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.”


Another democrat in Sacramento looking to handout freebies to people who don’t like to work in trailer living lifestyles, they came to San Luis Obispo for sunshine across the country thanks to Oprah Winfrey and friendly police officers in their nice attractive 1960 trailers. You name it, park anywhere stay anywhere 365 days a year with the no need to look for a job but complain. Yes, they lay out by the bathrooms at Laguna Park everyday having a beer with cigarettes till 8pm, then they stroll through secret spots through town such as commercial districts or right on country and city border, playing the game of sleeping in your vehicle each night like no tomorrow. Same time, same place they all go to the spots, Food4less, Madonna Plaza, downtown, Laguna & Madonna Park anywhere there is bathrooms and places to beg.

When you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, they all walk, talk, have two hands, two feet, walk and crew gum at the same time, they can work like anybody else but they just don’t want to bother, that’s the maddening thing. Sadly, these are Americans, when did I ever see an immigrant or an illegal immigrant homeless, never. While I’m against illegal immigrants living here but they work like no tomorrow, they just collect social benefits than the homeless living in their trailers. While I may not know all their past or current circumstances but how long do they need to hit the work application papers again to figure living in a trailer till its time to get a job again? You know, I haven’t had a vacation since November 2010 and that was only week, in fact I’ve only had 7 weeks total vacation in ten years, I’m self employed, I’ve got clients, I work holidays and all but yes I make over $100k a year and that’s my choice, I work and I have no intention to retire either but when I drive and see these homeless people, hanging around daily doing nothing, what are they doing? nothing. It’s maddening because they’re getting something for nothing.

There’s a couple in town that are homeless that drive a 1990’s 4 door Honda Civic with a white cargo storage case on top of their car ceiling. They spend their days ever single day in “Home Buffet” at Madonna Plaza, the eat there and spend their whole day in the restaurant 7 days a week from 8am to 9pm, they live in a small car, they walk as far as to the bathroom to McDonalds after hours to their car and to the car to Home Buffet, they’re so unhealthy and their car is so trashy but they’re spending their money to Home Buffet daily when they could have their own place and money a side. They’ve been eatting and living like this for the past 5 years and the restaurant isn’t one bit concerned for their health of being overweight but it doesn’t add up with these homeless and what they’re doing. Can you imagine spending 12 hours a day in restaurant table every day and using their bathroom as a shower? Hello, people eat there.

So you have a democrat in Sacramento pushing to let them live anywhere as long as they want. I wonder if attorney Saro Rizzo would like if homeless trailers were parked in front of his family restaurant Cafe Roma business by the train station in San Luis 7 days a week, morning and night? Do you think he would be forgiving?

My question us, what’s next in Sacramento, we have a governor that will sign anything into law and the impact our state is having after electing this governor has put on us.


My that sounds like a wonderful life you are describing — why don’t you take it up for yourself rather than be all jealous of them? You can use the money you save to travel to other places and enjoy the same experience there too.


I’m sure you have some good points but I don’t like reading anything that looks like it might be over two- or three-hundred words, and neither should you.


Did many millions of Americans all of a sudden get extremely lazy in October 1929? I know someone in SLO who was working hard for $6 per hour (absolutely no benefits) in about 2003. His rent then was $800 a month for a poor one-bedroom. Do the math. He could not have any healthcare at all because that would have been $1000 per month. Only in America. French people think I am crazy when I tell this story.

Why are jobs always better under Dems and always worse under Repubs? I know that job creation is not good under Obama, but it was about zero the eight years of Dubya. Under Clinton 22 million jobs were created and we had a budget surplus and we did not invade Iraq and we did not have a major terrorist attack and we did not have a major city destroyed.


Even the European ‘conservatives’ in France, Germany, all of the developed countries, think the US is crazy for not having minimum living standards and wages, or comprehensive health care. ( The ‘right-wing’ in Europe is basically anti-immigrant for the most part ).

They think America is nuts, and almost universally consider most Americans to be dolts with their heads up their rumps …and they’re correct.


