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Rotkin Claims: No Flyering Allowed at the Metro Center--Protest 11-26 11:30 AM
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Nov 25th, 2008 9:00 PM
Mike Rotkin informed me today by telephone that political leafleting was illegal at the Metro Center. I was falsely arrested and ticketed at the Metro Center earlier this month after telling security guards it was the right of the people sitting there to be left alone. Earlier I had been ordered off the property for insisting a security guard do something about religious KSCO sermons being blasted out the loudspeakers onto the public sidewalk. I'll be back tomorrow to gather reports of harassment there and establish the right to be there (and flyer there). Join me.
I was not custodially arrested (i.e. taken to jail or to the police station), but I was held against my will, required to leave the property, and displayed as a public example to intimidate others.

Extensive audio tape documenting all of this can be found at and (download and fast forward to the relevant sections).

The general crackdown is discussed at ("Police/Merchant Crack-Down Downtown: Resistance Meetings Saturday and Sunday")

Rotkin's supports the right to assemble at UCSC and says he opposes recently enacted restrictive regulations (Good Times: "Speak Here or Forever Hold Your Peace" at ).

However he's also a long-time supporter of the Sleeping Ban and the Downtown Ordinances and has gone so far as to have me arrested for trying to go into a public ACLU meeting with a sign protesting the Sleeping Ban (see stories below).

Activists ask ACLU to help end sleeping ban

Rotkin Responds to the ACLU Scandal: Signature Hypocrisy of Phoney "Progressive" Politics -

Rotkin has agreed to be part of a debate on Free Radio 9:30 AM on Sunday December 7th around the repressive UCSC rules, but also regarding his position on downtown free assembly restrictions and public comment cutbacks at City Council.

I'll be distributing the following flyer today at City Council. The Metro false arrest described accurately at

Take Back Public Space
Wednesday November 26th 11:30 AM

On 11-2, Metro security guards & the SCPD cited activist Robert Norse for “refusing to leave a business”.

Norse was standing 5' from the public sidewalk on the walkway into the Metro entrance near Pacific.

The guard rebuffed his complaint about religious sermons being broadcast over the loudspeakers.

When Norse objected to the guard's harassing homeless people there, he was told to leave. He refused.

He faces $100-200 fine. Recently benches have been removed and police cracked down all along Pacific Ave.

When contacted on 11-25, Metro Board member Mike Rotkin said it was “illegal to leaflet” there.
At least two foodserving groups reported police harassment and direction to leave the downtown area.

After the 9:30 -11:30 AM HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) meeting
at the Sub Rosa Cafe (703 Pacific next to the Bike Church--
(rain and heavy attendance may send us to the Saturn Cafe at Laurel & Pacific)
Start at the HUFF meeting, bike or walk to the Metro Transit Center.
Bring signs, cameras, audio recorders, umbrellas, leaflets, and high spirits.

Coming December 6th: Saturday Night Sleep-In at City Hall (Call 423-HUFF for info)

Flyer by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 11-25-08

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Robert Norse
Wednesday Nov 26th, 2008 7:15 AM
An earlier accurate account of the 11-2 incident can be found at "Ticketing for Standing and Talking at the Metro Bus Stop Sunday"
by Stop AMGEN!
Wednesday Nov 26th, 2008 10:51 AM
UCSC has turned Science Hill into a police state for the benefit of pharmaceutical companies.
Recently benches have been removed and police cracked down all along Pacific Ave.

The "Amgen Tour of California" is *one* reason for the 'crackdown and clean up.'

Santa Cruz is the FEATURED CITY for the Amgen Tour of California. The Santa Cruz date is February 16, 2009 and the 'crackdown and clean up' will intensify as the date approaches...

