Santa Cruz IMC
Santa Cruz IMC
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Vice-Mayor Ryan Coonerty declares war on homeless people
by Becky Johnson (becky_johnson222 [at]
Tuesday Feb 13th, 2007 9:55 AM
In the February 13th issue of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, a front-page article by Shanna McCord quotes Coonerty as saying "There is a sense of urgency now because people don't feel comfortable downtown. We have to respond to that." Coonerty, Counilmembers Lynn Robinson and Cynthia Mathews have teamed up to increase police funding, staffing, and enforcement of the new 15-minute law which criminalizes anyone but a city worker from remaining in a parking structure for longer than 15 minutes, subject to a $160 fine. Despite repeated complaints of homeless people "sleeping all over the place", there is no plan to increase any shelter or legalized sleeping options. Coonerty's plan, concocted from complaints from his customers at Bookshop Santa Cruz, is to increase the criminalization of homelessness.
Entirely missing from the Shana McCord article on page one is any attempt to ask homeless people how they feel about the increased enforcement directed at them for sleeping in public places---given that they have no other choice.

Coonerty, who SHOULD be responding to his constituents (HUFF, the Human Rights Organization, and the Cabrillo College Homeless Task Force have been lobbying Coonerty and Mayor Emily Reilly to relieve the oppression caused by the Sleeping Ban in a situation where insufficient shelter exists.

Coonerty apparently ONLY cares about his customers ----and states openly that he is open to what the MERCHANTS want, excluding everyone else.

If his customers are offended by the sight of homeless people, one wonders if Coonerty would favor rounding them up and shipping them to concentration camps in order to make his customers "feel more comfortable."

Note that Shanna McCord provides no stats on arrests downtown---apparently willing to accept hook, line, and sinker that the increased police enforcement is necessary to deal with an alleged increase in problems downtown.

More likely, the new budget money from Measure H (passed by the voters in Nov. 2006) of which 37% (the largest chunk by far) was designated for police services is being maneuvered to pay for the private security guard services the merchants should be paying for out of their own funds---as opposed to taxpayer funds.

Measure H was advertised as a funding mechanism to repair our disintegrating roads, when only 9% of the funding goes to this.

The Sentinel has been increasingly printing anti-homeless letters and articles where they fail to consult any homeless activists, service providers, or homeless people themselves for comment.

Homeless people are portrayed as "vandals, aggressive panhandlers, spitters, burglars, drug salesmen, cluttering the sidewalk with their meager possessions, frightening women, and using abusive language." Since no stats are given, one wonders if college students who are drunk, latino gangs from other cities, or any of the 3.2 million visitors the Boardwalk attracts annually contribute anything to the "problems downtown."

This kind of bigotry is unfitting for a mainstream newspaper. And it is foreboding in the case of city leaders who promote this kind of bigotry and the police-state methods they will need to employ to arrest or drive homeless people from the area.

The bottom line is that we have a homeless problem in Santa Cruz. The solution is to open a homeless campground and carpark to protect our greenbelt areas, and to provide legal options to homeless people who currently are left out in the cold.
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
Wow, william scott is talkin about spending money on booksHELIOThursday Dec 13th, 2007 4:45 PM
A little humanity is not a bad thingBecky JohnsonFriday Apr 6th, 2007 2:43 PM
Good for the city council!Jim SchultzSaturday Mar 17th, 2007 11:59 PM
Attack the homeless, claim poverty, and give $4 million to CDM for desalination...Ike SolemFriday Feb 23rd, 2007 11:53 PM
Know Your RightsRicoThursday Feb 22nd, 2007 5:29 PM
Homelessness and Drug Abuse Are Two Different ThingsHWednesday Feb 21st, 2007 9:09 PM
Attacks on the homeless: Timeless middle class Santa Cruz family funWilliam ScottTuesday Feb 20th, 2007 7:09 PM
When Is the Necessity of Individual Responsibility Going to Dawn in Santa Cruz?Craig StehrTuesday Feb 20th, 2007 10:30 AM
Grim Facts Around the Sleeping BanRobert NorseMonday Feb 19th, 2007 6:10 AM
Ryan Coonerty betrays his ignorance and Porter gets his come uppanceBecky JohnsonThursday Feb 15th, 2007 6:33 PM

We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


donate now

$ 586.20 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network