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Indybay Feature
Hundreds Protest Approval of Police Attack Vehicle Purchase at SC City Council Meeting
by Alex Darocy (alex [at]
Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
On January 13, hundreds of residents attempted to attend the Santa Cruz City Council meeting to oppose the council's December decision which approved a police department request to accept Homeland Security grants totaling more than $250,000 earmarked for the purchase of an armored attack vehicle. When residents first found out in early December about the proposed purchase, police described it as an "emergency response and rescue vehicle" in a report sent to city council members prepared by Deputy Chief of Police Steve Clark and approved by Chief of Police Kevin Vogel. The public later found out that police intended to purchase a Lenco "BearCat." BearCat is an acronym, standing for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck. [Top photo: Santa Cruz City Hall. Scroll down for more photos.]
Community members began to rally at City Hall at 2pm in the courtyard adjacent to the council meeting. The BearCat issue had not been not placed on the January 13 agenda by any of the city council members, but Mayor Don Lane announced that extra time would be added to the oral communications period at 5pm (which wound up extending the period by about 45 minutes beyond the standard 30 minutes). Only a fraction of the crowd was able to speak about the BearCat in the time allotted for the community. With a 140 person capacity, the council chambers was overflowing with people, and an attempt was made to set up speakers to broadcast the meeting to people shut out of the meeting. A wide variety of political groups in Santa Cruz organized separately and together to achieve such a large turnout.

John Malkin, who is a journalist and a local specialist on police accountability issues, was the first to address the city council about the BearCat during the oral communications period. He urged the council to, "please rescind the grant approval and organize a public study session about this grant, and the BearCat, and the process by which grants come to city council and come to the Santa Cruz police."

Malkin also asked that the council implement a procedure that used to exist for Santa Cruz that requires police to notify the city council and the public before they apply for grants.

Shortly after the December 9 BearCat approval, a group of activists met with Mayor Lane to discuss the issue, and they were invited to give a short presentation on January 13, which was delivered by Abbi Samuels of Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs. She spoke on behalf of a coalition of eight individuals which included members of the local chapters of the ACLU, WILPF, People's Democratic Club, Code Pink, and Food Not Bombs, as well as a first responder and a civil rights activist.

The purpose of the presentation, Samuels said, was to give reasons why the BearCat order should be rescinded, as well as to introduce a proposal to change the process by which the City of Santa Cruz acquires grants.

One reason to rescind the BearCat order is "perception," she said. "What does it look like in our streets to have military vehicles?"

Deploying a military-style assault vehicle for use on the streets of Santa Cruz would impact the way people react to the police, Samuels said. It would be like treating citizens as "combatant enemies."

"Policing is becoming dictated by the Department of Homeland Security's notion of combating terrorism," Samuels said.

The $250,000 for the BearCat would come from two grants: one directly provided by the Department of Homeland Security, and another from monies made available by the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), which according to the FEMA website, "provides funding support for target hardening and other physical security enhancements and activities to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack."

Samuels said that according to their research conducted through Public Records Act Requests, records state the grants are to be used to acquire an anti-terrorism vehicle, as opposed to a rescue vehicle. The application for the grant submitted by police indicated the BearCat would be used as a SWAT team vehicle, she said, and activists don't believe that SWAT team activity is part of a "rescue team" vision of use for the vehicle.

Samuels said their research indicates that across the United States, BearCats are not typically used for rescue purposes. The most common uses are for drug busts, serving arrest warrants, and at peaceful protests. She said the ACLU has studied the use of vehicles like the BearCat and have found that their use in law enforcement tactics significantly increases the chance of property damage and bodily harm.

A persistent question asked by those opposed to the purchase of the BearCat is why didn't the police agree to an amendment to the ordinance that would guarantee the vehicle would not be used against peaceful protesters?

This point was especially highlighted during a speech from a member of Veterans for Peace that was given during the rally in the City Hall courtyard and again during the oral communications period.

"As veterans we once served for the state as agents of violence," he said.

"We were trained and authorized to kill on orders. That is why it is shocking, and I really mean that, shocking, to see equipment we used in combat now being used in our nation's streets against our fellow citizens, those of you who saw pictures of people in Ferguson."

