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Indybay Feature
Rumblings of Resistance After the Council Crushes Reform?
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at]
Sunday Mar 13th, 2016 12:54 PM
I distributed the following flyers at the March 8th Council Meeting, pretty much expecting that in spite of reasonable argument, strong presentation, and majority testimony, the City Council majority would easily vote down the proposed ordinance changes. It was a disgusting, discouraging, and enraging yet predictable experience. Here are a few notes.
I made some earlier comments anticipating the Council voter at ("Sleeping Ban at City Council; Freedom Sleepers in 35th SleepOut ").
I analyzed the substance of the Lane proposal and the process by which it was created on a radio show archived at (the March 6, 2016 show). There is also follow analysis in the early part of the March 10 show at .

The entire video of the Council meeting can be found on the City's website at if you are a glutton for punishment.

I've reviewed in detail (probably too much detail) the Council "discussion" prior to its crushing the Lane proposal 5-2 at .

On the positive side, Lane finally adopted the position that homeless people generally, most homeless activists, religious groups, student organizations, numerous social service agencies, and even timid liberals have held for years: sleeping is a need and a right.

Turning sleeping into a crime permanently hurts the poor. It is fiscally stupid. It does not serve the community's interests. It embitters/divides us. It also deepens the police state, maintaining (and this is nothing new) a pariah underclass, denied the rights everyone else takes for granted. Nice incentive to keep working shit jobs and paying rent, of course. If you're not a part of the gentry, move out or get busted for sleeping.

Will the community do nothing while unhoused people continue to be treated like dirt to be hosed away? So far--yes. But there are rumblings of mutiny.,

Freedom rider and more recently Freedom Sleeper Phil Posner has called for a real response to the Council's craziness.

Activist Elisse C. recently sent out an e-mail asking for folks to gather next Tuesday before Freedom SleepOut #36 on 3-15 at 3 PM.

In other cities like Salinas on March 22nd, middle-class activists and unhoused folks are fighting back: .

Silence gives consent. But do the good liberals and the nervous progressives of Santa Cruz want to take the risks of actively opposing Trumpism in Santa Cruz (in Democratic Party garb, of course).
§Proposed Additions to Lane Changes
by Robert Norse Sunday Mar 13th, 2016 12:54 PM
These changes were circulated a week before the meeting, even though Lane excluded me (and other activists) from his meetings. Lane included the addition of "sleeping bags" to diluted language; Posner added the suggestion that sleeping equipment shall not be used as evidence of camping crime. Needless to say, neither passed. Important to clarify, though, what's needed. Far more, of course.
§Staff Stonewalling at City Council
by Robert Norse Sunday Mar 13th, 2016 12:54 PM
In spite of multiple requests, the SCPD refused to provide access to the citations they gave under the camping ordinance (specifically holding back race and address). The request was made months ago. Councilmember Posner also declined to make a written request for this information though he made the request verbally to the police chief, I was told. So there's no documentation that the staff is directly frustrating a relevant and timely request for data that bore directly on the
Council debate.
§Wake Up the Community Conscience
by Robert Norse Sunday Mar 13th, 2016 12:54 PM
An early attempt to recognize, even prior to the Council meeting, that Lane's proposal was likely to fail. The real issue then is a sustained response, building on the abusive City Council response and, hopefully, public outrage from those watching.
§No Rest in the Right-to-Rest Struggle
by Robert Norse Sunday Mar 13th, 2016 12:54 PM
A second attempt, distributed at the Council meeting, in the hopes of encouraging people to reassemble to engage in stronger action.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by dogwood
Monday Mar 14th, 2016 2:07 PM
It is necessary for the protection of our lives that we stop the criminalization of Sleep! We need to protest and come together against this assault on our freedom!
There are some things that must remain free if we are to be able to be anything like a free people with anything resembling free will.
One of these is sleep. The last line of this published piece ends with "Discredit the five..." (please read all of it)!
The protection of people, possibilities and our human freedom depend our awareness of what is happening here in our city in terms of the overall treatment, not only of the poor and homeless people, but around the whole issue of sleeping outside. I see this as being more about freedom and imagination and our relationship to other aspects of life, like looking up at the stars at night, and falling asleep in a meadow!
We need, I think, to change the overall discussion publicly and it is crucial that we not let the petty minded, the greedy and the narrow interests of property owners dictate the laws of our city!
To be human, and even to be productive, does not always or even often correlate with being a "good capitalist" or property owner, or business person, or accountant.
Some things, in fact life itself needs to not be turned into a commodity! Stop the profiteers! Let's create a beautiful city, open and free!
This is about protecting nature, our natures, our minds, the imaginative realm, the areas of the unconscious, nature, sleep, human consciousness, our relationship with everything outside of us!
Hands Off Cynthia Matthews, and the ugly other 4! Leave our sleep alone! I want the next generations to be able to be free and enjoy sleep and the night, and not be criminalized!
Stop working to own and control our world!
Discredit the 5 and stay alive, let them not slay sleep under the stars, unless we forget this world is ours!
Please Come to the Town Clock at 3 o'clock tomorrow, Tuesday, March 15, 2016, in an emergency response for All of us who want to protect our freedom!
This human realm of existence is NOT for the petty and the few to dictate!
Down with their hostility and ignorance against the larger, wider, loves and laughter, sleep and nature, imagination and the wild, humans and sometimes, the poor!
We will have a speak out for a short time from 3 to 3:45 pm, then we will march down Pacific Ave and turn right onto Laurel Street then turn right up Center Street and march up to City Hall.
Loosely, we will attempt to be there at City Hall by 5 o'clock and we will join the Freedom Sleepers there!
These tremendously resilient activists and sleepers will be sleeping for their 37th time, (I think?, if not it is the 36th, right?).
There we will continue our "speak out"- "mike check" style, starting about 5, and have an open "mike" against the Council's petty, peevey, and parsimonious vote against Don Lane's proposed amendment, which would have decriminalized the act of sleeping outside in the city of Santa Cruz, that was struck down by those freedom destroyer 5!
There we will come together, I hope as a larger community of free people who are willing to fight for our freedom, however non-violently!
We need to grow our ranks of informed people, homeless people are some of the very best people!
We are resilient, and creative and strong!
We homeless are beautiful!
by Jack London
Monday Mar 14th, 2016 7:08 PM
If you want the larger community, you need to hold the gathering at Clock Tower after 5:00PM when working people usually get off from Work!
by Razer Ray
Tuesday Mar 15th, 2016 11:24 AM
This city has done everything in it's power to destroy anything resembling any community here at all. From Street, to working class, to middle class, all driven away in the interest of making a profit from less-than-affluent TRANSIENT OFFICE WORKERS and STUDENTS, who generally have no emotional or any other kind of bonds to the community.

