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Indybay Feature
Taking the Sleepbusters to Court
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at]
Tuesday Feb 10th, 2015 12:18 PM
On the advice of an activist attorney, HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom) has begun helping homeless people victimized by the City's Sleeping Ban law to go to Small Claims Court for sleep deprivation damages. Some of the background is set forth in the speech below I also include a volunteer sign-up list. Those interested in helping with this project should e-mail me or call HUFF at 831-4232-4833. You can also e-mail City Council to end the Sleeping Ban or call them at 420-5020.
This speech was directed at the Santa Cruz City Council and the Santa Cruz Community at today's meeting.
§Sign-Up List
by Robert Norse Tuesday Feb 10th, 2015 12:18 PM
Circulate and leave list at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific, or at the Food Not Bombs table Saturday and Sunday 4-6 PM outside the Main Post Office.
§Sign Up List
by Robert Norse Tuesday Feb 10th, 2015 12:20 PM
Contact HUFF at 831-423-4833 to help.
§Text of Speech
by Robert Norse Tuesday Feb 10th, 2015 12:21 PM
End the Sleeping Ban or Pay the Victims
Speech by Robert Norse to Community and City Council 2-10-15

Three homeless people have filed four claims against the City for being awakened at night and given citations for sleeping between the hours of 11 PM to 8:30 AM at night. This in a city where homeless camping is not only effectively illegally but regularly persecuted with seizure of homeless survival gear, tough treatment of homeless sleepers, and a habitual refusal to acknowledge basic human rights for the poor outside without options. Thnere has been a massive expansion of such citations. In two days the city's additional Stay Away penalizations will be intensified against homeless people sleeping where they must—in the many areas overseen by Dannette Shoemaker's Parks and Recreation Department.

The documentation for these claims unlike those of other presumably housed people filing other kinds of claims is not included with the Agenda packet. This makes it difficult for those who wish to speak on this issue to be adequately informed. City Administrator Bren Lehr declined to include this material, but said she'd make it available in 10 days if I filed a formal Public Records Act request. But we and the public are here today, not 10 days from now. And the issue is on your agenda for today, yet the public is not given the relevant documents.

Santa Cruz has a camping ordinance MC 6.36 which includes the notorious Sleeping Ban, MC 6.36.010a, the Blanket Ban, and the Camping Ban. Penalties, contrary to the impression given by your staff in its report on bail (item 6 on the Consent agenda), are $157 with court costs—making it ever more difficult for homeless people to get off the streets.

Homeless people and their advocates seem to be left with little choice than to take you to court. Since homeless people generally can't afford lawyers, these individuals and many like them (there were hundreds of Sleeping tickets given out last year) will sue you unless you repeal this ordinance.

There is clear medical evidence that sleep deprivation creates physical and psychological harm. This is particularly true if those awakened at midnight are disabled. We'll be presenting such evidence in court per individual defendant in Small Claims Court. The playing field is slightly more level since lawyers are not allowed there. This process may also save the City money since it won't be tempted to squander several hundred thousand dollars defending an indefensible practice as it has done in the past—say with the Council's decorum rules punishing homeless advocates.

The courts and the community will be presented with what you are probably already aware of—the damages of sleep deprivation. We are asking for $2500 per incident. Each time an officer violates a homeless person's privacy, health and safety—we shall encourage them to take the issue to the courts. And if we fail at first, will try again and again. , We'll be there until you repeal this inhumane and abusive law—which materially injures people already under massive disability. We live in a first world country in one of the richest countries in the world. It's time Santa Cruz started living up to its undeserved liberal reputation.

It's time to abandon laws and practices that hurt the most vulnerable. In the long run it will not only be more sane, humane, and sensible, but also more cost-effective. We need to acknowledge our poor and addresses those problems with more than waiting lists, pie-in-the-sky studies, token programs, and ever harsher laws. A just state will be cheaper than a police state. That has always been clear.

Petition by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 309 Cedar PMB #14B S/C. 2-10-15

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Robert Norse
Tuesday Feb 10th, 2015 12:23 PM
Take the SleepBusters to Court
Volunteer to Help Homeless People Fight Back !

Cops and rangers continue to give sleeping citations to homeless people with no legal place to lay their heads. The new Stay-Away law adds an extra level of abuse to these thinly-disguised “get out of town” laws. There is legal shelter for less than 5% of the homeless community in Santa Cruz.

Homeless people are now filing claims for sleep deprivation against those who insist on waking them at night with flashlights and ticketing them with $157 citations.

We plan to assist homeless people go to Small Claims Court.
We need folks to provide moral support for homeless people dealing with that Court.
Please include contact information and skills to help with subsequent action.
PLEASE PRINT, DO NOT SIGN carefully and clearly.
This is a Volunteer List—you do NOT have to be over 21 or a Santa Cruz resident to help.

Name Phone/E-Mail Skills/Interests


Petition by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 831-423-4833 309 Cedar PMB #14B S/C. 2-10-15
by G
Tuesday Feb 10th, 2015 1:01 PM
Just askin'.
by Razer Ray
Wednesday Feb 11th, 2015 8:35 AM
Every time Robert starts a ticket collection nothing becomes of it.

Now he's sucking FNB into it.

by mr me
Friday Feb 13th, 2015 8:02 AM
It is 1st Amendment, 2nd Amendment, 4th Amendment, 5th Amendment, equal protection clause, post office clause, and the 42usc1983 (Klan Act).
by G
Friday Feb 13th, 2015 11:07 AM

Recent studies have shown that lack of sleep may be a culprit for increased risks of several health issues including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. One theory is that sleep deprivation causes metabolic changes including changes in the brain's metabolic pathway. Sehgal, et al found two metabolites common in both rats and humans that change after chronic sleep restriction, oxalic acid and diacylglycerol 36:3. Both are byproducts of two different metabolic processes, but behave similarly when rats or humans lack sleep.

For the human subjects and the rat models, a baseline reading of blood metabolite content was taken after a 12-hour fast and eight to 10 hours of sleep. Then, both groups were subjected to five days of sleep that was restricted to four hours per night. Blood was taken after one night to test acute sleep restriction and taken after five nights to test chronic sleep restriction. Finally, blood was taken after a "recovery" night of eight to 10 hours of sleep to see if the metabolic profile returned to baseline levels.

While there was variation in metabolite composition between humans and rats, both showed an increase in phospholipids after acute and chronic sleep restriction. The particular phospholipids varied between the two, but indicated that under restricted sleep, the metabolic processes are operating in an oxidative environment. Both rats and humans showed a distinct decrease in oxalic acid and diacylglycerol 36:3 levels. Additionally, both showed a return to baseline levels for most, but not all, metabolites after a recovery night.

The reasons for reduced oxalic acid levels are likely from reduced synthesis or increased gut microbiota processing, and not from dietary intake. It is unclear why diacylglycerol levels are reduced in both humans and rats. Even though more studies are needed to determine why these levels decrease in both humans and rats, because oxalic acid and diacylglycerol 36:3 responded similarly in both species, they can serve as biomarkers for sleep loss.

State sanctioned and imposed ill health is a direct violation of the Constitution of the state of California. As this damage is known, testable, and easily avoidable, all parties that promote, condone, and implement this unjust, cruel, and inhumane treatement must be investigated, prosecuted, and incarcerated to the fullest extent of the law. If those with jurisdiction knowingly fail to act, they too must be investigated, prosecuted, and incarcerated to the fullest extent of the law, as clearly explained by the (in)famous 'broken windows' hypothesis.

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