Join us at Santa Cruz City Hall at 6:30pm tonight (Tuesday) to express your concerns and outrage about the failure of the Police Spying Policy.
The "final draft" of the police spying scandal policy will go into effect on July 5th without many of the key protections demanded by activists and promised by the City Council.
In contrast to the promises of the City Council's Public Safety Committee in May 29th, including Councilmembers Rotkin, Porter, and Ryan Coonerty, the new policy will go into effect with out any public transparency, without any opportunity for public comment, and without any review or discussion by the City Council.
According to Mark Schlosberg of the ACLU, contrary to his expectations, the process of drafting the policy was not a collaborative one and involved one initial meeting and one opportunity for minor changes.
Acording to Mayor Mathews in a letter to activists:
The process used to develop the policy has summarized in a memo to City Council from City Manager Dick Wilson: "We had a meeting that included (city attorney) John Barisone, (police chief) Howard Skerry, (police auditor) Bob Aaronson, (ACLU attorney) Mark Schlosberg (ACLU) and me, at which we discussed the issues the policy revision needed to address. We agreed as to what those issues were, and in concept about their resolution. John Barisone prepared a revised policy, and I sent it up to Mark Schlosberg, inviting him to offer additional minor, but not major, comments. That was entirely appropriate. I haven’t heard back from him. Howard will implement the revised policy July 5."
You'll note that the policy will not come back to the City Council for a vote: it has been developed and will be implemented according to our earlier direction. I am attaching the "final draft" copy of the policy; we expect it to be issued in this form or something very close to it.
The new policy crafted behind closed doors and put in place on the same day it will be published, allows police tremendous latitude in monitoring the activities of activists and community groups. The new SCPD rule builds on a hastily thrown together one page policy created after the Police Spy Scandal broke. It puts only a few restrictions on police undercover opperations and does nothing to limit other police monitoring of first amendment activities.
Under the new policy, even if you are engaged in constitutionally protected first amendment activities, Santa Cruz police will still be able to videotape you inside or outside of your home, audio record you, listen to your phonecalls, look at the mail you are receiving, make notes about your organization, tail you, monitor your website, subscribe to your email lists, and examine your memberhip lists.
Activists are rightly concerned that the new policy and the process that created it have failed.
We encourage you to come express your concerns to the City Council at tongiht's city council meeting. Help them understand that our First Amendment rights to free expression are at risk here. As Santa Cruz citizens, we will never accept police spying on our political and community groups and activities.