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From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Rotkin Campaigners Vandalize Opposition's Materials and Stalk Opponents
Friends of Mike Rotkin tore down opposition flyers, followed those who had posted the flyers and then stalked them all the way to their home. Rotkin responded by saying that posting unsigned flyers is "not the way to do politics."
According to a report published in the Monday, November 6th edition of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, flyers have been posted around Santa Cruz calling for the ousting of City Council Candidate, Mike Rotkin. Rotkin, who has served on the City Council on and off since the early 1980's for a total of 22 years, has received no significant public criticism up to this point in his campaign for another term on the City Council.
However, the Sentinel story goes on to report that "friends" of Mike Rotkin had seen the flyers, followed the people who were posting them and tore the flyers down.
Rotkin's friends didn't stop there. They gathered descriptions of these people who were flyering and then followed them to their homes.
The distributors of the flyers were well within their rights. Beside the obvious protection of their freedom of expression granted to them by the Bill of Rights, they followed the procedures required for posting handbills within the City of Santa Cruz. They didn't use any tape and the flyers have not up been up for more than ten days after the event they advertise has passed.
From an ethical viewpoint, the flyers were legitimate. Each criticism of Rotkin was fully backed with a reference to support the claim -- something that even most newspapers don't bother to do.
What is most troubling is that Rotkin felt comfortable talking about this. This story appears to have come straight from him or a person very close to him. The only thing he is quoted as saying is that the claims on the flyers were "full of ridiculous stuff" and that the flyers were "not signed by anybody," Rotkin said. "It's not the way to do politics."
"Not the way to do politics."
Apparently he had no comment about if getting your friends to pull down flyers that were legitimately critical of him is "not the way to do politics." Or if stalking those people all the way to their houses and collecting information on them is "not the way to do politics."
Ripping down other people's flyers is vandalism. The people who paid for those flyers were most likely low-wage workers whose freedom of speech is already being held hostage by greedy business owners who are spending tens of thousands of dollars (dollars which could have been spent on increasing workers wages) fighting a modest minimum wage proposal. Workers who support the current minimum wage proposal are afraid to speak out in support of this measure out of a real fear that they might lose their jobs. These anti-Measure G owners are the very same people who are funding the Mike Rotkin, Cynthia Matthews and, to a lesser degree, Lynn Robinson campaigns. Look at the records.
Flyer vandalism is no small thing to poor people. These flyers are the billboards of the poor. Flyers have started and won people's grassroots movements --- a subject Mike Rotkin is paid to teach about, but appears to show complete disdain for as demonstrated through his everyday actions.
The people who had the courage to stand up to Rotkin's oppression by posting modest flyers were rewarded by being profiled and stalked. Who are these "friends" of Mike Rotkin? The police? The Downtown Guides/Spies? Is this not unlike the Bush Regime who profile their critics?
Meanwhile, the police of Santa Cruz are supposed to be enforcing all kinds of important laws in Santa Cruz, such as not writing with chalk on the sidewalk, not sitting in your car for more than ten minutes in a parking lot and ticketing anyone for sleeping outside at night. (Has anyone noticed that the Santa Cruz City Police have been recruiting for months and months? Could it be possible that even police are offended at the possibility of having to enforce such ridiculous mandates?)
The hubris and corruption in Santa Cruz stinks. It's past the time to do something about it.
Win or lose, this instance of vandalism, harrassment and stalking should be thoroughly investigated. Even without faith in the police, a call can be made anyway. Other City Council members should be alerted to this and residents of Santa Cruz should demand that Mike Rotkin is investigated regarding his involvement in these criminal acts.