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After the Friday Tent Vigil--Good Times Coverage and Tuesday City Council Meeting
by Robert Norse
Monday Sep 10th, 2012 12:00 PM
In response to the Good Times (on line only) story giving its own rather wretched coverage of the Friday tent vigil/march through Santa Cruz, I had a few thoughts. There is also a City Council meeting coming up Tuesday September 11th with a few items on it for those who have the stomach to attend. If anyone goes to speak there or has any thoughts, I'd encourage them to post their impressions. Some have also proposed follow-up actions to the Tent Vigil/Mob turnout on Friday. Nice work, everyone.
GOOD TIMES' BAD COVERAGE
Good Times on-line covered the vigil/march in a story of sorts:
http://www.gtweekly.com/index.php/santa-cruz-blogs-commentary/santa-cruz-news-ticker/4154-reaction-to-the-crackdown.html

There is no mention of shelters closing in Watsonville and Santa Cruz. On Saturday the Paul Lee loft will essentially close down to any new applicants since all the Page Smith Community House residents will be transferred into it. Paul Lee has only 46 spaces anyway, been accused of exclusionary policies recently by John Colby, and has a 2-6 week waiting list. During most of the year, 95% of those outside have no shelter options in the City (and more in the County).

The Good Times reporter quotes the contemptuous SCPD Vice-Chief Steve Clark is quoted at length.

There is no mention made of the destruction of homeless survival gear.

And, perhaps most key to the SCPD propaganda supporting its effort to clean up "illegal" campsites, there are no "legal" campsites in the City of Santa Cruz, so everyone who sleeps at night outside is technically "illegal".

And so it goes.

POSSIBLE STRATEGIES
It does suggest, however, that one strategy is an e-mail campaign to Clark and City Council denouncing the sweeps, since Clark boasts that e-mails and phone calls support the sweeps.

Apparently the police sweeps are continuing. At least a seventh week of sweeps is mentioned on the SCPD blog at http://santacruzpolice.blogspot.com/ .

Those who want to send them a "stop now, before you do more harm" e-mail can do it at sclark [at] cityofsantacruz.com or cityycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com .

Please also send a copy of your e-mail to rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com, or keep a record of it yourself so that we can verify how many have been sent in the event that Clark declares this information "confidential".

It might also be useful to ask each of the candidates for their position by e-mail on these sweeps, or perhaps to insist that they take a sane stance.

Folks can also leave comments on the Good Times site itself (see above), though I've had trouble doing that in the past.


CITY COUNCIL TUESDAY
The first City Council meeting of the fall will begin at 3 PM in City Council chambers across from the main library and the Civic Auditorium at 809 Center St.

Shortly after 3 PM Item #7 is an Award New Contract for Security Guards. described as follows at the City's website:
Motion to accept the proposal of First Alarm Security & Patrol, Inc (Headquartered in Aptos, CA with an office in Santa Cruz) for security guards and patrols in the full bid amount of $231,536 and to authorize the City Manager to execute an agreement in a form approved by the City Attorney with First Alarm Security & Patrol, Inc, for security guards and patrols, and reject all other bids.

It is on the Consent Agenda, which means you get 2 minutes to talk about it if you talk about no other item on the agenda. Or you get two minutes to talk about it if you can get a City Council member to pull it from the agenda.

At 5 PM (come a little early if you're interested): there is the "Oral Communications" period which offers a chance to speak for 2 minutes (3 if there are less than 10 speakers). Those who want to talk about any issues not on the agenda (i.e. issues of homeless abuse, police sweeps, service cutbacks, etc.) can use this little "ghetto" window.

At 7 PM Council will be discussing the million-dollar (actually $4 million) boondoggle that is the Dakota Wizards or Santa Cruz Warriors stadium construction decision. Spending so much money on this kind of capital investment when services for homeless people, AIDS prevention, and other vital community activities are being cut is abusive.


ADDITIONALLY
City Council will also be considering in closed session whether to drop its defense of two Mayors who shut down public dissent at City Council with arrests (one one occasion for "whispering", on another for making a silent mock-Nazi salute) in a case that takes the two Mayors to trial in late October in federal court in San Jose. Those who want to speak on that issue can either do so at 2 PM in the City Council Conference Room (right next to City Council chambers). Knock on the door loudly to speak in the "open interval" before they close the meeting.

It will also hear a report from the City Attorney on the issue at the 3 PM session (which will say nothing of substance other than that the matter "was discussed), but should provide a chance for the public to decry the waste of money here. the issue is how far the Mayor can go to shut up non-disruptive public statements of dissent.

The Direct Action Group of Occupy Santa Cruz will also be meeting at 6 PM at the Courthouse (Water St.. side) to discuss possible follow-up to the Tent Mob action. I've suggested going around to the officials involved and asking them clear questions about the reasons for the sweeps, the costs, and what they've accomplished. The issue will also come up at the HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom) meeting Wednesday morning at 10 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe (703 Pacific).