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Food Not Bombs Co-Founder Keith McHenry Faces New Criminal Charges for His Work to Defend the Rights of the Poor
Date Tuesday January 26
Time 10:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Location Details
Department 1 - Superior Court of Santa Cruz County, California
701 Ocean St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Event Type Other
Organizer/AuthorKeith McHenry
Emailkeith [at]

Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry is facing three misdemeanor charges in Santa Cruz Superior Court as a result of his work to defend the rights of the poor. The original case stemmed from an action where McHenry replaced 33 "blue artist boxes" on Pacific Avenue that had been removed by the city. On December 8th, Santa Cruz District Attorney Archie Webber told the court that a warrant had been issued for Mr. McHenry's arrest in a new case where he has been charged with "offensive words" under California Penal Code 415(3). The other new misdemeanor was 'Failure to obey a police officer' who claims he told McHenry to use a cross walk at City Hall at midnight during the Freedom Sleepers protest. Santa Cruz City Council member, Cynthia Chase, City Redevelopment Manager, Julie Hendee and two others came together to observe Keith McHenry and Abbi Samuel's December 8th court hearing. A hearing on the three misdemeanor cases was held on Wednesday, December 16th in Department 1 in Superior Court before Judge Paul Burdick. The District Attorney Webber offered a plea where McHenry would plead guilty to vandalism and have all other charges dropped. Mr. Weber told the court that if McHenry agreed to do this he would do two months in jail which the judge said could be work release. The DA also said the offer would include a years stay away from Pacific Avenue Mall and Assistant City Manager Scott Collins which would make it impossible for McHenry to continue protesting the city's anti-homeless laws. The offer makes it clear that city officials believe it important to silence McHenry's effective work in bringing attention to the criminal actions taken by the city against its poor. The next important court hearing will be held on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 10:00 AM.Please show your support by attending the hearings.


CALL 1-800-884-1136 TO GET INVOLVED
Added to the calendar on Friday Dec 18th, 2015 5:43 PM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

Misdemeanor jay walking?!

Were the 'fighting words' directed at inherently violent LEO, and Cheney-esque? Isn't there legal precedence precluding such silliness?

And Burdick let this wastefully expensive absurdity proceed?

Rule of law is a farce.

by G
Saturday Dec 19th, 2015 5:25 AM
I am not a lawyer. Shouldn't the DA and judge drop the 415(3) charge?

415(3) Any person who uses offensive words in a public place which
are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction.

Gooding v. Wilson (1972)
Lewis v. City Of New Orleans (1974)
Houston v. Hill (1987)
by Razer Ray
Saturday Dec 19th, 2015 8:54 AM
Was just reading that Keith stayed at an airbnb unit in Lima...

Airbnb is TRASHING Santa Cruz' housing market and helping keep prices astronomical for local workers. I can only imagine the kind of mayhem their presence is causing in the cities of Peru.

So much for "Sleeping is a right" when you give money to the people who keep us 'sleeping in doorways"

The "Sharing Economy" is a feudal, insular (among the affluent) economy. Shame on you for participating Keith...

Link: Harvard study shows airbnb housing practices are a return to red-lining and Jim Crow racial discrimination
Asking for a recent Apple/Microsoft non-coding convert to GNU/Linux.
it seems like you don't play well with others and the only way of doing things should be your way.

you're starting to sound like Brent Adams.
by Razer Ray
Saturday Dec 19th, 2015 4:32 PM
I don't play well with YOU. You wouldn't like the way I play anyway... Rough.

This CRITIQUE was intended for Keith. Perhaps he did not know about airtbnb and the so-called "Sharing Economy", and the damage it does to communities they, and Uber, and Lyft infest. If he reads this, he will. He's also much more intelligent than you. I know that because I know him and he'd have some response besides a not-so-snappy contentless comeback.

Here's some content... See "Sharing Rides, Hoarding Profits" by sociologist Darwin Bond-Graham: How the SF Bay area’s technology elite are destroying poor & people of color’s incomes by ‘Disruptive Innovation’. Some of the scummiest capitalists you’ve ever known such as GoldmanSachs have large investments in these kinds of companies... Including airbnb.
by avery
Sunday Dec 20th, 2015 7:56 AM
What's the significance of Chase and others observing the hearing?

The DA is Jeff Rosell. He doesn't often prosecute cases himself. Prosecutors who serve under him are Assistant DAs. There's a big difference.
by Robert Norse
Monday Dec 28th, 2015 9:12 AM
...of harassment by cops, hosts, security guards downtown under the "Move Along" and "Blue Box" laws (MC 5.43)? If so, please post what you've seen or experienced.

The current law reads:

5.43.005 DEFINITIONS. For purposes of this chapter, certain words and phrases are defined as follows:
(a) “Noncommercial use” means any political, civic, religious or other public service or charitable activity, including speech, or the distribution of literature, whether or not such activity is conducted with the assistance of a display device, and where the use is conducted for either the sale of merchandise or the solicitation of donations.
(b) “Display device” means a freestanding table, rack, chair, box, stand, or any container, structure or other object used or capable of being used for holding or displaying tangible things, together with any associated seating facilities. “Display device” does not include any street furniture such as benches or planters, any other structure permanently installed by the city of Santa Cruz or with the consent of the city of Santa Cruz, or newsracks placed in conformity with the provisions of this code regulating newsracks. “Display device” also does not include cloths, tarps or other materials which are laid upon the sidewalk and this chapter shall not be construed as authorizing persons to lay cloths, tarps or other similar materials upon the sidewalk. As used in this subsection, a table, rack, chair, box, stand, container or structure is “freestanding” when it is capable of standing alone without support and when, so standing, is perpendicular to the sidewalk.
(c) “Performance space” means a space designated by markings on the sidewalk within which musicians or other performing artists may conduct performances with the aid of a display device, including a receptacle for the placement of monetary donations. The locations of performing spaces shall be designated in accordance with procedures established by city council resolution.
(d) “Tabling space” means a space designated by markings on the sidewalk within which persons exercising free speech rights who are not performing artists may exercise those free speech rights with the aid of a display device, including a table. The locations of tabling spaces shall be designated in accordance with procedures established by city council resolution.

