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Courthouse Steps Now Free Speech-Free at Night; SCPD Threats Downtown; Offices Close
by Robert Norse
Friday Dec 9th, 2011 4:06 AM
I interviewed Abbi and Camille after my radio show earlier tonight in front of the County Building where they walked back and forth shivering in the cold, but determined to assert their right to assemble in public with grievances in front of a public building. Half a dozen Occupy Santa Cruz activists stood nearby (but on the narrow sidewalk generally, in fear of citation or arrest if they joined Abbi and Camille for any length of time on the concrete area in front of the courthouse). No news media, no liberal protest. Just deepening surrender of basic civil rights. Abbi posted an audio (actually a video, but one that can't really be seen--though it can be heard) on Occupy Santa Cruz (facebook). I reprint it here with my comments.

Camille joined at least five other political prisoners in jail last night--according to this account by her companion in "crime" Abbi below.

Earlier tonight, the General Assembly of 30-50 met, as they have for the last 2 1/2 months nightly on the Courthouse steps in front of Water St. They created no disturbance, damaged no property, threatened no one. They were approached by deputies, I am told, at 7 PM and told that they were "acting illegally", but as a "special favor", they would be allowed to remain until 8 PM without being ticketed and/or arrested for 602 L of the state trespass code.

Stunning here is the casual notion that individual sheriffs can choose to enforce or ignore the "laws" (actually the edicts of Chief Administrative Officer Susan Mauriello, since the Supervisors have taken no legislative action to limit the right to protest in front of the courthouse). It's an infuriating form of hypocrisy--since the suggestion that this is being done as a "favor" to those assembled is unlikely--it's rather more likely another intimidating tactic to thin the crowd and make the give the sheriffs less paperwork and the jail less expense. Since confronting the crowd with threat of arrest as a group would be more likely to provoke determined (though peaceful) resistance.

Still more stunning is the robotic arrogance and blindness of sheriff's deputies in (a) carrying out this direct violation of the higher law--the First Amendment of the state and federal constitutions--the Right to Assemble Peaceably for a Redress of Grievances, and (b) committing the even more profound seizure of unjust authority by claiming that they--the sheriffs--can now decide who and when folks can assemble as a "favor". This "we apply the laws when we like and interpret them as we choose" approach has been repeatedly used by sheriffs since Occupy Wall Street arrived at the steps of the County Building on October 7th--with a continually shifting (and relentlessly narrowing) definition of civil liberties.


Abbi Samuels 12:49am Dec 9 [posted by Abbi at

We now have a curfew on our first amendment right of free speech.

Tonight, during our General Assembly, Sargent Fish came by and said that they would let us stay until 8:00pm.

Camille and I decided to stay past 8:00pm. At 9:00pm, we got ticketed for trespassing. There were about 10 protesters supporting us on the other side of the sidewalk, the supposed 'legal' side.

My phone that was videotaping this ran out of batteries while we are being given trespassing tickets so it is only 10 minutes long.

At 10:00pm, three different cops came back and arrested Camille. She stood her ground. I decided to stay on the other side of the sidewalk, the supposed 'legal' side and supported her as well as 4 others.

When I am more prepared, I will take the stand on the 'illegal' side and get arrested.


Earlier in the day at the Parks and Recreation Department, I, Becky Johnson, Linda Lemaster, and a number of other OSC activists tried to register a complaint with the Parks and Recreation Department during normal business hours. We were confronted with the Chief of Police in full uniform with five officers and a deputy-chief and a locked office.

My subsequent attempt to pick up DVDs of a recent City Council meeting for my radio show that night was blocked by locked office doors. Even though staff were within and this was after the lunch break during normal business hours, worker Rosemary Baisley ignored my knocking on the door.

Photographer Alex was detained as he took pictures of the gang of police (a larger gathering, I was told, earlier in the day that lay in wait for the peaceful protest).

When I attempted to cross the street to more closely "copwatch" Alex's detention and interrogation as he was surrounded by the cops, Chief Vogel called out that I would be cited for "jaywalking", though there was no traffic on the street and no traffic control devices at either corner (required for a jaywalking citation under the vehicle code). Vogel shouted in an authoritarian tone at Becky Johnson, trying to video by standing two inches off the curb in an unused parking spot that she would be cited unless she stepped back on the sidewalk (it is not illegal to stand in a parking space that is not being used). This threat along with the presence of the armed goon squad deterred us for a few minutes, but we finally crossed the street,, inviting the chief to cite us if he felt that was needed (he did not).

