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Public Alert: Ticketing and Arrest of Free Expression on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz, CA

by The Jones/Skelton Report
The City of Santa Cruz is using our Police Force to ticket and arrest Free Expression in the public space. This video is 11 minutes of footage of the ticketing and arrest of artists Alex Skelton and Joff Jones for being "outside of a blue box" as per highly controversial Municipal Code 5.43.020.
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On Sunday, May 1 2016 Joff Jones and Alex Skelton were arrested for protesting and displaying art outside of a painted blue box in the public space. This is their third arrest resulting from their art and protests presence "outside of a blue box" in the public space since August of 2015.
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by Razer Ray
That's what they get for stepping outside the box. The BLUE box.
by Film The Police
Keep filming the police, producing videos, and publishing on Indybay.
by Film The Police
Keep filming the police, producing videos, and publishing on Indybay.

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by Film The Police
Screenshot from the video.
by Steve Pleich (spleich [at]
The First Amendment consists of 45 words added to the Constitution of
The United States by the Founding Fathers:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

It was primarily crafted by James Madison as one of 10 amendments known as the Bill of Rights. This document set the tone for the relationship between government and the American people, a relationship in which the people’s civil rights would be as paramount as the rights of the governing body. By adding the Bill of Rights to the Constitution, the founding fathers basically restrained the government’s ability to interfere in the lives of citizens.

So how are we to regard these freedoms as seen through the lens of the recent abridgment of these rights by the City of Santa Cruz? Dimly to be sure. For it seems that blind obeiscence to the Commerce Clause of that same Constitution has overridden any claim to commercial speech and assembly in our community. From the iconic local figures such as Tom Noddy and the Great Morgani to artists like Alex Skelton and Joff Jones who add life and vibrancy to our downtown, all are now subject to the seemingly myopic view that business interests must prevail over all. And how, you may ask, does that square with the 45 words handed down to us by the First Founding Fathers?

Thomas Jefferson said that the freedoms of speech and assembly provided by the First Amendment created a “great marketplace of ideas where each person was free to gather and exchange his or her ideas and opinions free of interference by one’s government”. As much in his day as in ours, artists, vendors and street musicians were an essential part of the social fabric. So much so that great volumes of case law and literature have grown up around the preservation of those rights particularly as applied to those who street performers and vendors entertain and brighten our daily lives.

Another equally famous American wrote, “This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the Gulf Stream waters…” Woody Guthrie was in his own right as great a civil libertarian as Jefferson but his words ring hollow in our community if they ring at all.

As Americans and as Santa Cruzans, we cherish the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment and never more so than when the timeless vehicles of arts and music convey them to us. In these days when we find our collective commitment to freedom tested we must not falter lest art and music be reduced to nothing more than a great wall of silence.
by Robert Norse
When are your arraignment dates for the last two busts?

Keep up the courageous work.
by Razer Ray
The founders also believed that ONLY MALE property owners (and begrudgingly, merchants) were CITIZENS, Steve, and if you were Black and miraculously in one of those categories, you were 3/5ths of a citizen.

The founders ABSOLUTELY FEARED Democracy. They heard all about what happened to scum like them in France. The Constitution was written for RICH WHITE MEN BY RICH WHITE MEN to codify property and trade rights among them, and the so-called 'bill-of-rights' was for the rest of the rabble. They did NOT want to add it to the constitution but their hand was forced by walkouts by the Pennsylvania delegation and other protests that threatened to scuttle the whole constitutional convention.

Ever since, those RICH WHITE MEN have reinforced THEIR constitution, and weakened or simply ignored OUR bill of rights. Don't like it? They own the police, armies and 99.999% of the high powered weapons in the country..

Fuck your founding fathers Steve. It's a MYTH. Along with your right to speak out. Ask the IWW guys from the 20s, or the people hounded by HUAC (which still exists in other guises)

Just like Justice for artists and poor people in Santa Cruz is a myth, and you Steve, are one of the major promulgators OF that myth around these parts.
At its Tuesday afternoon session, the Santa Cruz City Council will consider a proposed ordinance that would substantially change the guidelines for commercial vending in the downtown area. Notwithstanding the fact that many vendors view these new rules as unnecessary or unduly restrictive, the salient point is that the ordinance is being rushed through without the input or advisory opinion of the Downtown Commission. Members of that commission were, arguably, appointed on the basis of their knowledge of and experience in the downtown area yet these proposed changes were not offered for their review. Not only would the commissioners input have been valuable and informative, it would also have provided community members with the opportunity to speak to the ordinance before it came before council for a reading and vote. This is how the legislative and public process is designed to work. In my view, this is just another example of this council's distain for public opinion. Not news to be sure, but just as surely worth noting.
by Razer Ray
Got that? AFAICT the intent of allowing merchandising at all was to force street musicians, who are at economic disadvantage to the merchandisers because the viewer takes nothing away except for memories vs the merchandiser's arts or crafts, away, and then after all the street performers were forced by circumstance to quit the area, the city would then tell the merchandisers and artists that they had to go because of 'economic emergency' or somesuch... Well the street performers, whittled down in numbers, are still there but the city intends to simply finish the street vendors off by fiat, and there's NOTHING BESIDES PHYSICAL RESISTANCE that can be done.

If every 'blue box ticket' resulted in physical resistance, arrest and a MONKEY TRIAL in court, it would be possible to bring their whole corrupt nepotistic-to-business Just-Us system to a screeching halt. But unless EVERY street artist or craftsman does that, you're simply pissing in the wind, and I'll be damned if we can count on YOU Steve, to get any real legal assistance if that resistance DID occur. We're STILL waiting for feedback from your request for assistance to the ACLU for the Freedom Sleepers, and all we ever hear are #CricketsChirping, and your pandering posts on Indybay better suited for a Facebook page.
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