Archive for the ‘coverage of PEOPLE PROJECT’ Category

There are some, perhaps many,who think ill of the poor; some who view homeless as criminals – criminals that invade our pristine neighborhoods. It appears a fact that some care about the plight of others, and there are those who appear not to care much if at all.

Several of us have been showing up on Tuesday afternoons at our court house attempting to draw attention to such realities a police brutality, hunger, lack of shelter and such. We observe that here in Humboldt County that the majority of those passing by make it clear that they support what we are about. We receive a good deal of praise, honks, waves and such but this does not reflect the views of all. We stand at the Court House with our signs from three in the afternoon until six p.m.. Yesterday, this would prove to be the same time in which the county building and maintenance
department would choose to turn on their sprinklers and water the front lawns where we were standing with our signs. We reported this development to the board of supervisors office. No one had any recollections of sprinklers being on at this time of day on the Court House lawn. The Supervisors office contacted their building
maintenance department and asked that they be shut off and they were shut off.

I write this letter just to draw awarness to the predicament. We ask; do we have our hearts in a good place. Do we care about the plight of those less fortunate or do we see them meanly as some intrusion into our space. Perhaps we should give this subject further thought. Specifically we might question in what direction is the economy of working classes heading and not just in Humboldt County.

David H. Goggin
1686 Old Arcata Rd.
Bayside, Ca. 95524
707 8221492

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This is an Invite and Call To Action!

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These photos are from April 20, 2010.

Sleep Is a Human Right -and NECESSITY!

In the Rain

Decriminalize Houselessness

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All are invited to Anti-War Protests to


every Tuesday, in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse in Eureka


Dinner shared on site

For more information contact PEOPLE PROJECT:

(707) 442-7465

Gather every Tuesday to build strength with neighbors and other community
members to END the WAR ON THE POOR!

The war on the poor takes many forms. PEOPLE PROJECT understands that all wars are wars against the poor, the Earth, and the defenseless. The war on the poor includes lack of affordable housing, lack of access to healthcare, abuse of millions of animals in factory farms, slaughterhouses and labs, and heavy military recruitment of youth for global wars on the poor. The war on the poor includes state violence against refugees and houseless people, corporate exploitation of working people, lack of decent jobs, and the injustice of the prison industrial complex.

A main focus for PEOPLE PROJECT is to stop the criminalization of houseless people. Please join us to speak out and build strength to END THE ‘WAR ON THE POOR’, however you experience it.


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Where Would Jesus Sleep?

NOT GUILTY decision in arrest case from City Hall Safe Sleep Space/Protest

Media Contact: Kimberly Starr


On Friday, January 8, 2010, Kimberly Starr, representing herself, won the case which arose from her arrest at the Eureka City Hall Safe Sleeping Space/protest. For 32 nights in the City Hall parking lot, PEOPLE PROJECT, a local group and grass roots movement for the rights and dignity of houseless and poor people, shared blankets and nutritious food and set up a tarp structure under which people could sleep out of the rain and cold, meeting needs that are otherwise unfulfilled in Eureka. PEOPLE PROJECT also protests the city criminalizing houseless people and demands land where houseless people can be without harassment. On the night of December 6, 2009, between 25 and 28 Eureka Police officers, with multiple police vehicles, swarmed the City Hall Safe Sleeping Space/protest, set up a “pre-arranged booking table” in the adjacent lot, cordoned off the entire block, and intimidated almost all participants away. The case and testimonies following Starr’s arrest and jailtime brought several important issues to the surface related to local police activity and the impossible situation that city policies leave people in who have no shelter.


Initially, the Humboldt County District Attorney [DA] charged Kimberly Starr with three misdemeanors- trespass, camping, and resisting. Starr subpoenaed documents from the City of Eureka, moved to suppress the arrest, and made an extensive discovery motion, almost fully granted by the court, compelling the prosecution to turn over documents related to the costly police action. Both the City and the DA failed, however, to turn over many documents and records in their possession as ordered by the court. In the last week of Starr’s court case, the DA chose to drop the misdemeanors and charge Ms. Starr with one infraction trespass. The subsequent trial involved testimony from: Eureka City Manager, David Tyson; Eureka Police Department’s own Patriarch of Corruption, Murl Harpham; and Becky Perry who works in personnel at City Hall.


The Eureka City Counsel decided to send EPD to City Hall to dismantle the safe sleeping space/protest in a closed session meeting on Tuesday, December 1, 2009. Then, the Council hid that discussion from the public. The entire process was in violation of state open meeting laws and the Sunshine Amendment of the California Constitution. City Manager, David Tyson, not wanting to expose the illegal planning of the City, testified during Starr’s trial as if it was his decision to order the Eureka Police Department [EPD], with no input from the Counsel, to break up the City Hall sleeping space and punish the participants.


