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Vice-Mayor Meets With Activists on Performance Pens Along Pacific Avenue 1:30 PM Today
Date Monday October 27
Time 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Location Details
Santa Cruz City Hall
Event Type Other
Organizer/AuthorRobert Norse
Though he declined to meet with activists at the Food Not Bomb meal this Saturday, Vice Mayor Don Lane has agreed to meet with HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom) activists at 1:30 PM today at City Hall. He e-mailed me today that they intend to walk from there to the Pacific Ave. area to look more closely at the red, blue, and yellow dots that will be defining what I term the "performance pens" of those who perform only (yellow), table or vend (red), and those who do any of the three (yellow). Choose your colors wisely. I reprint my correspondence with the Vice-Mayor below.


The current markings are temporary and were done without benefit of public meetings during the last six months when staff member Julie Hende, Lane, and other cooked them up. They will be up for an initial vote tomorrow. at the afternoon Council session.

See "Sip Soup at the City Council Double Header: Stay-Aways & Performance Pens " at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/10/27/18763369.php for links to the staff report, ordinance change, maps, and resolution.

I reprint below the rather intense exchange of e-mails I had with Lane in the last few days. They outline my concerns and his responses.


CORRESPONDENCE

After hearing nothing for the last six months of what Lane reports in his e-mail as extensive outreach, I received this e-mail last Wednesday.

From: dlane [at] cityofsantacruz.com
To: rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:45:47 -0700
Subject: downtown performance and tabling

Hi Robert

Tomorrow, there will be a staff report out for the new downtown performance and vending rules. They proceed along the lines discussed at the council a few months ago... to have designated, marked locations for performance, tabling and "both." (I use the term tabling to refer to both informational tabling and artist vending from a display device.)

Anyway, I want to see if you'd like to meet with me to discuss this prior to the council meeting.

I can meet either Friday or Monday, if you'd like.

Don Don Lane Vice Mayor City of Santa Cruz dlane [at] cityofsantacruz.com 831-420-5022


On Oct 22, 2014, at 10:19 PM, "Robert" wrote:
Thanks, Don. Perhaps you can give me your thoughts via e-mail before we meet?


From: dlane [at] cityofsantacruz.com
To: rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 22:33:49 -0700
Subject: Re: downtown performance and tabling

Hi Robert,

The item is number 19 in the agenda packet for next Tuesday.

At this point, my thoughts are that the staff seems to have brought back an item that conforms to what the city council asked for.

At the moment, though, my thoughts are not what's important. The point of my invitation is to hear your thoughts and the thoughts of some of the folks you're talking to.

I have some time tomorrow around 1:30... or on Monday between around noon and 3.

thanks

Don Don Lane Vice Mayor City of Santa Cruz dlane [at] cityofsantacruz.com 831-420-5022



On Oct 24, 2014, at 7:48 AM, "Robert" wrote:

Don: Thanks for your reply.

I've read the staff report and ordinance changes.

Can you clarify where exactly these zones are and how close to buildings? I've seen the dot map, but it's unclear to me how many, for instance, are actually next to buildings?

I certainly have some questions. You've apparently been involved in an information-gathering activity. --or has that been Hende, Collins, etc.? Who's the person who'd know the most about this?

In any case, I'm advising others about this sudden arrival of the ordinance change. Sudden because you had no sub-committee meetings that were announced or public, no real open and clear outreach to those most directly impacted--those being ticketed for being there.

No street performers (whom I regularly interview, as you know) have mentioned being spoken to. Nor have I heard that service providers or homeless advocates have been approached (not to mention the homeless community) regarding the impact on, say, panhandlers, groups of folks who just want to hang out, folks who want to sit down. How do you judge this will impact the remaining space available to them?

In a survey HUFF did months ago,we did some calculations. First look at the total area available for a completely object-free Pacific Avenue sidewalk. Then subtract all the space taken up by privatized merchant areas, illegal merchant signs, bike racks, the remaining benches, and, of course, all the forbidden zones (especially those created last fall, but including those mandated in 1994, 2002, 2003, and 2009). We found that the amount of space for folks to sit, sparechange, perform, vend, or table was less than 1% of the total area. A pretty sweeping contraction of usable public space to pander to merchant and TBSC-style pressure. Please ask Collins to confirm or deny this in advance of the first reading, so the community has this information.

Also can you clarify the rationale for not having any real preliminary public process here before the final document was prepared for the inevitable City Council sign-off?

