From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Police State and Prisons
Rotkin Responds to the ACLU Scandal: Signature Hypocrisy of Phoney "Progressive" Politics
by Robert Norse
Saturday Sep 8th, 2007 9:57 AM
One of the longest threads on indybay recently has been "Activists ask ACLU to Help End Sleeping Ban". The discussion there exposes and documents an important and profound hypocrisy that has been central to Santa Cruz "progressive" politics for two decades. Organizations and individuals which newcomers might think would be most "liberal", "socialist" or "progressive" are actually the opposite on local issues. I encourage folks to go to & read Rotkin's latest remarks.
In the midst of an expanding murderous war in Iraq and a likely attack on Iran, Rotkin's City Council has its first meeting of the fall.

It refused to direct staff to prepare an FYI examining its own investments to see if any war profiteering is involved.

It funded redoubled efforts to seize and destroy the survival gear of its poorest community members in the Pogonip (Chief Ranger Wallace's avowed policy of destroying homeless tents and campsites in the teeth of the Fresno Kinkaid decision).

It refuses to open up the most elementary sanitary facilities (24-hour bathrooms) out of a sick paranoia towards the poor and/or hypersensitivity to the bigoted sensibilities of downtown merchants.

It readied itself to seize more public space by closing off the Parking Lots to public assemblies ( after moving to set the stage for selling off Scribner/Scope Park across from the Town Clock.

It went into closed door session to authorize the sabotage of the Measure K (Lowest Priority for Marijuana Enforcement) passed by 63% of the voters. As for the authorized Measure K Commissions hearings--endlessly postponed (the latest was scheduled for 6 PM September 13, but abruptly canceled, according to Commission member Anita Henry).

It refused to back a small rise in the minimum wage downtown, not to mention gutting trailer park rent control, and forget about real rent control or renter protection.

The more we understand exactly where the Rotkin Council sits and where the Rotkin ACLU sits, the closer we'll be to pulling out the chair and finding some new answers and some new people.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) will be speaking at City Council. Homies for the Homeless may be initiating another Sleep-Out at City Hall on Tuesday the 11th. The latest Bush snowjob will roll over Congress next week or the week after. How about beginning a sleep out on City Hall as part of a Vigil Against Two Wars--the War on the Poor in Santa Cruz and the War Against the Iraqi People?

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by I could buy another beer
Saturday Sep 8th, 2007 12:38 PM
The headline says there is a response from Rotkin, but all I see is another muddled rant from Robert Norse. A few days ago, I did see Rotkin's reply on the other thread; if that is what you are referencing. But your headline is misleading. You tricked me with a promise of a response from Rotkin, otherwise I would not have clicked on this article at all. I think you should have shortened your headline to "Signature Hypocrisy, of Phony 'Progressive' Politics." My two cents...
by Robert Norse
Saturday Sep 8th, 2007 1:51 PM
My apologies to the wisdom seeker. Rotkin's own words can be found at: as mentioned above.
You can also seek further clarity from the ACLU/City Council worthy at 423-4209.
You can also attend the Tuesday City Council meeting for an earful. Just don't try and talk back.
by 'Rotkin'
Saturday Sep 8th, 2007 4:10 PM
Mr. Norse and Ms. Johnson's protestations aside, the ACLU had every reason to believe that they were at our event to disrupt it. Nobody made any attempt to keep their message from the ACLU members or to keep them out of our meeting. It was made very clear that they could post their signs where all of the people coming in could see them and that they could leaflet inside, but that they could not bring in signs that would block people's ability to see the speakers at the event. Once the police arrived, they worked out an agreement where the signs could come inside but that if they were used to block people's views or if there was any disruption of the event, Norse and friends would be arrested. Once that was established, everyone was let in, there was no disruption, and once it became clear that they could not disrupt the event, Norse and friends left the event early. Will the wisdom of the police in working out an agreement that allowed Norse and friends to enter the event with their signs have any impact on Norse's constant assertion that the Santa Cruz Police are nothing but a repressive (sometimes called "fascist") force? Dream on. Also, should note Johnson's claim that there were about 15 people there with their group is only off by a factor of three. There were five.
mike rotkin

(note, Actually, there were at least 8 during this moment outside unless it was really difficult to identify affiliation)
by repost
Saturday Sep 8th, 2007 5:18 PM
This new law made me think of this newswire thread.
What I notice that Mike R. didn't mention in his response are any plans to actually solve the homeless situation. HUFF members have a particular energy and strong focus, but the nonactive community cannot be happy with either the local or statewide situation.
It could be my imagination, but I think I've been seeing a lot of people with bicycles with lots of crates and saddlebags riding in my area up Western Ave and W. of campus towards Wilder Ranch. That's at least 4-6 miles uphill, and requires some athleticism if people commute every day. Perhaps this is more workable because it's state land and their rangers could never search such a large area. Pogonip is a city park, and it's also hard to search, but is still much smaller in scale.

