$5.00 donated in past month
Santa Cruz Indymedia | Environment & Forest Defense | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Indymedia | Police State and Prisons
Video of Take Back Santa Cruz-supported Clean Team Harassing Homeless Forced Off Internet
A week ago, writer Jeremy Leonard posted a video with faces disguised of a member of the Clean Team threatening and harassing a homeless camper as he and others did one of their regular "clean-up's". The video was only up very briefly before it was taken down. A few days ago it reappeared as part of a long interview Leonard did with former Clean Team founder T.J. Magallanes. The interview--still up as of this writing--provoked dozens of comments, and reportedly numerous threats against Leonard. The entire thread was removed as well as the video. I saved some of the thread and reprint it here.
The interview with T.J. at this writing can still be found at http://santacruz.patch.com/groups/jeremy-leonards-blog/p/bp--fever-pitch-interview-with-sc-clean-team-founder-0c63abc71a?ncid=newsltuspatc00000010 .
I shall attempt to repost it, if it too disappears. In all fairness, SC Patch writer (and frequent SCPD groupie) Brad Kava has explained there was a broad technical problem that resulted in both the removal of the video and all the comments.
Subsequently Leonard wrote me that he also took down the video from You-Tube because, even with faces and voices disguised, he was getting too many threats.
I will be playing a phone interview I had with T.J. Magallanes on Free Radio Santa Cruz at 101.3 FM (streams at http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/) tomorrow (Thursday May 16) at 6:30 PM. I invite listeners to call in at 831-427-3772.
The interview will archive at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb130516.mp3 about half an hour into the audio file.
The recent Sentinel, SCPD, and City Council hyperfocus on the Collins, Baker, and Butler killings--freak incidents which provoked rage and grief (while the deaths of many homeless and poor people go unnoticed or vilified)--seems to me part of a political campaign to Take Over Santa Cruz with an old and repulsive ideology. It's the same story, dripping with venom that the Downtown Association, the Mathews-Coonerty crowd, and now the ascendant Bryant-Terrazas-Robinson-Comstock coalition is spewing.
Ramp up the drug war, hire more cops and security guards, declare more areas off-limits to everyone (since just targeting homeless would be unconstitutional and give away the game), cut off homeless services, encourage public hostility to homeless and transient people, encourage a "snitch system" to spread terror among the poor and drive them out of town. Scream "needles, needles, needles" and terrorize residents into supporting deeper police state measures to "monitor" the poor. Along the way, shut down needle exchange, marijuana distribution centers, and other classic right-wing targets.
THE COMMENT STREAM THAT WAS DELETED OR CRASHED
I saved as many of the comments as I could--none before the one I made (which I wasn't able to save). They include comments by both supporters of TBSC and TCT as well as critics. The real issue isn't those organizations per se, but the question of whether the "clean up" activity is really a mask for "cleaning out" a class of people in Santa Cruz that are being demonized as a "Public Safety" hazard.
What's really shown here is how far TBSC and TCT supporters will go to preserve the image of their group as a nice family-friendly group with no nasty prejudices or agenda. The suppressed video, which I'm still hoping will reappear, shows how hollow these claims are. The speed with which the video was suppressed is ominous.
Much of the thread may be repetitive but I wanted to put as much of it up as I could save.
I was able to post some of the times of some of the comments. Some comments are still up, not the earlier ones or the video.
