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Mayor to Back Public Assembly Ban in Parking Lots; Interview Replayed 10-18 FRSC 6:15 PM
by Robert Norse
Thursday Oct 18th, 2007 3:11 PM
In an interview Wednesday, Mayor Reilly announced her intention to cast the deciding vote to make it illegal to assemble, linger, or hang out in the 20 downtown surface parking lots. Those parking vehicles or bikes will have 15 minutes to come and go. She, Madrigal, Coonerty, Robinson, and Mathews voted to make all parking lots forbidden zones except for city workers and those with written permits.
The interview will be played tonight at 101.1 FM at 6:15 PM, with occasional commentary from me. It will be archived at. .

Reilly expressed zero interest in any discussion of whether the police stats justified a change in her vote from last year (when she voted against expanding the "no trespassing" to the lots). She didn't seem to care that the police didn't give a 6-month or annual review. She expressed no concern that they provided no comparative statistics to show crime elsewhere downtown as compared with in the lots. She took seemed indifferent to the fact that no alternatives are being provided for people whose home is their vehicle who will be driven out of these lots under the 15-mintue rule.

She also refused to put the matter of the evening agenda where more people might be likely to attend, asserting that two long public hearings were already scheduled. She could have scheduled the evening hearing on this matter two weeks ago, knowing it was coming back, but chose not to.

There was a kind of harsh insistent smile-coated insincerity to Reilly (or maybe it was a severe hostility) that profoundly offended me. I'd known that she'd gotten warped in office from previous community values, but her unwillingness to actually talk straight, but continuing to repeat the same stock phrases showed a kind of second-hand practiced disrespect for the public, which I'm still trying to understand and describe.

Some interesting comments (and some nasty ones) can be found on line following the Sentinel's hostile editorial at

The Metro Santa Cruz has a critical swipe at the Parking Lot Panic law in its current issue at:

Chuck Huddleston plans a Saturday park-in protest downtown starting at 9 AM (parking whereever he can on Pacific Avenue in his black GM van conversion). Hear his commentary on FRSC at:

See the National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty's reaction to this law and the early parking garage paranoia law last year as well as Rotkin and Coonerty's response at:

The only crime "statistics" presented to justify this major backward shift in the welcoming quality of Santa Cruz were arrest/cite stats in 6 of the 20 parking lots at:

HUFF is hoping to provide a meal for folks who get down to the afternoon session to speak on this issue. Organizations that want 5 minutes time to speak should contact Reilly beforehand as well as provide City Clerk Leslie Cook with a list of people that they'll be speaking for who WON'T be allowed to speak. (City attorney Barisone has given this his approval).

Plans for a "loiter-in" downtown in front of the Downtown Association, the Bookshop Santa Cruz, and other spots are being batted about. Post your suggestions for colorful and fun protests here!
§Flier, PDF Format
by Robert Norse
Thursday Oct 18th, 2007 11:11 PM
O.K. PDF is supported. Let's see if this works.
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by Robert Norse
Thursday Oct 18th, 2007 3:16 PM
(If you have trouble downloading the formatted flier, here's the text:)

“You've been sitting in your car for fifteen minutes: time to leave.”
---Coming soon from a friendly cop, merchant, downtown host, or parking lot worker

On Tuesday October 23rd on its afternoon agenda (probably around 5 PM) , the Santa Cruz City Council will give final consideration to its Parking Lot Trespass Law.
This law bans traditional socializing in downtown public parking lots, making it illegal to be there at all unless walking directly through, or parking a car or bike.
Those legally parking would be required to leave within 15 minutes (30 minutes if disabled).
The fine for violating this law would be more than $100 with no jury trial permitted.
The law covers 20 surface lots, banning public assembly and traditional socializing in more than five square blocks of previously public city space.
Figures show no special crime problem in the parking lots compared to the downtown generally.
Vice-Mayor Ryan Coonerty, the Santa Cruz Police Department, and other social conservatives created this law to make the downtown “safer and more appealing”.
The law bans Food Not Bombs meals, drum circles, & all non-vehicle related activities entirely.
The police did not provide the required formal 6-month review of an earlier law banning the public from parking garages and parking lot #9.

Tuesday October 23rd around 5 PM
Santa Cruz City Council Chambers at 809 Center St.

Call Councilmembers Madrigal, Reilly, Rotkin, & Porter at 420-5020.
E-mail the entire Council at citycouncil [at]
Join a Pacific Avenue Park-In Protest Saturday October 20th All Day.
by Robert Norse
Thursday Oct 18th, 2007 3:21 PM
The text has been expanded and altered from that posted above.
by Robert Norse
Thursday Oct 18th, 2007 11:07 PM
by Chron
Saturday Oct 20th, 2007 6:33 AM
A third victim was stabbed to death Sept. 8, 2006, as he slept in the Shakespeare Garden, on the other end of the park from where Austin's body was found.

