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Indybay Feature

Brownies Against Bigotry: Stroll and Speak to the “Santa Cruz Nay-bors”

by Robert Norse
Munch and mingle with homeless folks, concerned community members, and “the Santa Cruz Neighbors” at the Community Room of the SCPD at 115 Center St. 6:45 PM Tuesday March 20th. Tasty “bigotbuster” brownies will be provided by masterchef Jumbogumbo Joe Schultz. There may also be a promenade from the sidewalk in front of New Leaf Market’s Tuesday night “munchin’ music” event to the police station at 6:30 PM.

At its last monthly meeting, the Santa Cruz Neighbors [SCN] invited notorious police officers (such as Loran “Butchie” Baker & Jim Howes) to advise and encourage community "policing". (e.g. how to call the cops on homeless people sleeping with no available shelter). In the past the police department has fought Sleeping Ban reform.

Last month, Downtown Association Executive Director Keith Holtaway was a guest speaker at the SCN and urged people not to give money or food to poor people downtown. All such donations, Holtaway urged (according to the SCN minutes), be given to "service-providers".

Some regard the Santa Cruz Neighbors as an electoral prop for Lynn Robinson, whose husband is a publicist for the terminally anti-homeless Seaside Company.

Robinson previously headed the group, but was recently elected to City Council. She, Ryan Coonerty, and Cynthia Mathews take credit for the current Downtown Crackdown, increasing police abuses against homeless people, street performers, youth, and others. Robinson has so far returned no calls to HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom).

HUFF and HRO (the Human Rights Organization) have asked to be allowed a presentation at the meeting. Already featured are talks by Danielle Long--mental health worker, Ken Cole --executive director of the Homeless Service Center [HSC], and Officer Eric Seiley--the “Homeless Resource” person. None of these people have spoken out publicly against the crackdown.

Recently the community kicked down $5 million for a "Family Shelter" which provided NO expansion of emergency shelter. Another $700,000 has been slated to put beds in the HSC itself, but with the closing of the Interfaith Satellite Shelter Program, again no overall expansion.

Meanwhile the city continues to issue around 60 $90 citations per month for "sleeping" and provides (wretched) emergency shelter for only 5% of its 1500-2000 homeless. The SCN seem to be intent on ways of making life harder for these folks and clearing them off the streets.

Last year's homeless death toll was the highest yet, according to the HSC's own figures.

We urge people with experience in homelessness and concerns about the heavy police crackdown to show up and speak up.

More info: 423-4833.

HUFF meets Wednesdays 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM at the County Building in the basement at the American Cafe; HRO meets Saturdays 1:45 PM to 2:45 PM at 115 Coral St. in the Dining Bay of the Homeless Services Center.
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Robert Norse
Sat, Mar 24, 2007 5:17AM
Tim Rumford
Wed, Mar 21, 2007 9:15AM
Robert Norse
Wed, Mar 21, 2007 6:10AM
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