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Deadline, Background, and Significance of Latest City Attack on Food Not Bombs

by Keith McHenry (posted by Norse) (rnorse3 [at]
With less than a week remaining at their brief respite spot at 440 Front St., Food Not Bombs [FNB] activist Keith McHenry outlines the dark history of the City's attempt to crush the daily meal. With City Council rubberstamping the declared and seemingly endlessly renewed City Manager's powers during the 'COVID emergency" FNB has provided meals which the City and Housing Matters have cut off.

The Food Not Bombs meal must relocate by Wednesday, January 26, 2022.

In March 2020, Santa Cruz Mayor Justin Cummings came to the Food Not Bombs meal at the Clock Tower and asked us to lure the unhoused into the city’s Triage Cages that they had erected in several parking lots downtown. Assistant City Manager Susie O’Hara was quoted as saying people would be held in these cages for at least 72 hours and that no medical support would be provided.

I encouraged Justin to take some measures to build trust with the homeless before we would support the city. They need to rebuild trust after the city told Federal Judge Davila that they would be providing accommodations to the 300 or more people they wished to evict from Ross Camp. About 20 people received hotel vouchers for 2 nights at the Santa Cruz Motel, the rest were sent to the doorways, roadsides and the Pogonip where Santa Cruz Homeless Union officer and named plaintiff in the Ross Camp case Desi Quintero was killed by a fallen tree.

I also suggested they take the some of the millions promised by Gov. Gavin Newsom to rent our buy the empty building at 1549 Pacific Ave or some of the vacant hotels on Ocean Street. If they were not willing to take such positive steps to build trust by making a public statement that they had lied before the court about providing safe places for those evicted from Ross Camp and would promise not to do so in the future.

The city did nether and evicted the Santa Cruz Homeless COVID-19 Relief Center a week later claiming that our hotel voucher distribution violated the CDC rules, rules they themselves had violated by sweeping our friends from the post office. The city abandoned their concentration camp like program after placing the post office camp in their cage behind Wheelworks at Laurel Street where no food was provided. Since they were our friends we delivered meals and coffee to the site before it was closed before lunch of the first day. Those people got a week at the Santa Cruz Motel before they were forced back onto the streets.

The COVID-19 Relief Center was evicted several more times and driven down to the Benchlands where the annual floods washed away our equipment and the several feet of standing water made it impossible to provide meals to the hungry.

After the last eviction into Lot 27 at Laurel and Front Streets our volunteers set out to find a place away from the dirt and noise of the luxury condo construction site across the street.

We had bought our second shipping container and had placed it at our meal so we would not burn out our volunteers by having to truck our tables, canopies and other equipment to the site every day.

We spoke with the county about setting up on a paved area near the county building. County official Carol Johnson was very helpful touring the property to discuss potential locations. We are continuing that dialog. We investigated renting sites at Ocean and Soquel, Water and Market, Front and Soquel and several other possible locations that would meet our requirements.

We negotiated an extenuation of our meal at 440 Front Street with property developer Owen Lawlor and have promised him and his partners that we will remove our shipping container and meal by Wednesday, January 26, 2022. While the city is not willing to be honest Food Not Bombs always keeps it word and will move.

In the worst case for us we will have to move the container to a church parking lot some place in town and return to the stressful days of shlepping our equipment to the Town Clock every day.

But this story is more than a story about a corrupt city government and the sterilization of our community by property speculators. At the core of these events is the fact that the government refuses to feed and house its people and would rather facilitate the local vision of a corporate dystopia of “stakeholder capitalism” and the global transition to the totalitarian state. Santa Cruz is at the core of this frightening rush to digitize the humanity into a slavery to the profits of Vanguard, State Street, BlackRock, their friends at organizations like the World Economic Forum. Software is the warfare of today and this is ground zero for billions in military and surveillance control.

The stakes could not be higher and this is why Food Not Bombs continues to maintain its autonomy from the state.

We sure could use more volunteers. Please contact us at menu [at] or call our toll free number 1-800-884-1136
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Thu, Jan 27, 2022 3:36PM
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