"The race is estimated to cost the city of Santa Cruz approximately $75,000, covering costs such as police protection and traffic control."
by ~Bradley
(bradley [at] Wednesday Nov 26th, 2008 1:21 PM
Robert said he was able to hand out flyers today (Nov. 26, 2008) without obstruction from the Metro Center's security guards or SCPD.
by Before its too late.
Wednesday Nov 26th, 2008 2:48 PM
You've broken the code dude. This all comes down to a bunch of bicycles coming through town for one day in February. That's the reason behind EVERYTHING thats happening.

by Say What?
Wednesday Nov 26th, 2008 2:51 PM
Did Rodkin indicate any basis for his claim that "political leafleting was illegal at the Metro Center"? Any law, or what? Federal, state, local, or what? Any specifics would be helpful. Or is he just smoking stuff...
by Robert Norse
Wednesday Nov 26th, 2008 10:39 PM
by You cant have both.
Thursday Nov 27th, 2008 7:36 AM

Two people, homeless or otherwise, were discomfitted as they loitered around the bus station because they didn't like the choice coming out of the radio speaker? And when they complained about it, they were ignored and belittled? (Which by the way is technically impossible. They can be ignored, or they can be belittled, but you can't belittle someone while ignoring them.

But in either case, bid deal. Stop the world....we have a crisis. Self created by Robert to further his agenda of course, but a crisis regardless.
by Robert Norse
Thursday Nov 27th, 2008 3:55 PM
We had our usual Wednesday morning HUFF meeting at the Sub Rosa cafe (9:30-11:30 AM—come on down!). Most of the discussion centered on what to do if we were approached, threatened, ordered off the property, cited, and/or arrested. I announced my own strategy of initially regrouping on the public sidewalk (where one is not guilty of trespass) and then returning with those willing to risk arrest. I planned to wait for the guard's supervisor and then the cop's sergeant before signing any citation. And then to request to be taken to a magistrate immediately to expose the lack of probable cause for arrest.

We wanted to

respond to various complaints of harassment from National Security Institute (Metro Security) guards and SCPD against homeless and street people hanging out at the Metro.

assert the right to be in public spaces generally and at the Metro in particular without harassment, justification, or apology.

document the response of NSI and Metro staff on video and audio.

educate the public about the outrageous behavior of the security guards and police, specifically in my 11-2 case.

challenge Councilman and Metro Board member Rotkin's (erroneous) claim that flyering was “illegal” in the Metro area (both inside the building and in the outside areas). .

clarify whether there were any written rules the public is required to follow just what were the written “guidelines” if any that justified real trespass citations there under MC 9.62.010 (or the faulty MC 9.60.010—under which I was ticketed). [For the text of these laws go to

encourage others to feel free to use public spaces in spite of police bullying and suggest modes of protest that can be directly and cheaply used to deal with repression elsewhere downtown.

deter the abusive collusion between Metro security guards and SCPD beat cops threatening people away from public spaces, and apparently also making false arrests.

Fight back against the city's hostile campaign of bench removal, blasting music (and/or religious sermons) out over publicly-funded speakers, change machine placement to establish “no sitting” zones, and hyper-thyroid police harassment of poor and young people around the Metro.

We had given the Metro management plenty of notice and warning. On November 2nd, NSI (National Security Institute, e.g. Metro guards) gave me the ticket, I spoke directly with a supervisor. Last Monday I called the administrative offices on Monday and told them we'd be coming down to do a Wednesday informational picketing. I requested their “rules of conduct” and guidelines for their guards. Promises but no response. On Tuesday Metro Board Member Mike Rotkin returned a call from the prior week and promised to e-mail his Board's “rules of conduct”. Leafletting, he assured me, was illegal there. So they knew we were coming.

Our stouthearted group of eight trooped to the Metro in the rain and converged on the Pacific Ave. walk-in entrance where we held an impromptu press conference. I went over the details of my previous arrest for videographers watching. A few sign were visible: “No Police State at the Metro” and “This Is Public Space”. We then went inside and asked the woman on duty at the info desk what the rules where and where they were posted. She had no idea, and called for a customer service rep, who never came.

We then went outside into the bus loading area, leafleted a bit. I spoke with Dan, the security guard, who gave the original ticket on November 2nd. He said he'd done so on direction from higher up, not at the his instigation or that of another guard. He too had no clue about what the rules were and where they were posted.

