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Guerilla Drive-In
by Santa Cruz Guerilla Drive-in
Saturday May 15th, 2010 8:15 AM
After 8 years, 13 locations and over 150 free films to the community, Guerilla Drive-In is being targeted by the Santa Cruz Police. Local film The Jesus Factor by Cheri Lovedog, showing under the Soquel Ave bridge was shutdown by Santa Cruz cops before it even started as part of a crackdown on DIY activities in public space. This is the second time in two weeks that the authorities have been directed to shutdown our showings.

Here's our full reportback to our Guerilla-Drive-In community after GDI was targeted by SCPD:

gdi-sunset-240.jpgAs the sun set Friday evening, the normally dark and dingy area under the Soquel Ave. bridge was buzzing with excitement. The fans in the projector were spinning away, the concrete wall finally glowing a bright blue, and I thought to myself: "This is why I live here. This is amazing and I can't see how anyone could argue otherwise." It was a special event for Guerilla Drive-In as we were showing the work of a local film maker, Cheri Lovedog. "The Jesus Factor" was shot in Santa Cruz and was created with a cast and crew mostly made up of locals, some of whom were sitting in portable lawn chairs waiting to see the most recently cut and mastered version of the film. Clay, the film's editor, grinned as it seemed that we had gotten past the final technical hurdle for the evening and the film would begin just as the sun was announcing that it was the proper time for an outdoor film.

This was only part of the reason why this particular Guerilla Drive-In was feeling especially positive and community-oriented. Upon arriving to the location, many of us discovered that the area had been badly littered with plastic bags, dirty and unwanted clothing, and containers of partially eaten food. It was clear that the area under the bridge hadn't received much attention lately. As a few of us started gathering some of this trash, I was amused by the thought that we would leave this river-side space looking that much better after filling it for the evening.

Finding a source of power for all the equipment also tends to be a challenge at this location. Thankfully, some neighbors (who were having a dinner party and wouldn't even be able to come down to see the showing) offered to provide a power outlet from their home. They had heard and read about the Guerilla Drive-In project and were glad to help. Another person who arrived to see the film retrieved an extension cable from his car as soon as it became clear that the sum of all our extension cables would be unable to reach the location of the projector. Other audience members offered flashlights to help locate equipment and even batteries to power the remote control needed for the dvd player. Another audience member brought a large grocery bag full of popcorn and was passing it around to share with the entire group. It felt so much like it was a community effort not only to create this film but now, also to share it with others and transform this space under the bridge into an event-- and into something better.

Within the first 15 minutes of the film, this evening we had created came to an abrupt halt as an officer from the Santa Cruz police department descended on the group. He demanded to speak with 'the person in charge'. I immediately think, "Does he mean the person who is putting this event on? ...because I think all 40-50 of us did." He then asked if we had obtained a permit for the event, which we did not. He then made claims that a sound complaint had been made and we were going to have to shut down the film immediately. When further probed regarding this, the officer explained that even without any sort of sound complaint he would be shutting down the event because we did not have a permit and we were in an area that is off-limits after sunset. The officer then walked back to his patrol car and watched as we announced to the group that we were going to have to shut down the film and potentially restart somewhere else. As we were discussing the locations at which we could possibly continue the event, the officer began to walk back down to the area under the bridge. He wanted to verify that we were in fact leaving-- as if to say that we were taking too long to discuss how we might go about salvaging our evening.

Keep in mind that Guerilla Drive-In has been showing free films under the Soquel Ave. bridge for many years without incident. Also, this event was widely discussed for many weeks and was even the subject of a recent article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

Guerilla Drive-In has transformed dark and unused spaces into safe and warm community events for 8 years. After 150 free films to the community, Guerilla Drive-In is being targeted by the Santa Cruz Police. There is an obvious crackdown underway on all DIY activities in public spaces. This is the second time in two weeks that the authorities have been directed to shutdown our showings.

There are certain groups in town who purport to be all about building community but have focused their energy on shutting down the community created by Guerilla Drive-In. These groups say they are all about safety, but ignore that having people enjoy unused and dark public spaces makes them safer. It is hard not to feel their efforts aren't really about control -- control of public spaces, control of events that happen in our shared communities, and control of people who move through them.

We need a community response to this madness.

