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Signs Signs Everywhere there's signs - a response to Mike Rotkin
by Tim Rumford
Saturday Dec 16th, 2006 9:40 PM
Response to Mike Rotkin's article regarding signs and fliers.
Signs Signs Everywhere There’s Signs
by Tim Rumford
Mike Rotkin recently had article in the Good Times about political signs and the blight they bring upon our city, admitting that he had 250 of them in his own election. He posed the problem of having huge political signs everywhere, on development, vacant lots and private property being too much of an eye sore. I agree to a point, although they disappeared quickly after the election and measure G had much to do about signs this election year. Other years have been far less troublesome, but I am no fan of large signs. However, why did Mike take the time to write this article when we have so many huge issues facing Santa Cruz?

He sighted one “small” election sign on a lawn, as “grass roots”, the sign representing to him a single vote for a single house and a single family. He seems to feel that we should restrict the size, times and places when a person running for office and the public can puts up political signs – limiting signs to only being up a month prior to the election. The article makes it sound as if his saintly progressive intention is to keep Santa Cruz a city with fewer signs likening them to billboards. His recommendation is a new law. This law would increase fines for putting up signs and more important, fliers, on public property (telephone polls). It would also restrict the signs to be up one month before an election only. All Rotkin’s recommendations for a new law were posed as questions, asking for public input.

Now his one house - one-vote- one-family grass roots progressive feel good notion may sound good, but he forgot some people, just a few thousand -- the homeless. They cannot display their “small sign” to make their BIG political statement in the “grassroots” manor he described.

The public has used signs on public property such as poles for everything from lost dogs to lost children and politics for eons, which would the city go after? This would affect all of those things unless illegally selectively enforced.

I would also like to know exactly which candidates illegally used vacant or private property for their large signs. This was a direct accusation and Rotkin owes the other candidates and public an answer.

The following appeared in Cops and Courts in the Sentinel in the middle of the election.

November 6, 2006 SANTA CRUZ Cops and Courts
Fliers attack candidate Rotkin
Reports were made Sunday of people posting political fliers around downtown streets that painted City Council candidate Mike Rotkin in a bad light.
Rotkin said he saw copies of the fliers "full of ridiculous stuff" after some friends of his removed them from telephone poles and took some to his house.
The fliers were stapled onto telephone poles around noon and stated he supports police abuse and doesn't support the homeless, Rotkin said.
His friends told him they followed the people that were distributing the fliers, two men between the ages of 18 and 20, and took the fliers down right after they were posted. The men reportedly hit Center, Chestnut, Washington and Cedar streets, then ended up inside a downtown area home.
"The point is they're not signed by anybody," Rotkin said. "It's not the way to do politics."
No charges were filed; no crime was committed that I am aware of accept stalking perhaps. Why this appeared in Cops and Courts at all is a mystery to me. I have seen violent attacks not make Cops and Courts.

The backlash from this small article was more signs. The next morning I awoke to a city being quickly “cleaned” of 1,000’s of anti-Rotkin fliers. They missed the poor neighborhoods in and around the beach flats where the fliers remained for some days.

Some of the history of the now infamous ant-Rotkin campaign as well as public comment can be at -

Political fliers, political art and public expression on public property in the form of fliers on telephone poles and many other fashions have been around since the beginning of paper and pen. It will continue as a way for any person to express dissent. It seems Mike Rotkin lives in his own little bubble. Many feel we judge our society by how we treat our poor and our dissidents. A person of his stature should be protecting the civil rights of these people, not thinking up another Santa Cruz ordinance made not to beautify the City, but to control dissenting voices from people who may not own a lawn or like Mike Rotkin’s politics.
I like the idea of less large signs, fliers are different, they are the voice of dissent. We need campaign reform, but not this way.

by Tim Rumford Saturday Dec 16th, 2006 9:40 PM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by cp
Sunday Dec 17th, 2006 6:45 AM
Hey - what's up with some of the other new councilmembers in Santa Cruz? Not everyone can listen to 101.1 for 4 hours on Sunday morning. I was wondering about Lynn Robinson because my wealthy neighbor who keeps calling the police on people for parking next to her house had a big election sign, but the campaign flyer I got was just about schools and supporting taking dogs on walks at the beach.
What about other cities? Santa Cruz gets so much focus due to the weighty number of aware and educated people around here, but some of the various generic cities around here around Silicon Valley, or closer to Monterey and eastward, seem to have few visible homeless because they already cast them off or jailed them. What's the situation in Santa Clara or Marina?
by hota
Sunday Dec 17th, 2006 5:56 PM
I think Tim (?) recorded a Scotts Valley City Council meeting recently where they talked about homelessness and passed a similar anti-sleeping ordinance there. That was really eye-opening because Scotts Valley has tons of open space (especially since the Silicon Valley bust and they were simply hateful about the homeless. Not surprising considering that community. You should have seen the way they flipped out over sign that read "all families are equal" at the high school a couple of years ago.)