Activists interested in opening up public space like Micah Posner, Joe Schultz, the Human Rights Organization's Bernard Klitzner, Singout Sue and Visionsong Valerie from SAFE (Society for Artistic Freedom and Expression/Streetperformers Against Foolish Enforcement), UCSC student/photographer/Spanish-speaker Mario, and HUFFster Becky Johnson were on hand, leafleting and videoing. Three of us also used audio recorders to document conversations.

Some of that tape will be played tonight on Free Radio Santa Cruz 6-8 PM at 101.1 FM (streaming at , archived at ). Call in at 831-427-3772.

With possible legal volunteer help, I hope to follow up this action with some official legal clarifications reining in the vigilante guards and rogue cops who are quite simply enforcing “police state” rules down there (i.e. whatever the police or security guard says, goes). Give a call to 831-423-4833 if you'd like to help or have more info.

Video may be forthcoming as well, once we get it downloaded.

by U must b proud
Thursday Nov 27th, 2008 10:18 PM
Great work guys. No really...great work. How is the protest going a the bookshop? Losing momentum? Need to find something else, like a bus stop. Hope this works out for you all.
by Mike Rotkin (posted by Norse)
Friday Nov 28th, 2008 12:02 PM

Last week, I asked Mike by phone for guidelines re: security guards and cops on the Metro,. In other words, can guards and police legally cite and arrest anyone they'd like for not leaving when asked to do so, regardless of the situation, as they did in my case.

What they are apparently using is the catchall and unrelated municipal code 9.60.010 "Remaining upon business property after a request to leave" (see for the actual wording of the code).

What they are clearly required to use for real problems is MC Chapter 9.62

Rotkin provided no help on this issue at all in the e-mail below. He had told me that leafleting was illegal there. The actual minutes show that by his own motion, it was not. He didn't acknowledge any error, but did provide the documentation indicating that, obviously, it's legal to leaflet in a public place like the metro provided you're not obstructing business there.


Rotkin has agreed to be on my Free Radio Santa Cruz show 9:30 AM Sunday December 7th to discuss free speech issues.

The main topic is UCSC's outrageous "free speech zones" and Educational Code 92440 described in part in the Good Times article "Speak Here or Forever Hold Your Peace " at The issue is covered at greater length and detail in a FRSC interview with UCSC activist John Williams at archived at (download and fast forward an hour or so).

However there will be other guests (perhaps including Williams by phone) to agree with Rotkin's opposition to the UCSC gag rule but take issue with his apparent support of similar repression downtown (support for the Sleeping Ban, the Downtown Ordinances, the 1996 Injunction he sought to end the homeless protest at City Hall at night, City Council gag rules, the "Party at Your Peril" ordinance, his attempt to have me arrested at the 2007 August ACLU public meeting for carrying in a sign, etc.).


regulations at Metro Center (formally Pacific Station)‏
From: Mike Rotkin (openup [at]
Sent: Wed 11/26/08 10:27 AM
To: rnorse3 [at]
Cc: mdorfman [at]; lwhite [at]

Hi Robert,

RE your request for more info on the rules for free speech at Pacific Station:

Here are the relevant minutes from a board meeting in September 2003:

September 2003 Board Meeting


Summary: Les White reported that staff met with UTU, SEIU, MUG, MASTF and the Bus Riders Union in this regard. A slide presentation showed the various proposed leafleting inclusion zones at each of the three transit centers. Proposed leafleting hours are from dawn to dusk.


Leafleting at Lane 4 at the Pacific Station/Metro Center is a point of contention between UTU
and the Bus Riders Union.

There was discussion regarding regulation of petition gatherers. It was suggested that leafleting
be allowed for a one-month trial basis after which time staff would return to the Board to make a
report on any conflicts that might have arisen or to add more specific language in the leafleting
policy. Director Rotkin recommended that the Bus Riders Union be allowed to hand out their
newsletters as long as they do not block pedestrian and vehicle traffic. He added that
regulations are necessary to address safety issues but discouraged the Board from getting
involved in distinguishing between exactly where people can stand to leaflet due to possible
constitutional battles.

