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Indybay Feature
Proposed Camping Ban Amendment Set for March 8 Council Hearing
by Steve Pleich
Tuesday Feb 23rd, 2016 11:41 AM
Proposed Amendment Would Create the Right to Sleep in Santa Cruz
For several weeks, a group of concerned citizens has been meeting to strategize ways to move forward in support of the right to sleep in Santa Cruz. The group includes members of the faith community, civic leaders, advocates for people experiencing homelessness, nonprofit executives and Santa Cruz City Council Members Micah Posner and Don Lane. Lane, a former Mayor, describes the city’s existing camping/sleeping ban like this: “I do wonder what the harm is from the act of sleeping or wrapping oneself in a blanket on a cold night. And, more importantly, I wonder what the harm is when a government penalizes people for behavior they cannot and should not avoid.”

The group plans to introduce an Amendment to Section 6.36 of the Municipal Code (Camping) to remove reference to the act of sleeping and use of blankets. Among the talking points developed by the group for the campaign to generate broad community support for the proposed amendment are (1) Santa Cruz does not need a sleeping prohibition in its camping ordinance to effectively manage our public and private spaces; (2) All the activities that trouble so many community members: dirty campsites, long-term occupation of locations within parks and greenbelts, human waste depositing, etc. are fully addressed in other provisions in the Camping Ordinance, along with ordinances on littering, public urination/defecation, trespassing and “hours of use” in parks; and (3) Santa Cruz’s ban on sleeping outside has not been an effective tool in reducing the number of homeless individuals in the city, even with one of the most restrictive “sleeping” ordinances in California.

This new initiative comes at a time when federal agencies are closely scrutinizing cities and towns than continue to enforce camping/sleeping bans in the absence of adequate and available shelter. When the winter shelter program ends in mid-March, the city of Santa Cruz will literally have only a handful of beds available for the hundreds of individuals in the community without shelter. In other words, adequate shelter space does not exist. The existing ordinance would, in the opinion of the United States Department of Justice, be criminalizing some people simply because they are homeless. Additionally, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is now telling local communities that their applications for federal funding will be scored lower if criminalization of involuntary acts such as sleeping outside is part of local policy. Says Santa Cruz Housing NOW founder Linda Lemaster. “As a housing advocate, I fear that the current policies in our community prohibiting sleep may jeopardize the more than $2 million Santa Cruz receives annually from the HUD”. It is also notable that bans on sleeping are now being roundly criticized from a purely economic perspective. Scott Keyes, Senior Reporter for ThinkProgress.org writes, “Criminalization policies are problematic not only from a human rights perspective, but also because they’re costly and counterproductive. Criminalizing homelessness also hurts taxpayers. When accounting for law enforcement and emergency health care costs, numerous studies have found that leaving homeless people on the streets winds up costing taxpayers more than three times as much as simply giving them housing and supportive services.”

The group talking points also reference The United Nations Human Rights Committee statement in reference to the criminalization of homelessness in the United States: “While appreciating the steps taken by federal and some state and local authorities to address homelessness, the Committee is concerned about reports of criminalization of people living on the street for everyday activities such as eating, sleeping, sitting in particular areas etc.” This statement echoes the concerns of Santa Cruz attorney and long time homeless activist Ed Frey who says, “Sleeping is and has always been a human right that should be protected and defended by international convention. The time is right for a full throated advocacy of that right at the highest levels.”

The proposed amendment is agendized for council consideration on March 8 although it is uncertain at this time whether it will be considered at an afternoon or evening session. Until then, efforts will continue to actively lobby business and community groups in support of the proposal as sound economic and public policy as well as a call to conscience for the entire community. The working group asks everyone who supports the Right to Sleep in Santa Cruz to email the Santa Cruz City Council at citycouncil [at] cityofsantacruz.com and to come to the council session on March 8 and speak in favor of the proposed amendment. There is also a change.org petition supporters are urged to sign.

§Don Lane's proposed amendment to the camping ban
by Helper Monday Feb 29th, 2016 6:04 PM
800_camping_ban_amendment_santa_cruz.jpg
Source: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ytmzukrn07t1mqh/sleeping%20amendmt%20agenda%20report.docx?dl=0
sleeping_amendmt_agenda_report.pdf_600_.jpg
Source: Source: https://www.facebook.com/Don.Lane.SC/posts/1093418087345991

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by G
Tuesday Feb 23rd, 2016 1:41 PM
"The time is right for a full throated advocacy of that right at the highest levels."

That time is long past.

Now is the time for investigating, prosecuting, sentencing, and incarcerating those that have promoted, created, enforced, judged, and jailed those that dared to engage in a core biological function.
by John Cohen-Colby
Tuesday Feb 23rd, 2016 1:55 PM
Hey Steve: you have a conflict of interest. You're taking point position on litigation against the City over homelessness but we learn now you've also been negotiating with them over the law for their purpose of defending against the same litigation.
by Steve Schnaar
Tuesday Feb 23rd, 2016 8:30 PM
Here's a draft of the agenda report, submitted by Don Lane for the City Council meeting


DRAFT AGENDA REPORT

Agenda of 3/8/2016 (suggested date)
Department: City Council

Subject: Amendment to Camping Ordinance

Recommendation: To introduce for publication amendments to Section 6.36 of the Municipal Code (Camping) to remove reference to the act of sleeping and use of blankets as violations of the ordinance.

