Thursday, December 15, 2011

Scott Olsen Laughs at "Whose Police?" March Chant

Scott Olsen (with the neck brace) laughs during the march to the Oakland port for the West Coast Port Shutdown when the march chant changes from, "Whose Port?" to "Whose Police?" Olsen helped carry the front banner in this march, which traveled from Oscar Grant Plaza to the port.

Brass Liberation Orchestra - West Coast Port Shutdown

The Brass Liberation Orchestra plays during the march to the port in Oakland for the West Coast Port Shutdown on December 12, 2011.

Downtown Guide Encounters - October 29, 2011

The man in the first photo was playing guitar while sitting against the bike lockers located adjacent to the metro center on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. When the guide (who was walking with a First Alarm security guard) approached the man she said to him, “you can’t be sitting and playing here.” The man immediately stopped playing, stood up, and moved.

In the second photo (which was taken 20 minutes after the first photo), the same hospitality guide encountered a teenage man sitting on the railing of a planter located across Pacific Avenue from the Old Theatre building, and told him, “don’t sit on the railing.” A detail from that photo shows an older woman leaning against the rail. The guide did not approach or speak to her.

From the Hospitality Program web page:

The Hospitality Guide Program’s (HGP) mission is to assist in promoting a clean, safe, and friendly atmosphere for shoppers, residents, employees and visitors. This mission is accomplished in the following ways:
Providing information and directions to shoppers, visitors and residents alike.
Providing a visible presence in the Downtown area and assisting in maintaining compliance with municipal codes by using educational outreach.

In 2009, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that the program’s cost was $130,000.

The faces of the subjects of these images have been blurred.

This report does not assert that either the downtown guide or the individuals spoken to were in violation of the law in any way.

I originally published these photos on Indybay on November 1, 2011.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Occupy Santa Cruz with Raindance

Occupy Santa Cruz on Black Friday featured performances by DJs from Raindance Presents. Notice the post-Thanksgiving pumpkin occupie.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Occupy Oakland Sound Truck - November 19, 2011

The Occupy Oakland Sound Truck live and in action during the march on November 19, 2011.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy Santa Cruz Questions City Manager Bernal

Occupy Santa Cruz marched to city hall on November 7 to deliver a response to the city manager's unsolicited attempt to issue the group an event permit for its San Lorenzo Park occupation location. The video shows Occupy Santa Cruz questioning city manager Martin Bernal after the following response was read by the group:

An Open Letter from the General Assembly of Occupy Santa Cruz to the People of Santa Cruz

While the General Assembly of Occupy Santa Cruz appreciates the City authorities' public recognition that our assembly is within our First Amendment rights, we want to make known that the unsolicited permit issued to us violates these rights.

Our permit is the First Amendment.

We desire an open dialogue with city officials. Occupy Santa Cruz has both attended city council meetings and invited city officials to our meetings. No city official has yet participated in our General Assembly, which gathers daily at 6 PM and Sundays at 2PM on the courthouse steps. Please join us.

In addition, the permit and press surrounding the permit has misrepresented our movement. Our camp is neither unsafe nor unsanitary. We pack our trash and provide toilet facilities.

As people of the United States of America, our rights to freedom of speech and assembly do not end at a certain time of night, nor at noon on November 16th as indicated in the permit.

Occupy Santa Cruz is calling everyone to join us; therefore we cannot accept limits to the size of our assembly. We are an open and dynamic assembly of American people, horizontally organized through a process of direct democracy. Thus, no one person or group of persons can be designated as leader, permittee, or event coordinator.

We are seeking cooperation from city officials to prevent police repression of our assembly.

As the First Amendment of the United States Constitution clearly states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Exercise of this Constitutional right does not require a permit.

Occupy Santa Cruz does not accept the implicit assertion made in the demand made by the City of Santa Cruz to sign a non-requested permit for use of the park land currently being occupied -- namely, the assertion that the Santa Cruz Municipal Code trumps the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Approved by the General Assembly of Occupy Santa Cruz on November 6th 2011.

Also present in the lobby of the city clerk's office were the Raging Grannies, who start singing about 14 minutes into the video.

Occupy Santa Cruz Questions Vice Mayor Don Lane About Police

"Does your office have the authority to prevent the police from dragging us out of the park?"