5.43.010 CONDITIONS OF USE. Unless authorized elsewhere in this code or by any other applicable law or statute, persons may place, erect, or maintain a display device on a public sidewalk for noncommercial uses only and for no other purpose, and only as provided in this chapter. A display device may not exceed six feet in height. A display device may not protrude onto the sidewalk beyond the performance space or tabling space in which the display device is permitted.

(1) In order to assure safe, orderly and adequate public access and pedestrian traffic on city streets and sidewalks, no display device in the C-C Community Commercial, C-N Neighborhood Commercial, C-B Commercial Beach, CBD Central Business District, and R-T Tourist Residential Zone Districts shall be placed in a location outside of a performance space or tabling space in which the display device is authorized for placement pursuant to this chapter.
(2) No person shall allow a display device to remain in the same location on the sidewalk for a period of time exceeding one hour. After one hour the person who placed the display device on the sidewalk shall not place a display device on the sidewalk within one hundred feet of the original display device location. After one hour the person who placed the display device shall not place a display device in the original display device location, or within one hundred feet of the original display device location, for twenty-four hours.
(3) Display devices used to display merchandise or other objects shall be at least twelve inches in height.
(4) No person shall be cited under this section unless he or she has first been notified by a police officer, public officer or downtown host that he or she is in violation of the prohibition in this section, and thereafter continues the violation.
(5) As used in this section, the term “person” shall refer to any individual person, group of persons or organization.
(6) No person shall place, erect, or maintain a display device for noncommercial use in an area for which a special event permit has been issued for a specific time.

5.43.021 EXEMPT ZONES. Notwithstanding the distance restrictions set forth in Section 5.43.020 the city council by resolution may from time to time designate exempt zones where display devices may be placed on city streets and sidewalks at locations where placement would ordinarily be prohibited by Section 5.43.020. In designating an exempt zone the city council shall first determine that the placement of display devices in the exempt zone will not impede or interfere with the safe, orderly and adequate public access and pedestrian traffic on city streets and sidewalks.

5.43.025 DISPLAY OR SALE OF MERCHANDISE PROHIBITED. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter or this code, it shall be unlawful for any person or organization to display, sell, offer for sale, rent, offer for rent, or offer in exchange for a donation goods, wares, merchandise, foodstuffs, refreshments, or other kinds of property or services in the following areas or in the following manner:
(a) On West Cliff Drive between Columbia Street and Beach Street;
(b) On Beach Street between West Cliff Drive and Third Street;
(c) On the vehicle and pedestrian thoroughfares of the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf or on the Municipal Wharf’s South End, Commons, and Agora;
(d) On the parcel of property abutting the ocean side of Beach Street between Westbrook and Cliff Streets (Assessor’s Parcel No. 05-341-03);
(e) On the Beach Street Promenade Deck;
(f) While accompanied by or in the custody or possession of a dog.
This section shall not be construed as prohibiting commercial events or noncommercial events in the foregoing designated areas which are conducted pursuant to, and in accordance with, Chapters 10.64 and 10.65 of this code.

5.43.030 NONCOMMERCIAL USE OF BENCHES AND STREET FURNITURE. No person, after having been notified by a law enforcement officer that he or she is in violation of the prohibition in this section, shall use any street furniture, including any bench, planter, utility cabinet or other street furniture or structure permanently installed on public property, for the display of anything whatsoever for any noncommercial purpose, nor shall they otherwise put such bench, planter, utility cabinet, street furniture or structure to a noncommercial use.

5.43.040 VIOLATIONS. Any person who erects, maintains, uses or causes to be erected, maintained or used any display device or conducts a noncommercial use in violation of this chapter is guilty of an infraction for the first offense. Any subsequent violation occurring within six months after the first violation shall constitute a misdemeanor. In addition to any other available remedies and penalties, any violation(s) shall be subject to the remedies and penalties provided for in Title 4 of this code.


WHEREAS, The Performance/Tabling Ordinance shall go into effect on December 18, 2014; and
WHEREAS, The Performance/Tabling Ordinance provides for the designation of performance spaces and tabling spaces in the Zone Districts referenced in Santa Cruz Municipal Code Chapter 5.43 and within which, respectively, street musicians and performing artists may perform with the assistance of a display device and others may engage in free speech activity with the assistance of a display device; and
WHEREAS, The Performance/Tabling Ordinance provides that performance spaces and tabling spaces shall be designated in accordance with procedures established by City Council resolution.
NOW THEREFORE, Be It Resolved by the City Council of the City of Santa Cruz as follows:
The City Manager, or the City Manager’s designee, shall be authorized to establish designated spaces … within which either street performers using display devices or others engaging in free speech activities using display devices, or both, can perform or engage in speech. Said spaces shall be delineated by markings on the sidewalk. Performance spaces shall be demarcated as follows: yellow sidewalk marking. Tabling spaces shall be demarcated as follows: red sidewalk marking. blue sidewalk marking. PASSED AND ADOPTED this 18th day of November, 2014 [by unanimous vote]

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