Background: I have devoted a significant amount of energy over the last three decades trying to address the challenge of homelessness in this community. I began this long journey by simply trying to help a group operating a small meal program find a healthy and stable location. From there, I worked with scores of others to help develop a more complete array of “emergency” services, including a shelter for individual adults, a shelter for homeless families with children, a day services program with hygiene facilities, and a transitional housing facility. Over the course of this journey I learned (more slowly than I wish) that emergency shelter and short-term fixes were not the best solutions to homelessness. Along with others, I came to understand that the only way to truly address homelessness is to get each individual or family into a stable housing situation.

This has become the central focus of my individual work on homelessness… supporting things such as a recuperative care center that cost-effectively transitions people from hospital to temporary housing with nursing care and then to permanent housing. Such as the 180/2020 campaign to move the most vulnerable and disabled long-time homeless individuals into permanent housing with ongoing support from social workers. Such as the campaign to end veteran homelessness based on well-funded rent subsidies. And helping get programs that had seen themselves as just temporary/emergency services to now see themselves as part of a system that has stable housing as its primary goal.

I remain firmly committed to this “smart solutions” approach. I believe this is the way we will save lives, improve health and safety for everyone in the community, and save precious community resources.

However, during all of this work, I have continued to be troubled by a provision in one of our City’s ordinances - Santa Cruz Municipal Code Section 6.36.010(a) - that penalizes people who have no place else to go for falling asleep or covering up with a blanket while being outside late at night or early in the morning. This is not a “smart solution” by any stretch of the imagination.

Let me pause here to say that I have no problem with our city—or any city—having an ordinance that prohibits camping in locations not suitable or appropriate for camping. I also think it’s important for us to have laws that regulate littering, dumping, trespassing and use of public sidewalks. I think it’s appropriate for a city to have time of use restrictions for public parks. These are rules that protect the community against voluntary behaviors that either cause harm or have the potential to cause harm. Still, I do wonder what the harm is from the act of sleeping or wrapping oneself in a blanket on a cold night. And, more importantly, I wonder what the harm is when a government penalizes people for behavior they cannot and should not avoid.

I am not alone in my concern about this harm.

1) The US Department of Justice presented the following to a federal judge considering the constitutionality of a law in Idaho similar to Santa Cruz sleeping regulation:
“When adequate shelter space exists, individuals have a choice about whether or not to sleep in public. However, when adequate shelter space does not exist, there is no meaningful distinction between the status of being homeless and the conduct of sleeping in public. Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity — i.e., it must occur at some time in some place. If a person literally has nowhere else to go, then enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance against that person criminalizes her for being homeless.”

Once the winter shelter program ends in March or April, the city of Santa Cruz will have something like 15 to 20 unrestricted emergency shelter beds available on any given night. At the same time, there will be literally hundreds of individuals in our community without shelter. In other words, adequate shelter space does not exist. Our existing ordinance, under current circumstances and based on the Department of Justice position, is criminalizing some people simply because they are homeless.

2) The US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the government’s primary source of funds for homeless programs, is now telling local communities that their applications for federal funding will be scored lower if criminalization of involuntary acts such as sleeping outside is part of local policy. If one reads the government’s definitions of “criminalization of homelessness” it is abundantly clear that Santa Cruz’s ordinance on sleeping falls within that definition. (The Santa Cruz area receives more than $2 million annually from the HUD and some of this could be in jeopardy.)

Our county, with a contribution of City funds, engages the services of consultant Tony Gardner to complete our county’s application for HUD homelessness funding. (Gardner’s work with our Homeless Action Partnership made it possible for us to increase our HUD grant by several hundred thousand dollars over the last few years.) I asked Gardner to provide some input on this criminalization and funding issue and he sent me the following:

“Criminalization tends to undercut constructive community programs, including those funded by HUD, for example by saddling homeless people with financial obligations such as court fees or convictions that create barriers to employment, benefits, and housing. For this reason, HUD has urged communities to discuss these issues in the context of the local Continuum of Care (CoC) funding process and to work with elected officials, the police, all stakeholders to avoid criminalization and instead seek constructive alternatives to criminalization of the type highlighted in the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness’s publication ‘Searching Out Solutions: Constructive Alternatives to the Criminalization of Homelessness.’ (https://www.usich.gov/resources/uploads/asset_library/RPT_SoS_March2012.pdf.)
 
Perhaps most important, HUD has begun scrutinizing communities’ efforts to reduce criminalization as part of the nationally competitive CoC funding process. The 2015 CoC application required that communities implement ‘specific strategies that prevent criminalization of homelessness … [and] describe how they are reducing criminalization of homelessness.’ Thus, communities that continue counter-productive criminalization are at greater risk of losing critically needed HUD CoC funds.”

3) The United Nations Human Rights Committee made the following statement in reference to the criminalization of homelessness in the United States:
“While appreciating the steps taken by federal and some state and local authorities to address homelessness, the Committee is concerned about reports of criminalization of people living on the street for everyday activities such as eating, sleeping, sitting in particular areas etc. The Committee notes that such criminalization raises concerns of discrimination and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment (Articles 2, 7, 9, 17, and 26 of the Human Rights Covenant the US ratified in 1992.).
The State party [in the parlance of the UN, this is the US Government] should engage with state and local authorities to: (a) abolish criminalization of homelessness laws and policies at state and local levels; (b) ensure close cooperation between all relevant stakeholders including social, health, law enforcement and justice professionals at all levels to intensify efforts to find solutions for the homeless in accordance with human rights standards; and (c) offer incentives for decriminalization and implementation of such solutions, including by providing continued financial support to local authorities implementing alternatives to criminalization and withdrawing funding for local authorities criminalizing the homeless.”