§correct URL
by concerned Saturday May 15th, 2010 2:05 PM
I tried the URL in the main article which failed. I think this is correct.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Concerned
Saturday May 15th, 2010 2:01 PM
So what can those who support Guerrilla Theater and other DYI events do to help? It is appalling to me to see the city in this "anti-crime" state of mania obviously targeting DYI events. What a waste of resources.
I would like to know from where the noise complaint came. It seems to me anyone or any group could complain just to get the even shut down, even if they cannot hear it.

by sc local
Saturday May 15th, 2010 2:34 PM
Disgusting in this age of limited community resources SCPD decides this is a priority. We need cops focused on protecting the community, not killing a positive example of healthy community. Should we hammer city council for this? The cops in this town get away with too much discretionary enforcement and abuses on civil liberty. It's happened to me and I thank them for the civics lesson but in my injustice (I was hit on purpose by a truck while on my bicycle) taught me that the normal channels do not work. How do we as citizens set the priorities of our public servants?
by Auntie Imperial
Saturday May 15th, 2010 3:22 PM
I walked by the Red Room this morning... The side door had a pile of bloody rags on the ground nearby and some gauze pads, most likely left by the ambulance attendants in theor haste to get the victim to the hospital. There was also puke, and empty drink glasses outside their door.

Apparently the SCPD had "Better" things to do than police their skanky bar scene last night.

Their Prop K law enforcement prioritization plan is quite obvious.

Skanky bars make revenue for the city (most likely all offset by emergency services provided).

Low priority.

Free movies? Drum Circles?

No revenue.

Highest police enforcement priority on a single anonymous complaint.

The SCPD spent literally HOURS last Wednesday chasing the drummers from place to place to place. It's easy to see their priorities.
by --
Saturday May 15th, 2010 4:50 PM
there are sometimes hundreds of people in the audience for the movies, which is a pretty large percentage of residents in the neighborhood. The Sentinel commenters are an irate minority. Sometimes the thoughts expressed at the newspaper make me think I'm in this angry town, but I rarely run into people talking like that in real life. You guys ought to find a way to establish a presence as motivated taxpayers as well.
by tobin
Saturday May 15th, 2010 4:54 PM
A few times, someone has made a shocking impression by making an online video of the fraternity party scene or some other event (tail end of Bay to Breakers race, 7 year olds dancing to beyonce, a couple hoodlums at the Santa Cruz may day parade). Maybe you could try to embarrass the downtown nightclub scene by getting footage of a sports bar or showing how all of the drunks are getting in cars to drive home.
by --
Saturday May 15th, 2010 7:50 PM

What a really great idea, refreshing to see some constructive thoughts being thrown around here.

by Tobin
Sunday May 16th, 2010 7:07 AM
well, no - we can all pretty much recognize that the reason they're acting like that is because they're trying to blame Subrosa/activist UCSC students/the local counterculture for the downtown window vandalism last week (and KION literally even associated the drum circle in one of its pieces, after reading the encyclopedia entry on anarchism). Honestly though, the tables could be turned on many other sectors of society, if the media decided to implicate a group for the actions of an individual - it could be done with sports fans, teenagers, gun nuts, 4th of July revelers at the beach, gay hangouts, motorcyclists and so forth.
For the time being, some people in SC announced on the Sentinel that they plan to harrass the movie night by turning them in for copyright violations for playing the films to large groups
by long time local
Sunday May 16th, 2010 10:17 AM
I have no faith whatsoever in elected officials, but yes, why make thier job easier by staying silent? We should hammer them. But also TBSC, the SCPD, and the Downtown Association and the other bullying proto-fascists. Let's at least make it known, that as people who make this town we are not going to stand for this.

I know some of the GDI folks and they are not a huge powerfu institution with massive resources to bring to bear. They are just a few friends who do this for the love of it. I don't see them as being so foolishly courageous that they will accept huge fines or jail to show free movies to us in the community. So I'm scared that this bullying will make them give up and say fuck it and do some other creative thing with their limited time.

What can we do to suppor them and other DIY events? Maybe next time there is a GDI we should come out in force (meant figuretively).
by Blog
Sunday May 16th, 2010 12:25 PM
I have read several of your comments, most I agree with, some concern me. So I decided to check out your Blog. The first time I saw what was certainly your blog. The other two times, like just a second ago, I was routed to a very fundamentalist religious "The end times are a coming" page that just doesn't seem like your site... Is someone re-routing your Blog or what?
by Indie reader
Sunday May 16th, 2010 12:58 PM
>> I have read several of your comments, most I agree with, some concern me. So I decided to check out your Blog. The first time I saw what was certainly your blog. The other two times, like just a second ago, I was routed to a very fundamentalist religious "The end times are a coming" page that just doesn't seem like your site... Is someone re-routing your Blog or what?

I tried it. It looks like she misspelled the name... blogpot should be blogspot
by Auntie Imperial
Sunday May 16th, 2010 1:47 PM
Mea Culpa Mea Culpa Mea Maxima Culpa

There is no subdomain though... gets the same results.