Lt. Murl Harpham, who is one of the EPD officers known to repeatedly tear down and steal houseless peoples’ tents and survival gear, had arrested Ms. Starr on December 6, 2009. Through the court case, it was learned that Harpham erroneously assumed that Ms. Starr was on probation and requested that the DA forbid her from being in most of downtown Eureka and circulate her photo to Eureka merchants to make her an unwelcome target of businesses and police. (see document). Even with the document in hand with his name on it, Harpham tried to deny (on the witness stand) that he had made the request. Later he admitted that he has filed similar requests in the past regarding other houseless Eureka residents.


In response to Starr’s last question in court, Harpham admitted that there is NO place where people (who cannot pay) may sleep without being subject to Eureka Municipal codes. However, he has been quoted as saying that “the solution is just to make it uncomfortable here for them.” …, so he “sweeps” the camps, “keeps moving them [homeless people] around,” and arrests or tickets people for finding a place to rest. (http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_10369336) California courts have repeatedly upheld the Supreme Court and California Court of Appeals ‘necessity’ rulings, with regard to houseless people: “Sleep is a physiological need, not an option for humans[.]” and depriving a person of sleep, which “produces a host of physical and mental problems” is more a “significant evil” than violating an ordinance that prohibits sleeping. [In re Eichorn, 81 Cal. Rptr. 2d 535, 540 (Ct. App. 1998); See entire case at https://peopleproject.wordpress.com/2009/01/31/sleep-deprivation-is-significant-evil-quote-from-2000-ca-court/]


Ms. Starr was found “Not Guilty” of the infraction trespass. PEOPLE PROJECT vows to continue organizing for a safe place for people to sleep and for the decriminalization of houslessness.


Video from December 6, 2009 here:

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Media Alert
December 29, 2009
Contact: Kimberly Starr, people project@riseup.net

Eureka City Council’s Secret Agenda-

On Tuesday, December 1, 2009, the Eureka City Counsel generated, in closed session, a plan to shut down the PEOPLE PROJECT Safe Sleep Zone protest at City Hall.

At that time, the protest, which provided a safe haven for many unsheltered people, had been going on for almost 30 nights. Earlier in the day of Tuesday Dec 1, 2009, City Manager, Mr. David Tyson, informed a participant in the protest that the Council would probably address the protest in the closed session that evening. In addition, EPD Chief Nielsen told the media that the protest would likely address it during the Tuesday closed session. After downloading the agendas for the open and closed sessions for that night, I made two phone calls- leaving a detailed message for Mr. Tyson and speaking directly with a woman Eureka City Clerk. I pointed out that there was nothing on either Tuesday night agenda which referenced the protest at City Hall;
and that if it were to be discussed at either meeting by the City Council, the Council would be violating open meeting acts (namely, the Brown Act).

Sure enough, later on Tuesday, the City Council devised a plan in closed session, had failed to agendize it, and then failed to bring its decisions to the open meeting that evening. Whether the entire discussion was appropriate for a closed session, according to the Brown Act, is the first question that should be examined. Moreover, however, the City Council was in clear violation of the Brown Act due to its secret agenda and decision-making. The City Council began implementing the ill-gotten decisions several days later.

Below are some excerpts from media articles wherein City officials are quoted referencing the Tuesday night decision(s). Below those excerpts are pertinent parts of the Ralph M. Brown Act. The Humboldt County District Attorney,both Mr. Paul Gallegos and Deputy DA Ms. Autumn Renshaw, have been informed of such crimes against transparency.

On Wednesday, December 30, 2009, I will be in Humboldt Superior Court, fighting criminal charges arising from the large City action on December 6, 2009 at City Hall. Two motions are set to be heard: a suppression motion (which involves an evidentiary hearing) and a motion to compel discovery- both filed by me, the defense.

End the Criminalization of Homelessness.
–Kimberly L. Starr

Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act Preamble, Section 11120 and Brown Act Preamble, Section 54950

It is the public policy of this state that public agencies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and the proceedings of public agencies be conducted openly so that the public may remain informed. In enacting this article the Legislature finds and declares that it is the intent of the law that actions of state agencies be taken openly and that their deliberation be conducted openly. The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.

Tent city: Issues with Eureka City Hall campers may go before council
Donna Tam/The Times-Standard
Posted: 11/28/2009 01:24:11 AM PST

Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen said the department has been receiving calls from city employees about the overnighters, an issue that will probably go before the council on Tuesday. In addition to the parking spots, there have been some concerns over sanitation.
”Essentially it’s a policy decision on the part of the council, and the police department will act on the wishes of the council,” he said.

Eureka breaks up city hall parking lot encampment
Donna Tam/The Times-Standard
Posted: 12/08/2009

Harpham said arrangements were made with the Rescue Mission in case any of the occupants needed an alternative location to sleep overnight.

City Manager David Tyson said the encampment was beginning to impact city staff’s ability to access the parking lot, and was starting to disturb neighbors.

Chief Garr Nielsen said last month that the no-camping code would not be enforced as long as no problems occurred. He said police set up barricades and put up notices Thursday announcing that EPD would be enforcing the no-camping code.

On Sunday night, about a dozen people chose to stay after a meal served by the People Project. Authorities waited until 9 p.m. to begin enforcement to allow those who came for just the meal to leave.

