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A Teapot Tempest or Two at Oral Communications
Bike Church supporters lined up to urge City Council to end the SCPD's political boycott of The Bike Church and restore the flow of abandoned and damaged bikes stopped a year and a half ago. Bike Dojo bozo Rob Mills, the new Bike Mafioso who's the SCPD's designated dumpsite for bikes, spewed fire and brimstone at critics of his business. I played the infamous Ken Collins video showing Collins poking a homeless man in a sleeping bag as part of a Clean Team "clean up" operation.
COLLINS VIDEO BACK--BRIEFLY-- IN PUBLIC EYE
Four months after the actual incident, and two months after it hit You-Tube (via Santa Cruz Patch) and was then removed, I played the Ken Collins video showing the fiery Ken and his Clean Team bigotistas harass a homeless man in a red sleeping bag.
Though the video has been repeatedly removed from You-Tube, it is still posted along with a lengthy story on Santa Cruz Indymedia at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/05/15/18736901.php ("Video of Take Back Santa Cruz-supported Clean Team Harassing Homeless Forced Off Internet").
Councilmember Comstock responded by denouncing me and attempting to distance her own Take Back Santa Cruz organization (of which she is co-founder) from The Clean Team.
Councilmember Robinson was not there, though reportedly was part of The Clean Team clean-up the day that Collins decided to abuse and denounce the homeless man in the video. She has made no statement on that expedition so far.
A tip of the hat to City Clerk/Administrator Bren Lehr, who assisted me in setting up the video after initially alarming me with requests that I allow "pre-viewing" so Mayor Bryant could "warn parents" to cover their childrens eyes and ears. Something the Council has been pretty good at doing generally regarding its abuses against the homeless.
Videos like this one are vital to show the public what's really happening beneath the "Public Safety" pontificating and Needle Hysteria of The Clean Team, Take Back Santa Cruz, the SCPD, and associated right-wing groups.
Brent Adams' video of Officer Vasquez dropping Richard Hardy face-first to the sidewalk in handcuffs is still a shocker (and still unexplained by the ever-evasive SCPD) (See "Use of force investigation not complete in videotaped arrest in Santa Cruz" at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_23185274/use-force-investigation-not-complete-videotaped-arrest-santa)
SCPD BIKE BOYCOTT TO BE LIFTED? MAYBE.
The main action of the afternoon was a series of Bike Church supporters asking that the Council direct the SCPD to resume distribution of bikes cut off in a right-wing retaliatory move eighteen months ago and stalled by higher-up's in the SCPD and City Manager's office (specifically Assistant Manager Tina Shuul).
Bike Church supporters were on their best behavior, making little mention of the hostile and unjustified actions of the SCPD, the failure of Councilmembers Lane and Posner to take strong public action on this issue, or the complicity of the Bike Dojo in signing on to this "punish the lefties" action.
I suspect the decision by the SCPD was taken under cover of the Terrezas, Bryant, Mathews majority. See http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/07/07/18739482.php
("Help Restore City Youth Bicycle Distributions") and http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/06/11/18738278.php ("A Year Later, Youth Programs Still Waiting on City Bicycles").
Steve Schnaar raised the issue nearly a year ago ("City Ends Successful Bicycle Distribution Program in Secret Back-Room Deal"at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/09/03/18720895.php).
Micah Posner claimed victory by noting that (a) the Bike Dojo was no longer receiving bikes from the City, and (b) there was now an open process to apply for that status. The question of why the bikes were stopped in the first place and why this issue was stalled for over a year and a half was "diplomatically" ignored. So apparently the SCPD will suffer no consequences for what appears to be abusive and arbitrary intervention denying distribution of bikes for over 18 months without warning or explanation.
Rob Mills and Paul of the Bike Dojo insisted that they were distributing hundreds of bikes to kids. Mills, however, had no problem with the SCPD's using his group to steer bikes away from The Bike Church, even though Sandino of Barrios Unidos testified that bikes piled up undistributed over a period of months at the Bike Dojo. Dojo Bozo Mills (who kept insulting activists in a steady stream of invective both during and after the Council meeting) reportedly refused to allow the bikes to be distributed when a Watsonville group tried to wrest them from his clutches. This according to Sandino and Schnaar.
