Bill prohibits retaliation against homeless sleeping in cars

June 2, 2015

Cartoon Homeless HomesA bill that would protect homeless people sleeping in their cars from harassment, removal from their vehicles and civil and criminal penalties in California made a key step forward on Monday.

Assembly Bill 718, authored by Democratic Assemblyman Kansen Chu of San Jose, advanced to the Senate with a 54-12 vote. Because the bill addresses the health and safety of homeless individuals, the legislature determined the measure would also apply to charter cities such as San Luis Obispo.

In 2012, attorneys Saro Rizzo and Stew Jenkins filed a lawsuit accusing the city of San Luis Obispo and its chief of police of discrimination, harassment and the criminalization of homeless people because of its raids and ticketing of homeless caught sleeping in their cars.

Following a decision by a superior court judge that the city’s treatment of the homeless was unconstitutional, the San Luis Obispo City Council agreed to dismiss all tickets given that year to homeless residents for sleeping in their vehicles.

City Attorney Christine Dietrick responded by recommending the council adopt an ordinance under the health, safety and welfare section of the city’s municipal code, which would specifically allow police to immediately restart its program of ticketing sleeping homeless.

In addition, the police department created a task force to focus on the homeless and began raiding homeless encampments. Shortly afterwards, a local homeless agency tasked with providing food and shelter began barring homeless people with substance abuse problems.

“It is gratifying to see the Assembly so clearly say that poor people sleeping in a vehicle, often the only shelter that they have left for themselves and their children, are not committing a criminal act,” Jenkins said. “Poverty is not solved by making it a crime to be poor. Poverty is solved by cities and counties that spur local job creation, economic growth and the development of housing affordable for folks at the lower and middle rungs of the economic ladder, instead of just for those on the higher economic steps.”



  1. Jorge Estrada says:

    I hope that law enforcement can still ask for their driver’s license and proof or registration. This would be a check to keep the homeless from sleeping in vehicles that they have no right to sleep in, your unlocked car, truck or motorhome.

    (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down
  2. slophocles says:

    Elephant in the room: Can we please stop conceiving, and shooting little humans into this world for five minutes?

    (2) 16 Total Votes - 9 up - 7 down
  3. CentralcoastRN says:

    This is an article about what we all know or suspect. This article says 62% have no savings.
    This means that over half of Americans are not prepared for the unexpected job loss, medical bill, unexpected repair, health crisis. Even a large enough pay cut could potentially have families, the elderly on the street.

    I am in agreement with much of what people are saying. Designated some parking near bathrooms, laundry facilities, showers. It would provide the ability for case managers to more easily work with the homeless. It would provide a place for people to clean up, get rest, set up SOME SORT of makeshift life. If people are using drugs, being disruptive, then they get hauled off to jail, and their vehicle is in the lot, not on the street taking up the limited SLO city parking.

    If there is designated parking for people in their cars, then there is NO excuse for the homeless to not stay in the lot.

    I remember someone talking on Calcoastnews about trying to refurbish donated RVs, trailers, etc to use to help house the homeless. That might provide a space to park these “donated” mobile homes while those actually working on a plan toward self sufficiency or those unable to work and waiting for housing to stay safely.

    There is a comfort in laying down at night and knowing you are safe. Safety is basic.

    (17) 25 Total Votes - 21 up - 4 down
  4. ironyman2000 says:

    Stew’s attitude is both practical and humane. Better sleeping in their cars than on the

    (9) 27 Total Votes - 18 up - 9 down
    • Keith says:

      How could three people disagree with this?! They would rather have them sleep under a bridge? Why is it a bigger problem in the richest country in the world than in developed countries?

      (4) 14 Total Votes - 9 up - 5 down
      • slophocles says:

        Let it go, Keith. I once got a dislike for saying something nice about cormorants.

        (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down
        • Keith says:

          Yeah. Regressives usually say it is natural for species to die off. Like the Refugio oil spill.

          (-2) 14 Total Votes - 6 up - 8 down
      • Cindy says:

        Keith, The answer to your question is this:

        There are a couple of people who are hateful towards any post that is contributed on the sites threads. They go down the line and give every post a thumbs down. That is a fact. I have been on line here more than once in the past and suddenly, every post has a thumbs down, no matter what the topic is or the opinion of the contributor.

        (-3) 11 Total Votes - 4 up - 7 down
        • euroamerican says:

          Cindy….”Don’t we always seem to know that we don’t know what we have, until Paradise put up a parking lot”………

          (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
  5. Rambunctious says:

    There are more homeless people everywhere…it’s sad. My fellow Americans we are not recovering from a recession we are knee deep in a financial depression. If we were to peal back the layers of government aid and support our streets would be filled with out of work out of luck people and church soup lines just like in the 30’s during the great depression. It’s getting worse everyday. If we had a truly free and honest news media we would know this.

    (21) 25 Total Votes - 23 up - 2 down
    • Slowerfaster says:

      Just imagine if there were no Social Security. People would be dying in the streets even more so than is happening today.

      Face it …unless one is of the 1% or part of their ‘praetorian guard’, capitalism sucks !

      (-9) 27 Total Votes - 9 up - 18 down
      • OnTheOtherHand says:

        You blame this entirely on capitalism? Certainly capitalism can contribute but the problem ultimately goes to the consciences of the citizens of the country. By the way, we no longer have a truly capitalist society — it is now a corporate socialist state. I would agree that came about partly as a result of unrestrained capitalism but it could have evolved from unrestrained socialism too as it has done in China.

        Political ideologies all have flaws. A system to restrain them and prevent abuses is needed no matter which ideology you choose. Such a system is messy and imperfect by nature but it is better than trusting self-proclaimed leaders to act in your best interests on a consistent basis.

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

          Can you tell me a “truly capitalist society”? Somalia maybe—I don’t know much about that one. All the countries with better standard of living than us have more socialism. Thank goodness we have Social Security, Medicare, public schools, police, fire depts, roads, parks, libraries, etc. Many conservatives would like to do away with much of that.
          If you want to go back to the 1920’s, the majority of Americans were below the poverty line then.

          (-2) 12 Total Votes - 5 up - 7 down
          • Slowerfaster says:

            The reactionaries …the moneterrorists that post here would have us go back to the 1420’s, or earlier.

            (-4) 14 Total Votes - 5 up - 9 down
            • Keith says:

              Part of my family tree is Native American so they would like the 1420’s. Certainly not the European side.
              BTW, many white children taken and raised by the injuns said they much preferred the equality of the injuns.

              (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
          • slophocles says:

            There’s no such thing and never has been, but don’t tell Conservatives. They like ideals, dogmas – delusional panaceas to worship and believe in order to justify all the suffering go on around them. Liberals are only slightly better.

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

          I think you agree with me more than you publicly admit.
          You say that America is now a ‘corporate socialist state’, not capitalist. YES ! The ‘corporates’ use and abuse socialism for their own benefit, and profit. They are the cheaters and bleeders and organized crooks that employ money, power, influence, and corruption to drain the rest of civilization from all the goods, money and commons they can exploit and extract.
          The people that operate this way are known as fascists.

          China is NOT an unrestrained socialistic nation, but an authoritarian dictatorship.

          As for a political construct, I would suggest a democratic republic, and not an oligarchic empire that we now live in.

          Check out Bernie Sanders for president. See what you think of his ideas.
          That’s the way the USA must go if it wants to survive.

          (1) 11 Total Votes - 6 up - 5 down
        • Slowerfaster says:


          In response to OTOH’s first two sentences. ^^^

          (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
          • OnTheOtherHand says:

            Interesting article — it should be read and considered by most conservative religious people but I don’t think it would phase those who profit most from the existing system. They are inherently sociopathic and often short-sightedly so. They don’t care. “Greed is good.”

            For myself, I don’t so much disagree with your critiques of the flaws of capitalism as I disagree with your faith is socialism. It has numerous flaws too including the one most often criticized by Capitalists and Libertarians — “Not rewarding productive behavior proportionately results in divisiveness and bitterness by those who work hard and well. It eventually results in a refusal to produce in ways that benefit society if significant portions of the rewards are distributed to the unmotivated leaches.” (My paraphrase.)

            I think that any philosophical system needs restraints and that most have some good ideas that can be incorporated into society. Blending ideologies can be messy but is probably the best solution for maintaining a civil society — especially when the society is not particularly homogenous.

            (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
      • CentralcoastRN says:

        There won’t be social security in another 20 years. We better have a plan, because my generation isn’t saving with the economy in the toilet and paying sky high taxes/fees on everything. We pay in to social security, and it will be GONE. I recently got my “birthday statement”. When I am eligible for social security in another 20 ish years, the SSA can “only” pay 77% of my “promised amount”. We all know how AWESOME the government is at counting $$$ right? So, if they are telling Gen X’ers you won’t be fully funding NOW, imagine another 25 years from now when the SS fund has been even MORE drained.

        Yeah, we are going to need a LOT more parking lots. Living in a van down by the river isn’t even an option, when CA is out of water!!!

        (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
        • Keith says:

          If we “re-tweak” SS, it will pay out 100% in twenty-forty years. That’s what we did under Reagan. It would mean that the rich do not get such a huge break in SS taxes after they reach a certain income. What’s wrong with that? Overall, Americans are paying less in taxes now than they have in many decades. We were doing fine under Eisenhower when the tax on income over 100k was 95% (on the portion over 100k). Corporations paid a much bigger share of the tax burden then, too.
          First, we would have to stop voting for which politicians the largest corporations want (95% of Republicans).

