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Gary Johnson Protests Sleeping Ban for Second Week at Santa Cruz County Courthouse
by Alex Darocy (alex [at]
Thursday Jan 5th, 2012 4:00 PM
Gary Johnson, who has previously protested the sleeping ban during the Peace Camp 2010 sleep demonstrations in Santa Cruz, has spent the last week at the Santa Cruz County courthouse in a continuation of the struggle to end the sleeping ban statewide. First motivated by the recent attacks on the right of political protesters to gather peacefully at the county courthouse, Johnson's goal soon focused on California Penal Code 647(e), the state lodging law.
Gary Johnson first began his current courthouse protest on December 28, after reading about the 9th Circuit Court's recent decision concerning public forums. In an interview conducted on January 4, he said, "I heard about the 9th circuit decision and traditional public forums versus limited public forums, and designated public forums, and non-public forums and this [the Santa Cruz County Courthouse and Government Center], as far as I can understand, is a traditional public forum, one of the highest protected forums you can have, and it was being cut off, and I was already upset, so I thought, well, time to come down and protest because that is a bunch of crap, and sure enough with in a half an hour I got the first 602(o) ticket, which is the trespassing, which is purely about why are you here, trying to do a protest."

Johnson's demonstration quickly became about the right to sleep, however. "I'm going to do this until it is legal to sleep," he said.

Johnson has been arrested by Sheriffs deputies three times at the courthouse since December 28, and he estimates that he has received 3-5 tickets, including citations for both trespassing and 'lodging.' He believes the best approach to ending the sleep ban statewide is by attacking the state's lodging law. At the courthouse, Johnson receives nightly check-ins/warnings from Sheriffs deputies at around 10pm, when at that time they inform him they will be back later to issue him citations. By all appearances, Johnson is friendly to the authorities; he wants to be on good terms with the Sheriff's deputies who drive by where he is located regularly each night, as well as with the First Alarm guards who have patrolled the property since the Occupy Santa Cruz camp was destroyed. However, Sheriffs recently gave Johnson an ominous warning, stating that if he was arrested again he most likely would have his bail increased, meaning he might be held in jail for an extended time period of time.

At 10pm, on the evening of January 4, the Sheriffs drove by and gave Johnson the usual verbal warning. Whether it was the presence of media that evening, or Johnson's reduced use of bedding, or that earlier he repaired the fence that was damaged near the Occupy Santa Cruz general assembly location, or even that he continues to maintain friendly banter with both the security guards and the Sheriffs, the authorities did not return that evening, and Johnson remains free to continue the protest.

You can read more about Gary Johnson at his blog:

Alex Darocy
§Gary Johnson Interview, Part I
by Alex Darocy Thursday Jan 5th, 2012 4:00 PM
§Gary Johnson Interview, Part II
by Alex Darocy Thursday Jan 5th, 2012 4:00 PM
§6.36.010 647(e) A Legacy of Cruelty
by Alex Darocy Thursday Jan 5th, 2012 4:00 PM
The 9th Circuit Court ruling Gary Johnson was referring to was Frank Wright v. Incline Village General Improvement District.

A link to the ruling can be found at:

Comments  (Hide Comments)

...SOME PEOPLE might think it's a movement. ~~Arlo Guthrie, Alice's Restaurant

It's gonna be a gooood new year.

by G
Friday Jan 6th, 2012 11:36 AM
Hey auntieImp. After using that line out loud the other day, near the Mayor's office, I can't help but wonder how big the ears are out on the street, and what they are hearing. ;)

To paraphrase Zappa... "put 'em over there".
by Robert Norse
Saturday Jan 7th, 2012 2:27 AM
Fifteen minutes ago, Gary called me from county jail. Though I tried to speak with him, the phone company apparently won't let you accept collect calls without some special prior preparation. When I attempted to deal with that, I was cut off.

A subsequent call to the jail (831-454-2420--then dial 0 to avoid answering machine hell) put me in touch with Deputy John Ferrara. He told me the phones were sometimes buggy, though Gary was supposed to get a free phone call. He said that Gary is in jail on a "drunk in public charge" (647f). More likely it's a lodging charge of 647e and Ferrara got the last letter wrong. Particularly since Ferrara also told me Gary's being held on $5000 bail--when the frequent practice with drunk in public is to simply hold folks for 5 hours without charge or bail and release them.

