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Indybay Feature

Freedom SleepOut #69 Dodges Wet Weather, Electoral Illusions

Tuesday, November 01, 2016
5:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Event Type:
Keith McHenry (story by Norse)
Location Details:
Along the edges of power--the sidewalks adjoining Santa Cruz City Hall--city staff conducts business as usual while homeless people hide and shiver as winter deepens. Our local 21st Century civil rights fighters gather for their weekly Tuesday night protest, complete with hot soup, (usually) hot morning coffee, and increasingly cold night winds. The gathering runs from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday morning as usual when police, rangers, First Alarm Security thugs, and the newly-arrived Guardian Angels are expected to resume harassment patrols around the library and City Hall.

Since election day is Tuesday, November 8th, Mayor Mathews and her Councilettes have decided to move up the regular Council meeting , normally the 2nd Tuesday in the month, to November 1st. There is nothing on today's agenda addressing either anti-homeless police behavior, failure to disclose audio and video of the SDPD's Sean Arlt shooting, winter shelter, conditions at the prison-like Homeless (Lack of) Services Center, or abolition of the Sleeping Ban.

Oral Communications--which Mathews reduced last time to 1 minute per speaker--is supposedly at 5 PM, but happened much later last week, and much earlier several weeks before. Mathews--who is running for reelection--apparently has no interest in fixing a time certain for the only public input the community has for items the Mayor does not want to put on the agenda. Council members have also threatened to expel and/or arrest those who show "disrespect" to the Council by speaking at the podium with their backs to the Council, addressing the audience.

Voting continues through the week until polls close on the night of November 8th. Steve Pleich, a regular visitor to the Freedom Sleepers has thrown his support to the "Brand New Council" group of Glover, Brown, Schnaar, and Krohn, though none have been especially active or vocal in opposing the Sleeping Ban. Leftie activist Steve Argue has given his analysis of the state Propositions on Free Radio (See -- two hours and fifty minutes into the audio file).

A hitherto unknown group of liberal-abroad, silent-at-home organizations called the Social Justice Alliance of Santa Cruz (SJA) will be throwing a free and open public forum at 6 PM today at Peace United Church, 900 High Street, to chat with SCPD Chief Kevin Vogel and other armed cops and "voice concerns" about the slaying of Sean Arlt-shot dead in 20 seconds two weeks ago for wielding a metal rake (and presumably not following orders). See for a laundry list of the "Social Justice" organizations involved.

HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom) has announced new "Cop Corner" (corner of Laurel and Center Streets)-- protests to begin 1:30 p.m. Thursday November 3rd. In the wake of the Arlt slaying and SCPD stonewalling, HUFFsters plans to table, provide coffee, alert motorists with signs, and seek community action. The group calls for a strong community rejection of numerous current police policies endangering the community generally and the unhoused in particular. See .

Santa Cruz police and rangers are reportedly harassing sleepers inside and outside vehicles around the library during non-protest days according to outdoor Copwatchers Pat and John Colby, who now live outside in their vehicle.

Santa Cruz's "roust the vehicular sleepers" policy is in sharp contrast to Santa Rosa, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and San Diego--other coastal California cities who have at least embryonic "Safe Parking" zones for vehicle dwellers. See .

After a weekend of often wet weather, predictions are for a five day break in the rain, though no break in the city-wide Sleeping Ban--the target of the on-going protests.

This announcement and entry was written by Robert Norse. He is responsible for its content. Keith McHenry and others are organizing and providing direct food support for the Sleep-Out
Added to the calendar on Tue, Nov 1, 2016 8:35AM

Comments (Hide Comments)
by Tell More
What's this about Guardian Angels? Who are they? Where are they from? What are they doing?
by Razer Ray
I won't go into a history of the group but they started as a 'ruggedized' internally-trained neighborhood/transit watch on the East Coast in the late 70s, similar to a 'good guy street gang' and morphed over the years to a national/international organization. Intended to be apolitical, franchising has to some extent changed that and I'm not sure exactly how much oversight is provided by the main organization. It's founder has been known to make somewhat right-wing statements (he's a war supporter and a patriot), but I've never heard of them being anti-homeless or interfering with encampments in any way like the jackasses from TBSC's spin-off groups (one of which included Sarah Leonard, director of MHCan's husband btw) has been known to do. The infamous, and fraudulent 'stick-poking' incident a few years ago filmed by Leonard's husband would have SURELY gotten the members who did it ejected from any Guardian Angel organization if it had actually occurred .

Maybe they can be cajoled to emulate the Italian model?

"The Italian Guardian Angels share the common trait of the organization in serving their communities, but a great deal of their work is focussed on helping the homeless and elders in need, in providing first aid to people in distress."

My rating as a 'vigilante' organization? Much better than TBSC's, which has to be bottom-of-the-barrel so that's not really saying much, but they are visibly identifiable, DO have a rigidly defined set of rules for dealing with the public, much more appropriate training (conflict res, first aid), and they're not police-calling freaks over infraction level muni code violations.
by Just Typin
Sarah Leonard is not married.

I won't discuss the other hallucination RR mentioned.
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