Unpermitted Blue Boxes Appear Overnight on Pacific Avenue

An unpermitted blue box at the corner of Pacific and Soquel Avenues is marked with spray paint.

On August 24, 2015, things were just a little bit different as the day began on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. Most people, including locals, didn’t notice that the number of “blue boxes” painted onto the sidewalk had grown dramatically overnight. The “blue boxes”, which are actually rectangles, are supposed to represent designated areas of the sidewalk where artisans and people living on the streets will not be harassed and ticketed for displaying their artwork, artistic performance, or panhandling.

The action of painting blue boxes comes on the heels of two well-known artists, Joff Jones and Alex Skeleton, being arrested by Santa Cruz Police on August 20 for displaying art in front of Forever 21 which, as of recently, is not allowed since the boxes there were removed. A few days later on Sunday, the artists defiantly returned to the sidewalk in front of Forever 21 dressed in Colonial attire with displays of their artwork and a painting of the First Amendment. They were not arrested a second time.

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Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Officers Raid San Lorenzo Valley Cannabis Gardens

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart and the Marijuana Compliance Team are operating in violation of County cannabis cultivation law.

On the morning of Friday, August 14, dozens of residents of Boulder Creek gathered in a downtown coffeeshop in response to police raids of medical cannabis gardens. People took turns explaining what they experienced the prior day when members of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office’s newly formed Marijuana Compliance Team visited their homes and gardens.

Two of the medical cannabis patients whose garden was raided questioned why their 40 plants shared among three housemates was cutdown to only seven plants. Many people were very angry and stated that they had been growing in compliance with the county’s current medical cannabis cultivation laws: “Ordinance No. 5176. Ordinance Adding New Chapter 7.126 Relating To The Cultivation Of Medical Cannabis.”

On August 13, sheriff’s officers targeted properties on Moonrise Road in Boulder Creek. There were also unconfirmed reports of raids on Amber Ridge Loop. Using a bullhorn, officers entered some of the properties, breaking through gates, with their guns drawn and announced, “We’re here to cut you down.”

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