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Indybay Feature

Restoring Community in Santa Cruz: Polling Against Repression

Wednesday, June 02, 2010
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Event Type:
Robert Norse
309 Cedar PMB #14B, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Location Details:
On the sidewalk in front of the Bookshop Santa Cruz at 1520 Pacific Ave.

Recent smearjobs by the Sentinel, the SCPD, City Council, and the DTA have resulted in serious attacks on the Sub Rosa Cafe, Wes Modes, DIY Last Night, the Drum Circle, & the Guerrilla Drive-In Theater as well as the harassment of street performers downtown. Though there have been "Downtown Dialogues", there hasn't been much high visibility community organizing to resist the repression.

Homeless people continue to suffer punishment for being in public spaces or survival sleeping at night.

Street performers, in spite of the resurgence of the Street Performers Guild (reestablished May 22nd), face continued harassment and ticketing downtown.

"Big Drum" Brent Adams received a ticket on 5-30, even after he'd stopped playing during the day in front of New Leaf Market downtown.

Officer Winston ticketed him in spite of an approving audience of 30 (including children and families) who wanted him to continue, denying the claim of one distant malcontent that his music (with the group Love Gutter) was "unreasonable noise".

Winston has confided to Adams that he "doesn't care" about the ordinance (which Adams was not violating), but if he receives a complaint, he'll "find something" such as "disturbing the peace" or some other ordinance to enforce the "heckler's veto".

Meanwhile a long-standing tradition--the Wednesday Drum Circle has been driven away from its traditional venue next to the Farmer's Market without notice or consultation. Its attempts to find a new location were rigorously resisted by the SCPD, driving them to four different locations. They currently play near the Soquel Bridge on Wednesday afternoons--but have been given no assurance their rights will be respected.

I and Robert "Blindbear" Facer face a $450 fine at a court trial on July 20th in Dept. 10 for singing "Downtown"--the homeless version--in front of the Bookshop at the same spot. I will be repeating the song at the same legal volume and encourage listeners to judge for themselves whether it violates the law.

Attorney Ed Frey--who's also running for Congress---is appealing homeless activist Becky Johnson's conviction of singing in the same group because it woke up a man sleeping on the floor above through an open window. Judge Almquist, who refused to allow a record to be made of the "trial" is
responsible for convicting Johnson in this travesty. See .

The protest song, satirizing laws that criminalize the homeless, can be found at .

We're also concerned about excessive police force and selective police enforcement. Several weeks ago, they reportedly shut down an MDC concert several weeks ago on Beach St. with a massive display of force--calling in other agencies.

The homeless traveller Synthia Kennedy reported being physically assaulted by Officer Azua in late April or early May, having the hair torn out of her head, jailed for three days, and then told she was only being charged with "resisting arrest".
Azua recently insisted he "couldn't remember" the incident.

The City Council's secret meetings with select Downtown Association bigwigs resulting in the no-debate not-agenda-ized $1 million appropriation for 8 cops--4 of them to stalk the downtown area--should upset those of us concerned with non-violent solutions to the city's growing tensions.

In March, Sgt. Harms, Officer Forbus, and Officer Winston falsely cited the homeless musicians Anna Richardson and Miguel de Leon for "setting up a campsite" because they slept during the day downtown with their possessions nearby.

The City Attorney negligently or dishonestly backed this prosecution--part of an unprecedented and costly Injunction against two poor people--never charged much less convicted of any crimes of violence. Even Judge Volkman who supported the unconstitutional Injunction banning the two from Sleeping at Night downtown declined to find them guilty of camping for sleeping during the day with their possessions

Richardson and de Leon face an Injunction Trial in June--date TBA. The three cops behind these bogus charges are still on the beat.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) will be distributing questionnaires to determine true street sentiment and extent of recent harassment as well as to organize to resist the attacks on community.

HUFF supports activists under attack—
WES MODES on trial for attending a parade, and a series of infraction citations the City took two years to file.
WHITNEY WILD and CURTIS RELIFORD accused of having attended a parade.
MICAH POSNER , ticketed 3 months after a bike march on King St. by the Santa Cruz City Police for “an unpermitted march of over 100 people”.
ANNA RICHARDSON and MIGUEL DeLEON, subjects of a bizarre injunction forbidding them from sleeping downtown on threat of arrest, huge fines, and jailing.
BRENT ADAMS & Other street performers falsely muzzled by police using private complaint cover and the vague Unreasonably Disturbing Noises ordinance (MC 9.36.020)

COME BY THE HUFF TABLE In the so-called "Free Speech Zone" in front of Bookshop Santa Cruz and help organize for action.

We encourage people to volunteer for copwatching, courtwatching, and helping to secure public records.

Support the Street Performers Guild, Sub Rosa Cafe, the Guerrilla Theater, the Drum Circle, and other community organizing efforts. Without active support, the current climate of hysteria may damage or destroy these projects.
Added to the calendar on Mon, May 31, 2010 9:05PM

Comments (Hide Comments)
by heres a serious attack
the city council invited ICE to terrorize and kidnap brown people in santa cruz county. after 18 years as a sanctuary city, SC is now little better than arizona.

and yet knocking on the door of the hub or shutting down a film screening are the only "serious attcks" which merit discussion? pathetic.
by Robert Norse
Bring any literature you want regarding the Council's ICE b.s. and what response you feel the community needs to make. In English and Spanish.
by ...
i am questioning your priorities. but you knew that. nice sidestep.
by stop complaining
Stop complaining and start organizing.

The attacks on people's human right to simple exist and live their lives is a multi-headed hydra, and people organize the issues that are closest to them. Street musicians organize protests and direct action against the laws that oppress them. Anarchists fight against the Sentinel and SCPD attacks against the Anarchist community. People with close connections within the emigrant community organize around attacks on emigrants, documented and un.

But all these efforts have much crossover and provide mutual support to each other. Street musicians and homeless advocates have been showing up in court to support the fight against targeting of radicals. As the above court dates approach, Mr. Norse reaches out to other communities and makes an appeal for solidarity.

Saying one struggle is more important than another is destructive and divisive. Criticizing others for organizing around what touches their lives is stupid and counterproductive. The attacks on brown people, poor people, street musicians, anarchists, and radicals is the same on-going war, sometimes using different tools and language and excuses.

If there is a important struggle that you feel is being overlooked, organize around it and communicate about it.

So what efforts are focused on the fact that the city invited ICE to kidnap people in Santa Cruz? And how can we provide mutual support and solidarity?
by makes it all add up.
He got ticketed for drum playing on 5/30? Maybe now I can understand why he was wailing on another thread on 5/30 about too much police presence vis a vis the murder on B40 creek, and hasn't posted since. Sounds like he was venting over his drumming ticket, and picked the wrong thread to do it on.

....cause when I read him saying that peaceloving folks like he and I have nothing to worry about as the shootings continue, and that only gang bangers and drug addicts need be concerned as potential targets....I thought he'd lost it.
by Robert Norse (HUFF) (rnorse3 [at]
by Robert Norse (HUFF) (rnorse3 [at]
by Robert Norse (HUFF) (rnorse3 [at]
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