"Armored personnel carriers, camouflaged uniforms, and assault rifles were never intended for local policing. In fact their use may often result in escalating, not solving, situations. When we arm and equip officers like soldiers going into battle, they will act like soldiers. It will not help to solve social problems using the equipment, techniques, and philosophy of war."

He said the militarization of police forces is happening all across the United States and wherever the organization has chapters.

During her presentation, Abbi Samuels asked why a similar vehicle that is not used for military purposes wasn't considered for purchase. She suggested the selection of a bullet proof bank vehicle that does not have military-style hookups for machine gun use, like the BearCat does.

Samuels noted that the City of Berkeley returned a similar vehicle in response to the public's opposition to it. Attack vehicle acquisitions have also been reversed or blocked locally in San Jose and San Leandro.

One individual opposing the BearCat speculated that Santa Cruz was eligible for this grant because defense contractor Lockheed Martin has a location close to the city at the end of Empire Grade Road.

According to police, an additional justification for the purchase is that the beach areas are designated as a protected Federal Buffer Zone with an "increased potential for public safety threats."

"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," the police stated. Police say some examples of comparable cities that have deployed similar vehicles include Santa Barbara, Huntington Beach, Pasadena, Pomona, Redondo Beach, San Luis Obispo, and Visalia.

Samuels discussed the timeline for the grant process, which was based on the limited information activists were able to obtain from Public Records Act requests. She said that in the Autumn of 2013 the grant was first applied for, and that all grants are processed by Deputy Chief Clark. In May of 2014, the grant was approved by the Homeland Security Department via telephone. There is no paper trail for when the Santa Cruz Police Department notified City Manager Martin Bernal of the grant approval. That date had to be sometime before December 2, when city staff first notified council members about the proposal. The item was then placed on the consent agenda for the December 9 city council meeting. Agenda items not seen as "controversial" are all voted on as a group in one motion by council members as part of the consent agenda.

During the December 9 meeting, police said if the council did not approve the BearCat purchase at that session there would be a loss of funds. A specific deadline date for the expiration of the grants was never given. Samuels said there are no city or police documents that confirm there would be a loss of funds if the grant was not approved at the December 9 city council meeting.

Samuels said the coalition of activists she met with are now proposing that grants over a certain dollar amount must go to the city council, be placed on the regular agenda, and be scheduled in the evening.

Council members didn't make any comments about the BearCat purchase at the January 13 meeting, and the issue was not placed on the agenda for the next council meeting.

Even though there were countless members of the public who were not allowed to address the city council about the BearCat issue, Mayor Lane invited Police Chief Vogel to speak after the public comment period was shut down.

Vogel outlined a set of policy guidelines for use of the BearCat that the police department threw together following the public outcry at the December 9 council meeting. Details given about the policy included what the chain of command would be within the SCPD regarding who is authorized to operate the vehicle, and what situations the vehicle may be used. Vogel said the new BearCat policy was vetted through Mayor Lane, and it was announced that the vehicle could be used to serve warrants.

Near the end of Vogel's presentation, community members began shouting out a deluge of questions for him. One woman asked loudly why it took seven months for the police department to draft the policy.

There were many other "outbursts" from the public at the January 13 meeting. There was a large police presence inside of council chambers due to the fact that the December 9 council meeting was briefly shut down when community members chanted "shame" repeatedly following the council's vote to approve the BearCat purchase.

Alex Darocy
§Rally at City Hall
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
§Veterans for Peace
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
§The Raging Grannies sang a special "BearCat" song
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
§Council Chambers
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
§Abbi Samuels
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
§Dru Glover of Project Pollinate
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
§Police ask a member of the public to leave on Mayor Lane's orders
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
§Council member Pamela Comstock wore a "Never Forget" shirt
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
Locally, the "Never Forget" design refers to when two Santa Cruz Police Officers were shot and killed in the line of duty in 2013.
§Chief of Police Kevin Vogel
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:11 PM
§Lenco BearCat
by Alex Darocy Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 4:14 PM
A Lenco BearCat used by the Nashville SWAT team (photo from Wikipedia).

