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Indybay Feature
"Bearcat-a-tat-tat" Video and Abbi Samuels Letter to the Mayor
by posted by Norse
Tuesday Dec 16th, 2014 8:31 AM
This morning videojournalist Brent Adams posted an impressive video covering the City Council's Hasty Acquisition of the Bearcat "Protester Punisher" vehicle. It's available now on You-Tube. Additionally, Abbi Samuels forward to Mayor Don Lane a series of questions still unanswered that she asked at City Council before they shut down the discussion, locked the doors, and recessed the meeting on December 9th. Lane's original apologia for the Bearcat bulldozing and my response ("Mayor Responds to Indybay Story on Council Lock-Out") can be found at .

Brent, for those who don't know him, has for several years been working on two projects: Sanctuary Village and a Warming Center.

He is also one of the victims of the late Bob Lee's political attack on Occupy activists and journalists who were observers, supporters, and/or participants in the peaceful three-day occupation of the (still-empty) Wells Fargo bank building at 75 River St. He faces a possible four years in prison for "felony vandalism" because he (along with hundreds of others) were present during periods of time in the building during the three-day occupation.

Former Sheriff Wowak's and Police Chief Kevin Vogel's destruction of the Occupy protest on December 4th and of the San Lorenzo campground on December 8th which falsely arrested five people, made several hundred homeless, and cast a pall of fear over the activist community for the last two years has gone unaddressed. The military-style destruction of this peaceful protest followed by the repression of subsequent demonstrations (Vogel personally blocked protesters from their legal right to assemble at City Hall and City buildings across the street).

One way to reach Brent is through his facebook page at

ABBI SAMUELS' correspondence:

Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2014 07:27:30 +0000
From: abbisamuels [at]
To: dlane [at]
CC: steveargue2 [at]; keith [at]; rubyeveryday888 [at]; oflaherty [at]; becky_johnson222 [at]; pecolbe [at]; e-davidson [at]; barefootinbablon [at]; spleich [at]; steve [at]; riclopez35 [at]; steveconover [at]; jammbrow [at]; rnorse3 [at]; jsmalkin [at]; meadowwolf [at]
Subject: Re: Council Moves to Shut Down "Shame" Protest; Excludes Public; Jettisons Agenda

Hello Don,

If the city council is so confident that this vehicle would only be used for rescue situations and not protests, why would the police object to an amendment that states it would not be used against protesters?

Below are my submitted questions to the City Council on 12/9/14, almost all of which did not get addressed. It seems to me that the City Council does not listen to the general public since they ignored all questions and concerns and continued as if the 20 people that expressed their valid concerns did not exist. How are we supposed to trust the City Council when we are completely ignored? Turning our back on the City Council, as Robert did, is completely understandable in light of how the public was treated on Tuesday. It was obvious that the City Council wanted to move the agenda item along quickly with a vote and did not care to address any of our valid concerns. Isn't the city council here to serve the residents of Santa Cruz or are they only here to serve the police and large businesses?

It would be appreciated if the questions that were submitted to the council on Tuesday could be answered. Another question I had asked at the City Council meeting that is not listed below is, 'how is it possible that the exact price is known when they are not sure which vehicle they are acquiring?' We also want to know the exact date of the application for the grant. And lastly, why wasn't there public comment before the police applied for such a grant?
There seems to be a pattern of the police requesting controversial equipment without providing adequate time for public comment such as the license plate readers and the mosquito boxes. What other controversial programs are currently being contemplated by the Santa Cruz police?

You are correct in that San Jose and Davis returned a different type of vehicle but an armored vehicle nonetheless. We should have stated Berkeley, Albany and UC Berkeley backed out of their contract for the same vehicle, a BEARCAT. Here are two articles that explain why they rejected the grant.
Officials Cancel Campus Police Plans To Buy Military-Style Vehicle

Officials Cancel Campus Police Plans To Buy Military-Sty...
The University of California, Berkeley decided campus police shouldn't have a military-style armored vehicle. The UC Police Department sought to use a $169,000 gran...

