Last week, at the end of a 3 hour city council session in Santa Cruz, California, an effort to mitigate the sleeping ban failed. Falling asleep in public after 11pm and before 8:30am remains illegal thanks to a clause in the camping ordinance that is used to harass homeless people. Many questions were raised during the hearing, but the only answer we have today is a intensified crackdown on those who have no legal place to sleep. It is clear this effort is not driven by the police department, but by specific members of the council and people who backed their campaigns.
A homeless veteran was the first to comment on the proposal to amend the camping ordinance last week. He mentions a councilperson who "went hatemongering door to door and who should recuse himself from this vote". The veteran, pictured here, was then silenced by the mayor. Who would be conducting a campaign against the rights and wellbeing of homeless individuals, even though the federal government has already taken a stand - repeatedly - to protect the right to sleep outdoors at night legally? This is one of many insights we will gain from a close examination of the March 8th meeting, which should encourage further investigation and action. The audio made available from the city is a single 6 hour file that is so badly distorted it's almost unlistenable, and the video of the 7pm session alone is more than 3 Gigbytes to download. Video of the entire 3 hour debate is available at indybay - in easy to access segments. The complete 3 hours of audio will be attached at our mirror sites along with a schedule for new streams (including a new Apple-friendly stream at http://3.rd0.org late today.
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