Monday, June 11, 2007

Music in Public Draws the Heat

Trash Orchestra Booted from the River Street Garage
(Courtesy of Santa Cruz' ridiculous 15-Minute Parking Lot Panic Law)

No doubt, being civic-minded and committed to fighting oppressive laws, you already know about the 15-Minute Parking Lot Panic law. (If not, see here, and the text of this ridiculous law here.) Santa Cruz Trash Orchestra (and a saxophone player on the 2nd floor) were kicked out of the River Street garage (one of our favorite empty practice locations) and threatened with trespassing tickets by a zealous and nervous young officer.

Naturally, the law was created not to oppress privileged middle-class folk like ourselves, but to push the poor and the homeless further to the fringes (hopefully right off the edge where they might helpfully just disappear). But the city feels occasionally obligated to enforce their silly laws more or less uniformly lest they be accused of selective enforcement and have their laws struck down by the courts.

Next time you ask yourself, what the fuck is wrong with this town? Consider how much responsibility you bear every time you sit quietly by when someone make the choice of security over liberty (usually for our alleged benefit).

Twice now the petty-authoritarian rent-a-cop at the City Hall has tried to roust us during practice at the City Hall Courtyard. We've largely ignored him and suggested that he go ahead and make good on his escalating and apoplectic threats to call the cops. Last week he called down two more rent-a-cops, a park ranger, a bike cop, and a patrol car. Being able to do little about the public inconveniently using public space, they stood around and did their best to look intimidating. It didn't work. We left when we were done playing.

It did make us think though about the shabby gentlemen who sleep on the lawn at City Hall on sunny days and the fucking rent-a-cop who comes around regularly and intimidates them until they leave. Guessing they don't have the same sense of indignation and entitlement and knowledge of the law that we have.


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