Lawsuit filed on behalf of San Luis Obispo’s homeless

April 9, 2012

By KAREN VELIE

San Luis Obispo city officials are accused of discrimination, harassment and the criminalization of homeless people, in a lawsuit filed on Friday.

At the behest of city officials, police wake up homeless sleeping in their cars and give them tickets of up to $500 a piece for either living or sleeping in vehicles. Officers then order the homeless to “get out of town,” the suit says.

Attorneys Saro Rizzo and Stewart Jenkins are asking the court to order the city to stop enforcing a city ordinance that prohibits sleeping in vehicles and to pay financial damages and costs.

The suit contends the ordinance is unlawful because it is vague, discriminatory, and fails to abide by California Vehicle Code 22507(a) which requires signs to be posted before an ordinance restricting parking can be enforced.

In 2004, the 2nd Appellate Court in Ventura ruled the city of Santa Barbara could not enforce a parking ordinance  in place to stop homeless from sleeping in their cars for more than two hours because the city, which had posted 33 signs, did not have adequate signage. San Luis Obispo has no signage.

The late-night raids started several months ago after city officials working to appease business owners asked police to crack down on homeless sleeping in their vehicles on Prado Road. The sweeps have caused some homeless people to lose their vehicles while others have spent time in jail to pay off fines.

In March, San Luis Obispo City Council members voted unanimously to approve a pilot parking plan that is slated to provide five spots for homeless to legally park. Amid allegations of discrimination against the homeless and threats of lawsuits, the council agreed  to revisit the plan’s proposal to increase police actions against homeless who sleep in their cars.

Currently, there are approximately 1,000 homeless living in SLO with about 50 percent sleeping in vehicles. The lawsuit claims city officials are promoting the late night raids in an attempt to prompt the homeless to leave SLO.

“Public statements by at least one member of the city council (Andrew Carter), since the March 20 council meeting, clearly show the purpose of the city’s enforcement campaign is to expel from the city its citizens with nowhere to sleep but their vehicles and to discourage other homeless individuals from traveling to the city of San Luis Obispo,” the suit says.

The lawsuit, filed in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, names the SLO Homeless Alliance and several homeless residents as plaintiffs, with the city of San Luis Obispo and police Chief Stephen Gesell named as defendants.

City Attorney Christine Dietrick said at the March 20 city council meeting that she believes the city will beat challenges to the ordinance noting that the type of ordinance was facially (on face not application) upheld in another case.







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mkaney

Thank God for people like Sarro Rizzo, who is intelligent enough to understand the concept of integrity (a level of intelligence that almost nobody even comprehends anymore) and the rule of LAW ( as opposed to the RULE of law). Mr. Rizzo is as conservative as anyone I know, so references to him as a bleeding heart as totally laughable. We are lucky to have him in our community.

Ted Slanders

First off; great looking sixties Dodge pickup, and an ever so classic wraparound windowed camper shell! I can visualize Cindy driving this classic duo heading out on Highway 1 with scarf blowing, and wearing a pair of Ray Ban sun glasses!

Okay, an observation, does the SLO PD go after the Prado Road homeless because there is possible money to be collected from the already stressed out homeless because they have vehicles?

SLO PD, first and foremost, sweep out the druggies and vagabonds in up town SLO! This element is creating havoc in many ways for the visitors, and the local business’s and citizens that pay taxes for your income!

Prado Road seems to represent an “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” scenario to the city. Nonetheless, the SLO PD continue to harass the homeless in this area, but, where the actual “in sight” aforementioned annoying individuals that are plaguing our downtown, the SLO PD seemingly does nothing about. Huh?

I have been uptown where police units drive by and look at panhandlers on benches where they’re disrupting people and business’, and they continue on. They must be saving their energy to pound on the camper shells at 2 am to give the Prado Road homeless, that basically don’t bother uptown peoples, their exorbitant $450.00 fine plus late charges.

Furthermore, equally fine the allegedly upstanding people that are blatantly sleeping it off in their cars after partying until 2 am as well! What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander!

