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Indybay Feature

"Clear 'em Out" Cruelty as Usual: Deportations Slated from San Lorenzo Park

by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
City Manager Martin Bernal and Parks and Recreation Boss Tony Eliot are expanding an existing crisis in San Lorenzo Park. Staring Monday December 21st, they have announced they will begin removing unhoused survival camps there with no shelter destination. Community activists Alicia Kuhl and Peter Gelblum have published their responses to this latest insanity.
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Santa Cruz Homeless Union president Alicia Kuhl sent me the Memorandum and Order issued by Bernal and Eliot on 12-17.

That document is reprinted here and can be also be accessed at https://kion546.b-cdn.net/2020/12/Santa-Cruz-encampment-executive-order-12-17-20.pdf .

Kuhl and Gelblum's responses were forwarded to me.

I'm reprinting Gelblum's because (a) I regard it as articulate, concise, and frighteningly relevant; and (b) it is a public document since it was sent to a Martin Bernal, the Santa Cruz City Managler (or City Manager, as he styles himself). Over the years I've had (and probably will continue to have) real problems with the ACLU's positions regarding civil rights for homeless folks here in Santa Cruz. But Gelblum's public positions on local issues have gotten stronger over the past few years.

Kuhl operates at a ground level directly with homeless people both in her job, her struggles against repressive behavior from city officials that directly threaten her family's health and well being. The Santa Cruz Union of the Homeless will also be throwing its own masked-and-distanced Memorial at Laurel and Front Sts. Monday afternoon 4 PM 12-21.

Abbi Samuels reportedly e-mailed County Health official Gail Newel: "Can you please let me know why the City is evicting people at the encampment at San Lorenzo against CDC guidelines? The camp is the cleanest encampment I have seen in Santa Cruz. The CDC says dispersing encampments leads to more spreading of COVID. The shelters are all full."

Newel replied: "Hi, Abbi, I agree with you and share your concerns. This was a decision of the City of Santa Cruz, independent of the County for which I work. Public Health was not consulted about this. If we had been, we would have advised against this for the very reasons you cite. Thank you for being an involved community member."

Samuels is an ACLU Board member and active Copwatcher whose facebook posts have document repeated and selective harassment of survival camps and vehicular residents.

Some activists are calling for community members to come down to San Lorenzo on Monday and the days that follow to witness, support, and assist those whose housing is being uprooted without alternatives provided.

In the absence of public accountability at meetings the community can weigh in on, activists have taken to doing speak-out's outside the homes and offices of the powerful and privileged creating increased public danger.
§The Bernal Decree Evicting 200 in Disregard of CDC Guidelines
by Robert Norse
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Bernal's house at 96 Brookwood Dr. near Dominican Hospital was the scene of a small speak-out protest Sunday night. Given the lack of accessibility public officials have engineered, activists believe such protests are necessary and inevitable.
§An activist with the ACLU speaks out
by Robert Norse
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Peter Gelblum, though not necessarily speaking for the ACLU, quickly responded to Bernal's "dead of winter" "no shelter alternatives" order
§A fighting mom talks sense to the Cruel and Callous
by Robert Norse
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Alicia Kuhl and her family were recently denied the right to park on Olive St. by the reactionary City Council in a move prompted by right-wing activists. The Council action reversed the Public Works Commission's decision supporting the right of the public to park on public streets in spite of political pressures from homeless-hostile NIMBY's.
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Ursula Reed (posted by Norse)
Wed, Dec 23, 2020 9:33AM
Brent Adams (posted by Norse)
Mon, Dec 21, 2020 8:42PM
Matt Nathanson (posted by Norse)
Mon, Dec 21, 2020 8:25PM
Herman Kalfen (posted by Norse)
Mon, Dec 21, 2020 6:42PM
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