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Homeless regulations will affect People's Park community
by Anonymous
Monday Apr 23rd, 2018 1:10 PM
Newly proposed regulations on the homeless will substantially affect the People's Park community. Berkeley city council is holding a special meeting to codify new city legislation to place restrictions on sleeping and stashing gear on sidewalks.
Camping overnight in People's Park is prohibited by the University of California. The UC also has tight restrictions on storing gear in the park: carts are not allowed, and a person may only have what they can reasonably carry. Storing gear overnight is dicey; a person may wake up to find that an early morning cleanup crew has taken their belongings.

Given the limitations placed by the University, homeless people and travelers resort to sleeping and storing belongings on the sidewalks along the perimeter of the Park, which are city property. A new codex of regulations proposed by city government will place restrictions regarding sleeping and storing items on sidewalks in residential and residential mixed-use areas. People's Park is in a residential/mixed area.

This coming Thursday (April 26), there will be a special meeting (6PM @ 1500 Derby Street) in which city council will ask the city manager to codify the new sidewalk restrictions. Included in the omnibus is a statement that "objects are prohibited on sidewalks in residential districts", "except for authorized objects and objects in transit". If this passes, people will not be able to keep their stuff on the sidewalks around from and adjacent to People's Park. The omnibus proposal states: "lying is prohibited...on sidewalks in all residential and mixed use residential (MUR) districts". This rule will make it that people can't sleep on the sidewalks near People's Park.

Where will people sleep, and where will they keep their stuff during the day, so they can walk around without the burden of having to carry their gear? The proposal says that the city will make storage lockers available, but that has been an empty promise for over the past few years.

These new proposals may also be used to target people trying to help the poor. A ban on leaving items on the sidewalk would mean that a person could be given a citation for dropping off a box of food at the edge of People's Park.

Along with the proposals to be discussed at the special meeting, city government has already released a warning that there might be increased prohibitions on RV camping. A RV camp at the marina was issued a dispersal notice by city staff, and the city is considering banning RV camping in other parts of the city. RVs and camper-vans are often parked around People's Park.

The new regulatory codex will effect the entire city, but People's Park will be heavily more impacted by any new prohibitions. City council is taking public comment for this meeting (April 26, 6PM - 1500 Derby Street). Whether or not public comment will sway their decisions remains to be seen. Past protests have prevented overly-stringent regulations. So called 'sit-lie laws' have been defeated in the past by mass public opposition. Berkeley should have storage facilities for the poor. Berkeley should have more public restrooms and have mobile shower facilities. Berkeley needs to find a mechanism (TAX THE RICH!) to financially subsidize housing as to get people off the street.
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Storing GearBif WebsterWednesday Apr 25th, 2018 5:53 AM

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