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Last Night DIY Santa Cruz Parades for Sixth Year
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM
The sixth annual Last Night DIY Santa Cruz paraded up Pacific Avenue on December 31st after gathering in the Saturn Cafe parking lot at sundown. Drummers, hoopers, stiltists, puppeteers, pacifists, breakdancers and many people in costume took part in the parade. Despite fear mongering from the SCPD in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the Last Night DIY was well attended by participants and spectators.
§Alan Sitar Brown
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM
§Drum n Dove
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM
§Moving Feet
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM
§Monarch and Milkweed
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM
§Boy with Balloon
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM
§Peace Dove
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM
§Last Night DIY
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM
§Pacific Hoopers
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM
§Peace Street
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM
§Drum Mobile
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM
§Family Fun
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM
§Bacon News
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 1:37 AM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by ...jj....
Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 2:19 AM
Makes me wish I lived in Santa Cruz!
by Robert Norse
Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 6:03 AM
The following comment that I made on the Sentinel's coverage of the parade at ('"Crowds gather in downtown Santa Cruz to ring in the New Year") lasted a day longer than the reference to me in the original story (a sentence about me walking in the parade with a Copwatch sign). When I checked on line half an hour ago,it had been "removed for review".

The yearly parade happened in spite of pressure against it by Mayors Rotkin and Coonerty, Police Chief Vogel, and Captain Clark, and, of course, City Attorney John Barisone (and his after-the-fact prosecution of last year's parade walker Wes Modes).

It also braved massive negative publicity by the Sentinel which trumped the SCPD scare stories hawked by Clark, who threatened citations if kids and their families dared to join this traditional yearly event with a 5-year peaceful history.

I have to disagree with Sherry Conable's assessment that there were more marchers than last year--there were clearly less.

I interviewed a dozen people for Free Radio--which folks can listen to tomorrow 9:30 AM to 1 PM., It was clearly not just my view that the police, politician, and media surrender to hysteria about the bogus Anarchist Menace contributed to the significantly smaller turnout (less than 1/2 of last year's numbers). Clark's threat to give "triple fine zone" citations to 'illegal walkers' also poured cold water on the event.

Police Chief Kevin Vogel and Sgt. Michael Harms advised me that the City Attorney will subsequently view police videos (!) of the event and decide whether to prosecute. As he did last year, when he targeted three activists and gave them citations costing hundreds of dollars.

Only one of these activists dared brave the parade this year in the threat of another citation. Many who came were reluctant to give their real names.

The attempt to destroy the DIY parade has been sustained, well-organized, and premeditated. And it comes from the highest political level locally. It is an active sabotaging of public assembly to further a political agenda that seeks to fundamentally alter the Santa Cruz community make-up.

Mayor Coonerty is intensifying his bid to commercialize the downtown and rid it of "riff raff" with his "no loitering, no sitting, no feeding the poor" laws and initiatives. This is illegitimate and unwise pandering to the bigotry and paranoia some right-wing pressure groups like Take Back Santa Cruz and gentrification-happy businesses like his own Next Space corporation.

Vogel and Harms are to be commended for not overtly harassing the parade though the massive and unnecessary surveillance is yet another waste of money that contrasts tellingly with the cutback in social services.

Yet the story is far from over.

If anyone gets a "walking in the parade" citation, as Barisone gave out last year weeks after the parade, the community needs to respond strongly and quickly. Allowing a small band of highly paid entrenched staff to make repressive policy decisions is a recipe for disaster. Barisone has been in power for several decades without meaningful review (with no such prospect on the horizon).

The new City Council, falsely described as moderate in the Sentinel's column, is likely to give a blank check to further attacks on the right of the public to assemble peacefully.

If anyone is going to restore some sanity, it's going to take persistence and the willingness to stand up a vindictive city staff operating with impunity and immunity.

The DIY parade last night did show that some are willing to disperse the fear and restore traditional Santa Cruz values. Now let's make sure those good folks don't get picked off with expensive tickets one by one in the days that follow.

It feels a bit ominous to me--this is the first time I've been censored from both a story and the comment section in the space of 24 hours. Perhaps Captain Clark made a phone call? I don't post much on the Sentinel comment forum, so perhaps it's not that unusual--but this is the first time I've heard of it in my case.

Still there are many comments on that thread attacking the police presence, City Council action, and Sentinel coverage. Now's the time to demand removal of the Triple Fine Zones, the wasteful police overtime featherbedding, and the abusive Downtown Ordinances that distract police from "real crime".

I got a call from Councilmember Beiers (who was up in Oregon). I'd asked her whether the Triple Fine Zones law included the "Walking in Parade" ordinance (MC 10.65). She didn't know, but should be called to demand City Council action to assure that no one is prosecuted (831-420-5020).

I'll be discussing this issue on Free Radio Santa Cruz today at 101.1 FM and The show will be archived at . Call-in number is 831-427-3772.
by Wes Modes
Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 12:01 PM
Typical. Now that the parade has turned out to be peaceful, fun, and inspiring, those who warned doom, gloom, and riot are silent.

Here is some context for the Last Night DIY Parade & Celebration:

This year the Last Night DIY Parade celebrated its sixth year. It's an event in which the community comes together to commemorate the turn of the year and celebrate what we can create together. But what's the fuss? As they say, everyone loves a parade... except in Santa Cruz. Some civic leaders and the Santa Cruz Police are less than thrilled about it.