Tyson said employees were also concerned about having their parking spaces blocked after leaving the office in the evenings and being accosted in the lot. Their concerns were discussed last week in a closed session City Council meeting regarding potential litigation.

Homeless encampments temporarily set up at Eureka City Hall parking lot
Donna Tam/The Times-Standard
Posted: 11/17/2009

Despite laws that prohibit such behavior, the city says it’s not going to stop the camping as long as the campers keep a low profile.


[HERE is a link to the First Amendment Project‘s guide to the open meeting laws of the Brown Act: https://peopleproject.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/brown-act-brochure-dec-03.pdf]


4. Closed Sessions

There are three types of “notice” obligations that accompany the conduct of a closed-session as a part of a duly noticed meeting. First, each item to be transacted or discussed in a closed session must be briefly described on an agenda for the meeting. (§ 54954.2(a).) Second, prior to adjourning into closed session, a representative of the legislative body must orally announce the items to be discussed in closed session. (§ 54957.7(a).) This requirement may be satisfied by merely referring to the relevant portion of the written agenda for the meeting. However, the Act contains specific additional requirements for closed sessions regarding pending litigation where the body believes it is subject to a significant exposure to potential litigation. (§ 54956.9(b)(3).) Third, once the closed session has been completed, the agency must reconvene in open session, where it may be required to report votes and actions taken in closed session.
(§ 54957.1.) These requirements are discussed in detail below.

A. Agenda Requirement

At least 72 hours prior to each regular meeting, legislative bodies must prepare an agenda containing a brief general description of each item to be transacted or discussed, including items which will be handled in closed session. (§ 54954.2(a).) A description of each item generally need not exceed 20 words, although the description must be sufficient to provide interested persons with an understanding of the subject matter which will be considered. (Carlson v. Paradise Unified School Dist. (1971) 18
Cal.App.3d 196, 200.) In the case of pending litigation, the legislative body must make
reference in the agenda or publicly announce the specific subsection of section 54956.9
under which the closed session is being held. (§ 54956.9(c).)

B. Oral Announcement Prior to Closed Sessions

In addition to the agenda requirement for regular and special meetings, the Act requires
a representative of the legislative body to orally announce the items to be discussed in
closed session prior to any closed-session meeting. (§ 54957.7(a).) This requirement may be satisfied by referring to the item by number as it appears on the agenda. However, such a referral usually would not be sufficient in the case of a closed session
concerning significant exposure to litigation.

Pursuant to section 54956.9, a closed session may be conducted in order to permit an
agency to receive advice from its legal counsel. When the impetus for such a closed
session is the agency’s exposure to potential litigation, the Act carefully regulates the
circumstances under which a closed session may be called, and the types of announcement which must accompany such a meeting. (§ 54956.9(b)(3).) These
required disclosures may be made as a part of the written agenda or as a part of the oral announcement made prior to any closed session. These requirements do not mandate disclosure of privileged communications exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act. (§ 54956.9(b)(3)(F).) A summary of the disclosure requirements surrounding closed sessions based on an agency’s exposure to potential litigation is set
forth below.

• Where the agency believes that facts creating significant exposure to litigation are not known to potential plaintiffs, the facts need not be disclosed. (§ 54956.9(b)(3)(A).)

• Where facts (e.g., an accident, disaster, incident, or transaction) creating
significant exposure to litigation are known to potential plaintiffs, the
facts must be publicly stated on the agenda or announced. (§ 54956.9(b)(3)(B).)

• Where the agency receives a claim or other written communication threatening litigation, reference to the claim or communication must be publicly stated on the agenda or announced, and the claim or communication must be available for public inspection pursuant to section 54957.5. (§ 54956.9(b)(3)(C).)

• Where a person makes a statement in an open and public meeting threatening litigation, reference to the statement must be publicly stated on the agenda or announced. (§ 54956.9(b)(3)(D).)

• Where a person makes a statement outside of an open and public meeting threatening litigation, the agency may not conduct a closed session unless an agency official having knowledge of the threat makes a contemporaneous or other record of the statement prior to the meeting. Reference to the statement must be publicly stated on the agenda or announced, and the record must be available for public inspection pursuant to section 54957.5. However, the record, or the disclosable part thereof, need not identify the alleged victim of unlawful or tortious sexual conduct or anyone making a threat on their behalf, or identify a public employee who is the alleged perpetrator of any such
conduct, unless the identity of the person has been publicly disclosed.
(§ 54956.9(b)(3)(E).)

C. Report at the Conclusion of Closed Sessions

Once a closed session has been completed, the legislative body must convene in open
session. (§ 54957.7(b).) If the legislative body took final action in the closed session,
the body may be required to make a report of the action taken and the vote thereon to
the public at the open session. (§ 54957.1(a).) The report may be made either orally
or in writing. (§ 54957.1(b).) In the case of a contract or settlement of a lawsuit,copies of the document also must be disclosed as soon as possible. (§ 54957.1(b) and (c).) If final action is contingent upon another party, the legislative body is under no obligation to release a report about the closed session. Once the other party has acted, making the decision final, the legislative body is under an obligation to respond to inquiries for information by providing a report of the action. (§ 54957.1(a).)


