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Community Blanket Sit-In
Date Thursday October 24
Time 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Location Details
On the sidewalk in front of Forever Twenty One on Pacific Avenue near Soquel in downtown Santa Cruz
Event Type Protest
Organizer/AuthorPhil Posner
Emailchatrabbi [at]
Join us October 24th - the day the Santa Cruz City Council's new draconian downtown ordinance "restricting artists, musicians and Petitioners'" freedom of expression is to take effect. The Ordinance not only restricts display space, it even bans blankets on which artists may display their wares and maintains the rule that artists and musicians must move to a new location after one hour.

Bring a blanket and a piece of jewelry or a favorite musical instrument.

As Councilman Don Lane, who with Micah Posner voted against the ordinance, pointed out a 6-foot-long table, even a smaller card table with two chairs, or a three-member music combo would all "... violate the new standards." Further, As Councilman Posner stated, these rules are "literally a curtailment of freedom of speech" and difficult to regulate (and enforce) without a measuring tape, T-square or other tools."

If you agree that individuals seeking to share their sidewalk musical or artistic talents have the same right to freedom of expression as brick and mortar merchants join us in solidarity - in opposition to rules that are arbitrary and oppressive; whose intent seems to be an attempt to whip clean artistic, musical creativity and freedom of expression from our downtown streets.

Join our peaceful, non-violent protest.

Sincerely: Committee for Fairness & Equal Opportunity for Artisans and Musicians. 831-426-1319 and HUFF - Homeless United for Freedom & Friendship 831-423-4833

Added to the calendar on Tuesday Oct 22nd, 2013 1:29 AM
by Robert Norse Tuesday Oct 22nd, 2013 3:36 PM

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§Text of the Flier
by Robert Norse Tuesday Oct 22nd, 2013 3:37 PM
On October 24, Santa Cruz's Downtown Ordinances will:

+++ FORBID PERFORMANCE, TABLING, ART DISPLAY, VENDING, SITTING, AND SPARECHANGING on 95% of downtown sidewalks & 100% of sidewalks near buildings elsewhere.
+++ FORCE ALL SUCH ACTIVITY TO THE CURB creating conflict with arriving motorists, unhealthy space for street performers, & essentially drive out vibrant street life.
+++ LIMIT IT to constricted 12 square feet (3.5' X 3.5') spaces (3 of the sidewalk squares).
+++ LIMIT IT to 1 hour per day in any of the few limited spots per block.
+++ REQUIRE EXTRA 12' SEPARATION SPACES between all vendors, performers, artists, tablers.
+++ REQUIRE DAYS OF LEAD TIME AND SPECIAL PERMITS for exceptions to these rules.
+++ GIVE STAFF & POLICE A VETO over who uses the public sidewalk & where.
+++ SET UP HUGE UNNEEDED “WALK THROUGH ONLY” ZONES within 14' of buildings, street corners, intersections, kiosks, drinking fountains, public telephones, public benches, public trash containers, directory signs, sculptures or artwork, ATM-style machines, outside street cafes, vending carts, & fences.
+++ EMPOWER POLICE AND HOSTILE MERCHANTS to write $200-400 citations for traditionally innocent street presence, prescribing up to $1000 fines & 1 year jail for 2nd “offense”.
+++ INCREASE VISIBLE POLICE SQUAD PRESENCE to pressure, cite, and/or arrest violators.
+++ SELECTIVELY TARGET MINORITIES, HOMELESS PEOPLE, & POOR FOLKS who don't “fit in” with the Downtown Association's vision of a proper “safe” Santa Cruz.
+++ BAN BOUNCING A BALL, throwing a Frisbee, or hackeysacking downtown.
+++ BAN USING ERASIBLE CHALK whether for art, political messages, or...hopscotch for kids.
+++ BAN SPREADING OUT A BLANKET OR TARP if construed as a “display device”.
+++ BAN SITTING NEXT TO A BUILDING even if closed or vacant & blocks noone.
+++ FALSELY LABEL AS “SAFETY CONCERNS” traditional friendly Santa Cruz activity aiming to empty the sidewalks of uses and people that don't involve buying in stores or restaurants.
+++ CREATE AN UNCOMFORTABLE ENVIRONMENT for poor & homeless folks denying them the right to gather, rest, sit comfortably, & relax, impacting local low-income & elderly downtowners too.
+++ GIVE CRANKS A VETO ON STREET MUSIC by simply complaining.
+++ EMPOWER POLICE to expand enforcement still further with court protection unlikely.
+++ FALSELY IMBED THE “PUBLIC SAFETY” MYTHOLOGY that groups like Take Back Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Neighbors, the SCPD, the DTA, Needle-Free Zone, & other right-wing special interest groups are using to frighten the population back into further repressive action.
+++ DRIVE AWAY ARTISTS & PERFORMERS leaving only the militant and the mercenary.