Deb: "i will try again . . .i do not know tj and don't know the merit of his allegations. his ideas can certainly be debated. what is interesting to me, are the lack of responses about what takes place in the video. i think that says a lot." 11:33 5-14
Jeremy Leonard: "Thank you for your comment, Deb. I have been interviewing homeless people in town for the past couple of months on and off, and just yesterday I interviewed a guy that is living in his car. I bought him a coffee at Pergolese, and let him talk. He said that he is feeling more pressure, and knows several other people that have gotten beaten up recently. It's my fear that if we allow even veiled anti-homeless dialog to persist, then we aren't really making Santa Cruz a safer place. I wasn't targeting any one group with my opening paragraphs on groupthink per se, it was just general commentary on human nature. We should be mindful of what we say, because as we see in the vid, good people can be lured into following a "leader's" example...be ti good or bad. I disguised the voices and speakers, because my goal is not to throw anyone under the bus, it's to just make people think before they act. The guy in the sleeping bag deserved none of that." 11:49 5-14
Paul: "Pretty funny- you didn't see it because it was deleted :) I remember these events specifically. I, myself, was silently kicked out of the group in under 3 minutes for making one positive comment about HSC and saying that the biggest problem was that there was no treatment available for the population that needs it the most. Nothing rude or cobfrontational, just what I thought was a good point to bring up. For groups that are so vigilantly moderated around the clock, it's ridiculous to hear them say they're not responsible for all the comments. That may be technically correct, but every admin is responsible for leaving all the hateful and incendiary comments up and at the same time deleting the ones they don't personally agree with." 12:03 5-14
Paul: "Basically everyone that has listened to either group knows that the behavior in the video is exactly what is being cultivated by both groups. They just got caught with their pants down. Santa Cruz can do better than this." 12:10 5-14
Deb: "i don't care WHO the people are in the video (what rank they have in the community), that was bullying. no one has said it. why? fear of retaliation? if you hear of a grandma getting roughed up for speaking her mind, please follow up with a story!" 12:15 5-14
Jeremy Leonard: Dylan, Thanks for your comment. Let's hear your side of the story." 12:47 5-14
Jim Levy: "I agree Mel. These are the topics on the TBSC Facebook wall right now. You can judge if they are positive or not: Gay Pride Parade float ideas, Tamale Lady in the Safeway parking lot having great Tamales. An really great interview wth Santa Cruz County, and Page Smith Community House resident, Andy Carcello. Illegal camping on Mitchells Cove, The need for a no syringe signs at Cowells Beach, Working with Denny's to clean up the area around their restaurant. A personal email sent to city council. A Lost bike. A found bike. A statement by Analicia- stating that TBSC cleans are not the Clean Team, Save our Shores or Surfrider cleans. Another found bike. A member of TBSC embracing a homeless friend. A post remembering the life of Officer Butler. I support TBSC for the broad based reporting that Patch and Sentinel don't cover. That's why I support TBSC." 13:02 5-14
Jeremy Leonard: "I received several calls on my telephone this morning from people who didn't like my article. To clarify, this is an interview with one person, from their point of view, in their exact words. Interviews like this are inherently biased, because it's just one person's perspective. Please don't hate on the messenger." 12:20 5-14
Paul: "Challenge it all you'd like, I'm not making it up. Ask an administrator where Paul Simpson went :) Just like some other people did at the time. I have a copy of what I said if you'd like to see it. Also, the big wave surfer has been one of their most endorsed voices for some time now. That's the problem." 13:26 5-14
Paul: "And TBSC supports HSC? You can't be serious. That's why they have a solutions team looking for loopholes to cripple them?" 13:28 5-14
Paul: "And finally, Jim, you posted another comment pointing out all the wonderful things on TBSC's wall right now and how wrong I am. We all know they have cleaned up their act on the surface over the last couple weeks due to the awakening that is happening. If you would like, I can start a Facebook page with the screenshots I've been collecting over the last several months?" 13:33 5-14
Paul: "Like they say in their groups, you can go somewhere else if you don't like it :)" 13:40 5-14
RealityCheck Santa Cruz: "Sorry Jeremy, but you can't have it both ways. One minute you're "just a journalist who didn't want to interfere", the next you're "Just a concerned citizen looking for a good direction to go in." You can't paint the group with tacit approval of the actions in the video and then divorce yourself because you're holding a camera. Did you ask any other attendees what they thought about the verbal assault? A real journalist would have. This reads like a total hit piece. In the verbiage you even state that this was two minutes of the 40 you filmed (of the 2+ hours we were out there.) Did you ask for proof of the 'death threats' TJ supposedly received? Sounds a bit melodramatic." 15:40 5-14
RealityCheck Santa Cruz : "Jeremy, perspective is one's opinion. Claiming death threats is not a 'perspective'. IMO it's irresponsible to write an article that claims there were death threats (a very serious issue of fact) if you haven't verified that they were actually received. Just because he said it doesn't mean it's true. (And if it's true, the police should be involved.) If you're going to claim to be a journalist, you need to act with integrity."
Mel: "I don't know what happened with TJ and TCT but I know what I saw with Jeremy and TBSC. He made some crazy allegations about people deleting his posts (which I could not see any evidence of) and tried to stir up a storm. He made comments but as far as I could tell did not try to inject anything positive or substantial; he enjoyed tossing out tidbits to see if he could get a nibble. He seemed to me to be concern trolling TBSC. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-concern-trolling.htm"
Mel: "TBSC is a private group. There are other groups to join. There's Together for a Safe Santa Cruz County. There's Citizens for a Better Santa Cruz. Why people prefer bashing TBSC to committing actions to another group, I can only guess."
