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Indybay Feature

Sip Soup as you Gag at City Council's Study Session on Homelessness

Tuesday, April 30, 2013
6:45 PM - 8:45 PM
Event Type:
Robert Norse
309 Cedar PMB #14B Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Location Details:
809 Center St. Santa Cruz City Council Chambers

The Santa Cruz City Council has scheduled a Special "Study" Session on Homelessness.

Hey, April Fool's day came and went nearly a month ago!

This is the Council that recently voted an anti-homeless curfew on Cowell's Beach, killed Needle Exchange in the City, and has backed more recruits for the sleepsnatcher SCPD, which regularly rousts homeless people, steals and confiscates or destroys their gear.

Some Council members (Lynn Robinson, Pamela Comstock) are suspected of planning a further fund reduction of the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center in the near future, for which this session is preparation.

Reports of recent vigilante and police violence against homeless people have been on the rise.

Jumbogumbo Joe Schultz will be providing hot tasty vegan soup at 6:45 PM outside Council chambers for any who show up. Councilmember Micah Posner stated on Free Radio yesterday he would insist on a full public comment period.

You can look over the staff report at the City Council website re: Study Session on Homelessness coming up tomorrow by going on the City Council website.

Go to and then click on the Homelessness Study Session (CM) link. It's the first of the six documents in the box to the right. The other documents will also be under consideration at Council Plus public testimony.

It also looks like the national figures are a severe undercount.

There are five additional documents on the same site that will be "considered" by City Council.

Please come and bring your real on-the-ground accounts.

Call City Council at 420-5020 to demand

(1) endorsement of AB5 (the state Homeless Bill of Rights,
(2) immediate funding of 24-hour sanitary facilities at different areas where people sleep outside
(3) trash pick-ups and sharps containers in those areas
(4) dismissal of harassment tickets of homeless people for violation of curfew and "no sitting" laws
(5) suspension of the anti-homeless laws generally(e.g. the Sleeping Ban), particularly important given the rise in vigilante violence, need for homeless to camps safely in groups and well-lighted areas
(6) immediate opening of legal places for people to carcamp or sleep.
(7) an emergency task force to quickly implement a Sanctuary Camp

Currently there is legal shelter at the Paul Lee loft for less than 50 people in a homeless population of 1500-2000. The Winter Armory Shelter closed on April 15th.

Or e-mail City Council at citycouncil [at] Request that City Council staff acknowledge your input with a reply and include it in the City Council packet.

Interesting and actually quite apropos is the telling sentence on the first page of the Staff Report:

"In order to keep the meeting to a manageable scope, the report and presentation on April 30 will not delve into possible solutions for Council action. Should the City Council wish to engage in that discussion, future agenda items can be scheduled."

In spite of this significant limitation, it is important that the realities of the struggle for homeless survival be made visible and public. Bringing the issue to the community is our real task.

Please bring any accounts you have of vigilante violence or police harassment.
Added to the calendar on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 3:44AM
According to the City's website and posting, the Terrazas-Mathews-Comstock Police Job Enablement Committee (if you'll pardon the truth-in-advertising substitution) meets the day after the Homelessness "Study" Session.

The third item on its agenda is Progress Report of the City Council’s Safety Action Plan, as adopted on February 12 2013 Presentation from City Manager’s Office Staff.

Public Comment on real Public Safety issues "not on the agenda" is, of course, at the end of the meeting, which some will not have the patience or endurance to sit through.

I have repeatedly requested this meeting be audioed at least for those who can't attend it, since it usually creates reports that then get largely rubber-stamped by City Council, in spite of public input. Terrazas had declined to do so without explanation, a sunny smile on his face with the assurance that "he'll consider it for a future meeting". Bring your own audio (or video) equipment to be sure.

The meeting may be held in City Council chambers or in the conference room behind it.

Real Public Safety issues for homeless people such as police violence and vigilante attacks, of course, are not on this committee's agenda (and have never been to my knowledge). Nor is there any move to reopen accessible Needle Exchange in the City, nor set up Sharps Containers nor public bathrooms.

It looks like needle distribution and Public PooPoo will continue in the nighttime hours. But then, that'll give Take Back Santa Cruz, the Clean Team, the SCPD and Councilmembers Robinson and Comstock something to mount a bogus political campaign around--won't it?
§Flyer & Mini-Update
by Robert Norse
City Council chambers were packed. Jumbogumbo Joe Schultz showed up with cistern of kale soup as well as home-made baklava and special garlic pizza. I passed out some flyers to most friendly or neutral folks with about 20 rebuffing the flyers, some with hostile comments. Councilmember Terrazas assured me the proceedings were being televised. He also noted tomorrow's Public Safety Committee meeting at 6 PM would be audio taped.

The first hour was taken up with Assistant City Manager Tina giving an endless- llne-by-line reading of the staff report. I asked, but the Council apparently declined to turn out the outdoor speakers so the few outside the packed chambers could hear the proceedings. There were no signs among the audience members.

Burly First Alarm Security Guard John prowled the premises, and Sgt. Bush was "sgt at arms".

I had to leave early to take home a weary woman who'd undergone dental surgery earlier in the day. Having handed out half a hundred flyers, I called it a night.

Thanks to Joe Schultz for the tasty food.

If I nerve myself up to view the video (assuming it was televised), I'll pass on my comments.

I'm including a flyer that I made but was unable to download because my printer went down and Fed-Ex Kinko's would not take the format.
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Becky Johnson (posted by Norse)
Tue, Apr 30, 2013 7:50AM
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