Typoqueen

You have a big heart willieslo, very compassionate.

You’re right willie, when the guy living under the bridge was little boy and his mom was throwing him his 5 year old birthday party, just as he was getting ready to blow out his candles he closed his eyes and thought very hard and then quietly wished,,,’I hope to go to war and come back with PTSD and live under a bridge and beg for money when I grow up’. And then he blew out is 5 candles. His loving mother said, we’ll do what we can to make sure your dreams come true my little freeloader.

Yes willieslo, they do this on purpose because they love the Club Med lifestyle.

moderator

disagree without being disagreeable, name calling is never appreciated,
personal attack deleted. .

rogerfreberg

Interesting dialogue going on… but I think an important point has been missed. I seem to remember reading that various local and federal governments (unless specifically stipulated) often do not have to post signs… ignorance of the law is no excuse, as they say….

Most people I know are fairly compassionate to a point, but San Luis Obispo has yet to find a balance between addressing the needs of all newly arrived transient ‘citizens’ who are passing through and avoiding becoming a center for homelessness in California. Homelessness may not be a crime, but crime often follows the homeless.

Restricting parking location and time of day makes the most sense…. and the most humane to all parties. An easy solution can be overnight parking permits (for non occupied vehicles) provided to local renters and homeowners by city location…. BTW it has already worked in high demand student areas.

Locals have a right to have a say in their neighborhood.

danika

Locals DO indeed have a right to have a say in their neighborhoods. But I wonder if their positions would be different if they were forced to live in their vehicles for 10 days before getting to make that decision…

WiseGuy

Roger writes: “Most people I know are fairly compassionate to a point…”

Translation: “Most people I know are not compassionate most of the time…” or “Most people I know are compassionate only when it is convenient…”

Ted Slanders

roger,

For the most part, the “transients” are not passing through, but are living here, therefore, the encampments, Prado Center, and parking on Prado Road. etc.

“Restricting parking location and time of day makes the most sense…. and the most humane to all parties.”

Tell that “humane” stance to the Prado Road homeless!

“An easy solution can be overnight parking permits (for non occupied vehicles) provided to local renters and homeowners by city location”

Extra expense and time. How does one establish if said vehicle, even with the proper tag, is truly not occupied, especially if the homeowner is using their camper or van as a guest room for a friend? The law is the law!

It seems as though either a tough or soft stance has to be taken regarding the homeless. There is no middle ground.

danika

In the blink of an eye any one of us could fall victim to the necessity of living in our cars. There absolutely needs to be a program in effect to aid such situations. If litigation is needed to bring forth this program, I fully support it. I don’t believe in frivilous law suits and I have seen many come across my desk, but…this appears to have merit and I applaud those who came forward to help those who cannot help themselves.

Ted Slanders

danika,

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

Who is any Christian to usurp the direct word of Jesus in this respect? Not me!

danika

Not a popular statement, TS, but one I agree with. There is a difference between hand outs and hand ups, though.

Ted Slanders

dankia,

Your position of “hand ups”, is man-made. Jesus never specified in His many passages regarding the poor, that they had to be anything but poor to help them.

Of course what I bring forth biblically is NEVER popular to the pseudo-christian. This is because after reading it, they can’t follow it for a myriad of ungodly reasons of their own making! It comes with the territory. They will be sorted out upon Judgment Day.

cheseburger

parking plan that is slated to provide five spots for homeless to legally park, hey ted if you don’t get lucky enough to get one of those five spots, just shoot them all and let god sort them out?

Slowerfaster

Karen, sometimes..to those ‘down and out’ a hand out is the only the hand up available. A drowning person will grab at anything in direty.

I do appreciate your first post, and concur with Brother Ted. You agree more than you do not.

What most stratified and temporarily comfortable Americans don’t realize is that SO MANY fellow citizens are just THREE MONTHS away from insolvency and possible street or RV living.
2/3rds of all Americans are at or on the verge of this FACT. This transcends ALL demographic lines.

