Judge orders SLO police to stop ticketing homeless

July 4, 2012

Stewart Jenkins serving the police department

By KAREN VELIE

A San Luis Obispo County Superior Court judge granted a preliminary injunction barring police from ticketing homeless who sleep in their vehicles, in a ruling on Tuesday.

In April, attorneys Saro Rizzo and Stew Jenkins filed a lawsuit accusing the city of San Luis Obispo and the chief of police of discrimination, harassment and the criminalization of homeless people. In addition, Rizzo and Jenkins noted the ordinance the city was utilizing  to ticket people for sleeping in their vehicles refers to private property and not public streets.

In May, Judge Charles Crandall took the motions under submission, ordered a settlement conference, and urged the city to voluntarily refrain from issuing citations while the issue was under discussion.

The city, however, ignored the request and instead ramped up its late night raids.

At the June settlement conference, Rizzo and Jenkins offered three different options to resolve the matter. City Attorney Christine Dietrick, who said in March that the city would beat any challenges to its ticketing program, proposed no solutions and did not appear to have the ability to enter into a resolution, Jenkins said.

In February, while homeless services coordinator Dee Torres was promoting a safe parking program for those who agree to her management terms, the city changed from directing the homeless to sleep in their vehicles on Prado Road to making it a criminal offense, Crandall said in his ruling.

“In addition to using an enforcement strategy that appears to be singling out poor and homeless people for harsher treatment, the court is very uneasy with the specific manner in which the police have apparently been enforcing Standard 015 and issuing criminal citations,” Crandall said.

“These methods include but are not limited to, the use of late-night police forays needlessly utilizing flashing lights, blaring horns, intimidation, threats and other scare tactics,” Crandall added. “These methods are apparently designed not only to force legal compliance, but to also intimidate plaintiffs into leaving the city altogether.”

In March, amid complaints that the ticketing of the homeless was unconstitutional, the city council voted to approve the CAPSLO pilot parking program. The program allows five cars to park overnight in the Prado Day Center parking lot without being ticketed for having homeless sleeping inside.

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill, a proponent of the more aggressive ticketing, asked the council not to heed public comments by members of the public who opposed Torres’ proposal because the issue of homelessness is too complicated for most lay people to understand.

The handful of homeless permitted to utilize the parking program are required to sign over 70 percent of their income to homeless services to be used in securing housing. In addition, homeless services then charges the client $12.50 in administration fees.

For example, a homeless man on general assistance, $315 per month, would be left with $82.

On June 22, the city launched the parking program filling all five spots. However, two of those utilizing the parking program have already dropped out because of the cost.

Kimberly Frey-Griffen, 43, served in Desert Storm and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. For the past 10 months, she has been homeless. She decided to participate in the safe parking program, but has already dropped out.  Frey-Griffen said she is unable to maintain her vehicle and cover her living expenses with the monies left over after doling out 70 percent to homeless services.

“The 70 percent is a little too high,”  Frey-Griffen said. “You have to give us something to live on. Dee Torres said there would be a sliding scale, but that is not true.”

“Homelessness is not a criminal offense, however, you get the feeling that you are,” Frey-Griffen said. “I am very happy about this ruling.”


Loading...
cch

I find it disgusting that the City of San Luis Obispo takes pride in kicking people when they’re down.


leatherpink

Kicking them down when they choose that life style, not all of them but sevral of them. They can get out of it if they try.


bobfromsanluis

It is pretty interesting to see the “law and order” crowd go on and on about how “corrupt” and intolerant our police force is; do you really believe that the officer on the street makes a determination about who and when to cite for violating the city ordinance without first receiving instructions from their superiors? The enforcement was “top down” delegation; the city council (on the advice of the city attorney) issued the ordinance and instructed the chief of police to enforce it, the chief informs the captains and lieutenants who then instruct the sergeants and regular uniformed officers exactly how they are to enforce this flawed ordinance. Stop blaming the patrol officer for doing the job they were instructed to do; if you want to “go after” anyone, it should be the city council members and especially the city attorney.


SLOBIRD

Isn’t she the one that just got that big raise because she was so competent??? You know, it just starts at the top with Marx (the Mayor), Katie (the administrator), and Christine (the attorney). Boy, if this is the best the City of SLO has got to offer, no wonder they have so many issues. Can’t wait to see how that sales tax initiative is going to work out for them next year. The City and Cuesta College were both smart enough to not go for it this year since ole’ Jerry Brown wants his first. You know, if the people in this community had jobs and were working they would be buying and the tax revenue would be generated. Don’t you people understand, you must reform because we have no more to give you. Just look at the new tax dollars SLO has generated in the last 10 years (Costco plus the gas station, Old Navy, Home Depot, Petco,Bev Mo, Best Buy, Target, Olive Garden, etc… It is just never enough as they continue to reward employees and spend, spend, spend,,,( one of the highest group of police officers in California, cute!). Enjoy and spend wisely what you have!


BeenThereDoneThat

This is nothing new. San Luis likes to pat themselves on the back of their tolerance, etc. so they can be the happiest place in the U.S. just as long as you aren’t poor. Has anyone ever noticed that the majority of section 8 housing, low income housing and self help housing all takes place in the north county? Some in SLO are just hypocrits!!!


rogerfreberg

There’s a very simple solution … free parking in the high school’s huge lot.


