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|Protest New Anti-Homeless Law and Urban Assault Vehicle|
|Date||Tuesday January 13|
|Time||3:00 PM - 6:00 PM|
|Import this event into your personal calendar.|
Meet at the Santa Cruz City Council
809 Center Street, Santa Cruz, CA
|steveargue2 [at] yahoo.com|
PROTEST CITY HALL TO DEMAND:
No Worsened Banishment Law for the Homeless in Santa Cruz!
Repeal Approval of the Cop’s New Urban Assault Vehicle!
Repeal All Anti-Homeless Laws!
January 13th, 2015
Protest Starts at 3:00 PM
Meet at the Santa Cruz City Council
809 Center Street, Santa Cruz CA
On December 9th the Santa Cruz City Council approved the acquisition of a new fully armored urban assault vehicle. In response, protesters shut city hall down. The total listed price is supposed to be $251,000. This is part of the federal government’s current $3 billion dollar per year project to militarize local police forces through grants from the Department of Homeland Security. This latest military acquisition fits with the Obama Administration’s stated goal of militarizing police forces across the country. As austerity, low wages, racism, and foreign wars devastate much of the American working class, the U.S. ruling class is not spending money to ameliorate these problems; instead they are preparing for war on America’s poor, people of color, and working class in general.
On January 13th, the Santa Cruz City Council is scheduled to approve the final adoption of an amendment to its existing anti-homeless banishment ordinance. That amendment will make the existing law far worse. Both the local chapter of the ACLU and the Homeless Person’s Legal Assistance Project have declared the law unconstitutional. The existing banishment law (Section 13.08.100 Order to Vacate) gives the authority to the police and park officials to banish people from locations in much of Santa Cruz. Banishments are for minor “offenses”, including sleeping while being homeless. Banishments are currently issued at the discretion police and park authorities and they are not overturned if the homeless person is found innocent in court. Violations of banishment orders are punishable by up to a year in jail and by substantial fines.
The new amended banishment law will give police and park rangers the authority to banish people for up to a year for repeated violations. The old banishment law, currently in effect, only gives them the authority to banish people for 24 hours. Banishment for up to a year on the say so of cops and park rangers will be a major violation of constitutional rights to due process. The new banishment law is also retroactive, so a large number of people will be receiving new longer banishments for past infractions.
The city government and corporate media portray this worsened anti-homeless law as a needed response to terrible repeat criminals. Yet, actual statistics paint a far different picture. The data compiled by Raven Davis shows that of banishable offense tickets by park rangers: 14% were for sleeping, 20.2% for setting up bedding, 23% for setting up a campsite, 17% for smoking in a public park, 5% for the consumption of alcohol, 9% for open containers of alcoholic beverages, and 21% for limits to access violations in public parks (usually associated with trying to find a place to sleep). Nearly 100% were non-violent “offenses”. Far from being directed at problem criminals, this law is directed at homeless people. In fact, Raven Davis found that at least 69% of the citations written by park rangers were to homeless people. Also, 78.2% of infractions were directly about being homeless because they deal with homeless sleeping issues.
Homeless people are harassed and freeze to death in Santa Cruz. This is partly because cops and rangers destroy and confiscate tents, blankets, and sleeping bags. The banishment law contributes as well by the fear of jail it instills as people try to set up space to stay warm and dry in the winter rain and cold. If the amendment to this law passes on January 13th, it will take effect thirty days after its passage, and there should be is no doubt that it will kill people.