The County is less restrictive on homelessness issues, though I know they still crackdown on people when they find them. I think there are more homeless in Santa Cruz because there is more surplus to live off of and, quite simply, it is less lonely. Homelessness is a lonely life, so I think people tend to congregate where other people are, even if they aren't necesarily communicating with them.
by Tim Rumford
(guitarandpen [at] Sunday Dec 17th, 2006 7:04 PM
I did record the meeting from video tape that someone else recorded. It was played on free radio and will be available for anyone to listen to at in the next 24 hours.
by Anti-Mike Fanclub
(nomike [at] Monday Dec 18th, 2006 10:33 AM
Here it is for those of you who want to carry on the grassroots campaign against Mike's 20 year reign of pseudo-liberal anti-human rights pro-business terror. Here is the source for the fliers. Do with them what you will. Add to them, subtract, modify. We pass the torch.

Of the three "guaranteed" council candidates this last selection cycle, Mike came in third. Did a simple half-dozen person campaign of truth have an effect? Maybe. In a town of 50 thousand residents in which maybe a third vote, public officials often win elections by margins of mere triple digits. If you reach maybe a thousand voters and convince them of the truth of candidates position, you can change the entire future for all of mankind.

Okay, maybe not the entire planet, but the future of this whole city. Well maybe not the entire future, but the future as far as city hall goes. Okay, maybe realistically it won't make a damn bit of difference since whoever sits on that council is still going to be the pro-business representative of an inherently oppressive institutions, but at least you get that asshole Mike out of that seat.

Here is the campaign press-release and the source for all those fliers.

Press Release

Ordinary Citizens Oppose Mike Rotkin's 22-Year Reign

Santa Cruz, CA, November 5th, 2005: An ad hoc group of citizens opposed to Mike Rotkin's two-decade rule of the Santa Cruz City Council hung thousands of homemade fliers -- 6000 to be exact -- all over town to set the record straight.

We're not associated with any parties and don't advocate any candidates. That said, there are some city council candidates who claim to represent us who are worse than others, some duplicitous souls who get elected year after year by convincing hapless youth that he and they share the same values.

For one city council candidate in particular, we read his carefully-worded campaign statements, many of whose positions "neither oppose not support" this issue or that and wonder what about several months ago when he was opposing the minimum wage law? What about last year when he supported police spying and supported hotel development? What about the two decades of anti-homeless, anti-poor, and anti-youth laws he's supported?

We're talking about Mike Rotkin. Is this really the best we can do? Is this really our "progressive" candidate? With progressive candidates like this, even ones who claim to be "Marxist-Feminist," who needs conservative opposition?

Frankly, for some of us old and young who've lived here for years, decades, we're sick to death of it and we'd like to set the record straight. Tepid, ambivalent, and safe campaign period positions aside, Mike Rotkin

• Opposes Minimum Wage Hike (Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 25, 2006)
• Supported Anti-Homeless Laws (San Francisco Chronicle, February 24, 1994)
• Supported Downtown Ordinances (San Francisco Chronicle, February 24, 1994)
• Supported Police Spying (Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 24, 2006)
• Supported Coast Hotel Development (Santa Cruz Sentinel, February 23, 2005)
• Opposed Downtown Plaza (Santa Cruz Sentinel, September 23,1999)
• Axed Citizen Police Review Board (San Jose Mercury News, February 13, 2003)
• Refuses To Limit Police Power (Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 24, 2006)
• Supported Outdoor Sleeping Ban (Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 9, 2002)
• Supports Marijuana Enforcement (San Jose Mercury News, October 30, 2006)
• Supported Anti-Party Laws (Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 14, 2005)
• Blocked Call For Bush Impeachment (Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 26, 2006)
• Opposed Metro Bus Strike (Santa Cruz Sentinel, August 30, 2005)
• Supported Boardwalk Expansion (Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 3, 1998)

For heaven's sake, it's time for a change. Mike doesn't represent you.

In response to our truly grassroots anti-campaign, we witnessed campaigners with the Santa Cruz Business Coalition methodically tearing legally hung political fliers off of poles and streetlights. While hanging the Business Coalation's influential door hangers with Mike Rotkin's name, they were removing anti-Rotkin fliers.

Sample flier - 6000 copies distributed all over town

by Mike's Anti-Fanclub
Monday Dec 18th, 2006 10:34 AM
PDF version of AntiMike Fliers.
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Dec 19th, 2006 3:34 PM
Thanks to the "I Don't Like Mike" flyers for adding a little grassroots (or telephone pole) democracy to a recycle-the-robopoliticians campaign.

Rotkin and Kennedy were accused themselves of tearing down the signs of opponents in a prior election, as Rotkins' friends reportedly tore down the "I Don't Like Mike" signs.

