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Indybay Feature

Take Back Santa Cruz (TBSC) Targets Homeless RV Dwellers 8/8/2015 Santa Cruz City Council

by watcher
TBSC encourages members to lobby Santa Cruz City Council to drive homeless RV dwellers from the City. The first step in getting a county wide ban that would limit RV usage to property owners and those wealthy enough to afford a place to store their RV.
For years Take Back Santa Cruz (TBSC) has been targeting homeless people as a method of supposedly trying to make Santa Cruz safer. The claim by TBSC leaders is that they are targeting criminals not the homeless. When one examines how TBSC organizes it's members into a group action as well as reads what the core TBSC activists think, it is pretty clear to see that rather than try to craft solutions that won't unnecessarily harm some of the most vulnerable in our population, that TBSC prefers solutions that utilize a shotgun approach. The result is that Santa Cruz, a supposedly liberal political bastion, sports a comprehensive stew of some of the most oppressive laws which criminalize a wide swath of poor, unhoused people who are simply trying to survive without having a roof over their head. (Not all of this happened under the more conservative TBSC watch. So called progressives have happily instituted their own pain upon the poor in order to keep downtown merchants and property owners happy.)

RVs as well as cars are places where otherwise homeless people can seek shelter from the elements and in the case of RVs have a place to perhaps store food or keep personal items. Much of coastal CA was well as a number of inland areas have become cost prohibitive for many people to afford to buy or even rent a home or apartment. All they have is a vehicle to dwell in.

TBSC seem mostly focused on the fact that some people who inhabit RVs (like some people who inhabit homes) are involved in illegal activities. Rather than focus on the illegality alone, any RV suspected of housing an otherwise homeless person is frequently spied upon, reported to authorities, reported on various Facebook and neighborhood groups where both occupants and their vehicle's photos prominently displayed. There is a large contingent in TBSC and other neighborhood groups who are convinced that RVs are mostly mobile meth labs and drug dealers. That some are really mobile prostitution homes. And so on.

TBSC lobbying for community members to support an RV ban goes like this:all threads on TBSC Facebook page MUST be approved by TBSC leadership. This means that ONLY threads which the leadership want to gain traction get approved for readers to view. This week no less that 2 threads have appeared commanding the group's members to act in support of a city wide ban on RVs. There is a discussion but the discussion isn't to challenge the command set forth by TBSC leadership and admins rather it's mostly intended to get the rank and file excited to show up to City Council meeting and talk about how dangerous RVs are to the community.

A few years back TBSC got caught by a local publication that discussed how a local homeless man was being spied upon by TBSC members and how his vehicle was being photographed and posted on TBSC FB page as some sort of pariah.

((The idea that people may react to traumatic events with anger, fear and intolerance played out last month for a 57-year-old homeless man named Frank Smith. Smith says he has been repeatedly harassed and photographed by members of Take Back Santa Cruz. Photos of him and his motor home regularly appear on the group’s Facebook page. He says he was most alarmed by an incident that he says occurred the evening of Friday, March 15 while he was sleeping in his motor home, parked legally on River Street.

He says he awoke to voices shouting profanities, banging on the outside walls of the motor home, and hands rocking the vehicle back and forth. Opening his door, Smith was confronted by a man and woman telling him belligerently how much they paid to live in their house and that he needed to get out of their town. ))

Since the publication of the article TBSC leadership and admins have been very careful to try and encourage members not to be hateful in their public letters and displays encouraging city leaders to enact more laws to criminalize homeless people. Hating on the homeless is fine for private consumption and behind the hidden walls of the internet but when in public, a different approach is needed. Besides evoking the safety issue by way off insinuating that RVs are pretty much all mobile meth labs, letter writers and potential speakers are encouraged to reflect how an RV ban is really an act of compassion--that it must be horrible to live in an RV, RVs that are owned by poor people are dangerous and that somehow a better life might exist if RV occupants could instead live peacefully out in the elements and under the stars freezing and wet in the winter like normal homeless people do.

