Friday, April 21, 2006

Homeless Ordinances Unconstitutional?

Plazoid asks if I would comment on the recent decision by some court that supposedly makes anti- camping ordinances unconstitutional. Ok. I'll take a shot at it:

I have mixed feelings on the decision, but we still have a ways to go before we know just how this decision will be applied.

On one hand I've always been perplexed by the issue of the homeless. They have to sleep somewhere, but where? I was somewhat sympathetic to those that set up homeless encampents on the South Jetty and Clam Beach.

I was also relieved when those camps were broken up as it seemed to reduce the presence of the riff raff in downtown Eureka to some degree, but everbody has to sleep somewhere, don't they?

I'm concerned about the effect of this latest decision, if for no other reason than it will likely end up being taken to ridiculous extremes, as so many things do nowadays. People do have a right to sleep, I suppose, but not necessarily at my, or anyone else's, expense.

I suspect that we'll see more instances of vagrants occupying both public and private property and claiming it's their "right", as a result of this decision. Hopefully, local authorities will find some angle they can use with this decision that will result in some semblence of protection for the general public.

I don't mind if there's homeless people sleeping on the Balloon Tract, but decisions like this will likely lead to the homeless folks feeling they have a right to sleep in my back yard...literally.


At 10:52 AM, Blogger saf said...

From what I've read on the subject the ruling only applies to sleeping on public land. If city councils want to be proactive about this maybe they should designate camping zones on previously unused city land. They could be managed similarly to the BLM campgrounds in this area but with a sliding scale fee. (donate what you can)
I'm sure some houseless folks will still camp wherever they see fit but this could be a solution for many with nowhere else to go.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Fred said...

And I believe it only deals with "sleeping". I'm not sure it voids trespassing laws or interfering with movement. So, someone still couldn't roll out a sleeping bag in the middle of a sidewalk on the Arcata Plaza, or so I would think.

I've often thought about some sort of designated campground or maybe even using closed military bases as a choice for the homeless. Problem is, then you end up with a mess like we had on the South Jetty or Clam Beach.

Not only that, but once you had a formally established "camp" the government would likely be held responsible for it and you'd have to start supporting it in various ways like providing toilets and bathing facilities, perhaps even more, or face some kind of lawsuit.

At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

There is a large homeless camp type area south of Miranda.Down off to the side of 101 right by the river. And there is a man in Garberville that owns a section of land in town that he allows homeless people to camp on. No one knows if he actually owns the land, but it lets people have an area to go.

Did I mention that the rude panhandlers are a problem in the area? If you don't give them money you get cussed out, and they have no regard for the fact that you have small children around you when they are hurling every curse word they know at you. Generally the ones down here are more than happy to stay homeless. I am friends with some of the homeless guys and they all said they will not live in a house again, for various reasons. But they are not a problem, so I don't mind helping them out and buying them lunch and even cigs from time to time. They don't approve of the "new crop" of homeless as they say. They see them as opportunistic jerks that think the world owes them something and then get pissed and cause problems when people don't do what they want.

I am divided on the issue. On one hand I can see that people need a place to go and feel safe, but on the other it seems like it would encourage the jerks that cause problems and would defeat the purpose.

At 1:11 PM, Blogger saf said...

Some of the biggest "jerks" in Humboldt are land owners. Are we to deny "jerks" human rightsjust because they are obnoxious or rude?
The people who are rudely and aggressively panhandling were already here before this federal ruling. I think that the more organized things are, the more accountability there will be.

At 2:41 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

So the anti-camping laws don't make pissing in public legal does it? Bust them for that over and over again and send them to jail. If you want to live like a wildman, get into the woods, not on the plaza.

At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clam Beach is a good example of what happens - complete build-up of garbage and trash everywhere they go - just look under the overpasses near Arcata.

then there's the - you don't know who these guys are factor - we have Megan's law to help protect our kids and let us know who's around, but there's no way of knowing if that's a harmless homeless guy.

My kids are taught sympathy for these guys - which is fine, but I also point out that alot of them are there by choice, and that choice is they don't want to even take advnatage of a shelter becau se they would have to abide by rules they can't, or won't follow. It's a sad waste of a life, but being lenient only makes it worse.