Some Xtian culties raking in the $$$ from the zillions of 'blogspot' mis-spellings in countless address bars every year no doubt.

by .
Sunday May 16th, 2010 4:41 PM
The Los Angeles Times saw fit to promote the GDI theater as a feature of the town, and a reason for tourists to travel here and experience the magic
This event is a time honored peaceful community event.
It is definitely one of the treasures that has me loving this town and community of creative individuals. i've very disheartened.. actually, i'm starting to get pissed off.
I still think the next film should happen with the expectation of smooth sailing.. w/out a mention in the sentinel paper.. don't stop guerrilla drive-in!!
don't stop any of these wonderful DIY community events that are offered to the community by the community.
by idea
Sunday May 16th, 2010 6:58 PM
I read the article in the LA Times. I also looked up the author who seems to write for many large and yes, corporate newspapers free lance. It MIGHT be good for someone to contact him and see if he will write another follow up. I don't and won't get a Facebook Account. His is
Should someone want to contact him with the suggestion.

Just a thought.
by Auntie Imperial
Monday May 17th, 2010 10:54 AM
"Take Back Santa Cruz" is in no way representative of Santa Cruz' community at large... Even their FaceBook page requires 'approval' (criteria unknown) to 'join'.

They, as a pressure group, intend to destroy the existing community and replace it with a 'community' of commuters too busy to do anything except whine, vote, and call the police whenever anyone not in their social or economic class appears to be doing something as simple as walking down the street where they live, and property owners who think that just because they bought a house here (few are actually paid off) means they are somehow a more important member of the community than a renter, a collge student, or for that matter a homeless displaced long-term local resident.

They should not be solicited for anything. They are Fascists in the dictionary sense of the word, and would only be involved to further destroy any public events not held without the Downtown Association, whom they represent despite the fact that many of them do not even live in Santa Cruz.

It would be like inviting rock throwers to a block party downtown.

FWIW, I think if they ever DO catch the people who were actually responsible for the window smashing spree downtown, it will be take Back Santa Cruz's kids, or their friends or friends of their friends.

by community
Monday May 17th, 2010 11:32 AM
I don't know why TBSC bashing is even in this conversation. Guerilla Drive-In is not on their radar, they could care less about GDI. Please stop your attacks on a group you obviously know nothing about. Perhaps GDI got shut down because they didn't have a permit or maybe because the police are cracking down due to the riot May 1st? I know that TBSC ALWAYS gets a permit so that they can hold events. Their goal is to stop criminal behavior not police free movies. And just so you know their group is now closed on facebook because facebook limits membership to 5000.
by Incorrect
Monday May 17th, 2010 11:50 AM

Members of TBSC have told us that TBSC has targeted GDI because they use public space and eschew permits. This email went out to all 4500 members of the Take Back Santa Cruz Facebook group.

"Wes Modes is an agitator. He recruits UCSC students to do his dirty work….He WAS planning on playing a movie illegally tonight to raise money for lawyers.(BOO HOO Someone snitch on him and called the copyright owners) Guess what? shhh they are going to do it EVERY TIME you run your GUERRILLA DRIVE-IN with your buddy AND chemistry teacher at Santa Cruz High Stacey Falls. It's a felony"

So the reason people mention TBSC when they talk about a campaign against DIY groups and projects, it is because TBSC has launched a campaign against DIY groups.

Perhaps, as a member, if you feel that does not represent your point-of-view, you need to call the TBSC administrators to account.

by Auntie Imperial
Monday May 17th, 2010 11:51 AM

Download PDF
Yew betcha I'm not going to lay off these freaks!
br> Do you need a screenshot of their page showing membership in their group is by invite only? THAT'S representative of their attitude about 'community'

According to available materials from their website: ”So we just started calling the police--for everything (emphasis mine). ~~ Helbard Alkhassadeh a resident of the 200 block of Broadway.

That's everything... as in people who 'don't belong' etc.

I have a roofing contractor friend who parked his truck a couple of blocs away from where he lives due to better lighting after his toolboxes were broken into... HE had a run-in with the local neighborhod watch freaks... and they ARE freaks... Fearful, 'good germanesque' freaks.
by community
Monday May 17th, 2010 12:00 PM
I receive ALL TBSC emails and I don't know where you got that little quote. It sure wasn't from TBSC. It may be hard for you to understand that Wes Modes may not be liked buy someone outside of TBSC.
by community
Monday May 17th, 2010 12:08 PM
I don't see anything wrong with the action plan you posted and the quote that was made buy the guy who started Stab Santa Cruz. If you see something illegal call the police. What's your point?
by Auntie Imperial
Monday May 17th, 2010 12:18 PM
Yeah... He started "Stab Santa Cruz"... He thinks it's cute... because he's obviously never lved anywhere where there IS any amount of violent crime.

People from NY or LA or Chicago or Detroit don't joke about it like that.

Purse snatching still make front page news around here, so who EXACTLY are they taking back Santa Cruz from?