          (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
          • Slowerfaster says:

            Republicans are either greedy crooks, criminals, and liars; or they are stupid SUCKERS.
            They’re no damn good. The idiots among them are worse than useless;, and the nihilist totalitarians of their ‘leaders’ would kill their own grandparents or children for a nickel.

            (-5) 15 Total Votes - 5 up - 10 down
        • slophocles says:

          My retirement plan is to save up for the best Coleman tent I can find.

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

            Yeah slophocles, but where, oh WHERE shall you pitch that tent? No one wants homeless people camped out anywhere. Forget the beach. The old folks that ripped up trees on the mesa and now are unhappy with the sand blowing will probably mess around and get camping on the beach banned too.

            (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
      • Rambunctious says:

        The 1% is too small to be able to do anything and the middle is tapped out my friend….spreading the wealth only works when you have wealth to spread.

        (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
        • Keith says:

          You are leaving out fantastically wealthy corporations like Big OIL (Exxon pays nothing and takes subsidies from the taxpayers) and Wall Street. About 60% of corporations pay no income tax, whatsoever.
          Also, we don’t need to give the military $1Trillion every year (all things considered such as VA, disability, and retirement, CIA, NSA, satellites, nukes, Homeland Security, etc.). Simply not invading Iraq would have saved us $ 3 Trillion and counting.

          (-5) 13 Total Votes - 4 up - 9 down
        • Slowerfaster says:

          “The 1% is too small to do anything …”

          Brother, you are delusional !

          (-3) 15 Total Votes - 6 up - 9 down
          • Rambunctious says:

            Are you prepared to argue that more money sits in the hands of the 1% over the massive middle class? because if you are I can prove you wrong with two mouse clicks…No tax increase of the small 1% is going to add up to a hill of beans. That is why the government tax and spenders will always go after the massive middle with tax and regulatory fees. Stop the hate! I hear anger and envy from you not logic and reason.

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

              Apart from the obvious fact that both of you are only talking about people and not fantastically wealthy corporations who pay absolutely no income taxes, whatsoever, and receive massive federal subsides
              ——————–ONE-TENTH OF ONE PER CENT of Americans have wealth equal to the wealth of the bottom NINETY PER CENT!

              In 1999, Bill Gates (one person) had wealth equal to the bottom HALF of the American people!

              These are facts.

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

                show me one corporation that pays no taxes…

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

                  Didn’t I say income taxes? Didn’t I say Exxon (the most profitable corp in the history of the world)?

                  The following is at:

                  “Two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005, according to a new report from Congress.

                  The study by the Government Accountability Office, expected to be released Tuesday, (also) said about 68 percent of foreign companies doing business in the U.S. avoided corporate taxes over the same period.

                  Collectively, the companies reported TRILLIONS of dollars in sales, according to GAO’s estimate.”

                  (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
                • zaphod says:

                  the man who tells the truth is chased from 9 villages

                  (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
        • Keith says:

          “Over the past three decades, the share of household wealth owned by the top 0.1% has increased from 7% to 22%. For the bottom 90% of families, a combination of rising debt, the collapse of the value of their assets during the financial crisis, and stagnant real wages have led to the erosion of wealth.
          The share of wealth owned by the top 0.1% is almost the same as the bottom 90%.” Source: THE GUARDIAN

          (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
  6. Slowerfaster says:

    The FACT that homelessness is now of undeniable endemic proportions is a national disgrace and societal failure.

    We are seeing the cancer stage of laissez faire capitalism, and most poor suckers don’t realize how close, and how soon, so many of them will join the masses of the dispossessed.

    (-1) 27 Total Votes - 13 up - 14 down
    • DonDiego says:

      You really need to move out of your mother’s basement. The problem is over regulation and high taxes! Small business is being taxed and regulated out of existence. Why? So the government can offer B.S. services. Well, we don’t need services. We need good businesses that offer good jobs. Politicians have convinced a large portion of the United States that we need to raise taxes. Really? That is not what this country was founded on. It is every American’s duty to pay the least amount of taxes possible, work hard and provide for themselves and their families without help from the government. In fact, it used to be shameful to receive government assistance. Now people flaunt it like a badge of honor. Don’t believe me? Go to the super market and watch the arrogance when someone breaks out the food stamps! I am willing to bet that the majority of homeless people living in their vehicles just want to get back on their feet and back to work earning an income. But no, we have groups like CAPSLO that latch on to what little money their able to get and squander it for their own twisted agenda. Leave them alone and get them a job!!!

      (6) 16 Total Votes - 11 up - 5 down
  7. shelworth says:

    Ask the homeowners in Venice Ca how much they like their similar law after they clean up all the human excrement out of their yards. Someone should pass out maps to the legislators home for the homeless to use, hey park here!

    (6) 12 Total Votes - 9 up - 3 down

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