Mel: "Take Back Santa Cruz has more than 5000 people in it. It has a fairly open wall. Individuals are responsible for their own words. There is no shortage of people trying to hold the group responsible for every word individuals type. Moderating such a group while allowing open discussions such that everything said is in line with TBSC would not only be impossible but undesirable."
Mel: "It's doubtful to me that most people in TBSC read the newsfeed daily, but it does fill a valuable function as an online community where people find support as well as discussion. Sometimes things get heated. Sometimes people feel bullied simply because another person doesn't agree with them."
Mel: "(My apologies for all of the posts; they were all originally one post but I could not get it to post in one message)."
Jeremy Leonard: "Hello Melanie, I definitely was not looking for a "nibble". Just a concerned citizen looking for a good direction to go in."
Mel: "Looking at needle exchange simply as a health problem for stemming HiV HepC and other illnesses is myopic. What about the enabling of addicts, the enlarging of the problem of addiction through needle distribution? I have not heard any NE supporter address this problem. Fact: needles were not found in great numbers prior to the change in state law allowing needles without a prescription. Perhaps this is why more needles are being found. Are there more addicts? Are more needles being distributed? Our local NE enables addicts not only by providing needles but also kits. This is not helpful for people to get off drugs. How is making it easier to do drugs helping the drug addiction problem?"
Lower Ocean Heights: "Jeremy Leanard actively sought out questions and comments from TBSC members for his previous article about Needle Exchange and the resulting interview he did with Emily Auger. Now they are 'schoolyard bullies'? That is unfortunate, because it takes what could be a good dialog about dissenting opinions in community groups like TBSC (or Clean Team, or HUFF, or Occupy Santa Cruz) and makes it a vengeful hit piece. Missed opportunity, bad feelings and bruised egos. Too bad."
Jeremy Leonard: "Here is a link to that piece: http://santacruz.patch.com/blog_posts/stuck-between-a-rock-and-a-sharp-place-interview-with-emily-ager-of-the-street-outreach-supporters "
Mel: "Color me skeptical. Why would anyone call you to tell you they don't like your article, unless they're your friends or they're nuts or both? Who would have your number? Who would bother to spend the time and effort?"
Jim Levy: "Paul, a Solutions Group is mean to come up with best practices, and or evidence based solutions to help create a better outcome. Of course these are recommendations only. Some good can come of an analytical approach such as this. The TBSC facebook page is open to it's membership. There are varying views and all are invited to comment. There is a code of conduct though from what I know. Opinions vary, and can't speak to post may have been deleted. My suggestion is to reach out to them and ask why."
Mel: "I agree. The behavior in the video is bullying. It also does not depict TBSC."
Jeremy Leonard: "Melanie, I traced one number back to a Santa Cruz business with a simple internet search, which will remain nameless. I had never talked to this person before, and I'm not sure how they got my number. They were angry that my article is biased toward TJ's opinion...of course it is. The quotes are directly from his mouth, from his perspective."
deb: Magallanes. "when no one names names, and everyone "remains nameless," the power structure stays intact and is very evident . . .people are either protecting themselves from a fear of retaliation or ostracizing, or protecting the ones they know did whatever heinous behavior that they are commenting on. on another note: i thought surfing was supposed to make you mellow . . ."
Adrianna R: "Jim Levy, TBSC is NOT open, it's a closed membership FB group that you have to be approved by TBSC. I know of a recent instance where a longstanding community member was kicked out of TBSC FB group by KA because they asked a question that must have pissed her or another TBSC leader off. I read the question, it was not out of line or even uncomplimentary to TBSC. It was a simple question. The person who was kicked out asked why and ACube told them that TBSC was NOT an open forum (or group). That people who post anything negative (or that a TBSC leader considers negative) will be asked to leave the group. Apparently the only viewpoints TBSC wants to hear are those who agree exactly with TBSC leaders. I did not believe this person's claim until I read the email forwarded to me. Maybe Jim you aren't aware of how TBSC is being really run, in which case I suggest you educate yourself. Otherwise you are just being an apologist for a group that claims to be open and diverse and grassroots, when in fact it's anything but."
