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|Santa Cruz: Civil Liberties on the Council Agenda|
|Date||Tuesday October 28|
|Time||2:30 PM - 4:30 PM|
|Import this event into your personal calendar.|
|Santa Cruz City Hall|
On Tuesday, October 27th, starting as early as 2:30PM, the City Council will take up two issues that effect our civil liberties. Weigh in by coming to the meeting at 809 Center Street or emailing citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com
Welcoming Free Speech on Pacific
A proposal by Councilmember Don Lane, seconded by Councilmember Pamela Comstock would create markings on Pacific Ave. for performers and people that just wanted to use a space for free speech. The marked spaces would be larger than the current ordinance calls for and would include a couple of spaces large enough for a musical group and a couple of spaces against the buildings which is preferred by many performers including the Great Morgani. Of course the biggest change is that performers/ activists would be welcomed to specific spots instead of being subject to a very complicated web of laws that only describe where they are not allowed to be. Is that an incremental improvement worth doing? Weigh in at city council [at] cityofsantacruz.com
Stay away ordinance
A second proposal known as the ‘stay away ordinance’ would prohibit people from using city parks including the Pogonip and the River for a year if they got 5 tickets. This would be an unusual law in that it would not involve the accused going to court. This is a serious problem according to a strongly worded letter by the local American Civil Liberties Union which claims that the proposed ordinance violates the concept of innocent until proven guilty.
Of course the point of the ordinance is to effect people who do not go into court when they receive tickets. But do the people receiving these tickets really have a way to change their behavior? Not according to civil rights activist Raven Davis who has done research on what the tickets are being handed out for and found that 1/3 to 2/3s of the tickets are being given for the victimless crime of sleeping. While one can empathize with the desire to not have our parks turn into unplanned campgrounds, where exactly do we expect people who cannot afford rent to go? No other city is willing to host them and 70% of them list Santa Cruz as their last address. And what happens when the people who have no other place to go violate the stay away order? The only other stop on this journey appears to be jail. Do we really want to jail people for not having homes? At $100.00 a day?
Please consider answering this difficult question: Is it practical, moral and legal to ban people from the parks who have nowhere else to go? Then send your thoughts to citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com
Election Effort this Weekend
Of course an obvious way to effect local ordinances is to elect your favorite candidate to City Council. This election ends in NINE DAYS. This weekend will be a huge push by workers and environmentalists to get out the progressive door hanger which supports a variety of causes and candidates including Sherman, Van Allen and Chase for City Council. Meet at the SEIU Union Hall at 517B Mission Street between 10AM and 4PM on November 1st and 2nd to pick up door hangers to distribute and/or help to label on Thursday, Oct. 29th from 10AM to 4PM. I'll see you there.
Wresting with the hard issues,
Santa Cruz City Councilmember