Save Our Santa Cruz Sidewalks from Stupid Laws
+++ E-mail City Council at citycouncil [at] .and demand these ordinances be reviewed for cost, effectiveness, impact, and unintended consequences by citizen committees and with public inpu
+++ Use your video phone to show authorities harassing the public on the streets downtown. Post on You-Tube and . Send them to HUFF (rnorse3 [at] ).
+++ Spread opposition; Write local papers; Use Facebook & Twitter; Support good businesses; boycott bad ones.
+++ Post your own video of downtown encounters. The Coffee Roasting Company & Starbucks recently banned large backpacks; Customers report New Leaf, Verve, & Lulu Carpenters banning homeless-looking customers.
+++ Come to Protest Against Task Force on Privilege & Prejudice: 6 PM 307 Church St. Bring Signs!
+++ Witness and support other street performers when they face harassment from authorities.
+++ Get familiar with the Downtown Ordinances, often misquoted by police and hosts. Copies available on-line at .
+++ Come to the Direct Action Sit-Down: 1-3 PM 10-24 All Along Pacific Ave. Bring blankets, instruments, chairs, jewelry, & friends !

Flier by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 309 Cedar PMB #14B Santa Cruz 10-20-13

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by G
Tuesday Oct 22nd, 2013 1:14 PM
I have been wondering if the time for protest has past. Is seeking monetary damages, from individuals and organizations, a practical remedy? The only viable approach to creating the political will to strike unjust laws?

Apply the 'broken windows' approach to law enforcement to those very individuals and groups that promote, legislate, and enforce unjust laws. If all they understand is money, perhaps it is time to begin making them pay for their crimes.
by Robert Norse
Friday Oct 25th, 2013 5:31 AM
There are many strategies that need to be simultaneously pursued--in the street, in the courts, and out in the community.

Yesterday's Blanket Sit-In involved more folks (and more street performers) than I'd anticipated (though none of the fancier housed ones like Morgami).

Sentinel photographer Dan C. came and went, but Shana McCord (as ever) was more interested in demonizing homeless people at a cemetery (i.e. more poo and litter stories in a town that has no 24-hour bathrooms, shelter or campgrounds, nor trash pick-up's for the homeless outside). (See ).

I can't find any of his photos nor any mention of the protest at the Sentinel website on line.

The Santa Cruz Weekly did print a half-decent story at . It did a tad too much toadying to the police and carried the NMIMMS (No Music in My Main Streets) narrative (the "problems" pretext used to rush through the 2002 "Move Along" law when there were literally none). I myself was far too circumspect in not giving a loud public narrative about the mischief Hende created in the past (funneling money to the SCPD for the anti-homeless railing around the large planter previously a sitting area, in front of the Pacific Trading Company). I'd hoped performers themselves would get into a gut-level exchange with her, but those who approached were largely polite and apologetic.

Ordinance architect Julie Hendee appeared on the scene late in the protest to view her Frankenstein handiwork and chatted with a number of inappropriately subservient folks apologizing for the chalked free speech messages ont he sidewalk.

Numerous street performers and musicians wanted to continue the protests in the days ahead.

Micah Posner's dad, Phil, the guy who announced and publicized the protest, was there in full force, distributing fliers, urging people to call the City Council. I urged Councilmember Posner to put forward an emergency ordinance eliminating the current law to hold extensive discussions with those impacted by it--not just its bigot backers. He said he'd "think about it."

Micah did stay for an hour with his daughter drawing chalk figures on the sidewalk--while Officer Bush came and went, issuing no tickets and not openly taking photos as he had at prior protests (probably in difference to Phil Posner).

Lots of fliers were given out describing the idioicy of the new changes. Officer Azua and several bulky colleagues in blue clustered across the street, but cops, hosts, and First Alarm Intimidation Squads generally gave wide birth to the protest. Bush, who was there most of the time, looked most uncomfortable and only warned one protester (as far as I saw) that he didn't want her to chalk on the sidewalk. She resumed chalking some time later.

Will there be follow-up protests? We'll see.

I'll be playing audio on the protest this Sunday 10 AM at .

Special tip of the hat to Briana and London, Sean Deluge, Phil Posner, Becky Johnson, Colin Campbell Clyde, & David Silva as well as several dozen others.
by Robert Norse
Monday Oct 28th, 2013 1:25 AM
Colorful photographic coverage and some audio are at .
Also the Santa Cruz Weekly article at has picked up a bunch of helpful and informative comments.

Also a welcome tonic for the hateful, hydrophobic, and homeless-a-phobitc hysteria being pushed by the SCPD Deputy Chief Clark, Mayor Bryant's Task Force on Public Safety, much of the Santa Cruz City Council, and the endlessly-repulsive Sentinel is a recent article in the Scotts Valley Press-Banner at .