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Thu Aug 16 2007 (Updated 08/22/07)End the Sleeping Ban - open letter to council
Thu Aug 16 2007 (Updated 08/22/07)An open letter to the city council regarding the sleeping ban
The Jones v. City of Los Angeles decision in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that criminalization of homelessness amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. In the words of the judge writing the majority decision: "The Eighth Amendment prohibits the City from punishing involuntary sitting, lying, or sleeping on public sidewalks that is an unavoidable consequence of being human and homeless without shelter in the City of Los Angeles."
Clearly, in a town that can nightly house a mere fraction of the homeless population, the decision applies to Santa Cruz as well. Each night that the sleeping ban remains, the city makes itself vulnerable to a class action lawsuit.
It seems obvious that in this tourist town that there is in place a de facto strategy to either push the visible homeless population out of town, or further underground. The business community is less cagey about their hatred of the homeless.
When it comes to national issues, the Santa Cruz City Council has always been impressively proactive and progressive. War, environment, corruption, whatever the debate, as long as it doesn't effect local business, the city council is on the humane and compassionate side of the issue. But when it comes to local issues, the city council has made downright regressive policy. Read the Full Open Letter
Update: Sleep Ban Fighters Regroup after Saturday Morning Police Raid || Satire: City Council Passes Resolution Preventing Vigilante Justice Against Homeless
Photos: Ongoing Protest Against the Santa Cruz Sleeping Ban
see also: Long-Time Santa Cruz Tenant and Homeless Activist Explains the City Hall Sleep-Out | Trash Orchestra & "Santa Cruz Sit Ban" Video at Homeless City Hall Sleep Zone | Homies for the Homeless Sleep-Out Goes into 4th Night in Santa Cruz | Previous SC-IMC Coverage