Me, anyone hanging out downtown who isn't shopping (crammed up against the window displays by the city's ever increasing usurpation of the sidewalks... narrower than they were 20 years ago, with twice as many people living here), Chicanos (A favorite subject on his racist little blog and the SC Senile's Topix forums... TBSC's FB content unknown, but I suspect it similar), and anyone they're scared of, or economically threatened by.

Funny thing... ONe of his FB friends works at a sleaze bar downtown yet she complains about the hookers in HER neighborhood. Maybe they can't find customers with enough cash-to-blow(sic) at her place of employment.
by Auntie Imperial
Monday May 17th, 2010 12:28 PM
We Are the "Other People"!
by community
Monday May 17th, 2010 12:31 PM
Sounds like your the one who's scared and angry Auntie. If you would just slow down long enough to realize TBSC is made up of ALL types of people. Rich, poor and in between. I personally would like to live in a place where I didn't have to worry about my kid being shot or stabbed when he's hanging out with his friends. Are you doing anything to help this problem? I don't wish to argue with you anymore I feel this conversation isn't going anywhere. Try to see beyond your biases especially when you are so uninformed about the subject matter.
by Auntie Imperial
Monday May 17th, 2010 1:02 PM
I come from a place where there IS real crime.

Santa Cruz DOES NOT qualify. Per capita incidents (even with the seriously gerrymandered crime statistics the SCPD generates), or in any other way.

We live in one of the safest places in the world (actually, almost ANYWHERE in America qualifies)

You children are stabbing each other because there's no future for them here. No jobs that pay much more than minimum wage while the city pays a PENNSYLVANIA company $150,000 to watch your kids watch them when they come downtown.

Your children are turning to nihilism as an escape from the 'lack of hope for a future in their own town' that Santa Cruz has to offer them... Where's the job development for YOUR OWN CHILDREN?

Spent on community snitches.

Ask TBSC how their kids will ever move out their homes, no less own a home here, with the socio-economic nightmare made of Santa Cruz by a number of self-interested parties not the least of which is TBSC's fearful parents and the SC re-development (to a shopping mall selling things no one here needs) agency.

It's time for the real community of Santa Cruz to take it back, every piece of public space, from the greedy, and the whiners, and elect a city council that doesn't pander to the compulsive noisemakers at the expense of everyone else who lives here.
Caller Scott Graham reported on my Thursday evening radio show that police massed in large numbers late in the evening of Tuesday May 11th. Graham said he was at at an M.D.C. Concert near the Boardwalk.

He said that the band Millions of Dead Cops apparently upset a security guard with their lyrics. Shortly thereafter Graham said he saw 20 squad cars outside the building. They stopped the band from playing under threat of arrest in a huge display of police force by SCPD, Sheriffs, Scotts Valley police and other jurisdictions.

His account can be heard at ` (4/5 of the way through the audio file).

I've e-mailed M.D.C. to get their reaction to the police shutdown.

It seems local police agencies are feeling increasingly emboldened to shut down whatever events they dislike.

These events, if Graham is reporting accurately, were, of course, ignored by the Sentinel and local media.

Drummer Dave has announced he and other drummers will be back at the Wednesday Drum Circle 2-3 PM at the Elm St. parking lot at Cedar and Elm across from the Cafe Pergolesi.

I think it would be helpful for supporters to bring recorders, cameras, perhaps even meters that register sound volume. It might also be useful to have someone getting the names and numbers of witnesses across the street at the Pergolesi testifying that they don't find the drum sounds "unreasonably disturbing noises" as provided by MC 9.36.020.

That code only bans noises between 8 AM and 10 PM "... (a) which are unreasonably disturbing or physically annoying to people of ordinary sensitiveness or which are so harsh or so prolonged or unnatural or unusual in their use, time or place as to cause physical discomfort to any person, and (b) which are not necessary in connection with an activity which is otherwise lawfully conducted. As used in this section, “lawfully conducted activities” shall include, but not be limited to, any and all activities conducted by the city for public health, safety or welfare purposes."

The point is that a complaint (even a number of them) doesn't provide "reasonable cause" for a cop to even issue a citation, much less to win a court case. Drummers and supporters need to canvas people in advance to have them present to tell the cops to tell complainers to take their case to the city attorney if they want a case filed.

I've discussed this issue before at "The Police Move-Along Mantra" in the longer story "Sinister Street Singers Trials Consolidated and Postponed Until July"

The more people who show up, the less likely I think it is that the police will overstep or misuse the law, using private complainants as their cover.

