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Last Night DIY Parade
Date Monday December 31
Time 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Location Details
Gather at Pacific Ave and Spruce Street
Event Type Party/Street Party
The Unstoppable DIY New Years Eve Parade

Despite Santa Cruz City Efforts, Do-It-Yourself Community Celebration Marks Eight Years

Santa Cruz, CA, December 12th, 2012: On New Year's Eve, as it has for the past eight years, Santa Cruz will again host the Last Night DIY New Years Parade, an event with a long history as a homespun, family-friendly alternative celebration, despite city attempts to portray it as dangerous and irresponsible. The result of eight years of do-it-yourself community organizing, the Last Night DIY Parade, a community-sponsored New Year's Eve celebration will again hit Santa Cruz streets.

The Do-It-Yourself parade invites families, friends, and lovers to come and enjoy a community celebration. Bring your bikes and your costumes, unicycles and musical instruments, drums and banners and noise makers, to bring in the new year in a celebration together.

Community members carefully handle organization, traffic control, and cleanup. Every New Years Eve since 2004, the DIY celebration has been peaceful, creative, and fun.

However, because of its lack of official sanction, civic leaders have opposed the celebration from the beginning. The community-organized event has survived police infiltration of planning meetings, official condemnation, targeting of planners and individuals, and frequent comparison to events that resulted in violence and vandalism. After eight years, the celebration, however, has enjoyed a spotless record.

"While police and civic leaders try to frighten us with the specter of downtown violence, we just want to participate in a communal celebration with our neighbors," said Elizabeth Burchfield. "They should be ashamed to oppose a peaceful community event. We are tired of being afraid. It's time to organize together."

In 2004, Santa Cruz police made national news after they were discovered infiltrating the parade planning group. An outcry by community members with the help of the ACLU put in place rules to severely restrict local surveillance operations of community groups.

According to the Last Night DIY website, the parade, from its beginnings in 2004, was not about merely celebrating, "but celebrating what we as a community can do ourselves, without corporate or city-sponsorship. It is a celebration of both our autonomy and the support we offer each other."

As with other years, organization is spontaneous and open. There is no single group of organizers. "Everyone who participates makes it happen," said Burchfield.

This year on New Year's Eve, the DIY Parade will meet at 5pm near the Saturn Cafe parking lot on Pacific Ave and Spruce Street. Fliers for the event are online at the website at

Added to the calendar on Sunday Dec 16th, 2012 7:13 PM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Peaceful Assembler
Sunday Dec 16th, 2012 7:58 PM
I will be there.
by RazerRay
Sunday Dec 16th, 2012 8:45 PM
This news item was recorded on a stream from KMUD "Listener supported community radio based in Redway, CA. Serving rural listeners in Northern Mendocino and Humboldt Counties (CA)." Date unknown as the file's been copied to another computer after the computer with the original copy crashed.

by Robert Norse
Monday Dec 17th, 2012 5:39 AM
The infiltration action happened in the winter of 2005 with the Bay Area based ACLU (not the local ACLU) uncovering the sordid details in 2006, thanks to action by Wes Modes--for which he has been repeatedly pursued and punished by the SCPD and associated authorities. See .

The followup--See "Council Votes to Do Nothing About Police Spying (Again)" and following comments at .

The cover-up was covered by the Mainswamp Media:

The ultimate "guidelines" to prevent future such abuses and punish those that had happened were paper-thin or non-existent. See "Councilmembers in Copland" at .

To the credit of the community, though numbers have diminished under the threat of police repression and the bogus "permit" controversy, DIY Last Night has come together every year since.

Then-Mayor Cynthia Mathews, then-Police Chief Howard Skerry, then-City Manager Dick Wilson, all upheld the cover-up of Infiltration Initator and Investigator Kevin Vogel (now our current Police chief). The cover-up was blandly OKed by the Mainswamp Media: .

The absurd spectacle of Vogel "investigating" himself and reporting that his behavior was "appropriate" must rank high in the annals of SCPD chutzpuh (with its pack of paid peter-petters panting close behind). why not? When he probably knew his bosses and the city staff would back his bizarre conclusions all the way?

The only exception was the Police Auditor Bob Aronson, who for once in his decade-plus career of rubberstamping SCPD misconduct, felt he had to clarify that you don't send the perpetrator to investigate himself. Aronson's performance in the last decade has generally stunk. He was highly paid to do an annual whitewash over the corpse of the Citizens Police Review Board, which was unceremoniously murdered and buried in 2003 when it began serious investigation of police misconduct under chair Mark Halfmoon. See "The Final Figleaf Falls" at .
I have often wondered, when abuses and takings occur, what has jurisdiction over Police, City Council, City Attorney, City Manager, Sheriff, County Board, District Attorney, County Manager, etc. In the past I have tried to determine the chain of command, only to be left more confused than when I began. Is that how a representative republic is supposed to work?

In an authoritarian structure, it is ironic to find such difficulty in determining whom reigns over whom, and how accountability is enforced.

Other than those at the bottom of the dog pile, of course.

To bring it back on topic; if anyone finds out, maybe an illustrative float would be beneficial to the parade onlookers...
by John E. Colby
Monday Dec 17th, 2012 9:09 PM
I've read the SCPD Policies and Procedures Manual. It says the police chief has to OK taking on each informant. But it leaves these following questions about informants unanswered:

1) How much money does the SCPD spend on informants?

2) How many informants does the SCPD have?

3) What SCPD officials are designated to initiate proceeding to take on an informant?

4) How many informant handlers are employed by the SCPD?

5) Who is responsible for crimes committed (in our community) by SCPD informants?

6) Does the SCPD have a (secret) code of conduct for informants and their handlers?
by John E. Colby
Monday Dec 17th, 2012 9:20 PM
It depends on the kind of abuse of power and the laws being violated. The California Attorney General's Office informed me that local governments are investigated by grand juries, but ours is toothless. Here's some other starting points.

The FBI and U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) investigate local abuse of power to deprive individuals of civil rights under color of law.

The FBI, USDOJ and departmental Offices of Inspector General investigate local fraud and abuse in programs which involve the federal government.

HUD and the USDOJ investigate violations of Fair Housing rights by local government.

The USDOJ investigates violations of disability rights by local government.

The USDOJ investigates systemic civil rights abuses by local law enforcement.

The California Bureau of State Audits investigates local government's financial malfeasance involving state programs and state laws.

The California Attorney General's Office has broad powers to investigate fraud and abuse of power by local government officials.

The list goes on . . .
by G
Tuesday Dec 18th, 2012 3:48 PM
"In a potentially precedent-setting decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a Guild lawyer’s challenge to military spying on peace activists can proceed. The ruling marks the first time a court has affirmed people’s ability to sue the military for violating their First and Fourth Amendment rights."
by John E. Colby
Tuesday Dec 18th, 2012 9:27 PM

Download PDF
I suspect that the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) is misusing informants to violate the civil rights of citizens — like the organizers and participants of the Santa Cruz DIY Parade.

I believe it's time to shine light on the SCPD's possible misuse of informants.

This is why I submitted the PDF above — a public records request and inquiry — to the SCPD.
by RazerRay
Wednesday Dec 19th, 2012 8:38 AM
This isn't ANYTHING new. Get out of the courtroom/legal research cloisters... it'll warp your mind as to the alleged legitimacy of their lawmaking. The courts are just reinforcing over and over and over again the ostensible 'legality' of things that have been going on literally since the Pinkertons chased down Butch Cassidy and the Kid.

Now days, and for almost a decade now, what the courts just ruled on allowing have been called Fusion Centers, as in "Fusion" between military and civil law enforcement, and they're under the auspices of the Dept of Homeland Insecurity, and the NLG was wasting their time because civil law isn't relevant to their overarching jurisdiction no matter WHAT any civilian court says.

by G
Wednesday Dec 19th, 2012 10:04 AM
I prefer to complain with intent.
by John E. Colby
Wednesday Dec 26th, 2012 9:17 PM

Download PDF
The Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) — specifically Records Supervisor Jacqui Dreschler — and assistant Santa Cruz City Attorney Caelllano are claiming that ALL records about the use of SCPD informants are exempt from disclosure. I believe this is an over broad reading of the statutes referred to by Ms. Dreschler in her email to me.

I do not believe that administrative records that would not lead to identifying informants, like SCPD's budgets for informants and their policies governing their use are exempt under California public records law. The citizenry deserve to know how much money the SCPD is paying to use informants. And the public deserves to know that they are being used in a manner which does not contribute to more crime in the community and does not endanger Santa Cruz residents.

Consequently I submitted a public records act request for SCPD's last year's budgets for use of secret informants and all their policy documents which set forth SCPD's current policy on the use of informants.
by Robert Norse
Monday Dec 31st, 2012 5:11 AM
Looks like the SCPD list of "Triple fine zone" "crimes" is identical to the one they had in 2007.

Older list was graphically displayed on a flyer they put out at as well as in the comments that follow.

The current Santa Cruz version of the SCPD "speed trap" (or perhaps "celebration trap" might be better wording) is at .

Along with the dour warning: "There are no other city sponsored or permitted events occurring during the evening. Any other events or parades are not permitted and illegal. The Police Department cautions individuals from participating in any such events as they will not have Police or Public Works assistance in closing roads and ensuring safety of participants. Additionally, organizers and participants will be subject to a citation. Anyone wishing to hold an event for future years may contact the City's Event Coordinator to complete the appropriate permit and work with City staff to ensure a safe, responsible and legal event."

However we do get reassured...
"The Police Department will have a strong concentration of officers on duty throughout the downtown corridor as well additional officers in the rest of the city. Our hope is to facilitate a safe and enjoyable New Years Eve for all."

So have no fear...

I suggest having your cellphone/camera or video device ready to document any unconstitutional activity by SCPD--though they may, as they did in 2010, issue citations months later. Be advised.

Making joyful and traditional use of public space (not to mention exercising basic constitutional rights) may now come with a price.

Or, as last year, it may be a nasty bluff--typical of the SCPD and particularly Deputy Chief Steve Clark.