Oppose the Parking Lot Panic Law sign now

Opposing The Amended Anti-Homeless Law that Expands Forbidden Zones to
Public Parking Garages & Lot #9 in the city of Santa Cruz, CA USA

A new law from the Police Department, City Attorney John Barisone, and the
Public Works Department limits the time a person can be in any city parking
garage or Parking Lot #9 on Elm St. between Pacific and Cedar Streets to no
more then fifteen minutes, and then only if parking a vehicle or bicycle.*
The penalty for such trespassing is an infraction fine ranging from $100
to $1000.

We oppose the proposed law. It will harshly burden the poor. It will
eliminate the traditional liberties and privacy of the general public, even
those parking legally.

We urge City Council to actively investigate alternatives. Dont fast-track
another repressive law.**

Instead, involve the community in a real public process. Show us the real
stats about the supposed crime wave downtown. Give us the true costs of
enforcing this law. Poll the community before closing off public space and
setting a 15-minute time limit on the right to privacy in ones vehicle.
Deal with public safety and cleanup concerns in a more realistic, less
invasive way. Expand emergency shelter for homeless people--the main target
of this law.*** Research constructive solutions in other cities.

* EXCEPTIONS: The law allows traditional use of parking lots and garages
(i.e. chatting, reading a book in your car, listening to your radio, etc.)
if (a) you buy a permit; (b) youre a city employee on city business; or
(c) there is a sign posted allowing such free-speech activity. Those
with disabled placards on their vehicles also have an additional fifteen
minutes (for a total of thirty minutes) to leave the garage.

** BACKGROUND: In 2002 at the request of some conservative merchants, Santa
Cruz City Council passed laws expanding police discretionary powers. They
can ticket and/or arrest people for sitting on most of the sidewalk, setting
up a political table on any sidewalk but Pacific Avenue, street performing
in most places, and peaceful, even silent, spare changing after dark, from a
seated position, in a group of two--and in many other situations. On
Pacific Avenue,tablers can be selectively forced to move along every hour.

*** ANTI-HOMELESS FOCUS: Parking Lot #9 is located directly across from
the Elm St. Mission, which has a nightly meal. Homeless people regularly
gather there while waiting. The elimination of another de facto shelter
area for homeless people directly impacts their health and safety. Santa
Cruz provides walk-in emergency shelter for less than 40 of its 1500 to 2000
homeless each night and has a Citywide Sleeping Ban law that criminalizes
all sleeping on public property 11 PM to 8:30 AM. National Law Center for
Homelessness and Poverty criticized the proposed law in a letter to City
Council, which Council members Rotkin and Coonerty subsequently denounced.
City Council is ignoring a recent 9th Circuit decision striking down police
harassment of homeless sleepers as cruel and unusual punishment.

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Aida SantanaBy:
Petition target:
Santa Cruz City Council


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