Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Peace Camp 2010 ends protest phase, begins judicial phase

A homeless couple sleep together on the courthouse steps as part of Peace Camp 2010, a protest against the Sleeping Ban which criminalizes those who have no legal place in which to sleep at night. Photo by Becky Johnson July 12, 2010

by Becky Johnson
October 6, 2010

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- A note under the windshield wiper of the white, pick-up truck said it all. It said that the night of October 2nd would be the last night of the "protest phase" of Peace Camp 2010. Peace Camp 2010 founder and local attorney, Ed Frey, would no longer be bringing a porto-potty nightly to either City Hall at 809 Center Street in Santa Cruz, nor to the courthouse steps at 701 Ocean Street nightly between 8PM and 8:00AM.

"More than enough citations have been issued for multiple ordinances, including the new "trespassing" at City Hall citations," Ed Frey explained. " All three sections of MC 6.36.010 have been cited. And the State "anti-lodging" misdemeanor law have all been used, so we can now challenge them in court. We will continue to protest when and where it is needed, but there is no need for anyone to put themselves in harms way to intentionally be cited at this time."

On October 5th, Ed Frey appeared at 8:30 AM before Judge John Gallagher to represent Frank Lopez and Gary Johnson. But only Johnson's name appeared on the crowded docket. When called, Judge Gallagher expressed doubt as to why Johnson was on his docket at all, but did not explain why he was concerned. Gary Johnson faces a jury trial on October 18, 2010 at 10:00 AM in Dept 2 for his misdemeanor "lodging" on the courthouse steps last August.

Frey faces his own citations as well and is defending these pro per.

Frank Lopez of Peace Camp 2010 on the courthouse steps July 12th. Photo by Becky Johnson

But so far, the citations have not yet been filed, though in many cases, the 30-day time limit has long passed. Ed and defendant, Todd Hill, combed through the records at the Santa Cruz County Courthouse, but no record of Hill was in the county records.

From its inception on July 4th 2010 through October 2nd, Peace Camp 2010 provided a clean, well-lit (at times TOO well lit!) place to sleep each night using existing public spaces, and, with the presence of the porto-potty with hand-washing station, a hygienic and safe place for an estimated 1953 shelter/nights.

These people found safety in numbers, a welcoming atmosphere, a sense of belonging, mutual support, demonstrating for a good cause, and the comfort and sanitation of a bathroom at night. Peace Camp 2010 is not over. Just the demonstration/protest phase. Now our battle goes to court!!

Those wishing to contribute to the Peace Camp 2010 Legal Defense Fund may send donations to Ed Frey, 2820 Porter Street, Soquel, CA. 95073 or by calling his office at (831) 479-8911 to make arrangements.


  1. See also "Peace Camp 2010 Trades Curbside for Courtroom" at .

  2. The campers continued for three nights beyond the retiring of Porta Potty. I slept out at 701 Ocean St nite b4 last, sorry, not getting e's and calls when at "ground level." Meanwhile, Gary was incarcerated by the police for sleeping the nite b4, and his personal property (including prep for his trial coming soon)is still mostly MIA at the cop shop, same nite I last slept "out." Meanwhile, today Colette, oft-ticketed, found at the courthouse "window" that lodging tickets have been altered to disturbing tickets for coming docket. Does it seem like the DA has been busy erasing tickets?


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