The other tact has been to try and shift focus from the fact that TBSC members are targeting homeless people to be removed from their neighborhoods but rather to focus on the environmental effects that RVs have on the community. The extent of this effect isn't really debated because TBSC is often driven by conjecture and rumors and not really factual debate. Nor is any attempt being made to craft a solution to deal with potential waste issues, like for instance how the City of Santa Cruz has basically ignored all of the plastic debris that float out into the bay from the Boardwalk every weekend because the Seaside company tends to donate lots of $$ to certain city council members as well as employ a number of people in town. In the case of plastic garbage being carried out to our Marine Sanctuary, patience is a virtue and solutions are always on the table. On the other hand, when it comes to poor and homeless people in their unsightly RVs with potential waste issues, what is really desired is a total ban- a way to ensure that homeless RV dwellers can ultimately be removed from the county by way of tickets, citations, infractions, probable cause and the local police powers being brought down to move these people along and out of Silicon Beach.

For those who have access to the TBSC and Hall of Shame pages you are probably familiar with how the campaign is being waged. For those who are locked out, here is a very small sampling of what is going on:
by watcher
the faithful being rallied and jubilation that a bill intended to help homeless people from being criminalized was defeated by CA legislators.
by watcher
a bit more in depth and honest about what's behind the RV ban.
by watcher
how to quickly lobby city council by just doing what TBSC tells you to do
by watcher
everyone is on meth and a dealer and beware the RV because inside of everyone of them is a mobile meth lab!
by watcher
TBSC admins happily push the narrative of the mobile meth lab
Add Your Comments

Comments (Hide Comments)
by Real problem
I'm anti-campers on my street, and I'm not in TBSC. An RV doesn't have to be a meth lab to still bring real problems with it. And I know not everyone in a camper is a bad person, but I've had enough bad experiences with campers on my street that I'm in support of the ordinance. Some examples:

-A person in a camper has no commitment to my neighborhood. They come one day and are gone the next, or the day after. Real life experiences have been that this results in trash dumps on their way out, and I've had a septic tank dump right in the street.

-I've had a camper in front of my house for a few nights. Then one day, I came home from work, and the camper was gone..and my house was burgled. You can say coincidence; I can say not. Someone living in a camper right in front of my house has the easy ability to watch my routine, know when I'm gone, and then bug out after ripping me off.

-They tried this plan back in the 90's and it didn't work. (And save your keystrokes Mr. Norse, you're sanitized version of what happened then and your insistence that all of it's failures were due to the city and uncaring neighbors is a crock.). It didn't work. People were hiding bags of personal belongings in my hedge. Coming to my house and filling water jugs from my hose. Knocking on my door at 9pm to panhandle me. None of this happened before the camping leniency began, and it all essentially stopped once the camping experiment was ended.

If you want to identify a property for campers to use, maybe. If you want me to support free range parking overnight wherever campers desire, never.
by Suspicious TBSC Anons
I have seen this same cut and paste several times. It seems like anti-RV TBSC cut and paste propaganda to me.

No names or locations, of course. Just Vague, anonymous anecdotes.

Go to the City Council today and see if you can spot the TBSC trolls when they talk during the RV topic!
by Harry
Why don't you find the people who want to have RV's on THEIR street, and have the RV's park there.
by Anton
It's very fair to say that Take back is very much overblowing this issue, but there's still an issue there. Remember when Three Trees lot wasn't 20 minute parking? That's all moved down to the lighthouse now. Harvey West is another location, River St by CVS always has a couple and Almar is where I've seen that one in the bottom photo. I'm not sure why that one is still street legal. That plywood covers the fact that the frame is badly bent or even broken.

I'm not sure what you want. I've seen waste dumping. I've seen multiple spots taken up for hours on end. just brushing that off as just the bitching of people in Take back isn't fair to them or the people in RVs, who are going to suffer as a whole over the actions of a very small minority..
by what's the end result
unless there is some program put in place where homeless in RV's can legally be.

and since there is no program in place to deal with waste then you still end up having to deal with it anyways. it's just that people will be crapping in the forest.