Let us hang together, as old Ben Franklin once supposedly said, or we will surely hang separately.
by (a)
Monday May 17th, 2010 3:46 PM
The reaction to the MDC show was one of the heaviest-handed moves I've seen by the SCPD since Heroin Bob held himself hostage in the soon-to-open La Vie restaurant, and done with little (if any) provocation besides a matter of opinion of one security guard. My wife was talking to said security guard moments after he called in the police, giving an explanation along the lines of "I don't appreciate them coming into my workplace and talking down on what I do for a living." Along that same line of thought, I wish I had known it would have been so easy to get rid of the Campus Crusaders For Christ folks when I had my extremely short stint working at the Boardwalk. However, what I still haven't been able to wrap my mind around is how the staff at Coasters/Boardwalk Bowl can be so surprised that a band they booked called Millions of Dead Cops would have anti-police/anti-authoritarian lyrics. I have a sinking feeling in my gut that we can expect to see the actions on May 1st being used to justify this sort of heavy handed behavior for the foreseeable future, regardless of whether any laws are being broken, which in this case there weren't. What an egregious waste of resources and taxpayer money.
by -
Monday May 17th, 2010 6:20 PM
"I have a roofing contractor friend who parked his truck a couple of blocs away from where he lives due to better lighting after his toolboxes were broken into... HE had a run-in with the local neighborhod watch freaks..."

Oh, you know, almost the same thing happened with me. I live on Woodrow, and my neighbor was a carpenter with a work truck. The neurotic neighbor with a more upscale house than the rest of the block was on speed dial with the police. They also decided that there is a rule that nobody is allowed to use street parking next to a house that isn't their own (even if other houses had a bus stop or red zone by their property) so they would come out and tell you to move if they saw you parking there, and would leave angry anonymous notes. They also didn't like what they perceived as lower caste vehicles within the block, so they left a nasty note on the neighbor's truck when it was parked in front of our house calling his truck ugly and not allowed to be parked on the street. So this got the neighbor angry at us. I at first thought it must have been a different neighbor displaying an uncharacteristic nasty streak until we pieced together that it was the crank down the block who keeps calling the police for people having a barbecue etc.

My own experience has been that the police don't want to come out. I've only called regarding a stolen bicycle, and when someone was banging on a window screaming at someone inside a house, and they totally didn't prioritize those thing.
by Auntie Imperial
Monday May 17th, 2010 7:47 PM
A number of years ago (about 5 perhaps) a friend of mine's vehicle was tampered with on the block that loops around behind the SC Art Center Theater. Someone put one of those parking lot style "No Parking You Will Be Towed" posters on his car. He's disabled and asked me to keep an eye on his vehicle. I worked nearby so I took my break reading a book over by the Big Trees tunnel the next day.

Sure enough, a gold pickup truck pulled up behind his car and a middle age man got out, began putting another poster on his car. I walked up to him and asked him who the fuck he thought he was touching my friend's property like that, demanded to know where he got those posters, and what authority he had to do that on a public street.

He looked at me and said (quote) "Your a drug crazed addict (sooooo wrong!) I'm calling the police!"

I told him to go ahead... I'd BE GLAD to wait. He got on his cell phone and began to get in his truck to leave. I stood in front of it and said he wasn't going any fucking where until the police arrived.

When the police officer arrived, and it was quite prompt, the officer wanted to know who I was. I refused to answer Demanded to know who the fuck this guy was and what was he doing tampering with my friend's car.

We had a nice loud 5 minute "Santa Cruz Standoff" in the middle of the street with the neighbor watching nervously from their doors and balconies until the officer said "Get out of here, and don't hang around anymore".

I told the officer to fuck off... I worked nearby and would do nothing of the sort, but I had found out who the tamperer was. One of the Slater construction management people and a so-called neighborhood watch, so I backed away telling him he had just wasted his time... "Do it anytime... It'll keep you from illegally hassling innocent people who can't defend themselves"

Nothing became of it until a couple of days later when I saw the Supervising Sergeant at the time Butch Baker, staring at me on Pacific.

I walked up to him and asked him what was up... He kept staring at me... I thew my hands up, "What!"... he just kept staring. I said: "Oh, it's about your little neighborhood thug.. Tell him I KNOW WHERE HE LIVES."

Poor Butch... his eyes got big and I just laughed at him and I walked away.

I suggest the same tactic should be applied to each and every authoritarian fearful freak in Santa Cruz until they're to terrorized to do anything but quiver behind their curtains and locked doors.

They're not safe to walk the streets anyway... Can't even tell what a drug addict looks like (hardly a druggie here... I was at the gym 7 days a week and was in superb shape for my age) and just might attack you with pepper spray or somesuch because you smile at them.
by Enuf
Tuesday May 18th, 2010 12:27 PM
Auntie, I appreciate your standing up to both badge-wielding- and 911-speed-dialing-authoritarians. Honestly though, I don't want to see them terrified. Especially since fear is where they are already operating from.

