Fix for homeless ticketing — maybe

August 3, 2012

Details of a tentative agreement regarding the ticketing of homeless persons caught sleeping in their vehicles in San Luis Obispo remains, for the time being, secret.

The reported agreement is an interim step toward settlement of a lawsuit filed on behalf of homeless persons who have been handed expensive citations while trying to a get a night’s sleep. Earlier this year, the city council voted in favor of a non-profit’s proposal for a parking program that officials from the non-profit said was dependent on the city escalating enforcement against homeless who did not support its program.

City officials’ intentions were short-circuited by San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Charles Candall, who issued a preliminary injunction in July prohibiting the city from taking such actions.

The city council then “overruled” Crandall, rewrote the ordinance and placed it in a health and safety code section in an attempt to continue to prohibit homeless from sleeping in their cars. Enforcement of the new ordinance is slated to begin on Aug. 9.

A settlement such as this, which has the approval of homeless alliance attorneys Saro Rizzo and Stew Jenkins, must first be approved by the City Council and then by the court.

“The length of the mediation between the city and the SLO Homeless Alliance was seven and a half hours, from 10 a.m., right through lunch, until 5:30 p.m.,” Jenkins said. “The city paid for five hours of mediator Scott Radovich’s time, but Mr. Radovich donated his time for the added 3.5 hours. He also donated his own time in what I would estimate would have been a full day of preparation. On behalf of the members of the SLO Homeless Alliance I want to publicly express their gratitude for the contribution of time and attention made by Mr. Radovich to mediating the issues.”

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OMG, worked through lunch? The taxpayers should consider themselves honored for such a sacrifice. Jenkins and Rizzo will walk away with some serious cash and the problem remains.

Hopefully this will be a good resolution for all involved. There are still civil folks around who can sit down and discuss the problem and work for a solution. A little give and take for everyone. If this is resolved without all the hoopla then I say let them go back to DeVaul and everyone still complaining until a better solution is found. Kudos to Rizzo and Jenkins for hanging in there and looking out for the poor and disadvantage. Good job everyone!