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Sleepless in Santa Cruz: Survival Sidewalk Sleep-Out next to Main Post Office

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
9:00 PM - 9:00 AM
Event Type:
Robert Norse
Location Details:
Santa Cruz Main Post Office, corner of Water Street and Front Street, Santa Cruz

6-9 homeless people carried forward their plan to document the lack of shelter in Santa Cruz and then educate the public through direct action tonight. I am told they plan to rally on the sidewalk outside the main post office in downtown Santa Cruz at the intersection of Water and Pacific Avenuen at 9 PM. Anyone interested is invited. Bring a cell phone if you have one to help document. I was asked to pass on this and the following information.

As planned a week before, the group of people went to the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center at 115 Coral St. earlier this afternoon and requested to be put on the Waiting List for the Paul Lee Loft. They were advised by Charles, a worker there, that the shelters were full but that they'd be put on the Waiting List after filling out an application. When asked if they could get a receipt or some documentation for their Waiting List status, Charles said no, nor would he give them any written statement about the shelter being full.

Other asked Charles the same question and told him that Executive Director Monica Martinez had publicly stated that on request, the HLOSC would provide receipts that one was on the Waiting List. Christine, another worker, and he then agreed to do so. He acknowledged he'd not done so before in the last year.

Since they had no receipts available, HUFF workers provided their own version of a receipt which they'd created, anticipating that the HLOSC wouldn't have any handy. Christine and the HLOSC staff helpfully copied, filled out, and signed them for the 8 or so clients applying, documenting that each person was on the Waiting List for the Paul Lee Loft.

Waiting List status means that camping tickets will automatically be dismissed by the City Attorney's office prior to court, as stipulated by MC 6.36.055. It might also persuade the police of the futility and even impropriety of giving out camping tickets at all, since all such tickets are supposed to be automatically dismissed.

We also interviewed a few workers out there who confirmed that there were no spaces available on the Paul Lee Loft--suggesting that anyone cited for the more serious offense of "illegal lodging" (PC 647e) would have a "necessity" defense in court.

I hope this procedure will be followed by every homeless person so that they can more safely sleep in groups, well-lighted areas, and closer to police protection--given the increased risks homeless people face outside from violence. The procedure again is to go to the HLOSC M-F around noon, sign up for the Paul Lee Loft Waiting List, and get a receipt indicating you are on the list. You then have to check in once a week or your name will be removed from the list.

This group of homeless people claims to have repeatedly been harassed by police and/or rangers for simply being on public property, to say nothing of sleeping. In response, it is my understanding they intend to exercise their right to be on the sidewalk (perhaps another group might call it "Positive Loitering"), even to sleep there, since they have no legal place to sleep.

Two of those involved--Freedom and Andrew--were arrested yesterday and apparently face misdemeanor charges involving something like "disobeying an officer". (See "ALERT: Two Arrested For "Being" in the Pogonip" at with trial slated for May 14th.)

Activists hope to alert the community to the human rights that are being ignored or trampled. To me these would be (as starters): (a) there is no legal shelter for 95% of the homeless community; (b) police, rangers, and vigilantes are targeting homeless people anyway with false "public safety" concerns; (c) there are no public bathrooms open downtown at night, yet homeless people are blamed for human waste; and (d) homeless people receive a level of over-policing for their very existence under both existing laws and the recent needle hysteria.

The recently formed hand-picked right-wing "Public Safety" Task Force (which includes no homeless people or advocates) is an example of the "wrong road" City Council has taken.

I encourage people to support this demonstration
Added to the calendar on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 7:08PM
by Robert Norse
Looks like about a dozen folks on the steps of the post office festooned with many signs against the Sleeping Ban. No overt police activity.

Comments (Hide Comments)
by brent adams
I visited these out of town travelers 3 times this morning. They've taken over the post office steps.
I video taped them snoring, shivering and rising.
A cop arrived at about 6am and told them to wake up.

At no point did I see Robert "where's my hug?" Norse, Becky Johnson or Colin "monkey" Clyde who rallied
and encouraged this band of Los Angeledans to protest city laws by sleeping out.

Also there weren't any local homeless folks who'd been booted from the Armory as it was closed for the rest of the year last night. This band of travelers (spurred on as they were by Norse,Johnson,Clyde) had hoped
to drag local homeless survival campers into contact with law officials to bulster their protest but very few locals joined this hearty band of so-cal travelers.