Under the Brown Act, a member of the public can attend a meeting of a legislative body without having to register or give other information as a condition of attendance. (§ 54953.3; see also 27 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 123 (1956).) If a register, questionnaire or similar document is posted or circulated at a meeting, it must clearly state that completion of the document is voluntary and not a precondition for attendance. (§ 54953.3.) A legislative body may not prohibit any person attending an open meeting from video recording, audio recording or broadcasting the proceedings, absent a reasonable finding that such activity would constitute a disruption of the proceedings. (§§ 54953.5, 54953.6; Nevens v. City of Chino (1965) 233 Cal.App.2d 775, 779; see also § 6091.)

Under the Act, the public is guaranteed the right to provide testimony at any regular or special meeting on any subject which will be considered by the legislative body before or during its consideration of the item. (§ 54954.3(a).) In 80 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 247, 248-252 (1997), this office concluded under a similar provision in the Bagley-Keene Act that the public’s right to comment on all agenda items applied to quasi-judicial proceedings as well as quasi-legislative proceedings. In addition, the public has the right at every regular meeting to provide testimony on any matter under the legislative body’s jurisdiction. (§ 54954.3(a).) However, this office concluded that a body could prohibit a member of the public from speaking on a matter that was outside the jurisdiction of the body. (78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 224, 230 (1995).)

Members of the public who make written requests for documents which were finally approved in a closed session generally may receive copies of such documents at the conclusion of the meeting. (§ 54957.1(b).) This right to obtain documents does not include documents which are exempt from disclosure pursuant to section 6254 of the Public Records Act. (Roberts v. City of Palmdale (1993) 5 Cal.4th 363, 370-373; Cal.Atty.Gen., Indexed Letter, No. IL 77-67 (April 28, 1977).) Pursuant to section 6253(c), a fee equal to the direct cost of duplication may be charged to any person requesting a copy of a public record. (§ 54957.5(c)); North County Parents Organization for Children with Special Needs v. California Department of Education (1994) 23 Cal.App.4th 144, 147-148.) In the North County case, the court indicated that a pro rata share of equipment and conceivably personnel expenses directly involved in actually duplicating a record could be included in calculating the fee. However, research and retrieval costs may not be included in the fee. Thus, the direct cost of actually photocopying a record may be recovered, but associated costs such as the cost of research, redaction and retrieval may not be recovered.

In addition, members of the public may request in writing that the agenda or all of the documents comprising the meeting packet be mailed to them for a cost not to exceed the actual cost of providing the service. (§ 54954.1.) Upon receipt of such a written request, the agency shall mail the requested documents, provided that they are not exempt from disclosure pursuant to section 6254, to the requester at the time the agenda is posted or when the documents are provided to a majority of the members of the legislative body, whichever occurs first. The request must be renewed annually and failure of the requester to receive such documents does not invalidate any action which was the subject of the records.


1. Introduction

A. Narrow Construction

Under the Brown Act, closed sessions must be expressly authorized by explicit statutory provisions. Prior to the enactment of section 54962, the courts and this office had recognized impliedly authorized justifications for closed sessions. (Sutter Sensible Planning, Inc. v. Board of Supervisors (1981) 122 Cal.App.3d 813; Sacramento Newspaper Guild v. Sacramento County Bd. of Suprs. (1968) 263 Cal.App.2d 41.) However, that legislation made it clear that closed sessions cannot be conducted unless they are expressly authorized by statute. Although confidential communication privileges continue to exist in other statutes such as the Public Records Act and Evidence Code section 1040, these provisions no longer can impliedly authorize a closed session.

Since closed sessions are an exception to open meeting requirements, the authority for such sessions has been narrowly construed. The law evinces a strong bias in favor of open meetings, and court decisions and opinions of this office have buttressed that legislative intent. (§ 54950.) The fact that material may be sensitive, embarrassing or controversial does not justify application of a closed session unless it is authorized by some specific exception. (Rowen v. Santa Clara Unified School District (1981) 121 Cal.App.3d 231, 235.) Rather, in many circumstances these characteristics may be further evidence of the need for public scrutiny and participation in discussing such matters. (See Civ. Code, § 47(b) [regarding privileged publication of defamatory remarks in a legislative proceeding].)

In 61 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 220, 226 (1978), we concluded that meetings of the Board of Police Commissioners could not, as a general proposition, be held in closed session, even though the matters to be discussed were sensitive and the commission considered their disclosure contrary to the public interest.

D. Confidentiality of Closed Session

Section 54963 provides that a person may not disclose confidential information that has been acquired by attending a proper closed session to a person not entitled to receive it, unless the disclosure is authorized by the legislative body.

For purposes of this section, “confidential information” means a communication made in a closed session that is specifically related to the basis for the legislative body to meet lawfully in closed session.

If this prohibition is violated, it may be enforced by relying upon current available legal
remedies including the following:

• Injunctive relief to prevent the disclosure of confidential information.

