Friday, August 20, 2010

Sentinel Misinformation Allows Police to Install "Don't Sleep Here" Klieg Lights

KOIN Also Breaks "No Shelter" Story, Usually Ignored or Denied

The Santa Cruz Sentinel's inflammatory and libelous stories characterizing Mark Greer, a homeless activist at the Peacecamp2010 homeless protest, as a "child molester" was ignorantly echoed by KION's Matt Denesnera [See story following this article below].

On the positive side, Denesnera's story does cover, briefly, the central issue of the Peacecamp2010 protest--harassing, citing, and arresting homeless people for sleeping in public places when there is no legal shelter is an institutional crime by the authorities. It is a crime that does greater violence to individuals and society than the so-called "crime" of sleeping outside (as banned by SCMC 6.36.010a, SCMC 6.36.010b, SCMC 6.36.010c and CPC 647e.

The shelter issue has also been spotlighted by attorney Ed Frey and others who took the issue to the Homeless Services Center board on Thursday (8-19) evening.

See "Correcting the Record at the Homeless Services Center Today" at & "No Homeless Shelter & the Sleeping Ban: Shelter Providers & Mayor Rotkin Speak" at .

Without researching or interviewing, Sentinel reporter Jennifer Squires smeared the protest as dangerous and Greet as a convicted pervert, a venomous charge repeated by Deputy Police Chief Kevin Vogel in the second story. This "terror tale" apparently gave Vogel's Sleepbusters a pretext to make Peacecamp2010's sidewalk sleeping area more hostile by installing huge 15' high Klieg lights on a platform with a noisy and fume-spewing diesel generator running it through the night.

The company supplying the lights and generator confirmed the cost was $100 per day ($400 per week). The city also apparently recruited a second First Alarm security guard to patrol the sinister sleepers. The whole affair is reminiscent of the Bush-Obama post-9/11 propaganda justifying the war on terror. Indeed the "lights and noise" environment smacks of the U.S.-run Guantanamo, Abu Gharab, and Bagram concentration camps.

Greer's girlfriend Sara, however, reports that there is no substance to the "molester" charge. She's lived with Greer for some time, she says, and CPS has given Greer a clean bill of health. Greeg's background as an "unregistered sex offender" comes from his arrest at age 14 for a sexual relationship with a girl one year younger.

Because juvenile authorities claimed he'd failed to complete a program, he has been required to register every month, which he has done. Sara says he got permission to travel, and was one day late in registered because Santa Cruz police arrested the pregnant Sara on a warrant for camping from San Luis Obispo. (Sara says the authorities there laughed at the warrant and released her, so she returned her to find Greer in jail.

Greer, who gave his name as Jason or Shadow, is in jail here in Santa Cruz, for providing "false information" (that is, a false name). Some audio from Greer can be found at .

The defamatory Sentinel stories
Child molester arrested at Santa Cruz camping protest (8/17)
Santa Cruz police light up camping protest with floodlights (8/18)

A partial presentation of Sara's story was buried in a Sentinel article today by Cathy Kelly " Peace Camp protestors ticketed again; Santa Cruz mayor visits camp" at

The full KOIN story:

Santa Cruz Homeless Protest Brightened by Floodlights
Posted: Aug 19, 2010 7:47 PM PDT Updated: Aug 19, 2010 7:58 PM PDT

by Matt Denesnera, KION

found online at:

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- At dusk, Santa Cruz police fire up floodlights in front of City Hall, illuminating what's left of Peace Camp 2010.

Authorities installed the lighting citing public safety concerns, particularly after a convicted sex offender, who failed to register with police, was arrested here earlier this week.

"When you've got a child molester out there who's on the run from the law -- he had several outstanding warrants from San Luis Obispo County -- it really takes this to a new level in terms of safety," said Santa Cruz deputy police chief Kevin Vogel.

The homeless and their advocates are protesting the city's sleeping ordinances and, in the past, they have asked for amnesty for all sleeping tickets dating back to the late 1970's.

Demonstrators said they're just looking for a safe place, but it's apparently hard to come by. They told Central Coast News there is nowhere to go, and that's why they are taking their grievances to the steps of the city government.

Officials with the Homeless Services Center on Coral Street confirmed that shelter space is limited; they said they practically have a year-round waiting list.

"Right now, we have about a two week waiting list for women, and four week waiting list for men," explained Monica Martinez, executive director of the Homeless Services Center.

Some protesters said that leaves them with few options.

As for a solution to the complex issue of homelessness, Martinez said it involves working with various agencies to provide services for those on the streets.

As a security guard shut off the generator powering the floodlights in front of City Hall Thursday morning, demonstrators said they have no plans to leave.

"We want to see the world change," said homeless advocate Rick Branthoover. "Not because of us, but there are alot of other people who need help, too."

Police aren't letting up either: "As long as these protesters continue to flaunt this community's laws, we will continue to enforce the law," said deputy chief Vogel.

Submitted by Matt de Nesnera, Central Coast News Reporter

1 comment:

  1. This article is a comprehensive overview! The article notes that police know that camping citations will be thrown out when it is shown that there is no actual legal alternative to sleeping in public, such as shelter cots or access to basic safety and protection of any kind. Maybe implied, but for new readers and those who have not gone to visit PeaceCamp2010 yet, this means the camping citations will be thrown out AFTER the unhappy camper goes to court. Which takes time, especially with the state budget being a joke, which affects the Court calendar and access to legal workers generally. Most campers, therefore, I believe (based on years-long field queries) who get stung by the sleep tickets are new to homelessness or new to the City of Santa Cruz, or are in a state of shock and can't even deal with courts and future dates without help. The people who could pay these tickets, in other words, are the people who already know how to survive or who have "been around the block". This discriminating scam created by "relieve your ticket later" arbitrary procedures, lamented by police officers as well as by it's victims, has to be stopped. This BS is one reason I support the people of PeaceCamp2010. It is unmitigated cruelty, but most people just don't seem to see this. As Chris D puts so cogently, "amnesty for all" the citations that are being used to yank people around and to continue avoiding facing a public policy disaster.


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