Public Meeting to consider new anti-homeless Downtown Ordinances.
City Council really needs to be eliminating the laws that harass the young, poor, and homeless downtown. They add to public tension, constrict public space, and don't even address the "behavioral problems" that the merchants have.
Instead of meeting with the community to consider the real issues, a select coterie of reactionaries has met behind closed doors to design even more repressive and futile laws.
City Council's secret Downtown Task Force (Councilmembers Coonerty, Mathews, and Robinson) is fasttracking expansion of "forbidden zones" to perform, peacefully spare change, or political table downtown and other repressive anti-homeless measures.
They apparently are bypassing the customary Downtown Commission consideration process and have given the public only four days notice after cooking up these changes in private with police, merchants, and city staff.
The ordinances, as usual, are masquerading as "behavioral improvement" laws. They actually contract significantly the public space allowed for innocent behavior that nonetheless irks some merchants and particularly the Downtown Association.
They are also being described as "clarifications" that "make things more uniform". There will certainly be uniforms involved in their enforcement.
Police typically present little or no documentation of the crime problems, nor the specific documented complaints that supposedly justify the new laws.
Oral Communications begins at 7 PM. The ordinances and other homeless-hostile measures will be considered immediately thereafter.
For more info see:
"Detailed info on New Santa Cruz Downtown Ordinances" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/01/22/18565245.php
"Harsher Downtown Ordinances Being Cooked Up?" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/01/15/18563373.php
This is really Chapter 3 in grim chronicle of laws that give police power to move along those they or their merchant employers want. For a look back at Chapter 2 in 2002 when we saw an earlier City Council pass anti-poor-in-public-spaces laws, clumsily disguised as behavior ordinances. See the many articles in the July 19, 2002 issue of The Alarm: http://the-alarm.com/pdf/7-19-02.pdf
The proposed ordinances for tomorrow can be found at: http://126.96.36.199/sirepub/cache/2/4fgocd55eyawyh2knqcwyc45/207171601262009043628485.PDF