California homeless bill of rights proposed

January 5, 2013

A California lawmaker is pushing to add another category to the list of those protected from discrimination: homelessness. [SacramentoBee]

The legislation titled the “Homeless Bill of Rights” by Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco is meant to keep communities from rousting people who have nowhere to else to go.

The measure is sure to be controversial in San Luis Obispo, which has battled for the legal right to have the police rouse and harass the homeless who sleep in their vehicles, sit on benches, panhandle and walk the streets.

Assembly Bill 5 would give legal protection to people engaging in life-sustaining activities on public property. The bill specifically mentions sleeping, congregating, panhandling, urinating and “collecting and possessing goods for recycling, even if those goods contain alcoholic residue.”

Ammiano measure also would give homeless residents the right to sleep in cars that are legally parked, to receive funds through public welfare programs, to receive legal counsel when cited – even for infractions – and to possess personal property on public lands.

San Luis Obispo officials would be prohibited from attempting to force homeless residents into parking and shelter programs run by Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, as they have been doing.

Paul Boden, a spokesperson for one of the bill’s sponsors, says that existing laws to sweep the homeless from public view are similar to Jim Crow laws of decades ago in the segregated South, and to “anti-Okie” laws of the 1930s that prohibited bringing extremely poor people into California.

One opponent of the bill, former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness, now a Sacramento radio host, said government exists partly to maintain sanitation, discourage the spread of disease, and ensure public safety.

“Do you want to see people living like that?” McGinness said. “I don’t.”



  1. Russ J says:

    Ted – what took you so long? Been traveling? These domicile challenged souls of our society have been offered many feasts and much help from so many of us. You’re just a playground bully looking for a fight. You amuse me. Pray for me, as I will for you.

    (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
  2. Ted Slanders says:


    I cannot believe in how many non-christians are within this thread!

    Anyone, and I repeat, anyone that comes down upon the homeless like you’ve done in this thread is NOT a Christian, period! If you’re an alleged Christian and have done this aforementioned ungodly deed, then remove yourself from your Christian beliefs and church post haste this Sunday morning because you DO NOT deserve to be called Christians in any way whatsoever!

    There is nothing worse in the eyes of the Christian God than for Him to peer down upon His earth and see all of the Christian hypocrites to His doctrine regarding the poor. BLASPHEME!

    “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.” (Psalm 82:3)

    “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Proverbs 19:17)

    “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” ( Luke 14:13-14)

    “If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you.” ( Leviticus 25:35-36)

    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)

    (-5) 9 Total Votes - 2 up - 7 down
  3. RU4Real says:

    This must be an “OPEN INVITATION” for all the homeless transients to camp out at the home of Tom Ammiano! Go for it!

    (14) 20 Total Votes - 17 up - 3 down
  4. isoslo says:

    Stupid, stupid, stupid! The objective of the legislature should be to make a better place for the majority of citizens, and in particular those citizens that are positive contributing members. Homeless people have the same rights as everyone else, not different rights due to homelessness. Liberal politicians are always looking for a cause to protect. How about protecting the good citizens that own property, that raise good children, that start businesses and create jobs, that pay taxes, that put effort into bettering their community? We should treat the homeless as they deserve, offer a hand up to get out of homelessness and that’s about it. We do not want laws that make it easier and more comfortable to be homeless, we want laws that discourage homelessness and encourage becoming a productive member of society.

    (27) 29 Total Votes - 28 up - 1 down
    • The Gimlet Eye says:

      “Liberal politicians are always looking for a cause to protect.”

      I disagree. Replace “protect” with “control.”

      (-3) 5 Total Votes - 1 up - 4 down
      • Ted Slanders says:


        The comical irony is the fact that these “liberal politicians” are more Christian than the Republicans regarding the homeless, as I have shown in my post above relative to hypocritical Christians and the poor. Funny, huh?

        (-5) 7 Total Votes - 1 up - 6 down
  5. Russ J says:

    Bill of rights? Are you serious? I don’t think these domicile challenged people are too concerned about whether or not their existence is protected. I don’t see any of them getting hauled to jail or smacked about the head by law enforcement. They’re plenty protected by society. What I do see, is a bunch of self absorbed politicians in Sacramento that just have to one-up the next guy with some over-the-top piece of legislation or bill. Count-em; 876 new laws this year. Insanity! Part time legislatures can work so well.

    (19) 29 Total Votes - 24 up - 5 down
  6. Slowerfaster says:

    Here’s a newsflash for all of you ‘concerned citizens’ that disparage those you look down your snot-filled noses on for doing ( or wishing to do ) the exact same human activities that all of us physical beings must do and want to criminalise.

    Yes, we can and should regulate certain of them for the betterment of SOCIETY as a whole, and to help prevent bad things ( disease, et al ) from becoming problems.
    In a just civilization, we pay for these protections and services with taxes. Sorry, that is requisite…unless you DO want to live in a filthy medeival place where everything is a struggle and nasty for all but the very rich.

    For obispan in particular: You do realize that those steelheads you value so much have always pooped and fornicated in the creek, RIGHT ?

    (-35) 43 Total Votes - 4 up - 39 down
    • Downtown Bob says:

      How have you specifically helped out any homeless people?

      (21) 29 Total Votes - 25 up - 4 down
      • Slowerfaster says:

        How many cats have you rescued from trees in your life ?

