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Bashful Bernard Braves Bench Ban Wednesday 12:30 PM April 29
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Apr 28th, 2009 10:46 AM
In protest against the latest homeless crackdown and the newest Downtown Ordinance expansions, Human Rights Organization activist Bernard Klitzner will be challenging the "Sit on a public bench for more than an hour, get a ticket" law.

Meet at the sidewalk in front of Rosie McCann's on Pacific Avenue and Lincoln St. Bernard will also be speaking at Santa Cruz City Council shortly after 3 PM today on the issue.
In April, City Attorney John Barisone initiated a lawsuit that will spend thousands of dollars of city money to criminalize Anna Richardson and Miguel deLeon, homeless musicians, for sleeping downtown at night. (See "Santa Cruz seeks injunction against homeless couple" at
http://www.mercurynews.com/centralcoast/ci_11964700?nclick_check=1 )

Santa Cruz, as is well known by readers of this website, has no legal walk-in emergency shelter for 95% of the homeless community. Parks are closed at night. Parking garages and parking lots are now covered by ex-Mayor and bookshop seller Coonerty's Parking Lot Panic Law which forbids even reading a book in your car.

The city has pulled out dozens of benches, at the whim of merchants, with no public notice, hearing, or appeal. For thoses that remain, they've become a kind of forbidden zone marker--since it's now become illegal to sit down on the sidewalk within 14' of any such bench.

And on the benches themselves, it is now illegal to sit for more than an hour after having been warned.

The "Progressive" Rotkin-Matthews City Council passed these laws 7-0 as "helpful tools" for the police. Not particularly helpful unless your goal is to move people along and away who are not part of the Merchant Vision and leave such decisions in the hands of the police.

Public Space has repeatedly contracted over the last decade in Santa Cruz under the pretext of public health and safety with the SCPD, City Manager-for-Life Dick Wilson, and the Downtown Association leading the way.

Come and watch Bernard's shoes get chalked by dutiful meter maids. Check out the Happy Hosts as they warn Bernard to move or else. See how many cops it takes to haul away a grey-haired benchsitter. See one elderly activist stand up for the rights of hundreds of other people--not just the homeless, but the elderly, the disabled, the tired, even the tourists downtown.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) meets the same day at 9:30 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe (Pacific and Spurce) to discuss support activity. The Human Rights Organization will meet Saturday 3 PM at the same place to evaluate the effect of the protest and consider future action. Those who have been harassed or ticketed by authorities downtown or witnessed such can get in touch with Copwatch at 423-4833 or come to the Copwatch table in front of Borders Bookstore on Saturday at 5 PM at Pacific and Soquel.

For those who wish to help Anna Richardson and Miguel deLeon, the two targets of City Attorney-for-Life Barisone's latest "sleep downtown, go to jail" lawsuit, contact their attorney with Jonathan Gettleman at 427-2658 or jonathangettleman [at] yahoo.com . The two go to court Friday May 15th at 9 AM in Department 4. Gettleman needs declarations from ordinary folks who DON'T regard them as a public nusiance. You don't need to know them personally, just observed them.
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Audio of Bashful Bernard's Badboy ButtbenchingRobert NorseMonday May 4th, 2009 3:46 PM
Great Job Bernard!!Becky JohnsonSunday May 3rd, 2009 11:59 AM
AftermathRobert NorseThursday Apr 30th, 2009 1:21 AM
use the calendarside noteTuesday Apr 28th, 2009 2:01 PM
Go Bernard!!John ThielkingTuesday Apr 28th, 2009 1:48 PM

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