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Shrinking Sidewalks and the Permit Fantasy
by Robert Norse
Saturday Nov 9th, 2013 7:12 PM
With the suffocating reduction of sidewalk art and performance space under the modified Downtown Ordinances that went into effect in Santa Cruz on October 24th, repression apologists are reassuring those facing a matrix of exclusion that all the need to do, if they want to play, table, display, or occupy more than 12 square feet (approx 3 1/2 X 3 1/2 feet) is to apply for a permit at the Parks and Recreation Department. This is camouflage and cover for a fundamental change in the downtown scene being orchestrated by those engaged in class and culture war to gentrify Pacific Avenue and use the myth of Poverty Crime and Clutter to tramplel Santa Cruz values & traditions of diversity & inclusion. Described below is what is actually offered in the "permit process".

NOTES ON STREET PERFORMERS PERMITS
(These notes are based on the Parks & Recreation [P & R] office worker info on 11-7-13 as well as the City's Street Performance Downtown Santa Cruz website. If anyone has new info or corrections, please contact me).


PERMITS TO BE GRANTED IN ONLY 5 SPOTS DOWNTOWN
The only spots for which P & R will grant permits are
(1) Compass Rose area near the post office;
(2) Memorial Plaza near Jamba Juice;
(3) Pacific and Cooper;
(4) Pearl Alley;
(5) Scribner Statue area.

In other areas where performing for donation was traditional (say in front of New Leaf Market), it is simply banned with NO provision for any permit. This means from Laurel St. to Water St. there are a total of 4 spots to play with more than one performer, assuming the two aren't in a carnal embrace and playing harmonicas (i.e. have instruments like guitars that require at least some space).


ADVANCE NOTICE COULD BE REQUIRED DAYS IN ADVANCE
Permits can be filed only Monday – Thursday 8 AM – 4 PM at the P & R Office at 323 Church St 36 hours in advance of performance. So, if you want to perform with a fellow guitarist on a Monday, you'd better have applied on Wednesday or Thursday of the prior week. P & R worker Betsy assured me that two people playing could easily fit into 12 square feet—the maximum allowable space without a permit for someone with an open guitar case, cup, or other “display device”.. She must have been quite the rage at college phone booth stuffing events.


REPRESSIVE TIME LIMITATIONS
Maximum time length allowed is 2 hours on Pacific and 3 hours in the alleys, one performance per day, and only between 11 AM- 10 PM. Additionally it's not clear when these rules will be altered given the new ordinances (and new bleak mentality to enable performance “regulation” by police, hosts, security guards, city staff, & merchants). Only one event per weekend. And only in the five spots indicated. Otherwise you are expected to squeeze your instrument, effects, companions and hynee's into 3 of those sidewalk squares.

When Betsy checked, no one had applied for (and been granted) a permit subsequent to October 24, though 2 groups had applied for events in November before that date and been granted permits. Actually though I've only heard second hand accounts of smoking tickets being issued and none of sitting or "display device in wrong place" or "taking up too much space" citations, the number of performers down there has looked tome to be markedly less and those who are there are newbies who often don't know the rules. Today I saw two homeless people sprawled in "illegal" spots (but not blocking traffic, of course, just "illegal under the "merchant freeway" rules) and, I think, one performer--this was around 4 PM.

Though the permits are free, if you're using a keyboard or any kind of “amplification” however minor, you've got to go through the SCPD and pay $33 with a much longer lead time. I've filed a Public Records Act request asking for specifics from them—which they're supposed to respond to in the next 10 days.
I've also requested a list of the names and positions of the Hosts (the Hostile-aptaility squad) and the First Alarm thug patrols--no response yet.


PRICE TAGS ON YOUR OWN ARTWORK AND MUSIC IS CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED (BUT CONVENIENTLY OMITTED IN THE CITY'S LITERATURE)
Contrary to what rule#7 at reads at the Street Performance Downtown Santa Cruz city website http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/index.aspx?page=1289 (“no commercial sales”), recent court decisions acknowledged by the City Attorney's office allow you to both sell and price tag your own original work (if written, audio, or video)--though this is not explicitly acknowledged (and not respected by some police).

The published decision is Steven C. White v. City of Sparks. It can be found at http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1300114.html . There's a news story at http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/no-license-needed-to-sell-art-in-parks-of-sparks-nev

The City's Street Performer website has also not been updated to indicate that a permit is required for any space more than 2' X 6' (not 4' X 6' as it now reads).

What you don't read in the latest cheery Street Performing Downtown Santa Cruz hand-out being passed on by police and hosts (from their unmarked HQ at 607 Front St.) is the alarming (and absurd) clarification that the 12 square feet is only 3 “sidewalk squares”--difficult for one performer with an instrument and its case, impossible for more than one.