COMMENTS STILL UP AS OF THIS POSTING
deb May 14, 2013 at 10:13 pm
where is the video and the comments?
deb May 14, 2013 at 10:16 pm
the 75 comments?
AdrianaR May 15, 2013 at 06:01 am
Here is a link to the YouTube video showing Clean Team member poking a homeless man, swearing at him while other CT members are laughing. Really appalling. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUpGNF_WInE
Lower Ocean Heights May 15, 2013 at 08:49 am
Now, where were we on this? Oh yeah, questionable behavior by a couple of folks trying to clean up after drug addled homeless junkies, questionable journalism that is a hit piece, bad feelings and bruised egos. What else am I missing? Oh that must be it! Cue the ridiculous demands and comments from Robert Norse in 3, 2, 1...
Meanwhile trash and needles abound in our waterways and public spaces.
Robert Norse May 15, 2013 at 08:51 am
My, my, is the power of Take Back Santa Cruz so great it can scare SC Patch ? If the evidence offends, hide it? If the dialogue disturbs, delete it? An innocent technical slip, perhaps? The dog ate the video? Perhaps a Patchie can clear up the confusion...
Brad Kava (Editor) May 15, 2013 at 10:15 am
help...the migrated content hasn't picked up the comments. It's the god of the Internet messing with us. Trying to get it fixed pronto. This is depressing. They say things are migrating at different paces.
Brad Kava (Editor) May 15, 2013 at 10:18 am
I thought it was shaping up to an intelligent discussion. This is killing me.
Robert Norse May 15, 2013 at 11:11 am
Thanks for the clarification, Brad. But do you know why the video would also disappear?
Brad Kava (Editor) May 15, 2013 at 11:18 am
As you can see in the home page...all the videos have disappeared, including the London travel agent I posted yesterday. I think, though, Jeremy privatized the Youtube video because he's getting threats. It's getting ugly out there. So much for free speech.
AdrianaR May 15, 2013 at 11:48 am
This is ridiculous.
I'm sorry but there really needs to be a media expose on TBSC and the so-called Clean Team. It's bad enough that TBSC tosses anyone who disagrees with them. ACube has basically admitted it in that email I read. But now when certain people are caught on tape doing things they shouldn't, the TBSC crew circles the wagons and then threats are issued. Why aren't people who support TBSC calling them out on their actions? Why does TBSC ONLY receive glowing press with no real investigative journalism into who runs the group, how it is not open, diverse. How no other views are tolerated and a very small core group of people dictate the policy and manner of how the group is organized and run?
Brad Kava (Editor) May 15, 2013 at 03:50 pm
Adriana: Those people in the camps were NOT TBSC people. They were another group. In fact, one of them wants to run for city council.
Jim Levy May 15, 2013 at 04:15 pm
Bwahahhahh, Robert. So far your conspiracy theory didn't work. It's everyone elses fault but you, TJ and Jeremy Leonard. We all know TJ was sour grapes and had people who didn't like him. But instead of Jeremy getting the facts, he thought he would smear mud and cause friction between himself and an activated group of people who put their energies into practice. Disappoint Patch would print lies. I expected more.
Clarkie Clark May 15, 2013 at 04:25 pm
What exactly do you think are lies Jim Levy?
Clarkie Clark May 15, 2013 at 04:33 pm
In an attempt to salvage what he could of his group, he asked me to start a new Clean Team page for him so he could continue to carry out his ideas. At that point we both started getting bashed and bullied. The same admin who hijacked his group started threatening me with either a law suit or criminal accusations "I have reported you to the proper authorities" she repeatedly said, apparently for slander in posts that didn't exist. I mentioned this to several people if they could figure out what she was talking about and where these supposed mystery slandering posts were - nobody had a clue. It it wasn't enough to kick Tj off his own group, some of the outspoken TCT ladies started joining our new page to continue beating him up.
Clarkie Clark May 15, 2013 at 04:33 pm
Tj shared all that was going on during this time. I could never figure out why seemingly everyone was so against him. My 5cent psychiatric conclusion was that not only this group but many official city members might have felt threatened by him and his instant leadership. The city put the other groups in bed with them, but I think they knew they were up against someone who couldn't be bought. In my opinion, both these groups and many more before them are nothing more than voting blocs for the local politicians. I've seen them in action. They are pools to pull from to appoint to "citizens committees" to control them further and keep them under their thumbs. Tj knew this. There is no power among citizens groups and the way they beat people up on FB forums and fight like crazy is pretty bad.
