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Wed Aug 7 2013 (Updated 08/09/13)Palo Alto Bans Vehicular Dwellers
Wed Aug 7 2013 (Updated 08/09/13)Violation of Ban on Sleeping in Car Carries Fine of up to $1,000 and 6 Months in Jail
On August 5, Palo Alto's City Council passed a ban prohibiting people from dwelling in their vehicles. Violation of the ordinance, which will take effect in 2014, can result in a misdemeanor charge with a fine of up to $1,000 and possible jail time of 6 months. Before the council's decision dozens of homeless advocates staged a protest in front of City Hall, then took turns addressing the council in chambers. They screamed out "shame!" when the council voted 7 to 2 to enact the ban.
James (Lee) Han, a local activist and Redwood City native who pulled papers for the city council race in that city last week, emcee'd the Stop the Ban Coalition's rally. The Raging Grannies sang and told the gathered crowd of about 75 people that, indeed, two members of the Grannies had been vehicular dwellers in recent years.
Han reminded the rally audience that the ban targets the city's homeless population, many of whom work in Palo Alto but are paid far too little to afford to live in homes there, and end up living in their cars to get by. Homeless advocates Robert Norse and Becky Johnson came from Santa Cruz to speak of the viciousness of laws enacted in their own town. Johnson said that despite all the nit picky laws in Santa Cruz, including no sitting on blankets allowed, the number of homeless has not decreased, and that vehicle dwelling bans are inhumane.
Read More With Photos | Palo Alto Joins Santa Cruz in Rejecting the Right to Sleep