SLO homeless plan facing legal battle

March 22, 2012

By KAREN VELIE

Amid allegations of illegality, San Luis Obispo City Council members voted Tuesday to unanimously approve two portions of a homeless parking plan while agreeing to revisit the plan’s proposal to increase police actions against homeless who sleep in their cars.

Council members endorsed the implementation of a pilot program aimed at providing safe parking for a small number of homeless who sleep in their vehicles.

The pilot program permits CAPSLO to allow five cars to park overnight in the Prado Day Center parking lot without being ticketed for having homeless sleeping inside. Those allowed to park in the lot would also be required to utilize CAPSLO case management offerings.

Most members of the community who spoke during the meeting approved of the pilot program, though some questioned the cost – $80,000 for six months or $16,000 per car.

“It will cost $16,000 each for six months versus handing out parking vouchers,” said San Luis Obispo based attorney Stew Jenkins.

In addition, speakers were highly critical of the plan’s proposal to increase ticketing of homeless who sleep in their vehicles and are not allotted one of the five spaces. Council members voted to delay discussion over the proposed increased enforcement for a few months.

Countywide, officials estimate there are approximately 4,000 homeless with about half of those being children, and about one fifth of all homeless sleeping in vehicles.

Proponents of the more aggressive ticketing include San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill and his girlfriend Dee Torres, homeless services coordinator and the promoter of the proposal. Hill asked the council not to heed public comments by members of the public who oppose Torres’ proposal because the issue of homelessness is too complicated for most lay people to understand.

Hill then asked council members to support Torres’ proposal because of issues of drug and alcohol abuse by the homeless and their need for structure and management.

One homeless man who spoke out during public comment, Rubin Agular, said he does not drink or do drugs, works 40 hours a week and attends school.

“I do not use drugs or alcohol,” Aqular said. “I just happen to be poor.”

Danny Braninburg sleeps in his van at night, unless he is in jail for not being able to afford the large tickets and fines he receives from officers several times a month, he said. Unable to pay for the $450 a piece  tickets, and $50 a day in late fees, Braninburg recently spent 24 days in jail in lieu of some of the fines.

Braninburg said police have been increasing their nightly raids, and as a result, he has received five tickets in the last month, or $2,250 in fines.

Working homeless contend the constant harassment by police keeps them and their children from getting a good nights sleep and they risk having their vehicles confiscated by police.

Attorney Jenkins asked the council in a letter delivered Tuesday, to stop ticketing homeless for parking in their vehicles and return all fines collected in the alleged illegal implementation of the ordinance.

“For the first time since moving to San Luis Obispo in 1961, I am ashamed of my city,” Jenkins wrote. “How and when did it become acceptable to criminalize human existence based on poverty.”

In his letter, Jenkins asked the council to suspend its sleeping vehicle ordinance, dismiss pending citations, expunge convictions and return fines.

City Attorney Christine Dietrick said they have already received one challenge to the ordinance that the city expects to beat noting that the type of ordinance was facially (on face not application) upheld in another case.

Jenkins contends the current implementation of the ordinance is in violation of California law and both the California and U.S. Constitutions, because it criminalizes human existence.

Along with San Luis Obispo based attorney Saro Rizzo, Jenkins is planning on filing a suit on behalf of several homeless who have been ticketed by San Luis Obispo police for sleeping in their vehicles.


41 Comments

  1. SLOBIRD says:

    You cannot tell me that with all the intelligence running amock in SLO that someone cannot find a better solution to this problem for either less money or more parking. $80,000 for 5 vehicles, really, are you all crazy. These people are in need. 1) The problem is not going away, 2) we have to find a solution that works for the citizens and the homeless, 3) Certainly other communities (Santa Barbara, Monterey, Ventura, etc.) must also be dealing with this and has anyone followed through to see what they are doing, 4) are you telling me that in San Luis Obispo that are no locations of open land that will house these people. The City and the County are going to build a homeless site down on Higuera St on property next to Social Services so if this property is available couldn’t it be cleared and setup temporarily for this. Also, I suggest as the plans for this facility in the future get finalized that they should provide space for people in their RV’s.

    As for WillieSLO as a father of a daughter, you language is not appropriate either. Why are you so angry, the homeless have always been a part of our community (remember when they were feed at the Old Mission and the downtown community organized with the City and built the Prado Day Care Ctr). We don’t want them on the streets, in the creeks, on De Vaul’s property so where do they go?