They were rising and shining at the crack of dawn ....
Again, I repeat, R. Norse goaded these kids into staging a sleeping protest homeless encampment on the Post Office steps and then he himself went home to sleep in his lair of cowardice.
by Robert Norse
According to Sonny in a phone conversation, the group spent the night peacefully, moved from the steps so they could be swept by a postal official, and had a polite encounter with three cops who neither ticketed them nor asked them to move from their new spot on the sidewalk. Reportedly, they plan to continue their protest through the day with signs educating the community about the Sleeping Ban.

Brent Adams has created a great video (see pressing for a Sanctuary Camp. My own conversations with local homeless people on Pacific Avenue last night indicated that they were generally supportive of the Visible Sleepers, though not willing to risk harassment, citation, or arrest themselves.

I was also glad to see Food Not Bombs activists there supporting the Sleepers. The issues involved are basic and important ones in a city with no shelter for 95% of its homeless.

I'll be playing interviews tonight on Free Radio Santa Cruz from 6-8 PM at 101.3 FM (streams at Feel free to call in with your thoughts at 831-427-3772.

I encourage all homeless people to sign up for the Waiting List at the Paul Lee Loft at 115 Coral St. so that their camping tickets will be dismissed under MC 6.36.055.

MC 6.36.055 reads
(a) A person shall not be in violation of this chapter [the Camping Ordinance] if, at the time of his or her citation for a violation of this chapter, either: the winter shelter at the Santa Cruz National Guard Armory is filled to capacity; or the person is currently on the waiting list for shelter service through one of the shelter programs offered by the Homeless Services Center or the River Street Shelter in Santa Cruz.
(b) Any citation issued for a violation of this chapter shall be dismissed by the city attorney in the interest of justice if, at the time of citation issuance, the winter shelter at the Santa Cruz National Guard Armory is filled to capacity or the recipient of the citation demonstrates that on the date of the citation he or she was currently on the waiting list for shelter service through one of the shelter programs offered by the Homeless Services Center or the River Street Shelter in Santa Cruz.

A discussion of the California Homeless Bill of Rights will be held at 2 PM Saturday at the Sub Rosa Cafe with Keith McHenry a featured speaker. See

I encourage folks to support the protesters with blankets, food, dialogue, and calls to City Hall demanding lifting the police harassment and Sleeping Ban citations and/or providing a safe place to sleep as an emergency measure whether in a parking garage, a campground, or somewhere else. Call 831-420-5020. E-mail them at citycouncil [at] . But don't hold your breath.

by Razer Ray
I don't know if "Goading" is the right term. I saw these folks up at the drum circle busily making signs and discussing the action (which I personally considered pointless, in the 'Robert organized' sense of the word). They DID NOT seem under pressure but motivated. At least it wasn't the crew of drunks and loudmouths given a mic Robert normally interviews and attracts.

Further, Adams describing this group of misled travelers in terms that denigrate their travels because they're from LA or ANYWHERE ELSE is simply disgusting in it's attempt to instigate DIVISIVENESS. The LAST THING travelers OR local street people need.

Of COURSE Robert attracts travelers with his pitch. No local sober street person trusts or believe a word he has to say anyway because the demos he plans and promotes are simply photo ops and busts-without-a-legal-strategy for everyone, and anyone whose seen even one of his events KNOWS it.

All in all, having TWO NARCISSISTIC IDIOTS with agendas should scare the living crap out of anyone these people claim to represent.

by Peacemaker
My thoughts this morning: What will it take to build the "broad base of support" needed for a social revolution, or simply to arouse the compassion of the community instead of its scorn under present political conditions? Perhaps all of us can seek to understand and appreciate other people's needs, and find it within ourselves to allow others, encourage others, and even help others when they are most troubled, to meet their own needs without harming anyone.

The ebb and flow of political currents are making people's lives miserable. The advocates may differ in their beliefs about what might cause harm to the community (and certainly the rest of the community needs the opportunity to share its views), but the underlying human needs remain unchanged.
by Razer Ray
Register for shelter housing to avoid an "ass-wipe" ticket?

Consider this Robert. The shelter, AND YOU are not only part of the problem, you're fully invested in it:

Interface: a journal for and about social movements
Volume 3 (1): 81 - 117 (May 2011)

The Other Side Of The Coin:
Counterinsurgency And Community Policing

Kristian Williams
(This paper grew out of a lecture presented at the "Econvergence," First Unitarian Church, Portland Oregon; October 3, 2009.)