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Steven Argue
Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 5:32 PM
For coverage that includes the larger breadth of those who called the demonstration and issues involved, see:

With Escalated Government Attacks on Homeless, Journalism, & Public Criticism and Increased Police Militarization, Protest Breaks Out In Santa Cruz and San Jose
By Steven Argue
by Predictable
Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 7:43 PM
Same old players, same tired stories. (Why no punch throwing this time; the cops didn't have their back turned like before?)
by Witness
Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 9:41 PM
Steve Argue made the simple demand that the public be allowed to speak and was immediately threatened with arrest. He did nothing wrong.
by Robert Norse
Sunday Jan 18th, 2015 10:14 PM
Thanks, Alex.
by Steven Argue
Monday Jan 19th, 2015 7:55 AM
A troll in his or her defense of police repression hides behind anonymity and posts the following slander:

"Same old players, same tired stories. (Why no punch throwing this time; the cops didn't have their back turned like before?)"

Police claims of a sucker punch from behind are both false and not really very relevant. Film proves that I punched Officer David LeFaver directly in the nose from in front of him. In addition, his bloody nose and claimed injuries are not consistent with an attack from behind.

More importantly, my punch was 100% justified and necessary to save a woman and child from police brutality.

Officer David LaFaver was brutalizing this woman and child at the May 22nd, 1999 violent SCPD attack on a peaceful protest against the U.S. bombing of Yugoslavia. The woman was screaming in pain and the child was screaming "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" in total fear of the police who were violently attacking his mother. I warned the cops to stop and then interfered with the force necessary to end Officer David LaFaver's criminal and misogynistic activity. I stepped in and stopped that brutality by punching Officer LaFaver in the nose, allowing the woman and child to escape without further harm.

Even the City government's own Citizen's Police Review Board carried out an investigation that found Officer LaFaver guilty of excessive force against the woman that endangered the child. As a result, I was told by an insider that Officer LaFaver was given the choice between resigning or being fired. LaFaver resigned.

After Officer LaFaver resigned in Santa Cruz, he joined the Sunnyvale police where he makes $150,000 a year. From Sunnyvale, I later got a call from a woman who had called the police as a result of suffering domestic abuse. According to her, Officer LaFaver arrived on the scene, but instead of being helpful, beat her, the victim, up.

I, for my part served 7 months in jail (mostly in solitary confinement where I eventually won a lawsuit for being brutally beaten in handcuffs by county jail guards), 3 years probation, fines, and suffer in trying to find employment due to a felony conviction on my record. All this was for stopping a brutal and misogynistic cop from continuing his crime against a woman and child at what had been a peaceful and legal demonstration against the U.S. war in Yugoslavia.

If there was real justice in the capitalist courts, Officer LaFaver should have been prosecuted and gone to prison rather than moving on to another over-paid police job and I would have never done a minute of time in jail for my defending a woman and small child from police brutality.

I was regarded as a local hero for the incident, with hundreds showing up to protest in my favor and a coalition formed specifically on the case. Supporting me locally in Santa Cruz also were the Coalition to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom, the Green Party and the Peace and Freedom Party, with the State Peace and Freedom Party also supporting me. Other groups that also supported me, as organizations, included Socialist Action, Socialist Organizer, the Spartacist League, the Partisan Defense League, Workers World Party, and the Progressive Labor Party. Internationally I had the support of the million member Bangladeshi garment workers union, the Workers Party of France, and the Workers Party of Algeria.

Protests did force the local Citizen's Police Review Board to conduct an investigation with an independent investigator (their first and last such investigation, having now been dissolved by the City Council for a number of years). Their findings were that excessive force was used against both the woman and child, putting the child at risk. In addition, they found excessive force was used against me.

A large liberal divide has existed in Santa Cruz for quite some time between those who back a local government that takes a leftist posture on many national and international issues while at the same time locally carrying out terrible police abuses against homeless people, racist profiling, and police repression against those who take a stand on local issues. Our protest against the U.S. war on Yugoslavia crossed that divide into local issues because we were protesting against a local Democrat Party fund raiser for Sam Far, a local Democratic Party politician, tied in with the local power structure, who supported the war. As a result of exposing this, we faced brutal repression from the local government.

