Santa Cruz IMC
Santa Cruz IMC
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature

Street Spirit Editor Denounces Mayor Coonerty As "Repulsive"

by Robert Norse
Street Spirit, a monthly newspaper sold by homeless newspaper,
recently published Humanity for Homeless activist Tim Rumford's
story about Mayor Ryan Coonerty and the Santa Cruz Sleeping Ban.
Editor Terry Messman gave me his permission to print his response
to Mayor Coonerty's subsequent e-mail on the subject.
Coonerty's response to our "Banish Bigotry" protest in front
of his family business earlier included banning activists from
his Bookshop Santa Cruz.

See "Vice-Mayor Bans Activists from Bookshop Santa Cruz" at

We now present complimentary "Not Yet Banned at the Bookshop
Santa Cruz" stickers for folks to wear who attend the Sunday 2 PM protest.
We also have the more highly-valued "Banned at the Bookshop"
stickers for those lucky few who have been banished by the
wrath of Coonerty.

To read Tim Rumford's article and subsequent correspondence
from Mayor Coonerty go to "Santa Cruz Sleeping Ban Struggle
(for Street Spirit newspaper)" at

For the latest update on the protest see ""Coonerty's Greatest Hits": On FRSC Sunday AM & In Front of His BookStore Sunday PM"

For the details of the local ACLU's attempt to ban HUFF activists
from attending one of their public meetings in August, go to
Activists ask ACLU to help end sleeping ban


> Subject: RE: Reply to Mayor Coonerty
> Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2007 18:05:41 -0500
> From: TMessman [at]
> To: rnorse3 [at]
> CC: thatoldbookstore [at]
> Robert and Tim,

I'm just letting you know that Tim's article will appear,
with no cuts, in the Dec. issue of Street Spirit....

I'm on severe deadline today, but I have to take a moment
to tell you that this is an absolutely excellent story.
Congratulations to you both. It is very clear and a compelling
indictment of the Santa Cruz City Council and Coonerty in

I read his response to your protests (in the e-mail
you just sent) and found it repulsive. He's a public official who
refuses to do justice to the homeless and he's acting like a
spoiled and petulant petty tyrant because someone had the
audacity to complain about massive human rights violations.

It's very clear to me from reading his letter that your bookstore
protests have been genuinely effective. That's the only reason
he's taking a leave of absence from his bookstore, because
your protests have created tremendous pressure on him.

He's trying to convicne you to leave his poor store alone, by
removing himself in name from it. I hope you continue the
protests because, without meaning to, he's totally telling you
how effective your protests are.

Of course, he's going try to persuade you that your protests
are ineffectual by saying the sales increased, but you can tell
he's in full "duck and cover" mode. What a duplicitous and
conscienceless mockery of a man.

Also, I had the same exact experience with the ACLU in the
Bay Area each and every time I tried to get them to take on
clear-cut violations of the rights of homeless peole back during
my Oakland Union of the Homeless days.

I found they didn't
understand discrimination based on class and poverty, didn't
give a damn about homelessness, and were really only
interested in cases that were headline-grabbers that could
serve the ACLU's insatiable need for publicity.

Their attitudes were sickeningly were elitist. The S.F. ACLU
office was limousine liberalism at its worst, and with
reactionaries like Rotkin guiding the Santa Cruz ACLU,
it's little wonder that these self-proclaimed defenders of
freedom won't lift a finger to protect the freedoms of
homeless people. What hypocrites.

Good story Tim!
Add Your Comments

Comments (Hide Comments)
The following e-mail was sent on December 9th. More than a
week later, the Mayor had not yet responded. The original
letter was sent December 2nd and can be found at
"My Reply to Mayor Coonerty: Request for an Interview"


On December 2nd, I responded to your e-mail.

In my response, I requested (a) a time to speak with you (for
an interview for Free Radio Santa Cruz), and (b) your
procedure for scheduling meetings with the public (specifically
for those outside without phones who want to bring concerns to
your attention).

It's been nine days and I've not heard from you.

Since these issues in part concern winter shelter and police
practices, the recent rains and deepening cold make this a
serious and time-sensitive matter.

I also want to thank you for making your e-mail accountable
(by routing them to city hall), those promoting greater
transparency in the office--unlike some previous mayors and
current city councilmembers.

I additionally request a copy of your schedule of public
appearances (or appearances before groups) as well as a
record of the scheduled meetings you've had with members
of the public in the past month, in so far as those meetings
were in your capacity as mayor or city councilmember.

As someone familiar with the Public Records Act and the
Sunshine Act, I'm sure you will respond to these requests
in a timely manner.

If you decline to meet with me, please clarify why this decision
is being made and what criteria you are using so that others
can know if they are also excluded.

You are also invited to come on Free Radio Santa Cruz to
discuss these and other issues so the public can both hear
and participate.

I know you have declined to do this in the past, but feel your
position as Mayor makes this opportunity an important one for
both you and the community, given your interest in
transparency and accountability.


Robert Norse

We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


$ 120.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network