This essay outlines the current counterinsurgency model, with an emphasis on its domestic application in the United States. It shows that many contemporary counterinsurgency practices were developed by police agencies inside the U.S., and illustrates the transfer of theory, strategy, and technique from domestic police to the military - and back.

***The essay also examines the state's use of nongovernmental or nonprofit agencies, as one element of counterinsurgency strategy, to channel and control political opposition.***

The conclusion briefly considers the strategic implications for social movements, especially as we learn to recognize and respond to political repression.

Introduction: expect repression...

Full PDF @ Interface:

Page w/ volume index here:

That seems to be your 'job' Robert... "to channel and control political opposition." as a shill, a diversion, a clown without a strategy, allowing the city to dismiss any issue you bring before them and further damaging the ability of anyone NOT as clownish to represent the houseless to the authorities who will either simply dismiss them as NOT a legitimate representative of the homeless (the clown is..), or simply visualize the Clown Prince during any other activist's presentation, allowing them, again, to dismiss their views as inconsequential.
by Razer Ray
Recruiting from other states is TBSC's forte. Only a transient middle class would be interested in their subrosa (snigger) property development interests to quickly increase the resale value of their recent purchased investment houses. I'm STILL laughing hysterically about the callow moron who owns Mission Hill Ice Cream stating in regard to herself and her idea of community as "I pay a LOT of money to live here..." as if that indicates she has more right to HER vision of 'community" than a long term resident janitor.

If I didn't make it clear before I have issues with Robert and Brent. Not the kidz who took the post office steps last night. I expected the police would simply let them sleep there to defuse any potential confrontation and that's what happened.
by G
It's sad to hear that HUFF isn't active in Oakland, or some other #TentCity (although that initiative seems to have fallen flat, maybe the AdBusters crowd ain't what it used to be), and is using others to make legal challenges. Can't help but wonder about yet more hug trolling.

It is nice to hear about the sanctuary camp. I think that is desperately needed. When sound governance doesn't exist, replace it, at all scales. Hopefully the sanctuary will be inclusive, although their 'taint' framing in the other article here makes me wonder about their agenda, smells kinda like TBSC.

It is nice to hear that this sleep protest has a legal strategy. Getting paperwork from the 'shelter' could be effective in court, neutering yet another bogus 'coulda shoulda' persecutorial attack on the necessity defense. I wonder if making officers aware, daily, via photocopies of the 'shelter is full' notes would help others that might be ticketed on any given evening. If officers won't receive the paperwork, as is often the case (they seem to be afraid of the legal implications of being given written notice), perhaps a trip to their office would help.

I wish I could be there. If I was there, I would be sleeping there. Sadly, until the existing cases are resolved, ANY accusations (real or made up) could reactivate my 2 years suspended sentence (for peacefully protesting the criminalization of sleep and the criminalization of protest itself). Not that I am afraid of doing the time (the next time around I would try to emulate @rabite's media presence); it just seems wasteful, at least until redress has been exhausted.

Some advice. Record every encounter with law enforcement, document everything immediately (multiple online sources), avoid a 24 hour presence (neuter yet another time/place/manner persecutorial attack), keep the area clean, don't antagonize pedestrians or postal staff, expect a rapid response (if I recall correctly, there was an 8 month protest there until the Postmaster signed over enforcement to non-federal gangsters), have relocation plans ready, be prepared to do jail support, avoid hugging Norse.
by JimS
Don Lane is quoted as blaming the crime and drug issues on tourists. Maybe Robert is playing into Don Lane's playbook...
by Robert Norse
hscreceiptstemplate-1.pdf_600_.jpg's the HUFF receipt! We thoughtfully provided it to HLOSC yesterday to document the fact that the group we brought over to Coral St. to register was on the Waiting List. Hence their camping tickets, if they were given any, would be dismissed prior to court (even without having to mount a Necessity Defense).

Activists and homeless sleepers should note that police can still charge people under PC 647e, the state "anti-lodging"" law (actually being used by sheriff and police as an anti-protest or anti-loitering law in the last few years). However, the documentation that one is on the Waiting List is also a good basis for mounting an affirmative Necessity Defense if D.A. Bob Lee wants to take any such charges through to jury trial.