Clarkie Clark May 15, 2013 at 04:34 pm
Tj is one of the most thoughtful and intelligent human being I have ever come in contact with. It's too bad he got so beat up by "group mentality" (my new phrase). He really needed to get out of Santa Cruz just as I did two years ago.
It's really unfortunate that the city hasn't taken any action on the worsening conditions. They have all the ordinances in place to keep Santa Cruz a wonderful place to invest in, if they'd only enforce them. And the citizens have given them very generous tax increases to work with to fulfill their promise of safety. Citizens groups are their new weapons, as we have seen good, bright people with good ideas get shot down. The city's solution at present? - appoint another "citizens committee." (continued)
May 15, 2013 at 04:34 pm
Truth hurts sometimes, but gratefully there are good, perceptive and honest writers like Jeremy who can throw the truth out there and make it stick. Without truth and respect for each other, I'm afraid Santa Cruz is going to have a civil war.
deb May 15, 2013 at 05:10 pm
jeremy is a real person of substance. he has been scapegoated. "shoot the messenger," basically. not cool.
Robert Norse May 15, 2013 at 08:17 pm
Brad: Where is the 75 comment stream?
For those interested, I will be playing an interview with T.J. Magallanes tomorrow on Free Radio Santa Cruz at 6:30 PM. FRSC broadcasts at 101.3 FM and streams at http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/
AdrianaR May 15, 2013 at 09:15 pm
Brad, were those people clean team or not? Who was it in the tape both on camera or not?
why are their identities being hidden? Are they the mob or something? Cops? Seriously, what is with this town's hush up mentality?
AdrianaR May 15, 2013 at 09:20 pm
Jim levy, how come you continue the lie that TBSC is an open group.
How come you haven't answered my example of someone who was thrown out of the group last month for simply asking a question that Kristin A didn't like? How come you have no response for the followup explanation from A Cube that TBSC isn't for people who anyone that, in essence the leaders feel aren't following the party line? That's certainly a bit different from all the publicity TBSC puts out in the media. Why is it that you seem focused on Robert Norse and refuse to answer the questions of people who aren't part of any group other than concerned citizens who have been kicked out of TBSC because they think someone is "too liberal" or "too compassionate?"
Jeremy Leonard: "AdrianaR, I shot the vid. I blurred the faces. I will not disclose who they are (unless under extreme circumstances). I think that the vast majority of the Clean Team mean well, they're good people."
Jim Levy: "AdrianaR, This wasn't a TBSC function it was a Clean Team event. Dylan confirmed it yesterday, but the thread was deleted. He also confirmed the difference between the 2 groups. I personally have had no problem posting on the TBSC wall. Then again I like solutions about safety, mainly for my family. I also like some of their broad based posts non safety related too. They have over 5500 member on FB and an awesome website. Why hate? They must be doing something right. There are other groups on Facebook for many different people. Why attack a community group if you don't believe in what they do? Life's too short. I think Norse attaching himself to this story makes me want to support the Clean Team even more." 10:23 PM 5-15.
Robert Norse May 15, 2013 at 11:00 pm
Jim: What's your status in the TBSC hierarchy if any?
What specific "safety" solutions other than stepping up police repression in the Drug War and against the homeless and transient population are you in support of? As far as "hate" goes, homeless people whom I interview by the dozen each week for my radio show, report an upsurge in discrimination, police abuse, and public hostility. Does this concern you?
Both Jeremy and T.J. have apparently felt threatened because of their expressed opinions and reportage about The Clean Team and Take Back Santa Cruz.
I have made no secret of my alarm at the TBSC anti-homeless agenda. Encouraging police sweeps of homeless encampments, ramping up the war on drug users outside, attacking homeless service providers, and raising fears falsely linking improper needle disposal with S.O.S. Needle Exchange, has little to do with safety and everything to do with a familiar right-wing fascistic NIMBY agenda. Going after the messenger is also a fascist tactic. Though, I agree, it's used by Democrats and Republicans as well.
When it prompts censorship of violence against vulnerable homeless people and then suppression of the evidence of that violence, I think we've reached a crucial turning point.