While it's nice to hear prospects of the bikes being distributed again (Mills insisted the bikes had continued to go out over the last few months)--and potentially via the Bike Church--the failure of Posner, the Bike Church, and the Council to reveal the full extent of SCPD interference here allows them to walk away with clean hands from what seems to me like a rather dirty backroom business.
Mayor Bryant continues to violate the Brown Act by denying the public the right to speak on Consent Agenda items. She had no answer to my recent request as to why she is treating members of the public differentially (See "Mayor Cuts Off Comment in Consent Agenda Crackdown; Brown Act Complaint Rejected" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/06/01/18737797.php). It's hardly worth the public's time to show up for the Consent Agenda unless they have an "in" with the City Council to have an item removed as a "favor" from a particular Council member.
However, to her credit, Bryant did allow all the speakers who wanted to speak do so at Oral Communications (when relatively few people were in the room compared to the normal session)--even though this meant spending 40 minutes or more (the usual time is half an hour) and giving each speaker 3 minutes. The Mayor may also have been more sensitive to this issue because an organized group (the Bike Church supporters) was present. Still, I thanked her for it afterwards.
It was all far too genteel to deter any repetition of SCPD/TBSC mischief in the future. And glossy flyers bemoaning the deaths of Butler and Baker were still stacked in piles to remind members of the community about who's running the show at City Council.
This was a two-sided flier distributed at the July 9th City Council meeting. The transcript is taken from an undistorted version of the Collins video.
TRANSCRIPT OF THE CLEAN TEAM AT CARBONERA CREEK MARCH 16, 2013 VIDEO
Ken Collins: Are they stolen? They’re yours? You brought these? Is that all your garbage laying around in the river and all around you? You want some bags to help pick it up?
Man in Sleeping Bag: I’ve got a bunch of trash bags.
Ken Collins: Well, fuckin' put the trash in the bags, dipshit!
Man in Sleeping Bag: I do!
Ken Collins: No you don’t
Ken Collins: So right now we’re at one of these encampments, and you can see they're not living a really clean life style; they don't really care about the environment They're leaving junk everywhere. They're throwing garbage. They're throwing needles everywhere. They just ignore us. They don't care.
Hello, I’m talking to you. (pokes man in a red sleeping bag with a long 'trash clutcher'). I want to ask you some questions."
Man in Sleeping bag: Don’t touch me! (visibly disturbed) You got a lighter?
Ken Collins: No I don't have a lighter. I've got some garbage bags if you want to help...
Man in Sleeping Bag: Want me to come to your house and start picking through your shit?
Ken Collins: You probably do. You probably come and pick shit out of my fucin’ driveway and my bikes and my skateboards all the time.
Male Clean Team Member: You already took my wetsuit.
Man in Sleeping Bag: Well, you guys have a nice day.
Ken Collins: We are trying to. But this is not what we wanted to do on a Saturday. I want to ask you, what you what do think we could do....
Man in bag: You’re not getting any more answers out of me.
Female Clean Team Member 1: Please help us, dude.
Ken Collins: What happens if ah....Fuck, dude it can get pretty gnarly dude, I know some guys who want to fuck you guys up. (Clean Team members laughing and heckling in the background)
Ken Collins: Where you from? If you were from here, you'd have a little more respect for the environment, I assume. So you just steal every night, get your junk, and just leave garbage everywhere. Is that how you work? Do you have any respect for yourself? I mean seriously...
Female Clean Team Member 2: Where did you steal that Santa Cruz hat from? You wear that Santa Cruz hat with pride, and you do this in Santa Cruz?
Female Clean Team Member 1: Thanks for helping us out.
Ken Collins: You don't pick up your garbage. I mean look at this fucking mess.
Female Clean Team Member 3: This isn’t going to last much longer.
Female Clean Team Member 1: We’ll be coming back.
Female Clean Team Member 4: I’ll come back every day!
Female Clean Team Member 2: I’m sick of parasites destroying the beauty of this place.
Female Clean Team Member 1: We can’t even bring our kids down here.
Ken Collins: I say just we just get a bucket and throw water on him.
FOR MORE ON THIS ISSUE, GO TO http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/05/15/18736901.php
Flyer by HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 http://www.huffsantacruz.org 309 Cedar PMB #14B Santa Cruz, CA 7-09-13