I would however like to see them exposed and de-anonymized. I would like to see a community response that rendered them impotent, a sort of alternative neighborhood watch that relied on a shared sense of community and stood up to petty tyrants and real ones too. Imagine if instead of watching the spectacle, all the neighbors came out to see what was up and how they could get involved. Imagine if when the little tyrant offered to call 911, he was shouted down by the neighbors who didn't want cops making trouble in their neighborhood.
by --
Tuesday May 18th, 2010 2:08 PM
We need help! Take Back Santa Cruz is trying to destroy our DIY community. In my opinion, the Santa Cruz DIY community, places like The Bike Church, SubRosa, and projects like Freeskool, GDI, and Last Night are the only things that keep me a sane, functioning human being in a world that is increasingly threatening to our sanity.

We need to start seeing TBSC as a direct threat to our community, the community that makes us who we are and makes life worth living. As a direct threat, they need to be exposed and excluded from every community event.

They are snitches, and as such need to be treated as such. Snitches need to be removed from a community as a form of self defense.

If you are a radical, know that TBSC would like to see you in jail, and they'll have their way. Look at what they're doing to Wes.

How can we expose them? They are not wanted in Santa Cruz.
by link
Tuesday May 18th, 2010 2:35 PM
FYI: Here is an article from the Senile by Wallace Baine. I missed this when it came out.. It shows if anything, GDI is an accepted community event. It promotes GDI and the showing of The Jesus Factor.

by No fear
Tuesday May 18th, 2010 3:11 PM
I liked Enuf's post. Expose them for what they are, make them impotent. However, when people use words like "Deny". I take pause. While it's important to expose them and not be intimidated by them, we also have to act better than them.

by In my opinion
Tuesday May 18th, 2010 6:35 PM
I agree that its sad that the police are having to feel the need to crack down on the GDI. But at the same time, I can understand the motivation and sentiment that has prompted this crackdown. The May Day protest was unsanctioned, it caused a huge problem, and the larger community is on tenterhooks and pissed off.

It's across the board enforcement. I can imagine the hue and cry if the city were picking and choosing which sanctioned events it cracked down on and which it didn't. So while I think it's unecessary to moderate/police GDI, I can understand why they are taking an approach that now watches all unsanctioned events.

It's also ironic, imo, that one of the worst things damaged by the May protest was public art.

One of the direct casualties of the May Day violence in downtown Santa Cruz was the Santa Cruz Woodworkers, a group of 10 local wood artists who have displayed their fine-art furniture and wood pieces in the windows of the Rittenhouse Building on Pacific Avenue at Church Street.
The Rittenhouse was one of those buildings vandalized by paint and broken windows.
"There were quite a few pieces damaged," said Ron Cook of the Woodworkers. "The flying glass scratched up a lot of it."
The art with the most damage was that of Matthew Werner, whose -- irony alert -- "Peace Table" sustained more damage than any other item. "It was the only piece that took a direct blow," said Werner. While all the other damaged pieces were hit by broken glass, the Peace Table absorbed a hit from the large rock used to break the window."

So, we have public art, in a donated facility, destroyed by a few idiots. Now put that in the context of GDI. We hate the cops policing it. But the city is responsible if those same idiots show up and do the same thing again. Or, god forbid, hurt someone. (I think we were damn lucky the pinheads didn't hurt someone on May 1).

So, do I like the enforcement? No.
Do I understand its motivation? Yes.
Do I blame the city more than the idiots who rioted on May 1 and caused this crackdown? No, I blame the idiots.

by Auntie Imperial
Tuesday May 18th, 2010 7:48 PM
"I can imagine the hue and cry if the city were picking and choosing which sanctioned events it cracked down on..."

I beg to differ... It's ALL selective.

Let's talk about law enforcment... as in the enforcement of Santa Cruz' laws, which WAS the most often chosen item of contention at the Downtown Commision meetings a number of years ago.

"The APPEARANCE of selective enforcement"

They took the hint. It's a PROBLEM that has been instuttuiionalized in the name of the DTA's proft margin.

To wit:

Where's the hue and cry about selective enforcement of campng laws?

Last fall, at the openng of a new movie, Cinema 9 had people literally camping in their doorway... sleeping bags and blankets sprawled out a 10am the next morning.

I flagged an officer in a car down and asked him to enforce Santa Cruz' camping law...

Camping in PLAIN SIGHT! That's illegal even on your own property.

Not to mention the "Blanket Ban" and all the other harrassment ordinances the city has created over the last couple of decades.

He stopped, listened, looked at me, and as the passenger side window slowly rolled up, from behind a pair of Black Fly sunglases, he said sarcastically:

"I'm VERY busy right now."

..and slowly rolled away.

Another SELECTIVE law... The dog downtown law.

A friend of mine was threatened by an officer with a dog on Pacific ticket just last week. Today, a couple with a recently groomed Poodle (more on Poodles, see video) walked right by an officer and not a word was exchanged.

No no no.

No compromise. They have institutionalized the class-based enforcement of municipal law

They expect no compromise, and give none.