Hopefully such trials would have a better outcome than those of the Peace Camp 2010 activists, who got screwed thanks to testimony from Executive Director Monica Martinez and others that there were a few spare beds (for the 1000+ homeless outside). The Jones decision--which I'm told by San Luis Obispo attorney Stu Jenkins is still federal legal precedent in spite of being depublished--held in L.A. that one doesn't have to establish there were no beds that night or that one even tried to get one, if it was common knowledge that finding such a bed was highly unlikely given the chronic shelter emergency.

I should add I don't recommend these programs or shelters, as Razor Ray seems to imply. Rather I suggest this Waiting List approach as both a protest strategy and to protect yourself legally as a homeless person who has to sleep at night who's completely uninvolved in protest. Given the legal system the way it is, this approach is my suggestion.

I suggest bringing a copy of the receipt template with you to the HLOSC, and then making a second copy for yourself (so that you can give one to the cop). The cop may not (and probably will not) initially stop ticketing, but in future legal action it will become clear that police ticketing in the face of these receipts is a form of harassment since tickets are to be automatically dismissed under MC 6.36.055.
by Razer Ray
A screed follows...

"Don Lane is quoted as blaming the crime and drug issues on tourists..."

The correct terminology in a phrase would be 'transients with money'. That includes a number of elements... Including students and long distance contract database developers, but apparently not, if money is the arbiter of deciding which transient is a tourist, street people. Most of whom are local or from the region and are typically low wage workers or impoverished.

AND I want to give dis-honorable mention to the people who will infest the NEW Walnut Commons cohousing right behind CruzIo's building. It's being advertised for families, but what family in their right mind, of a class to own a piece of that action, would want to share a kitchen with other families with kids? Really. We are being lied to about the intent of the project, and it will bring more 'tourists', as I've chosen to define Lane's remarks.

The pitch will be: "Have a contract in the SF Bay area. Work at CruzIo's fast internet connection office space with your housing just a few feet from where you work."

Too bad a bag boy at the local supermarket can't get that deal, and that deal HAS existed in Santa Cruz recent history. I worked for the original owners of Putney & Perry Auto for little over minimum wage and was able to afford to live at an SRO hotel downtown. ven had a little cash left over to go to a show at the Cat occasionally.

That is no longer reality, and I BLAME CITY CREATED POLICIES FOR THAT. Period. Everything went up, including the min wage but the PLANNING POLICIES... THE LONG RANGE PLANNING POLICIES, utterly failed, I believe quite intentionally, to take into account the needs of the people who already lived here, and continues that away to this day.

Lane's whining about the sociological fallout is nauseating.

Santa Cruz' development as a "Telecommuting City (Are they STILL paying the guy the city calls a 'czar' who foisted that off on us almost a hundred grand a year?) IS a major part of the problem. The problem is called unchecked housing development for the quasi-affluent and the socioeconomic profile that goes along with it, arrogant, even (passive aggressively) to authority, whom the believe work for them alone and complain like hell when they find out otherwise even as that passive aggressive behavior morphs to antisocial and criminal towards other residents of the town (think fern bar brawl or over-amped spandex biker running down a pedestrian on the Levee... They drive like that too.), and NO development for low wage workers or Santa Cruz' own children.
by G
Where is the TBSC dirt? The Council/Supervisors dirt? The Downtown Association dirt? The District Attorney dirt?

Oh, right, that might be EFFECTIVE, it might have some IMPACT.


Meanwhile, sleep is still illegal...
by G
I can second the 'innocents abused' sentiment.

That is why, _before_ OSC, I expressed reservations about an OSC that would handle innocents like the infamous 'parade' downtown, including bloc abuse. That was not received well by certain people. And then it all happened, so predictable. Perhaps the disconnect point was best made by that video (I think it's in Brent's OSC flic) of the physicist ranting at the OSC campers, including a local 'papa'. Or like that time on the OSC steps, when I said "The mayor of Oakland is not apologizing because a protestor was injured." and one of the certains looked over and seemed to be preparing a rebuttal before I added "The mayor of Oakland is apologizing because there is a video of a protestor being injured." and one of the active OSC regulars said "Yeah, if Rodney King wasn't videotaped it would have been just another day in LA".

But this is all circular gossip. I'd rather focus on sizable oppressors. But that can be really dangerous, so I suppose it's like the 'why poor on poor crime' question.

Meanwhile, back at the sleep protest...
by G
Putting innocents in harms way is simply replacing one tyranny with another.

As the song goes, "meet the new boss, same as the old boss", before punk was punk.
by Robert Norse
...go to "Sleep and Resistance in Downtown Santa Cruz" at .
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