Alex was being "detained" and threatened with arrest in a demand that he present identification--apparently as part of the expanding 75 River St. "investigation"--of the vacant bank building peacefully held and then peacefully relinquished for three days in spite of police provocations. Vogel initially greeted me with suggestions that I was involved in criminal activity for having entered the building as a journalist---along with others. I asked if he'd also be investigating Councnilwoman Beiers, City Manager Bernal, and others who went into the building to see what was going on, prior to any posting of "no trespass" signs. He stiffly and angrily turned away saying "we're done here".

Hopefully Alex will be posting some photos of this surreal scene.

A few minutes later two motorcycle cops pulled over two bicycles biking up Center Street across from the library for going through a stop sign and detained them for fifteen minutes (alarming two older women--tourists from Montreal--who I spoke to afterwards).


As I audioed the harassment of the two bicyclists, five of Vogel's guard approached us from the rear and stood "at the ready". One of them pointed to a political button which had fallen off my jacket onto the sidewalk, and demanded to know "Mr. Norse, are you littering?"

The button read "If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet renounce controversy who want crops without ploughing the ground." --Frederick Douglass (1817-1895).

Some more of the quote: 'This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress....

"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. "

For the full speech, see

However--appreciate the generosity and broadmindedness of the SCPD--I was not cited for littering.


Those interested in a March of Shame on Monday or Tuesday to the Supervisors, Mayor's Office, SCPD, and Sheriff's Department, please contact me at rnorse3 [at]

Please post any news of police repression or citizen resistance that has happened to you or that you've witnessed.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by DW
Friday Dec 9th, 2011 6:47 AM
,,,the deputies were exercising discretion in enforcing the law, something they legally have. Don't complain--they were being nice....
by Becky Johnson
Friday Dec 9th, 2011 7:50 AM
And YOU sound like a tool for police repression. Kudos to those activists who have asserted their right to seek redress of govt. grievances 24/7 at our local courthouse. DINAH PHILLIPS has pre-empted our 1st amendment rights to peaceably assemble, by passing without ANY PUBLIC PROCESS WHATSOEVER an edict making the county land around the courthouse (and EXACTLY where OSC had set up shop) "no trespassing" from 7PM to 7AM. SHE and SHE ALONE has truncated our rights!

Of course the Sheriff's office, the DA, Judge Volkmann, many overpaid county workers, the SCPD, the Downtown Association, and the Chamber of Commerce are all THRILLED to see a protest that THEY thought had gone on too long, beaten away with massive police force.

Personally it makes me sick.
by DW
Friday Dec 9th, 2011 12:23 PM your cohort Robert Norse, get real lawyers, who know municipal law. The courts have always upheld reasonable time, place and manner regulations on speech. The rules regarding gatherings at the courthouse between 7pm and 7am seem to be quite reasonable and likely would be upheld against legal challenge. And, I have no objection to the police enforcing such reasonable rules. While there is indeed a constitutional right to free speech and protest, that right is not unfettered.
by Robert Norse
Saturday Dec 10th, 2011 4:49 AM
...banning political protest at night on the capital grounds there? You may remember last spring there were massive protests at one point. Or similarly would you support the repression of night-time protest in Egypt, Syria, Tunesia, Bahrain, and Yemen? Just trying to understand how much you believe in limiting the rights of those assembling for a redress of grievances. And why.

Or is it just here in Santa Cruz you back these repressive edicts?
by DW
Saturday Dec 10th, 2011 7:38 AM
...would, Robert.

Believe me, I'd be the first one to complain if the authorities were trying to silence OSC et al altogether, but that's NOT what's happening. You can assemble and protest to your heart's content between 7am and 7pm. You just can't camp overnight or protest during the night. That's not trampling First Amendment rights, Robert.
by Becky Johnson
Saturday Dec 10th, 2011 10:07 AM
WHY did Dinah Phillips of Santa Cruz County put in the "no trespassing" restrictions?

BECAUSE she meant to SHUT THE 24/7 PROTEST DOWN. That was her SOLE reason.

Here is why we know this. If she REALLY was concerned about pee pee and poo poo,

then she would have WELCOMED those porto-potties. She didn't. To her, they

meant nothing. Was she REALLY concerned about tents and sleeping at night?

The tents do provide an uncomfortable visual, but , they are NOT ILLEGAL THERE.