• Disciplinary action against an employee who has willfully disclosed confidential information in violation of this prohibition. Such disciplinary action must be first preceded by training or notice of the prohibition.

• Referral of a member of a legislative body who has willfully disclosed confidential information to the grand jury.

However, section 54963 provides that no action may be taken against a person for any

• Making a confidential inquiry or complaint to a district attorney or grand jury concerning a perceived violation of law, including disclosing facts that are necessary to establish the illegality of an action taken by a legislative body or the potential illegality of an action that has been the subject of deliberation at a closed session if that action were ultimately to be taken by the legislative body.

• Expressing an opinion concerning the propriety or legality of actions taken by a legislative body in closed session, including disclosure of the nature and extent of the illegal or potentially illegal action.

• Disclosing information acquired by being present in a closed session that is not confidential information.

• Disclosing information under the whistle blower statutes contained in Labor Code section 1102.5 or Government Code section 53296.

2. Authorized Exceptions
All closed sessions must be conducted pursuant to expressly authorized statutory exceptions.
(§ 54962.) As stated previously, the closed session exception to open meeting laws has been narrowly construed by the courts.


If a person or member of the media believes a violation of open meeting laws has occurred or is about to occur, he or she may wish to contact the local body, the attorney for that body, a superior agency or the district attorney. If such contacts are not successful in resolving the concerns, the complainant may wish to consider one of the remedies or penalties provided by the Legislature to combat violations of the Act. These include criminal penalties, civil injunctive relief and the award of attorney’s fees.

In addition, with certain statutory exceptions, actions taken in violation of the Brown Act may be declared null and void by a court.

1. Criminal Penalties

The Act provides criminal misdemeanor penalties for certain violations. Specifically, the Act punishes attendance by a member of a body at a meeting where action is taken in violation of the Act, and where the member intends to deprive the public of information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled. (§ 54959.) The term “action taken” as defined by section 54952.6 includes a collective decision, commitment or promise by a majority of the members of a body. The fact that the decision is tentative rather than final does not shield participants from criminal liability; whether “action”within the meaning of the statute was taken would be a factual question in each case. (61 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 283, 292- 293 (1978).) Mere deliberation without the taking of some action will not trigger a criminal penalty.

2. Civil Remedies

A. Injunctive, Mandatory or Declaratory Relief

The Act provides two distinct types of civil remedies:

(1) Injunction, mandamus or declaratory relief to prevent or stop violations or threatened violations. (§ 54960.)
(2) Action to void past acts of the body. (§ 54960.1.)

These remedies are discussed in turn below.

The district attorney or any interested person also may seek injunctive, mandatory or
declaratory relief in a superior court. (§ 54960.) An “interested person” may include,
in addition to the public, a public entity or its officers. Unlike the criminal remedy, these civil remedies do not require that the body take action or that the members act with a specific intent to deprive the public of information to which the members know that the public is entitled.

In granting complainants the power to seek injunctive, mandatory or declaratory relief,
the Legislature indicated on the face of the statute that such remedies were available
to stop or prevent violations of the Act. (§ 54960.) This point was reiterated by the
California Supreme Court in the case of Regents of the University of California v.
Superior Court (1999) 20 Cal.4th 509, 522, where it concluded that these remedies were not available to redress the past actions of a body. However, with respect to state agencies, the Legislature quickly acted to supersede this interpretation. (See § 11130.) A body may not always announce its intended action so as to give rise to an action for injunctive, mandatory or declaratory relief. Under these circumstances, the plaintiff may seek to support its case by demonstrating that a pattern of past conduct indicates the existence of present or future violations. (Shapiro v. San Diego City Council (2002) 96 Cal.App.4th 904; Duval v. Board of Trustees (2001) 93 Cal.App.4th 902, 906.) Alternatively, the body may seek to demonstrate that there is a current controversy that is evidenced by past practices of the body, and the body has not renunciated such practices. (CAUSE v. City of San Diego (1997) 56 Cal.App.4th 1024, 1029.) The court indicated that since the city would not admit to a violation it was likely that the current practices would continue. The court in Common Cause v. Stirling (1983) 147 Cal.App.3d 518, 524, concluded that courts may presume that a municipality will continue similar practices in light of the city attorney’s refusal to admit the violation.

Where a legislative body has committed a violation of the Act concerning the conduct of closed sessions subject to the Act, a court may order the body to tape record future closed sessions pursuant to the procedures set forth in section 54960(b).