Today, that divide cannot be made any clearer than by the so-called “Resource Center for Nonviolence” naming one of their rooms after Scott Kennedy, a Democratic Party politician who supported Santa Cruz’s worst anti-homeless laws and who supported the Santa Cruz police when it carried out violent repression of leftist activists. Today, that local power structure of the Democrat Party and its backers among the local petite bourgeois shop keepers and landlords are worse than ever with their continued tightening of anti-homeless laws and their purchase of a $250,000 Lenco BearCat armored assault vehicle through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

For coverage of the latest protest against that repressive and anti-homeless government, see:

With Escalated Government Attacks on Homeless, Journalism, & Public Criticism and Increased Police Militarization, Protest Breaks Out In Santa Cruz and San Jose
By Steven Argue

by Razer Ray
Monday Jan 19th, 2015 8:04 AM
This post's already turned into a steve argue discussion session.

At the meeting Brent Adams and his friends used it to pitch their sanctuary camp pipe dream

What we have here are self-aggrandizing narcissists with agendas roosting... No, I should say LEECHING.
by G
Monday Jan 19th, 2015 9:04 AM
Given your cheerleading for public defenders, local 'good cops', and the 'I got off' court system, I suppose it is to be expected that you would deride someone that actually resisted with direct personal action and ended up doing unjust time while simultaneously causing real change, locally (LaFaver got a gig elsewhere, tyranny can be like jello), instead of toothless rants about lamp posts and cocktails.
by Same Old
Monday Jan 19th, 2015 9:54 AM
More spam and misinformation from RR.

Brent spoke during the oral communications period about how the Warming Center opened when the weather dipped below freezing in December. Brent was the only person to speak about the Warming Center.

No one spoke about the Sanctuary Camp proposal during the meeting, except for one TBSC member during the parks stay away order agenda item.
by Register Peace & Freedom or Green
Monday Jan 19th, 2015 10:37 AM
This is quite an object lesson as we view a Democratic Party stronghold, the City of Santa Cruz, a city of 62,000, with an estimated 9,000 homeless, promoting the purchase of a tank vehicle that costs up to $300,000. Instead of permanently housing the homeless by taking over all empty housing units by right of eminent domain and by building housing for the homeless, this fascist organization, the Democrat-Republican Party, can hardly wait to spend $250,000 from the taxpayers for a tank to terrorize the workingclass, including the homeless, all of whom sell their labor for less than $80,000 a year, by definition. From Democrat Clinton, who bombed Yugoslavia with "depleted" uranium as well as Iraq, to Democrat Obama, who bombs many countries in the world weekly including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, et al; promotes proud Nazis in Ukraine, promotes Nazi Israel, as do both Democrats & Republicans 100% since Israel's 1948 inception and draws up a weekly kill list every Tuesday (due process was apparently not taught in his law school), the Democratic Party proudly proclaims that it has EXACTLY THE SAME FOREIGN POLICY as the Republican Party, and as we can see from the above article, they have EXACTLY THE SAME DOMESTIC POLICY. If you have had enough of this nightmare, change your voter registration right now to Peace & Freedom or Green, the only two peace and justice parties on the ballot. You can register online at
For more information, see
by Steven Argue
Monday Jan 19th, 2015 11:50 AM
"Razer Ray" has a record of posting anonymous misinformation on Indybay. As usual, he strikes again. Here he posts.

"This post's already turned into a steve argue discussion session. At the meeting Brent Adams and his friends used it to pitch their sanctuary camp pipe dream. What we have here are self-aggrandizing narcissists with agendas roosting... No, I should say LEECHING."

1. I've had my differences with Brent Adams, but the main obstacle he faces is a brutally anti-homeless city government and police force. I haven't scrutinized the details, but some of that work on the warming center seems to delivering some fruit and Brent does seem to be deserving of accommodation rather than attack. For these reasons, as well as some quality truth telling videos he has produced, I agreed he would be a good speaker for the event.