4) All of these high level critiques of this kind of ordinance are reinforced not only by local homeless individuals and their advocates but also by staff at homeless service providers, all of whom regularly and routinely note that citations simply create an additional impediment to assisting people make a transition out of homelessness.

The other side of this issue is equally important to consider: what are the benefits of having a law that penalizes people for sleeping outside at night?

A) One notion I have heard is that it may keep the city of Santa Cruz from being seen as a particularly tolerant place for homeless individuals to be—and therefore encourages them to go elsewhere. I don’t believe there is any evidence to support the efficacy of this idea, popular though it may be.

First, simple observation would suggest that our ban on sleeping outside has not been an effective tool in reducing the number of homeless individuals we see around Santa Cruz. Even with one of the most restrictive “sleeping” ordinances in California, our homeless count remains stubbornly high.

Second, a quick review of neighboring cities shows another flaw in this idea. Below are the “camping” ordinances of three nearby communities— places that are often held up locally as examples of cities with much lower levels of street homelessness than Santa Cruz. Each of these is less restrictive and each one does not say sleeping is an offense. And yet these more “tolerant” ordinances have not caused street homelessness to blossom in their cities.

Capitola:
9.48.010 Camping defined:
“As used in this chapter, “camping” means, within any tent, motor vehicle, trailer, camper, or temporary structure, any of the following activities:
A. Cooking upon a stove;
B. Bathing, when using a shower or tub-type device;
C. The elimination of human digestive wastes, or;
D. Any person’s using any tent, motor vehicle, trailer, camper, or temporary structure, as opposed to a house, hotel or motel, as the person’s primary place of sleep for one or more nights or days.”
9.48.020 Camping prohibited.
Camping is prohibited in the city except as follows:
A. In state parks; and
B. On the premises of businesses, such as mobile home parks, for which there is a use or other city issued permit which clearly authorizes the particular activity.


Scotts Valley:
“7.12.140 - Overnight camping is prohibited.
No person shall camp overnight in any city park or on any city owned property. No person shall arrange bedding or shelter in any city park or on any city owned property for the purpose of camping overnight.”

Los Gatos:
“Closing hours for parks; overnight activities prohibited.
No person shall do any of the following without a special use permit:
(1) Remain in, or enter any park, before official sunrise or after one-half-hour after official sunset. For any park with posted opening and/or closing times, no person shall enter or remain in any park before or after any posted opening or closing time.
(2) Overnight activities, including camping, are expressly prohibited.”

B) I believe the other key rationale behind our sleeping rule is that it gives police officers and park rangers an important tool to deal with the high level of homeless camping we experience in Santa Cruz.

I do not dispute the idea that the sleeping provision is one tool that enforcement officials can use to manage camping in public spaces and business and residence doorways. What I question is the importance of that tool. All the activities that trouble so many of us: dirty campsites, long-term occupation of locations within parks and greenbelts, human waste depositing, etc. are fully addressed in other provisions in our Camping Ordinance, along with our ordinances on littering, public urination/defecation, trespassing and “hours of use” in our parks.

We simply do not need a sleeping prohibition in our Camping ordinance to effectively manage our public and private spaces.

We have an opportunity to get our house in order in terms of federal constitutional concerns, in terms of federal funding issues, in terms of human rights standards and in terms of effective practices for addressing homeless—and, at the same time, maintain our capacity to manage genuinely problematic behaviors that are sometimes associated with street homelessness.

I hope you will join me in correcting a flaw in our Camping ordinance by approving an amendment that removes references to the act of sleeping and covering up with blankets as violations and reinforces our focus on regulating other aspects of camping.

Submitted by:
Don Lane
City Councilmember


Proposed amendment

Section 1: Section 6.36.010 of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
“6.36.010 Camping Prohibited. No person shall camp anywhere in the city of Santa Cruz, whether on public or private property, except as hereinafter expressly permitted. “To camp” means to do any of the following:
(a) Sleeping – 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. To sleep at any time between the hours of 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. in any of the following places:
(1) Outdoors with or without bedding, tent, hammock or other similar protection or equipment;
(2) In, on or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, whether with or without bedding, tent, hammock or other similar protection or equipment;
(3) In, on or under any parked vehicle, including an automobile, bus, truck, camper, trailer or recreational vehicle.
(ba) Setting-up Bedding – 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. To establish or maintain outdoors or in, on or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, at any time between the hours of 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m., a temporary or permanent place for sleeping camping, by setting up any bedding, sleeping bag, blanket, mattress, tent, hammock or other sleeping camping equipment in such a manner as to be immediately usable for sleeping purposes.

(c b) Setting-up Campsite – Anytime. To establish or maintain outdoors or in, on, or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, at any time during the day or night, a temporary or permanent place for cooking or residing, by setting up any bedding, sleeping bag, blanket, mattress, tent, hammock or other camping equipment or by setting up any cooking equipment with the intent to remain in that location overnight.



