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|Last Minute Meeting on the Camping Ban Reforms|
|Date||Thursday March 03|
|Time||11:00 AM - 12:00 PM|
|Import this event into your personal calendar.|
|City Council Offices at a room booked by Councilmember Micah Posner|
|rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com|
The City Council agenda hasn't been announced for March 8th. After many delays, the word is that there will finally be a proposal on the agenda to modify the Camping Ordinance.
Steve Pleich has advised me that Don Lane's proposed changes in the Camping Ordinance is to remove the words
"sleeping" but keeping in place the Blanket Ban. The ordinance change may include the right to sleep in one's own vehicle legally parked.
Proponents of the change suggest that however limited this first step, it does apparently remove a fundamental human rights violation--denying those with no shelter the right to sleep at night. The Department of Justice has aligned itself against Sleeping Bans in the Boise v. Bell case in Idaho. HUD has declared continued criminalizing the homeless may be the basis for withholding funding from bigoted city governments.
Cities like Huntington Beach and Vancouver, WA have already changed their laws or suspended enforcement of their camping bans at night. There has not been a noted huge increase in homeless folks attributable to these changes, according to Pleich's research.
Lane's proposal was developed behind closed doors with no input from long-term homeless activists. Many of these activists (Becky Johnson, Laura Tucker, Linda Lemaster) worked extensively with City Council and its appointees to thoroughly research the Camping Ordinance and consider relevant reforms. Lane has declined to include these folks.
In order to include them, Micah Posner has agreed at my urging, to have a last-minute meeting which--finally--is open to all.
Ironically, Posner's regular meeting with Lane and the select group of activists that Lane has regularly invited will take place at noon. This is immediately after the open meeting which Posner has agreed to at 11 AM. Lane has still not included any of the long-term activists whom he disfavors.
There are real questions as to whether a reactionary City Council will pass even Lane's barebones proposal. Even so, some activists emphasize, with park curfews, RV parking bans, and permit parking night prohibitions--there will be real questions afterwards: what will be our next step?
What next? is the key issue, I think, to be discussed at this meeting. In addition, Micah will "pass on" our views to his closed meeting with Lane's select group at noon. And we can certainly bring our views to City Council on March 8th and to the community and the streets in the days that follow in direct actions, if we organize to do so.
I'll be there.