At 8:26 PM, Anonymous Priestess of Astaroth said...

No Dammit! The law favoring homeless people must be overturned or else the bums like Tad and others will take it as license to harass businesses and people even more than they already do now! I wanna be able to shop on the plaza without fearing a bums grubby hand in my face demanding unearned money. I've lived here all my life and my grandmother who has also lived here all her life told me that back in the 1800's when bands of gypsies would decend on the town the townsfolk would literally chase them off. Nothing against gypsies mind you, at least they will work for their bread and shelter. Unlike the homeless who demand to be pampered because they feel entitled! The bums are entitled to my fist in their scrunched face and my scorn! Nothing more! I will help the homeless person who needs and wants to find work to afford a place and food. I will NOT help bums who have CHOSEN to be bums!


At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

We are not discussing land owners that are named MAXXAM. So you can get off the high horse.

At 9:27 PM, Blogger saf said...

I wasn't talking about Maxxam. I'm talking about people I actually know. I don't think that non-intrusive people should be denied a safe place to sleep just because there are aggressive panhandlers around. More aggressive folks might do just as well without a permitted camp spot.

At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this law specifically addressed the unconstitutionality of a law against sitting on the sidewalk, which is the same stupid law passed in the most backwards and repressive city in humboldt county, namely arcata

At 6:53 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Duh!! Any place ruled by leftist/fascist jerks is bound to be repressive. What "law" is 11:27 refering to that addresses the "unconstitutionality" of another law? I thought the subject was a court decision by two leftist twits on the 9th circus™. That hardly qualifies as a law (YET).

At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Priestess of Astaroth said...

Here's a solution. Put all bums who refuse to work on a small boat then send them out to sea with enough supplies to last a few days and a compass to find a new land to repopulate. Or build a huge steel cage, place weapons like swords inside, two bums enter, one bum leaves. I'm trying to come up with solutions people! We need solutions! We need a final solution!

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Pogo said...

Not fast enough. Perhaps priestess can tear herself away from viewing old Mel Gibson flicks long enough to help us out with a true final solution

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

Hitler also had a Final Solution. Almost the same as Local Final Solution.

At 3:54 PM, Anonymous pz said...

I believe that the ruling does indeed say that if someone has no other place to go, it is unreasonably cruel punishment to harass that person night after night, preventing her from getting enough sleep, when she is braking no other laws, and is just trying to sleep, even if she is trying to sleep on the sidewalk on the plaza.
(United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, on the web at:$file/0455324.pdf?openelement).

The current approach to "homelessness" is in the process of changing. What good is a fancy statue in the park to the man who has no shelter from the rain at night? How does the well-manincured baseball field benefit the youth who can never afford to go inside and has nowhere to even sit down to rest for a moment?

It has always been against the law for anyone to sleep in your backyard - even when your backyard belonged to a different entity than a land owner. And some people will always consider a law that denies them existance an immoral law, to be disobeyed.

Please elaborate on what you mean by "protection for the general public." Does the "general public" include people of a lower economic class than some local highschool kids?

to kat:
It is true that some people who are "homeless" are jerks, but it's also true that some people of every recognizable group are jerks. Car-drivers, for example. Some car-drivers are rude, obnoxious, use pofane language, etcetera, and are dangerous. Or how about "college students?"

to the greek-letters name:
These laws were already unconstitutional before the ruling, and were in fact defeated in court here in Arcata (People v. Porter T0310779M 2005 and People v. Theodore Lewis Robinson T0304959M 2003) years ago, as well as elsewhere (Portland, Oregon - State of Oregon v. Wickes; Santa Ana, California - the “Eichorn decision”; Miami, Florida - Potinger v. City of Miami”; and Austin, Texas - ruling by Magistrate Jim Coronado).
So much for "the law."

to other anonymous:
Why do you assume that all "homless" want to live "like a wildman"?
How do you know if the "homeless" guy over there is harmless or not? How do you know if your neighbors are harmless or not?

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At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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