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Indybay Feature

Missing Documentation on San Lorenzo Camp Extermination to Remain Missing

by Robert Norse
I sent the following Public Records demand to the City Administrator/Clerk on 12-17 regarding the abrupt and toxic shutdown of the San Lorenzo Campground displacing 150-200 people. I received a reply that City offices would be "closed for the holidays" until January 4th -but City Mangler Bernal has set January 6th as the date for completion of the destruction of the shelter-in-place camp.


Please make available (preferably in e-mail form) copies of all reports of criminal activity as well as actual citations issued or arrests made regarding individuals in San Lorenzo Park from from July 1, 2020 to the present . This would include any documents held by the Parks and Recreation Department as well as repair orders, orders for trash disposal or rental of public facilities, any communications from Martin Bernal or Tony Elliot concerning San Lorenzo Park during that period.

These two public officials have recently issued an order demanding evacuation of the park without any legal adequate alternate shelter ( ) or meeting CDC guidelines for safe sheltering-in-place. This not only imperils the health and safety of unhoused folks outside, but of the entire community as it heightens the risk of exposure COVID-19 in a time of increasing hospitalization and ICU shortages and rising deaths.

Please additionally provide any records regarding the 16 bullet points in their 12-17-20 Memorandum and Order between the dates specified above. Specifically:

Any documented reports of graffiti, vandalism, and/or illegal electrical taps
Any reports documenting actual fires in that area
Calls for service relating to reported criminal activity inside the park.
Any reports of theft of City tools and supplies
Any reports of actual damage to trees or grass
All reports of all trash service provided.
How reports regarding frequency and cost of portapotty and washstation service provided.
Any evidence, if such exists, of a potable water source available to those engaged in survival camping there.
(Though this is redundant) any reports of actual crimes against persons using the park

Also provide any records (memos, correspondence, etc.) regarding specific shelter space being allotted or particular relocation plans anticipated for those being ordered to move.

Given the severity and immediacy of the January 6 "deadline" for evicting more than 100 people, the records requested are those that Martin Bernal and Tony Elliot studied carefully before issuing this severe order. Hence they can be made available without delay to the general public. With winter weather upon us, deporting people from their relatively safe encampments threatens to escalate even further the homeless death toll, which has been estimated at today's Memorial as being significantly greater than last year. In order to reassure the community that these are not politically motivated decrees in a time where the public has little access to any public process and the whole governmental process has become less transparent than ever, a speedy response is important.

Also if these records are not available by e-mail, please provide access to hard copies--and specify that you are doing so. My recent request for claim forms prior to the last City Council meeting elicited no response until it was too late to comment on the items at the open interval before the closed session in the case of Christine Jacobs. This is both a violation of the letter of the Brown Act and the spirit of the Public Records Act--since the public needs to read the full claims of someone presenting a grievance to City Council before the meeting at which it will be discussed and considered. In the past, you have refused to make the full claims available as written by those making them for the on-line agenda, requiring me to make Public Records Act requests each time to get that information. Until last meeting, you at least responded a day before the meeting. This last time, I heard nothing from you until after the meeting. Please clarify what your policy is.

Thanks, stay warm, and try--like the rest of us---to avoid being evicted or "moved along",

Robert Norse


Bonnie Bush
Fri 12/18/2020 12:19 PM

I will be out of the office starting Thursday, December 17, 2020 and will return Monday, January 4, 2021. I will be checking my email and responding to time-sensitive items.

Thank you,
Bonnie Bush, CMC
City Clerk Administrator
City of Santa Cruz

In observance of the Holidays, and as a cost-saving measure, City offices will be closed starting December 21, 2020 and re-opening January 4, 2021. Accordingly, our response times for public records act requests during this closure will be delayed. We will, however, diligently process any pending requests upon our return. In the meantime, thank you for your patience.
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