While I am not a big fan of the GOP or the Bush administration, our economic state has little to do with partisan politics. More importantly, many policies made by one administration and/or Congress have long-delayed consequences and may even be beneficial in the short-run while causing serious long-term difficulties. And then there are economic cycles and sometimes just plain lucky timing. Your Democrat-Republican comparison is too simplistic and doesn’t apply further back (see the economy under Carter vs. Reagan).

The Clinton boom years were an example of lucky timing (the rise of the internet) and short-term benefits from long-term bad policies (trade agreements). The big economic bust late in the Bush administration was due at least as much to the repeal of the Glass-Steagle Act (a lesson from the Great Depression) as it was to Bush’s policies of regulatory restraint. That repeal was passed by a GOP congress and signed by Clinton.

Bush may have responded poorly to 911 but the attack itself was likely unavoidable given the circumstances at that time. The attack was not his fault even if the wasteful entry into Iraq was.

Obama inherited an economic disaster 9+ years in the making and has been blamed for not making enough progress in reversing it during his 6+ years in office. Some of that blame is justified but much is just partisan BS.


Everybody talks about how bad the economy was under Carter and how great it was under RR, but they don’t know the details—-they are just repeating what so many others have said. Wages, job, creation, and unemployment were better under Carter. And they were also better than Ford’s. In 1978 I very easily found a job that paid $24k and full benefits. At the end of Carter, the total 200-year

deficit totaled $0.9 Trillion. Twelve years later, after RR & GHWB, it was $4.1 Trillion. During Carter, the US was always #1 in standard of living and the world’s top creditor nation. About 3 years of RR and we became the world’s worst debtor nation. By end of GHWB, we were 16th in standard of living. OPEC tremendously raising the price of oil was not really under the president’s control.


The word ‘homeless’ is too broad to do any good. We need a legal definition for homeless, or another way to be specific.

Don’t kid yourself, though, SLO is attracting ‘homeless’ from all over the country.

What do you do when there are no more parking places for people to ‘camp’ in their RV? As one example..


When they sleep in their cars, where do they go to the bathroom? On the sidewalk? Is that healthy?


That is an issue, but it is a separate issue entirely. There are plenty of ordinances against undesirable behaviors like littering and public urination.


How come it wasn’t an issue when I complained out them using my property for their bathroom needs…..

Rich in MB

Whats so hard to figure out? They USD public bathrooms…


Maybe during the day, but once they are settled into their autos for the night they aint looking for any public restrooms…


In a bag, which they will leave on your curb.


Your upper-class, more refined Homeless Americans will use a receptacle of some kind, such as a plastic Dollar Tree pitcher with a tight-fitting lid – that’s for number one. For number two, you get on a regular diet of Taco Bell and Cliff Bars then do your business in the morning, in the Safeway crapper, with ten other homeless knocking at the door. Swish a little bleach solution around in your pee-jar before going to bed and you’re all set for a relaxing night of not having to get up and walk to the bathroom. There are advantages.


Capslo and the city of San Luis Obispo should adopt Santa Barbara’s Safe RV Parking Program:


They would likely adopt it if it meant scamming even more tax-payer dollars under the false auspices of non-profit status. If they can get money out of it, they’ll do it!


They would only do it as long as those taking part in it still signed over their assistance money to CAPSLO.

Stew Jenkins

It is gratifying to see the California 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. Assembly Bill 718, which passed the State Assembly yesterday (June 1, 2015) will effectively repeal each and every ordinance adopted by cities, and by counties, that criminalize sleeping in a legally parked vehicle. Hopefully the California Senate will pass it quickly to Governor Brown’s desk for signature. It will apply to misdemeanor ordinances (like the one enjoined by the Superior Court in SLO Homeless Alliance v. City of San Luis Obispo), as well as ordinances making sleeping or resting an infraction or a civil parking ticket.

This kind of Legislative solution is far superior to requiring Courts to remedy the mistreatment of the poor by local city councils and boards of supervisors. 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).

Rich in MB

Amen Stew.

Some would rather send these poor folks to the gas chambers, or worse Bakersfield, rather than let them sleep peaceably on the PUBIC street!