When 50 people want to watch a movie, an ONE complains, the movie wins.

That's how democracy works

Unfortunately Santa Cruz IS NOT a Democracy. It is a corporatist city with progressive economics (as in progressively increasing profit margins) and an authoritarian legal structure. Right down to the judges, who convict on Santa Cruz' appeal-untested laws without any oversight as to their constitutionality.

An unpleasant change from a couple of decades ago when the local judges actually tried to keep the over-zealous enforcment of municipal laws in check.

Now the municipal court benches are packed with political hacks.

The people who run the power bloc that controls this city's economy and makes the laws for the benefit of a few are CORRUPT, in the most basic sense of the word, and need to be taken out, as in indictment... RICO ACT indictment, not compromised or ngotiated with.

If you believe they WILL negotiate or act in good faith, they will just use the time and confusion to their advantage.

Now... about that Poodle...
by Sad but Understandable
Tuesday May 18th, 2010 8:22 PM
You see an overly controlled, overly policed, repressive community.

I see an overly permissive, out of control, recently very violent community.

Clearly we have greatly differing viewpoints. Honest question for you though : Do you think Santa Cruz is particularly repressive as a community, or do you think its on a par with/most communities are too repressive? Asked because it would help me to understand your point of perspective.

IMO, Santa Cruz has gone from a free form town that was funky but fun with its liberalism, to one that is suffering the malady of a select few taking advantage of that permissiveness and abusing it. If the more liberal of us were expressing their freedom in generally non-violent ways, I wouldn't be perturbed; as I haven't been for going on 3 decades. But IMO, the last 2-3 years have seen a side into a town and environment I don't like, support, or want to live in.
by Auntie Imperial
Tuesday May 18th, 2010 9:18 PM
You don't think selective enforcement of municipal law REPRESSES certain elements of the community while allowing other elements to scofflaw?

We don't just disagree, we're in completely different social and legal universes.

The only thing 'liberal' about the way the city of Santa Cruz is run is it liberally allows, PANDERS, if you would, to the more affluent and business elements of the community at the expense, and to the detriment (ie. job development for unskilled workers and housing of some sort for workers who aren't in the $40-60,000 year income bracket) of the less affluent elements.

It's built INTO their policies and planning, leading to fiscal malfeasance such as the loss of millions of dollars a year in federal funding tied to the failure to submit a housing plan to the state indicating they at least PLAN TO build housing for people who actually work and live here besides college students, who often end up usurping the more pricey housing as well, as demonstrated by the conversion of the new condos at the top of Pacific to DORMITORY HOUSING when the pseudo-riche' who never DID come in any significant number, failed to lease the units as expected, or should I say hoped for.

They've attracted a community of fearful freaks from homogeneous suburban housing developments who have never lived around anyone not just lie them and not only can not relate to the large Chicano population of Santa Cruz (except when negotiating a cut-rate price for gardening or maid work), nor the the small African-American community (The Sentinel would have us believe from the semantics of their reporting the only 'crack' dealers in SC are Black), but can not even relate to people who the same color and are simply in a different economic class.


It just didn't work out like they planned... The Po' Folk didn't just 'move on' as planned when scapegoated. The workers of Santa Cruz SURELY aren't being courted as stakeholders in the city, and they NEVER will be... "Downtown Dialogues" or not.

The city even blatantly disrespected the simplest thing... The Street Performers Guild voluntary guidelines, which work so well for decades.

by Sad but Understandable
Wednesday May 19th, 2010 5:11 AM
Based upon your desription/view of Santa Cruz, we are indeed in different social and legal universes. You appear to see the social fabric of Santa Cruz and its current condition as a carefully thought but failed experiment in social engineering. I see it more as the inevitable results of a failed national economy dealing the final blows to what was already a rapidly changing town as it went from sleepy suburb to popular/desirable beach community. And in that change, a rift developed between both those who were "left behind" (which I think is how you'd portray it?) and those who came here to take advantage of its liberal attitude and largesse despite the rising costs. (Which is a component of the community which I think I see).

So while I see it as more natural evolution with attendant rifts and tensions, I think you see it more as a planned metamorphasis? If that's a correct description of your sense by me, then I'd be calling it a class war I suppose. And class war certainly seems to be the justification that has been espoused lately for a lot of the radical actions occurring in the community. (Drum circle, May Day, etc).

So if its a class war, why would anyone be surprised when both sides go on the offensive instead of just one?
by Auntie Imperial
Wednesday May 19th, 2010 10:25 AM
"You appear to see the social fabric of Santa Cruz and its current condition as a carefully thought but failed experiment in social engineering."

Yup... and they have no intention of resolving the problems they've created... as long as their business friends profit margins and property values/commercial leasing prices perform as expected.

