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Salinas City Council to consider camping ban ordinance

by Salinas News
On Tuesday, September 20 the Salinas City Council will consider for adoption an ordinance that prohibits camping in public areas within the City of Salinas. The ordinance also prohibits "loitering", and other mundane activities such as lying on a public bench and sitting on a fire hydrant.
Under proposed ordinance Sec. 16-140, "unlawful camping" in public area is defined:

"It is unlawful and a public nuisance for any person to camp, establish, maintain, operate or occupy camping facilities, or use camp paraphernalia".

The ordinances bans camping on all sidewalks and on all city property.

Sleeping in a public place with a sleeping bag would be considered camping under the proposed ordinance. Sleeping bags are defined as "camp paraphernalia".

The definition of loitering in the proposed ordinance closely resembles what other cities have called a "sit-lie" law:

"No person shall stand, sit, linger, idle, or loiter on any street, alley, sidewalk, park or other public place, or in or about the entrance or exit of any business establishment or public building, either on foot or in an automobile or other vehicle, in such a manner as to obstruct or hinder the free passage of persons along such public way".

Lying on a public bench would also be prohibited under the proposed ordinance.

Under Sec. 16-140.070, a person is in violation of the ordinance if they continue to lie on a bench after being warned by a police officer not to do so.

This section of the ordinance would also ban walking, sitting, standing, or lying on "any monument."

The ordinance gives the following examples of what types of public features are considered a monument: decorative fountains, fire hydrants, planters, railings, fences, stairwells, and parking lots or parking structures.

The ordinance focuses on "camping" and "loitering" and does not mention the word "sleep".

If adopted by the Salinas City Council on Tuesday, the ordinance will go into effect one month later.
§Staff Report
by Salinas News
§Speak Out
by Monterey County Homeless Union
Tuesday, September 20, 3pm at City Hall:

Speak Out Against the Proposed Camping/Loitering Ordinance at Salinas City Council Meeting
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Razer Ray
Sat, Sep 17, 2016 9:22AM
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