with judges taking control and other factors, juries are a sham pretence.
by J. B.
Sunday Jul 29th, 2012 8:27 PM

& cops...
by Mary Ann
Sunday Jul 29th, 2012 8:30 PM
‎6 months for sleeping outside. Willkommen to fascist Amerikka!
by Karl
Sunday Jul 29th, 2012 8:33 PM
‎"As the current crisis of capitalism threatens the break-down all that is left that is civil in our society, the Democrats charge ahead with the Republicans in making sure it is the poor and working class who pay for the crisis of capitalism, not capitalist profits. All reformist dreams of the Democrat Party in any way being a source of any sort of “hope” should be abandoned in favor of recognizing reality."
Sharing on my page!
by Robert Norse
Monday Jul 30th, 2012 12:46 AM
Much thanks to Steve for this story—Steve's stuff always prompts a variety of comments, many of them positive.

Linda's website notes the date of her trial is October 15th.

Both Ed and Gary were sentenced to the 6 month jail sentence being written about last year They served several weeks in jail and then were released on appeal—now denied.

The D.A. Offered Ed a special deal—allowing him to avoid jail. Ed's response was to insist that Gary be offered the same deal which D.A. Bob Lee apparently refused to do. Ed's discussion of this and his counteroffer can be found at http://www.fullspectrumdemocracy.org

Gary already served two months in jail on his 2-year sentence while awaiting trial earlier this year, simply awaiting trial, because Judge Gallagher would not reduce the $5000 bail he insisted on for Gary, who is unhoused.

Only seven of the Santa Cruz eleven are currently charged. All defendants—whose cases have reached the Preliminary Hearing stage—have had their cases dismissed by Judge Burdick. D.A. Rebekah Young has chosen to refile in two cases—that of Franklin "Angel" Alcantara and Cameron Laurendeau.

All infractions beyond the third within a six month period are automatic misdemeanors according to the new law. (However at court, the City has a provision for reducing misdemeanors to infractions—which denies the defendant a public defender and a jury trial—the constitutionality of this provision hasn't been tested, but seems to contradict the state crimnal code (PC 17 and 19).

For more info on these cases, check out Gary Johnson's website at http://peacecamp2010insider.blogspot.com/ .

A blow-by-blow description of PeaceCamp2010 is at http://www.peacecamp2010.blogspot.com/ .

Becky Johnson's detailed commentary is at http://www.beckyjohnsononewomantalking.blogspot.com/ .

Linda Lemaster's blog gives her own perspective at http://hearthbylinda.blogspot.com/

I've also written and posted extensively on this case on this website (search for "Norse" to find those articles).
by Steven Argue
Monday Jul 30th, 2012 6:28 AM
Some of your additions were actually in the article, but that's fine.

Thanks on the correction on Linda Lemaster's trial being on October 14th instead of October 15th.

Also thanks for letting me know that seven of the Santa Cruz 11 are still facing charges. I read that four of the 11 had their charges dismissed by Judge Burdick and D.A. Rebekah Young refiled for two, making me think that nine were still facing charges, but you, as one of the Santa Cruz 11, are much closer to those cases, so I'll take your word for it.
by Charlie
Monday Jul 30th, 2012 6:45 AM
I read that article lastnight. The Democrats are as full of shit as the Republicans ! I get so sick and tired of hearing people saying "America is a free country!" If this country was free, the protesters would not be arrested for speaking the truth!
by G
Monday Jul 30th, 2012 8:09 AM
Nice article, Steve, thank you.

No one seemed to notice that the 2nd time around, for me (currently convicted, 2 year sentence, suspended, for protesting the criminalization of protest), was in direct response to OccupySantaCruz being scared off via 602(o) signage. As a result, I was cited for 602(o) but not prosecuted with it (the DA and judge were so embarrassed that they aggressively suppressed ANY discussion of 602(o) during trial). Next month, at the status hearing for the first case, I'll find out if the suspended sentence from the second case is unsuspended...
by Steven Argue
Monday Jul 30th, 2012 8:25 AM
Err, I mean Linda's trial starts October 15th, not 14th.
by Lisabeth
Monday Jul 30th, 2012 8:46 AM
Thanks for this article, Steven. I will also share it on my FB page. The police state seems to be gripping our throats more tightly with each new day. The day will come when we fight back and Win. When people get arrested for sleeping, the wei...rd anti-logic of Orwell's "1984" has all too clearly become reality. Of course, it was true when he wrote it as well, and although he wrote about the Stalinist USSR, he should have looked closer to home for his model of complete control of citizens through a bombardment of hyped-up nationalism, endless wars, and crazy slogans. "War Is Peace"..."Crime Is Sleep"... "HOPE"..."CHANGE"...whatever. To Hell with the Capitalists and their phoney crisis which has given them leave to oppress, arrest us, shoot at us, murder us without restraint. We must fight back!
by Steven Argue
Monday Jul 30th, 2012 8:51 AM
I'm glad you liked the article Gary. We need a stepped-up campaign so that hopefully it isn't 2013 (or 2014) when we see you again.
by Gary S.
Monday Jul 30th, 2012 11:54 AM
Stunning. -.-
by Robin
Monday Jul 30th, 2012 12:03 PM
Fascist bastards!
by Wobble
Friday Aug 3rd, 2012 6:50 AM
homeless.jpg
homeless.jpg

