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Superintendant Hammack Stonewalls on RV Ban in Coastal Parking Lots
I received complaints that Donna Deiss and Shane Maxfield were being driven out of Parking Lot A near Lighthouse Field by Chief Ranger John Wallace. Wallace has posted "no RV" signs there reportedly and may be e-mailing me his own response to be posted. After an informal phone call to Steve Hammack, in response to which Steve was friendly but unresponsive, I made several formal Public Records Act requests. The results I reprint below.
From: Robert Norse [mailto:rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2007 1:05 PM
To: Steve Hammack
Cc: Dannettee Shoemaker; John Wallace; Emily Reilly; Ryan Coonerty; Jennifer (Sentinel) Squires; lioness [at] got.net; Beggerbacker Becky Johnson
Subject: Public Records Act Request: re New Postings and Rules Limiting Access to Public Parking Lots (SH)
Superintendant, Parks and Recreation
Santa Cruz, CA
Following up on a phone message I just left you, I'm making a Public Records Act request regarding recent postings and/or changes in the status of public parking lots in the City. Specifically, I'm looking for all documents (including memos, e-mails, notes, etc.) concerning a change in the status of parking lots in terms of restricting public access that has happened since January 1, 2007.
It is my understanding that Ranger John Wallace is threatening and citing people during the day for parking their RVs in Parking Lot A
along Westcliffe Drive near the Lighthouse.
He is claiming the authority of MC 13.04.010 which reads: "LIMITATIONS ON ACCESS AND USE OF PUBLIC PROPERTY. Whenever this code or any ordinance or resolution of this city designates and describes any public property as having been withdrawn from personal access and use by members of the public, or as having been limited as to access and use by members of the public and notice thereof has been posted conspicuously on or adjacent to the property so designated, it is unlawful for any person to thereafter enter upon or use such property without permission or in a manner other than that prescribed."
Please identify any pieces of property so posted. Please provide documentation of gthe specific "code[s]...ordinance[s] or...resolution[s] of this city [which] designates and describes any public property as having been withdrawn from personal access and use by members of the public or as having been limited..to access", which Wallace or the Parks and Recreation Department are using as the basis of these new sweeps. Please provide any written or electronic information documenting any discussion leading up to this decision, whether between Parks and Recreation officials, the SCPD, City Council members, City advisory bodies, or other organizations, public or private (such as the Santa Cruz Neighbors).
I would prefer this information in electronic form. I am also looking to see the documents, not to have copies of them. I may ask for copies of come of them, when I determine which are relevant.
Wallace's actions have already upset one disabled woman who lives in her van as well as a man living with AIDS, who were legally parked in that lot, according to their account. For a significant number of people in Santa Cruz, their vehicle is their only affordable housing. A significant number of these people are disabled.
I would also like to know if Wallace and/or the rangers under him or the SCPD working with him have received any training in dealing with physically or psychologically disabled individuals. If so, specify the nature, extent, and content of that training.
Please give me a call at 423-4833. An informal phone briefing with some follow-up documentation may be able to replace this Public Records Act Request. As this matter is time-sensitive, I am making the full request today formally, hoping that through verbal discussion, we can limit it at a later point.
Thanks for your help in this matter.
Robert Norse (423-4833)
Subject: RE: Public Records Act Request: re New Postings and Rules Limiting Access to Public Parking Lots
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 08:16:04 -0700
From: SHammack [at] ci.santa-cruz.ca.us
To: rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
The city budgeted for new signs, asphalt seal coat, and new striping for parking lot A. This work is a continuance of the previous work completed in the other parking lots the last few years. This phased work is for the restoration maintenance of the LHF parking lots. The work is planned to be completed this fall. I do not have any written documentation regarding this project.
As you know, the public can dispute any citation.
John Wallace received extensive training (40+hours) 3-years ago that focused on learning to work with people that have psychological disorders.
From: Robert Norse [mailto:rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2007 11:44 AM
To: Steve Hammack
Cc: lioness [at] got.net; davebeau [at] pacbell.net; thomas leavitt; Jhon Golder; John Wallace; Dannettee Shoemaker; Jennifer (Sentinel) Squires; Don Zimmerman; Beggerbacker Becky Johnson
Subject: RE: Prior Public Records Act Request: re New Postings and Rules Limiting Access to Public Parking Lo
Thanks for your e-mail. This is to follow up on my phone call, your last phone call, and your e-mail below.
Are you claiming you have no public records involving the process around the designation of Lots, A,B,C, and D as being closed to RVs?
If not, please forward any such documentation.
If you are claiming that, I am now making a new Public Records request for all e-mails discussing this subject between your department and any other departments, private organizations, public officials, and members of the public for the last two years. Please provide this material in electronic form.
Additionally I am making a new Public Records Act request for an electronic copy of the agreement that Parks and Rec has with the State from which it is leasing the parking lots involved, as well as a copy of the state rules the city has to follow in running that park.
Sorry to hear about your shoulder.
I would advise you to tell Chief Ranger Wallace to stop issuing citations and harassing disabled people in their vehicles out there, as he is reportedly doing.
RE: Prior Public Records Act Request: re New Postings and Rules Limiting Access to Public Parking Lo
From: Steve Hammack (SHammack [at] ci.santa-cruz.ca.us)
Sent: Wed 9/12/07 4:04 PM
To: Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
There are no e-mails or any other correspondence. This work is routine, consistent with the other parking lots and is being completed as we have funding. The parking lot A is next in line for this work.
We have the state/city agreement available only in hard copy. Your welcome to review it if you wish. It runs 10 cents a page if you want it copied.
All state and local laws are applicable at Lighthouse Field State Beach
Clearly, there must have been an admistrative executive discussion about why Lots A,B,C, and D were to be ruled RV-free. Chief Ranger Wallace candidly told me that it had to do with providing more striped spaces for other vehicles as a capital improvement. Other suggest that state law requires allowing RV access, particularly for those with disabled placards.
The question for me is whether this is part of what has seemed in the past decade to be a general anti-homeless push by Parks and Recreation & other departments including
+++ removal of half of the downtown benches,
+++ criminalizing being on the riverfront at night,
+++" no parking at night signage at Harvey West",
+++ permit parking "no nighttime signage" on the West Side and downtown,
+++ new powers to bypass the Parks and Recreation Commission and declare "closing hours" on any P & R managed property given Dannettee Shoemaker, Hammack's boss, last year
+++ vast enforcement power expansion involving 3 new rangers, 4 cop squad assigned to enforcing anti-camping laws.
+++ closing off the riverfront during the day for (non-existent) restoration
+++ (and much earlier) closing the parks at night, declaring "closing hours" on the Town Clock, and depopulation and now sale of Scope/Scribner Park next to the Town Clock.
I'd appreciate any new info on the RV situation. To contact Donna Deiss and her group LIVE see http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/08/30/18444952.php ["Coastal Access Denied to Motorhomes and Trailers in Santa Cruz"]
Call Steve at 420-5366 to ask him directly what's going on.