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Defend Right to Demonstrate in SF!

by Direct Actionist
Ways that you can help defend free speech and the right to assemble in San Francisco! Several court dates are coming up soon. Read the second post attached below for info about the additional dates.
Greetings, Bay Area Direct Action Activists and Supporters!

As most of you know, we have a new District Attorney in San Francisco: Kamala
Harris. Previous SF DA Terence Hallinan--an activist in the 60s--supported First
Amendment rights and therefore discharged or dismissed most protest-related charges,
such as the ~3000 anti-war-related arrests last year. The mass arrests during the
Reclaim the Commons mobilization (RTC) will be a major test of the protest climate
since Harris was elected into office, and since, to her credit, she refused to seek
the death penalty in the recent slaying of an SF policeman--unleashing the ire of
the SFPD. Although Harris said that her office would prosecute only vandalism and
assault charges with respect to protest-related arrests, she has already reneged on
that. Whatever her motives, her office appears to be determined to prosecute the RTC
protestors, which can result in high fines (up to ~$350), jail time, or community
service, putting a very effective damper on public protest in SF!!!

How the RTC arrests are resolved will have repercussions on future protest-related
arrests and public protest in general. So, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT at this
point---in the height of the fascist Patriot Acts frenzy in this country (the GOP
just beat back another challenge to this act yesterday--see front page of this
morning's Chron)--for Bay Area residents to DEFEND OUR RIGHT TO PROTEST in San
Francisco. So, PLEASE...

--COME TO THE NEXT HEARING! If at all possible, come to the next RTC hearing (9am,
Tues, Aug 3, Dept A, 2nd Floor, 850 Bryant). Please RSVP if you intend to come, and
we will get a bigger courtroom if necessary. A strong presence in the courtroom will
show the judge and the public that Bay Area residents dearly covet our First
Amendment rights, and clearly object to corporate control of the commons!!!

--APPLY POLITICAL PRESSURE! Write or phone elected officials-- SF DA Kamala Harris,
SF Mayor Gavin Newsom, and the SF Supervisors! (see sample letters/talking points
and contact info below).

--RESUSCITATE THE CITY LIAISON WORKING GROUP! A small delegation of us should follow
up on the SF Proclamation and Resolution supporting RTC, and enlist more champions
among the Board of Supes. Members of the RTC City Liaison Working Group or people
who would like to join this group and/or help with this effort, please contact me to
discuss strategy for the SF Board of Supes exerting pressure on the DA and the SFPD
with respect to First Amendment rights in San Francisco! PLEASE HELP!

Sample Letters/Talking Points & Officials' Contact Info Follows
________________________________________________

To D-A Kamala Harris:

Kamala Harris, District Attorney
Hall of Justice, 880 Bryant Street, Room 325
San Francisco, CA 94103

cc: Debbie Mesloh, Public Information Officer (415) 553-1752 Debbie.Mesloh [at] sfgov.org


Re: Protecting and Defending First Amendment Rights in San Francisco!

Dear Kamala Harris,

I commend you for not seeking the death penalty in the slaying of Officer Espinoza.
By taking this principled and courageous stand in the face of an SFPD rabid for
blood, you reflect my own adamant stand against the death penalty and that of the
majority of Bay Area residents. This same SFPD never seeks the death penalty in
their trigger-happy "accidental slayings" of unarmed--and in the case of Cammerin
Boyd, also legless--San Franciscans of color. These outrageous crimes and other
excesses of the SFPD--such as illegal arrests, over-charging, and over-staffing that
is needlessly bleeding the SF budget--must end.

I now ask you to take another principled stand to protect the First Amendment rights
of all Bay Area residents and to rein in the excesses of the SFPD. To this end, I am
strongly urging you to drop all charges pertaining to the mass protest-related
arrests at the Moscone Center on the morning of June 8. To your credit, your office
already dropped charges in the illegal mass arrests of protestors on Market Street
the evening of June 8; the charges are equally indefensible in the case of the
arrests made the morning of June 8.

Upholding the people's right to protest, that is, our First Amendment rights
guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, is absolutely critical at the local level, all
the more so, given the current oppressive political climate at the federal level as
characterized by the Patriot Act, which tramples the Bill of Rights, cavalierly
stripping away our civil liberties. By dropping the charges, you will also be
fulfilling your word that you would not prosecute these types of charges in
protest-related arrests.

Our Freedoms must be upheld by the District Attorney's office--especially at this
critical juncture, when the federal government is discarding the Constitution,
national, and international law and shamelessly catering to Big Money, Big Business,
and Empire-building, while the mass of US residents suffer from poverty, pollution,
inadequate education, health-care, and housing. People need to exercise our civil
rights to publicly assemble, criticize, and end these outrageous abuses--now more
than ever! It is your obligation to uphold our right to protest, not to discourage
or dampen it!

Please do the right thing and drop all protest-related charges now!

