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.”


Anybody have Kansen Chu address in San Jose? I’d like to do some camping this summer and need a place to stay.


He sounds like a good guy. He might bring you out some milk and cookies.


What a great piece of legislation! Now ALL of God’s children can share Paradise On Earth – not just the ones that own homes. All you charitable Christians and socially-minded Liberals who own homes in this county must be peeing your pants right now, with joy over the good fortune of your homeless, vehicle-dwelling brothers and sisters.


Keep in mind that this will affect the entire state more or less equally. It shouldn’t have a major impact on any specific area for that reason — ours or anyone else’s.


No more CAPSLO forcing the homeless to sign over their meager benefits for an assigned overnight parking program.

This would mean that Dan Duvaul could open a parking lot on his property for them or will the city decide how many cars can visit a property at one time? Likewise the churches could also give permission to the homeless to sleep in their lots. It’s beyond me how the city had any right to tell a church what they could do with their parking lots in the first place.


Remember, Dan is located in the County, not the City limits. But, it was former San Luis Obispo Councilwoman Christine Mulholland looking out her window in the high rent district of SLO that did not like what she saw and rallied the County to step up enforcement on Dan. Now he can just direct them to go park in front of her house!


Oh Ya, I remember that! I remember that Christine was a woman scorned. Dan broke it off with her and she retaliated. Nothing like being romantically rejected and finding a way to “Get that Man”! Despite who you hurt in the process. What a wonderful woman she is huh?


I haven’t heard that story before. Source?


From the state legislative counsel’s analysis, your future Gov Code Section 53004. It doesn’t “stop harassment”, much more, it completely legalizes sleeping in a legally parked vehicle. New Section GC 50034 says “The legislative body of a city, county, or city and county shall not prohibit or otherwise subject to civil or criminal penalties, or remove and impound a motor vehicle by reason of, the act of sleeping or resting in a lawfully parked motor vehicle.”

A complete toppling over of ALL local authority. Open season on curbside camping. This will make us homeowners ALL park on our driveways when cities extend 1am-4am parking bans in an attempt to address this latest legislative madcappery.


Either that or the city will have to do something that they should have done a long time ago. They can designate appropriate overnight parking areas with some public restrooms nearby.


(only hot in the summer)

Thank you Cindy. This is what needs to happen. People living in cars don’t bring bathrooms with them. A civilization can’t continue with people living with no facilities. What do the authors of this bill think is going to happen? No child should be living this way but it seems they are. It is time to seriously work on this terrible problem. I’m not convinced the government should do it but the non-profits have gotten too political and eat up too much money. Where are the solutions?


Right on – restrooms with showers and a security guard and a simple set of rules for safety, and you never know what might happen – you might see families and veterans and mentally ill people climbing out of their pit of despair.


SLO’s actions a year or two ago are typical of local authority abusing its authority. If local governments didn’t do dumb stuff like that, there would be no need for state interference and little support for it.

I am hoping this will also stop Ventura County from enforcing its “no sleeping” bans on the oceanside parking areas from Rincon to Ventura. I pulled into one late one night many years ago because I was too tired to continue driving. I woke up at sunrise a few hours later just in time to see a cop giving me an expensive ticket. (I avoid Ventura County businesses when I pass through as a result of their actions.)


The only reason SLO banned car sleeping was because the homeless had sensibly decided to sleep on deserted streets in dirty industrial portions of the city (not in neighborhoods generally), and the business elites got uptight about that, as they’re uptight about almost everything but making money. So this city council, which is bought and paid for by business elites, did what the elites wanted. Look at who was always down at council meetings complaining about the homeless, and you’ll see names of these elitists who live in gated communities out in the Edna Valley. What a sad place we live in.


In other words, “You can’t park IN our city, but you can’t park OUTSIDE of it either. Does that narrow things down for you?”

Rich in MB

They can come to Morro Bay….