TBSC just wants to kick the can down the road and try and make it someone else's problem-it's well known that TBSC has been a strong advocate for implementing new laws which result in homeless ending up being dealt with by law enforcement and thus criminal courts.

The problem with this is going to be the DOJ who is cracking down on these so-called solutions.
by The Seeker
It's interesting who TBSC allows to post on their page and who they censor and ban. Here's a quote from the group's founder Analicia Cube on taken from this interview on KSBW:

"It's dangerous for the camper. It's dangerous for the people confronting the camper. It's divisive. There were absolute verbal threats. None of this is OK. This is not how Take Back Santa Cruz operates. This is not how we as a community should operate..."

Clean Teamer Lisa Litten goes even further:

"He has not been back. He's not welcome back. We actually had a meeting, and if he shows up, we're all walking away."

Yet there it is, front and center, Mr. Collins posting away on TBSC. Be proud of your representatives, TBSC!
Listen to the oral arguments. Read the decision. If yet another illegal ordinance is fabricated, the City/County will be exposed to expensive legal damages when taken to higher courts. Has anyone demanded Staff write reports on the expensive legal exposure (both for buying expensive City/County legal resources AND paying expensive legal penalties)? How can elected representatives ignore such obvious facts? Is economic common sense that scarce? Is law and order really that farcical?

Meanwhile, back at the straw bale; let's play replace the target. Instead of RV parker, let's use financial fraudster. Obviously financial fraudsters should be removed from polite society ASAP. They steal trillions of dollars, negatively impacting communities/states/countries. Even if it's a only few bad apples, the entire profession (especially those convicted) should be expunged.

This of course ignores surfers, a documented source of Santa Cruz gang members, meth dealers, and pedophiles.

Would collective punishment of financial fraudsters and surfers be acceptable to TBSC? No? Does TBSC endorse theft, gangs, meth dealers, and pedophiles?! Sure, there are laws against financial fraud, theft, and pedophilia; but it can be difficult to document violations of those crimes, and we KNOW which groups generate them, so why does TBSC tolerate those sub-humans, at all?!
by Sylvia Caras
Too many are Insisting that "I was here first" and newcomers aren't welcome. From the Westside to the global immigration and refugee crisis.

What happened to the feeling of belonging, that this is our town to nurture and care for? From beach waste to cigarette butts, to needles and campers, now all troubles are delegated, to law enforcement, to health care, to great big systems.

And busy people at economic risk are afraid. Zero tolerance and zero risk and 100% safety are impossible standards. Risk is part of life and people who are other are so scary because there might go I.
by Real Problems
"Cut and paste propaganda" you called my post. Well, that's a nice attempt at invalidating it with no evidence. And you complain that I don't use my name so I must be trolling, while you yourself troll anonymously? Classic.

Tell you what, cut and search my post on google and see if it's a cut and paste...I don't think you'll find it because it's not. As for location? West side. Woodrow. 1990's, when all the campers congregated on Delaware by the lake and the streets started looking like Dawn of the Dead with all the drunks and heroin users stumbling around. The more recent case of being robbed; Branciforte, last year. My name? None of your business. I don't need nuts like Colby or Norse hounding me.
even though I have a nice home, nice cars, kids are fed, kids go to good schools, have access to quality medical care when we need it, travel around the United States and the world, have new clothes that fit, teeth are intact, have a college fund, a retirement fund, investments and a hefty savings and checking account, in short --have a life that 99.99% of the world would covet, I am a really angry person who is upset that dirty stinky poor people who don't have my privileged life think they can hang out on MY beach and in MY town.

It's MY town MY Beach, MY West Cliff MY VIEW. MIne MINE MINE MINE mine MINE MinE!! MINE!


(this summary of TBSC testimony brought to you as a public service so you don't waste your time watching a disgusting display of humans who don't give a shit about anyone other than themselves).
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