Last Night DIY was a celebration that fulfilled a community need. For years, the city sponsored an event on New Year's Eve until it collapsed under its own weight and expense in 2004. As a response, people in the community picked up the challenge of creating an inclusive, open, do-it-yourself celebration for free without city or corporate sponsorship. For five years now it has offered a creative, peaceful, and family-friendly alternative to the usual alcohol-fueled madness of New Year's eve. People found out about the parade through fliers, the web, and most importantly, word-of-mouth.

Rather than view this as an amazing example of the creativity, resilience, and resourcefulness of our local community, civic leaders and the local police have viewed it as an ongoing problem because the people who participate (families, children, students, townies, several former mayors) refuse to file the proper forms in triplicate and pay enormous kickbacks to the city for the privilege of celebrating together and exercising their right to free expression and assembly.

So much so that in 2005, Santa Cruz police authorized undercover officers to infiltrate parade meetings in people's homes and compile surveillance on individuals and groups engaged in first amendment activities. Until the tide of public opinion swayed their stance, most of the City Council supported the police spying. The city's own police auditor concluded that police had violated the civil rights of parade planners. With the help of the ACLU, organizers pressured the city council into adopting guidelines that put some limits on when and how the SCPD could spy on you.

For years, mayor Ryan Coonerty and outgoing mayor Mike Rotkin have complained that the parade does not pay its fair share of services on New Year's. However, for its entire history, even police reports have noted that participants have taken responsibility for all the impacts of the parade, including traffic control and clean-up. In five years, the only incident was one in 2009 in which Sergent Michael Harms drove his police cruiser directly into people marching in the parade.

It is important, especially in these lean economic times that communities learn to support themselves and each other. As civic institutions struggle to stay afloat, it is an opportunity for people to take responsibility for their own neighborhoods, safety, education, health, public spaces, and even celebrations. We are fortunate to live in a community in which the do-it-yourself spirit is alive and well.

The parade is an explicitly anarchist event and family-friendly, fun, and peaceful. For those of you who are a little more thoughtful and curious, there is a great deal of misunderstanding of the nature of anarchism and a lot of resources to help understand this rich philosophy.

Anarchists (also known as libertarians or libertarian socialists, in the original sense of socialism as worker-ownership-and-control of the means of production) oppose illegitimate authority and hierarchy, and therefore oppose capitalism and the state; anarchists do not oppose all organization: anarchists favor voluntary, non-hierarchical, self-organization. Anarchists do not oppose all rules and laws; anarchists oppose rules and laws imposed involuntarily by illegitimate authorities, such as the state, and favor voluntarily-agreed-upon rules and laws.

A quick google search for anarchism turns up tons of thoughtful resources. Good articles such as "Anarchy 101" by Bob Black or the "Anarchism FAQ" answer such pressing questions such at

  • Aren't all anarchists bomb-throwers? Don't anarchists advocate violence?
  • Has there ever been an anarchist society that worked?
  • Anarchists are naïve: they think human nature is essentially good.
  • what would happen if there were no police?
  • One definition of "anarchy" is chaos. Isn't that what anarchy would be -- chaos?
  • and so on...
Or you can go on believing the hype that anarchists want to destroy your way of life, spread chaos and violence, and eat your children.

by Robert Norse
Sunday Jan 2nd, 2011 10:27 PM
Not sure why or when it happened, but my previously flagged and withdrawn comment has been restored on the Sentinel website. Along with the comment I posted repeating it and denouncing the censorship. See

Go figure.

If anyone gets a citation for the DIY Parade in the weeks ahead, please post on this website and let the community know.

by lighthouse Linda
Tuesday Jan 4th, 2011 9:22 PM
Very find photos, Bradley. thanks bunches! I want to comment on an irony that hasn't been mentioned lately: When the expensively weighted "First Night" Celebrations began, they began in response to a RIOT that was caused (shouldn't I say "triggered"?) you be the judge, if you can get the facts recvollected) when the police watching the Town Clock countdown jumped their gun. Of course, the police dept wasn't held accountable, had a great "cover story" for the public n press, and then proceeded to demonize the natural (windows crashed) behaviors of a crowd of people getting triggered into riot and running).

Yet the next year after this expensive gaffe*, folks were organized into a grand event, to "prevent such havoc." Thus began the "Let's all make a buck" version of a car-less, essentially booze-less celebration of the coming year, right in our downtown. One nite a year, Pacific Avenue turned back into Pacific Garden Mall, and bye n large, people loved it. Live amplified music every block, every kind of food kiosk all over, a WONDERFUL event if you have a few hundred dollars to leak away.

I loved it for all the side events: poetry readings at City Hall, crafts, all kinds of music. Missed Tom Noddy one year because it was uphill at the Mission and I couldn't walk that far. But I still had fun. As has been noted, after some years people realized it was too expensive. So instead of scaling it back to something populist, simpler, fun, they dumped the whole thing.

People continue to celebrate; the clock at the head of Pacific Ave continues naturally to count down those mintues, then seconds; and people come together there. People will come no matter what as long as the clock is standing, ticking (yay!), and the traffic gets "calmed" around there. NO question about permits - they just come.

This shows me how arbitrary the attack on anarchy by the police was -- blaming the smaller group for their own sins. ... When the police grows up, they willnot try SO HARD that they have to lie to get tehir way. Maybe a few will become inspired to be anarchists?