I was personally shocked (though not really surprised) when Rotkin had the police remove a large sign denouncing him during the City Hall Sleep-In the homeless held at City Hall during the summer of 1996.

In a democracy, there's always the recall. Even in a deformed plutocracy, that alternative does exist.
by summer_sky
Wednesday Dec 20th, 2006 1:46 PM
Posted Fri Dec 1, 2006 8:31 PM Quote
maybe, 'tis the season for americans and not necessarily all the world?
consumerism and the hyper-greed of corporate america transforms me into Grinch this time of year
*insert disenchanted emoticon here*
by Tcx
Wednesday Dec 20th, 2006 1:47 PM
On the Twelve Days of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me . . .
December 14, 2003

Christmas Present
Dearest Dave,

I went to the door today, and the postman delivered a partridge in a pear tree. This was a delightful gift! I couldn't have been more surprised or pleased darling!

With truly the deepest love,

December 15, 2003

Dearest Dave,

Today the postman brought me yet another of your sweet gifts. The two turtule doves that arrived today are adorable, and I'm delighted by your thoughtful and generous ways.

With all of my love,
Your Agnes

December 16, 2003

Dearest Dave,

You've truly been too kind! I must protest; I don't deserve such generosity. The thought of getting three French hens amazes me. Yet, I am not surprised--what more should I expect from such a nice person.


December 17, 2003

Dear Dave,

Four calling birds arrived in the mail today. They are truly nice but don't you think that enough is enough? You are being too romantic.


December 18, 2003

Dearest darling Dave,

It was a surprise to get five golden rings! I now have one for every finger. You truly are impossible darling, yet oh how I love it! Quite frankly, all of those squarking birds from the previous days were starting to get on my nerves. Yet, you managed to come through with a beautiful valuable gift!

All my love,

December 19, 2003

Dear Dave,

When I opened my door, there were actually six geese a-laying on my front steps. So you're back to the birds again, huh? Those geese are dear, but where will I keep them? The neighbors are complaining, and I am unable to sleep with all the racket. Please stop dear.


December 20, 2003


What is with you and those stupid birds!? Seven swans a-swimming!! What kind of sick joke is this!!?? There are bird droppings everywhere! They never shut up, and I don't get any sleep!!! I'm a nervous wreck! It's not funny you weirdo, so stop with the birds.


December 21, 2003

O.K. wise guy,

The birds were bad enough. Now what do you expect me to do with eight maids a-milking? If that's not bad enough, they had to bring their cows!! The front lawn was completely ruined by them, and I can't move in my own house! Just lay off me or you'll be sorry!


December 22, 2003

Hey loser,

What are you? You must be some kind of sadist!! Now there are nine pipers playing, and they certainly do play! They haven't stopped chasing those maids since they got here! The cows are getting upset, and they're stepping all over those screeching birds. The neighbors are getting up a petition to evict me, and I'm going out of my mind!

You'll get yours!

December 23, 2003

You rotten scum!!!

There are now ten ladies dancing! There is only one problem with that! They're dancing twenty-four hours a day all around me with the pipers upsetting the cows and the maids. The cows can't sleep, and they are going to the bathroom everywhere! The building commissioner has subpoenaed me to give cause as to why the house shouldn't be condemned! I can't even think of a reason! You creep! I'm sicking the police on you!

One who means it!

December 24, 2003

Listen you evil, sadistic, maniac!

What's with the eleven lords-a-leaping?!? They are leaping across the rooms breaking everything and even injuring some of the maids! The place smells, is an absolute mad house, and is about to be condemned! At least the birds are quiet; they were trampled to death by the cows. I hope you are satisfied--you rotten vicious worthless piece of garbage!

Your sworn enemy,

December 25, 2003

The Law Offices of
Badger, Rees, and Yorker
20 Knave Street
Chicago, Illinois

Dear sir,

This is to acknowledge your latest gift of twelve fiddlers-fiddling which you have seen fit to inflict on our client, one Agnes Mcholstein. The destruction of course was total. If you attempt to reach Ms. Mcholstein at Happy Daze Sanatarium, the attendants have instructions to shoot you on site.

Please direct all correspondence to this office in the future. With this letter, please find attached a warrant for your arrest.

Badger, Rees, and Yorker
by Bernie Kiteflyer
Monday Dec 25th, 2006 10:29 PM
Dear Messrs. Badger, Rees and Yorker,

On behalf of my client, Dave Darling, I extend my apologies for any inconvenience his thoughtless gift-giving may have caused your client. In manner of restitution, he is prepared to accept a return of a fiddler, one Nero, for regifting to another entity, one HUFF, for entertainment at their breezeway meetings on Wednesdays. In the future, any gifts from my client to yours will be in the form of gift cards only, redeemable at an aviary of your clients choice.


Bernie Kiteflyer, Esq.

(On behalf of Robert "Love my Trust Fund!" Norse, aka Dave Darling)
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