Paul Marcelin-Sampson requested that he have the opportunity to approach riders going to
South County when the Board considers the inclusion zones. He suggested that a "floating"
zone be established.

Bonnie Morr expressed concern regarding leafleting at Lane 4 and impeding the flow of
passengers getting on and off the buses. She also thought that if a conflict arises concerning
the leatleters, that the bus operators would be looked at by passengers to solve the problem.

Allow leafleting as long as those leafleting obey rules of conduct currently enforced at
the centers. For example, leafleters cannot block pedestrian or vehicle traffic and can
leaflet so as not to interfere with transit services.

Motion passed unanimously with Directors Almquist and Norton being absent.

Further info:

According to California Penal Code there is a section that restricts a person's ability to interfere with members of the public at our facility. I have no particular information about your citation, but I assume the security guard felt you were interfering with members of the public at our transportation facility. The courts will sort out whether that was or was not the case.

by Robert Norse
Friday Nov 28th, 2008 12:10 PM
Audio of the protest--the first half of it anyway--was played at the end of my show yesterday. It can be accessed at

When the last part is played--probably Sunday-- it can be found (once posted a day later) at .

Happy listening.

And--shoppers--be sure to ask Mayor Coonerty when you shop at his Bookshop Santa Cruz whether he intends to rein in the police and security guards this winter around the City's 11 PM to 8:30 AM Sleeping Ban.

Check out the Human Rights Fair on Saturday December 6th at the Louden Nelson Center all afternoon. HUFF and other groups will announce the location of the evening's sleep-out.

by Reef
(ikia95062 [at] Friday Nov 28th, 2008 1:19 PM
Sorry I missed it.
by Robert Norse
Saturday Nov 29th, 2008 11:58 PM
I just sent off the following e-mail to Mike Rotkin:

Thanks for your reply, Mike.

Who sets the agenda for the Metro Transit Board meetings? When is the next meeting?

If it's not already on the agenda, will you ensure that this issue is put on the agenda: i.e. investigating National Security Institute standards and procedures for dealing with the public--specifically in demanding they leave. This would involve a discussion of the rights of the community and powers of the security guards at the Metro, an overview of their training, some oversight into the number of complaints that have been received and citations issued. I am specifically concerned with the apparent confusion around or intentional abuse of MC 9.60.010 (trespass: refusal to leave a business when asked) in the place of the appropriate law MC 9.62.010 (trespass on public transit facilities).

Please obtain for me access to copies of all citations issued in the last six months regarding trespass at the Metro specifying when they were given, who gave them, and pursuant to what ordinance they were issued. This is a public records act request.

Please also forward to me a copy of the instructions given to the guards regarding proper procedures for citing people or ordering them off the property. In the SCPD, this is known as the General Orders. I'm not sure what it's called in terms of the proper "rules of engagement" for your security personnel, but I'd like to see the specific parameters that guards are given regarding what kind of concerns other than specifically illegal behavior justify "get off the property" orders.

In your e-mail you write

"According to California Penal Code there is a section that restricts a person's ability to interfere with members of the public at our facility. I have no particular information about your citation, but I assume the security guard felt you were interfering with members of the public at our transportation facility. The courts will sort out whether that was or was not the case."

What Code section are you referring to? The security guard who cited me did not claim I was "interfering with members of the public" at all, but simply that he had the right to order me off the property.

In a subsequent interview (which I'll be playing tomorrow on Free Radio Santa Cruz), Dan (the guard in question) stated that I "wasn't listening to him". Actually I heard him very well. He simply declined to respond to my repeated questions "what is your name?" and "what is your superior's name?" in response to his demand that I leave the property without any explanation.

This is all documented on tape (which is already archived and was played on Free Radio some weeks ago--see the santa cruz indymedia article "Rotkin Claims: No Flyering Allowed at the Metro Center--Protest 11-26 11:30 AM" at ).

Looking forward to speaking with you in the studio on December 7th.

Thanks for your speedy help in securing the leafleting clarification.

Let me know when the Public Record Act documents can be viewed for potential copying.

Thanks for the help.

