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Peaceful Parking Lot Percussionists Pounce On Police Peeper
by Robert Norse
Thursday Jan 31st, 2008 3:55 PM
The readiness of the community, the courage of the drummers, and the caution of the police returned everyWednesday tranquility to the Drummer's circle yesterday. Farmer's Market Drum Report Back by Rico gives a succinct statement in a story below. Police Surveillance at the Farmers Market Drum Circle by Nick nicely spotlights Officer Auldridge's Constitution-Shredding -As-Usual. HUFF videos are posted at http://www.humanityforhomeless.blogspot.com/ . My account is below.
Drummers Back Sound in the Beat in Lot #4

In a low-key but triumphant resumption of the weekly Drum Circle next to the Farmer's Market, tomtom regulars returned to their spot under the towering Magnolia trees in parking lot #4. Nervously on the lookout for cops with pocketwatches doing the Fifteen-Minutes-and-Get-Out Hippiewatch, the drum crowd was considerably smaller than the week before. Last week, the few survivors of earlier police assembly-wrecking expeditions had clumped together on the sidewalk, avoiding the parking lot. Yesterday, folks came directly to the traditional gathering place in the center of the lot, apparently willing to risk citations and determined to resist intimidation.

Food Not Bombs' colorful bike trailer showed up around 3:15 PM with buckets of vegies and boxes of bread. The hot food went fast. The dwindling supplies were reinforced forty-five minutes later with Jumbogumbo Joe Schultz's Vegan Suprise—a hot orientalism brew—which lasted until dark.

Stepping out of a time machine, libertarian community activist Jhond Golder strode the lot, sporting a tri-cornered “patriot” hat and a large white “Don't Tread On Me” flag on a 12' pole. “Bathrobespierre” Robert Norse (that's me, the writer) parked his bumper-sticken strewn car in the lot itself, and afixed a “Copwatch” sign to his rear window. I then set up several dated, but informative, displays documenting ACLU and National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty opposition to the Parking Garage Paranoia Law (the daddy of the current Parking Lot Panic law).

The ancient “46 Strikes Against the Parking Garage Paranoia Law” was displayed for the curious. It and other documents can be found in the early discussion of the law at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/04/25/18177761.php
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/03/19/18090531.php,
and http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/04/09/18140881.php .

At one point a motorcycle cop drove through the parking lot but otherwise police were nowhere to be seen. There was no sign of the eager and dutiful Officer Auldridge, who had cheerfully wasted chunks of city time and money driving away drummers on January 16th with warnings [see http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/01/16/18472946.php].

The mystery was solved when a passing student, emerged from the nearby UCSC to reveal that the unstoppable Auldridge hunched on the stairway between the first and second floors indoors, videoing the criminals drumming, dancing, sharing food, and chatting in the parking lot below. Another example of political surveillance at its best? Of course, the city attorney could evenly and fairly charge every single person and spectator in the parking lot not retrieving or parking a car with an infraction—or they could destroy the film. Let's see what they do.

In response to this police behavior chilling the protest, flagwaver Golder moved his “Don't Tread on Me” flat adjacent to Auldridge's window peephole. I came closer with camcorder to catch some of Auldridge's thoughts and show the community their police department in action. But—perhaps understandably—the officer didn't want to be outed as a political snoop as I raised my voice to draw the attention of Farmers Market customers to the “new” Santa Cruz.

Otherwise things proceeded calmly and happily—as did on Wednesday afternoons before Coonerty's Parking Lot Panic Law was passed. A lone poi juggler danced and twirled. Hungry locals shared food and company around the Food Not Bombs buckets. A disgruntled local circled me on a bike shouting “asshole—you're an instigator!”.

I fumbled with the new HUFF camcorder, trying to capture dogs, kids, cops, customers, and passing cars in my viewfinder. I found it hard to do steady shots of the cardboard display devices with enlarged fliers documenting the checkered history of the Parking Lot—hopefully next time my expertise and equipment will improve.

On the sidewalk nearby Trash Orchestra regulars had traded in their homemade percussion bangbangs for juggling pins and were practicing on the sidewalk.

I'll be playing some audio tape this evening 6-8 PM on Free Radio Santa Cruz 101.1 FM, http://www.freakradio.org. It'll be archived by tomorrow hopefully at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb080131.mp3

Meanwhile the police will be trolling the parking lots, looking for folks sitting in their cars, homeless people ducking out of the rain, or just anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable. And the power of 100 officers and a like number of city employees and merchants playing snitch will be doing their bit to quietly make public spaces inhospitable to those not marching to and from their vehicles.

We won this time. But we need to keep our eyes open round the clock. Every time a police officer or wannabee harasses someone in a parking lot, inform the officer that you'll be contacting the SCPD when you see a tourist lingering in a lot so that they can show how fair they are by doing the same to her or him. I know this idea offends everyone (including my fellow activists), but the law is a far deeper offense and it will be implemented round the clock throughout the week unless the community fights back.

As one Berkeley activist chalked on the sidewalk during the (successful) People's Park struggle of 1991 “A police state costs more than a welfare state—we guarantee it!”
§Video part 1
by Huff (rnorse [at] hotmail.com) Friday Feb 1st, 2008 9:15 AM
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
Here is Video Part 1, Part two coming soon.
§Video Part 2
by HUFF (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com) Friday Feb 1st, 2008 9:34 AM
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
Part 2 -
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
What is your position on the parking lot loitering law?Becky JohnsonFriday Feb 1st, 2008 8:49 AM
The disgruntled local was right.Nuff saidThursday Jan 31st, 2008 8:38 PM
Not the right protestTeacherThursday Jan 31st, 2008 7:29 PM
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