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

Homeless "Solution" in Santa Cruz
by Leslie Dinkin
Thursday Aug 30th, 2012 1:40 PM
I sent this letter to the editor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, expressing my feelings about the front page article today. Even if it's not published there, I want it published here. And watch for an event posting as well.
Why is the forced relocation of people who camp to survive called a "solution?" My progressive advocate friends believe the community of Santa Cruz is compassionate, but as a newcomer here, I am disheartened by the paucity of public outrage or sorrow expressed. And buildings in our county that might be used to house folks stand empty--such as the Brookdale Lodge in my own small community.

Just yesterday a new coalition formed to stand with the homeless. There will be a vigil and march next Friday, September 7, starting at 7 PM at Santa Cruz City Hall. We plan to advocate to change the law in Santa Cruz that makes it illegal to camp here. I want to go further and advocate for the creation of supportive housing for people in need of the community's help in recovery. If you agree, join us.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Brent Adams
Thursday Aug 30th, 2012 6:34 PM

Please join us in community as we express our sadness and outrage at this campaign of harassment of those who're the most vulnerable.

We will gather at City Hall at 7pm, Friday Sept. 7th

We will hold a circle and share some thoughts before we slowly walk together through town carrying candles and lofting tents above our heads. We'll traverse Pacific Ave, then visit the river levee and then back to City Hall.

We expect to have dixie cup hooded candles but please bring flashlights and tents if you have them.

This is the first step in a new multi-tiered campaign to address the city's criminalization of outside night sleep.
We welcome you to join us.


The City of Santa Cruz has been using the SCPD & the City Parks Dept. to attack homeless camps.

We are in the 7th week of this campaign that has seen more than 300 citations given, more than 100 camps destroyed and personal belongings trashed and more than 150 arrests.

While the Homeless Services Center has closed the Paul Lee Loft shelter the City has offered no other solutions to people who are survival camping in the woods, river levee and downtown.

It is illegal to sleep outside in Santa Cruz btwn 11pm - 8am and it is illegal to lay under a blanket... EVEN IF ONE IS AWAKE!!

Where are these folks supposed to sleep safely and legally?
This situation refuses basic human rights and dignity and in many cases, is patently against the law.
by RazerRay
Friday Aug 31st, 2012 12:01 PM

"First, our analysis ... suggests that if development assistance is not appropriately funded relative to the size, geography, and needs of (a community in the) targeted regions, it is liable to act as a double-edged sword by precipitating a revolution..." ~~Kim Cragin, Peter Chalk; Terrorism and Development - RAND Corp, 2003, http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_reports/MR1630.html

Let me start by stating ALL "industry standard" studies used by American cities in the development and implementation of their homeless policies conclusively illustrate that disenfranchising, demonizing and criminalizing their houseless citizens

A> DOES NOT alleviate the perceived or actual problems and
B> It costs A LOT of taxpayers money to implement those ineffectual policies.(1)

That tax money is funneled along with the dysfunctional policing policies to local law enforcement agencies which become overtly politicized against a portion of their community causing the officer-on-the-street to be even less effective in their community policing tasks as they become overwhelmed enforcing nuisance ordinances against a specific sector of the city's residents. Enforcement of these ordinances also occurs at the expense of availability of the police and their resources to the community at large within existing budgets.

(and lest I beg the point about disenfranchisement; According to a recent census of the houseless in Santa Cruz, most were employed and housed locally before they became houseless and therefore are a part of the community.)

Further, these ordinances are often unconstitutional at face and selectively enforced in order to avoid legal challenges by irate victims of these ordinances created by city officials with minimal knowledge of criminal law even as these ordinances and related 'sweeps' hamper the ability of the police to interact with and serve more socially legitimate functions within the community of homeless, which would be very distrustful of the police due previous experience with the intrinsically selective nature of city-created nuisance law enforcement.

Typically the end result of the disenfranchisement, demonization, and criminalization of the houseless solely favors the interests of commercial property owners and developers ... and police agencies(2), public and private, whose budgets and manpower are increased, even in times of economic troubles, again at the expense of the community at large.

All this for policies that do not work
All this for policies that cost taxpayers dollars.

What part of "Fiduciary Malfeasance" with taxpayer's money doesn't Santa Cruz city's elected officials and management understand when they spend their citizens money on policies repeatedly proven ineffective and counterproductive?

What part of "Your city is absolutely wasting tax revenues on policies PROVEN not functional" don't the taxpayers of Santa Cruz understand?

Footnotes:
1. Street People and the Contested Realm of Public Space, Randall Amster
http://books.google.com/books/about/Street_people_and_the_contested_realms_o.html?id=JnVHAAAAMAAJ

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDiEghBf1Ec (Exposition on Nuisance Laws and society)

by Steve Pleich
Friday Aug 31st, 2012 12:22 PM
As my good friend and long time progressive activist David Minton Siva has said, "unsheltered people in Santa Cruz are not homeless, they are houseless, Santa Cruz is their home". Until we achieve the profound clarity of understanding that nearly 70% of all unsheltered people in Santa Cruz were residents of Santa Cruz before they became houseless, we will never see justice done to those less fortunate of any stripe.

No Justice, No Peace!
by PrionPartyy
Friday Aug 31st, 2012 9:43 PM
the land they are "camping" on is public land. I am a part of THAT public. If I go to that park, which is highly unlikely, then I expect and deserve the right to enjoy every bit of that park. Even the portions of that park that some people feel (FEEL!) they have a right to STEAL for THEMSELVES and set up house keeping.

Those people are STEALING my right to enjoy OUR park.

Call me a liar. Tell me HOW I am wrong.

That PUBLIC land is MY land every bit as much as it is THEIR land, But THEY are denying my MY right to enjoy MY/THEIR/OUR land by claiming it as their own. Steal from someone else. Because I will call YOU out.

GO on! Tell me how I am wrong. I dare you. You THIEVES!!!
by Roberrt Norse
Saturday Sep 1st, 2012 11:33 AM
Police agencies pressed, encouraged, and enabled by vigilante groups are the ones doing the thieving--of homeless property, dignity, and health.

I doubt most folks other than those with the need to sleep somewhere (not everywhere) use the parks at night. San Lorenzo and the Pogonip are BIG parks.

Those who call the homeless thieves are mistaken.

The need for sanitary facilities, campgrounds, and meanwhile--the right to be left alone unless real crime is happening--this seems to me rather obvious.

Denying it can only be done if you create a sub-human classification that does not require decent human treatment. That's what the current sweeps and the Drug War propaganda are all about.

Those who wish to follow a more vitriolic exchange on this subject can check out the usual troll toilet stream at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/opinion/ci_21440682/you-see-it-aug-31-2012 . My advice (which I have trouble following): don't get stuck in a fight with folks acting like bigots and bullies.
by sleep is not a crime
Saturday Sep 1st, 2012 6:33 PM
gary johnson denied no one access to courthouse property at night. the county did that themseves by inflicting a curfew upon th public.
FREE GARY JOHNSON

ARREST THE GOVERNMENT

"There could be no such thing as landed property originally. Man did not make the earth, and, though he had a natural right to occupy it, he had no right to locate as his property in perpetuity any part of it; neither did the Creator of the earth open a land-office, from whence the first title-deeds should issue." THOMAS PAINE, AGRARIAN JUSTICE