        (-16) 18 Total Votes - 1 up - 17 down
        • easymoney says:

          I personally have rescued many. How about you…

          (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
      • Downtown Bob says:

        Seriously, not to be funny, but have you ever spent an ounce of your energy helping the homeless? Or is your angle pretty much forcing others to do what you yourself don’t do? Cats are not relevant.

        For me, I have donated time and money of mine own to help out those less fortunate than myself.

        (7) 13 Total Votes - 10 up - 3 down
        • easymoney says:

          As a first responder I can say that I have, BUT almost to the person I can say that they were eaither intoxicated or medicated in some way, wanting free assistance usually in the form of ambulance service. We respond regardless of who it is, but the number of calls where there is an indigant, illegal alien or homeless person wishing free services has gone up. give a call to San Luis Ambulance or any other provider and ask how many wer paying and how many were not paying or on the County dole…

          (9) 13 Total Votes - 11 up - 2 down
          • The Gimlet Eye says:

            That’s why the welfare/warfare state has to be rolled back.

            (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
        • Slowerfaster says:

          ” Cats are not relevant. ”

          By GOSH, you got one right !

          Now, if you could recognise the litany of repeated false arguments, strawmen, red herrings and the complete list of Ad Populum, Ad Baculum, Ad Hominem, Ad Veredundian, Ad Ignorantum, and Petitio Principii that fill your keyboard calumnies on a regular basis.

          I reason that you negate any goodwill that you may have personally contributed with these destructive and emotional attitudes reported so blithely.

          (-7) 7 Total Votes - 0 up - 7 down
          • Downtown Bob says:

            No need to get personal! The fact is that by your refusal to mention what you have personally done to help the homeless speaks for itself. You can glory all you want in your empty calls for help and assistance. If your not really willing to lift a finger or spend a dollar of your own, quit calling others intolerant and stingy when in actualality it is you that is the problem.

            (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
            • Slowerfaster says:

              Who got personal with whom ?

              I refuse to go after your diversionary bait defensively.One person filling a need or providing assisstance does not solve a pandemic problem. A Warren Buffet or Bill Gates could donate their entire fortunes and the societal problems would remain.

              What I do, or you do, or any individual does may be praiseworthy and satisfying on an individual basis; but it is irrelevant to the conversation.

              If people were not so self congratulatory, they might wake up to the fact that the systemic ignorance that creates the underclass is something that has to be addressed by societal co-operation.
              The deficiencies of a supposed charity based solution should be abundantly clear to all but the most daft.

              (-5) 5 Total Votes - 0 up - 5 down
              • Downtown Bob says:

                Seems to me that after 70 years of government programs and trillions spent there would not be homelessness, fact is that private non-profits are the main providers of assistance to the homeless. Name one government program that works….

                And you are the person who called me all sorts of names and claimed I post all sorts of hate. I rarely post anything here or anywhere lol.

                (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
      • Downtown Bob says:

        It yanks Easy, but I find it interesting that those who are so interested in giving the transient population so many things and are encouraging the government to give them even more freedom to trample our rights are either:

        1. Completely out of touch with who the majority of these people are and their actions that got them to the place where they are homeless, addicted, and psychotic.

        2. Earning a damn good living off of the homeless such as the directors of these “non profits” and the like, a good example is Mr. Hill’s live in girlfriend that he enriches by directing County funds which ultimately come back to himself.

        3. And I also suspect, that some of the most vocal commenters here have not lifted a personal finger or given a voluntary dime yet claim to care so much that they demand to force everyone to contribute to their cause throughout taxes. Think Al Gore and his desire to push through the sale of his network before the higher tax rates applied even though he has publicly rallied for higher taxes.

        (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
        • slojustice says:

          I truly think our local homeless deserve some help. I have a problem with the homeless who come here from other cities and states and have soaked up and overwhelmed our homeless services. I agree that homelessness has become an industry for many of our bureaucrats. I predict our overpaid city managers husband will be up here soon to help solve our homeless problem. Mostly because of the success he has had solving homelessness in Santa Monica (lol).

          (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
        • The Gimlet Eye says:

          Ain’t socialism great?

          (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
          • Slowerfaster says:

            “Ain’t socialism great?”

            In your case: Isn’t ignorance bliss ?

            (-4) 4 Total Votes - 0 up - 4 down
            • The Gimlet Eye says:

              “If one understands that Socialism is not a ‘share the wealth’ program but is in reality a method to consolidate and control the wealth, then the seeming paradox of super rich men promoting Socialism becomes no paradox at all. Instead it becomes logical, even the perfect tool of power-seeking megalomaniacs. Communism, or more accurately Socialism, is not a movement of the down-trodden masses but of the economic elite.”

              Gary Allen

              (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  7. willieslo says:

    That is a whole lot of rights and protection
    What about the rights of the residents that live here

    (41) 53 Total Votes - 47 up - 6 down
  8. obispan says:

    Classic! A new civil right. And who will pay to get the trash, broken glass, and human waste out of the creek so I can fish for steelhead from downtown SLO to Avila Beach barefoot as I did so many times as a child? The homeless will deny any benefit that comes with conditions and sue courtesy of Mr. Boden. This bill should be re-named the Right to S**t in the Creek Act.

    (44) 60 Total Votes - 52 up - 8 down

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