LULU Carpenters Protest / Boycott
On November 10, 2006, members of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom) tabled near LULU carpenters due to an incident with Shane Maxfield, a terminally ill man, verbally threatened and abused by the owner Manthri Srinath. During that incident, Shane called police for protection and a citizen’s arrest. Officer Caldridge ignored Shane’s complaint and chose instead to accept a false police report and cite Shane, at Srinath’s request for”panhandling with abusive language”.
Mr. Srinath has subsequently refused to be interviewed and declined to provide any insight or specifics regarding what happened from his perspective – despite many invitations to do so on several occasions. Because of his history of abuse, like throwing hot coffee on a protester, for which he faced battery charges we felt it was time educate the public about these incidents and the apparent police collusion and bigotry displayed by Mr. Srinath and the officer.
Our intentions were to let people read Shane’s side of the story and even have the chance to speak to him. We also had available documentation of past incidents. We asked people to boycott LULU Carpenters until they had received a clear response from Srinath explaining his actions and committing himself to avoiding such abuse in the future. Thirty to forty people turned in slips with their names and e-mails, asking Srinath to contact them. Srinath Later reported his staff had thrown all such slips in the trash and banned the protest organizers from his business “for life”. A copy of the flyer front and back will be added as a comment soon.
THE SLIPS READ;
REQUEST TO THE OWNER OF LULU CARPENTER'S
I want to buy at local businesses that respect local people, even poor people, at cafes, whose owners respect public sidewalks as places for everyone -- not just those with money. Please assure me that in the future you will respect the rights of everyone. I would appreciate hearing your side of this controversy. If you have mistreated the man in question, are you willing to make some kind of restitution? Please call or e-mail me. I want to spend money here, knowing that your policy is to treat poor people decently and respect everyone's rights.
If you can't come, you might want to telephone your concerns to his cafe directly at 831-429-9804.
Other issues raised at the HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) table included a petition to the Santa Cruz City Council regarding the Sleeping Ban. We asked the new City Council to direct City Attorney John Barisone to do what The City Attorneys of San Diego and Los Angeles have recommended: End the nighttime arrests of homeless sleepers. We also expressed concerns about just eviction laws, and other issues of police/merchant harassment downtown.
OVER 100 flyers were handed out. Many people vowed never to patronize his business again. The majority of the people who bothered to read the flyer had a positive reaction to it and took a stand by signing the petition slips and handing them in.
The Police observed us throughout the tabling but never approached us.
Robert Norse was able to get some great interviews including past employees and the experiences they had working for Mr. Srinath. We hope to have them on the radio show, BATHROBESPIERRE'S BROADSIDES soon on Free Radio Santa Cruz
The tabling was a complete success. Not only did many take a stand against such behavior by both Mr. Srinath and the police. Many people were also concerned about the Sleeping Ban in Santa Cruz and signed a petition asking the City to abide by the Ninth Circuit of Appeals Court decision of the Jones’ case. This allows people to sleep if there are no beds available for them. In our City, they are about fifty open beds a night out of a homeless population of 1500-1700 people.
Mr. Srinath did finally post comments on indybay.org and at my blog, Humanity for Homeless, but he has yet to tell his side of the story. He has presented no real dialog, resorting instead to name calling. In one comment, he called the homeless “creatures” and Shane an “AIDS patient with a bunny and a screw loose”. We are trying to stick to the issues.
He has been invited on BATHROBESPIERRE'S BROADSIDES on Free Radio Santa Cruz Broadcast Schedule Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at freakradio.org. Free Radio Santa Cruz is also reportedly picked up by pirate broadcasters and relayed at 101.1 FM.
HUFF will meet Wednesday 9:30 AM – 11:30 am at701 Ocean St. in the breezeway between the county building and the courthouse. We will consider what actions to take next. (“Banned for life” buttons are being considered). Anyone is invited.
IF you have any information about Srinath’s business practices, particularly discriminatory ones, please post information on www.indybay.org/santacruz or http://www.hummanityforhomeless.blogspot.com or call us at 423-4833 and leave a message.
In addition if you have observed or have knowledge of other cases where police have acted as a private goon squads for businesses downtown, please let us and the public know. The Constitutional rights you save may be your own!
BOYCOTTBIGOTRY ON PACIFIC AVENUE. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH LULU CARPENTER’S, AND LET THEM KNOW ABOUT IT!