As The Chronicle reported Friday, police say there are "similarities" in the deaths, and speculation about a single homicide suspect is rampant. Olsen mutters darkly about residents near the park in the Outer Richmond who, he says, would be worth investigating. He says a tire was slit on one of his friend's truck, and he mentions a neighborhood man who often hassles them.
by Becky Johnson
Saturday Oct 20th, 2007 7:38 AM
I listened to Robert Norse's interview with Mayor Emily Reilly and was struck by how she made her decision to ban the public from 20 downtown parking lots after only 15 minutes. She said "The people I've talked to want it." Oh, pray tell, Emily, who are they? Perhaps they are local business owners like Ryan Coonerty (oh, I forgot!! Ryan is ONLY a "part-time cashier" at Bookshop Santa Cruz. He just ACTS like he owns the business). Reilly, who owns "Emily's Bakery" on Mission St. wants only shoppers in Santa Cruz. She doesn't care about Food Not Bombs feedings in the Cathcart/Cedar St. lot. She doesn't care about innocent people peacefully assembling. She only listens to downtown business owners.

Reilly says ""I'm ready to give this law a chance and see what happens." Did she even "see what happens" in the four parking garages she banned people from last year? SCPD gave no comparison statistics for last year and this year to see how the law is working. With only 2 citations issued, do we even need this law?

And just who got "moved along" there? My guess is that is wasn't a CEO talking on a cellphone in his Lexus. This is an anti-homeless law clear and simple. Police profile those who are there a little too long---as in those who have no where else to go. Reilly continues her anti-homeless career---supporting the sleeping ban which HURTS homeless people every night. She even supports banning the use of a blanket at night!!! She led the City to ax the Citizens Police Review Board---the only force which provided a check and balance to lethal power police. And she led the City in banning sidewalk sitting, hacky-sacking, bubble-blowing, and juggling.

by Doug Enns
Monday Oct 22nd, 2007 4:29 AM
This is a direct result of poor behavior on public property. Remember that public property belongs to everyone, not just phony trust fund "activists". As such, it must be regulated to ensure that all have reasonable access to it, and that it serve the primary purpose for which it is funded. In the case of parking lots, this is to park cars. Not to have a Huffster free-for-all. So reap what you sow children.
Robert, this is a shimmering example of your unique propensity for telling half truths and outright fiction to create a portrait of injustice and oppression where there is none. You're going to lose this one, just like you've lost every other argument you've ever gotten into with society. Activism? Yeah right. We're still waiting to see you accomplish something. Anything.
by Doug Enns
Monday Oct 22nd, 2007 5:45 AM
One more thing Robert. After all these decades of profoundly offending most everyone on the planet who has had the misfortune to cross your path, I'd say Emily has the prerogative to return the favor. Of course, you're not "the public". You're Robert Norse, wastrel trust fund baby. And Becky, no one is banning the public from the parking lots. They're just getting rid of abusive sociopaths like you, who have a misplaced sense of entitlement to public property. Nonetheless, even Robert will still be able to park in the lots. Although backing that rolling profanity he calls his car down the business end of the San Lorenzo levee would be a better disposition of it.
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Oct 23rd, 2007 10:18 PM
Parking Lot Panic passed in its new expanded form by a 5-1 vote (Porter voted no, but said nothing) at the end of a long afternoon session. Every public speaker spoke against the law, but it was a done deaL.

Tacked on the end of the afternoon agenda at a time uncertain, several homeless people and supporters spoke against it. There was no staff report Why should they bother? The staff had no supportive stats and didn't need any

Julia Shattuck's Downtown Commission to its shame passed this radical reversal of the presumption of innocence in 5 full square blocks of public space downtown on to City Council. They used Joe Montera's excuse "our job is to pass it on for city council discussion"--when they knew it was a done deal. Their job, of course, was to decide if it was a law that solved problems or created more problems than it solved (their previous decision a year ago).

I gave most of the following speech, more or less:

Merchant Pressure Trumps Common Sense: Moving Along the RiffRaff
Speech to Santa Cruz Community and City Council by Robert Norse 10-23-07

Here we are again. Last year the Downtown Commission, the CPVAW and even this Council—voted this same law down. Why? Too broad. Too sweeping. No organized facts to justify so fundamental a change. CPVAW Chair Greensite voted against the law because the police presented NO FACTS just anecdotes.

Last year 16 people spoke against this law, including three organizations (ACLU, HUFF, and the Cabrillo College Democrats). And four spoke in favor. One of those 4 Sheila Coonerty left her house at night two weeks ago to speak against the law. Last year Mayor Reilly herself not only voted against including the lots; she voted against including Parking Lot #9, the homeless parking lot.

What has changed? More pressure from the same determined Downtown Association spearheaded by Keith Holtaway. But no new facts. Anecdotal tales from two parking lot employees trotted out by the bureaucrats pushing this law from Public Works: but no new facts. The same chorus of unsubstantiated claims of a public safety threat in the lots. But no facts. Sgt. Flippo and Lt. Escalante tell us again this law would be a useful tool for the police. So would a no-loitering on the sidewalks law. But again no new facts.

Last year you said no. You did include ONE lot--Parking Lot #9 on Elm St. That's the homeless lot, of course. The place where people were least likely to complain because they are most powerless. It was there you banned public gatherings—a place there were once memorial benches to sit on under a shady tree.