Attachments: News article on HUD and Dept of Justice stance on criminalization.
Full text of current camping ordinance


ECONOMY
Criminalizing Homelessness Can Now Cost Cities Federal Money
BY SCOTT KEYES  SEP 22, 2015 2:22 PM

After arguing last month that local ordinances criminalizing people for being homeless are unconstitutional, the Obama administration will now tie federal funding to whether municipalities are cracking down on criminalization measures.
Every year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gives out $1.9 billion in grants to local Continuums of Care, public-private partnerships that tackle homelessness in a specific area. These grants are doled out in a competitive process whereby applicants must fill out a lengthy questionnaire about how they plan to use the money, as well as their current policies.
Last week, though, HUD announced that it would begin asking applicants to describe the steps they are taking to reduce the criminalization of homelessness. Ordinances that criminalize homelessness, also known as “anti-vagrancy” or “quality of life” laws, include making it illegal to sit down on a sidewalk, ask passersby for spare change, or sleep in a public place. Applicants for the federal money will have to show they are engaging with local policymakers or law enforcement about criminalization policies, as well as implementing new community plans to ensure homelessness is not criminalized. Failing to combat such ordinances will hurt a Continuum of Care’s chances of winning new funds.
The change comes after the administration filed a brief in federal court arguing that criminalization violates the Eighth Amendment’s protections against cruel and unusual punishment.
Maria Foscarinis, Executive Director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, hailed the latest move. “We welcome the federal government’s direction of tax limited dollars to the places that will most effectively use that money to address homelessness,” Foscarinis said in a statement. She also noted that HUD is giving sufficient weight to criminalization policies that the question “in many cases could be the difference between receiving funding and not.”
The Obama administration has made a pattern of connecting federal funding to desired outcomes in localities. Its signature education achievement, Race to the Top, encouraged schools across the country to raise their standards by making it a prerequisite to receive more federal funding. Obamacare ties some hospital funding to how effectively they avoid preventable infections and patient re-admissions. Homeless advocates hope that connecting HUD funding to the fight against homeless criminalization will have a similar impact.
It would come at a time that these policies have been popping up at an alarming rate. A study this year from the UC Berkeley law school identified over 500 anti-homeless laws on the books in just 58 California cities, while researchers at the Seattle University School of Law found criminalization ordinances in Washington had risen over 50 percent since 2000.
Criminalization policies are problematic not only from a human rights perspective, but also because they’re costly and counterproductive. A new report from the California Homeless Youth Project argued that “saddling a young person with a criminal history impedes their efforts to obtain a job, housing, safety net resources, and education, including both secondary and post-secondary education.” Criminalizing homelessness also hurts taxpayers. When accounting for law enforcement and emergency health care costs, numerous studies have found that leaving homeless people on the streets winds up costing taxpayers more than three times as much as simply giving them housing and supportive services.




Current full ordinance:
Chapter 6.36
CAMPING
Sections:
6.36.010    Camping prohibited.
6.36.020    Camping permitted.
6.36.030    Permit for camping in city parks.
6.36.040    Penalty – Single offense.
6.36.050    Penalty – Subsequent offense within twenty-four hours.
6.36.055    Citations issued when winter shelter armory is full.
6.36.060    Public nuisance declared.
6.36.010 CAMPING PROHIBITED.
No person shall camp anywhere in the city of Santa Cruz, whether on public or private property, except as hereinafter expressly permitted. “To camp” means to do any of the following:
(a)    Sleeping – 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. To sleep at any time between the hours of 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. in any of the following places:
(1)    Outdoors with or without bedding, tent, hammock or other similar protection or equipment;
(2)    In, on or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, whether with or without bedding, tent, hammock or other similar protection or equipment;
(3)    In, on or under any parked vehicle, including an automobile, bus, truck, camper, trailer or recreational vehicle.
(b)    Setting-up Bedding – 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. To establish or maintain outdoors or in, on or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, at any time between the hours of 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m., a temporary or permanent place for sleeping, by setting up any bedding, sleeping bag, blanket, mattress, tent, hammock or other sleeping equipment in such a manner as to be immediately usable for sleeping purposes.
(c)    Setting-up Campsite – Anytime. To establish or maintain outdoors or in, on, or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, at any time during the day or night, a temporary or permanent place for cooking or sleeping, by setting up any bedding, sleeping bag, blanket, mattress, tent, hammock or other sleeping equipment or by setting up any cooking equipment, with the intent to remain in that location overnight.
(Ord. 99-01 § 1, 1999: Ord. 78-29, § 2, 1978).
6.36.020 CAMPING PERMITTED.
Camping may be permitted in the city of Santa Cruz only under the following circumstances:
(a)    Camping in public areas specifically set aside and clearly marked for public camping purposes;
(b)    Camping events authorized and permitted by the Santa Cruz City parks and recreation department;
(c)    Camping events authorized by the city council pursuant to Section 6.36.030;
(d)    Camping:
(i)    In the yard of a residence with the consent of the owner or occupant of the residence, where the camping is in the rear yard, or in an area of a side yard or front yard that is separated from view from the street by a fence, hedge or other obstruction; or
(ii)    Inside of a licensed and registered motor vehicle in the parking lot on the site of a religious institution with the written consent of such institution, where the driver/occupant of such vehicle is in possession of a valid driver’s license, provided that no more than three vehicles shall be permitted at any one location; or
(iii)    Inside of a licensed and registered motor vehicle in the parking lot on the site of a business institution in a non-residential district with the written consent of both the business institution and property owner, where the driver/occupant of such vehicle is in possession of a valid driver’s license, provided that no more than two vehicles shall be permitted at any one location;
(iv)    Inside a licensed and registered vehicle in a residential off-street driveway with the written consent of the owner and occupant of the residence, where the driver/occupant of such vehicle is in possession of a valid driver’s license, provided that no more than one vehicle shall be permitted at any one location. No particular location shall be used for camping under this provision for more than three days during any one calendar month.
Camping shall not be permitted under this subsection where it is conducted in such a manner as to create noise, inadequate sanitation, or other matters offensive to persons of ordinary sensibility; nor where the camping is of such frequency, intensity or duration as to constitute a use of land prohibited by any provision of Title 24 of this code; nor where the camping activity would be prohibited under any other provision of this code concerning use of mobilehomes; nor where any fee, charge or other monetary consideration is collected for the privilege of camping or for any services or the use of any facilities related thereto; nor where the covenants, conditions and restrictions of a duly organized homeowners association would prohibit the activity in the residential area subject to the covenants, conditions and restrictions.
(Ord. 2002-12 § 1, 2002: Ord. 2002-05 § 1, 2002: Ord. 99-01 § 2, 1999: Ord. 95-22, § 1, 1995: Ord. 78-29, § 2, 1978).
6.36.030 PERMIT FOR CAMPING IN CITY PARKS.
(a) The director of parks and recreation may issue a permit authorizing persons or groups to camp in the improved areas of Harvey West Park, the improved area known as lower De Laveaga Park adjacent to Branciforte Drive and San Lorenzo Park bench lands upon finding that the applicant has met the city’s requirements for:
(1)    Parking and traffic control;
(2)    Toilet and other sanitary facilities;
(3)    Security;
(4)    Liability insurance;
(5)    Garbage collection and cleanup;
(6)    Security and cleanup deposits;
(7)    Such other public health, safety and general welfare matters as may be raised by the camping application; and
(8)    Environmental compliance according to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the city’s CEQA Guidelines.
(b)    Except as set forth in subsection (c) no person or group may camp in a city park under authority of this section for more than three nights in any twelve months. No permit shall be required for security guards who camp in city parks incident to a lawful event.
(c)    Where the camping activity is taking place in conjunction with an authorized and permitted restoration or conservation project being performed by campers at or near the campsite, the director of parks and recreation may permit an individual or group to camp in one of the afore-referenced city parks for a period of time in excess of that prescribed in subsection (b).
(d)    To ensure the fair and consistent application of this section, the director of parks and recreation shall promulgate regulations defining the criteria for permit issuance contained in this section.
(Ord. 2002-05 § 2, 2002: Ord. 89-33 § 1, 1989).
6.36.040 PENALTY – SINGLE OFFENSE.
Any person who violates any section in this chapter is guilty of an infraction and shall be subject to a fine of not more than twenty dollars. Alternatively any person who violates any section in this chapter, in lieu of a fine may, if that person so requests, be required to provide no more than eight hours of community service.
(Ord. 99-01 § 3, 1999: Ord. 79-41 § 1, 1979).
by Razer Ray
Tuesday Feb 23rd, 2016 8:38 PM
Steve said: "The existing ordinance would, in the opinion of the United States Department of Justice, be criminalizing some people simply because they are homeless."