I may be downtown today. Let me know where you'll be at 1:30 PM in the event that I get enough information to helpfully add. Shall I advise others that you'll also still be available Monday noon-to three?

If you can answer the previous questions, it would be helpful. Robert



From: dlane [at] cityofsantacruz.com
To: rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:42:42 -0700
Subject: Re: downtown performance and tabling

Hi Robert,

1) locations: the various spaces are already marked with temporary dots on the ground all along Pacific. the map can help you find the specific spaces

2) who: Julie Hendee has prepared the initial draft map and made the temporary marks on the ground. I have spoken with a good number of people and heard from many others over the last 6 or 8 months. I gave Julie my thoughts along the way.

3) impact: I believe the new approach will provide a similar amount of space to the previous distance-based approach... with perhaps a slight increase. Benches will remain available to those who would like to sit, too.

4) staff information: staff has provided information on the number of spaces and their wide distribution around downtown. I believe this is enough info to give the community a good sense of what's going to be available. You're always welcome to ask for more information but I will not be pursuing this particular request.

5) process: I had about 10 meetings with various users of downtown in my own exploration of this issue. Then, the council held a public meeting to discuss and approve the general concept of this new approach. Then, the staff placed preliminary markings on the ground so people could get a better idea of the what the new approach would look like. Now the council will hold a first reading of a new ordinance that allows for this new approach to replace the old distance-based approach. As this is presented, the preliminary map will be aired but will not be acted on... so there will be additional opportunity for people to communicate with the city and elected representatives before the council decides whether or not to give staff the final go-ahead. In other words, there will have been about 6 months of opportunity for community comment on the proposed new approach. There will have been 3 opportunities for comment a public meetings, 6 months of time for people to send emails on this subject, a month for people to look at the temporary markings... and, if the council gives the go-ahead, the whole thing will be set up as a 6 month pilot project, so there will be 6 additional months for people to weigh in. I imagine a creative person like you could say that this means that there is inadequate public process but I would not be able to agree with you on this point.

6) availability: at 1:30 today I will probably be heading to work on a project with the Resource Center for Nonviolenc... since I do not (at this moment) have a request from you for an appointment at that time I made other plans. If you would like to make an appointment with me on Monday, you can let me know what time works for you. Any other member of the community can also request an appointment-- I'll do my best to make it work in the context of all the work I have on my plate.

thank you Don

Don Lane Vice Mayor City of Santa Cruz dlane [at] cityofsantacruz.com 831-420-5022



From: Robert [mailto:rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com]
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2014 11:57 AM
To: Don Lane
Cc: Julie Hendee; Scott Collins; Becky Johnson; & others
Subject: Upcoming "Reform" Ordinance to Bring Back Street Performers

Don: Thanks for the extensive reply.
You didn't say whether these new spaces are next buildings at all--which one of the concerns at the last (and only) public hearing on this. Can you ask Julie or Scott to answer this question? Without requiring all of us to walk up and down the mall seeking out the spots? I tried to do this last night but couldn't see the markings, even with the strong night lighting.
You may "believe" that the space is "similar" to the previously "legal" areas, but have you received any specific information in regards to this from staff? Otherwise, you're simply reiterating the staff's spring statements.
To clarify your comments on process,have you or the staff held any public hearings announced in advance on this issue? The Council did hold a hearing last spring where the staff presented essentially a finished proposal to be signed off on by the City Council. Is this what is intended again for Tuesday? As we are all well-aware, City Council rarely responds to public comment when finished laws are put before it. Previous iterations of this contraction of public space involved extensive hearings by City Council commitees and the Downtown Commission (1994, 2002, 2003). Have you in the past six months announced publicly-announced hearings. Do you plan to hold any meetings in the next six months independent of private chats with select groups and people?
Have you any information from social service providers and homeless advocates as well as homeless people regarding the impact these performance pens will have on those who want to sit, socialize, or sparechange on Pacific but do not intend to perform, vend, or table? What is your assessment based on the information you do have? You state that the impact will be slightly more space.
What do you anticipate will be that impact, as a long-time Board member of the Homeless Services Center and a former Mayor who put great verbal emphasis on homeless rights, services, and dignity?
I don't blame you for not holding the 1 PM space open. I"ll be meeting with activists tomorrow at 4:30 at the Food Not Bombs meal near the main post office. Will you come and answer questions there?
Frankly, I'm concerned that this last minute "outreach" is a token and more in the nature of a gesture to give the appearance of inclusivity without the reality. If that is not the case, please clarify why not contact me during the prior six months when there would actually be time to meaningfully discuss these issues?
Do you agree that the total amount of sidewalk space (subtracting merchant-leased areas, illegal merchant signs, bike racks, the increasingly smaller number of benches, and the forbidden zones) is less than 1% of the total sidewalk area?
If you don't agree, what do you consider the figure to be (considering the your "exploration of the issue", many conversations you've had, and extensive input you've received?
Of if you can't make it to the Saturday meeting tomorrow, it would be helpful to have your specific answers to each of these questions. And if you want, try to reserve some space on Monday after I've presented your thoughts to interested folks on Saturday. They may have some more input.