This is the lot facing the regular homeless meal at the Elm St. Church. For the last year, police have been able to experiment with parole violation stops, warnings. They, regularly park a police car across the street from the meal surveilling the seedy. And, of course, making it illegal for them to eat their meal in the parking lot, as many of them used to do. Instead, they're all crammed on the sidewalk, strung along the walk between the church and the Cafe Pergolesi—and, of course, it's illegal for them to sit down, because they are within 10' of a building. Another of your “health and safety” ordinances.

It's strange though. Police have no stats for this lot to show whether the law worked, no before the law and after the law figures. In this one lot the homeless people were the laboratory rats. We can see what effect the law had, before and after. Yet-how strange. The police didn't bother to give us the results. You required this review last year when you passed the “15 minutes and get moving” law for garages. The D.C. Asked for repeatedly over its last three meetings. Still no facts.

The few grudging stats the police finally gave do show one thing. Lot #9 has the MOST police activity of any of the lots. Is that because of the new law? Can we expect the same heightened level of police activity in the 19 other lots where they'll hammer up the “No Trespassing” signs a month from now? Perhaps people, ordinary people, not protesters or advocates...ordinary residents and tourists don't find it welcoming to be told to keep walking. They don't like to be told to leave their cars and move to the cafes—throw your money in here please as you go.

Perhaps they won't find it “warm and inviting” or “safe and appealing” to be warned to leave traditionally public spaces that have been open since they were children and before. Actually. Warnings are no longer required. Just $100+ tickets. Or selective enforcement.

This began as a net to drive away the homeless from the parking garages. The council was too cheap and too bigoted to deal with real emergency shelter issues, easier to blame the homeless. Put more simply: some of Ryan Coonerty's Bookshop Santa Cruz customers and workers didn't like seeing them there.

Now this law does give the police “more tools” to harass the poor. But then they are also charged with harassing everyone. They can stop and question you. They can order you to move on. They can knock on your window and tell you to stop doing your homework and move to a cafe. If your van is your home, they can force you out of it after 15 minutes, 30 minutes if you're disabled.

Disabled HUFF members have asked that you not burden them with this law.

What's different form last year? More naked political power from the right. But no new facts. Merchants and staff want to privatize the lots to runoff the riffraff. But no new facts. Even the Sentinel and Councilmember Rotkin, who hasn't voted against an expansion of local police power in two decades, say this will simply drive problems elsewhere.

Last year no, this year the Council says yes. I asked Mayor Reilly a week ago, what changed her mind. She smiled at me and said “let's give it a chance—let's wait and see”. This smug non-answer shows either cowardice or contempt. If there are no new facts, we don't need a new law. Just the courage to require those fearful of folks in public spaces to find more sensible ways to deal with real problems.

Her interview is archived at at the 10-18 show.

The Council had no response to any of the concerns I raised. Coonerty raised again a red herring again: he cited my extrapolated statistic of several crimes against the person in all of the parking lots put together (a maximum average of 2 a month). Without letting giving any comparative crime figure for elsewhere in the city, elsewhere downtown, etc.

This leads me to believe Coonerty's response was intellectually dishonest as well as expressing a self-interested narrow-minded merchant mentality dressed up in lawyerly civil libertarian clothing.

Rotkin was absent. Madrigal gave excuses as to why he hadn't even received much less answered my phone calls ("try my e-mail"). Reilly made incredulous faces when I reminded her she'd not only voted against including more lots last time, but also against including lot #9. (She had: read the minutes of the 5-9-06 meeting for confirmation).

Missing were the ACLU, Homeless Services, Disabled Groups, students, youth, Food Not Bombs, and all kinds of other folks who needed to stand up and be counted. Though many were probably accurately of the mind the resistance was futile.


The ordinance goes into effect in thirty days--on November 23rd. But it probably won't be enforced until next year. The water temperature will gradually be raised so the lobster doesn't jump out of the stew pot.

Disabled activists have suggested a lawsuit (lawyers, step up!). Please contact HUFF if police, hosts, CSOs, or private vigilantes are demanding you leave a parking lot or garage or not linger in one.

Please contact HUFF (at 423-4833) if you'd like to work on creative protests in the months ahead against this law (a "sleep and loiter in" on Pacific Avenue"park-in", ticketing tourists for staying more than 15 minutes (patrolling with a stopwatch), or other merry machinations.
by Doug Enns
Wednesday Oct 24th, 2007 1:24 AM
Well, more rules and regulations because our Huffy friends can't be bothered to be responsible citizens in the first place. That's right Robert. You wouldn't have this to deal with if the parking lots hadn't been commandeered by your sociopathic friends who can't reconcile themselves to the notion that everyone else here also has a right to a reasonable expectation of quiet enjoyment of public facilities. So sad that such laws are necessary to protect our rights from your selfish elbowing-aside of decorum and civility because you think society owes you one. It is really striking how completely absent is any sense of YOUR obligation to society and our community. Does this even register with you?
Well my "activist" friend, upward and onward to your next bogus cause, eh?
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