I want to flesh this out a bit. The reasoning behind the DOJ's statement of intent in Bell v. Boise is a precedent that's been ruled on repeatedly of the years.

That is the fact that you cannot be prosecuted for your status. They have to prosecute you for behavior, and status is the primary arbiter here. You are homeless, so you HAVE TO sleep in public. It is not assumed you WANT TO, but that you HAVE to because of your status as homeless, and prosecuting you for your status IS an eighth amendment violation.
by Pat Colby
Wednesday Feb 24th, 2016 1:37 AM
I not only support the right to sleep but the right to protect oneself from the elements as well. Repeal the whole outrageous camping ban! The DOJ said both sleeping and camping bans are violations of the 8th amendment. Santa Cruz ain't going to get no HUD money if they just take out the references to sleep and blanket!

Santa is deluding itself they think they can continue with status quo. If they don't cite you for sleeping—they will cite you for camping, trespassing, sitting or lying. They have a bunch of other anti-homeless laws to use instead. The federal money well is going to dry up for cities like Santa Cruz who continue to criminalize homelessness and poverty. Santa Cruz needs to wake up and stop rolling in BS!

BTW: who ever thought putting up a huge poster in a display outside the city council chambers talking about how to get a good night's sleep—for housed folks—is an offensive sick person. It is mocking to all the people who have protested the city council for 33 weeks demanding the city comply with the constitution and the 8th amendment by ending the criminalizing of sleep for the unhoused citizens. It is neither amusing nor appropriate given the dire situation of those who are unhoused suffering the torture of severe sleep deprivation! It needs to be removed immediately!!!

And the handicap automated door function needs to be permanently fixed; it has been over two years now. Does Santa Cruz want to be sued because it would seem so from their lack of regard for disabled Americans, the ADA and Section 504 compliance. Bathrooms aren't the only ADA problems in the city. There are hundreds and hundreds of violations all over the city especially downtown. A disability attorney could clean up easily!
by Robert Norse
Wednesday Feb 24th, 2016 9:23 AM
Pleich's article would be better titled "Proposed Amendment Would Create the Right to Sleep WITHOUT BLANKETS in Santa Cruz".

In October, Lane presented his ideas on a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Don.Lane.SC/posts/1039891709365296 . Much of Lane's post was reprinted favorably in Street Spirit, a monthly homeless advocacy journal, "Santa Cruz Mayor Questions Anti-Homeless Laws, Calls for Compassion" at http://www.thestreetspirit.org/mayors-letter/ .

I responded to his proposal with a follow-up story in Street Spirit (http://www.thestreetspirit.org/activist-responds-to-santa-cruz-mayors-open-letter-on-homeless-issues/).