The deputy also noted that Gary wouldn't be able to get to court likely until Tuesday morning.

Well, as Judge Gallagher put it when he sentenced Gary to six months in jail late last spring for his peaceful protest against the Sleeping Ban: "you can sleep in jail."

I encourage folks to call the jail to inquire as to Gary's well-being,and present status.

The sign Gary retrieved from deputy lock-up a few days ago on a prior arrest said "Sleep is Not a Crime". I guess the County wants to press it's point that, if they say so, it is.
by Donny B
Saturday Jan 7th, 2012 8:23 AM
The picture and commentary by RazerRay about camping is hype. In fact, the correct commentary to associate with the picture is:

"It's OK to camp out on public or private propery (as long as you have permission)."
aparently the citizenery are ok with the recent murder of a inmate accused of poss of stolen property i for one know it was not likely drugs killed this man because i was in g tank and saw first hand the bluish and blackend skin of the oxygen deprived inmates as the police laughed out loud/any body with a brain can see the link between suffocation torture and murder of our local gov/ comments please? thankyou.
by RazerRay
Sunday Jan 8th, 2012 7:31 PM
Some ignorant moron named "Donny" said:
"It's OK to camp out on public or private propery (as long as you have permission"

Where the fuck did you hear that?

From your Red-Shoelace friend's daddy?


There's an exemption for children but adults are required by law to be out of sight, and even on ones own property a 6 foot fence is required.
by RazerRay
Sunday Jan 8th, 2012 7:39 PM
besides violating sleeping ordinances that is...
by Donny B
Sunday Jan 8th, 2012 8:02 PM
RazerRay... you need to read 6.36.020 CAMPING PERMITTED. Whereas I freely admit that I used a generalization that camping could occur if permission was received (actually, only in certain instances), you too are guilty of over generalizing since the ordinance doesn't specify a 6ft fence (it states that the camp should be "separated from view from the street by a fence, hedge or other obstruction").
by Robert Norse
Monday Jan 9th, 2012 1:39 AM

Ed Frey announced at the Occupy Santa Cruz General Assembly Sunday afternoon that he was able to see Gary on Saturday, and he was okay.

The arraignment is likely to be at 8:30 AM today or tomorrow. It's not clear whether Gary will be released on his own recognizance (i.e. without bail).

The cases of People v. Pleich, et al. (Occupy Santa Cruz), United States District Court Case No.11-cv-05523-HRL
and Occupy Santa Cruz v. Santa Cruz Police Department, et al., Santa Cruz Superior Court Case No. CV172750 are on the Closed Session agenda at 2 PM on Saturday--which is held in the City Council Conference Room behind the City Council chambers at City Hall.

The "Closed Session" is open to the public during what is called the "open interval" at the beginning of the meeting at 2 PM during which people can speak out on either of these cases--which concern the City's attempt to criminalize the River St. Campground (destroyed by Vogel's SCPD on December 8th) via an attack on Steve Pleich, and the response of Pleich and Ed Frey to the City's attempt to runaround the federal court case.


Folks can put money on Gary's books at the jail during regular office hours. I think (strangely) you need picture ID to do so. I'll be doing that later today myself.

Gary hasn't requested anyone bail him out as far as I know--since (a) that would cost an unrefundable $500, and (b) Gary intends to continue his sleep protest and is likely to be rearrested. For more info contact Ed Frey at 831-479-8911.


The text of the Sleeping Ban sections of the Camping Ordinance (MC 6.36.010a) reads:


No person shall camp anywhere in the city of Santa Cruz, whether on public or private property, except as hereinafter expressly permitted. “To camp” means to do any of the following:

(a) Sleeping – 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. To sleep at any time between the hours of 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. in any of the following places:
(1) Outdoors with or without bedding, tent, hammock or other similar protection or equipment;
(2) In, on or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, whether with or without bedding, tent, hammock or other similar protection or equipment;
(3) In, on or under any parked vehicle, including an automobile, bus, truck, camper, trailer or recreational vehicle.