The Act specifically provides that before a suit can be initiated, the complainant must
make within 90 days a written demand to the board to cure or correct the violation, unless the action was taken in an open session but in violation of section 54954.2 (agenda requirements), in which case the written demand shall be made within 30 days from the date the action was taken. (§ 54960.1(c)(1); County of Del Norte v. City of Crescent City (1999) 71 Cal.App.4th 965, 978; Bell v. Vista Unified School Dist.(2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 672, 684.) The Act further provides that if the board refuses or fails to cure or correct a violation of sections 54953, 54954.2, 54954.5, 54954.6, 54956 or 54956.5 within 30 days from receipt of the written demand, the complainant may file a suit to have the action adjudged null and void. (§ 54960.1(c)(3).) Suits under this section must be brought within 15 days after receipt of the body’s decision to cure or correct, or not to cure or correct; or 15 days after the expiration of the 30-day period for the body to cure or correct — whichever is earlier. (§ 54960.1(c)(4); see Boyle v. City of Redondo Beach (1999) 70 Cal.App.4th 1109, 1117, fn. 5.) Once an action is challenged, a body nevertheless may cure or correct that action without prejudice and, where a lawsuit has been filed, may have the suit dismissed. (§ 54960.1(e); see Boyle v. City of Redondo Beach (1999) 70 Cal.App.4th 1109; Bell v. Vista Unified School Dist. (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 672, 685.) Since a violation may be cured or corrected after a lawsuit has been filed, the plaintiff need not wait for an answer to its demand that a body cure or correct an action before filing suit. (See Bell v. Vista Unified School Dist. (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 672 [where the demand and the lawsuit were filed on the same day].)

B. Voidability of Action

Either interested persons or the district attorney may seek to have actions taken in
violation of the Act declared null and void by a court. (§ 54960.1.) In Boyle v. City
of Redondo Beach (1999) 70 Cal.App.4th 1109, 1118, the court ruled that merely
conferring with and giving direction to staff, where no vote was taken and no decision
made, did not constitute
action that could be adjudged null and void.

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Press Release Dec., 7, 09′

for immediate release contact 445-8733

Eureka police crackdown and close self managing shelter providing food and safe sleeping for those without homes

Police last night surrounded, made arrests then tore down the month old tent shelter complex set up at the Eureka City Hall, Humboldt Co., Calif., under siege by the Eureka Council, warning this weekend they would not tolerate this safe haven much longer.This encampment has fulfilled the immediate needs of people without homes, who daily face harsher weather conditions of night cold and/or rains. They’re a people neither permitted on private or public lands. Where are they to go?

Among us are older folks, including numbers of vets, some handicapped with broken bodies, folks terribly stressed by their lives, those who’ve lost jobs, mothers and fathers, and many young, with all kinds of professional, academic and hard working backgrounds, all appreciative of a safe haven and still intent upon not just survival, but making a life.

We ask everyone who hears this message to help by reaching the Eureka City Council and other City officials in demanding real answers be offered to meet these immediate needs.

Eureka City Council members: One message for all 707- 441-4172

In talking with one city official Sunday, it was made clear we would be raided soon, and they ‘asked our cooperation’ in finding another place. We know of none, as surely as they do… precisely why we have been there. The threat of arrest and worse already drove most back to the streets for the night.

Warning signs of arrest and barricades were posted Friday around the City Hall parking lots where the encampment has set up each evening, providing home cooked food, and fresh bedding..and in the morning dismantled and gone before business begins. Police have been more obvious, cruising by often, one stopping to ticket or arrest some of the homeless on the sidewalk adjacent to the camping site for J walking or miscellaneous charges.

Police had originally and publicly stated if the encampment did not interfere with business, it was not their problem. The encampment has been open to all, turning no one away who needed a meal, but making clear to all that to stay and use the shelter, meant no drinking or drugs while there and monitored throughout the night.

City officials have asked what we want and been told:
1) People without homes need to have a safe space to sleep and cover themselves against
the weather, called “camping” by the city and criminalized.
2) People be given the right to manage such a space, without city oversight or police
3) City ordinances, which criminalize rest or sleep be eliminated, which are in direct
violation of the 8th Amendment to our Constitution… and thus resolving police enforcement.
of harassing, ticketing, confiscation of personal property and worse.
4) Lastly that it be recognized that the cities present position of planning and developing procedures for the future will obviously meet only a mere fraction of the critical need, regardless of when they finally take effect, while none of such city planning meets the immediate needs of the great many people without homes.

These same officials asked if we were prepared to manage a space provided for those without homes and were told; “Of course”, just as we’ve done for the past month at the doors of City Hall.

The ambivalence of city authorities and the community is an ongoing dilemma. On one hand great enthusiasm and benevolence by certain people, churches, the city and even official police endorsement for providing food and clothing during the day, but with nightfall, the city and police turning against their presence, sending the wrong message to the community at large, of city sponsored prejudice through enforcement of their illegal ordinances.

This direct action confronts a massive crisis situation faced by numerous cities, towns and counties throughout the U.S., being added to daily by economics and lost jobs.The times are so similar to what people faced in the Great Depression, the Hooverville’s and Grapes of Wrath, our own folk lore, our history as a people for everyone’s acknowledgement and understanding, but not if being ignored. Your neighbors and /or someone’s neighbors are losing their home every day…some having to find their way in the streets. Why this departure from our common sense and good will toward anyone’s financial crisis leading to even greater deprivations and mental stress?

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much;
but whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

This action has been a direct confrontation with city authorities over their long standing and aggressive treatment of people without homes, promoting community prejudice and hostility towards their already vulnerable and oppressed situation…. an unresolved human rights issue which ought never have been ignored nor postponed so long

Join PEOPLE PROJECT in the continuation of this crucial work.

