Sunday, August 1, 2010

An Open Letter to Mayor Mike Rotkin and Vice-Mayor Ryan Coonerty

As dawn rises, a Peace Camp protester openly violates the Sleeping and Blanket Bans on the steps of the Santa Cruz County Courthouse. Photo by Becky Johnson

To : Santa Cruz City Mayor Mike Rotkin
and Vice-Mayor Ryan Coonerty
re: Sleep-in at courthouse

July 31, 2010

Dear Mayor and Vice-Mayor,

Both of you have made statements to the press about our protest against the Sleeping Ban (MC 6.36.010 section a) which both mischaracterize our protest as being against the “camping ban” and which claim that our protest has grown so large as to be “unmanageable”.

You've also claimed that the Sleeping Ban has been in place for “forty years” which the mainstream press has picked up and echoed. Apparently none of you can do math. The Sleeping Ban has been in place for 32 years, NOT forty years!! This only proves that the mainstream media are not doing any fact-checking and only repeating ad nauseum what you and the SCPD tell them.

We had our largest influx of people on the days in which YOUR OWN CREWS from Public Works were out on the levee displacing dozens of poor and homeless people, routinely destroying their personal possessions, and DRIVING them to our doorstep. We gladly helped them out to a restful night's sleep which you have been depriving poor and homeless people of nightly in a cruel and pointless practice. It's also illegal as local attorney, Ed Frey has pointed out.

We take a nightly census and are averaging about 30 people a night. We peaked at 55 (the night your crews were driving people out) and our numbers have dropped to 45. Tomorrow, with social security checks issued on the first, we expect our numbers to drop dramatically.

So much for your “magnet” theory.

Mayor Rotkin, Vice-Mayor Coonerty, we say, please - let us talk. Our representatives are prepared to meet with you at any time, in any venue . It is time to have a real-time discussion free of sound bites and political sloganeering. The people of Peace Camp are in desperate need on so many levels, but having law enforcement hound and harass them for SLEEPING and for KEEPING WARM WITH A BLANKET is too much. We are standing our ground on this issue and now it is time for the two of you to deal with us and with it.

Please all ED FREY at 479-8911 to arrange a meeting.

Until then, we at Peace Camp 2010 will remain stalwart in our determination. Our cause is just, and the very lives of the most vulnerable are at stake. . We are committed to our goal and will doggedly pressure you throughout the summer and fall until you can find your way to a humane solution.

Chris Doyon, co-founder Peace Camp 2010


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