2. I made no attempt to make any of this about me in this thread, instead I:

a. Responded to an untrue attack against me in this thread.

b. Responded to how this article somehow missed some of the major demands of the demonstration. I repost for you the text of a flyer that was the basis of over 200 people signing up to go on Facebook and 90 people saying maybe, and with 5,400 copies distributed on the street as well (this was the online version, but the hard copies were only slightly different in directing people to the Facebook site):


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.

Protest being initiated by the Revolutionary Tendency and endorsed by Robert Norse. To endorse, get more involved, or donate money for flyers, talk to Steven Argue.

Analysis of meeting and anti homeless law that was delayed:
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

That was the flyer and Facebook event notice distributed. I put out that notice immediately after the December 9th meeting. Brent Adams and myself saying homeless lives matter is not self-aggrandizing, if we wanted to do that, there are many much easier issues to deal with. Here is an account of what happened at that Jan. 13th city council meeting:

With Escalated Government Attacks on Homeless, Journalism, & Public Criticism and Increased Police Militarization, Protest Breaks Out In Santa Cruz and San Jose
By Steven Argue
Show me.

First of all I'm NOT anonymous.

YOU know who I am as well as most of Indybay's staff and usually coterie of posters, commenters and I ALWAYS use the same handle, like a good commenter should. Only complete idiots or people who have nothing controversial to say use their real names (at their own PerSec risk).

Second. All my information is either backed immediately with facts from cited sources or are my PERSONAL OPINION based on DIRECT observation, and experience.

Show me the misinformation Steve or simply STFU.
by Predictable
Monday Jan 19th, 2015 2:28 PM
Argue, you continue to romanticize your exploits, at the expense of reality. A history of self-aggrandizing. You are the reason others can safely sell street newspapers, according to you. You got a bad sentencing for hitting the cop because your attorney Ben Rice was hostile and incompetent. It goes on and on. And then you said the video that we all saw of you blindsiding the cop was edited,and fake; the show Police Chases framed you.

But now you say that the real video shows your heroics? Could you please link us to that? Because my memory is of you running up from behind the guy, blindsiding him with a quick punch, and then continuing running away. But apparently I'm mistaken, per your recollection, which states that you boldly approached, gallantly punched, and stood your ground.

Please post the link to that film. You've stated the film proves your claims. Let's see that film.
by Steven Argue
Monday Jan 19th, 2015 7:06 PM
Obviously you are lying, or your memory is incorrect. There were three videos of the May 22nd event. They were a large part of the basis of the Citizen's Police Review Board ruling that excessive force was used against the woman and the fact that this was endangering the child, both of which I saved from that brutality. The version put out by the corporate media on the cop shows edits out all of the police brutality against the woman and child. This is a fact, but we all know how those racist pro-cop propaganda sources are pillars of integrity, don't we? How old are you? This all happened before there was Youtube so the unedited film is not online. I once had those videos, but they were stolen from my house. I do think I can locate them elsewhere, however, so I think I will take you up on posting them on Youtube when I get my hands on them.

As for Ben Rice, yes, he completely sold me out, but I would have never gotten a fair trial anyway. Nobody except for the extremely wealthy and cops get fair trials in the United States. In fact, for cops who even murder it is always way too "fair". It is a system that is geared towards treating brutal cops as above the law and incapable of doing any wrong. And for the wealthy, I would have taken Johnny Cochrane any day of the week. "If it does not fit, you must acquit." A poor radical who hits a cop, no matter how justified, will never get a fair trial in the United States, and I did not.

Murderous Cops, Liberal Snake Oil, & Revolutionary Solutions
by Steven Argue

It's time for Santa Cruz activists to support a massive Freedom of Information (FOI) campaign to expose the truth about the purchase, use and maintenance of armored assault vehicles by California cities and their police departments. Information is power. It's time for Santa Cruz activists to exercise some journalistic power instead of merely staging a few angry protests and then denouncing the government in public forums.