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We’re serving food at 6pm @ City hall tonight (Wednesday).
We’re setting up a temporary shelter tonight as well
Donations of sleeping bags, tarps, tents, blankets, warm clothes. etc still needed

It’s constitutionally protected to demonstrate on city hall against any law or city ordinance and the city has to provide accommodations for those activities to occur. Closing the parking lot without providing accommodations to exercise our first amendment rights violates these laws. The DA or California Attorney General is mandated to prosecute the city if they violate our rights.

If you have not been following the news here are some resources below.
Letter To The Mayor Of Eureka and the City Council

Channel 3 news peices
Last Wednesday

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These are 3 accounts from the January 6, 2008 Grub-n-Grab.

News from Wabash and UNion (EKA)

Grub and Grab, January 6 2009

A Grub and Grab is the creation of our imaginations, where we practice what we preach and live our dreams of community. Without any financial burdens, we reclaim a neighborhood space where we can allow for relationships outside of the state and capital regulations. Simply, it is a place where we share the abundance of our society as well as our individual aspirations. In the heart of this winter season, we bring hot food, drinks and warm clothing for all who have been weathered by the storms. Under large tarps we put up dry tables of countless goods that belong in the hands of those who need it. We know that in the downfall of their economy, we are left to struggle for all necessities. The GNG is one way that we stand together and provide for ourselves. This is not charity, this is beyond solidarity. This is not a one time deal, but an ongoing practice of our values. GNGs have been going on since the summer of ´07. This last GNG has turned out to tell the story of many elements to our situation of crisis. The story of this event will help to clarify our purpose to ourselves and the greater Eureka of what are our intentions

Because the GNG was scheduled for the 24th of December, it must have been perceived as a christmas happening, although it was not specifically that.

The Day

We set up at eight o’clock with hot food and and a warm crowd. There was a sense of accomplishment amongst the crew. Pleasantly, through word of mouth there was about 10 of us setting up, making it easy to set up and unload. Also, we were fresh faces to one another, allowing for making new relationships and connections. Through persistent organizing we pulled a crew together ofof strangers ready to work together at 7 in the morning outside in the rain without compen$ation. But – We were there! We set up at this building that barely looked like a place of worship, it was an old run down church. The church at Wabash and Union is an example of capitalist and bureaucratic process that have lead to neglect and waste. The building stands with broken windows and boarded up doors hardly resembling a church at all. Now it stands with a new story.

People came down Wabash by car, bike and foot to see what was going on. We flew through coffee and potatoes. As the rain came down, people came up to get dry coats. This is very practical – no? We shared conversation with old friends and new acquaintances that came by. There was joy in the air despite the water clouds above. People were pleasant and respectful, not following rules or judicial law, but our own common sense. The children reflected this, happy faces and giggles, there was kid clothes and even toys. Some came for the coffee, and some came to say hi. Some came with carts, and some came with minivans. We were grateful, and our smiles showed it. Aside from th chit chat, we also screened movies with a portable TV. It was place to hang out – and thats what we did, content under the protection of tarps.

While people trickled in and out of the space, some of us went to pass out fliers at Henderson Center. Our fliers were received well except for a group of employees who suggested we leave before security came to throw us out. This seemed strange considering our good intentions, but not surprising policy for a corporation. Upon our return, the PIGZ were at the site serving orders to move from our location prematurely. We had intended to be there another 3 hours. Against our will, we packed our things and hung our tails between our legs, like the dogs they treat us like. I was not ready to leave. I was not ready to be arrested. We packed up three truck loads, and gave thanks for the success we did have.
How come our day of giving was not allowed and the december 24 give away was hailed as a miracle? the ongoing contradictions of the state and property owners is not new to me but still just as outraging!

NO HOAX! But a miracle is still a miracle!

The spirit of giving and community empowerment lives on- even sprouts an unexpected branch. What was recently dubbed an internet hoax and cruel prank was actually a very simple slip up. The December 24th Grub-n-Grab, which was called off due to extenuating circumstances around resources and weather, was to be the 7th such event organized and carried out in recent years by PEOPLE PROJECT. It was our hope that as the Craigslist ad had only been posted for a few hours between 12 and 7 am, the risk of anyone showing up was minimal. That it caused anyone inconvenience is regrettable, and we at PEOPLE PROJECT apologize for the miscommunication. That this mishap should generate so positive an experience as to be called a miracle, was an inspiring surprise and we wish we had been privy to the organizing that ensued after we pulled the posting.

