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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Police State and Prisons

Festival of Fun Draws More Police Surveillance
by Robert Norse ( rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com )
Sunday Sep 29th, 2013 8:13 PM
An hour and a half protest against the latest turn of the screw choking off street performers, artists, vendors, and tablers drew singers, poets, chalkers, a cop, and even a long-winded critic. Activists have put out a flyer announcing a second protest next Sunday October 6th.

Saturday night some of us came together for the first street protest in front of Forever Twenty-One last night since the passage of the Downtown Ordinances on September 24th. Activists bravenly chalking their outrage on the sidewalk and informed passersby of the new shrunken space street performers will be allowed.

For those who know the downtown, that will be three of the 2' X 2' squares on Pacific Avenue within which a performer (or tabler or vendor or artist) will be expected to confine instrument, body, chair, table, and accompanists). Since this is clearly impossible in many cases, it will mean that to be legal you need to get a special permit.

To do this requires 3 days to a week notice, is reportedly free, but may only be permissibble in a few spots downtown (though it wasn't clear from my conversations with the Parks and Rec Department last week whether the special permits were limited to that area). Obviously arriving to play spontaneously (if you wish to have a guitar case or other "display device" out--will be a thing of the past. Unless folks ignore this law and continue their traditional practices.l Having any "amplified sound" whatsoever supposedly now requires going through the SCPD and takes 2 weeks, or such was the info from P and R.

The new rules also require 12' distances between those those busqueing, tabling, displaying artwork, or vending on the sidewalk as well as none of this activity at all within 14' of any building, any change-dispersing machine, any fence, any bench, any drinking fountain, any public telephone, any public bench, any public trash can, any information or directory sign, any sculpture, any “no panhandler” meters, any vending cart, any sidewalk cafe, any street corner, any intersection, or any kiosk. Sitting or sparechanging is also restricted to those tiny patches of ground. Any cup, cap, or guitar case is defined as a “display device”.

The Saturday night protest focused on the absurdities of the new laws as well as older ones that ban bouncing or throwing a ball downtown, hackeysacking, using a squirt gun, or chalking on the sidewalk with erasable chalk. Sports fans brought a basketball and a small football. Bubble-blowing--which is permitted--was also provided as a legal interlude. Hopscotch enthusiasts brought sidewalk chalk. A "Box of Crime" was displayed and offered to the police as a form of "crime control".

Office Headley arrived with camera to stand with arms folded taking occasional snapshots of those giving out flyers of the chalkked sidewalk delineating the small "permitted" zones that go into effect on October 24th. When asked if he were there on complaint or to give out citations, he smiled broadly and said nothing. Such picture taking has been used in the past to later cite peaceful activists like Wes Modes who was dragged into a full-blown trial for walking in the parade along with hundreds and hundreds on New Year's Eve 2010 (See http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/12/17/18666919.php ).

On my radio show today, I played some of the audio of the protest, which included poetic performance by Lyrical Eye (Isaac Collins), speeches by Becky Johnson, and others, and spirited conversations with surprised locals, baffled tourists, and irate critics (though fewer of those). Most passed by swiftly en route to their Saturday evening activities.

I did get wind of larger protests being planned by more "respectable" folks--and some of these may be discussed at the next HUFF meeting (Wednesday 11 AM Sub Rosa Cafe 703 Pacific Ave.).

I was impressed with the determination to restore First Amendment rights downtown--some activists began to chalk, though the area was under surveillance and they might later well be subject to fines of hundreds of dollars. Others sat on the sidewalk in "illegal" locations.

Another Sunday "Funday Frolics" protest has been announced for next Sunday afternoon.
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by Robert Norse Sunday Sep 29th, 2013 8:13 PM


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by zouzou
Sunday Sep 29th, 2013 10:05 PM
while officer Krupke is hanging out eating donuts and taking photos of peaceful protestors and hot chicks.
by Razer Ray
Monday Sep 30th, 2013 8:15 AM
combo_dancing_kids_and_mom.jpg
combo_dancing_kids_and_mo...

If I remember correctly the new 'ordinance' allows 16 square feet.

Each square in the sidewalk is 2'. So put 2 together one way and you have one 4' 'leg'. Then do that in the other direction. Multiply 4x4 and what do you have?

Nevertheless I watched our rapper fiend perform and even though he only took ONE step forward or back while speaking, that action alone put him 'out-of-the-zone'. He would have had to do his spoken word performance literally frozen in place to avoid violating the new 'ordinance'

I've spoken with a number of people I know, street performers and regular citizens.

No matter the perceived "caliber" of the performers (a HIGHLY subjective matter), the ones I spoke with, no matter their level of political thought or musical 'quality' unanimously intend to ignore the new Reg-YOU-Lation.

The non-performers think it's absurd and EXPECT the regulation to be ignored.

What WILL the SCPD and the packed local court do if NO ONE obeys their 'ordinance'?
by bye bye rights
Monday Sep 30th, 2013 11:21 AM
of course only the activists and the homeless will be cited for standing in the wrong place. more laws mean more cops to enforce them.
why isn't TBSC protesting this waste of scarce law enforcement resources?
i guess TBSC doesn't really care about stopping real crime. TBSC is a fraud on the people of Santa Cruz if this is the kind of law they promote.
by Robert Norse
Monday Sep 30th, 2013 2:00 PM
Razor Ray: As you and I discussed on Saturday night, it's 12 square feet.