You'll notice I said " expected." not "improve" or any other term. They're addicted to their spreadsheets and stable economics that allow them to plan rationally, for some mid-term goals.

In recent times, with their three chosen economic sectors downtown in the toilet (expensive coffee drinks, designer clothes, and tourism according to McClatchy last year), they've chosen SCAPEGOATING as their method of diverting the blame away from their failures due to their myopic view of how a downtown business district, or for that matter a city, operates.

Also, their ethics... "Situational", when they have any at all.

Good luck with those 'dialogues'...
by Sad but Understandable
Thursday May 20th, 2010 5:29 PM
I don't want dialogue; I support the crackdown. Tired of the sanctimonious idiots who think they can do what they want because its for my own good. (Funny, isn't it? The same description can complaint works for authority for you, for anarchists for me. They are we indeed.)

by Auntie Imperial
Friday May 21st, 2010 7:48 AM all. But FWIW, the SCPD is PATENTLY INCAPABLE of anything resembling a 'crackdown' about anything, the best they can do is 'harass'.
by Auntie Imperial
Friday May 21st, 2010 12:44 PM
That inability to 'crackdown' but only harass is due to the fact that the SCPD, at the behest of a microscopic cohort, is typically acting against the wishes of the majority of Santa Cruz citizens.

After all, they have MORE than enough police officers compared to the amount of misdemeanor/felony crime happening here. They even had the time (and political pressure of course) to detail a couple of officers to just stand and watch the drummers behind the Cat a couple of weeks ago, for TWO HOURS!
by Sad but Understandable
Friday May 21st, 2010 5:09 PM
In regards to your opinion that "the SCPD is PATENTLY INCAPABLE of anything resembling a 'crackdown'":

I agree with you. I also think most like-sized police forces are incapable of same. But I don't think that ICE, FBI,DEA, and SCPD are incapable of that. And that's exactly whose now teamed up to take it on. I think they will succeed. I welcome their presence if it has an impact on gangs and heroin dealing. I find it sublimely ironic that the tipping point that brought it to finally happen though, is a couple of anarchist yahoos whose stupid act has caused the increased enforcement they specifically seek to get rid of.

In regards to your opinion that "SCPD, at the behest of a microscopic cohort, is typically acting against the wishes of the majority of Santa Cruz citizens.":

I couldn't disagree more. I think that it's a common characteristic of an impassioned minority to believe or pretend they represent the majority viewpoint. I think that a poll or survey today of SC citizens would show that a majority, by a significant percentage, now support the increased enforcement and addition of DEA and FBI and ICE were going to see, as opposed to your claim that its aginst the wishes of the majority.
And again, I find it ironic that some anarchists were the tipping point that's brought it on. I also think its a response to specific incidents in the past months of gang violence and the downtown riot, not a pre-planned plot by business owners as you're trying to represent.
by Auntie Imperial
Friday May 21st, 2010 5:31 PM
"...anarchist yahoos..."

I didn't know any anarchists had been arrested or charged, or named by the police.

Do tell?

I always thought Ryan Coonerty snuck out the back of BSSC in a black hoodie with a handful of rocks that night and ended up with his wish for a more police-state-ish Pacific ave.
by Sad but Understandable
Friday May 21st, 2010 8:23 PM
When it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.....or when it puts a black bandana over its beak, advertises its protest at Subrosa, then spraypaints anarchist graffiti as it duck walks down the mall breakin windows.

Call me naive, I can handle it. I'll do the same for you as you pretend it wasn't.

Ciao baby; our chat is over. You get your opinion, I get mine. But again, don't kid yourself. Your opinion is not supported by the majority, and the recent crackdowns are not neferious subplots; they're clear cause and effect. Don't believe me on the opinion of the majority? Put it to a vote or a poll; I invite the transparent presentation of actual fact; not deluded opinion.

by cuñado
Saturday May 22nd, 2010 12:47 AM
My roots in the area go back to about 1890 and to hear how its been told as well as being witness myself, SC has always been ruled by uptight, provincial NIMBY white Chamber of Commerce a-holes. Hardly a controversial assertion imo; just go to a city meeting or two... know the slightest bit of the local political history... Hell, the cops and the city affirm the characterization every time they open their mouths.

In your unnuanced simple either-or rationalizations, the cop-fist coming down is the reaasonable effect caused by mayday vandalism not a "subplot" or conspiracy.

The cracking down is horseshit and an extension of SC a-hole business as usual. It's hardly necessary to paint the backlash as the result of a verbalized coordinated plot or conspiracy either. I doubt city hall and the Chamber of Commerce have the prescience or clarity to put together a coherent conspiracy...
... but they certainly DO have the wherewithal and smallness of character to jump on an OPPORTUNITY to push back, to use the Mayday vandalism as PRETEXT to push their agenda of shopping-uber-alles and 'quaint by force' .