Santa Cruz passes Anti-PATRIOT act Resolution

November 18, 2002

RESOLUTION NO. NS-26,032

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RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA CRUZ

OPPOSING THE USA PATRIOT ACT AND CERTAIN JUSTICE DEPARTMENT DIRECTIVES AND EXECUTIVE ORDERS THAT PREVENT THE PROTECTION OF CIVIL RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES

WHEREAS, following the horrific attacks on the United States of America on September 11, 2001, the Congress passed the USA Patriot Act (PL 107-56) on October 26, 2001; and

WHEREAS, many citizens of the City of Santa Cruz, California, are concerned that some executive orders and the resulting actions of the Attorney General of the United States and the United States Justice Department since the September 11 attacks pose significant threats to Constitutional protections; and

WHEREAS, we as a City believe that respect for constitutional rights is essential for the preservation of a democratic society; and

WHEREAS, in a time of concern over terrorism, our Country must find a balance between the need for national security and the need for protection of our basic civil rights and liberties; and

WHEREAS, several actions recently taken by the Federal government, including the adoption of sections of the USA Patriot Act and several executive orders, now threaten these fundamental rights and liberties, including freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and privacy; the rights to due counsel and process in judicial proceedings; and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, all of which are guaranteed by the United States Constitution and its Bill of Rights, the California Constitution, and by United Nations Charter Articles 55, which require the United States to promote human rights for all persons without distinction; and

WHEREAS, the USA Patriot Act defines ""domestic terrorism"" so broadly as to apply to certain acts of civil disobedience that may include lawful advocacy groups such as Operation Rescue or Greenpeace as terrorist organizations and may subject them to invasive surveillance, wiretapping, harassment, and may criminally penalize them for protected political advocacy; also the USA Patriot Act grants unchecked power to the Secretary of State to designate domestic groups as ""terrorist organizations""; and

WHEREAS, the USA Patriot Act gives the FBI and CIA greater rights to wiretap phones; monitor e-mail; survey sensitive medical, mental health, financial, and educational records without having to show evidence of a crime and without meaningful judicial review; and break into homes and offices without prior notification; and

WHEREAS, the USA Patriot Act expands the government's ability to conduct secret searches without warrants; and

WHEREAS, the USA Patriot Act grants power to the Attorney General to subject non-citizens to indefinite detention without meaningful judicial review even if they have not committed a crime; and

WHEREAS, immediately after September 11, hundreds of people were detained without being charged and some denied the right to contact lawyers or even their families; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has unanimously found that the Bush Administration acted illegally in holding secret deportation hearings for people detained in connection with September 11 investigations (cf. The New York Times, August 27, 2002), declaring that ""Democracies die behind closed doors""; and

WHEREAS, the Justice Department, under Attorney General John Ashcroft, has issued an order authorizing Federal prison officials to eavesdrop on the confidential attorney-client communications of persons in Federal custody without judicial review; and

WHEREAS, the Justice Department, under Attorney General John Ashcroft, has issued a directive limiting Freedom of Information Act compliance and cites the threat of terrorism as justification, even though said directive covers all government information, much of which has no national security or law enforcement connection; and

WHEREAS, on May 30, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft unilaterally and without consultation with Congress eased longstanding intelligence guidelines which were put in place in 1976 as a result of gross intelligence abuses by the FBI; and

WHEREAS, the new guidelines allow FBI agents to spy on religious groups, political rallies, and organized meetings without any suspicion that the organizations are involved in terrorism or any other criminal activity; and

WHEREAS, this type of unchecked intelligence can easily lead to the gross intelligence abuses of the 1960s, which included the attempted disruption of the Civil Rights Movement and, as recently reported, the firing of former University of California Chancellor Clark Kerr; and

WHEREAS, thirty years ago this November, California voters overwhelmingly amended the Constitution of California to provide a right to privacy, specifically to prevent ""the proliferation of government snooping and data collecting [that] is threatening to destroy our traditional freedoms""; and

