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Stacked Deck Stay-Away Law Expansion Promises More Pain for Poor Outside
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
Tuesday Sep 12th, 2017 9:41 AM
Coming up today at City Council on the noon agenda (unusually early) is Item, #14. It may come up within an hour by 1 PM if not before. MC 13.08.100 exponentially expands the time a cop or ranger can unilaterally order a person to leave an area and not return. The vastly expanded area includes the Pogonip, Arana Gulch, and Moore Creek. The law is billed as a "School Safety" law, though the vast majority of the area covered is much further than 300' from a school.

MISSING INFORMATION: NO RACE OR ADDRESSES
Forwarded to me today yesterday were the attached P & R cites for 2016 and 2017, with addresses, which is helpful, but requiring some going over to see just who got the Stay-Aways and for what offenses and who didn't. The SCPD records did not include the addresses. Neither SCPD nor P & R included race, which is interesting. There's hardly time to do a thorough review of these to determine how severely the current 13.08.100 impacted homeless folks. Nor how much it cost the City to do it, and how much P & R time it took up for what specific "criminal offenses".

What the records do show is massive use of the Stay-Away order. No indication of for how long the Stay-Away periods are. Nor how many have been cited with possible year in jail crimes for violating the Stay-Aways. Nor is there any record of the fabled "resources" that the largely homeless people seeking distant refuge in greenbelt areas have supposedly available to them.

There's also no indication of the specific locations on the citations, i.e. to clarify how many were issued within 300' of a school. Since the overwhelming majority of territory (covered by Moore's Creek, Arana Gulch, and Pogonip) is far beyond any schools and hence not relevant to any "School Safety Enhancement Zone", it seems clear the purpose of this is to triple the immediate punishment of anyone getting a citation prior to going to court.

Could this be to avoid the "bother" of proving someone guilty of a crime, or the shame of making a crime out of necessary survival behavior? Those outside need to sleep after 11 PM and may find a distant spot to sleep on public land in an area that has conveniently been declared "closed".


FALSE POLICE CHIEF CLAIM THAT LAW AVOIDS CREATING CRIMINAL RECORDS
Police Chief Andy Mills's claim that the current law and tripled-time law being considered today for final passage will "avoid criminalization of the homeless" is ridiculous, since each Stay-Away comes after an officer tickets for an underlying Infraction offense--which creates the criminal record. Or is Chief Mills claiming that he's directing or advising his officers to issue the infractions simply to give a pretext to give a Stay-Away, and then not to show up in court so the infractions will then be dismissed?


NOT GUILTY IN COURT? STILL REQUIRED TO STAY-AWAY.
Also a finding of "not guilty" by the court (which would only happen a month or more later) does not necessarily trigger an end to the Stay-Away order. There's no provision in the 13.08.100 for that.

The wording of the statute is flawed and insufficient. As well as there being no specific provision in the law to end Stay-Aways if there's no conviction. Even if a judge finds a defendant "not guilty" if there is ever a court trial, the City's "preponderance of the evidence" standard which justifies the Stay-Away order prevails. As described in 13.08.100(b) even with a prior City Manager-run so-called pre-court Appeal Hearing, the "Preponderance of the Evidence" standard overrules the judge's "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" judgment. The Stay-Away order, in the absence of any action by court or City Manager would continue according to the proposed wording of the law.


HUGE OVERREACH OF TERRITORY: THE TEXT OF THE NEW LAW
Under Terrazas's Public Safety Committee "Schools Safety Enhancement Zones" expansion of the Stay-Aways the law for the entire Pogonip, Arana Gulch, and Moore Creek will read

"(a) Any person who receives a citation or is arrested [in these areas--and not just within 300- of a school]... for a violation of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code or state law may be ordered by the citing/arresting city officer at the time of the citation/arrest to vacate that park or beach property and not to re-enter said property again for the period of time specified below. Any such order shall apply to both the park or beach property at which the citation/arrest occurs and to any other park or beach property at which such an order was issued within the previous year. Any person who violates such an order from a city officer shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(1) First offense: 72 hours from the time of the citing/arresting officer’s order.
(2) Second offense within 3 weeks of the first offense: 3 weeks from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the second offense.
(3) Third offense within 90 days of the second offense: 90 days from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the third offense.
(4) Fourth offense within 18 months of the third offense: 18 months from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the fourth offense.
(5) Fifth offense within 3 years of the fourth offense: 3 years from the date of the citing/arresting officer’s order in response to the fifth offense. [emphasis mine]"


ARBITRARY POLICE POWER ALLOWS LONG-TIME BANS
I emphasize "may" in 13.08.100(a) because it gives the police officer unbridled discretion to issue or not issue a stay-away order simply on the basis of any infraction ticket, without a objective standard.

An individual getting four different citations--say for sleeping after 11 PM, being in a park after dark, sitting down within 14' of a building on the sidewalk downtown, and smoking in a back area of the park in the first week, would face a 3 month stay away and a misdemeanor charge with a fine of $1000 and/or 6 months or a year in jail.


PHONY CLAIM OF "DIRECTING THE HOMELESS TO RESOURCES"
This in a town where there is no emergency shelter and 1000-2000 homeless outside. Essentially non-existent resources for the overwhelming majority.


THE FOLKS BEING TARGETED
Earlier research showing just what kind of "crimes" and what kind of people are getting targeted is at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/02/05/18768065.php. at Statistical Evidence of Park Rangers & SCPD Targeting Homeless Folks for Sleeping in Parks .


MISSING PUBLIC REVIEWS IN THE PAST
Supposedly Terrazas's Public Safety Committee was supposed to review this matter six months after passage in 2015, but I'm not aware that he ever did so. On-line minutes and agendas for his Committee are not currently available.


The proposed law needs to be tabled and sent to Public Hearings to consider more closely the actual alternate resources available, the impact on the poor population, and the costs.
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Earlier Discussion of the Stay-Away ScattergunRobert NorseFriday Sep 15th, 2017 10:17 AM
Vacating Stay-Away orders...Razer RayThursday Sep 14th, 2017 9:01 AM