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Suit threatened over city's car-camping ban

Original post made on Dec 3, 2013

A group of Palo Alto attorneys is threatening to sue the city over a recently adopted ban on people living in their cars, a law they claim effectively criminalizes homelessness and is far more draconian than car-dwelling restrictions in other jurisdictions.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, November 22, 2013, 12:00 AM

Comments (13)

Posted by Clarkg, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2013 at 7:38 am

Nice! These attorneys should be commended - but I'm afraid they might be going after the wrong targets! They should also target, very specifically, the 7 dirty, moral-less local PA politicians who ignored all the public outcry and coldly pushed this ugly thing through. They are the ones responsible, and they should pay from their own pocketbooks as an example to any other small group of rich, full-of-themselves, holier-than-thou small-time politicians who think they can criminalize (and thereby socially engineer away) the "surplus population" in their city. Seven people, who should answer for this reckless abuse of elected power. Maybe they should be forced out of their homes and made to live in the street- with their new laws- until they learn some empathy.


Posted by fingers crossed, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 3, 2013 at 2:50 pm



I hope this works. It just felt wrong to push out the homeless from our city just so that they could try to find another city in which to rest/sleep. It especially felt wrong if we don't supply a shelter for them to go.


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm

>It especially felt wrong if we don't supply a shelter for them to go.

Fingers crossed, well you could start by opening up a room in your own home, in Barron Park. Make sure you check with your neighbors first, though...there could be significant liability issues.

It is finally time that Palo Alto rejects being a magnet for the homeless.

Homelessness MUST be criminalized. There is no possible solution, until it is. Giuliani understood this, and he made significant headway in NYC. The bleeding heart solution is no solution at all...it is just a cruel hoax.


Posted by Another perspective, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Thanks Craig. Unfortunately, there are things that can't be stamped out just by criminalizing them. Homelessness is one. Stupidity is another.


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm

>Unfortunately, there are things that can't be stamped out just by criminalizing them.

Unless homelessness IS criminalized, there won't be any practical solution. Let's not get stupid about this...criminalization is the fundamental starting point.


Posted by Burly-Q, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm

No doubt, it will be a class-action suit. Such a lawsuit means big trouble for Palo Alto, and could go to the Supreme Court.


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 3, 2013 at 4:38 pm

>Such a lawsuit means big trouble for Palo Alto, and could go to the Supreme Court.

Given the frivolous nature of such a lawsuit, Palo Alto should be preparing a lawsuit against the lawyers that bring it.


Posted by Judd for the defence, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Not sure how you can criminalize being homeless. Laughton as usual misrepresents what Giuliani did-- he made sure that every violation of the law was dealt with. The simple act of being homeless is not in of itself a crime. The law that us being challenged is the car camping ordinance-- anyone who stops on the street and dozes in his car would be breaking the law. Homelessness is not relevant in this case. Laughton also seems to have little regard for our democratic process-- the lawyers can file suit. The courts will decide this matter and determine if the case us frivolous, not Laughton. Oh and the comments about opening up your house is old and stale.


Posted by fingers crossed, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm

@Laughton
I'm still glad I HAVE a bleeding heart. You must be just 'egging' us on. You can't possibly believe that becoming homeless is a crime. We might as well criminalize people getting cancer too. How dare they!


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm

>Not sure how you can criminalize being homeless

You can't criminalize becoming homeless, but you can criminalize remaining homeless. Giuliani forced the homeless to enter shelters and/or enter drug rehab, against their will. Hillary Clinton called this criminalization of homelessness. I agree with both of them.

The current system of benign neglect is both heartless and cruel and ineffective and detrimental to our town.

The homeless in Palo Alto, who refuse help, should be arrested, cleaned up, dried out...then the bleeding hearts in PA can sign up to take them into their own homes.


Posted by Judd for the defence, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm

"You can't criminalize becoming homeless, but you can criminalize remaining homeless. "
Good, so you will open up your home so that homeless person will not remain homeless. Of course, you did say, above and in many other threads, that homelessness should be crminalized. Period. Sounds like you are backtracking.


"The homeless in Palo Alto, who refuse help, should be arrested, cleaned up, dried out..."
We'll first you assume, in your usual snide manner, that the homeless are all alcoholics . Then we can assume that you are suggesting we offer the homeless some form of welfare. Thought you were against that as well. seems like you are all tied up in knots.

" the bleeding hearts in PA can sign up to take them into their own homes."
I would think that you and Ruth would take in a homeless person.


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 8, 2013 at 9:14 am

>I would think that you ...would take in a homeless person.

I did that once, and learned my lesson. However, the bleeding hearts might be more patient than me. They can offer their own form of personal welfare to help solve the problem, as well as to make their actions consistent with their rhetoric. After all, there are many empty rooms in private homes around here.


Posted by Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Hello Neighbors & Friends@
Please be part of the solution.
Imagine you have to sleep in your car overnight. Now imagine sleeping in your car with your children. Would you be able to stay warm, comfortable and fortified if it were 30 or 40 degrees. Probably not, its just cold.

I am happy to say, based on funds donations, we qhave provided min. 2 night motel stay to between five to seven folks (families & singles) per day or every two days since 12/07. And even extending stays for some most vulnerable to host/guest situations in private homes of Palo Alto residents.

Survivial Suppiles - As of 12/09/13, NHN sent pleas out to our networks. As we complied, supplies (12/09 - 12/11) begining with our most vulnerable ending their motels stays, we gave them survivial blankets.

Then 12/11/13 as we were collecting more survivial items which were donated, we organized a series of "survivial supplies" events. Begining at UUCPA Wed. 12/11, Midtown Center. 12/14 and Location TBA (to be announced) Wed. 12/18.


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