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Update on Santa Cruz CruzioWorks Discriminatory Treatment of Dan Madison
Four weeks have passed since CruzioWorks took Dan Madison's several hundred dollars to pay for a 24-hour computer workspace, then turned around several hours later and broke their contract, apparently because a co-tenant in the building was "uncomfortable" see Dan and his son standing near their bikes in the CruzioWorks bike parking area. She suggested to Dan that they would cause junkies to gather in the area because of their homeless appearance and the sight of homeless possessions on their bicycles. An e-mail to this effect, was apparently enough to cause the "liberal" management to tear up Dan's contract. His subsequent request in writing for a formal hearing and clarification of why service was being revoked was denied. HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) picketed the business on two successive Fridays. The management declined to clarify its rationale.
BACKGROUND OF THE BIGOTRY
The background and some prior correspondence to and from CruzioWorks is at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/08/14/18741605.php. Follow the links to find more details and documents.
Fliers are available to download, read, and distribute. There are also some radio links. Dan currently has a radio show on Free Radio Santa Cruz which streams every Sunday 1 - 3 PM at http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/ .
STONEWALLING CUSTOMERS UPSET WITH THE DISCRIMINATORY BEHAVIOR
More recently, several concerned community members wrote to the CruzioWorks management in search of answers and clearer understanding of what happened. CruzioWorks "responded" with the e-mails below:
On Aug 24, 2013, at 1:31 PM, James Weller wrote:
Message to office [at] cruzio.com:
I am a long-time loyal Cruzio customer, and I am in general very pleased with the sercvice I have received, and supportive of the organization, its work, and what I perceive to be its values.
However, I have a very serious concern regarding a matter of management practice or policy that I want to discuss with someone who has authority to correct what i feel is a critical problem.
I would like a response inviting me to meet in person with a senior manager to discuss my concerns at your office some time next week.
Thank you in advance for what I expect will be your courteous accommodation.
On Aug 27, 2013, at 10:54 AM, Cruzio Customer Service replied:
Thanks for reaching out. Our management team take any customer questions extremely seriously and are always happy to discuss any issues. But without an idea of your area of concern, it's hard to know who on our team would be best placed to address them with you. If you could please email an outline of your concern, I'll be sure to ask the appropriate member of our senior staff to respond to you directly. Thanks again for contacting us.
Best Regards, Sandi Cruzio Customer Service
Try Cruzio's new Ticket Center! For fast support, open a help ticket any time http://tickets.cruzio.com
Manage your account information, pay your bill and more through Cruzio's account center http://myaccount.cruzio.com
The Internet Store 831-459-6301 or 800-303-3302
877 Cedar Street, Suite 150, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
CUSTOMER SERVICE AND BILLING CRUZIO TECH SUPPORT
office [at] cruzio.com helpdesk [at] cruzio.com
Hours: 10-6 M-F, 10-2 Sat Hours: 9-6 M-F, 10-2 Sat
On Aug 29, 2013, at 10:40 AM, James Weller wrote:
My concern has to do with the experience of a man I know whose pre-paid Cruzio Works facilities use agreement was summarily terminated by Cruzio in a prejudicial and wrongful manner. It appears to me this man has been done a significant injustice, and I want to ask that proper amends be made.
Regards, Jim Weller
CruzioWorks' Final Reply
Date: August 29, 2013 10:53:46 AM PDT
To: James Weller
Cc: Cruzio Customer Service
Subject: Re: Message from Cruzio's contact form
Thanks for reaching out to us. While we never comment on the specifics of our interactions with individual customers, I can say this:
Our Cruzioworks coworking center is open to the whole community, as evidenced by our willingness to sign up members with no permanent address. Clearly homelessness in itself is not an issue for us. Cruzioworks has had members who are homeless, and some of our staff have been homeless.
However, since coworking requires a mutual trust among all members, especially after hours when Cruzio staff is not always on hand, we must be strict about our membership rules. We respond only to actions and do not make judgments based on categories, but it is our responsibility and our legal right to act when there is a concern.
For the last 25 years Cruzio has served the Santa Cruz community and supported many diverse local organizations -- including Community Bridges, the Homeless Garden Project and 2nd Harvest Food Bank -- with free or discounted services, donations and active involvement. We stand by our track record as an ethical, non-discriminatory company, with a long history of community involvement.
I hope this goes some way to assuage your concerns.
Marketing & Communications Manager
A SECOND CUSTOMER GETS STONEWALLED
Scott Galloway, a Calvary Church activist, also wrote to the Cruzio management and received the following reply:
Thanks for contacting us, we appreciate your concern. While we do not discuss specifics of our interactions with individual customers, we will say this:
Cruzio Internet does not discriminate against any group or individual, for any reason, nor do we tolerate discrimination from any of our employees. It is
Our Cruzioworks coworking center is open to the whole community, as evidenced by our willingness to sign up members with no permanent address. Clearly
homelessness in itself is not an issue for us. Cruzioworks has had members who are homeless, and some of our staff have been homeless.
However, since coworking requires a mutual trust among all members, especially after hours when Cruzio staff is not always on hand, we must be strict about
our membership rules. We respond only to actions and do not make judgments based on categories, but it is our responsibility and our legal right to act
when there is a concern. We'll often insist that a new member spend a certain amount of time as a 9-5 user, before we give 24/7 keycard access to the
facility. This provides a good way for new members to access the space, while reassuring existing members. It is in no way a reflection on any individual.
We are disappointed that we seem to have become the object of an unwarranted attack. We don't believe the group attacking us accurately represent the views of the majority of the Santa Cruz homeless community. Their rush to judgment is harming a company which has always been an ally.
For almost 25 years Cruzio has served the Santa Cruz community and supported many diverse local organizations including Community Bridges, the Homeless Garden Project and 2nd Harvest Food Bank. We stand by our track record as an ethical, non-discriminatory company and we'll continue to strive to build an open, creative, and safe community.
Hope this allays your concerns.
Thanks again for reaching out.
CruzioWorks manager James Hackett mentions "responding to actions", but has refused to specify either to the customers asking or to Dan Madison himself what specific action concerned the management. The "privacy" excuse is also bogus, because Dan Madison has made the issue quite public and waived any privacy concerns. Most tellingly, they have not returned his own specific request to know why he was refused service, whether he will be provided an appeal process, and what specific rule---if any--he violated.
The conclusion is difficult to avoid that CruzioWorks, in spite of its liberal cover story, is showing by its actions what kind of phobias and prejudices actually create its policies. This is a Santa Cruz-wide issue and needs to be confronted.
RESTATING THE OBVIOUS
My own response to a friend of CruzioWorks:
"Thanks for your inquiries.
I think the issue is whether a homeless-looking person--on complaint of a nervous tenant--who is applying for a 24 hours space gets segregated into a "we'll only serve you during daylight hours" status, All because of the non-specific apprehensions of a person who finds the sight of the man's son standing next to a bike with saddlebags "suspicious" & "likely to draw junkies".
The issue is not whether they have other homeless customers, but whether someone who's apprehensive about the homeless can veto him based on their fears. There was no allegation that voices were raised, simply that some unidentified woman made bizarre and bigoted demands on someone who was already a customer. Several hours later Dan's 24-hour membership was "revoked" in apparent violation of the one-month notice to change a contract.
I see this as succumbing to the kind of Cynthia Mathews bigotry that had her attacking Father Joel Miller at Calvary Episcopal four years ago. If someone's appearance makes someone else uncomfortable, then that person can get a whole organization to restrict or ban that person? Come on, Joseph.
If you've learned any more specifics that might indicate new facts here, I'd be interested in hearing them. You would certainly in a better position to know.
To reiterate. As for "feeling comfortable"--that's the excuse for running blacks out of restaurants decades ago and homeless out of the downtown in Santa Cruz. It doesn't wash, and I'm surprised you're repeat this excuse. Many people of different ideologies can use a workspace without requiring they all be bosom buddies. These are customers after all. Am I missing something?
There really is never a "clear way back to a better outcome" (witness the decades long struggle against the Sleeping Ban). That doesn't mean we abandon our understanding of what is right in this situation and what the truth of the circumstances are.
Please clarify if I've misstated or missed anything.
KEEP UP THE PRESSURE
I urge those concerned about the spread of paranoia and bigotry against homeless people in Santa Cruz to write to Cruzio at office [at] cruzio.com and ask the hard questions. It might be time for the community to clarify that it doesn't stand for anonymous bigotry behind closed doors. Tell them there are other service providers.
I also suggest raising the issue on Yelp (http://www.yelp.com under "Cruzio Internet")