On November 7, Occupy Santa Cruz participants ran into Vice Mayor Don Lane and spoke with him briefly as they delivered to the city manager their response to the city council's unsolicited attempt to issue an event permit for OSC's San Lorenzo Park occupation location.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Save The Knoll Victory Day

Ann Marie Sayers, Charlene Sul, Lloyd Rodriguez, Wounded Knee DeOcampo

On September 19, community members marched in support of the protection of the Ohlone burial site unearthed on August 2 at the construction site operated by KB Home at Market Street Field in Santa Cruz. The march was planned to occur while the Ohlone elders were in discussions with the City of Santa Cruz and representatives of KB Home at City Hall. Beginning at Mission Plaza, near the Catholic Holy Cross Church and the half-scale replica of the Santa Cruz Mission, marchers made their way through downtown Santa Cruz and on to City Hall where they demonstrated outside during the important discussions. An intense session of drumming was held which was on the level of a prayer ceremony, and eventually Ann Marie Sayers, who was named the most likely descendant of the Ohlone remains that were unearthed, emerged from the meeting to declare to all present that, "the Knoll has been Saved!" Community members were elated, and many spent the time exchanging hugs while the drummers continued to drum and celebrate.
The terms of the agreement are still being worked out, but agreed on so far is that the five burial sites found on the Knoll will have the remains returned to them after which they will be sealed and protected from construction, and a permanent easement will be established that will allow for ceremonial visitations by the Ohlone elders.

Mission Plaza

Marching past the half-scale replica of the Santa Cruz Mission

Marching down Church Street

Outside of Santa Cruz City Hall

Drumming during the negotiations

Ohlone elder, Lloyd Rodriguez (Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe)

Attorney Daniel Sheehan, who represented the Ohlone elders


For more details about the deal that was struck between the Ohlone elders, the City of Santa Cruz, and KB Home, see:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Save The Knoll - September 13 City Hall Vigil

On September 13, community members and members of the Save the Knoll Coalition returned to the Santa Cruz City Hall for a second time since the August 2 news that 6000 year old human remains (Ohlone) were found at the KB Home construction site at the Branciforte Creek Knoll. Again, protesters used open forum time to demand that the council put the issue of the Knoll on the official council meeting agenda. Council Member Don Lane stated, however, that since there was nothing for the council to vote on, the issue of the Knoll wouldn't make it to the official agenda. Lane and a city planner spoke positively about the progress they had made with discussions between city officials, KB Home, and Anne Marie Sayers, who was named most likely descendant of the first remains recovered, but they claimed they could not comment about anything specific.

Former Assembly Member Fred Keeley (right) listens in

Council Chambers

The Santa Cruz City Council

Mike Tomasi modified his comments to support
 Native Americans that day

For transcripts of the statements made, see:

Cops Called On Man Downtown With A Machine Gun - It Was A Bass

On Friday, September 2 in the alleyway next to Tampico Kitchen in downtown Santa Cruz, I photographed officers from the SCPD searching the bass guitar case of local musician Joe Munda.

When I first arrived at the scene, people on Pacific Avenue told me that "two ladies" had called the police on Munda, warning them that he was carrying a machine gun downtown. Closer to where Munda was being searched, a man I had seen playing music a few blocks down on Pacific earlier in the day was yelling at the police, saying, "It's only a bass! What are you guys doing!!!!" or words to that effect. Two Downtown Hospitality Hosts looked on from Pacific Avenue, sharing in the excitement, and I wondered if they were the "two ladies" that phoned this in, but I never found out. As I photographed the scene, the interviewing officer waved at me, and at that time I heard him politely apologizing to Munda, hoping he understood that they had to respond to the call.

I caught up again with Munda outside of Metavinyl on Maple Street. He was a little bit shaken, but mostly he was supportive of the police. One of the officers was also a bass player, which Munda thought helped moderate the situation, and they spoke about their shared taste in the bass playing of Rush's Geddy Lee. The downtown hosts were also in front of Metavinyl, and Munda recalled how when he was working at the now closed Discount Records on Pacific, a man had been threatening people with a knife at the New Leaf Market across the street. Munda had attempted to intervene, and he said that when the police arrived they had to try a variety of approaches with the man before finally shooting him with "sand" to disable him. He also recalled from that day that one of the downtown hosts with whom we were speaking had been there that day at the scene at New Leaf as well.

