News

Ban on car dwelling heads to City Council

City ordinance could take effect in August and would put Palo Alto on par with other municipalities

Palo Alto's status as the only city in the area to allow living in vehicles could end on July 25, when the City Council is scheduled to vote on an ordinance to make vehicle dwelling illegal.

The new ordinance, if passed, would make "human habitation of vehicles" a potential misdemeanor, City Attorney Molly Stump said.

Law enforcement can initially enforce the law through education, warnings and referrals to social service agencies, where appropriate.

In serious cases or where there are multiple violations, the ordinance would be enforceable as a misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or county jail time not exceeding six months, or both, she said. The law would take effect Aug. 26.

Mountain View, Redwood City, Sunnyvale and Menlo Park have ordinances that forbid living in vehicles on city streets, but until now, Palo Alto has not, according to Assistant City Attorney Donald Larkin.

The ordinance would make it illegal to use, occupy or permit the use of occupancy of any vehicle for human habitation on any street, park, alley, public parking lot or other public way. The temporary use of a vehicle in cases where a motorist must pull over due to sickness or physical inability to operate a vehicle is excluded.

Guests of city residents can also stay in motor homes or campers for up to 48 hours when parked next to a resident's home and persons living in mobile homes in designated mobile-home parks.

But the city does not plan wholesale sweeps to drive vehicle dwellers away, Planning Director Curtis Williams said.

"We won't be out looking for them. Enforcement will be based on complaints," he said.

If the law is passed, officers will provide chronic offenders with an informational brochure during a 30-day warning period. Police will be required to provide referrals to social services, he said. Police could fine offenders and people who persist in breaking the law could be jailed, he said.

"There is a recognition that most of the people are in dire economic circumstances or have mental health problems. If there is another solution, we prefer to do that from a humanistic standpoint," he said.

About 200 people are homeless and living on Palo Alto's streets, mostly without vehicles, according to Philip Dah, program director for the Opportunity Center. The center provides services to homeless and formerly homeless clients at its facility on Encina Way.

Dah said he attended one meeting while the ordinance was in its beginning stages but has not coordinated yet with the city on a plan of action.

He said he sympathizes with residents, but has questions about the lack of any alternative plan if the ordinance passes.

"Palo Alto doesn't have a lot of shelters. There is only one -- Hotel de Zink (the rotating emergency shelter at area churches and synagogues) -- that provides shelter for only 15 people.

"A lot of clients who own vehicles and live in them are long-term Palo Alto residents or have lived here all of their lives and for one reason or another are homeless. Their vehicles are the only place they have to stay.

"There has to be an alternative plan in place for these community members to be able to stay. If a park can be available, with police patrols in the area and some supervision, they could call that place home. As much as I agree that there is a problem, we have to see it both ways and also make accommodations," he said.

The Rev. Greg Schaefer, minister of the Episcopal Lutheran Campus Ministry at Stanford in College Terrace, said he is scouting for vacant parking lots where car-dwelling residents could live.

The ordinance is "a pretty sweeping action to take," given the small number of people involved. Only about four individuals are known to cause problems such as trash and unsanitary conditions, he said. There are already laws that address voiding in public and dumping trash, and those ordinances should be enforced, he added.

"This hasn't been approached from the perspective of human relationships. It seems to be taking a lot of action based on assumptions and not really engaging people living in their vehicles and why they are living in their vehicles," he said.

"It's not clear to me why we are not addressing a scandalous reality that there are people in this city who have to live in their cars," he said.

Schaefer said he fears if the ordinance passes without coming up with an alternative first, the issue will be forgotten.

"What the city is about to do is to say, 'This thing that you are doing to survive is not legal, so stop doing it.' I don't know where that leaves us or them," he said.

The relationship between vehicle dwellers or people sitting in vehicles on Palo Alto streets and residents and police has at times resulted in controversial responses.

In 2005, Gunn High School teacher Albert Hopkins Jr., 60, received a $250,000 settlement from the city after two police officers pulled him from the car in which he was sitting and allegedly beat him and pepper sprayed him on June 13, 2003. He was never charged with a crime and developed knee damage from the attack.

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge in December 2008 vindicated Joseph Anthony (Tony) Ciampi, then 41, of criminal charges after police lured him from his van and used Tasers on him during a scuffle on March 15, 2008.

Ciampi had not committed a crime but police responded to a resident's complaint that he was living in a van.

Judge Thang Nguyen Barrett called the officers' actions "tainted" and said they had trampled on Ciampi's Constitutional rights. Ciampi still has a lawsuit pending against the city for civil-rights violations related to the case.

"It used to be a capital offense to steal a man's horse in this country, because more often than not a man's survival was dependent upon having a horse. The City of Palo Alto will be stealing my horse through the use of an unconstitutional law," Ciampi said by email on Monday when asked about the pending ordinance.

"The lunacy of it is should I be renting a room out of (a) house, as I've done, my vehicle with most of its stuff would be on the street as it is right now. No difference, with the exception of handing over $800 to some property owner."

In College Terrace, the neighborhood bounded by El Camino Real, Stanford Avenue and Page Mill Road, long-term car storage and attendant sanitary problems from some vehicle dwellers have been a nagging concern, residents said. Neighbors' concern regarding people living in vehicles within College Terrace spans several years and sparked a neighborhood petition drive in 2010.

The College Terrace Residents Association Board of Directors voted 6-0 on July 6, 2011, to send the City Council a letter of support, providing the final ordinance is consistent with the current draft.

The ordinance differs from the current 72-hour parking limit that has helped reduce chronic parking problems caused by Stanford University visitors and Stanford Research Park employees, board member Fred Balin said.

Vehicle dwellers and those who store vehicles previously skirted the parking ordinance by rotating their cars and vans to different streets. But the new ordinance would close that gap and is more effective because it includes parks and pocket parks, he said.

Board President Brent Barker agreed.

"It's resolving a longstanding problem -- one that's been concentrated in College Terrace. It provides a tool for the city that has not been there before," Barker said.

The issue extends beyond College Terrace, Community Services Officer Stacy Henderson told the Weekly in a July 30, 2010, story.

"It's near Greer Park, downtown, behind the California Avenue Caltrain station -- you name it, it's all over," she said, adding she marks and checks between 25 to 50 vehicles per week.

The number reflects not only vehicle dwellers but also on-street stored vehicles, she said. At least two vehicle collectors, who do not live in the neighborhoods, have as many as 10 or more vans and autos that are shifted from one parking spot location to another, she said.

The ordinance does not cover such activity, Williams said. But that could change if the new law does not change behavior, he said.

"If it doesn't seem to be enough, we might have to look at additional parking regulations. It doesn't seem to be a big problem in other places," he said.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 11, 2011 at 9:59 pm

It is time to ban this.


Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Dad
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 11, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I agree: Palo Alto ought to ban living in vehicles that are parked on public streets. All of our neighboring cities have already done so.


Like this comment
Posted by OK, I'll say it since everyone is thinking it
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jul 11, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Vehicles being stored on city streets should be banned. We pay millions for our houses and should be able to live in nice neighborhoods without having to look at eyesore autos. Sure, this sounds elitist, and it is. I volunteer at food banks and help the needy. I shouldn't have to live with them too.


Like this comment
Posted by neighbor of palo alto
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 12, 2011 at 12:15 am

First I'll address the article. I think this will pass because it's common sense, but the human standpoint that the homeless advocates are taking is a much more appealing approach to take because it is slower.

The approach that was voted 6-0 doesn't mean the residents of college terrace aren't just fed up with looking at vehicles whether its occupied by a resident or not. To solve their problems might not require a city wide ordinance.

Now to address the posters comments above, its funny you paid millions for your house, because a lot of your neighbors did not even pay six figures for their houses. I actually hope you work at a company that goes under with the next internet bubble and can try to live in your 2 seater luxury convertible. Please don't think everyone in Palo Alto is like you.


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 12, 2011 at 8:50 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

An obvious solution is to provide a location where living in a car IS permissible. A caravansary somewhere with reasonable security, restrooms and even some hostel type sleeping arrangement would be a wiser resolution. A kinder resolution, too.


Like this comment
Posted by what's up with the city council?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 12, 2011 at 9:31 am

Whatever College Terrace asks for, College Terrace gets! It's time to end all CT subsidies.


Like this comment
Posted by narnia
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2011 at 10:03 am

I agree with Walter.


Like this comment
Posted by RV Willie
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 12, 2011 at 10:20 am

San Carlos, here I come.


Like this comment
Posted by There But 4 Fortune
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2011 at 10:41 am

Thank you Mr. Wallis for your compassionate comments. I have volunteered at the food bank myself and find that having had that experience makes me more compassionate toward those that need to park their vehicle on the street to sleep. I feel especially sympathetic towards women that need to sleep in their cars. It would be best if we had a society that could provide for those less fortunate in the way that Mr. Wallis suggests but I could just hear the screams of outrage from those that would not want to provide the money to support his suggestions. Communities and the state are so broke that it would be difficult to find the money to support car parks for homeless.


Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 12, 2011 at 10:51 am

Ciampi had no business parking himself in front of a home where a woman and her daughter were coming and going regularly. That is creepy and unacceptable. In his particular case, it's even more egregious in that he had a rental place, and more than one offer to live in some local resident's driveway's. He made it a point, instead, to be as uncooperative and resistant as he could. HIS civil rights have been violated? Pah. So were the rights of the cops and the homeowners. No one likes to be spied upon, or have someone spit on you. By the 'reasonable man' standard, since Ciampi had other offers, he should not be allowed to sue, he had a viable and REASONABLE alternative. Instead, he chose to stay put and what ensued from that action is, in part, his own damn fault....I have heard about him for years in this City...and notably, other homeless people made it a point to go into the libraries and post about Ciampi's well known hair-trigger temper.

Regardless of whether we paid $2 million for our house, or $77k forty years ago, the fact remains that having a person live in front of your home is disconcerting, unsanitary and unsettling. More, many of us have more than one car owner living in our homes, we need those spaces to park in front of our own homes and not take up the parking spaces that our neighbor's may need. No one needs their teen who may be working or participating in a late sporting event to walk half a block because someone is squatting in front of their home.

It wouldn't be so bad if some of these people chose to park in front of businesses that are closed at night. At least then, they would not be violating anybody's privacy. One more thing, some of these people have laptops with wireless access, and more than once I have seen them walking around with their laptops in hand, holding them aloft then checking something on the computer...I asked one guy what he was doing, he said checking for 'unsecured wireless networks' so he could get online. I suggest people doing regular transactions on their computers, such as online banking, password protect their wireless...or you just may be sharing your information with a stranger camping close by you!


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2011 at 11:02 am

What's wrong w/using the WalMart parking lot instead of neighborhoods? Or is that only for RVs?


Like this comment
Posted by Wha?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2011 at 11:07 am

Funny how some posters are suggesting a spot for these unfortuneate people be created with bathrooms and some security. How are we to pay for that when we can't keep our existing infrastructue going.

But compassion would be greatly appreciated.


Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 12, 2011 at 11:13 am

I think some people have compassion...but it's a work with me and I'll work with you attitude, which is reasonable. The one thing that I have noticed of late, having been here through the tech bubble, is that I see signs of personal fortunes once again on the rise..not as pervasive as before, but yes, the signs are there. I know there are people in this city who can help out more...instead of giving money to politicians, sexy PC causes overseas, or handing your kid $200 a month allowances, which only allows them to buy more pot, alcohol, expensive coffee drinks and designer label clothing, halve that amount and give, >gasp<, to your community instead. And yes, I DO exactly that.