The relevant section of the ordinance reads:

"Unless authorized elsewhere in this code or by any other applicable law or statute, persons may place, erect, or maintain a display device on a public sidewalk for noncommercial uses only and for no other purpose, and only as provided in this chapter. A display device space envelope may not exceed twelve square feet in size including the space necessary to accommodate the display device itself, the person or persons responsible for the display device and the personal property of those persons brought to the display device location. A display device may not exceed six feet in height. A display device may not be placed, ere
cted or maintained within twelve feet of another display device.”

It can be found on-line at the City's website at http://sire.cityofsantacruz.com/sirepub/cache/2/u3pwrtazyacik445vtgt0u45/379753909302013015428174.PDF (bottom of p.1).

Of course, 12' or 16' the absurdity remains.
photo.jpg
photo.jpg

Becky Johnson supplied this photo of Officer Michael Hedley suveilling the Festival of Fun, initially with camera. Hedley refused to answer whether he had received a complaint, whether anything illegal was going on, or for what reason he was taking photos of the protesters and the demonstration. Those coming to protests are encouraged to bring their own videocams (or cell phones with that capacity) to document what the SCPD is doing to repress political speech downtown.

It also serves to illustrate how selectively SCPD officers are treating ordinary requests for information from political protesters. Hedley's failure to respond to simple questions while standing there for over an hour is likely a violation of SCPD police policy (which can be found in the SCPD General Orders, an earlier version of which can be found at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/05/19/18713791.php . Such apparent rudeness or unresponsiveness would be the appropriate subject of a complaint that the officer was violating a specific SCPD General Order--something police officers and their higher-up's probably pay more attention to than either legal or constitutional (i.e. "rights" complaints).

Clarifying the 12 sq feet is 3 of those Sidewalk Squares downtown. This legal cage will now confine, constrict, and ultimately quench street performing, vending, tabling, and artwork downtown. It means you'll have to fit yourself your table, guitar, instruments, associates, and signs into 3 of those sidewalk squares downtown, not 4 (which would be 16 sq feet).
by Robert Norse
Sunday Oct 6th, 2013 4:14 AM
The "Festival of Fun" was archived at http://huffsantacruz.org/radio/brb/BB%2010-03-13.mp3 (1 hour, 4 minutes into the audio file). The last part of the 9-22 protest can be found earlier on the file.
by Becky Johnson
Monday Oct 7th, 2013 11:09 PM
A downtown host approached me as I was hop-scotching at our "Festival of Fun" Oct 6th & told me my hopscotch board was "graffiti" and that I could be cited. She then walked about 30' away and got on a cellphone. I believe she was calling for back-up. I pulled out my audio-recorder and approached her asking if anyone had made a complaint. She became very disturbed that I was openly recording her. She gave me a copy of the "Downtown Rules" and told me to "study it." I asked her if she'd like me to point out the errors in it.

Later as I sat on the sidewalk near "Forever 21" next to a young father & his cherub-like baby, the same host approached me again. She told me "The next time you get in my face and try to record me....are you recording me now?...make sure you get this on tape: You are fucking with the wrong person! I'm telling you that right now."

Is this how a "hospitality host" should behave while in uniform and patrolling downtown? Does she speak to homeless people this way all the time? I am not homeless. None of us were panhandling. She was angry that I had (openly) recorded our conversation. She was angry that people in my group were hopscotching. She may not have liked our "Box o' Crime" on the HUFF table.

In any case, this is highly unprofessional behavior & the SCPD is already investigating to see if a crime was committed by the host.

see video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTgC_5RlBLs&feature=youtu.be
by G
Tuesday Oct 8th, 2013 9:48 AM
The downtown host yelled something about having issues with some unknown group of f'in people. Was the downtown host specific about who that group that might be? Is there a reason for the downtown host to be so aggressively upset? Have downtown host training materials prejudiced downtown hosts?

Are downtown hosts armed? Tasers? Pepper spray? If that downtown host attacks anyone (in or out of the group of f'in people), whom will be held responsible? The individual? The Downtown Association? The City or County?

Becky, have you considered a protective order? Be careful, downtown Santa Cruz is apparently a dangerous place!
by Razer Ray
Tuesday Oct 8th, 2013 12:37 PM

(In case your wondering WHY after all these years of pet hating landlords, Santa Cruz' luvfest with dogs - Chart USAToday)

Every planter downtown has turned into a dog toilet.

(Which IS perhaps representative of our corporate downtown shopping mall)

THAT'S dangerous. A Public Health Hazard to be exact

Downtown hosts need to be issued pooper-scoopers, urine neutralizer, and taught how to use them.

by Trip Weir
Tuesday Oct 8th, 2013 12:42 PM
She might go all Charles Edwards or Jeremy Goulet on you next time.

Being so vibrant and engaging she must have fit the profile Ryan Coonerty and Jeremy Neuner are looking for to do Chip's bidding. I'd pay good money to see her and Analicia in a boxing match to take back Don Lane's seat on council.
by Robert Norse
Wednesday Oct 9th, 2013 10:04 AM
...http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/10/08/18744527.php and accompanying comments and links.