The Grub-n-Grab is no joke. We have hosted 7 such events in this area over the past 2 years. It all started when People Project members happened upon several truckloads of goods a local church was needing to get rid of. The high spirits that ensued from this first give-away led into conversation about what had made the event unique and special and why it felt so different from the other “institutional” charities we have all experienced in one way or another.
Inspired to affect compassion, sharing, empowerment, and community cooperation; and eager to re-imagine what community could look like, and feel like, PEOPLE PROJECT members carried the dream into action. It was in the spirit of this tradition, that on the 6th of January we rolled up our sleeves to host the event which had not been able to happen on the 24th. Only a little bit sheepish from the spin-off of our mistake and the title of “evil Grinch”, we set up our canopy and tarps and put on a great event. There was hot food, live music, educational videos, children playing, and lots of free stuff picked out. As was so beautifully illustrated in the Miracle on Wabash story, those moved to help were not necessarily coming from a place of affluence and privilege, and the real show of wealth came from the spirit of sharing.
Such is the case consistently in our organizing, where many among us are houseless, and where in working together to create a space where humanity and care are held in priority over material success and profit, the result is the kind of empowerment and community uplift bestowed by the spirit of sharing itself. We hope to join forces with those who rose to the occasion on X-mas day to ensure that this wonderful occurrence does not get buried in the past as a one-time thing. Past experience confines us to the unfortunate expectation that should the “miracle workers” endeavor to act on a continuing grass-roots basis, in collaboration or otherwise, they will be met with many of the frustrations, obstacles and harassment we have and continue to struggle with. However, of course always optimistic, we pray that in this case things may be different.

On Tuesday afternoon, some of the most significant obstacles standing in the way of such ongoing community self-determination were made clear. A property manager, more concerned with what he stands to lose than what he has to give, and a police force, obligated to enforce policy based in social anxiety rather than optimism and hope, put an early end to Tuesday’s Grub-n-Grab. The officers dealt fairly with us and we in turn, though disappointed, complied in the prompt breakdown of the event. Community members scrambled for last minute finds and bites of food as we packed.

The take home message would seem to be that an isolated instance of spontaneous humanity is permissible, but that the ongoing work of lifting each other into a stance of dignity cannot be allowed. Whether this condition stems from class prejudice or from the general cultural anxiety around disparity and issues of social justice, or any number of other possible reasons, it is difficult to say. It may be that this treatment stems from the belief that if our houseless community members are treated with respect, a larger population of dispossessed people will be attracted. Meanwhile, frustration and anger mounts for those of us faced daily with the deterioration of health, dignity, and life of people being pushed into extremes of poverty by a system unwilling to address its problems and which penalizes those who most need help and protection. We would hope that the colossal adversary of poverty and systemic blindness in our communities would be villain enough to rally ongoing response. But if it takes a fictitious evil Grinch to rally folks from the couch cushions, we will gladly show up in costume.

Travis Lathrop,
Peoples Project

A participant from GRUBNGRAB explains events and feelings (Eureka)

I am excited to have been involved with my first Grub n´ Grab; an ongoing struggle to share with people our intent and compassion. The GNG practices mutual aid with creativity and is acting as a catalyst by pushing for a market-less way to distribute within a very market dependent culture. The GNG allows people to become peers amongst each other; diminishing the ideaś of class, salary, and capital. Autonomy and dignity share this special space with the proles and the elite, while both browse freely amongst the excesses of yesteryear’s forgotten product.
There is another definite symptom of creating such a space. The folks who involve themselves in the event, whether it be browsing for clothing, eating some ´taters or setting up tarps and tables, seem to adopt a sense of respect and responsibility for that space. On Tuesday we turned a beaten up and neglected church into a safe haven from the rain and in some cases the hunger. People who came away from that came away with a sense of respect for the location, us, and other participants.
When the Realtor Ron Queen, arrived his demeanor and attitude were authoritative. Immediatly he proved this to be true by demanding to know who was in charge of the event. Having understood that this space was shared by everyone and we all participated in setting it up and maintaining it, I answered him by acknowledging that fact. After i took a look at who he was barking at, i realized he had been speaking towards(at not to) KRSTNA and CRTNY. As if to let people know who was running the show ´now´. During our confrontation with him we repeatedly tried to talk outside the sphere of capital, and property. He was intent on remaining decided in his favor and ignored our attempts to express our discontent with having to leave after an already successful day of sharing. He informed us that the police were arriving shortly and that we were to break down our tarps and tables, food and clothing, banners and fliers, immediatly. Upon arrival the PIGZ tried to make sense of the situation. Doing what they know best to do, they confirmed the Realtorś claims, identity, and ´supposed´ right to eject us from the property by giving us an hour to break down. Ron Queen, during all this time, stood on the side of the law. Shoulder to shoulder with the two officers he had ordered to remove us. After their departure more folks showed up to ask about the event. Many took clothing as fast as we could break down. As we finished up we realized the hour had passed and still no intervention.
Grub N’Grab is a space that means i can detach myself from capitalism and engage in true community solidarity. Reaching out to those who need us just as much as we need each other. We can attach ourselves to something that is more real and more tangible than the state would ever believe. We have made a collective effort to escape from that which has confined us, and that to me means everything. It means Survival.

p.s. Final analysis: Smash Capitalism; Off Da Pigz, Everything for everyone!

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This is about the lawsuit brought by 5 PEOPLE PROJECT folks.

If you want to skip the story before the interview, go to 10 minutes, 13 seconds.

KMUD radio, Sept 22, 2008

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