POSSIBLE ESCAPE HATCH?
MC 5.43.010 only limits "a display device for noncommercial use ON ANY PUBLIC SIDEWALK" [emphasis mine]-- so if the device itself doesn't sit on the sidewalk, but on you, it arguably isn't covered by the ordinance. So one alternative for performers is to attach a cup to your clothing and have no display device at all. Perhaps add a small sign “City law forbids me to place this cup on the sidewalk.”

This has the additional benefit of arguably allowing you if you perform while standing to do it anywhere and everywhere and still get donations from those brave enough to approach. The 14' setbacks only apply to sitting, display devices placement, (and panhandling—which is explicitly defined differently than performing for donation).


I include below copies of the Permit Application, the Permit "Rules" from the City website, the Santa Cruz Performers Guidelines flyer being pushed by the Hosts and cops, and a flier that outlines the information I've outlined above.
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by Robert Norse Saturday Nov 9th, 2013 7:12 PM

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by Robert Norse Saturday Nov 9th, 2013 7:12 PM

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by Robert Norse Saturday Nov 9th, 2013 7:12 PM

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by Robert Norse Saturday Nov 9th, 2013 7:12 PM

§City's Current "Rules" for Street Permits
by City Staff (posted by Norse) Saturday Nov 9th, 2013 7:16 PM

The site at http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/index.aspx?page=1289 has not been updated. So the sentence "The performance requires a space greater than 4 X 6 feet" has now been amended to read "greater than 2 X 6" or more accurately, 12 square feet.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by indyradio.nu
Sunday Nov 10th, 2013 10:57 AM
420-nailed.jpg
420-nailed.jpg

for Robert Norse -
sorry to be slightly off topic,

did you once set a porta potty on fire in protest? I heard something about this in Santa Cruz, performance art takes many forms, what the guy in this protest has to shit? ... http://www.indyradio.nu/content/pain-life-under-tyranny
by indyradio.nu
Sunday Nov 10th, 2013 10:59 AM
what IF the guy has to shit, the protest was earlier today. can't help but wonder what will happen.
by Razer Ray
Sunday Nov 10th, 2013 12:57 PM
whose_syko_in_sc_mrk.jpg
whose_syko_in_sc_mrk.jpg

I posted a couple of pieces recently about the kink of people Robinson and Comstock (notably, most likely a few other councilcritters as well) would harbor in Santa Cruz.

Feudal-Libertarian Socially Darwinian techie-cum-latelys.

If you don't think that's true have a look at the new condo complex being built by Neary's Lagoon Blackburn street entrance. It appears to have a guardhouse to keep the riff-raff out (or perhaps in)

    "What was discussed in an earlier post, “Sharing Rides, Hoarding Profits: How the SF Bay area’s technology elite are destroying poor & people of color’s incomes by Disruptive Innovation" is only one aspect of the "Tech Savvy" feudal-libertarian Socially Darwinian idea of how societies, their workforces, and the wealth generated, should be for their benefit alone."

TaskRabbit & The Ten Ninety Nihilists, How Paypal's founder in collusion with the Koch Brothers and other billionaires are attempting to circumvent US Labor Law

http://auntieimperial.tumblr.com/post/66582151603
by SCPD (posted by Norse)
Wednesday Nov 13th, 2013 10:59 PM

The SCPD's permit application is a remarkable example of bureaucratic obstructionism--particularly since even a musician with as quiet a device as a keyboard or a small amplifier faces a $300+ fine if she or he dares to perform on Pacific Avenue without a sound permit.

The unnecessarily harsh aspects of the permit include impossible estimates of how many youth and adults will attend. A non-refundable cost of even applying for a permit (I think it used to be $33). I requested to know the specifics and they have not yet been provided.

Since Pacific Avenue is now arguably a Parks and Recreation Department controlled area (it's actually unclear--they provide maintenance and Park Czarina Dannettee Shoemaker is given authority over the Avenue in legislation that allows her to set up "no trespass" zones without public hearing, input, or city council approval.

Also P & R apparently limits permits (for performing in a space larger than 12 square feet or for a period longer than an hour) to three sidewalk locations on Pacific Avenue: Scribner Statue, O-Neill's, and Jamba Juice.