"Camping" is legal on courthouse grounds, according to the COUNTY camping code.

UNLESS the sheriffs want to enforce the City camping ordinance, it is. And they don't.

Sleeping is likewise legal---or was until Phillips unilaterally and without any public process

eliminated all of the rights of every citizen to use PUBLIC SPACE from 7PM to 7AM.

OSC has already consensed to violate that edit of Ms. Phillips. We're voting with our butts.
by DW
Saturday Dec 10th, 2011 11:57 AM
,,,your butts will land you in jail. And the courts are not being all sympathetic with the Occupiers across the country. Boston's camp was cleaned out yesterday, with numerous arrests, after the courts refused to grant a permanent injunction. The federal court in Fresno has washed its hands of the lawsuit there--it likely will be moved to the District Court for the District of Northern California in SF due to ethical issues--the County has hired a former federal judge to represent it against the Occupiers.

In the case of OSC, sounds like the County has declared an emergency, and the normal rules about ordinances go out the window in situations like that, Becky. And, yes the County could defer enforcement of the City's no-camping ordinance to the City--the courthouse is in the city limits of SC.

No camping ordinances are in place in the Fresno Metro Area--the city of Clovis has one that covers camping on both public and private property. Fresno's about to introduce one this week to ban camping on any City property--there's already a ban on camping in City parks.

You know, Fox News might be on to something--are "liberals" mentally ill? When I read the drivel posted by you and Robert, I wonder.
by Occupy This
Saturday Dec 10th, 2011 12:52 PM
The lawless acts by a number of the OSC group have contributed greatly to the perception that OSC is nothing more than a group of petty criminals and slackers. Then you have the likes of Robert Norse/Becky Johnson trying to co-opt the OSC protest for their own personal agenda (the anti-Camping ordinance) and that too further contributes to bad PR, the appearance of disorganization/lack of a unified leadership, and total lack of focus. OSC needs to rethink the message they want to convey to the public at large and stop peeing in everyone's Corn Flakes. Focus on a cogent message, establish chain of leadership, define your goal(s), and cease the illegal acts. Norse, Johnson, and HUFF should not be allowed to co-mingle their agenda(s).
by Becky Johnson
Saturday Dec 10th, 2011 2:35 PM
DW WRITES: "In the case of OSC, sounds like the County has declared an emergency, and the normal rules about ordinances go out the window in situations like that, Becky."

BECKY: Yes. You are right. Dannettee Shoemaker of Parks & Rec used the summary portion of the abatement code with REQUIRES that "an imminent threat to life" must exist which allows her to bypass normal procedure.

But what she DID was take a situation where the health, safety, and sanitary needs were being met for 200 people, and she banished them to God knows where. She CREATED an imminent threat to THEIR health and safety!!

And Judge Timothy Volkmann rubberstamped it!!! He didn't even explain his action. Of course, there is a reason for that. He couldn't!

The only reason Dannettee had an "emergency" on her hands is that Barisone's injunction got challenged and bumped to Federal Court!!

that is a POLITICAL emergency for her and the City Council, not any REAL threat to life.

Or, perhaps YOU can explain what "imminent threat to life" authorized her to use the summary code section?
by DW
Saturday Dec 10th, 2011 8:43 PM
Becky writes: "And Judge Timothy Volkmann rubberstamped it!!! He didn't even explain his action. Of course, there is a reason for that. He couldn't!"

Or he didn't need to. Legal precedent makes it clear government can put reasonable regulations in place for the exercise of First Amendment rights. That's why Occupy is losing in courts across the country, both state and federal.

Sounds like those National Law Guild folks are idiots.
by RazerRay
Sunday Dec 11th, 2011 10:16 AM
It seems DW can't even get the name of a well known national legal defense organization that's been in existence for nearly a century's name right.

The moron "Pot" calls kettle black.
by Becky Johnson
Sunday Dec 11th, 2011 12:40 PM
So DW, do you think the City has unlimited funds to pay for injunctions and at the same time launch pre-emptive administrative nuisance abatement actions with the costs associated with hiring 90 officers to "abate" the "nuisance?" What "greater harm" is being prevented?

It seems, that while the encampment was in place, the camp was providing the social services that the City and the County have neglected to do for decades. We will now see a greater use (and expense) for social services at the Homeless Services Center.

