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Trash Orchestra & "Santa Cruz Sit Ban" Video Tonight at Homeless City Hall Sleep Zone
by Robert Norse
Thursday Aug 16th, 2007 9:46 AM
The city-famous Trash Orchestra has promised to tune up and turn us on at City Hall (809 Center St.) 6-9 PM Thursday August 16. In response, HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) will follow the Orchestra's percussive performance with a showing of the 1994 video "Sitting in Santa Cruz"- by Paul Brindel --on the smallest battery-run TV ever--. Bring blankets and opera glasses.

Rico Thunder, Trash Orchestra Impressario, sent me the following e-mail a few days ago:

Subject: Trash Orchestra to steel the hearts of the homeless
Portentous possibility perhaps of playful performance/practice at protest of the predicament of provincial pariahs.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Trash Orchestra to amuse the homeless
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 11:53:39 -0700

Kudos to all who chose to stay another night at the City Hall campout to protest the Sleeping Ban. I got your message and it warmed my hard little heart. I think this creates a lovely double-bind. It forces the city to do something about something they'd prefer to just ignore. But the more they ignore it, the more it can build. Yet, the more they react, the more impetus and momentum they give the lawsuit and resistance. Oh, the hard life of the petty heartless bureaucrat.

So Trash Orchestra would like to come out and support Homeless Resistance by playing at City Hall on Thursday evening 6pm to 9pm. Will anyone still be there?


More on the Trash Orchestra at:


The video that follows the Trashy performance will be played on a very small tv, so folks either need to crowd around, have excellent eyesight, or bring binoculars, telescopes, etc. To be clear, this will NOT be shown on the side of a building, Guerrilla Drive-In-style (unless there's a a sudden change), but will be shown on a small portable tv set. Be advised.

"Sitting in Santa Cruz" chronicles the successful resistance to the first Rotkin-Mathews- [Neal] Coonerty Sitting Ban. After police attack a Food Not Bombs feeding on the corner of Cathcart and Pacific with "sitting" tickets, the community responded with massive civil disobedience.

Over 40 went to jail for "sitting on the sidewalk"; all charges were eventually dismissed when--in a rare decision--local judges Salazar and Barton found the law unconstitutional. The City Council responded with threats to appeal the court's decision. They then passed a modified Sitting Ban which was expanded in 2002 (no sitting within 14' of a building).

The film shows the power of the Santa Cruz community when it comes out to protest, as well as the obtuseness of the police force under Police Chief Jack Bassett and Vice-Chief Steve Belcher. The police rioted, broke one man's rib, made a woman miscarry, and generally created havoc. They declared the area a riot zone, naturally, and arrested people for failure to disperse (juries threw out all the charges, as I remember).

We're hoping for popcorn for the show, which is likely (though it didn't show up on Sunday).

Folks are encouraged to support and encourage the Sleep-Out, which had 20 or more "illegal" sleepers Wedneday night and NO TICKETS. (The first night there were 30 or more sleepers and two Sleepcrime citations) A core group of "Homies for the Homeless" are tabling during the day with a larger group of folks sleeping at night.

Using the time-tested "Know Your Rights" roleplaying format, pioneered by Rico Thunder and Jason (coming up again a week from Saturday), we've been doing some practice on how to deal with midnight wake-up's under the Sleeping Ban.


The key to all this involves several basic questions to the officer:
"Am I free to go back to sleep?" ... (If not) "Do you have a legal place for me to sleep, if you insist I don't sleep here?" ..... (If not)..."Are you aware that the shelters are all full during the summer?" "Are you aware that the court regularly dismissed all camping citations with a form letter from the Homeless Services Center?" "Have you been briefed on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' Jones decision from Los Angeles which finds police harassment of homeless people at night illegal, given a persistent shelter deficiency?" ...."If you're still intent on ticketing me, I'm not sure you have probably cause to do so--so, before signing it, I'd like to speak with your sergeant." ....(If the homeless person decides to risk jail because no magistrates are available during the night, but wants to document the police abuse): "I'd like to be taken to a magistrate to determine if there's probable cause to issue this citation."

Hoping to have some role playing and workshopping Sunday in front of the Bookshop Santa Cruz at 2 PM after my radio show 9:30 AM to 1 PM.

I will also be showcasing activists from "Homies for the Homeless" tonight Thursday August 16 6-8 PM, where I"ll play interviews with the "Sock-it-to-'em" Sleepers. (Tune in at 101.1 FM or Thursday August 16).

Thanks to Rico and his gang of merry instrumentalists !

Bathrobespierre Robert Norse
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Fuck City HallAnyoneThursday Aug 16th, 2007 2:01 PM