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On Driving Away Homeless People From San Lorenzo Park on Saturday Moring

by Robert Norse
SC Patch reports a memorial for Shannon Collins,at the San Lorenzo Duck Pond yesterday. She was the Camouflage owner slain last month whose death has resulted in a hysterical call for crack-downs on innocent homeless people by old-time bigots like Take Back Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Neighbors, and the Sentinel. What SC Patch didn't report was an earlier police sweep denying dozens of people their right to be in the park apparently in order to clear the area so that the "proper people" could be at the Memorial later in the day. Such was the impression I got speaking with folks yesterday afternoon who'd been run off under threat of arrest.
I left the following comment on the SC Patch story at :

"Earlier that day, reportedly four or more squad cars arrived to drive away homeless folks who were resting in the park. "Leave or be arrested" was the mantra used by the police according to three who were builied into leaving.

I don't think Ken Vinson and Shannon Collins would have been happy to see this kind of dark bigotry--which has been on the rise recently.

I've written about this recently in the Sentinel at .

I had brief contacts with the folks at Camouflage myself, but they were one of the few businesses that posted a sign supporting the rights of the homeless. (See

My thanks to them again for their courage and common sense.

The SCPD (and whoever prompted the earlier "homeless cleansing" of the park) should be ashamed."
I sent the following Public Records Act demand to Trisha Husome earlier today:

From: rnorse3 [at]
To: thusome [at]
CC: spleich [at]
Subject: Public Records Act Request
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2012 13:23:18 -0700


Please make available for viewing or hearing, any police written, audio, or visual records involving police activity in San Lorenzo Park for Saturday June 9, 2012.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Robert Norse

Trisha acknowledged the letter and is required to respond within 10 days.

It's not clear if the apparently exclusionary action continued into the Memorial itself. If anyone has any info, please post.
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by lighthouse Linda
What is the complaint here, Robert Norse? I'm sure you know I don't appreciate gratuitious 'homeless cleansing' because invariably the people who get hurt, or held without due process, or abused, or havw thweir property destroyed, are the chronic homeless people who can least afford the distress.

So, what would YOU suggest we do when someone BESIDES the displaced and homeless -- and those drug-blazed pick-pockets or other crooks, who hide behind our "untouchable" homeless people -- want to use the San Lorenzo Park, too?

Surely you aren't suggesting the San Lorenzo River Park isn't big enough for all sides and subgroups of our society?

The SLR park needs to be available for people to gather by choice, it isn't just for those who are there by default or opportunism. I hope you or other folks might make suggestions about how to share the public areas? I am SO tired of having our beautiful parks in the City of Santa Cruz used as battlefields for bad social policy to chew up culture and leave nothing behind except trash, and I'm not talking about one class or another.

Occupy Santa Cruz was doing a good job of hosting a potential for large-scale sharing for a while, but just when our government needed to step in and join the collaboration due to growing pains, the government administrators and police took the opposite course; they came in armed and leveled everything. Trampling and destroying a GREAT DEAL in the way of grown-up citizens (finally!) learning how to share and how to talk with strangers wisely. Not only the predatory approach and not just by demonizing and lying about thgeir targetted victims, also by literally making up new laws to close public spaces and criminalizing MORE ordinary behaviors and springing dragnets on homeless and housed alike until a three-hundred-to-a-thousand-person, non-heirarchical "organism" was destroyed and left nearly dead.

Our government is not now composed of what is required for us to be allowed to evolve. And nowadays, government's inherent committment to that status quo no matter what is iced with Homeland Security excitement, the only new money in town. Thus, we'll have to crate our own holy dialogue about differences, even in the parks.

So my question: what can we as a people do, BESIDES playing cat and mouse with those armed cats, to share community and public space? At the rate we are losing public space, both Nationally and locally, I feel THIS is an urgent question.

I am not certain adversarial antagonism is an apapropriate response to a memorial service?

And I see it is not a viable route to solutions for sharing our public spaces with each other.

It is an important aspect of communicating, but what can we do to resolve this empasse without having the cop shops and "journalism" destroy real peoples' voices and dreams?
by Typical unsubstantiated bombast
What most call a well reasoned action: let's check i.d. of the homeless using the shelter and give first priority to those who are from the area....Robert is trying to hype into a "hysterical call for crack-downs on innocent people".

I personally believe that discussions and actions to date have been inclusive and well reasoned. I also believe that Mr. Norse has had scant support, and continued dwindling of same in the community...and as a result he's trying to be bombastic to assert his self-perceived role as a spokesperson for the homeless or Occupy or any other group he appoints himself as a mouthpiece for.

Speaking for myself, I think he speaks only for himself. Literally.
I've recently learned that one of the two homeless men who tried to stop the assault was forcibly turned away from the Saturday memorial service when he showed up at the Dakota St. area to attend. I will be playing the interview with him on Free Radio later today (6-8 PM) 101.3 FM, streaming at

The show will be archived at .
by Robert Norse
Things got jammed on Thursday on my show, so I'll be playing the testimony of the peaceful sober homeless guy turned away from San Lorenzo Park who specifically came to attend the Memorial on Sunday June 17th at 10 AM.

Sorry for the delay.

There's also more discussion and debate at for those interested.

The show will be archived at . rather than the web address described in the prior post.
by John Jones
I arrived at San Lorenzo Park at about 1:00 p.m. the Saturday of the Collins memorial. I walked by three homeless appearing persons near the entrance of the park, two of whom were lounging on one of the park benches. I said hello to these persons on the bench, and gave each a health food bar. Nearby a father was helping his two young children feed the ducks and gulls.

During the memorial, I did notice a police car parked on the path, close to the river. In addition to the chief, there was one other police officer present, near the police car.

After the memorial, I spoke to a senior citizen who lived in one of the nearby senior apartments. She volunteered that seniors were afraid to use the park because of the perceived threatening behavior of homeless persons.
by Confused
Mr. Norse,

Please supply us with an update on this situation, since surely you have received the police logs by now. I'm sure it's not your intention, but the impression I get is that if those logs had contained the "smoking gun", you would have certainly mentioned it by now. The lack of any update by you seems to imply that perhaps your sources added a bit of hyperbole to their account of that day.
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