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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Police State and Prisons
Crushing Homeless Critics at City Council & on the Streets: Coonerty to the Supreme Court
In early June attorney David Beauvais confirmed that the City Attorney had formally filed a lengthy petition to the U.S. Supreme Court in the "Fitzmaurice Hissy Fit" Case (also known as the mock-Nazi salute or City Council Repression case). I offered to give up all my financial demands if City Council would abandon the city-wide 11 AM to 8:30 PM Sleeping Ban and make some minor but real changes to City Council rules allowing more public access. Council's only offer was to remove some archaic language (which we'd asked them to do in 2002), already required by the 9th Circuit Court, unless overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
MONEY WASTED FOR AN EVIL PURPOSE
I've discussed this case extensively ("City Council Won't Settle; Will Now Spend Thousands More in Fitzmaurice "Hissy Fit" Case" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/05/08/18679247.php).
A critic of the City's waste of money in pursuit of more repressive power for the Mayor wrote "City's 'Nazi salute' appeal beyond absurd" at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/opinion/ci_18309520 --a Sunday opinion piece printed in the Sentinel with more comments on line.
I am posting the actual City petition to the court (running over 100 pages) below so folks can see the arrogance, obliviousness, and actual mendacity of the city's position. They cook up new arguments when they go back to court--this time describing straightforward silent non-disruptive dissent as "hate speech", an argument they've never before used.
The video, of course, speaks for itself at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOssHWB6WBI .
We didn't waste time or money responding to the City's "thick wallets and thin skins" as I described them in a brief interview with KSCO a week ago. The Court will probably be responding to their petition in October, unless they choose to dismiss it in the next week or so before they go on vacation.
I had thought the City's chances of even arguing before the court (which has not yet granted permission--that's what the petition is about) were about 2-5%, but they may be substantially higher because of the fact that the 9th Circuit Court had a special en banc panel that unanimously overturned the lower court.
REPRESSIVE MAYORS WANT TO MAINTAIN AND EXPAND THEIR POWERS
It's also an issue that other repressive Mayors, I'm sure, would love to have reversed, so that they can make up whatever rules they want, and then call a violation of their rules or behavior that "offends" them "disruptions".
Mayor Coonerty has repeatedly refused to keep his word and show up for an interview on my Free Radio Santa Cruz show. Perhaps he's already in too much trouble for his refusal to support opting out of the Secure Communities program, while trying to claim he's
Meanwhile the local ACLU, whose treasurer is former Mayor Mike Rotkin, continues to maintain a silence, both on the Sleeping Ban and on the right of critics at City Council to attend Council meetings without fear of arrest for non-disruptive criticism that "offends" the Council.
The ACLU has also reportedly declined to weigh in on Obama's crackdown on undocumented immigrants arrested for minor offenses (the Secure Communities opt-out issue).
SPEECH AT CITY COUNCIL
I also made the following speech before City Council last Tuesday:
TWO MEN JAILED FOR PEACEFUL POLITICAL PROTEST AT THE COURTHOUSE
Two good men are in jail tonight—sentenced Friday to six months in jail—because this Council insists on maintaining a law that other cities have abandoned. The Sleeping Ban makes all outdoor and vehicular sleeping at night a crime. Klieglights at night, a new
unprecedented, unconstitutional “no protest at night” zone around City Hall, extra tens of thousands to the City Attorney, more police. And now two men in jail for six months because they dared to peacefully sleep outside in front of the County Building against this
If it costs $100 a day to house an inmate, taxpayers are paying $18,000 each to punish these two. Just as this City Council decided to throw away another $5000 grandstanding before the U.S. Supreme Court. Thin skins and thick wallets. Keep City Council increasingly isolated from the community.
I've urged the Council—reform your Council rules and the City's Sleeping Ban. Settle this lawsuit. Save us all money. I'll drop my financial demands. The City will save what you'll have to pay me, what they'll be paying the City Attorney and you'll save the money they would spend in A future lawsuit against the Sleeping Ban. Los Angeles and San Diego did it. You can.
Two good men are in jail tonight because of City Council's refusal to listen to the demands of conscience, common sense, and fiscal prudence. Come join us tomorrow morning in front of the Courts in sorrow, and in anger.
Morning protests continue in front of the courthouse throughout this week 7:30 AM to 9 AM urging Gary Johnson and Ed Frey be freed; charges be dropped against all other peaceful homeless protesters from Peace Camp 2010, including Linda Lemaster, going to court in August. Vehicular activist Crow has been organizing these protests and wants to know about harassment of the homeless in businesses (such as the west-side Safeway) or in vehicles at night (as by vehicular abatement vigilante former Lt. Joe Haebe).
Homeless people continue to receiver Sleeping Ban citations in spite of the acknowledged lack of shelter for virtually everyone. The Paul Lee loft as a 2-6 week waiting list; the Armory is closed; there are no walk-in beds to speak of. Yet the City police continue to violate the Constitution nightly by harassing and citing homeless people for the act of sleeping after 11 PM.
Police and security guards have also been advising people that they have no right to gather on the sidewalk and have several times threatened them with arrest in order to get them to "move along" in recent reports.
Please report all tickets, arrests, abusive "warnings", and other untoward police and security guard behavior by posting on line here, leaving something written at the Sub Rosa Cafe, which maintains a Police Misconduct notebook, or contacting Free Radio Santa Cruz at 831-427-3772.