In spite of promises of action from Councilmember Posner and his allies to the Freedom Sleepers, the issue was repeatedly postponed and finessed ("trust us", "wait until the right moment", etc.). Lane himself chose to ignore activist criticisms as well as excluding the advice and experience of long time activists who'd worked extensively with city agencies on this very issue for years. Linda Lemaster, for instance, chair of the City's Homeless Issues Task Force was pointedly not invited to the "inner circle" of Lane's discussions. Other activists--such as Steve Pleich and Phil Posner--tacitly agreed to cooperate with this exclusionary policy in order to remain in Lane's inner circle on this issue.

In December Lane came out with the current proposal, which has apparently remained unchanged. A key feature of his proposed law change is the maintaining of the Blanket Ban (MC 6.36.010b). The "crime" of "camping" continues to be defined in part as "setting up any bedding, sleeping bag, blanket, mattress, tent, hammock" between the hours of 11 PM and 8:30 AM. So under the "reform" as proposed, it will be legal to sleep at night, just not to sleep under blankets or in a sleeping bag. It's also rumored that Lane wants to strike the right to sleep in one's own legally parked vehicle during those hours.

Historically, prior Councilmembers--pressured by activists to end the Sleeping Ban--such as Katherine Beiers in 1998 have been squeamish about "allowing" the poor to cover up with blankets at night. See paragraph 13 of http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/105.S.C.Sleeping%20Ban%28cont.1%29=1-99.pdf --a Street Spirit story folllowing the Council debate of December 1998 over the Ban. The full story can be read in "Activists Fight Santa Cruz Sleeping Ban" at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/104.Activists%20Fight%20S.C.Sleeping%20Ban=1-99.pdf . http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/105.S.C.Sleeping%20Ban%28cont.1%29=1-99.pdf & http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/106.S.C.Sleeping%20Ban%28cont.2%29=1-99.pdf .

Around that time, Council did vote to affirm (rather meaninglessly) that “Sleeping is a basic human right and need.” This truthful but empty statement hasn't prevented escalating attacks on the homeless by SCPD and P & R Sleepbusters. Similar to the current plan to strike "sleep" from the ordinance but continue the criminalization of covering up at night, it served as a red herring to disarm activists, paint the Council as "compassionate", and maintain the same harsh "drive 'em out" policies as discretionary tools for law enforcement.

A year later in 2000, after surrendering to bigoted pressure from the Harvey West Association and the SCPD, Council buried a 2nd reading of the Safe Sleeping Zones proposal when the public was largely absent around midnight. (See http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/148.Smoke,Mirrors%20And%20Texas%20Instruments=7-2000.pdf & http://www.huffsantacruz.org/StreetSpiritSantaCruz/149.Smoke,Mirrors%28cont.%29=7-2000.pdf . Councilmember Fitzmaurice proposed a "sleep by the side of the road without bedding" law, which, like the current Lane proposal, suggests, perhaps, that the homeless "toughen up" and endure the cold without the protection of blankets or sleeping bags.

I've presented an alternate set of changes to Lane's group, which I'll post soon. However the entire minefield of anti-homeless laws needs to be bulldozed and selective enforcement abandoned. This is something that is more likely to gain traction with the public as national protest focuses on police murders, cover-up's, and acquittals. Real action here demanding police overhaul would be a welcome step--and not just for the homeless.
by Robert Norse
Wednesday Feb 24th, 2016 9:53 AM
These need to be considered, discussed, shaped, and refined, but I encourage folks to consider them.

The current Camping Ordinance (MC 6.36) is longer than Steve Shnaar notes above and can be found at http://www.codepublishing.com/CA/SantaCruz/.

I would propose (as a first step) replacing it entirely (though it really needs to be largely repealed as long as Santa Cruz has no legal campgrounds). The entire law is also a joke when there's inadequate shelter, but since the matter is coming up on March 8th at City Council (or so Lane promises), consider the following: My changes are in CAPITALS; my comments are in parentheses in CAPITALS. The comments reflect the need for further changes, but this is as far as I've gotten.


6.36.010 CAMPING PROHIBITED.
No person shall camp anywhere in the city of Santa Cruz, whether on public or private property, except as hereinafter expressly permitted. “To camp” means to do any of the following:
Setting-up Campsite – Anytime. To establish or maintain outdoors or in, on, or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, at any time during the day or night, a semi-permanent or permanent place for cooking or lodging, or by setting up tent or hammock or by setting up any cooking equipment, with the intent to remain in that location overnight. SIMPLE PRESENCE OF A SLEEPING BAG OR OTHER SLEEPING EQUIPMENT SHALL NOT CONSTITUTE EVIDENCE OF A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION. NOR SHALL THE PRESENCE OF A PROTECTIVE TENT IN RAINY WEATHER OR WHERE THE TEMPERATURE IS LESS THAN 5O DEGREES. [THIS REVISED SECTION ELIMINATES BOTH THE SLEEPING AND BLANKETS AS CRITERIA FOR "CAMPING", SO ELIMINATING THE SLEEPING AND BLANKET BANS]