    Getting angry, mad, go into denial or harrassment mode is not going to solve this problem. Solutions must realistic as the homeless are long going away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8

    • HarryMalone says:

      Your last sentence could use a little ‘gramattical polish’.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

    • gmanata says:

      There are a lot of state parks and campgrounds slated to be closed soon. Perhaps the parking lots of some of these can be used by some local government entitiy to accomadate homeless RV’s and cars. There should be some limits on who can used them otherwise they would be taken over by vadationers looking for a free space. Perhaps the spaces can be limited to people who are 1. employed locally but whose earning are not enough to afford them a local apartment.or 2. are unemployed but can prove that they have lived in the state a few years, had a job in the state, and thus have paid taxes here, and are in a program to aid them in looking for a job.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

    • willieslo says:

      I only get nasty when I really know among BS!
      This is NOT about anyone seeking glory for being a do right!
      Nor is it about a lack of compassion to help our displaced!
      Get your ass into the real world, take the buses, walk the creek as I have!!!
      see for yourself and know before your suckered and burden the SLO community with opportunist!
      They got to be sorted in a case by case manner! (Carter is intelligent and informed – Jenkin don’t belong there)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  2. willieslo says:

    I once respected Stew Jenkins, No More! Never let this politician into elected office into the future!
    Many people in the past, present and the future will sacrifice their position and salary and transition here for a better environment.
    For Jenkins to file a class action on behalf of the homeless is purely political.
    The problem of the homeless is first a scientific task more than a political task.
    The freeloaders are like a disease intermixed among the displaced trying to recover.
    We need to separate them, then either get rid of disease, rehabilitate the trash.
    Jenkins is a loser as an attorney; as a political and fails to see the big picture!
    If he prevails, Many good will consider relocating.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 32

    • Ted Slanders says:

      .
      willie,

      Uh, how can anyone be as brash and uncaring for their fellow earthly passengers than you? Barring the fact of your name calling to the homeless, are your comments actually real, or are you coming off of some prescription drug stupor? Surely you jest, right?

      If you’re fully recovered, tell us the “scientific” premise over any political venue relative to the homeless. We’ll await with bated breath!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 26 Thumb down 18

      • willieslo says:

        F-U Sanders
        I am not trying to destroy decency but you are!
        Look where your level of brothers have doen to the OWS
        I am very well intouch and supportive with the real homeless who “really want” to recover.
        They don’t want to mix in with the deased freeloaders idealistical BS from your mouth

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

        • Ted Slanders says:

          willieslo,

          Uh, you forgot something. :(

          You were suppose to tell us the “scientific” premise over any political venue relative to the homeless. Surely what you proffered above in a child like manner wasn’t the answer.

          So, once again we’ll await your “scientific” premise once again! Thanks.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    • The Gimlet Eye says:

      willieslo, what you propose sounds like a “police state” to me. Am I wrong?

      Do you realize what has happened to our economy? Criminal bankers have sunk us! Obamavilles have sprung up all over the place. All the fines in the world will not change the economic disaster now falling on our heads.

      Where are these people supposed to go? Vagrancy may still be a crime, but the economic meltdown caused by the NWO (New World Order) is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 7

      • hotdog says:

        Obamavilles. What planet are you on? What a load of idiocy to blame our economic situation on him. Though a bi partisan mess it is probably 90% a repo disaster to enhance the rich. So keep your crappy little politics out of the discussion of what to do with the homeless.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 10

  3. Crusader says:

    I was thinking that the city could lease the land (on a month to month basis) across Prado from the city yard, mow it, string-up some lights lease a nice selection of porta-cans and washing stations (and their maintenance) plus an evening caretaker or two for $80K every 6 months including any change in insurance premiums. Open the lot at 6pm and clear it out at 7am. Then there would be space for all — at least during these economically trying times. There’s probably some grants out there that would fund something like this.

    Instead there will be a total of 5 parking spaces. Totally pathetic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 8

  4. TypoKing says:

    Humane existence in SLO is evidently a crime if you don’t PAY the appropriate people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 15

  5. Ted Slanders says:

    .
    Yes, I am going to bring up the topic of TRUE Christianity again and what Jesus proposes about the poor of our land! Sorry pseudo-christians, but this is the time for you just give me a “dislike” and run away, instead of discussing this matter in a cogent and biblical way. See ya!

    The impetus of Jesus’ teachings is for us to take care of the poor, period! He didn’t say, “some of the poor”, nor did He say, “only the non-drug abusers and non alcoholics!” He stated with specificity, ALL of the poor are to be taken care of that are in need! Who is any Christian to usurp His commands in this respect?

    Let’s do some very simple math, shall we? There is a plethora of empty church parking lots that are basically only used for a once a week prayer meeting, and of course, placating to our form of God on Sunday mornings. Barring the biblical fact that Sunday is NOT the Sabbath, so saith the bible, but Saturday is, nonetheless, I digress.