That IS what gentrification does to a city, and that's not all it does. It destroys any creative spirit... Because the only kind of creativity the 'gentry' understand is 'creating profits'.
by IndyRadio
Tuesday Mar 15th, 2016 12:26 PM
How soon will a federal lawsuit be filed? When this happens, it will affect the county as a whole. There is a local attorney with 2 related cases in progress, as you may know.

Certainly the council members know this. The question is where do they deliberate and how long are the betting on the survival of their charade. At least 3 of need to be voted out as the result of their conduct on this issue.
by John Cohen-Colby
Wednesday Mar 16th, 2016 5:29 PM
Santa Cruz politicians will pay dearly for supporting anti-homeless hate mongers. Santa Cruz is like a town taken over by the KKK. Pass the popcorn.
by Laudable Lawyers (posted by Norse)
Thursday Mar 17th, 2016 8:32 PM
Los Angeles is a huge City whose homeless population downtown is many tens of thousands. In 2006-7 the federal courts in response to legal work drawn up by attorney Carol Sobell gave us a "no legal place to sleep? then no law against sleeping on the sidewalk." It prompted protests in front of Neal/Ryan Coonerty's Bookshop Santa Cruz.

Ryan Coonerty was Vice-Mayor at the time and had just given us the "Parking Garage Paranoia" law which banned the community for socializing, reading...dancing, or sleeping in the city's parking garages (then expanded to all city-run parking lots downtown). He and the City Attorney refused to accept the Jones decision, prompting the Homies for the Homeless protest in 2007 at City Hall, followed by the 3-month long PeaceCamp 2010 protest, the San Lorenzo Encampment next to the Occupy Santa Cruz protest, and most recently the Freedom Sleepers.

With many angry and discouraged by City Council's latest gouge in the gut for those outside on March 8 with its retention of the Sleeping Ban, it's good to be aware that folks are fighting back---in protest encampments (like Salinas and Sacramento) and/or in the courts like in Los Angeles

I regard the two lawsuits filed down south as encouraging news--again with Carol Sobell in the lead. describes one.

The other hasn't been widely publicized but defends the rights of homeless activist Peggy Lee Kennedy to gather petititions and flyer on the Venice beach.
by G
Friday Mar 18th, 2016 6:44 AM
I believe it's Sobel (and 9th Circuit judges) burying the Los Angeles attorney during oral argument for Desertrain v. Los Angeles (2014).

Carol Sobel is also involved with the National Lawyers Guild, Southern California ACLU, and the National Police Accountability Project. The world needs many more lawyers like her!
by GT
Friday Mar 18th, 2016 7:19 AM
The California Law Review printed an article several months ago regarding the Desertrain ruling. The writer posited that the ruling actually did more harm than good and sets limits on the judicial review of local ordinances.
In that article, Walter suggests that Desertrain v. Los Angeles and Papachristou v. Jacksonville are theoretical wins, not practical wins. Harvard Law Review (See: suggests incorporating Pottinger v. Miami (1992). It would be nice if the duct tape cites held, wouldn't it? The same problem Walter describes resurfaces when a given Legislature dares to author a law (even Liu, whom Walter has apparently worked with) that will be abused or ignored by habitual oppressors (such as the Coonerty's). If the Executive branch is so bold (as seen in the recent DOJ Statement Of Interest), it is also ignored. But it's these very details that reveal the farcical nature of Rule Of Law, as implemented. It's these very details that illuminate the exhaustion of redress. It's these very details that make plain to a candid world what will no longer be tolerated.
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