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Sleeping Ban Debate – Broadcasted on Community TV. Voices of the Village

by Tim Rumford
Vice Mayor Ryan Coonerty, Civil Rights Attorney Kate Wells and local ACLU representative Don Zimmerman debate the Sleeping Ban live with call-ins and public questions.

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Sleeping Ban Debate – Broadcast on Community TV. Voices of the Village
6.36.010c, the camping ban, aptly called the "Sleeping Ban” by activists states that setting-up any sleeping or cooking equipment anywhere that is not intended for human occupancy with the intent to remain in that location overnight, is against the law. Sleeping in your vehicle or anywhere, including someone’s front yard with permission is a violation of this ordinance. This ordinance criminalizes sleeping on any and all public property – at night. Sleep is a human necessity. It is a human right.
6.36.010b, known as the "blanket ban", makes it illegal to set-up any bedding, even just having a blanket covering you on a park bench, between the same hours, 11 p.m. and 8:30 a.m.

People in violation of these laws face $95 tickets, despite our Vice Mayors confusion. According to reports, tickets can be dismissed from court because the city of Santa Cruz does not offer any legal sleeping option for people who do not have a legal place to sleep. Although the tickets may be dismissed in court, rangers and police regularly destroy or confiscate items belonging to homeless people, wake them up while sleeping, harass them and drag them through a revolving-door court system. You have to have the proper letter, walk to the shelter and hope the right person is there. It is not a solution with any dignity or compassion. These laws are demoralizing, unethical and unconstitutional in nature.
I have never seen this type of dialog happen in Santa Cruz, I hope to see more of it in the future. Vice Mayor Ryan Coonerty came across as a representative of business, with no real compassion for the plight of people in poverty. His lack of knowledge concerning fines, available shelter and financing astounds me. He states they do not take State and Federal funds. This is untrue. The Walk in Shelter is not allowed to allow Medicinal Marijuana patients because of the federal money they receive. He speaks of the interfaith program, which shut down last year and does not even know the amount a fine is for sleeping at night. Regardless the reason for his ignorance of the law, it shows a general lack of concern for the impoverished in Santa Cruz.

He continues to support laws that are aimed directly at the homeless. This affectively makes poverty illegal. People have offered up solutions for decades, as Robert Norse points out. I am glad Ryan agreed to this forum and I hope he will continue such dialog as allot more needs discussing. The truth seems to be that the general public is against this law. During my own discussions with people in the community including a few merchants, once they understand the law, they are appalled by it.

I urge anyone who feels that crimes of necessity are wrong to call and write the City Council and tell them to end the Sleeping Ban, the 15 minute parking lot paranoia law, blanket ban and all crimes aimed at the impoverished.

I have divided the video into three parts and will post them one at a time.

Anyone with a Sleeping ticket in Santa Cruz should call 831-423-HUFF to be a possible plaintiff in a lawsuit against the City.
HUFF – Homeless united for friendship and freedom
HRO– Human Rights Organization
HFH – Humanity for Homeless

809 Center St # 10
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 420-5020

§Part two of Sleeping Ban Debate.
by Tim Rumford (sleepisaright [at]
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Here is part 2. If your having troubles with quality, its your connection or their server. Download for better play! Will post to another server soon.
Thanks Tim for posting this. I missed a great deal. There is a button on the right bottom corner of the video player. Its the options button. People can half size the video and it streams great. If Indybay servers are busy or as you said your connection is slow, the video gets worse. I downloaded it, and your right that works best. I can watch in full screen. Thanks again for posting.
§Sleeping Ban Debate Part III Video Community TV
by Tim Rumford (
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The Community TV Sleeping Ban Video Debate Part II - Approx 12 minutes. A TV Debate with Vice Mayor Ryan Connerty, Civil Rights Attorney Kate Wells, ACLU Local Rep. Don Zimmerman, and Public questions. Video in Parts due to length. One more clip to go that should fit on this post. A little audio quality issues as broadcast to me, clears up after about 3.5 min.

The night Time Sleeping Ban. A TV Debate with Vice Mayor Ryan Connerty, Attorney Kate Wells, ACLU Local Rep. Don Zimmerman, and Public questions. Video in Parts due to length, 1hr. This is Part II.

This battle in Santa Cruz has raged on for decades, and now is raging across the nation. Crimes against the homeless nationally are on the rise. This basic debate over the right to sleep and other crimes of necessity constitutionally makes being poor a crime. Remember the country we fled from? Debtors Prison etc. While some cities are softening others are being more repressive with anti-feeding bans. These laws are unconstitutional, immoral, and inhuman. Please call our City Council and demand and end to the Sleeping Ban. This is a national issue.
Santa Cruz City Council
809 Center St # 10
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
§Last Video of the debate - Approx 11 minutes - Zimmerman gets final word.
by Tim Rumford (
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Last video!
This video was produced by Charlie Phillips and Ian McFadden, NOT Tim Rumford. It was hosted by and the content was provided primarily by host Louis LaFortune. Attribution should be made at the beginning of this post, or it should be taken down. Posting it without this attribution is the equivalent of taking credit for others' work. Also, the date of the episode should be included for reference.
§Addition to my comment
by Tim Rumford
I will ask the Indbay editors to add the date and the information you requested. Since titles and credits are on the video. I did not think it was necessary, but understand your point. Again I hope further such events continue.
Tim Rumford
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Mon, Jan 7, 2008 3:15PM
Robert Norse
Mon, Dec 3, 2007 4:14AM
Sat, Dec 1, 2007 8:03AM
Tim Rumford
Wed, Nov 28, 2007 11:53AM
X Merchant
Tue, Nov 27, 2007 3:13PM
Doug Enns
Sun, Nov 25, 2007 10:07PM
Becky Johnson
Sun, Nov 25, 2007 9:02PM
Doug Enns
Sun, Nov 25, 2007 1:40AM
Becky Johnson
Sat, Nov 24, 2007 11:47PM
Not Such A Militant
Fri, Nov 23, 2007 9:50AM
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