Folks who want to criticize or defend this kind of behavior can discuss possible solutions can call in tomorrow at 831-427-3772 at 6:30 PM when I'll be playing the T.J. Magallanes interview on 101.3 FM. For earlier attempts to get TBSC to come clean on the homeless harassment issue see "Same Old Scapegoating" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/06/02/18649646.php?show_comments=1#18650032
Thanks to assistance from someone who saved more of the comments, here's some of the earlier comments on the thread that was deleted. To my recollection, there are still two long segments of comments missing, one that precedes the additions below, and one that follows (and is prior to the thread I recovered in the main article above).
Some comments (currently lost) initially raised the obvious question: Isn't this kind of abusive behavior outrageous? why are other members of The Clean Team ignoring or even joining in? Others responded to the questions I posed below saying they'd been part of the clean-up's and saw only respectful behavior towards homeless camps.
Note that the comments below that I did find are nor particularly friendly to the article and rather intensely defensive of TBSC and TCT. It's important to see the discussion and the video to get a full picture of what actually went on (and what may continue to go on).
I am interested in an honest discussion as I believe Jeremy attempted to create in his initial article and subsequent commentary.
My concern is increased reports of violence, hostility, discrimination, and police abuse against homeless people for simply being in public space--like the homeless camper in the video was.
Please post any video, audio, or other reports with specifics as to time, place, individuals involved.
EARLIER DELETED COMMENTS
3:00 pm on Sunday, May 12, 2013
The actions of the individual on this video are the sole actions of this individual. He does not represent nor will ever represent the Clean Team. I was present at the time and could not stop this person. The videographer of this dropped names stating he was representing them. That was also untrue and he acted on his own. Yes, TJ started the Clean Team but he has moved on from Santa Cruz to other parts of our nation and we wish him well.
8:41 am on Monday, May 13, 2013
Lisa, Thank you comment. I count at minimum four, and possible five voices engaging the man sleeping on the ground, and approximately 10 other people who witnessed the confrontation. A quick internet search reveals that the person in the vid was interviewed multiple times (KSBW, Santa Cruz Sentinel) , and as far back as 2012, as being a member of the Clean Team. Can you post a list of the Board of Directors for the Clean Team? Are you a member of the board? If so how about an interview?
3:05 pm on Sunday, May 12, 2013
The Clean Team is compromised of women and men from all walks of life. We have one thing in common, helping our environment. Every Saturday for the past 6 months, a small group of Clean Team members have given up their mornings for our open spaces. Cleaning the garbage before it enters our waterways through creeks, streams and storm drains is our number one priority.
Unfortunately, some people have other ideas about what the Clean Team is about. A community member recently asked to come along to participate in one of our cleans. He is not an active member or board member of the Clean Team. Words were said that DO NOT express the interests or attitudes of the Clean Team. This is an unfortunate and isolated incident that in no way reflects the core members of our group. We cannot control frustrations people have but we can tell you that this is not who the Clean Team is, nor is this in any way shape or form the way we want to be perceived.
The Clean Team are stewards for our environment. We are so lucky to live in a place where the mountains meet the sea but at the same time, we have to be careful of how we treat our land. Its not impossible to change the what is going on in our environment, however it takes very dedicated people to work towards this change. The Clean Team members who are there every weekend ARE dedicated to making Santa Cruz beautiful, and making our water and natural surroundings safe and clean.
4:23 pm on Sunday, May 12, 2013
Every clean that I have participated in with The Clean Team has been conducted professionally by passionate caring community members. Active camps have been respected and the mission has never been to displace or disrespect any of the individuals that we have come in contact with. JL, by posting this article, are you using social media to influence a biased opinion about " The Clean Team"? Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.
9:12 am on Monday, May 13, 2013
Hello, David. Thanks for the comment. I noticed some discussion about "vetting" new Clean Team members. Why would your group even think about vetting if in fact all you were doing is picking up garbage? Let's say for a second that Robert Norse came to a clean, there should be no problem with that, right? Hardly anyone would argue that picking up garbage is a bad thing. What if the Clean Team became less insular, and invited everyone to both their cleans AND their Facebook group?
5:32 am on Monday, May 13, 2013
Questions for David and Lisa:
1.How many Clean-up's have you participated in?
2. Does your Team advise its members to respect homeless camps? This is something that it's not clear Take Back Santa Cruz in its Clean-up's does.
3. Do you differ with T.J.'s claim that Take Back Santa Cruz has taken over the group?
4. Do either of you dispute any of the specifics claimed by T.J.?
7:35 am on Monday, May 13, 2013
Oh Robert, it does get old with you. As someone who like community cleanups from Save our Shores, to TBSC to Clean Team, we don't throw away useful items. A urine soiled sleeping bag with mold? A bad of drenched Doritos? Needles? Would you suggest to keep those?