Joe Munda, Outside of Metavinyl

The Bass

Munda is currently playing in the band Misterioso, and when he mentioned that, I realized I had photographed him and the band at the Breast Cancer Awareness Flash Mob which was held on August 21 at City Hall.

Munda (center), playing a different bass, with Misterioso at City Hall

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Save The Knoll - August 25 March To City Hall

Pacific Avenue

On Thursday, August 25, the Save the Knoll Coalition held its second protest and march through downtown Santa Cruz. Community members started at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Laurel Street, and then made their way to City Hall where a closed session meeting of the city council was being held. Protesters gained access to the meeting, and people (including me) spoke in front of the Santa Cruz City Council, demanding protection for the Ohlone burial site at the Branciforte Creek Knoll. In addition to comments made by community members, Charlene Sul, the head of the Confederation of Ohlone Peoples spoke. Ann Marie Sayers, who was designated the most likely descendant of the first human remains unearthed at the Knoll, was present at the meeting but did not speak.

Turning onto Locust Street

Circling up at City Hall

Charlene Sul, Ann Marie Sayers, and attorney Daniel Sheehan

City Chambers

Charlene Sul speaks before the council

Ann Marie Sayers at City Hall

Transcripts are at:

For more info, see:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Words From Ann Marie Sayers at the Ohlone Speaking Event on Sunday

Ann Marie Sayers

"We are from here. There are some elders that we have that are from the direct village site that we are discussing today."

--Ann Marie Sayers


Ann Marie Sayers, who was named the most likely descendant of the 6000 year old remains of the Ohlone child unearthed at the Knoll near Branciforte Creek on August 2, appeared Sunday at an Ohlone speaking event organized by the Save the Knoll Coalition held at Pacific Cultural Center in Santa Cruz. 200 people attended the event, which offered food, arts and crafts for sale, singing and music performances, and featured speakers
Tony Cerda, Corrina Gould, Wounded Knee DeOcampo, Henry Dominguez, and Sayers.

This was Ann Marie Sayers' most lengthy public discussion of the issues surrounding the burial site that is currently being disturbed by the construction by KB Home, and her comments cleared up some points that many have been curious about.

She stated that there are indeed direct descendants of the Ohlone people who originally lived in the village that was located at the site, and she is in contact with them. Some members of the public have described the site, to the detriment of the Ohlone people, as part of an ancient history that should be discussed in terms of archeology and artifacts, as opposed to one that is set in a contemporary context and who's uses resemble more closely those commonly associated with cemeteries and a number of types of active sacred sites. People alive today have a long standing connection to the Knoll and the nearby field near Branciforte Creek.

Sayers mentioned her mother's views on the issue of burials, "My mother believed when a burial is disturbed, the spirit of that individual is wandering until that individual is re-interred ceremonially." This was the first time she has mentioned publicly that the desecration that had occurred at the Knoll could possibly be repaired ceremonially. For Sayers, the presence of her ancestors is not an isolated intellectual fact, it is something that can be felt, and it is important to her that people have prayed at the site, "I'm just really impressed with the native peoples and the non-native peoples who have come up to pray on the Knoll to acknowledge the people who were there, and who's spirits still are because you can feel them." Sayers recalled when she was first told that she was named most likely descendant of the person unearthed, "I was told it was a five to seven year old child; it just hits you, and goes inside of you, you feel it."

Sayers couldn't be more positive about her experiences with the support she has received from the community, saying, "Today is the best time for a California Indian to be living, since contact, and it is because of people like you, thank you so very very much."

She mentioned her frustrations with the process of interacting with the city, though: "I believe it was the Native Plant Society that brought a lawsuit against the city, and they were able to get this huge, immense area protected with a 50 foot buffer for a spine flower, but when it comes to our ancestors it's like we don't count, it's like we are invisible, but we're not, we're still here, and we still have a connection with where our ancestors were from."

She closed her comments with a statement of gratitude directed towards the audience, "I cannot tell you how much your presence to learn more about the original people on whose land we are on, how important it is to me, and for all the Ohlone peoples, for all native peoples, because we are still here."

Corrina Gould

Tony Cerda

Wounded Knee

Henry Dominquez

To learn more about Ann Marie Sayers, visit the Indian Canyon Website. Indian Canyon is the only Indian Country located on the Central Coast of California. It is the land her family has lived on for generations, and that Sayers fought for to gain federal protection.

For more information on how to help protect the burials, see: