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Mayor Watkins Blocks Food Not Bombs Proclamation
by Santa Cruz News
Monday May 6th, 2019 2:50 PM
Mayor Martine Watkins has blocked a city proclamation proposed to honor the work of Food Not Bombs in Santa Cruz. In a letter to Councilmember Chris Krohn, Watkins stated it would not be "appropriate" to issue a proclamation honoring Food Not Bombs because the organization is "suing the city". Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs has provided information in support of the plaintiffs in Quntero v. the City of Santa Cruz, a civil right lawsuit filed on April 9 by a group of homeless residents of the Ross Camp, which maintained the closure of the encampment by the city would violate their constitutional rights.
Proclamations honoring individuals and/or organizations by the City of Santa Cruz are called "Mayor's Proclamations". They are placed on the city council's agenda at the mayor's discretion, according the city's policy manual.

The proclamation honoring Food Not Bombs is proposed to read:

Proposed Proclamation Declaring May 24, 2019 as Food Not Bombs Day

Food Not Bombs was started 39 years ago in Cambridge, Massachusetts on May 24, 1980, by eight young activists including one of our own residents, Keith McHenry.

Food Not Bombs has grown from those humble beginnings to over 1,000 autonomous chapters all sharing vegan and vegetarian meals with the hungry while working for peace and social justice in at least 65 countries.

Food Not Bombs is dedicated sharing vegan food and does not serve meat or other animal products as a way to avoid complicity with the exploitation of the workers and the cruel and violent conditions of the animal agriculture industry and to reduce our impact on the climate crisis.

Food Not Bombs has provided food and material relief to the survivors of the Loma Prieta Earthquake in San Francisco and Northridge Earthquake in San Fernando Valley, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy as well as Typhoon Yolanda, the Christmas Tsunami and many other disasters during its 39-year history.

The volunteers of Food Not Bombs have been recognized as Prisoners of Conscience by Amnesty International, who called for their unconditional release if arrested for sharing food with the hungry, including Santa Cruz residents Robert Norse and Keith McHenry.

Food Not Bombs fed thousands of activists at Reagan Ranch in Boston, the June 12, 1982 March for Nuclear Disarmament in New York City, The Nevada Desert Experience at the Nevada Nuclear Weapons Test Site, the 27-day Tent City protest in San Francisco in 1989, Redwood Summer in Northern California, The West Bank Peace Camp at Mas'ha Palestine, Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, Occupy Wall Street, protests against Exercise Talisman Saber in Australia, a 600-day farmer's occupation in Bosnia and Herzegovina Square in Sarajevo, World Trade Organization (WTO) protests in Seattle, Genoa, and Cancun, the 100-day Orange Revolution occupation in Kiev, Ukraine, the 2001 Meeting of the European Council in Gothenburg, Sweden and hundreds of other protests.

Food Not Bombs volunteers have fed prisoners inside jail in the Philippines, units of the Burmese military in Yangon, the First Responders in New York after 9/11, founded the first Animal Rescue shelters in Slovakia, and initiated the protests that removed the corrupt government of Iceland in 2009.

Food Not Bombs has provided free weekly vegan and vegetarian meals with the hungry in Santa Cruz since 1992 and continues to provide healthy meals to 150 to 200 people every Saturday and Sunday from 4:00 to 6:00 PM outside the Downtown Post Office and provided food and logistical support he two year Freedom Sleepers campaign to end the Santa Cruz Sleeping Ban MC 6.36, a city law later found to be in violation of the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment by the 2018 ruling in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Martin v Boise.

I, Martine Watkins, Mayor of Santa Cruz, California do herby proclaim Friday, May 24, 2019, Food Not Bombs Day and call on all to join Food Not Bombs in seeking peace and social justice for all and a city where no one needs to rely upon donations of food or seek meals at a soup kitchen, forced to find shelter in doorways, parks or sleep shoulder to shoulder on a mat in a temporary and fear violence and harassment from individuals or government agents because of being unable to afford housing.

Email from Mayor Watkins to Councilmember Krohn blocking the proposal:

From: Martine Watkins
Sent: Friday, May 03, 2019 6:19 PM
To: Chris Krohn
Cc: Suzanne Haberman
Subject: RE: CAUTION: Verify Sender Before Opening! Proclamation Declaring May 24, 2019 as Food Not Bombs Day


Thank you for exploring this. I appreciate the intention of the organization Food Not Bombs and feeding those in need. I also recognize that at this time Food Not Bombs is suing the city and just earlier this week engaged in mediation against the city. Given the timing, I'm feeling a Mayor's proclamation wouldn't be quite appropriate.

Have a nice weekend.



Photo: Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs shares food in front of the Santa Cruz Post Office on Christmas Day, 2013; credit Indybay.

More information about Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs can be found at:
§Volunteers with Food Not Bombs Share Food at the Santa Cruz Post Office
by Santa Cruz News Monday May 6th, 2019 2:50 PM
Credit Indybay.
§Mayor's Proclamations
by Santa Cruz News Monday May 6th, 2019 2:51 PM
§Mayor Martine Watkins
by Santa Cruz News Monday May 6th, 2019 2:51 PM
Email: mwatkins [at]
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Invitation for Mayor Watkins to attendJohn Cohen-ColbyTuesday May 7th, 2019 11:41 PM

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