6.36.020 CAMPING PERMITTED.
Camping may be permitted in the city of Santa Cruz only under the following circumstances:
(a) Camping in public areas specifically set aside and clearly marked for public camping purposes;
(b) Camping events authorized and permitted by the Santa Cruz City parks and recreation department;
(c) Camping events authorized by the city council pursuant to Section 6.36.030;
(d) Camping:
(i) In the yard of a residence with the consent of the owner or occupant of the residence, where the camping is in the rear yard, or in an area of a side yard or front yard that is separated from view from the street by a fence, hedge or other obstruction; or
(ii) Inside of a licensed and registered motor vehicle in the parking lot on the site of a religious institution with the written consent of such institution, where the driver/occupant of such vehicle is in possession of a valid driver’s license, provided that no more than three vehicles shall be permitted at any one location; or
(iii) Inside of a licensed and registered motor vehicle in the parking lot on the site of a business institution in a non-residential district with the written consent of both the business institution and property owner, where the driver/occupant of such vehicle is in possession of a valid driver’s license, provided that no more than two vehicles shall be permitted at any one location;
(iv) Inside a licensed and registered vehicle in a residential off-street driveway with the written consent of the owner and occupant of the residence, where the driver/occupant of such vehicle is in possession of a valid driver’s license, provided that no more than one vehicle shall be permitted at any one location. [ELIMINATION OF THE 3 DAYS PER MONTH LIMIT]
Camping shall not be permitted under this subsection where it is conducted in such a manner as to create noise or inadequate sanitation; nor where the camping is of such frequency, intensity or duration as to constitute a use of land prohibited by any provision of Title 24 of this code; nor where the camping activity would be prohibited under any other provision of this code concerning use of mobilehomes; nor where any fee, charge or other monetary consideration is collected for the privilege of camping or for any services or the use of any facilities related thereto; nor where the covenants, conditions and restrictions of a duly organized homeowners association would prohibit the activity in the residential area subject to the covenants, conditions and restrictions.

6.36.030 PERMIT FOR CAMPING IN CITY PARKS.
(a) The director of parks and recreation may issue a permit authorizing persons or groups to camp in the improved areas of Harvey West Park, the improved area known as lower De Laveaga Park adjacent to Branciforte Drive and San Lorenzo Park bench lands upon finding that the applicant has met the city’s requirements for:
(1) Parking and traffic control;
(2) Toilet and other sanitary facilities;
(3) Security;
(4) Liability insurance;
(5) Garbage collection and cleanup;
(6) Security and cleanup deposits;
(7) Such other public health, safety and general welfare matters as may be raised by the camping application; and
(8) Environmental compliance according to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the city’s CEQA Guidelines.
(b) Except as set forth in subsection (c) no person or group may camp in a city park under authority of this section for more than three nights in any twelve months. No permit shall be required for security guards who camp in city parks incident to a lawful event.
(c) Where the camping activity is taking place in conjunction with an authorized and permitted restoration or conservation project being performed by campers at or near the campsite, the director of parks and recreation may permit an individual or group to camp in one of the afore-referenced city parks for a period of time in excess of that prescribed in subsection (b).
(d) To ensure the fair and consistent application of this section, the director of parks and recreation shall promulgate regulations defining the criteria for permit issuance contained in this section.
[THIS SECTION NEEDS TO BE COMPLETELY OVERHAULED. IT WAS CREATED AS A POLITICAL GESTURE BY COUNCILMEMBERS PRIMACK AND KENNEDY BACK IN 2002 IN THE WAKE OF THE CAMP PARADISE ENCAMPMENT AS A "LIBERALIZATION". ITS RESTRICTIVE REQUIREMENTS MEAN, OF COURSE, THAT IT'S NEVER BEEN USED]

6.36.040 PENALTY – SINGLE OFFENSE.
Any person who violates any section in this chapter is guilty of an infraction and shall be subject to a fine of not more than twenty dollars. Alternatively any person who violates any section in this chapter, in lieu of a fine may, if that person so requests, be required to provide no more than eight hours of community service. [WITH COURT COSTS THE ACTUAL BAIL AMOUNT FOR A SLEEPING, BLANKET, OR CAMPING TICKET IS CURRENTLY $158--HENCE THIS SECTION TOO NEEDS TO BE CHANGED]

6.36.050 PENALTY – SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE WITHIN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS.
Any person who violates any section in this chapter and is cited for such violation, and who within twenty-four hours after receiving such citation again violates the same section, is guilty of a misdemeanor. [THIS ONE TOO, SINCE IT'S BEEN USED IN THE PAST TO ARREST AND HOLD PROTESTERS AND THEN LOWER OR DROP CHARGES IN COURT]

6.36.055 CITATIONS ISSUED WHEN WINTER SHELTER ARMORY IS FULL.
(a) A person shall not be in violation of this chapter if, at the time of his or her citation for a violation of this chapter, either: the winter shelter at the Santa Cruz National Guard Armory is filled to capacity; or the person is currently on the waiting list for shelter service through one of the shelter programs offered by the Homeless Services Center or the River Street Shelter in Santa Cruz.
(b) Any citation issued for a violation of this chapter shall be dismissed by the city attorney in the interest of justice if, at the time of citation issuance, the winter shelter at the Santa Cruz National Guard Armory is filled to capacity or the recipient of the citation demonstrates that on the date of the citation he or she was currently on the waiting list for shelter service through one of the shelter programs offered by the Homeless Services Center or the River Street Shelter in Santa Cruz. [WAITING LIST EXEMPTIONS SHOULD NOT BE LIMITED TO THESE TWO PRIVATE AGENCIES--ACTUALLY NOW ONE PRIVATE AGENCY SINCE THE "HOMELESS LACK OF SERVICES CENTER" NO LONGER PROVIDES A WAITING LIST]