This vehicle has been used against a number of peaceful protests across the country such as Occupy Wall Street and the G20 in Pittsburgh.

The police are suppose to protect and serve the community. Having this vehicle will only create distance between the citizens and the police.
And again, if this vehicle is for rescue purposes only, why would the police object the proposed amendment of not using it against protesters.

I sincerely hope that your term as mayor will be more transparent and create more trust within the Santa Cruz community.

Thank you,
Abbi Samuels
President of In Integrity, Inc.
A software consulting firm specializing in databases

QUESTIONS given to Santa Cruz City Council on 12/9/14
Questions About Proposal by the Santa Cruz Police Department to Acquire a Regional Emergency Response Vehicle

1. Does the grant fully fund the acquisition of the vehicle?

2. Is the cost of the vehicle exactly $251,293 (the sum of the $220K grant and $31,293 portion of the 2013 allotment)?

3. Are there any specific obligations incumbent upon the city if we accept money to acquire this vehicle?

4. What other ways could the city use this grant money if not for the proposed vehicle?

5. Does acceptance of the grant include limitations on the future disposition of the acquired vehicle?

6. What will be the ongoing costs to maintain this vehicle?

7a. Where will the vehicle be garaged?

7b. Will any modifications to that location be required, and at what cost?

8. Would this be used by just any member of the police force, or only by officers who have had special training?

9. If there will be special training, who will provide it, what will it consist of, and where will it be held?

10a. What will be the cost for any special training?

10b. How many officers will receive this training?

11. What other upfront or ongoing fiscal impacts will this have on the City?

12. What is the deadline to accept this grant?

13. If this is a regional vehicle, to be shared by multiple agencies or jurisdictions, do we have a formal arrangement with those other agencies to help with the ongoing costs?

14. Will the officers of other agencies be required to have special training in order to use the vehicle?

15a. What is the proposed vehicle? A tank, an ambulance, a bus, something in between?

15b Is this a contemporary rescue vehicle like an ambulance or is it an armored military-style vehicle?

16. Do you have pictures and detailed specifications of the vehicle?

17. Is the vehicle new or used?

18a. Where is it coming from?

18b, Was it deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan?

18c. Elsewhere?

19. What is its expected useful life?

20a. How heavy is it?

20b, Will its use affect our roadways?

21. What would be the purpose of the vehicle?

22. What are some specific examples of how it would be used? (The proposal was quite vague about potential uses.)

23. What are some historical examples of vehicles of this type being used in other jurisdictions?

24. What guidelines would there be on its use? (Shouldn't we discuss guidelines before acquiring it?)

25. How will acquisition and use of this vehicle affect the public’s perception of the Santa Cruz Police Department?

26. Is the City Council aware of the urban infrastructure damage that occurs to pavements and streets with armored / mRAP vehicles?

27. If it is an emergency vehicle, please give us examples of how it will be used.

28. If it is an emergency vehicle, please give us examples of how it would have helped us in the past.

29. Is this the best use of money in our community?

30. What are the ramifications of continued grant support from DHS to SCPD?

Abbi Samuels is also Food not Bombs and peace activist who, with others, has restored that organization in Santa Cruz to relevance, regularity, and health. Food Not Bombs feeds every Saturday and Sunday at 4 PM on the sidewalk next to the main Post Office in downtown Santa Cruz. They seek volunteers and can be contacted in person at their feedings or via facebook at Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs
by Brent Adams
Wednesday Dec 17th, 2014 1:59 PM
Is this what democracy looks like?
by John Cohen-Colby
(john.roncohen.colby [at] Friday Jan 9th, 2015 5:59 AM
I'm interested in starting a City Council video watch group just like GuerillaGorilla Advocacy is working on creating a Santa Cruz Copwatch group. I think I have enough, or can obtain another video camera dedicated to City Council meetings. Between Brent Adams and us, we can cover the entire City Council proceedings for later video editing and upload to youtube then promotion on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Let's do it!!!
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