Sleepins is permitted during the "forbidden hours" accorfding to MC 6.36.020:
(a) Camping in public areas specifically set aside and clearly marked for public camping purposes;
(b) Camping events authorized and permitted by the Santa Cruz City parks and recreation department;
(c) Camping events authorized by the city council pursuant to Section 6.36.030;
(d) Camping:
(i) In the yard of a residence with the consent of the owner or occupant of the residence, where the camping is in the rear yard, or in an area of a side yard or front yard that is separated from view from the street by a fence, hedge or other obstruction; or
(ii) Inside of a licensed and registered motor vehicle in the parking lot on the site of a religious institution with the written consent of such institution, where the driver/occupant of such vehicle is in possession of a valid driver’s license, provided that no more than three vehicles shall be permitted at any one location; or
(iii) Inside of a licensed and registered motor vehicle in the parking lot on the site of a business institution in a non-residential district with the written consent of both the business institution and property owner, where the driver/occupant of such vehicle is in possession of a valid driver’s license, provided that no more than two vehicles shall be permitted at any one location;
(iv) Inside a licensed and registered vehicle in a residential off-street driveway with the written consent of the owner and occupant of the residence, where the driver/occupant of such vehicle is in possession of a valid driver’s license, provided that no more than one vehicle shall be permitted at any one location. No particular location shall be used for camping under this provision for more than three days during any one calendar month.


So sleeping at night on any public property is completely forbidden. Shelter is available at night for less than 10% of the homeless in Santa Cruz at best. The cost of citations is $100+ .

There is an exemption from this law if you are on a waiting list of either the Homeless (lack of) Services Center or the River St. (mini) Shelter.

However Gary Johnson is charged with PC 647e, a state penal code that reads: " [Any person] (e) Who lodges in any building, structure, vehicle, or place, whether public or private, without the permission of the owner or person entitled to the possession or in control of it." Gary was "lodging" by sleeping without bedding or blankets on a bench with a sign "Sleep is Not a Criime."

If he demands a jury trial, the D.A. must give him one within 30 days (if he's held in custody) or 45 days if he's released.
He is the first person in the last four months to actually be taken into court in jailhouse jumpsuit. All other cases have been stalled or fudged. People have been cited or arrested numerous times at Occupy Santa Cruz on these charges, but the charges have never appeared on the arraignment docket when those so hassled actually went into court.

The fact that Gary is being transported from the jail to the court, may require them to put the case on the docket this time.

As I wrote before, sleep IS a crime for the homeless in Santa Cruz and a serious one. An ordinance selectively enforced at the whim of the deputies, the police, the rangers, and their bosses. Gary is a very brave and determined individual to be challenging the law in this manner. Given the historic judicial collusion with police and political authority, there is little chance of justice there.

But justice can come from many different places when an unjust system is challenged by courageous people. Mohamed Bouazizi, for instance, sparked the Arab Spring and the overthrow of two dictators in the Middle East (see

Ultimately it may depend on how many people chose to join Gary or respond to his inspiration.
by RazerRay
Monday Jan 9th, 2012 10:24 AM
The specific condition required is called a "Permit" which a theater on a public street, is not likely eligible to receive (because the campers block the sidewalk, and other public nuisances such as toilet facility availability at night), so the theaters (specifically in this case Cinema9) DO break the law with impunity, with the SCPD and city government having full knowledge of that.

It's called Selective Enforcement, a violation of state law, good policing practice, and the FEDERAL civil rights of anyone not so 'fortunate' to be in the cohort of 'the allowed'.

Note that in the picture above, I watched the frustrated employees of Palace Arts spend a lot of their time trying to keep the doorway clear, with no hope whatsoever of keeping their display window available to people who might want to view it.

Where are the police with the city's 14 foot rule when it's REALLY necessary to enforce it?

Missing in action. Hassling a street performer, or like yesterday, telling me that I had no right to eat my lunch in an open public space by the the back of the Palomar hotel and threaten me (unsuccessfully) with a loitering citation. That's where.

Fuck them, and fuck their corrupt city government who pays them.
by L
Thursday Feb 2nd, 2012 11:22 AM
Why not get 30+ people to sleep during the day in public and then have all night to annoy the fascists. Just a thout. Let find where the cops live and go wake them up.