You must know, understand and expose your opposition: they most fear being exposed to the public as frauds, charlatans, tinpot dictators and advocates of (local) Big Brother. This is how we can fight (local) government and win.
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Jan 20th, 2015 11:53 AM
Protests are resuming next Council meeting against police abuse in Santa Cruz. This focuses on the Bearcat, but, many are also concerned about the traditional and recently escalated denial of basic homeless human rights as well as the local SCPD's racial and class profiling, cover-up of force actions, and other abuses.

Specific SCPD abuses are documented at
Fundamental changes needed in the SCPD:

Coverage of the Frame-Up of Steve Argue and the Whitewashing of SCPD Officer David Lafaver are covered below.

Link &

by ballot anarchism
Tuesday Jan 20th, 2015 1:58 PM
there are fewer homeless in sc than 9000 and the bearcat is not being paid for by local taxes.

i agree with you that we should do something through the ballot.
the bearcat might be an issue that people would rally against at the ballot box. but sc is not a party system. the republicans would always lose here if it was. instead we get right wing policy from the majority party of the left as you point out.

since santa cruz politics is issue based, not party based, re-registering in another party does little. a non-party grass roots political machine that can win elections door to door would be nice. but the democrats appear to have the only political machine in town. we could try to move that machine in our direction, like some people have recently done at our local aclu,
or we could build a new machine of our own.

the natural place to start, as usual, would be an easy to attend weekly meeting.
"Letter to Mayor Lane Regarding Restoration of the Right to Freely Record at City Council" at
by Razer Ray
Friday Jan 23rd, 2015 3:09 PM
Your presence in the area near the podium when you aren't speaking to the council so you can play with your Dee-Vices is an unwanted AND Unwarranted intrusion on the person speaking and everyone watching the proceedings.

It's really that simple Robert.

There's a MEDIA SECTION. Use it. You aren't 'special' (although some might say you are... in ways you wouldn't care to admit)
by Steve Pleich
(spleich [at] Thursday Feb 5th, 2015 12:11 PM
Many residents of our community continue to be concerned about the decision by City Council to accept a $251,000 grant from Homeland Security to fund the purchase of a Bearcat armored response vehicle. But regardless of where you stand on the purchase, I believe that there are a couple things that we can all agree on.

First, I believe that the community must be in possession of all the facts regarding this purchase before we can move beyond this issue. Recent revelations have shown that this is clearly not the case. Council Members were told that the Bearcat was needed to protect officer safety in first responder, weapons fire situations and that the closest vehicle suitable for this purpose was in Santa Clara County. Based upon this representation, they were told that the approximately two hour delay in the arrival of this vehicle when requested would pose a grave danger to officer safety in “live fire” situations. What council was not told was that Scots Valley has a ballistic armored vehicle which arrived at the site of the tragic officer shootings in 2013 within 20 minutes of request and that the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office owns at least one armored vehicle available for emergent situations. In the absence of this basic information, how can council or concerned citizens come to an informed and knowledgeable opinion about the Bearcat purchase? I think we can agree that we cannot.

Secondly, the issue of the militarization of law enforcement impacts our community far beyond the simple fact of the purchase. It raises an issue of trust between residents and police. Every incoming police administration in recent times has called for a policy of community partnership to bridge the perceived divide between law enforcement and the citizenry. Over the past several years, many members of the community have worked tirelessly to establish a “bond of trust” between officers of the law and the residents they are sworn to protect and serve. The seeming disinformation concerning the need for the Bearcat and the growing fear that the department is being progressively militarized without public input is threatening to destroy all the work that has been done in this respect. Indeed, I believe that the Bearcat purchase may irrevocably breach this “bond of trust” we have all worked so hard to create and maintain. We must not allow that to happen.

Finally, it was reported that singer Patti Smith sang a chorus of “Give Back the Bearcat” to a sold out crowd at the Rio Theater and similar calls to action were heard during the Angela Davis address at the King Convocation. While that alone may not inform public opinion in any significant way, it does highlight one irrefutable fact. The wider world is watching how our community responds to pressure brought to bear by the federal government to militarize local law enforcement agencies. How we respond will be a reflection of what we value as a community. And that is something we can all agree on.
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