Ted Slanders

Roger,


Wrong again! For Christians to start following their own doctrine of what Jesus preached, parking in ALL of the Christain church parking lots! Get it? Probably not.


isoslo

so you want government to dictate rules for private property? Next they will say all homeowners must take in a minimum of 1.135 homeless people.


Slowerfaster

Brother Ted…yes, but do not limit it to just the ‘Christian’ edifices and parking lots, but all institutions that get a free ride on property taxes. There are plenty of other denominations that are skating, too

Hospitals and schools provide a service to many in the public already, so perhaps only the overflow parking areas for sporting events when not in use should be considered.


Oh, the people that own these RV’s pay atate vehicle fees, and they pay road use taxes every time they fill up…so they are paying their way to drive and to park on thouroughfares. The city collects their share of these collective funds.

So basically, the enforcement agencies doing these middle of the night crackdowns on law-abiding people are being paid by the people they are harrassing.


isoslo

No, but close. Take a chunk of land out next to CMC or county jail and create a homeless parking program. Provides them a place to sleep away from town. The trick is how to do it so they don’t establish permanant residence and the government doesn’t make it another black hole for spending, demanding a $200,000 per year overseer and a dpartment of twenty providing medical, dental, hygien, education,food and trailer repairs for free


SLOBIRD

Covered parking at that. Anyone see that new project? How much did that solar system cost the school district, and why in Morro Bay. How many days a year do they have sun? School district must have lot of extra money somewhere! NO NEW TAXES!!!!!!


The Gimlet Eye

So….the police state backs off a little. That’s good.


But there is so much work to do:


Police Attempt To Raid Garage Sale, Get Kicked To Curb


Fourth Amendment violation caught on tape


http://www.infowars.com/police-attempt-to-raid-garage-sale-get-kicked-to-curb/


leatherpink

It’s called Dependence Day for the homeless. Here’s comes more free social programs for people that choose not to work and live on handouts and on social checks and food stamps. Now that a crooked judge granted a civil injunction case from a shameful lawyer named Steward Jenkins will soon find out when clients are no longer going to be using his services for defending a homeless problem that is heavy impacted by the homeless abusing San Luis Obispo.

Very simple, the homeless come here to collect and they come here to take advantage of our town. If they’re out of work then volunteer then and get work experience to convince employers to hire you but these homeless people sit in their trailers all day, drinking beer, smoking cancer cigarettes and growing their pot, dumping their sewage after hours in commercial areas, and they steal electricity & water from businesses afterhours and etc, as they are doing nothing but destroying our town because they got a one way tickets from somewhere else to leave where else they created a disturbance and brought it here with them, now they live here. As sad as it is, it is not the residence fault when they complain about the homeless people living in their vehicles. The homeless have every window of opportunity to change their lives around and by a percentage, 1 out of 10 will find work but the rest of them are unwilling to do anything but beg and create problems.

The San Luis Police Department responded to numerous complaints from business owners of crime on their properties and loss of business and the residents are sick of seeing these homeless draining our tax dollars to pay for their pity. There is plenty of work available but they simply refuse to work, stop drinking, stop smoking, these people rather live dependent on social taxpayers and vote for politicians like Obama, Lois Capps, Boxer, Feinstein and etc to get free money. Many just refuse to try and they complain they are not accepted, is purely hogwash.

All the streets of Hind lane, Prado road, Granada road, Exposition st, Industrial, Sacramento lane, Zaca lane, Long street, Short Street, Buckley road, Calle Joaquin lane, lower Higuera and the list of private properties you park on without permission waiting to drink afterhours and dump your trailer sewage down city sidewalks is downright despicable.

Anybody who blames the police doesn’t know they are responding to the complaints through dispatch and letters of complaints.

As long as you sleep in your motorhomes, vans, cars, trailer and sleeping in bridges and building, you will be reported on. I have a list of all the vehicle license plates on those how live here and break the law daily. The ordinance will be overturned as many San Luis Obispo residences will donate money to help the city overturn the ordiance. It is a disgrace we have this problem and now they sleep in their vehicles creating more problems because of lawyer Steward Jenkins. Shame on you!


Sojourner of Truth

There are sure a lot of hateful people out there. This can happen to anyone. Thank goodness we have some decent judges in this County.


Downtown Bob

I think that we all should have to turn over 70% of our income to the Government then they can dole it out to us as they see fit. They know so much better than most anyways how we should use “our” money. Perfect progressive agenda, and it is only right. If it just saves one child it will be worth it all!


BeenThereDoneThat

Careful what you joke about Bob. We are heading that way. Lets not forget that tax freedom day this year was April 17th. Not taxes due, tax freedome day.


http://taxes.about.com/b/2012/04/24/tax-freedom-day-2012.htm


BeenThereDoneThat

I’m shocked how many people enjoy paying taxes.


cheseburger

“The handful of homeless permitted to utilize the parking program are required to sign over 70 percent of their income to homeless services to be used in securing housing. In addition, homeless services then charges the client $12.50 in administration fees.”


“For example, a homeless man on basic assistance, $315 per month, would be left with $82.”


70% WTF My god these people are insane, must of gone to the same finance school that Gearhart did!


cheseburger

“The city, however, ignored the request and instead ramped up its late night raids.”


WOW unbelivable, even after the judge told them to back off, maybe a stiff lawsuit for millions just might get more compassion out those hired to protect and serve.


doggin

Yes….there’s no place like home. Another move of graciousness from the self righteous self dealing pricks who pose as servants to the public.