I have no problem with letting someone sleep legally in their Car or camper on a public street….it’s the least we should do for them in the Obama economy.


As long as their car isn’t parked in front of my home…


Capslo’s just incompetent.


Being homeless is not a crime. If we cannot be compassionate toward those who are less fortunate then ourselves then what kind of human beings are we? We have had a homeless family live in our home for 8 months when her 10 year old daughter was recuperating from major surgery. Prior to that they lived in their car, took sink baths in park bathrooms and heated pre-made frozen dinners purchased at the dollar store on the dashboard of their car on sunny days. They hung out at the library until closing time when it was very hot, cold or rainy. I f anyone, business owner, politician, homeowner, thinks this is criminal behavior and these people should be punished, ticketed, fined or harassed, my hope is you will take a serious look at what is in your heart and where your priorities lie. When anyone puts $$$$ before compassion for people, it is truly sad.

Ted Slanders


Subsequent to reading your godly post, my true Christian eye of the mind saw Jesus telling me that you will be remembered with great pride upon Judgment Day!

Jesus also told that you should provide parking areas for the homeless right outside of your domicile, and to feed them as well until they can get back on their feet. Lilylu, we know what Jesus thought of hypocrites, don’t we? Therefore, subsequent to you providing said parking and food, advertise this event with flyers around town. Let your fellow Christians know if you need any help in following the bible.

“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” ( Luke 14:13-14)

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Proverbs 19:17)


Dear Mr. Slanders,

Would you like to come to dinner at my home on Sunday the14th? (I am a good cook.) I would love to meet you as I do people from all walks of life and with different perspectives. I am however, a cautious person when it comes to the safety of my family so I would like to meet you in a public place first. How about this Thursday or Friday at a Starbucks in the North County? If I deem that you are not the type of person who would physically hurt my family then dinner on the 14th?

Ted Slanders


Obvioulsy you’ll be serving “red herrings” of which I am opposed too in every way.

You’ve just shown us another dodge by a pseudo-christian because the bible got in your way. Jesus is not smiling.


Dear Mr. Slanders,

This is a genuine invitation and I would love to meet you. I will even buy you the beverage of your choice. I guess your reply means no? You would not like to come to dinner? Or meet me at Starbucks? I am not a scary or threatening person and am friendly and a good conversationalist. We can stick to any topics that you are comfortable with. If you wish we can steer clear of politics and religion although I would be comfortable with talking about anything. I am not however, a debater. I prefer to get to really know people and hear their story. I am never opposed to telling my story either to anyone who wants to get to know me. I would like to get to know you , as you seem to be an interesting person with interesting perspectives. Please reconsider both my invitations. By saying no it seems like you are dodging me. Why? I may be a future friend..


Being homeless is not a crime


You are pointing out the overwhelming exception to the rule. For the overwhelming most part, these people are criminal, mental and on drugs.

So one out of 25 really is a good family with a catastrophic medical problem and bill that took them down, what do you do with the other 24 who are drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally infirm? Do you invite them in your home? I don’t think so.

Anyone can point out the exception to the rule. The problem though is what to do with the overwhelming majority who are brain dead bums. Come up with an answer for the problem (rule) not the exception and that will be impressive.

Dirk Anderson

I agree with you most of them are: criminal, mental, addicted, alcoholic, plain stupid, or all the above. So is the rest of the culture, if you can call it that.


Anybody know where Saro Rizzo and Stew Jenkins live? I want to park a rusted out ’82 Winnebago curbside in front of their houses or place of business and invite some of our local free spirits in to party.

Bet they would change their minds in a hurry….


Stew Jenkins is a kind and selfless person. You just need to google and find out his address.

Ted Slanders


Dear, for you not to be a Christian hypocrite, and to further the homeless cause in their caretaking, what is your address so we can tell the homeless in your area to get over to your place post haste to stake out a parking spot and get ready for dinner? Hopefully you’re a good cook!

