Gary Johnson sleeps legally at 10:30AM at Peace Camp 2010, one-half hour before the Sleeping Ban goes into effect. His protest includes signage saying "Legalize Dreaming" and "Sleep is not a Crime!" August 20, 2010 photo by Becky Johnson
by Becky Johnson
September 16, 2010
Santa Cruz, Ca. -- After the Santa Cruz City Council passed a modification of the Sleeping Ban at its September 14th meeting, Peace Campers held their own council meeting. At that meeting, the question was asked "Shall we disband our protest because of the action of the City Council to dismiss citations written to those on the Homeless Services Center waiting list?"
The vote was 7 - 0 with 2 abstentions to continue the protest. The general consensus was that forcing people to register for the waiting list did not meet our demands to have the Sleeping Ban and Blanket Ban suspended or repealed and past citations ( to the extent it is practicable) be dismissed.
The measure still calls for police to awaken, to detain, to cite, and to move-along sleepers even if no shelter exists. The policy ONLY calls for the City Attorney to dismiss citations if the person cited can prove they were on the waiting list for shelter at the Homeless Services Center. This is clearly NOT what Peace Camp 2010 is about.
If, when said and done, the policy requires police to skip or not cite those with a receipt for the waiting list, then this would be an improvement, however minor. But, unfortunately this is not. As Assistant City Manager Tina Schull said on Tuesday, "Any person cited who is not on the waiting list would not have their ticket dismissed." This, even if no shelter was available that night! Leave it to the City Attorney to more narrowly define what elements a homeless person is entitled to under the necessity defense!
"setting up a campsite with the intent of spending the night."
August 19, 2010 Photo by Becky Johnson
Sleeping itself should not be a crime. Sleeping harms no one. Denying sleep to a person who will ultimately be found innocent robs that person of their sleep, and causes immediate and irreparable harm.
"Not only is Peace Camp 2010 going to continue, but we're also going to start holding Koffee Klatches on occasion in the mornings," reports Linda Lemaster, a housed Peace Camp 2010 supporter.