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Indybay Feature

Restoring Sidewalk Sanity in Santa Cruz

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Event Type:
Party/Street Party
Robert Norse
309 Cedar St. #14B Santa Cruz 95060
Location Details:
In front of the Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company on Pacific Avenue in Downtown Santa Cruz

Numerous laws in the last year have intensified police pressure on both housed and homeless people in public spaces. See "2013: A Nasty Year Heavy With New Anti-Homeless Laws" at .

These laws have come most dramatically to public attention through police harassment of Frank Lima ("The Great Morgani"), removing him from the public sidewalk. See "The Great Morgani Has Left the Avenue" at

His is only the most high-profile case. Old-time musicians like C.J. Stock have been driven off the Avenue. More tragic is the case of Cosmic Chris, not only harassed out of sight, but literally driven to his death--his vehicle seized as Sleepcrime and other anti-homeless tickets mounted.

Craftswoman Kate Wenzell faces over $600 in fines for offering her hand-weaved scarves for sale during the day and resting by night in her vehicle--the only housing many can afford. She goes to court for arraignment 3-25 8:30 AM in Dept. 1--the case is likely to be continued.

The event is a continuation of our concern that the downtown be restored to being friendly & welcoming.

The past three Wednesday demos have focused on the denial of services to homeless people at the Coffee Roasting Company, Peet's, Starbucks, & Lulu Carpenters.

These and other cafes selectively use a "no backpacks" policy to turn away paying but unhoused customers, whose only choice is to carry their possessions with them. [See "Sidewalk Coffee Speakout" at]

We will be circulating a petition urging abolition of the Forbidden Zone and Move-Along Ordinances. These "tools" give police, Hosts, private security guards, and homelessophobic folks a blank check to enforce a hostile environment for street culture downtown.
Added to the calendar on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 7:58AM

Comments (Hide Comments)
by Robert Norse
We gathered signatures today on this petition, expanding the Backpack Bigotry protest to include the larger issues.

Briana and Ricardo played music, flagrantly violating the 12 sq ft rule.

Other activists reclaimed the sidewalk with display devices closer than 12' to each other.

Passersby flagrantly ignored the laws against sitting on the concrete berms around trees. Signs were blatantly leaned against questionable obects. The one-hour
"Move-Along" rule was pointedly ignored.

No one complained. Hosts and police avoided the protest. Chip, the former artist now stooging for the Downtown Association, walked back and forth but declined to sign the petition. One traveler remarked Santa Cruz was the only city he'd seen in his journey that had so ridiculous a set of laws.

CSO Barnett was observed bushwacking bicyclists riding "the wrong way" on Pacific Avenue. He reportedly drove one young skateboarder to tears with a citation.

About a dozen folks signed the petition, others asked for information.

"Sir William" Blake asked for solutions and dialogue on downtown issues. Given the warmth of the day, we offered salt water taffy treats rather than cups of coffee to celebrants and observers.

One homeless-o-phobic woman, perhaps lured by a sign that mocked the "Drive 'em out of Town" mentality of the City Council and SCPD, retreated in shock and anger on learning the true purpose of the protest.

I'll be playing some audio of the protest on my radio show tomorrow night (6-8 PM) at 101.3 FM (or go to and click on the red dot at the top of the transmitter icon). It will be subsequently archived on the HUFF website (

Thanks to all for coming. See you next week or whenever you decide to take back the sidewalk!
by Pat Colbe (posted by Norse)
Pat was kind enough to put together a more professional petition on the issues. Download and distribute!
by Robert Norse
From 1:30 to 3:00 we also distributed the following flyer which we encourage others to download and pass on.
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


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