WHEREAS, an executive order has established a secret military tribunal for terrorism suspects, the fact of which undermines the United States government's ability to denounce atrocities carried out in secret by military tribunals elsewhere in the world; and

WHEREAS, several law enforcement officials, including previous heads of the FBI, have deemed the USA Patriot Act, certain directives from Attorney General Ashcroft, and particular executive orders as unnecessary to the prosecution of, and protection from, terrorism; and

WHEREAS, the USA Patriot Act, certain directives from Attorney General Ashcroft, and particular executive orders seem to target foreign nationals and people of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent and seem directed at persons who may legally speak or act to oppose government policy; and

WHEREAS, the Declaration of Independence of the United States holds as self-evident that all people are created equal and are endowed with unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and

WHEREAS, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution specifies that no law be made ""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""; and

WHEREAS, the Fourth Amendment declares that ""the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized""; and

WHEREAS, the Fifth Amendment states that no person ""shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself""; and

WHEREAS, the Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant ""the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury..., and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense""; and

WHEREAS, the Eighth Amendment states that ""excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted""; and

WHEREAS, the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments (Section I) to the United States Constitution guarantee certain due process and equal protection rights to all residents of the United States regardless of citizenship or immigration status; and

WHEREAS, the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the government from denying any person equal protection by stating that ""no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws,"" and pursuant to that clause, human rights and due process must be afforded to all people in the United States regardless of citizenship or immigration status; and

WHEREAS, the policy of our local police department is that all detentions or stops must be supported by reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed, and that all arrests and searches of persons and/or property must be based on a showing of probable cause, as required by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and the California Constitution; and

WHEREAS, the City of Santa Cruz includes a diverse community of students and working families, including resident non-citizens, whose contributions to the community are vital to its character and function; and 

WHEREAS, U.S. Representatives Sam Farr and Mike Honda voted against the Patriot Act in Congress.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Santa Cruz, acting in the spirit and history of our community, does hereby resolve:

1.   The City of Santa Cruz affirms its strong opposition to those parts of the USA Patriot Act and to certain Justice Department directives and executive orders that weaken or destroy our civil rights and liberties.

2.   The City of Santa Cruz has been and remains firmly committed to the protection of civil rights and civil liberties for all people, including those who are citizens of other nations.  We affirm this commitment to embody the spirit of democracy, to embracing and defending the human rights and civil liberties now under siege, to make those liberties viable for all, regardless of citizenship status, gender, racial identification, religious affiliation, age, or country of origin.

3.   The City of Santa Cruz calls upon its citizens, residents, and local peace officers to join in affirming the following principles:  Every person has the right to freedom of speech and association.  Every person has the right to freedom of religion.  Every person has the right to assembly and privacy.  Every person has the right to due process in judicial proceedings.  Every person has the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.  Stops or arrests may not be made without establishing reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed.  Every person has the right to equal protection under the law and the right not to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

4.      The City of Santa Cruz urges federal law enforcement officials working within the City to engage only in legally permissible law enforcement activities which do not violate the civil rights and civil liberties of the people of Santa Cruz.  To this end, organizations should not be monitored based solely on their religious or political views and no information about political, religious or social views, associations, or activities should be collected unless the information relates to public safety concerns or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

5.   The City Council requests that the Mayor send copies of this resolution to the President of the United States, to local Congressional representatives, and to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

PASSED AND ADOPTED this 12th day of November, 2002, by the following vote:

AYES:     

Councilmembers:  Reilly, Fitzmaurice, Sugar, Primack, Kennedy, Porter;

Mayor Krohn.

NOES:                         Councilmembers:  None.

ABSENT:                    Councilmembers:  None.

DISQUALIFIED:         Councilmembers:  None.

                                               APPROVED:  _ss/Christopher Krohn  

                                                                             Mayor

ATTEST:  ss/Leslie Cook

                 City Clerk

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