Santa Cruz IMC
Santa Cruz IMC
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Mayor Responds to Indybay Story on Council Lock-Out
by Robert Norse
Monday Dec 15th, 2014 7:11 PM
A few minutes ago I received and responded to a letter from Don Lane. He in turn was reacting an earlier article I posted ("Council Moves to Shut Down "Shame" Protest; Excludes Public; Jettisons Agenda" at . I reprint his letter and my reply below. I have also invited the Mayor to expand his views on Free Radio Santa Cruz this Thursday.

From: dlane [at]
To: rnorse3 [at]
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2014 14:35:41 -0800
Subject: RE: Council Moves to Shut Down "Shame" Protest; Excludes Public; Jettisons Agenda


On behalf of the Santa Cruz City Council, I want to thank you for writing to us about events at Tuesday’s city council meeting as the council considered the purchase of an armored rescue vehicle. I think you raised important issues about the rescue vehicle that deserve consideration and maybe some clarification. I apologize for not providing a personalized response. We have received many communications on this issue.

On the subject of the armored rescue vehicle: I certainly understand your concern about the types of equipment the City uses for emergencies. With recent controversies about police practices so prominent in the news, the issue is of even greater concern to the broader community and many across the country. While I believe these issues should be very carefully considered, I think the connection many have made between ‘militarization’ and this particular vehicle may be overstated.

At the end of this message is an excerpt from the report prepared for the council and the community that was posted online the week before our council meeting. I believe it’s clear that, while the vehicle is certainly heavily armored, it is a defensive and protective vehicle that can enter a dangerous situation to rescue or pull out both emergency personnel and civilians. The vehicle has no weapons and no “offensive” functions. It’s worth noting that this request for the rescue vehicle was a joint request from both our fire and police departments.

It’s also important to note that the vehicle authorized by the City Council is not a surplus military vehicle. At least two California cities returned military surplus “mine-resistant” vehicles out of concern over militarization of police. The City of Santa Cruz is NOT purchasing a surplus mine-resistant vehicle like those returned in other cities.

Because of three recent incidents in Santa Cruz, it is not difficult to see how a rescue vehicle like the one the City approved could be very valuable. When two city police officers were shot and killed in the line of duty in 2013, emergency medical responders had to enter a situation with heavy gunfire to try and attend to the officers prior to knowing their specific condition. Also, residents in the immediate vicinity of the shooting needed to be evacuated and rescue personnel were put in a very dangerous position in trying to execute that evacuation. An armored rescue vehicle would have made a real and tangible safety difference during that terrible incident.

In 2010, a deputy sheriff was overpowered at Dominican Hospital, tased with her own Taser and then had her handgun taken from her. Armed with the deputy's handgun, the suspect fled into a nearby neighborhood and eventually broke into an occupied residence, but not before the suspect fired a shot at an innocent bystander and then entered a nearby pre-school and held a gun to the head of a teacher who was in a room with infant children at the pre-school. Santa Cruz Police officers and Santa Cruz County Sheriff's deputies rushed to the neighborhood and evacuated several residents from neighboring homes. The police officers and sheriff’s deputies used themselves as human shields to protect the residents as they were evacuating them from their homes and moving them to a safe location. Again, this kind of rescue vehicle would have had a real safety impact during that incident.

And, just a few weeks ago, Santa Cruz High School was the subject of a frightening threat of a violent attack—in an email sent to the school’s principal. While no violence actually occurred, it is a reminder that we need to have better tools available if there is a need to rescue students and teachers in an incident like that.

I think the role of the city council on an issue like this one is not always fully understood. There is no question that community concerns about possible militarization of police need to be a major factor in the discussion. However, the people of Santa Cruz and the City Council are also employers of the fire department and police department personnel that serve our community. We have a very significant responsibility to consider their safety since we ask them to put themselves in dangerous situations on a regular basis. Most importantly, we need to make sure we have the best tools possible to rescue residents if they should be caught in a dangerous and vulnerable situation. I think the City Council was cognizant of all these factors as we considered the issue of the rescue vehicle.

I also want to add a word on the disrupted Council meeting at which this discussion took place… first, I would like to make sure you know that many members of the audience continually disrupted the meeting, violated the rules for city council meetings and interrupted others who were speaking—even though every member of the audience who had asked to speak in front of the council was given that opportunity. After the city council voted on the rescue vehicle issue, members of the audience who disagreed with decision of the city council continued their disruption and made it impossible for any council discussion to continue. Thus my predecessor as mayor, with my support and the support of the city council, decided to clear the city council meeting room. Though the council then continued briefly to wrap up a few report items, we did not take any action or votes on any of the items remaining on our agenda. Thus no decisions were made behind closed doors except the decision to postpone everything so that we would have an opportunity to act on those in a later open meeting.

Again, I thank you for writing and for allowing me the opportunity to offer some additional information to you.

EXCERPT from agenda report of December 9:

“… The use of this vehicle is consistent with the Police Department’s current training and integration of emergency medical personnel from the Fire Department in a high-risk environment. The two departments have been cross-training and have developed a collaborative team capable of response and rescues in threshold incidents. This cross-disciplinary integration is consistent with anticipated mandates coming from the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). The proposed rescue vehicle is a significant piece of this successful partnership.

Additional recognition of the critical need and backing for this project came by way of support from: Santa Cruz County Fire Chief’s Association, Santa Cruz County Police Chief’s Association, & Sam Farr, United States House of Representatives

The Police Department and the Santa Cruz region have a critical need for a contemporary rescue vehicle to safely transport and deploy first responders to hazardous situations where public safety is jeopardized. A key function of this vehicle is the ability to safely extract injured and at-risk victims from a high-risk environment. The vehicle is designed to provide maximum protection for first responders and crime victims. It is intended for use in emergency events including, but not limited to life-threatening public safety events, natural disasters, mass casualty incidents, high-risk medical emergencies.

As stated in the agreement, Santa Cruz will provide regional rescue vehicle availability and response capability for appropriate emergency medical and law enforcement agencies. The Santa Cruz Police Department was selected as the area grantee in part, for the existing critical need coupled with our exceptional response and situational competencies. Those competencies include our extended cross-training with, and integration of, emergency medical responders in high risk situations. Additional consideration included the designation of our beach areas as a protected Federal Buffer Zone and the increased potential for public safety threats.

Additional factors in the consideration of Santa Cruz for this project are consistent with the DHS strategy used in comparable locations for regional deployment. The City of Santa Cruz not only serves as the county seat, but is also significantly impacted by additional population influxes created by major tourism destinations and a University of California campus. These factors are consistent with other full-service California cities that have obtained and successfully deployed regional rescue vehicles under this program. Some examples of comparable cities that have successfully obtained and deployed a regional rescue vehicle include Santa Barbara, Huntington Beach, Pasadena, Pomona, Redondo Beach, San Luis Obispo, and Visalia…”

Don Lane
Mayor City of Santa Cruz


From: rnorse3 [at]
To: dlane [at]
CC: ...
Subject: RE: Council Moves to Shut Down "Shame" Protest; Excludes Public; Jettisons Agenda
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2014 19:01:35 -0800


Thanks for the lengthy apologia (and explanation). It would increase your credibility among critics if you also answered some of the hard questions which the Council ignored--such as the many asked by Abbi Samuels. She can provide you with a list of those questions, or you can review the (still unposted) audio/video of the Council meeting where she (and those that followed) presented them.

I'd definitely be interested in your responses to her questions--which the Council, the police, the staff, and the Mayor generally failed to answer when rushing through the item (initially on the Consent Agenda, of course).

I personally have a few questions.

Who ordered the doors of the chamber locked, but allowed J.M. Brown to remain, while other media were excluded? Did you support this decision?

Does not the Brown Act require you to have an open meeting even to decide whether items should be postponed? I.e. if the Council takes any kind of vote on any kind of issue, it requires the public be present unless we're talking about personnel or litigation matters.

What specifically was the actual deadline for accepting the grant (and supposedly requiring an immediate vote)?

Finally, I recall you threatening to have me excluded or arrested because I indicated by my posture (back to the Council) how I felt about an item you were discussing back when you were previously Mayor a few years ago. Will you continue Robinson's provocative and unconstitutional policy in the future? And how will you treat the presence of a small tape recorder or audio device in the position it's been in at Council meetings for the last quarter century?

At some point in the near future, I'd like to interview you for Free Radio Santa Cruz. You're also welcome to come on my show Thursday night to follow up on a number of these issues so the community can better understand your position.

Let me from hear from you. Though I'm not yet persuaded by your arguments, I think that in the future the more such dialogue before Council meets (as I suggested should have been done weeks before the Pacific Avenue "performance pens" were rubberstamped) is a good idea.

by wondering
Monday Dec 15th, 2014 9:43 PM
take off the wig add a dose of compassion and we have a blueprint for SC shitty council under the reign of Lame.

Prediction:same war against the poor and homeless but with a soft frown and sad eyes instead of a smirk.
Prediction:same unquestioning belief in SCPD no matter what they want or what they do.
Prediction: same subservience to the city manager.
Prediction: lots of fluffy proclamations and lectures about progressive buzzwords with no actual change in behavior of the government against those in our society who are being oppressed by governmental police powers.

and hey, beyond further militarization of the city, any discussion of rent control in Santa Cruz yet?

didn't think so.
by Steven Argue
Tuesday Dec 16th, 2014 5:47 AM
For a different take on what happened and what is happening, I encourage people to check out the following article.

Santa Cruz City Council Approves New Armored Personnel Carrier
Protest Shuts Down City Council in Response
Shut Down Delays Passage of Worsened Anti-Homeless Law
By Steven Argue
by Razer Ray
Tuesday Dec 16th, 2014 12:08 PM
It's NOT an "armored rescue vehicle" Don.


“The primary function is officer safety,”

It's a portable fort.

Further, it quite simply $250K for a glorified Ford F-550 pickem up truck.

Shame... I mean we all know every single [expletive deleted per city council requirements] on ANY city council, or any other government body is beholden to their centurions for their continued existence and will give them ANYTHING they want lest their centurions abandon them to the angry mobs.

So you have a choice. Stand with the MAJORITY OF CITIZENS who think it's a fraud and a scam, or stand with your Centurions, who'll 'protect you' until you can no longer afford to pay them what they THINK they're worth and give them the 'toys' they demand from Santa Cruz Taxpayers, then Don, your on your own.

Click the link below to Give the Gift of Mayhem This Year... #ArmTheHomeless.

Do it for the kids!

After all the $75k spent on a CSW could buy A LOT of used M1A1 carbines and then the homeless can simply commander their own home from the MILLIONS of abandoned or bank 'owned' homes across AmeriKKKa, including Santa Cruz.

So Don, tell your developer friends at Lighthouse Bank they're on our 'list' for scamming the city planning commission about "Walnut Commons". You know Don, "Co-housing for middle class families" becomes $500k condos for rich white people, and YOU DID JACK to make sure YOUR FRIENDS at Slater Construction actually built the project as delivered to the city planning office for approval.

Hangings from the cheezy hardware store-bought lamp posts outside city hall is almost too good for corrupt scum like the people who run this town.
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


donate now

$ 217.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network