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|Long-Awaited Freedom Sleepers Mini-Documentary Will Follow SleepOut #48|
|Date||Tuesday June 07|
|Time||5:00 PM - 5:00 AM|
|Import this event into your personal calendar.|
On the sidewalk outside City Hall at 809 Center St. across from the Main Library downtown
The protest runs from Tuesday afternoon through mid-morning Wednesday.
|Organizer/Author||Keith McHenry (article written by Norse)|
|keith [at] foodnotbombs.net|
MORE SLEEPERS AS MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE GROWS?
An expanded response last week at Freedom SleepOut #47 numbered 20-29 sleepers on the sidewalks defying the City's anti-homeless 11 PM - 8:30 AM Sleeping Ban. No tickets were given there--though elsewhere and on other nights police continue to ticket and harass the unhoused community. MC 6.36.010 makes criminals out of anyone sleeping in their vehicles on any public property or "laying out bedding" after 11 PM ("the Blanket Ban").
PUNISHING THE POOR
Repeated failures to pay the $159 citation can lead to increased fines and a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $1000 fine. Missing court can also lead to a conviction that makes every subsequent minor violation for the next six months a misdemeanor. Santa Cruz is apparently unique in creating this law.
The Homeless (Lack of) Services Center has no emergency shelter available, long waiting lists for "path to housing" shelters, and a prison-like unwelcoming atmosphere for day services--that no longer include meals for those "not in the program". Not to mention an ID card requirement, a fenced off "campus", and roaming "security" guards. The Metro bus service is reportedly considering massive cutbacks impacting poor people to protect its "reserve" fund.
CRACKING DOWN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE CHARITABLE GROUPS
A toxic mythology holds that the homeless are “burdensome, dangerous, shiftless, disabled, and/or drug-addicted”. This kind of hysterical nonsense is spread by Take Back Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Neighbors, the Downtown Association, & apparently the staff of Santa Cruz City Council.
MHCAN, a previously liberal peer-oriented mental health group, reports severe pressure from hostile neighbors, police, and county authorities. In apprehensive response MHCAN has limited people served and advised people not to "loiter" nearby with an upsurge of 3-month exclusions reportedly raising the level of anxiety there.
The Red Church at Lincoln and Cedar no longer allows Monday evening meal participants to socialize on the grass outside, take their food outdoors, or even eat unless they get a special ticket. The AFC, a small group of churches, that puts up 20 people a night on a rotating basis, reportedly will evict you if you spend more than one Tuesday night a month with the Freedom Sleepers.
FILM SCREENING AT DEL MAR WEDNESDAY
The SocDoc Thesis Film Festival on Wednesday June 8th 6 PM will include a screening of a Freedom Sleeper documentary by Israel Dawson. Dawson and his partner Lauren. They took hundreds of hours of video in spite of police harassment, ticketing, and arrests in the first few months of the local civil rights struggle at City Hall. to achieve basic human rights for the homeless (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/02/18787179.php ).
PROTESTER PUSHBACK WITH DEMAND FOR VIDEO
On Monday Freedom Sleeper Robert Norse filed a demand with the City Attorney for release of all the video around the two tickets he received last year. The pleadings, drawn up by Steve Pleich and Kate Wells, claim he and other Freedom Sleepers were not guilty of violating MC 13.04.011, the "closed area" law used against the group.
Norse argues that the City Hall courtyard area where the Freedom Sleepers slept is inherently a zone where the right to peacefully assemble for a redress of grievances cannot be banned at night. Further the law itself states that being on a pathway through the area--which Norse and numerous other Freedom Sleepers were--explicitly exempts them from the law. Finally the City Council agendas were situated in the middle of the "closed" area and state law guarantees the public's right to 24-hour access to the agendas for a 72 hour period.
Police and city attorney have refused so far to hand over any video and photos police took of Norse. These would confirm that he was on the path, that he was trying to access the agendas, and that he advised police the Freedom Sleepers were at City Hall to peacefully protest City Council's Sleeping Ban law. All lawful constitutionally protected activity.
The City could face a federal civil lawsuit for false arrest. Perhaps a number of such lawsuits.
Norse’s hearing on his Motion to Compel the video evidence comes up Friday June 17 10 AM in Dept. 1. His trial is scheduled for a week later at the same time, but may be postponed.
COME ONE, COME ALL !
Meanwhile Dolan, Joey, Blue, and other long-time outdoor activists who've been mainstays of past sleep-outs are likely to be on hand with Keith and Abby of Food Not Bombs, and Zav of HUFF. They invite you to join them to enjoy some summer sidewalk sleeping tonight. Long-time civil rights supporter "Jumbogumbo" Joe Schultz will be providing coffee and perhaps soup.
HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) activists will meet Wednesday June 8th at 11 AM at the Sub Rosa Cafe and 703 Pacific to consider future protest actions.
For more event information: http://freedomsleepers.org/