MC 13.04.011 reads in part: "HOURS OF OPERATION. (a) The parks and recreation director may, by regulation, establish hours during which any park... is open to the general public....These provisions shall be applicable to all park properties...under control of the parks and recreation director. For purposes of this chapter, the area under the jurisdiction and control of the parks and recreation director encompasses without limitation all city parks and greenbelts, all city park trails and roads, all city park facilities and buildings, including Lighthouse Field State Beach, DeLaveaga Golf Course, Main Beach, Cowell’s Beach, Steamer Lane, Harvey West Pool, the Beach Flats Community Center, the Louden Nelson Community Center, the Teen Center, the Civic Auditorium, City Hall Courtyard, Mission Plaza, the Town Clock, the Natural History Museum, the Surfing Museum, Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, PACIFIC AVENUE, West Cliff Drive (Pelton Street to Swanton Boulevard), the San Lorenzo River Levee and bike path, the San Lorenzo Benchlands,... plus any other facilities or
areas assigned to the parks and recreation department by the city manager....

Some may correctly note that musicians and artists are performing and displaying all over the place apparently with only minor molestation for the last two weeks. Be advised the police usually give a period of warnings before moving to enforce abusive ordinances that so clearly violate Santa Cruz traditions and common sense.

The sound amplification clampdown has been on-going for 20 years and quite regularly enforced against quiet performers against whom there have been no complaints.
by SCPD (posted by Norse)
Wednesday Nov 13th, 2013 11:05 PM
The Permit Rules (which are not visible above but can be seen when you download the pdf) are as follows:


SOUND AMPLIFICATION PERMIT APPLICATION

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS

1. COMPLETE THE ATTACHED APPLICATION. BE SURE THAT YOUR LOCATION ADDRESS IS IN THE CITY LIMITS OF SANTA CRUZ. (IF YOU ARE NOT CERTAIN, PLEASE ASK THE RECEPTIONIST).

2. RESIDENTIAL AREA REQUESTS: A PERMIT WILL NOT BE ISSUED UNLESS YOU HAVE CIRCULATED A PETITION TO YOUR NEIGHBORS CLEARLY
EXPLAINING THE PROPOSED EVENT, DATE AND HOURS. THE NEIGHBORHOOD CANVASS MUST INCLUDE BOTH TO THE SIDES, AND FRONT AND REAR OF
THE RESIDENCE. ATTACH A ROUGH DIAGRAM TO THE APPLICATION. ALL SOUND PERMITS IN RESIDENTIAL AREAS EXPIRE AT 10 P.M. AND NOISE MUST STOP.

3. THE COMPLETED APPLICATION, NEIGHBOR CONSENT FORM, AND A NON-REFUNDABLE FEE MUST BE RETURNED TO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT AT LEAST FOURTEEN (14) CALENDAR DAYS PRIOR TO THE EVENT. THE FEE IS AN APPLICATION FEE ONLY AND DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE APPLICATION WILL BE APPROVED.

4. DO NOT ASSUME THAT THIS APPLICATION WILL BE APPROVED. DO NOT EXPEND ANY MONEY, SIGN CONTRACTS, ETC., UNTIL YOU RECEIVE (IN WRITING) THE APPROVED PERMIT.

5. APPLICANT MAY BE REQUIRED TO OBTAIN OTHER DEPARTMENTAL APPROVAL, (FIRE, PLANNING, ZONING, FINANCE, ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL ETC.), PRIOR TO PERMIT ISSUANCE.

6. YOU WILL BE CONTACTED BY THE DEPARTMENT WHETHER OR NOT YOUR PERMIT HAS BEEN APPROVED.

7. THIS PERMIT IS FOR "ONE TIME" EVENTS. COMMERCIAL BUSINESSES WANTING TO START ONGOING ENTERTAINMENT MUST SUBMIT AN ENTERTAINMENT PERMIT APPLICATION.

8. SOUND AMPLIFICATION PERMIT APPLICATIONS FOR PARKS AND RECREATION CONTROLLED LOCATIONS SHOULD BE OBTAINED FROM, AND APPROVED FIRST BY THE PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT.

9. PERMIT APPLICATIONS FOR CITY PARKS ARE TO BE TURNED IN AT PARKS AND RECREATION. PERMIT APPLICATIONS IN CONJUNCTION WITH A CITY "SPECIAL EVENT" ARE TO BE TURNED IN AT THE FIRE DEPARTMENT. ALL OTHER PERMIT APPLICATIONS ARE TO BE TURNED IN TO POLICE RECORDS AT 155 CENTER STREET. FEES ARE DUE AT THAT TIME.

10. THE POLICE DEPARTMENT RESERVES THE RIGHT AS A CONDITION OF APPROVAL TO REQUIRE THE APPLICANT TO PROVIDE SECURITY FOR THE EVENT. THE SECURITY SHALL BE EITHER A STATE LICENSED UNIFORM SECURITY OFFICER OR AN OFF DUTY UNIFORMED SANTA CRUZ POLICE OFFICER.

SCPD - 037 (6/99)