It is the ONE PER CENT Slaveholder, Bankster, Autocrats, versus the rest of us.

They live like gods and kings…the rest of us die, or live in neglect and poverty.
THAT is what the Republican party feeds the masses.

The Gimlet Eye

The Democratic party does, too. No real difference between them.

I agree with the rest of what you say, though. Well said. It’s a giant looting scheme, and we are historic witnesses to it, sad to say. Where will it all end?

cheseburger

WELL SPOKEN, WELL WRITTEN AND VERY , VERY, HONEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also the frickin truth!

WiseGuy

I’m glad to see this lawsuit moving forward. I, for one, would never wish to be denied the right to sleep in a car.

Some vehicles cost nearly as much as a house and, in our society, are often more necessary than a house. People sleep in their vehicles as a practical necessity. When we kick people out of their vehicles, we shift the problem to homeless shelters, jails, and hospitals, usually at a considerably higher cost to society.

cheseburger

Who ever clicked red on this, needs to spend some extra time in their car, parked, with no house to go home to.

bobfromsanluis

Interesting that so far the comments have nothing to say about the lawsuit, but instead focus on another part of the problem. I for one am glad that the attorneys are going forward with this suit just for the reason that the city should be in compliance with state laws concerning posting the required signage. It seems that the city of San Luis really shouldn’t be separated from the county in this issue since so much of the area surrounding the city is in county control and the homeless freely travel back and forth between the city and county lands. 80k a year to administer a lot with five parking spaces certainly seems to “overkill”; how about the city and county get together and hire Dan DuVaul to administer a “campground” on his property? Just one suggestion; others would be to use the vacant land next to the Prado Day Center. The proposal a while back of a large county run center incorporating most of the services needed into a single building had some merit, just seemed like it was the usual spending too much by a government agency; lower cost alternatives can be developed like what has happened in Santa Barbara, we just need the “leaders” to engage in a way that does not involve any sort of “cronyism”, nepotism or any appearance of not-quite-proper looking connections between those that run the thing and those who decide who it is that runs it.

Cindy

bob, You’re so right about these two benevolent “Attorneys Saro Rizzo and Stewart Jenkins”. I didn’t mean to dismiss the value of their contribution to the homeless when I brought attention to the 80K that Adam Hill was recommending we should all pay to his ‘love bunny’.

Thank you, Attorneys Saro Rizzo and Stewart Jenkins, you both bring honor to your profession.

whatdouno

Actually I did give them kudos, but will take another opportunity to do so. They moved all the jokes about “sharks” right out of my mind for this action. Need more people to follow their example, not by filing lawsuits necessarily, but by standing up against big bully government.

willieslo

What a racket, $80K annual salary to oversee 5 parking spots.

Attorneys Saro Rizzo and Stewart Jenkins are asking the court to pay financial damages and costs to the homeless.

It “pays good money” to be a bleeding heart do gooder and or homeless (smart among them to be one or the other)!

I imagine it will continue to perpetuate, grow, and “stay” in the future because it “pays”

Ted Slanders

willie,

Yes, the five parking spaces for $80,000 for six-months is quite preposterous, isn’t it? Adam Hill proposing this plan, and with his girlfriend just happening to be the head of the Prado Homeless Shelter, is quite the quinkydink! This has been discussed in a bad light in previous threads ad infinitum.

The financial damages is the return of their fines, or vehicles. The law is the law, and if signs had to be posted at certain time periods before this action against the homeless to be lawful, then are you against the city following the law? They want us to follow the laws, so they are held culpable to do the same!

willieslo

Sanders

I agree

cheseburger

Ted you got a green from me on that one and I usually, side with Homer!

Cindy

I find it interesting that a well known homeless advocate is requesting an $80,000 annual salary to implement and oversee the meager 5 parking spots allocated for the homeless over night parking pilot project. Better yet, Adan Hill say’s the council should just agree to pay it as its all too complicated to understand. Too complicated? Once Il understood that its his girlfriend who is requesting the 80K salary, I didn’t find it complicated at all.