On any given night there are 20 Cars with people sleeping in then on the public streets and parking lots. We all know where they are….and the Morro Bay police leave them alone simply because they are causing no harm and need a place to sleep.

You heartless bigots…let the Homeless sleep in their cars…how does it hurt you?


It’s quite an eyesore for us, meaning it really does hurt our eyes when we glance at those vehicles on our way to the spa or the dog park. Have you no concern for our eyes and the messages sent to our very sensitive brains? Please show some compassion.


Wow, look at that whopping lopsided “for” vote. Senate passage and Moonbeam’s signature appear likely. It is INSANE to obstruct local enforcement choice statewide on this issue, and it’s about to happen courtesy of an out of control whack job leftie Legislature majority. People generate refuse, and we’ll see more of it in the streets with a newly licensed “hands up, don’t pollute” homeless out of control health issue. This bill is WRONG.


Much of the refuse in our streets comes from those Fresnans and Bakersfieldians who all own homes in the Valley but are just slobs by nature. The only thing the homeless do is stink up our libraries and clog up the sinks in our public restrooms when they was their hair in there, which is why they need a designated place with restrooms/showers, like commenter Cindy said. Then, they get out of our hair, and we get their hair out of our sinks.

JB Bronson

California legalizes medical marijuana, doctors dispense medical marijuana prescriptions like candy thrown around at a parade, CAP-SLO starts banning shelter services to homeless people who use marijuana, and I’m supposed to believe CAP-SLO truly cares about the homeless as people?

Try, “CAP-SLO cares about the homeless because of the grant dollars they bring in” and I won’t argue with you.

Whatever is politically correct locally, that draws down grant money = CAP-SLO policy on the homeless.


Before bashing CAPSLO on this you ought to be better-informed. Their policy is not mandatory testing for everyone but mandatory testing for anyone they want to test before getting services from them. The overnight shelter has several families and other individuals using it that are “vulnerable.” This policy gives them a legal basis for removing troublemakers (almost always under the influence) to make the shelter safer for others staying there. If people can be under the influence without showing symptoms, they are unlikely to get tested.

By the way, CAPSLO has to scrape to get enough donations just to make ends meet for their homeless programs. If they were only interested in getting grant money, they would drop those programs and focus on other ones that provide a more reliable cash flow. They may not operate perfectly but they are trying to meet a need in the community as best they can.


“before giving services to them.”


No big deal. The poor people have to sleep somewhere. All the city has to do is pass an ordinance restricting where they can park and sleep. There’s more than enough room on Prado Rd.

Rich in MB

Out of sight…out of mind.

The Happiest Place on Earth can’t be bothered, why don’t they just ban being homeless like they have bad odors or Styrofoam? These people need help, not harassment.


The problem is a vast majority of them are homeless of their own accord and REFUSE to get the help they need for their addictions. Most “help” given these people just “enables” them…it doesn’t actually help them.

Rich in MB

Ya…and is choosing to be Homeless against the law?

So the Protections of the Constitution end if you Choose to be “homeless”?

No….no they don’t.


Wrong on several counts. There is no “vast majority” of any sub-type within the homeless “community”. There might be a slight majority that uses/abuses drugs if you consider alcohol a drug. Even there, many have other underlying problems (mental illnesses & chronic pain from injuries) that they self-medicate to treat.

Like a lot of other “problem groups” in society, people have a tendency to notice the biggest problems and assume that most of the “group” is like the ones they notice. This applies to illegal immigrants, gun owners, bicyclists, religious fundamentalists, etc. as well.

As for getting help — you are even farther off base. A small group fits your description but for most good help is unavailable — both because of cost and because of lack of options. Our society does not provide enough help (& I am not just talking $) to care for people with problems be they disabling injuries, mental illness or addictions. The question is whether that is because society simply doesn’t think caring is worth the cost or because too many people are unaware of how bad the situation is.


That is because most Americans that are privileged ( or think they are ) have adopted the attitude of

“What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy ?”, and they answer, “I don’t know, and I don’t care”.

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