    The solution? Open the parking lots of the Christian churches in San Luis Obispo, put porta-potties in the far end of their parking lots, have certain hours that the homeless that live out of their cars and RV’s can use for sleeping purposes. Pass the collection plate twice for the added expense of this venture if need be; over and above further church renovations, and giving your pastors more income.

    Therefore, Jesus + the poor and their RV’s and cars + church parking lots, is a win-win biblical situation! Get it? As the TRUE Christian is aware, we all know what our Savior thinks about hypocrites! Therefore, don’t think He is not watching this development in SLO County relative to how the alleged Christians are handling the poor relative to His empty Christian church parking lots!

    Christians, don’t worry, I am not going to scare you with Matthew 19:21, nor 1 John 3:17-18, because you could no more follow these commands by Jesus than you could walk on water in the summer time! I’ll give you some easier commands by our Savior to follow regarding the poor in SLO county.

    To wit; Jesus said; “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” Galatians 2:10

    Jesus said: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless.” ( Proverbs 31:8)

    “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ (Deuteronomy 15:11) Key words: “I command you”

    The bottom line is the biblical fact that you cannot call yourself a Christian if you look the other way in not helping the poor eliminate this parking issue, and the ungodly fines that are accumulating in their behalf. Don’t be hypocrites, open up your church parking lots and you’ll sleep better at night by actually following the scriptures for a change!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 26 Thumb down 20

    • Slowerfaster says:

      Praise Yeshua, Brother Ted !
      You MAKE these fellow CHRISTIAN soldiers day,
      er maybe minutes…
      wait …

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 13

      • Ted Slanders says:

        Brother Slowerfaster,

        I am sure that you are as appalled as I am in seeing the many “dislikes” to my godly post of what Jesus want’s His creation to perform in His behalf regarding the poor! It is truly sickening to see how many pseudo-christians pretend to know more than our Savior! They’re a joke in the eyes of our Christian God, and they will pay upon Judgment Day!

        If you notice, not one of God’s creation that pressed the “dislike” button to the teachings of Jesus, have the nerve to discuss this topic with the godly Brother Ted, other than to run away and pretend what Jesus actually states, doesn’t exist! Their continued mantra is; “That’s not in my bible”. The hell it isn’t!

        Hypocrites, every damn one of them!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 14

  6. Russ J says:

    Suggestion

    For a lot less money, fill their tanks and provide them a map to Fresno, California.

    I mean when do you just say to yourself “I guess I’m just not cut-out for the good life of San Luis Obispo – too expensive, I’m unskilled and I need a job in agriculture”. I don’t see the foreign nationals coming to this country having any problem finding field work, living 6 to a household and living on dry land.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 25 Thumb down 15

    • Ted Slanders says:

      Russ,

      Obviously you’re not a Christian. Therefore, will you accept Jesus the Christ as your Savior? If and when you do, then you won’t make such ungodly statements like you’ve done in your Satanic post relative to the poor and homeless.

      I will pray for you to see the light.

      You’re welcome.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 18

    • Paperboys says:

      Haven’t you heard, there are no jobs in Fresno (or Bakersfield) either!
      And this part — $80,000 for six months or $16,000 per car — of this story just about made me choke.
      What on earth are they planning to do that it costs $16,000 per vehicle to provide a lousy parking space for six months?
      Looks to me like Dee Torres is looking for a little side money for her homeless program (salary?).
      Hell, for $16,000 you could rent a house for an entire year! Then stuff two or three families into it and presto-chango — that would be an actual step toward solving the homeless issue!
      Hey, I thought SLO was broke? Where is this money coming from? Some little rainy day slush fund the administration and council have been hiding for years maybe?
      Don’t let the employees know about it, or else they’ll want it — homeless people be damned!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  7. willieslo says:

    Suggestion

    Have one site that allows drinking and smoking on the premises (No Children allowed) and:
    Free bus pass to and from Social Services
    Free grounds maintainence
    Free lunch

    Another site that prohibits alcohol and smoking (Allows Children) and:
    Earned participation for bus pass
    Earned participation for meals
    by doing community or site services such as grounds maintainences, cooking, handyman work ect.

    This will separate the free loaders from the rest

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

    • Cicero says:

      Willieslo, this seems like a nice idea until one realizes that it would mean children allowed in the nonsmoking site would be separated from their smoking parents, or would end up on the street.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

      • willieslo says:

        Cicero

        It was just an Idea, how about no smoking just only on the premises?
        I can’t see mixing some of the problematic homeless with the earnest ones.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    • The Gimlet Eye says:

      How about an end to the NWO and its “crony capitalism”? A rising tide lifts all ships!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

    • HarryMalone says:

      willieslo…

      A good idea but who is going to AMINISTRATE it?

      If 5 PARKING spaces alone cost $16,000 a month EACH, imagine what your plan would cost!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Comments are closed.