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Parking Lot Panic Law Up For Review 8:30 AM Thursday July 24th

by Robert Norse
The Parking Lot Panic law makes it illegal to assemble or stand or sit in a public parking lot or garage at all on pain of $100+ fine. The Wednesday Drum Circle in Parking Lot #4 successfully fought this law with direct action disobedience. However, the City is now proposing to eliminate Parking Lot #4. This is also being discussed in the same Downtown Commission meeting at 809 Center St. at City Council chambers across from the main branch of the Public Library.
Santa Cruz Downtown Commission meets for its annual review of the Parking Lot Panic Law as well as considering whether to forward the $20 million Parking Garage at Cathcart and Cedar which would cover over the area next to the Farmer's Market where the drum circle happens on Wednesday.

8:30 AM Thursday July 24 City Council Chambers

Story on Parking Lot Panic Struggle at City Council:

Subsequent Struggle:

Downtown Commission Agenda:
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by Helen
How did it go? Did you get anywhere?
by Robert Norse
Police propagandist Zack Friend, ably assisted by Sgt. Mike Harms, and Lt. Hernandez did the Stonewall Shimmy at the Commission meeting Thursday morning. Asked by three Commission members to bring back some figures backing up their sunny evaluation of Mayor Coonerty's Parking Lot Panic law, Friend insisted that all he needed to provide was anecdotal info--and that only as a courtesy.

He and the SCPD seemed to be duplicating their Measure K Cha-Cha-Cha (see "Measure K Commission Survivor Speaks Out 6 PM Thursday 6-12 on Free Radio: at They simply refused to give stats, even when asked to do so, by a duly appointed public body. "Fuck you, we're the cops, andwe've got the Coonerty Council wrapped around our little finger" seems to be the unspoken smug message.

Last Thursday on Free Radio, I played the earlier June Commission hearing where Commission member Sheila Coonerty expressed her frustration at SCPD's lack of meaningful input and insisted wanted specific stats. That discussion is archived at 2-3 hours into the audio file.

I'll play at least parts of the 7-24 Downtown Commission meeting discussion either Thursday or Sunday for those with strong stomachs and little to do with their time. Zack Friend basically told Commissioner Coonerty (Sheila, not Ryan) to jump in the lake, or more specifically, go back to City Council to get the Council to ask for the stats or else to make (and presumably pay for) a Public Records Act request as a private citizen.

Sheila Coonerty (Ryan's aunt) has been around long enough to anticipate this. One would think she'd have made such a request already through the ACLU (Northern California branch not the useless local chairwarmers)--but she arrived late and pampered the uniforms.

The new chair of the Downtown Commission, Geri Mandel, has little patience with public testimony. Though I was the only one to comment on the agenda items, she ruled that various agenda-ized items were "informational" only--and after giving the police extensive time, cut short my comment time and further shorted the time allowed me on the Parking Lot Panic Law discussion.

Mandel is a faithful supporter of expanding police power, rubberstamping bad laws, and the Coonerty cut-short-public-comment style. Get ready to fight back or be muzzled.
by Helen
That you really didn't get anywhere.
by Robert Norse left with a uniquely repressive law that criminalizes freedom of assembly, freedom even to read a book in your own car legally parked. Sad but true. And still true 3 years later. If anyone has more info on the number of citations issued in the past three years under this abusive ordinance, please post.
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