6.36.060 PUBLIC NUISANCE DECLARED.
Any campsite established in the city in violation of this chapter is declared to be a public nuisance, and the chief of police, after consultation with appropriate city officials and upon a determination that such a campsite constitutes an immediate threat to the health, safety or welfare of persons in the city, including persons using the campsite, is authorized and empowered to remove any such campsite forthwith. If persons are occupying the campsite at the time, then before removing the campsite, the chief of police, or the officer designated by the chief, shall warn the person or persons occupying the campsite that they are in violation of this chapter and shall give them the opportunity to remove the campsite forthwith. [THOUGH THIS SECTION IS RARELY IF EVER USED, IT GIVES THE POLICE CHIEF OVERLY BROAD DISCRETION WITHOUT DEFINING STANDARDS OF WHAT CONSTITUTES HEALTH, SAFETY, OR WELFARE]

6.36.070 REPORTS REQUIRED BY SHELTER PROVIDERS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES
(a) ANY SHELTER SERVICES RECEIVING FUNDING FROM THE CITY SHALL AGREE TO REPORT EACH NIGHT WHETHER THEY HAVE ANY OPEN SHELTER SPACE AVAILABLE THAT NIGHT BY CONTACTING LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES TO SO INFORM THEM. IF NO SPACE IS AVAILABLE, A PERSON SHALL NOT BE IN VIOLATION OF THIS CHAPTER NOR SHALL ANY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER CONTACT OR CITE ANY PERSON UNDER THIS SECTION.
(b) LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES WILL PROVIDE MONTHLY PUBLIC REPORTS INDICATING HOW MANY HOURS OF OFFICER TIME HAVE HAVE BEEN SPENT ENFORCING THIS ORDINANCE. THEY SHALL ALSO ESTIMATE THE COST OF ACTIONS, CONTACTS, AND CITATIONS DONE UNDER THIS ORDINANCE DURING THE PRIOR MONTH. BOTH AGENCIES WILL ALSO PROVIDE A LISTING OF ANY PROPERTY SEIZED UNDER THE LAW.
(c) THE CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE SHALL MAKE PUBLIC A LISTING OF ALL CITATIONS ISSUED UNDER THIS CHAPTER THAT WERE FORWARDED TO THE COURTS AND NOT DISMISSED UNDER 6.36.055.
by IndyRadio/David Roknich
Wednesday Feb 24th, 2016 10:19 AM
"However the entire minefield of anti-homeless laws needs to be bulldozed and selective enforcement abandoned."
This ammendment shouldn't be necessary except for the narrow minded bigotry and greed of some overly privileged indiciduals who have owned the government of a city that still tries to lay claim to a "progressive" legacy.

The camping ban should simply be made void and striking it down should happen on humanitarian grounds, not because the same malefactors finally realize they've hurt their own economic interests with their stupidity and greed.

This not very diplomatic, but eventually the truth will out.

INDYRADIO The future of radio belongs to us. The newest playlists are linked at http://ch0.us
by Steve Schnaar
Wednesday Feb 24th, 2016 10:26 AM
The draft of Don Lane's proposed amendment and report I posted last night did not come through properly: the "proposed amendment" to the code was supposed to show several parts with a line through them to indicate their suggested removal. That formatting got lost in the mix; here is what the code would be were Lane's suggestions approved:


Section 1: Section 6.36.010 of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
“6.36.010 Camping Prohibited. No person shall camp anywhere in the city of Santa Cruz, whether on public or private property, except as hereinafter expressly permitted. “To camp” means to do any of the following:

Setting-up Bedding – 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. To establish or maintain outdoors or in, on or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, at any time between the hours of 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m., a temporary or permanent place for camping, by setting up any bedding, sleeping bag, blanket, mattress, tent, hammock or other equipment in such a manner as to be immediately usable for camping purposes.

(b) Setting-up Campsite – Anytime. To establish or maintain outdoors or in, on, or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, at any time during the day or night, a temporary or permanent place for cooking or residing, by setting up any bedding, sleeping bag, mattress, tent, hammock or other camping equipment or by setting up any cooking equipment with the intent to remain in that location overnight.
by This Is Progress?
Thursday Feb 25th, 2016 7:44 AM
Lane's proposal is progress? A step in the right direction? If Lane's change is implemented, then people would be allowed to sleep legally, however setting up any bedding, sleeping bag, blanket, etc… would remain a violation of Section 6.36.010 of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code. At least you can be sleeping legally while you die from exposure to the elements.
The NLCHP too. It might improve their sense of urgency.
by Petra
Saturday Feb 27th, 2016 3:15 PM
that it would still be illegal to sleep at night using a blanket or a sleeping bag and/or sleeping on a mat?

How is prohibiting trying to stay warm not a violation of Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights (ICCPR) of protection againt cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment???


**************************


Section 1: Section 6.36.010 of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
“6.36.010 Camping Prohibited. No person shall camp anywhere in the city of Santa Cruz, whether on public or private property, except as hereinafter expressly permitted. “To camp” means to do any of the following:

Setting-up Bedding – 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. To establish or maintain outdoors or in, on or under any structure not intended for human occupancy, at any time between the hours of 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m., a temporary or permanent place for camping, by setting up any bedding, sleeping bag, blanket, mattress, tent, hammock or other equipment in such a manner as to be immediately usable for camping purposes.


by Steve Schnaar
Monday Feb 29th, 2016 5:50 PM
Yes Petra, the wording as it stands is pretty weak, it removes lots of references to "sleeping" itself being outlawed, but keeps the use of blankets or bedding. I'm not sure what to make of it, could be that the final wording is still being considered, as I know it was still under discussion last week.

Those of us who support a decriminalization of sleeping (with blankets) should tell the Council we support that goal, and be specific that you want them to remove the part about "setting up bedding". Or come to the meeting and advocate for that position.

Otherwise if it passes at stands, I agree it is hard to see how helpful it would be.
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