Look forward to greater costs at the HSC, a higher death toll among homeless folks, and more homeless people sleeping in the bushes, behind dumpsters, and on the river levee. What else would you expect?
by DW
Monday Dec 12th, 2011 10:42 AM
I see you or your partner in stupidity didn't like my comment comparing your band with the Tea Party. Truth hurts doesn't it?

The City of Santa Cruz didn't "hire" 90 officers to clean out the sewer that the OSC camp was. I'm sure the City requested mutual aid from area law enforcement agencies--which is provided at no cost to the City and its residents.

And it really doesn't cost the City much to pursue you folks in court. As a governmental agency, it doesn't have to pay any filing fees to the court. And, unless it brings outside counsel in to assist, the time the City Attorney spends on you is just another day at the office for him/her.

In other words, the cost is virtually zero. Which in its own way is ironic, given the caliber of the folks it's being spent on....
by Becky Johnson
Monday Dec 12th, 2011 2:29 PM
Sure thing. Those 90 police officer were just working their regular 'beat'.
They just left Capitola, Scotts Valley, Watsonville, and UCSC unguarded?

You say those police costs were nothing? You're not saying they were volunteers,
are you? Or that the Park Rangers that tore down tents were unpaid?
And First Alarm security? They're our own Blackwater. Why are we paying
them too?

AS for the City Attorney, only some of the legal costs
are paid by the $500,000 or so retainer. There are other costs as well,
and these rival or exceed the retainer.

So the jokes on you, Mr. Taxpayer!
by James
Tuesday Dec 13th, 2011 3:54 AM
Occupy Santa Cruz, is not making news!

you are not doing enough to get in the news and keep your story there.
that is the first step for success.

make a plan and get to work
by Becky Johnson (posted by Norse)
Wednesday Dec 14th, 2011 10:10 PM
Great article by Becky on Police Chief Vogel's Stormtrooper "Search and Crush" Mission last Thursday as well as the value of the OSC Campground: .

ReOccupy Next Saturday noon as part of the National Reoccupation movement & Bradley Manning's Birthday!
by Becky Johnson
Sunday Dec 18th, 2011 9:03 AM
Good news. The Occupy Santa Cruz GA consensed to commit civil disobedience by ignoring/violating the new "trespass" orders administratively enacted by County CAO, Susan Mauriello which make the County Government Center "closed" from 7PM to 7AM. OSC attorney, Ed Frey, attempted to meet with Susan Mauriello and was told that "no one meets with her." Hmmmmm.

He was redirected to meet the County Counsel. Frey asked the County Counsel how the order did not violate the 1st amendment protections allowing freedom to peaceably assemble, freedom of speech, and the right to seek redress of govt. grievances. The County Counsel told Ed Frey that the restrictions didn't limit those freedoms. He didn't explain why.
by Robert Norse
Monday Dec 19th, 2011 8:35 AM
Though there were only about sixty people (according to OSC activist Joel who was on the scene and arrested subsequently for "obstructing an officer"--attempting to assist homeless people trying to remove their property) in the tents and in the park campground area at the time of the dawn raid, there were over 100 tents with over 200 people there a day or two before.

The authorities provided no legal place for people to go. The Homeless (lack of ) Services Center has full waiting lists for its Paul Lee Loft (46 beds). There are 100 beds up at the Armory for those who meet a number of restridtive conditions and don't need to work during the afternoon, have another place to store their stuff, are willing to face the health risks of a large contained space with a large number of people, have neither pets nor vehicle parking needs, etc. HUFF estimates 1500-2000 homeless people in Santa Cruz (and growing--thanks to foreclosing banks and repacious landlords among other perps).

Those evicted face fines of $100 per night for each incident of sleeping after 11 PM under MC 6.36.010a. A woman who has to camp out approached me Saturday and said she'd prefer to spend her time in jail rather than get more tickets and/or have her credit ruined by having tickets go to collection.

No info on whether police have issued many tickets under this ordinance in the ten days since the police attack on the camp. There were numerous reports of truckloads of survival gear (i.e. tents) removed and destroyed as "trash" and homeless folks refused permission to cross police lines to retrieve their property.

Your police and your taxpayer dollars at work! Keep alert for upcoming Occupy and HUFF protests around these issues.
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Dec 27th, 2011 9:45 AM
Photos of the excessive para-military police Homeless Removal squad can be found at as well as .

A Santa Cruz Sentinel video can be found at .

The early growth of the OSC encampment from a few tents to scores of them can be seen at , , .

If anyone has photos of the camp at its greatest extent, please post them.
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