The homes should be liberated from the banks. No jail for Ed Frey.
by Charles M. Minster
Friday Aug 3rd, 2012 10:16 PM
Judge Gallagher and Moody,

To say that I am applaud by the sentencing of Attorney Ed Frey to jail for six months for the "crime" of sleeping on the street is to be leinent in the extreme. The idea that you would sentence Mr. Frey to jail for his actions defending the homeless and helpless puts you firmly in the pocket of the banks, brokers and corporate interests of Santa Cruz and is a black mark on that city that will not soon heal.

After the bankers of this State stole billions from the pockets and savings of hundreds of thousand of residents and have yet to appear before a judge let alone be charged with a crime. After the brokers in California connected with Wall Street have fleeced the citizens of this State of billions and are lauded as "upstanding" and "patriotic" citizens. When a F-16 pilot can bomb wedding parties in Pakistan and American citizens in the Middle East and praised as "hero" and your court sentences Mr. Frey to jail for six months one can only believe that you are nothing more then an bended knee lackey to the financial interests cited above.

Release Attorney Frey and drop all charges NOW!


Charles M. Minster
Member California Alliance for Retired Americans
Senior Action Network of San Francisco
National Active and Retired Federal Employees
Honorably Discharged Regular Army Veteran
by make the oppressor pay
Saturday Aug 4th, 2012 5:43 PM
if this is the kind of crime Bob Lee wastes our tax dollars on it is time to take his funds away. tell your county supervisor to cut the districcct attorney's budget. tell them why and tell them often.

btw penal code 26 section 4 makes being unconscious a defence to all crimes, so being asleep should be a defence to sleeping.
by Steven Argue
Thursday Aug 9th, 2012 1:51 AM
I meant to type 16 dollars, not 16 hours

The protest is continuing into the morning. People slept out, but nobody was arrested this time for sleeping under city or state anti-homeless laws. The cops did show up to force signs to be taken down and force people off the courthouse steps. The protest will continue until 9:00 AM when Ed Frey is ordered to turn himself in for jail. It appears that the government has backed off on forcing Ed Frey to do his sentence in jail and will instead allow him to do his sentence under house arrest where he will pay the government 16 [dollars] a day to wear an ankle bracelet and only be allowed to leave his house for work. Ed Frey, as an attorney, feels he will need to take this deal in the interests of his clients, especially a wrongful termination case he's been working on. He's been offered two very bad choices and should be supported either way. The other victims of this repression will not likely be able, or willing, to pay the money for house arrest even if it is offered. Free Ed Frey! No to the six month jail sentence of Gary Johnson for sleeping! Drop the sleep "crime" charge against Linda Lamaster! Drop the charges against the Santa Cruz 11!
by Steven Argue
Thursday Aug 9th, 2012 3:48 AM
The protest demanding freedom for Ed Frey went to the jail with Ed Frey where Ed Frey was outrageously given an ankle bracelet for house arrest for sleeping.

Ed Frey is serving his sentence under house arrest. Gary Johnson has been sentenced to six months in jail and will probably be ordered to show-up at jail after his hearing on August 24th. Linda's Lemaster's jury trial begins October 15th. I wanted to get some future actions organized out of this last one, but Robert Norse was hostile to the idea.

At the jail, despite my objections, and despite not taking any vote, Robert Norse turned the protest into a HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom) meeting. A pre-typed agenda was passed out, never voted on, and Robert proceeded to conduct his "HUFF meeting" under that schedule. Yet this was a broader protest, not a HUFF meeting, and it was a protest not even organized by HUFF.