Typoqueen

I haven’t been reading everything here so perhaps I missed this. Can you provide a link regarding this issue. You are saying that she requested $80,000 to over see the the 5 parking spaces? Was this in the Trib or on KSBY?

Slowerfaster

SLORIDER has attached a WORM to this.
Domestic terrorism.

Cindy

“Was this in the Trib or on KSBY?” LOL – LMAOROF – The Trib ???? More LOL

See SLORider’s link, Like I said, It happened at the CC meeting in SLO.

Thank You SLORider for looking that link up and providing it.

Typoqueen

Cindy, I won’t hold my breath waiting for you provide any evidence of your claim that she is getting paid $80K for over seeing 5 parking spaces,,,perhaps that’s why it wasn’t in the Trib or on KSBY???

Citizen

I can’t find the story, but it was in the Trib. It said that the pilot program would cost $80,000 for the 5 parking spaces for 6 months. The parking spaces are free so I am assuming that the $80,000 would cover “services” that the 5 homeless families are required to use, salaries of the people providing the services, and a portapotty for the parking lot. I don’t know what else you would need in the parking lot that cost money.

zaphod

insurance

danika

Nope. Permissive use is likely already covered in the Premise Liability coverage the church already has. There MIGHT be a specific exclusion in the policy verbage that speaks to the use of premise for living facility, but unlikely as it isn’t uncommon to have assigned living quarters on church premises. I have never seen such an exclusion for church liability. If not, there would be no additional insurance premium for this.

Typoqueen

According to Cindy one certain person is getting paid $80K so I guess that would be wrong. I know that it sounds expensive but after reading the link about this pilot program I can understand the expense a bit better. Of course everything is expensive, especially when the govt. is concerned but I’m glad that they are taking this on. There is more to it then just 5 parking spaces.

zaphod

it is right here on this website (notice under the article the list of related stories )http://calcoastnews.com/2012/03/slo-homeless-plan-facing-legal-battle/

MaryMalone

Oh, for heaven sakes. You aren’t informed and demand “evidence,” but then don’t like the “evidence” and so blame the person who was nice enough to do the search and provide you the info.

You haven’t heard about it? Go look it up yourself. That way you’ll get the uber-perfect “evidence” you need.

Typoqueen

I have all the information I need. SLORider provided a link and Citizen cleared it up by explaining that the entire program is going to cost $80K, that’s a huge difference between one person getting paid $80K and makes much more sense.

I understand that you hate evidence because it usually proves you and Cindy wrong and once again that’s just what the evidence as done. Sorry, I know that you two like to make wild accusations without anything to back them but most thinking people prefer facts over gossip. But don’t let it get you so upset Mary, I’m not saying that you need facts, your gossip is fine, the Enquirer makes a lot of money off of people like you. I have read about this, that is why I questioned the amount that Cindy was throwing out. You again are standing up for misinformation and are accepting that someone is being falsely accused and that their reputation is being smeared. You are getting your knickers in knot because your goal is to also hurt that person’s reputation no matter how false the accusations are. Typical.

Once again Cindy has been proven wrong so I’m sure that she will chose not to respond to my posts again :)

whatdouno

Thanks Cindy for discovering that bit of information. Unbelievable with the spot light on corruption that this type of nepotism is still going on. Hopefully the apathy bound people of the county will finally get mad as hell and insist on cleaning the political house. Good job by Rizzo and Jenkins. It’s time to fight for our rights people and it’s great to see attorneys being the ones to throw in their hats for our cause. Whether you are for or against this particular situation, I can only imagine you are for “your rights”.

Typoqueen

Discovering what information? Don’t fall into the sheeple mindset, don’t believe everything you hear. If Cindy said it then it must be true.

MaryMalone

Go find your own “evidence,” then. This game of demanding “evidence” the–by rejecting the source as not worthy of your consideration– insulting the person who took the time to provide you the info is a time-waster.

photocal

Another freeloader looking looking or a free ride at taxpayers expense. Will it ever end ?

Typoqueen

BAAA