Santa Cruz IMC
Santa Cruz IMC
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature

Benchlands Resistance Organizing

Saturday, September 17, 2022
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Event Type:
Kevin Rothwell
Location Details:
Benchlands near the 2nd stairway down from the Courthouse parking lot as you walk from Water St. towards the Duck Pond in San Lorenzo Park.

Several dozen folks were displaced and the property they could not remove was trashed in Phase One last Monday. Those who fled with their property deeper into the Benchlands encampment report being pursued and threatened by police claiming the property they took with them was "trash".

Several days ago, a police officer collapsed Lawrenceh McGregor's tent while he was inside, injuring him and destroying the tent. The officer reportedly claimed he had "fled" from the Phase One area (now destroyed and bulldozed) to the Phase Two area (slated for bulldozing noon Monday September 19th).

On Wednesday, attorney Anthony Prince of the California Homeless Union, Alicia Kuhl, and Keith McHenry advised a group of Benchlands residents of strategies for resisting the illegal demolition of their camps. These included a possible Temporary Restraining Order stopping the City Manager's phased demolition, communities to other areas but maintaining solidarity, and/or filling up the inadequate shelter spaces to protect the remainder of the Benchlands campers.

The Martin v. Boise court decision bans prosecution of unhoused folks living outside under ordinances that criminalize their presence unless there is alternate indoor shelter, Such shelter does not exist in Santa Cruz for the totality of the Benchlands residents (much less the broader unhoused community. That community faces harassment, displacement and camp destruction under the City's harsh CSSO (Camping Services and Standards Ordinance).

Prince and the Union have previously secured limited injunctions in Santa Cruz, Sausalito, Watsonville, Novato, Sacramento, and elsewhere. Some are pessimistic about the prospects of an injunction in the Benchlands because of the public safety problems created last winter by flooding. Others believe the history of encampment destruction affecting hundreds of residents over the last year and the statements of the City Manager stating that the CSSO is now legally enforceable make an injunction a possible success.

Come to the Benchlands at 6 PM Saturday September 17th to map out further strategies for dealing with the short term deadline of September 19th, and the longer term creeping devastation coldly planned the rest of the Benchlands encampment in phases.

Bring friends, video equipment, cameras, notebooks, and warm clothing. Rain is a possibility.
Added to the calendar on Fri, Sep 16, 2022 10:16PM

Comments (Hide Comments)
by Pat Colby
This is an atrocity. Every year the city and county get crueler and crueler with their actions treating homeless folks like nonhumans with no civil rights.

This should be attacked in more than one way. I would propose taking 25-40 people's narratives of cruelty, criminalizing and civil rights violations to send to US Department of Justice, Fair Housing Division. The investigator in that division is straight up and fair, John Tietel.

These people have been in the benchlands long enough to have established fair housing rights. These rights are extremely strong rights along with disability rights.

We can force the same people in DOJ who wrote the supportive brief for Martin vs Boise to address Santa Cruz's lack of any legal, real shelter.

I would be happy to forward all this stuff up to DOJ and US Senate Judiciary Committe. We can force the homeless issue to be addressed at the federal level. The courts are too weak and take too long.

I learned with advocating never put all your eggs in one basket. We have already outed the illegal, cruel behaviors and actions, plus allowed hate crimes of violence that has been going on for over two decades against the unhoused folks. Even the Republican side of Judicary Committe was appalled at Santa Cruz's inhumane treatment.

This current action I believe would be strong enough to bring to federal government and big media's attention as an example of the failed shelter model and money pit that the poverty pimp business has become. After all these decades they have minimal sucess stories.

Winter and bad weather is not the time to sweep people into the elements like they are merely fallen leaves.
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


$78.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network