Thanks, Robert

P.S. I am cc-ing this to Julie Hende and Scott Collins to see if they can provide any additional information, since you are reluctant to ask them.



To: rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:19:43 -0700
Subject: RE: Upcoming "Reform" Ordinance to Bring Back Street Performers

Hi Robert
2 quick answers… I know there are at least two proposed spaces up against buildings. Because there are about 60 spaces in the proposed new approach, it seems that this is similar to the previous arrangement and perhaps a bit more.

And I guess I can repeat this for you:
“I had about 10 meetings with various users of downtown in my own exploration of this issue. Then, the council held a public meeting to discuss and approve the general concept of this new approach. Then, the staff placed preliminary markings on the ground so people could get a better idea of the what the new approach would look like. Now the council will hold a first reading of a new ordinance that allows for this new approach to replace the old distance-based approach. As this is presented, the preliminary map will be aired but will not be acted on... so there will be additional opportunity for people to communicate with the city and elected representatives before the council decides whether or not to give staff the final go-ahead. In other words, there will have been about 6 months of opportunity for community comment on the proposed new approach. There will have been 3 opportunities for comment a public meetings, 6 months of time for people to send emails on this subject, a month for people to look at the temporary markings... and, if the council gives the go-ahead, the whole thing will be set up as a 6 month pilot project, so there will be 6 additional months for people to weigh in.”

In case this is not obvious, I do recognize that you have a right to ask as many questions as you’d like. And you often have an endless stream of questions. This often makes me and others wonder whether your intent is to gather information or to simply fulfill your desire for additional attention for you and your agenda. Perhaps you could try, from time to time saying “thanks for the extensive reply and I’ll work with what you’ve given me” instead of “thanks for the reply and I will continue to ask you questions ad nauseum” My interactions with you help me recognize that I have a right to decide how much time to spend with communications from each community member since my time is not unlimited and I receive so many communications. Just a thought…

Don

From: rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
To: dlane [at] cityofsantacruz.com
CC: jhendee [at] cityofsantacruz.com; scollins [at] cityofsantacruz.com; becky_johnson222 [at] hotmail.com;...and many others
Subject: RE: Upcoming "Reform" Ordinance to Bring Back Street Performers
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:45:04 -0700

Don: I want to acknowledge your response. More response, surely, than Mayors Robinson and Bryant. However I've got to smile at some of your responses.
Why not be direct and simply say "no" when I ask ",have you or the staff held any public hearings announced in advance on this issue? " since it's clear I don't mean the prefabricated stuff that goes on at City Council when the law comes up for final framing by the Council. Radically different from earlier public process around this same issue a decade ago.
Why so hard to answer simple questions? For instance, the question about the impact on those not using display devices? Or the whether you've consulted homeless advocates, homeless people, or social service providers on that issue? And, of course, the question of whether you'll actually face the people who are actually being ticketed on their own turf, i.e. at the Food Not Bombs meal tomorrow.
Thanks for the specifics about the two proposed spaces against buildings (dare I ask, where are they?).
I will, of course, work with what you've given me (as well as that which you declined to give).
Incidentally, I thought you made many good points re: the upcoming deportation-without-trial law coming up for a final reading Tuesday. I hope you reiterate them on Tuesday. I'll be playing your thoughts on my Sunday morning show (along with the rest of the Council's dog-and-pony show). I do suggest you delete your compromise suggestion to slice away only half the Constitution (i.e. deportation for only a day, a week, or a month without trial at the whim of the citing officer without court process, even if person is innocent of the underlying offense).
Let me now about Saturday and Monday. The answers to the above questions can be brief--and spare me the need to ask them again.
You're also invited to join us outside Council chambers at 3 PM or shortly thereafter to oppose these laws and seek a return to the Voluntary Street Performers Guidelines, which worked fine for over 20 years.

Robert
Added to the calendar on Monday Oct 27th, 2014 11:27 AM

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