Robert Norse
by Like a miffed child.
Sunday Nov 30th, 2008 9:29 AM
Robert sounds like an an angry kid trying to get even with his parents.

"Why do I have to go to bed? Did the other kids on the block have to go to bed at the same time? I demand you put bedtime on the agenda for discussion at dinner tomorrow. And I request that you show me written documentation of the aforementioned bedtimes of other children over the past 6 months".

And of course, the child instigated it all by going downstairs (or into the bus station) to inform his parents that he wasn't in bed to begin this whole charade.

I hope the city council ignores this as much as possible; I don't want them wasting any more time on Robert and his crusades.
by Becky Johnson
(becky_johnson222 [at] Sunday Nov 30th, 2008 11:46 AM
LIKE A MIFFED CHILD calls this effort to defend innocent behavior at the Metro Center "obnoxious." Apparently MIFFED CHILD doesn't mind that members of the press, 1st amendment activities like handing out flyers, and law-abiding homeless people have been driven from the public transit facilities by security guards who have abused their authority.

Robert Norse was interviewing a homeless man when he was cited for failing to leave when asked. Since he was committing no crime, not violating any posted rule of the Metro Center, and engaged in 1st amendment protected activity, he has an obligation to fight this kind of injustice. It looks like the ticket was bogus too.

Should the Metro Center be able to broadcast religious sermons at bus riders? I don't think so. Especially since the Metro Center has already received complaints for doing so. This should be covered under the separation of Church and State.

I think MIFFED CHILD has a personal grudge. Perhaps Norse has gored a favorite ox of his?
by ex-resident
Sunday Nov 30th, 2008 11:52 AM
...from what I've read, Norse's Nazi salute case has cost Santa Cruz $100,000 in court expenditures since 2002. I wonder how much $100,000 could have done for the homeless, and also, how much the inevitable court case over this bullshit will detract from the budget as well.
by The Ox
Sunday Nov 30th, 2008 11:53 AM
In Roberts post, he shares that he instigated first altercation by complaining about the broadcasts that he didn't like. And after that, he was arrested for mouthing off to the guards a second time.

Robert gets off on this sort of thing, and actively seeks the conflict. The only "obligation" he has to fight this "injustice" is self-imposed and sanctimonious. Don't bother doing it for me.

And pray tell (pun intended), who other than you or Robert has complained about the KSCO broadcasts? My guess is nobody.
by Hip Hip Hoorah
Sunday Nov 30th, 2008 3:00 PM
So that case has cost Santa Cruz $100,000 and somebody thinks the city would have used that money to help the homeless? That's a laugh! A big laugh!! The city probably would have spent the money on police OT and tasers to harass the homeless and others...

I say 'hip hip hoorah' for Mr. Norse. Keep up the good work, sir!
by Robert Norse
Saturday Feb 14th, 2009 2:14 PM
No reply yet on the Public Records Request sent to the Metro Transit Authority in mid-November (now many weeks overdue).

Rotkin's latest comments on the affair can be found on my "Bathrobespierre's Broadsides" Free Radio Santa Cruz show archivesx near the end of the audio file

I sent him a follow-up e-mail today which said in part:

"Re: the Metro Transit Board. I have still received no Public Records from the Board. Please let me know if you're going to inquire into this or "leave it to the clerk and the courts"? Frankly, I think it's irresponsible when there is a moment-by-moment audio tape available to you of misconduct by Metro police (and SCPD backup) on this issue, and you choose instead to require me to go through the courts and possibly a civil lawsuit process. I do appreciate your bringing up the general question of Transit police procedures at a meeting last fall. Can you advise me what meeting that was and how I can get a copy of the meeting? Were any specific guidelines issued as a consequence? Are there any such written guidelines?"

Those who wish to e-mail the Vice-Mayor can do so at openup [at]

Please report any abusive behavior by Metro Security guards, hosts, or SCPD around the Metro Center to HUFF at 423-HUFF.
by Robert Norse
Friday May 15th, 2009 9:02 AM
The case is finally going to trial:

"City Takes Broadcaster to Court for Chatting at the Metro--Trial Friday May 15 1:30 PM"