I am not a member of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom) for several reasons, including its undemocratic domination by Robert Norse as well as Robert Norse's hostility to forming coalitions with other groups, Robert's general opposition to organizing demonstrations (but having no problem taking over demonstrations when other people organize them), Robert's hostility towards anyone to the left of him, including the RTSP, who promote ideas beyond protesting the symptoms of capitalism and who instead call for real measures that would end homelessness and police abuses, Robert Norse's anti-union stands, particularly during the bus driver's strike, Becky Johnson's absurd campaign on second hand smoke where she claimed it doesn't cause health problems, and the blatant anti-Palestinian racism Becky Johnson.

We can still work together and have these differences within a movement that is making specific demands, like for instance coming together at a protest demanding freedom for Ed Frey and ending the sleeping ban, but I object to being roped into participating in a membership meeting, along with other protesters, of a reformist organization with which I am not a member. An organization whose reformist program I do not even support. This was a protest, not a HUFF meeting. Further more, I object to the protest being run under an agenda not even voted on by participants. At the protest, I didn’t want to create more conflict beyond the objections I raised, but I would ask that Robert conduct himself in a more professional manner in the future.
by G
Thursday Aug 9th, 2012 11:32 PM

Is it just me or is it a circumstance fraught with irony that Ed is serving his sentence for supporting the homeless under house arrest?

Not just you. But that's nothing, ya shoulda seen the trials! Kafka meets Carlin (in a good mood, maybe), big and little hideousnesses abounded! For years. Decades! Along the way a judge had to say, out loud, lookin' us right in the eye, had to say there is no right to sleep. Yes, really, no right to sleep. No need to imagine it, transcript says so, just like the judge said so, clearly and explicitly. No right to sleep.

But that's not what I wanted to write about. I wanted to write about the criminalization of protest. Ed was prosecuted for protesting. Protesting the sleeping ban, an unjust and inhumane set of infractions. It can be kinda illegal to arrest non-homeless people, well, before Occupy, maybe, especially when they are exercising Constitutional rights, but arrest the County Of Santa Cruz, California did, repeatedly, using an unjust and inhumane misdemeanor law. Judges didn't seem to mind, didn't seem to mind at all. Juries neither, at least those that didn't speak their minds, clearly or subtley, and walk out, walk right out of their selection process.

So yeah, it is weird for Ed to be treated like a felon, jailed via misdemeanor, at home (via overtly cell-phone-like device), for protesting a cruel and inhumane set of infractions, infractions which criminalize something critical to life itself.

Making life illegal is weirder. Nothing new, of course, but really strange to experience, first hand. The State and/or Federal Supreme Courts remain, via Writ or whatever, and there are plenty of cites to debate. But that won't change the past. Santa Cruz, California thinks it is legal to make it illegal for selected people to exist. They insist. So do a number of other places in the USA. That's weird. Really weird.

Don't histories (and religions) keep trying to teach us such trends are something to be avoided? Maybe it's just me...

by xfropulopulus
Saturday Aug 11th, 2012 2:30 PM
Chrck out and share the Frey Is a Real American video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_SAb5AfF0M
by Steven Argue
Friday Aug 24th, 2012 4:36 PM
Despite being told by the judge to report to jail today at 3:00 PM for his six month sentence (on the charge of sleeping outside at a protest for the homeless) the jail wouldn't take Gary Johnson today. They told him to return at 8 AM Monday for booking and the start of his sentence at that time. Gary has an additional two year suspended sentence for sleeping outside as well. It is suspended on the condition he obey all laws. He is afraid he may be arrested for sleeping this weekend and have the two year sentence imposed on top of the six month sentence. Free Gary Johnson! Being poor should not be a crime!
by Steven Argue
Thursday Nov 15th, 2012 2:22 AM
Linda Lemaster Convicted for Resting at Human Rights Protest for the Homeless, Sentencing December Third

Liinda Lemasters, disabled, cannot sit for long periods of time, so she laid down at a 2010 protest against the anti-homelss laws that make it illegal for homeless people to sit, lie-down, or sleep in the city of Santa Cruz. On November ninth she was convicted for this "crime" and now faces up to six months in jail under the California "anti-lodging" law. Her sentencing will be on December third. Linda is is the third person now convicted for participating in that 2010 protest. Gary Johnson and Ed Frey have been convicted for sleeping at that same protest under the same law that Linda is being persecuted. Gary Johnson began a a six month sentence on August 27, 2012 at the the Santa Cruz County jail and Ed Frey was put under under house arrest for six months on August 8, 2012. Along with the need for a revolution, a strong protest is needed for October third. For more on these cases see: