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Joint Powers Board Votes to Ban Sleep in Santa Cruz County Library Branches
by Alex Darocy (alex [at]
Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 1:22 PM
On March 4, Santa Cruz County's Library Joint Powers Authority Board voted unanimously to ban sleeping in all branches of the library located in the City and County of Santa Cruz. [scroll down for audio and photos]
Workers at Santa Cruz Libraries already had the authority to remove patrons if their behavior was interfering with the ability of others to use Library equipment and or the facilities, but on the recommendation of staff, the language "Refrain from sleeping in the Library" has been added to the Library rules of conduct.

Now those caught may have their Library privileges suspended for sleeping, and the rules of conduct also state that violators may be, "photographed to assist in identification."

Present and voting for the sleeping ban were Library Joint Powers Authority Board members Bruce McPherson, Cynthia Mathews, David Terrazas, Jim Reed, Michael Termini, Dick English, Martha Dexter, and Nancy Gerdt. Board member Zach Friend was absent. The meeting was held at the Aptos Branch Library.

In December, the Library Joint Powers Authority Board voted against the sleeping ban when the membership of the board included Sam Storey, Katherine Beiers, and John Leopold. At that time, they were joined by current members English and Gerdt to vote it down.

At the March 4 meeting, however, there was no debate among the board members before they voted, and only one member of the public spoke out concerning the Library "code of conduct" agenda item.

Bruce Holloway of Boulder Creek said, "I don't think that sleeping is a crime, and I am afraid that I might doze off when I am in the library someday."

Holloway cited a recent quote from Senator Bill Monning, who said he regularly falls asleep while reading, and Holloway also noted that at least one other public library out of state that has banned sleep has written in an exclusion for children.

"I remember when my kids were up to about five years old, they were kind of like body appendages," Holloway said, noting that many parents must take their children out on errands with them, and typically youngsters "crash" in places for short periods of times while waiting.

Holloway also expressed concerns that there would be "selective enforcement" of the new rule, and he suggested that someone who looks "a little scruffier" might be singled out unfairly for enforcement.

"There are other rules. If somebody is drunk, if they smell bad, if they are in the way, those are all particular things in the policy that you can bring up," he said.

Holloway also suggested that if a patron was heard snoring, that would be a reasonable reason to enforce the Library rules, but not simply if they have been seen quietly sleeping.

The Library Joint Powers Authority Board has been tweaking the Library code of conduct since November, and in August the Downtown Santa Cruz branch of the Library hired security guards for enforcement issues at that branch. August also saw the removal of heritage trees from the downtown branch, which was widely seen as an effort to render the exterior grounds of the library less hospitable to street people.

City-wide, 2012 was also a big year for enforcement efforts that targeted homeless people in Santa Cruz. In July, the Santa Cruz Police Department and the Department of Parks and Recreation initiated a series of homeless sweeps where at least 300 citations were given, more than 100 camps were destroyed, personal belongings were trashed, and more than 150 arrests were made.

In the City of Santa Cruz, a sleeping ban has been in effect for four decades. Within city limits it is illegal to sleep outdoors between the hours of 11pm and 8:30am. Local civil rights advocates see the new ban on sleep in county libraries as a continuation of a type of policy making that criminalizes sleep and homelessness in the area.

Alex Darocy
§Audio - Code of Conduct Agenda Item
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 1:22 PM
§Board members Bruce McPherson, Michael, Termini, and David Terrazas
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 1:22 PM
Board members Snta Cruz County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, Capitola City Council Member Michael, Termini, and Santa Cruz City Council Member David Terrazas
Board members Citizen Dick English, Santa Cruz City Council Member Cynthia Mathews, Scotts Valley City Council Member Jim Reed, and Citizen Nancy Gerdt.
§Board Members Terrazas and Martha Dexter listen to staff
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 1:23 PM
Board Members Terrazas and Citizen Martha Dexter listen to staff.
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 1:23 PM
Helga Smith, Teresa Landers, Marcus Pimentel
§Bruce Holloway
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 1:23 PM
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 1:23 PM
§Library Rules of Conduct - as of March 4, 2013
by Alex Darocy Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 1:23 PM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Robert Norse
Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 1:58 PM
For adding color and sound to a gloomy picture to give us a clear snapshot of the perps.

In the summer of 2010, the entire library grounds was made a "closed" area after 9:30 PM (or 9 PM--not sure which) in the continuing contraction of public spaces on the paranoid theory that less people = more security. This action was taken by Dannettee Shoemaker without a public hearing, a prior announcement, or any justification. The signs just sprung up--at the same time a protest was happening across the street called PeaceCamp2010 protesting the City's anti-homeless 11 PM to 9:30 AM Sleeping Ban. See"Challenging the Darkness: Peacecamp2010 goes on as the Repression Deepens" at .

For more background on the "Fall Asleep, Get the Boot" regulation, check out "Sleeping Ban Back for All Libraries..." at and follow some of the links there.

Background public records can be requested from City Hall to determine the (lack of) justification for this latest ratcheting up of the anti-homeless rack.

Pillows for Peace may be doing a Pajama Party in the library in the near future if we can find the right bedtime stories. Have your nightgown ready!
by Razer Ray
Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 5:17 PM
"Refrain from sleeping in the Library"

That approximately means one should try not to. Apparently limiting legal enforcement to 'setting up a sleeping place' but not ruling out simply face-planting at a table. That's attractive.

Anyway it's looked at the 'solution' is dysfunctional.
by Observed
Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 6:54 PM
...have the meaning you claim. Looking at a dictionary, one sees that "refrain" actually means "keep" or "restrain from doing something," in this case sleeping in the library. It does not mean, approximately or otherwise, to try not to sleep there.
by Razer Ray
Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 8:02 PM
A common sense definition "You will refrain" means "you're not supposed to".

The definitive wording to get the results you apparently would prefer would simply be "DO NOT sleep in the library" or the more severe "You ARE FORBIDDEN TO...".

It's more than a semantic difference. Your callowness displays a certain 'dumbing down' of the English language I've come to expect from baiting tolls and ignorant bureaucrats who write 'rules' like this.
by G
Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 8:37 PM
As long as the Santa Cruz County Joint Powers Authority Board is going to join the hate monger infestation, why not extend the absurdity to blaming the real source of the problem, boring books? Usually book bans are aimed at controversial, sexual, revolutionary, or otherwise exciting content, which tends to keep people awake.

Via personal experience, Bruce Holloway resembles many a reasonable, therefore rejected, juror. Thank you for trying, Mr. Holloway. May history, and beyond, treat you gracefully.
by Observed
Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 8:49 PM
...the Santa Cruz policies are pretty gentle. Below are the Fresno County Library's code of conduct:

Home > About the Library > Rules of Conduct
Rules of Conduct

The Fresno County Public Library welcomes all customers who comply with the following Rules of Conduct.

The purpose of these rules is to ensure that all customers of the Library have access to and use of Library facilities in a quiet, orderly, sanitary and safe atmosphere, unhindered and undisturbed by the disruptive actions and behavior of others.
A person will be immediately expelled and suspended for committing or attempting to commit a serious offense, including assault; battery; theft; vandalism; sexual offenses; offensive touching; harassment, stalking or threatening behavior; the use of alcohol or controlled substances; or having unsanitary bodily hygiene so offensive to other persons that it constitutes a nuisance in the Library.
Any person who refuses to leave the library when asked to do so will be suspended from the Library premises and authorities will be notified. (California Penal Code 602)
A person engaged in the following behaviors will be asked to stop the behavior, and may be asked to leave the library. Failure to comply with requests may result in suspension from the Library premises.

Loud talking, offensive language, or engaging in noisy or boisterous activities (including running, roller-blading, skate-boarding.)
Using cell phones, pagers, computer workstations and other auditory devices in a manner that disturbs others. Cell phone ringers should be silenced when entering the library. Loud or extended conversations should be moved outside the library.
Leaving children unattended anywhere on the Library premises if they cannot care for themselves or if such children interfere with or disrupt other’s use of the library.
Misuse of library furniture or equipment.
Interfering with or blocking free passage with bicycles, large backpacks, carts and other bulky items.
Leaving personal belongings unattended.
Giving speeches or handing out literature in the Library (however, such conduct may be allowed in the Library public meeting rooms upon receiving permission from the appropriate Library official.)
Soliciting money on the Library premises.
Eating, drinking, smoking, bathing or sleeping in the library. Smoking within 20 feet of library entrances and windows is prohibited. (California Government Code 7597) Water in a screw-cap bottle is permitted.
Bringing animals, other than service animals, into the Library.
Entering or remaining in the Library without shirt or shoes.
Grouping around single computer stations.
Using someone else’s identification or library card number to access computer stations or check out books.
Possessing weapons of any kind on Library premises.
In enforcing these Rules of Conduct, the Library reserves the right to take any action it deems necessary to exercise or preserve any of its rights and remedies under the law, including but not limited to, pursuing legal action for monetary damages against a patron who causes damages or loss of the Library materials, buildings, furnishings, equipment, or grounds. Any such legal action will be brought by the County of Fresno for the Library.

Rev. 06.2012

Compare these to the Santa Cruz rules and you'll realize how lucky you are....
by Razer Ray
Tuesday Mar 5th, 2013 9:31 PM
"Grouping around single computer stations."

Yeah I can just see them chasing off a group of crowd-sourcing cubierats just in from Starbucks.

Do you realize how truly unenforceable all these rules really are if they're 'taken to the wall'?

In reading I notice there are quite a few Cal State statutes pertaining to a lot of these local 'laws' (quotes intentional) and rules. I would suggest most of the municipal nuisance ordinances being made along with rules like these are an attempt to cut down court costs (in the former case) and evade state court ruled standards under those codes (in both cases).
by Observed
Wednesday Mar 6th, 2013 5:43 AM
...hate to disappoint you. They are enforceable and are being enforced here in Fresno. Hope you realize the Penal Code section citation in the Fresno rules is the state trespassing statute-the local library staff will have unruly patrons arrested for trespassing once they've been ordered to leave and refuse. The Government Code cite is the no smoking law. Frankly these ordinances are not an attempt to get around state law-they are in fact harmonized with state law. The law permits statutes where intent to violate them does not have to be shown-all that has to be proven is that the law was violated and that you're the one that broke it. Traffic laws are the classic example, but there are quite a few criminal statutes in California where intent does not have to be proven.
by Razer Ray
Wednesday Mar 6th, 2013 8:02 AM
Just because a municipal ordinance passes the muster of a local, and typically politically beholden 'court', DOES NOT make it a valid law.

That's WHY they're called ordinances.

They're only enforceable until challenged in a higher court and modified or removed. The local courts attempt to legally bully and dissuade one from doing such things. At minimum it takes lots of of your own $$$ to challenge these laws in higher courts, which IS intended by the people who broach Fascistic rules in a land were you get the best democracy you can buy.

Personally I'm not buying... The legitimacy of any local California court, especially nepotistic ones like Fresno or Santa Cruz, or their 'ordinances'.

by G
Wednesday Mar 6th, 2013 9:32 AM
Sadly higher courts have also been compromised (almost exhausted, personally). Last I checked, the 9th Circuit federal bench even has a sitting 'torture memo' author (insert echoes of Godwin's law here).
by John E. Colby
Wednesday Mar 6th, 2013 2:06 PM
All of the dirty city officials who pander to rich white folk will be receiving surprise karmic presents courtesy of those they've punished for so long. It's called the rubber band theory. Santa Cruz civic leaders have pulled that rubber band back really far.
by John E. Colby
Wednesday Mar 6th, 2013 11:00 PM
This meeting -- as evidenced in the photographs of our serious minded civic leaders considering the library sleeping ban with close attention -- shows exactly why Santa Cruz is such a dysfunctional city/county. City/county officialdom waste so much time and effort on petty items (like making library sleepers outlaws), while serious problems are audaciously ignored.

The City/County of Santa Cruz has an affordable housing crisis and a living wage jobs crisis that ensure many people will be homeless. People are getting pummeled here by this one two punch of high cost of living coupled with a lack of living wage jobs. There is no serious debate about expanding housing opportunities or creating local industries which would provide local families with the ability to live here without struggling. These are bread and butter issues which are almost completely ignored by our civic leaders.

Yet these same leaders will meet with extreme seriousness over petty rules to cruelly punish people who they find unsightly and undesirable. How can they take themselves seriously? I wouldn't take them seriously except for the great harm they are inflicting on (innocent) people who are already suffering tremendously.

One has to ask: why do locals settle for such terrible, petty leaders?
by Raj
Tuesday Jun 4th, 2013 11:39 PM
The Santa Cruz Public Library system has been turned into a McDonalds like mentality since Teresa Landers took over. Look for more restrictions from the overpaid Library management. This Library needs a new Director, one who has the community values of Santa Cruz!