“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” ( Luke 14:13-14)


Dear Mr. Slanders,

I find it interesting and sad that you seem to spend so much time and effort and energy in quoting and twisting the words of the Bible to promote your own agenda. (An agenda that is not clear to me.) Somewhere along the journey of your life you must have been terribly hurt by someone who used the Bible in their own twisted way to hurt you. I am so sorry for the wrongs that may have been done to you in the name of Christianity and the Bible. I hope that someday you will have joy and peace in your heart and healing from your hurt. Would you like to come to dinner at my home on Sunday the 14th? I would love to meet you as I do people from all walks of life, however I am also a cautious person when it comes to the safety of my family Perhaps we could set up a time and place in public to meet ahead of time. Late afternoons are best as I work nights and sleep days.

Stew Jenkins


Ladling out fear of poor people does not solve any problem. Unless you think that problem is being forced by circumstances to look on those who have nothing but their car to shelter in. Nor does pretending that every poor person on the street is an alcoholic, drug addict and crazy. Folks sleeping in their cars, vans and trucks have been in my neighborhood since we moved to what is actually a nice central part of San Luis Obispo – without difficulty, mess, or noise. These folks are almost uniformly humble, unassuming and generally do nothing that would bring them attention or notice. I have observed them be as helpful to their neighbors as those who own or rent a residence.

According to the most recent survey conducted in the county 12% of those living on the streets have an alcohol and/or drug addiction. You may ask yourself what percentage of folks with the resources to rent or own a residence suffer from alcohol and/or drug addiction. It is sadly not all that different.

If a city can no long run poor folks out of town, it will have little choice but to address the actual causes of poverty and homelessness instead of focusing on cosmetic fixes.

I hope the public voices strong supports passage of Assembly Bill 718.

Rich in MB

All the hate for those that are not in the Countries top 20% of income earners that can afford a house in SLO…..sad…..


Mr. Jenkins, How fortunate you are that the homeless folks sleeping in your neighborhood are so considerate. No difficulty, mess or noise. The folks that park and sleep in front of my business in San Luis are quite the opposite. We have had to call the police on several occasions because of drunk and disorderly folk. Lets now address the MESS, first thing in the morning they exit the autos and proceed to relieve themselves on my property. If the urine smell is not enough. The excrement and pieces of fast food paper bags that they use to erhhhhh clean themselves up, is intolerable.

Maybe we can negotiate: Your folk that would like a change of scenery could come and park in front of my property, and my folk could come and spend a few weeks in front of yours. I wish I owned a pair of those rose colored glasses.


It would be nice if you would identify your place of business, so that I can make sure not to spend my money there. The demand/supply model includes more than just the items being sold… it includes rewarding businesses who demonstrate attitudes which customers think are beneficial to society (exactly why I DON’T shop at places like Walmart). If you continue to do well despite exhibiting that attitude, then I guess more power to you.


mKaney, My business does just great. I have coffee and health bars in the morning for the homeless that do frequent my business. There are many goo d people who have just fallen on hard times. My objection is to the people who live in their Autos and use my property to take care of their bathroom needs. You feel so bad for these folk, next time you see an auto parked that obviously has some one is living in it why not go over and offer them your address. You might even be kind enough to let them have the use of your facilities when they wake in the mornings….



Rather than complain, why not lobby for designated homeless parking areas with public restrooms nearby those parking areas? Obviously, no one wants to poop in an outdoor area where they might be seen and then wipe themselves with a bag.

What can a homeless person do when there are no public restrooms available? We will never rid ourselves of the human need to use a bathroom and yet all I see is complaints about “humans” who pee and poop out of doors. It’s time for the local citizens to demand strategic public restrooms and appropriate parking areas for those who have no bathroom to relieve themselves in. That is just common sense.


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


World toilet day was just last month!


Think of your fellow man

Lend him a helping hand

Let the Homeless park on your streets

You see it’s getting late

Oh, please don’t hesitate

Let the homeless park on your streets

And SLO County will be a better place

And SLO County will be a better place

For you and me

You just wait and see!

Let the Homeless park on your streets!

Let the Homeless park on OUR streets!


How the hell do 18 people “dislike” a good ‘ol fashioned Dolly Parton song?