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Indybay Feature
City Installs 'Do Not Enter' Signs Around Entire Downtown Segment of San Lorenzo River
by Alex Darocy (alex [at]
Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
According to signs installed by the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation department, the levee area of the entire downtown segment of the San Lorenzo River, stretching from the Laurel Street Bridge to the Highway One Bridge, is 'temporarily closed' and persons who enter the area will be cited under local municipal code 13.04.010. The new signs line approximately three quarters of the San Lorenzo Riverway trail and are spaced at a distance of about 75-100 feet apart. They were installed less than a week ago on both banks of the river, according to First Alarm security guards who patrol the area and were interviewed on August 11 and 12. This was confirmed by an older, disabled homeless woman who was sitting next to one of the signs in San Lorenzo Park. "It's horrible what they are doing to us," she said. Her friend, also an older woman, pointed in the direction of another one of the signs that was located near the river by the Water Street Bridge, "That is my home," she said.
Almost an entire mile of the river levee has been closed to all uses by the public. The signs read, "AREA TEMPORARILY CLOSED. Persons Who Enter This Area Will Be Cited For Violating Santa Cruz Municipal Code 13.04.010, and they have also been installed in the area behind the businesses on two blocks of Front Street that border the river. The installation of the new signs by the Parks department comes after weeks of raids on the homeless by the Santa Cruz Police Department.

On July 9, the SCPD issued a joint press release with the Parks and Recreation department announcing that over the time period of 30-45 days there would be a joint effort by both agencies to clear out the known homeless sleep sites located within city limits. Over the course of several raids, the police announced that a number of campsites were raided and cleared. In addition to clearing out campsites, the police announced that community members who had failed to appear in court three or more times in association with anti-sleep related citations they have received would have arrest warrants issued for them, as opposed to having the infractions handled as a civil matter, which was previously the procedure.

Individuals who have been subject to these raids have been reporting since the middle of July that they were being threatened by police during daylight hours with citations for simply being in the vicinity of known sleep-sites in the river area downtown. The new signs now make that police policy official.

There are several locations in San Lorenzo Park where the 'Area Temporarily Closed' signs are installed near signs that call attention to the new disc-golf course. The close placement of the two types of signs sends a somewhat confused message to people who may want to use the area. The new disc course, which opened for use in early July on the side of the park that fronts the San Lorenzo River, can also be considered a type of "people barrier". The only permitted use in the vaguely outlined course is disc golf, though that regulation is unevenly enforced. This was the case over the weekend when those attending the SF Mime Troupe event on August 11 and 12 were allowed to occupy the game area, and lean on the disc-golf cages.

In addition to the "Area Temporarily Closed" signs, the sandy area in between the San Lorenzo Park Benchlands and the Water Street Bridge is marked with one lone "Area Closed For Vegetation Restoration" sign. Entering that area without a permit is also a violation of municipal code SCMC 13.04.010.

The Santa Cruz Municipal Code that is referenced on the signs, 13.04.010, is vaguely written:


Whenever this code or any ordinance or resolution of this city designates and describes any public property as having been withdrawn from personal access and use by members of the public, or as having been limited as to access and use by members of the public and notice thereof has been posted conspicuously on or adjacent to the property so designated, it is unlawful for any person to thereafter enter upon or use such property without permission or in a manner other than that prescribed. (Prior code § 3636)

This vague and uneven communication of the law is also present on other types of signs along the San Lorenzo Riverway. Located on the west bank of the river, near Highway One, the Gateway Plaza is a shopping center with private, landscaped walkways that lead to the riverway trail. There is a small plaza built by the shopping center that lines the levee, and on it is installed a sign that states: "Notice: No Sitting/ Or Lying, No Trespassing. Violation S.C.M.C. 9-060-010." Sit-lie laws locally are written separately from the trespassing ordinances, which is what 9-060-010 is, and they are not enforceable near the river area. This sign seems to condense two ordinances into one in a confusing, but not necessarily legally accurate attempt to deter a certain type of use of the area.

There was no official announcement of the closure of the San Lorenzo River levee, but the Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation department can be reached by contacting:

Dannettee Shoemaker, Director of Parks and Recreation
Location: 323 Church Street, Santa Cruz CA 95060
Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Phone: 831-420-5270 Fax: 831-420-5271
parksandrec [at]

Alex Darocy
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
§Laurel Street Bridge
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
§The Bicycle Bridge near Highway One
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
§Soquel Avenue Bridge
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
§Sign Visible From River Street
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
§Public Parking and SC Community Credit Union on Front Street
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
§Looking Towards Front Street at Cathcart
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
§Front Street Business
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
§In Front of the Disc Golf Course
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
§Detail of Area in Previous Photo
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
§"Area Closed" Sign Next to Disc Golf Sign
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:36 AM
§Disc Golf Course
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:39 AM
Disc golf course during SF Mime Troupe performance.
§Water Street Bridge
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:40 AM
View of vegetation restoration sign, in the background the SF Mime Troupe performance can be seen.
§Vegetation Restoration Sign
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:41 AM
Vegetation Restoration Sign
§Vegetation Restoration Sign, Water Street Bridge
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:42 AM
Vegetation Restoration Sign, Water Street Bridge
§Access By Permit Only
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:43 AM
Access By Permit Only
§Gateway Plaza, No Sit No Lie
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:44 AM
Gateway Plaza, No Sit No Lie
§Gateway Plaza, No Sit No Lie
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:45 AM
Gateway Plaza, No Sit No Lie
§San Lorenzo River
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 1:46 AM
San Lorenzo River, view from Laurel Street Bridge.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Saul Goodman
Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 2:20 AM
The City also burned and bulldozed huge parts of the levee area, clearing away plant and animal life to deprive people of what little shelter they may be able to find there. And to think there used to be "Habitat Restoration Area" signs all over not too long ago...
Just more proof of how hobo-phobic and insane the city council really is. The three strike camping ticket routine is clearly abusive of homeless human rights. Where is the fucking outrage?

I guess our Prius driving upper-middle class citizens have their heads too far up their ass to realize that this is solving nothing; that by denying the homeless their shelter and sleep they drive already stressed people to harder means of survival, agitate them further, force them to turn to speed to stay awake, tie them up in the legal system so they can't leave, etc etc etc.

This insanity, the over-funded police force that is clearly bored and turning to abusing citizens, the inane laws passed by a pretentious and ignorant City Council, it spells the end for tolerance and understanding in Santa Cruz. And to think that people call this place a "hippie town."
by Sylvia
Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 8:58 AM
The article and visuals showed me just how unfriendly and costly is this over-reactive city strategy.
by G
Tuesday Aug 14th, 2012 10:14 AM

"Just more proof of how hobo-phobic and insane the city council really is."

I agree. In my opinion, the codification of these unconstitutional, hate-filled bureaucratic takings can be found in places like SCMC 9.49.101(d), where the discord between rights and purges echoes unspeakable motives. BTW, hobo-phobic is interesting, would you mind if I stole it?

To harmonize the city’s policy of promoting freedom of speech with its comprehensive program of aesthetic protection and beautification;

In my experience, the city knowingly and willfully lies when it says it promotes free speech. They engage in suppression of speech, aggressively. Apparently they lack not only a sense of sound Constitutional governance, a sense of historical consequence, a sense of simple human decency, but they also seem to lack a moral compass, wallowing in tacky avarice.

"The three strike camping ticket routine is clearly abusive of homeless human rights."

I agree. A pseudo-legal path from, infraction to misdemeanor, has been established by the city. A path which is then used to persecute selected groups of others, while real crimes of great magnitude and impact go unchecked. Misdemeanors are apparently treated as felonies, when considering sentencing etc. This bureaucratic abuse of the legal system, by city and county employees as well as elected representatives and the judicial branch itself, fed the PC2010 reaction.

the true power of this story becomes clear in juxtaposition of competing systems of social control

Where is the fucking outrage?

There has been plenty of it, for years, for decades, exhaustively. Where are the solutions? The city seemed to favor 'final solutions', sans gas trains, at least for now.

And to think that people call this place a "hippie town."

Maybe when trying to differentiate a vacation destination revenue stream, or when trying to impress people from elsewhere (like famous rights activists visiting up at UCSC or BookshopMiniRove), or when expressing bigotry (see Roger Ailes et al). I'd call it a tacky wannabe wealthy town, where the powerful have no class and the poor have no class protection.

by John E. Colby
Wednesday Aug 15th, 2012 7:07 PM
[date here]
Bren Lehr, MMC
City Clerk Administrator
809 Center Street, Room 9 
Santa Cruz, California 95060
Tel: 831.420.5030

via email to: BLehr [at]
cc: dlane [at]
cc: citycouncil [at]
cc: npatino [at]
cc: JBarisone [at]
cc: mbernal [at]

re: CPRA request for authorization/discussion regarding SCMC 13.04.010 signs

Dear Ms. Lehr:

In order to assist homeless individuals to exercise their civil rights, I am writing to submit a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request pursuant to California Gov't Code Section 6250 et seq.