TCT, SOS and TBSC respects homeless camps. Our agenda is helping Santa Cruz get safe and clean. But let me ask you, when was the last time you participated in a clean up? You are like my irritating uncle who sits in the corner growing up and does nothing, but preaches a holier than thou sermon. Do something for the environment already will you?
TBSC has not taken over the group, that's just nonsense. TJ moved to Oklahoma for a girl. That and he was pissing off everyone close to him with his rants. Kinda like you. He would not want to work with groups, people, and decision makes that can influence change. I believe he left because he was ineffective. I saw him go after council during meetings, it was bad.
Hope these answers are helpful.
8:25 am on Monday, May 13, 2013
Shioban, sorry. You are partially right about my leaving for my lady. But the truth is my group was hijacked. I'm not sure who you are, but you are doing agreat job of representing the demographic of thinking this article represents. Nice work.
9:41 am on Monday, May 13, 2013
TJ, THEN say that you left for a girl, don't create more friction for people wanting to do good for the community as you leave. Why else would a 4th gen Santa Cruz native leave to go to Oklahoma?
You started the group with Dylan and I get that. However, your ideals of wanting to legalize all hard drugs, and your ego is the reason why your following had left you. It's my understanding you came after everyone in your own group. I saw this happen on TCT wall. It was like a soap opera. You don't even live in SC anymore!
Some people wanted to continue cleaning like me. Why shouldn't the clean team continue on? Why is this even newsworthy? Sounds like a case of sour grapes and you further alientating any friends you may have still here.
Mr. Leonard, shame on you. This article is nothing more than a propaganda job and a smear campaign against groups who you don't agree with. Unfortunate for you, we can see through these veiled attempts at discrediting those who volunteer their time for the community.
9:44 am on Monday, May 13, 2013
I CALL BULL SHIT! GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT.
9:48 am on Monday, May 13, 2013
I'm talking to Jeremy and T.J. Are you really going to tell me that's how it went down????
To hell with me, Jeremy, and t.j.
This is about community safety not some grown up male egomaniacs!
Go to http://santacruz.patch.com/groups/jeremy-leonards-blog/p/bp--fever-pitch-interview-with-sc-clean-team-founder-0c63abc71a?ncid=newsltuspatc00000010 for the latest postings on the remains of the postings of Jeremy Leonard's article. There's still some arriving commentary on that website for those interested.
I would encourage caring members of TBSC and TCT--or any who go on their sweeps--to carry video and document what goes on in the Clean-up's around homeless camps--to either rein in abusive behavior such as was pictured on the censored video or to demonstrate these groups have changed their approach and aren't harassing homeless people or tolerating such.
I've heard multiple accounts of people claiming TBSC videoing "illegal camper" people in their vehicles. I myself had to deal with the owner of the Bike Dojo videoing me as he raged at me as I tried to video a police stop a week or so ago downtown outside the Silver Shop.
As can be seen from the frantic defensive reactions of TBSC/TCT supporters in response to Jeremy's video, video is a powerful witness. It actually produced some (brief) headlines in the Sentinel around Officer Nathan Vasquez's stomach-turning abuse of Richard Hardy (see http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_23119065/santa-cruz-police-probe-videotaped-arrest-injury-conclude ).
BACKGROUND OF THE DISASTROUS NEEDLE EXCHANGE ABOLITION
The deeper more deadly story of the involvement of Lynn Robinson, Pamela Comstock, City Manager Martin Bernal, the City Council's "Public Safety Committee", and various County officials in backroom "negotiations" with TBSC and TCT has not been told.
Former Clean Team member and founder T.J. Magallanes referred to the backroom meetings in November and December that preceded the quick and dirty shutdown of Needle Exchange in the City in his Free Radio interview of 5-16 at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb130516.mp3 . That interview is about an hour and a quarter into the audio file (not half an hour into it, as I'd originally thought and posted above). Did these private meetings with hate groups replace any meaningful public discussion? I'm afraid the answer may be yes, but the documentation needs to be provided.
This contrary-to-common-sense shutdown may simply be, in part, a political feather in the cap of TBSC and TCT, which also has the effect of producing MORE improper needle disposal since the exchange-and-disposal services are now significantly less accessible and more burdensome. Which will also throw more fuel on the concocted "Public Safety" fire.