Anyway, what is going to happen when this law is implemented. offenders are being told to move half a mile from the nearest school or youth facility. Nobody wants to rent to them, and so clearly a lot are going to end up homeless, on top of the fraction who already are. The article says they will be required to check in every day, although it seems much easier to remove them from current residences than to track them after that. It suggests that there will be more wildlands campers soon. Lots of people really hate offenders near them, and will probably force the county or city to drive out their local offender, but after they have gone off the radar, it is a different story. If you look at the Megan's law database, there really aren't many sex offenders at all in Santa Cruz, other coastal cities, not many in San Francisco and the peninsula or Berkeley or San Jose. In contrast, the numbers are super high in the central Valley towns with cheap rent : Modesto, Fresno, Bakersfield, Sacramento. If they actually go through and evict the ones within half a mile of schools, where are they going?
by We the people
Saturday Sep 8th, 2007 6:25 PM
The pogonip campers have abused the hospitality of the park. The majority of campsites that people have erected are biowaste hazards. The ones I encounter on a regular basis as I walk off trail through the perimiter of the park are littered with trash, human waste in the form of unburied feces and toilet paper, syringes, and general trash and detritus.

I support Ranger Wallace and the City Councils effort to remove this blight from Pogonip.

If you think I'm exaggerating, I invite you to take a look for yourself. Or maybe I should take a few pictures this week and post them, so robert and becky won't claim it's just another "corporate fascist campaign to dehumanize the poorest of the poor?

In my mind, being homeless doesn't relieve one of the ability and responsibility to DIG A FREAKING PIT AND BURY YOUR TURDS.
by Reagan's Revenge
Sunday Sep 9th, 2007 3:35 PM
To Mr. We the People(i assume it's a Mr.- women usually have more compassion than this)

Let's take your premise that
the focus
should be on the homeless campers
And their character defects
That if they had their act more together or were better human beings that the problem would be solved.
For me what it comes down to-is a numbers game
pure and simple.
There isn't enough affordable
lower end
poor peoples housing
The supply is lacking ..........There has not been much public housing built, to the best of my knowledge, in the last 50 years, and when they tear down the cheap housing...
They make a sacrifice to the gods of MARKET FORCES
and replace with expensive housing.
So even if the home less had their acts more together and were
Paragons of Virtue
There wouldn't be enough housing to go around for them..
by We the People
Monday Sep 10th, 2007 5:04 PM
The bottom line, literally and figuratively, was that being homeless doesn't absolve one of the responsibility to be responsible for their actions. And, albeit homeless, they are still a member of this community, as indicated by myriad posts on this site that impress upon that point.

They are members of this community, and as we are responsible for them, they too are members of this community and they are responsible to us.

The littering and mess and generally unsanitary condition is Regan's fault from his actions 30+ years ago, and as such the folks there now are victims and thus are absolved of responsibility? I respectfully disagree with that assessment.

I reserve the right to voice my own differing opinion, as I reserve the right to enact my opinions. And as such, I don't complain or say anything when I come upon a campsite in Pogonip where the camper is acting responsibly. When I see one scattered with toilet paper and syringes and bottles? I gps the location, take a picture on my cell, and send it into Parks & Rec.

As to "my" premise being the homeless and their "character defects"? I don't think that was my focus; I think it was Pogonip.
But had it been my focus, it would have been just as valid a premise as your premise that they're all innocent victims.

In other words, naive and invalid.
by Steven Argue
Wednesday Sep 12th, 2007 4:30 PM
"The bottom line, literally and figuratively, was that being homeless doesn't absolve one of the responsibility to be responsible for their actions. And, albeit homeless, they are still a member of this community, as indicated by myriad posts on this site that impress upon that point."

Indeed. And as such, the people of Santa Cruz, including the homeless should not face collective punishment for the crimes of a few. The current city laws against the poor (a better term for the “homeless”), and violence and harassment they face by the police, are similar to what the federal government has done to people from traditionally Arab parts of the world. Both are wrong.
by Adam Smith
Wednesday Sep 12th, 2007 4:32 PM
"are similar to what the federal government has done to people from traditionally Arab parts of the world."

by Steven Argue
Wednesday Sep 12th, 2007 4:39 PM
To what must I educate you on "Adam Smith", national oppression or how national oppression is as wrong as local oppression?
by Steven Argue
Wednesday Sep 12th, 2007 4:43 PM
Oh, I see, I meant to write traditionally Muslim parts of the world.
by Adam Smith
Thursday Sep 13th, 2007 9:08 PM
Argue, educate? That is a good joke.
by David Johnson
Tuesday Sep 18th, 2007 8:13 AM
Steven does much to educate. I think his city council campaign was great. I wish he'd run again.