I ask for the following: all agreements, summaries, reports, memoranda, notes, written and electronic correspondence, meeting minutes, meeting transcripts and meeting agendas regarding the authorization and/or discussion by employees, offices, departments, divisions, (sub)commissions, (sub)committees, and any other body or council of the City of Santa Cruz about the SCMC 13.04.010 signs recently placed along the San Lorenzo River area. These signs are described in the following Santa Cruz Indymedia article:

If these records are available in an electronic formats such as Portable Document Format (PDF), eXtensible Style Language (XLS), MS Word Document (DOC), Rich Text Format (RTF), plain electronic text (TXT) or as hyperlinks to the Internet then I ask that they provided to me in one of those forms, preferably in their native format.

I am willing to pay a fee of up to $25 for this request. If you estimate the cost of completing this request will exceed that amount, please contact me first before completing it with a fee estimate. If this request would entail special searches which would incur search fees to me, please contact me first with a fee estimate.

Thank you for your assistance in fulfilling my CPRA request to help homeless people to exercise their civil rights.

Sincerely yours,
[your name here]

email: [your email here]

telephone: [your telephone here]

address: [your address here]
by angelina
Friday Aug 17th, 2012 11:42 PM
The Army Corps of Engineers came to a historic agreement that allows trees and bushes to grow at all in the area between the levees on the San Lorenzo. They enforce rather strange vegetation removal standards (e.g. the city must cut down all trees that are 6 inches or more in diameter at chest height). It happens every year around this time, and denudes the area between the levees to some extent.

Therefore, the removal of trees and bushes is not in and of itself a plan aimed at the homeless.

However, I would argue that this year they are removing more vegetation than is called for by the Army Corps agreement, and they are using the vegetation removal as an excuse to "remove" the homeless at the same time. Because the city and the people who ceaselessly comment on The Sentinel web articles believe that if you remove homeless encampments along the river, the homeless will magically vaporize or something.
by super g
Saturday Aug 18th, 2012 6:41 AM
I saw them killing the wildlife. Destroying all the flowers and berry bushes. A friend of mine even started yelling at them. "Your killing the bees! Your killing us all!" Then he keyed the workers car right in front of them all and they saw and chased him but he got away. Someone else said we should push there cars into the levi. An interesting thought..
by Denica De Foy
Saturday Aug 18th, 2012 4:50 PM
While I agree that wildlife needs to be restored and protected, lets not forget that humans are also animals to be cared for. :) Where does the disconnect come in for many in Santa Cruz who "love" everything - except the homeless, the "out of towners", the tourists (although... its hard they bring in $ :), the young people, the street artists... etc. Is this about flora - or is it Really about making a final point - We own this spot - we get to say who enjoys it. Well who is "we?" I thought it was we the people who formed the government. I have loved Santa Cruz and am an avid hiker and nature photographer. I also have heard stories of brutal poverty being enforced on the least fortunate among us. Yes, lets take care of the Bees! Lets not forget to Also remember one another. I <3 the 99%!! ∆˙∆
by super g
Saturday Aug 18th, 2012 8:47 PM
Lets make river boats n gamble. We could claim admiralty law. Check this:

by John E. Colby
Sunday Aug 19th, 2012 4:47 PM
The downloadable document, the City Council's Downtown Recovery Plan (drafted after the earthquake), sets forth a Utopian (and sanitized) vision for Downtown which emphasizes the street level visual shopping experience. This wished for visual experience leaves no room for poor and homeless people.
Apparently the lessons of WWII were lost.
by Yogini
Tuesday Aug 21st, 2012 6:59 PM
The photo and following text were posted as a craigslist ad and were found at:

its now Illegal to do Yoga downtown!!!!! (santa cruz)

Date: 2012-08-19, 3:27PM PDT
Reply to this post

So cuz some buisness owner was rude to a human being and thus got killed.. because of that your going to be rude to everyone in this town with a decent heart.. I hope that works out for you well but I don't think it will. I'm pissed off and I'm not even homeless. Read and see pics of this here:

Treat others with respect. No matter if there homeless or not. I forgot what else I was going to say I'm so pissed.
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