Another broader untold part of the story is the involvement of right-wing groups like the Santa Cruz Neighbors, the Downtown Association, the Chamber of Commerce, and the reactionary City Council majority in using TBSC and TCT as electoral tools to stack the City Council and City Council Committees and Commissions with homeless-hostile pro-development types.
Not that the City Council (and more fundamentally the City Council staff) for the last several decades hasn't generally ignored or aggravated the fundamental emergency shelter crisis, the outrageous rents, the unlivable wages, and the toxic UCSC growth.
INTERNAL "DEMOCRACY" IN TBSC AND TCT?
My initial reaction to criticism of the internal processes of TBSC/TCT is that it's the business of those in those groups, not so much a community matter. Many existing organizations are often non-democratic, run by a small number of old-timers, who have placed themselves in positions of power. So why criticize TBSC/TCB for following that road?
The question of "internal democracy" in TBSC or TCT becomes more relevant when it is considered against the backdrop of the actual agendas of these groups--which masquerades as "environmental protection" and "public safety" and recruits its members with those slogans. But the policies it advocates and the villains it names are the traditional fascist targets: powerless groups like those outside, addicts (for whom no treatment is available), "liberals" (who actually aren't liberal at all on homeless issues--as seen by the mass of anti-homeless laws already in place), and a supposed "culture of tolerance" (which is far more myth than fact here in Santa Cruz).
The harsh and monolithic internal dissent-suppression of TBSC and TCT becomes the dirty underwear which prompts the indignant outrage of its supporters when it's uncovered by the now suppressed video. The leadership of these groups has no use for real change (like an end to the Drug War, real expansion of drug recovery facilities, long-overdue public sanitation facilities and services, and the very obvious housing crisis) and when the obvious issues begin to surface in internal debates, those advocating them--like T.J. are denounced, excluded, and ultimately driven away. Try raising such issues internally on their websites, and see how long you last.
A PREVIEW OF THE NEW POWER WIELDERS?
This provides a clue to the way these groups and their elected or appointed representatives will treat the public, and especially those of strongly different views. Pamela Comstock's behavior ostentatiously ostracizing me at City Council on recent occasions when I've spoken by standing up and leaving the room, her public displays of contemptuousness at the first Task Force meeting, and her likely refusal to be interviewed for FRSC are an example of the behavior that dissenters are likely to face as a broader reflection of the dictatorial internal processes in place in TBSC and TCT.
The closed discussions, the phony "family friendly" camouflage and public outreach, the members-only website, the backroom discussions with the SCPD, Santa Cruz Neighbors, reactionary city and county staff, and others all suggest the darkness in store for us in the months to come--using fear of the outsider, the "needle user", the "dirty homeless camper", etc. as the focus for mobilizing mob action.
The deadly daily drumbeat of the Santa Cruz Sentinel is not unexpected, but incessant. The endless adulation and constant harkening back to the random killings of the last year (though police stats show no meaningful rise in the crime rate here) has become a profound effective and dangerous propaganda tool in the hands of those in power. The transformation of Officer Loran "Butchie" Baker from his notorious 1992 status as one accused by city agencies (such as the Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women) of molesting 9 women to acclaimed hero is remarkable and profoundly misleading. Baker is the only officer I've ever successfully sued for false arrest (2002).
RESPONDING TO THE DARK WIND
And the issue that really needs to be researched are the connections between TBSC and TCT activists and the powerful institutional illiberals in power (masquerading as "progressives") who may simply be striving to use these groups to maintain and deepen their own power.
Again I encourage those who have them to post videos, audios and written descriptions of the crackdown. When you see the poison of these groups taking root in discriminatory action by merchants, police, the library (note the new rules there), and other agencies, speak out, expose, and oppose. And spread the word about what is happening by showing the specific abuses, indignities, and human rights violations that his population is now suffering.
As mentioned in the main article the toxic Terrazas "Public Safety" Committee is preparing some nasty expanded anti-homeless measures to sate the growing appetite of TBSC, TCT, and the many more powerful less visible interests that would like to sanitize, sterilize, and gentify the community using the current "Public Safety" hysteria as their rallying cry.
Clean Team Video
Thank you to the Occupy Santa Cruz Media Group for publishing this screen capture from the video of Santa Cruz Clean Team member Ken "SkinDog" Collins prodding a camper with a trash grabber.