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Apr 2, 2008
Sleeping Ban Lawsuit Update 4/1/08
Additional information on the lawsuit can be found at the following website.

Many people don’t know that Santa Cruz homeless rights advocates and well known civil rights attorneys are preparing a lawsuit against the city of Santa Cruz for anti-homeless laws that violate constitutional rights. For those who have been following the issue you will find this important information.

For year’s efforts by many community members who lobbied local law makers to do the right thing for the homeless, not just the easy thing fell on deaf ears.

In early 2006 we began an outreach program to national legal organizations that support legal actions on homeless issues. This was slow and it became obvious results would not soon be forthcoming. A key turning point in our effort accrued when the U.S. 9th. Circuit Court ruled against Las Angles Camping ordinances. With this hopeful decision in L.A. in early 2007 we began to contact local legal council in a grass roots effort to bring relief from these same types of laws, and the harsh enforcement in Santa Cruz.

We now have attorneys David Beauvais, Kate Wells and Brian Bennett interviewing people that have received citations under the Santa Cruz “Camping Prohibited” laws in preparations for the law suit. These restrictive laws include 6.36.010(a) the Sleeping Ban, 6.36.010(b) the Blanket Ban and 6.36.010(c) the Camping Ban.

The largest problems with these laws are that they criminalize the homeless for using public spaces, and sleeping and camping at night. It is well documented that there is a lack of adequate emergency shelter in Santa Cruz. People are being criminalized when they make their own shelter or try to form protective groups. Other outward problems are lack of adequate medical care, community prejudice, political cowardice and rigorous Police enforcement. It’s not quit clear how homeless people are expected to live.

Our focus is on defending, restoring, and establishing civil rights for homeless people rather than lobbying for more services. We believe people should be free from police, state, and community harassment. Free to organize and to form self-help communities. It is to these ends we are willing to spend time and effort. We are looking forward to hearing from anyone about whatever legal help you can bring to the issues or questions you have.

We are looking for volunteers to work with attorneys and plaintiffs, help with community education on the issue, write letters and make phone calls.

We are in need of funds, any donations (tax deductible) can be sent to the address below.

Community Defense Inc.

For: Santa Cruz Anti-Sleeping Lawsuit

P.O. Box 7649

Santa Cruz, CA 95061

Endorsed by:

Santa Cruz Human Rights Organization (HRO),

(831) 425-4467 or 345-9685

Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom (HUFF),

(831) 423-4833

Housing Now! In Santa Cruz,

Humanity for Homeless,

This update was compiled by Bob Patton HRO and legal committee member.

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Posted: Apr 2, 2008 4:13pm
Mar 31, 2008
Focus: Human Rights
Action Request: Petition
Location: California, United States
End The 15 Minute Public Parking Lot Trespass Law

Anyone who remains in a Public Santa Cruz parking lot for longer than fifteen minutes, regardless if you have a car or bike on premises is in violation of the new Parking Lot Trespass law and is guilty of trespassing, punishable as an infraction with a fine ranging from $100-$200.

This means no napping or reading in your car, no resting while your other half shops, no sleeping off too much to drink. No associating with others on land we all collectively own. This stifles free speech and assembly rights and is unconstitutional in nature.

These types of laws lead to "No speech zones" with small inadequate "Free Speech Zones" nearby -- in a Country where Free Speech is supposed to be a basic human right we all equally share.

There is a law for
every possible criminal act that can take place in a parking lot. There is no crime wave in the lots as the City Council has stated. If there were, they can arrest anyone for breaking the laws that already exists.

When you remove a right from one class, you remove it from all.

We say in one voice, "No!" to the 15 minute panic law.

This may not be your city, but your city could be next. You may want to park here - without a 15 minute time limit.

So far this law has been used to disperse a peaceful protest, and to stop a homeless man from getting out of the rain by sitting under the eves. We have shelter for only 160 of the 2000-2500 homeless population. We rank as the 15th worst city in our treatment of the homeless due to laws aimed at the poor such as the Nighttime Sleeping Ban and the Parking lot Trespass law.

Please take the time to sign this petition. We need your support. Thanks for your time.

The Entire Law can be found here.

Additionally you can help by contacting our City Council and showing your opposition to this law.

809 Center Street

Room 10

Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 420-5020

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Posted: Mar 31, 2008 8:03am


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