Sincerely,

[Your Name & Address]


To Mayor Newsom/SF Supervisors:

[See below for email addresses and phone numbers]

Re: Protecting and Defending First Amendment Rights in San Francisco!

Dear Mayor Newsom and SF Supervisors,

I am asking you to take a strong stand and to send a powerful message to the
District Attorney, the SFPD, and all San Franciscans that you fully support the
public's First Amendment rights. In particular, I am asking you to exert political
pressure on the D.A's office to drop all charges pertaining to the mass
protest-related arrests that occurred on June 8. To the D-A's credit, her office has
already dropped charges in the illegal mass arrests of protestors on Market Street
the evening of June 8; the charges are equally indefensible in the case of the
arrests made the morning of June 8. In defiance of her own statement that she would
not prosecute the types of charges in these protest-related arrests, Kamala Harris
is proceeding to do just that.

Upholding the people's right to protest, that is, our First Amendment rights
guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, is absolutely critical at the local level, all
the more so, given the current oppressive political climate at the federal level as
characterized by the Patriot Act, which tramples the Bill of Rights, cavalierly
stripping away our civil liberties.

Our Freedoms must be upheld by local government--especially at this critical
juncture, when the federal government is discarding the Constitution, national, and
international law and shamelessly catering to Big Money, Big Business, and
Empire-building, while the mass of US residents suffer from poverty, pollution,
inadequate education, health-care, and housing. People need to exercise our civil
rights to publicly assemble, criticize, and end these outrageous abuses--now more
than ever! It is your obligation to uphold our right to protest, not to allow it to
be discouraged or dampened!

Please do the right thing and demand that the City and County of San Francisco drop
all protest-related charges now! I also urge you to exert political pressure to rein
in the latitude currently granted to the SFPD, which has resulted in the wanton
killing of unarmed people--a wave that has reached epidemic proportions, illegal
arrests, over-charging, and over-staffing, most of which is needlessly bleeding the
already stretched SF budget!

Sincerely,

[Your name and address]

> Mayor
> Gavin Newsom <gavin.newsom [at] sfgov.org>
> 415/554-6141
>
> Supervisor, District 1
> Jake McGoldrick <Jake.McGoldrick [at] sfgov.org>
> 415/554-7410
>
> Supervisor, District 2
> Michela Alioto-Pier <Michela.Alioto-Pier [at] sfgov.org>
> 415/554-7752
>
> Supervisor, District 3
> Aaron Peskin <Aaron.Peskin [at] sfgov.org>
> 415/554-7450
>
> Supervisor, District 4
> Fiona Ma <Fiona.Ma [at] sfgov.org>
> 415/554-7460
>
> Supervisor, District 5
> Matt Gonzalez <Matt.Gonzalez [at] sfgov.org>
> 415/554-7630
>
> Supervisor, District 6
> Chris Daly <Chris.Daly [at] sfgov.org>
> 415/554-7970
>
> Supervisor, District 7
> Tony Hall <Tony.Hall [at] sfgov.org>
> 415/554-6516
>
> Supervisor, District 8
> Bevan Dufty <Bevan.Dufty [at] sfgov.org>
> 415/554-6968
>
> Supervisor, District 9
> Tom Ammiano <Tom.Ammiano [at] sfgov.org>
> 415/554-5144
>
> Supervisor, District 10
> Sophie Maxwell <Sophie.Maxwell [at] sfgov.org>
> 415/554-7670
>
> Supervisor, District 11
> Gerardo Sandoval <Gerardo.Sandoval [at] sfgov.org>
> 415/554-6975
>
§More court dates, 7/30 and 8/3
by Direct Actionist
Greetings, Bay Area Direct-Action Activists--or soon to be as things worsen!

The original post above is the update that went out Last Friday, July 9th.
Immediately following is new/supplemental information! Please distribute widely!

--ADDITIONAL COURT DATE!!! If you covet your First Amendment rights and oppose a
Police State, please PACK the COURTROOMS on the following dates, to let the judge,
D-A, and Public know where you stand!:

---->2pm, Friday July 30th, Dept 22, 3rd Floor, 850 Bryant (btw 6th & 7th Sts.), SF

---->9am, Tues, Aug 3, Dept A, 2nd Floor, 850 Bryant

--FAX NUMBERS FOR SF SUPES!!! If you have a fax machine, please fax each
Supervisor's office with the sample letter below--or preferably your own! (The
original call-to-action included only the phone and email addresses of the SF
officials to contact.)

Chris Daly 554-7974
Tom Ammiano 554-6255
Sophie Maxwell 554-7674
Aaron Peskin 554-7454
Gerardo Sandoval 554-6979
Tony Hall: 554-6546
Bevin Dufty 554-6909
Fiona Ma 554-7432
Michael Alioto-Pier 554-7843
Matt Gonzalez 554-7634





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