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I'll be the first to admit that I don't have all the answers. However, the idea of finding space for overnight camping is interesting. But...how do we keep it from becoming a magnet for "campers" outside of Palo Alto?

To borrow a phrase from the "Field of Dreams": If you build it, they will come...

SF was a huge draw for out of town homeless and scammers when they just gave away benefits and cash. People as far as Reno, would drive to SF to take whatever they could get.

So if you build a site - how do you keep it for "residents" only? Also, how do you police it? Keep it violence, alcohol and drug free? Restrooms and showers? Maintenance?


Like this comment
Posted by DDee
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm

I also agree with Walter.

This actually has been done elsewhere and works.

There are large, well-lit parking lots at our local malls, and at some of our churches where an area can be fenced in, a couple of porta-potties provided and someone hired for a low enough but decent salary to check people in at night, make sure they vacate at a reasonable time in the morning, and keep the area clean. One or twp patrol visits during the night should be all that was needed.

If we are that cheap about doing unto our neighbor as we would have done unto us, we could charge a buck or two per night for those who might actually be working or have income, but not enough to make rent or buff up their credit sufficiently to get accepted somewhere.... all problems that only poor people have to worry about.

This would:
a- be cheaper for the city or the county to manage than putting this on the list of to-dos within the man-hours of cops who have bigger fish to fry.
b- be a compassionate outreach that allows people to stay safe in their vehicles at night and be able to relieve themselves without breaking the law
c- give local temporary solution to someone from here or nearby who lost their home for whatever reason but have no support network elsewhere or place to go
d-speaking of places to go.... where the heck are they supposed to go?!


Like this comment
Posted by Shaz
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Is there a good reason for passing this ordinance? And no, "We don't like those icky poor people near us" is not a good reason. They may not like us and our pretentiousness. Does that mean we should move?

Have car dwellers been involved in more than their share of crimes lately? If not then we should just leave them alone. There are a couple of people living in their vans near me. They are polite, friendly, quiet, don't smell and make better neighbors than some of the housed folks in the neighborhood.


Like this comment
Posted by DDee
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm

As for locations that might ease some of the other logistics... how about we chip in for one or two more salaries at the Opportunity Center, and then create a parking zone a close walking distance from there. That would solve the toilet and shower issue, and would put these people close to where they have support systems and other aids.

The big empty field across the street on the Stanford campus might be a good community outreach and help for those less fortunate on the part of Stanford.... just an idea.

AS for keeping it drug and alcohol free. I don't know. How do we keep YOUR house drug and alcohol free?
Basically, we don't apply the law or infringe upon your right to privacy unless you make it a public issue by your behavior. My suggestion would be that the same rule apply to the parking area residents. They may be down and out but they are still Americans last I checked and have rights --- or should.

Having the police do drive by patrols several times in the night or get a call from the night watchperson should be sufficient to catch any BEHAVIOR that is illegal or dangerous.

Besides, if I was living in my car, and broke so badly that possession of 2 bucks would not make a big difference in my circumstances but might make me more exposed to street violence because someone would rob me, I'd probably want to find some solace in a tall cold beer or equivalent before going to sleep in my "palatial manor." Wouldn't you?


Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Shaz - yes, there are many good reasons for passing this ordinance. There is also a valid reason for not wanting someone living in a vehicle in front of your home. A few years ago, an unhoused man was living in his van across from our home. Our kids would not play outside or stay home alone when he was there. When you buy or rent a home, your reasonable expectation is that your neighbors are your neighbors - not car dwellers. People live in their cars in Palo Alto because it is legal. Whether they are polite and friendly or using your yard as a bathroom (yes, I've had to clean up after not just dogs...) is beside the point.

If you feel strongly that people should be allowed to live in their cars in Palo Alto, find the above mentioned well-lit parking lot and organize a place for people to spend the night in their vehicles. I'd even be happy to contribute to the start up costs.


Like this comment
Posted by did u know
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm

that people in cars are actually good for neighborhood security because they are very aware of their surroundings and know when somethings up and watch passeby very carefully precisely because they are living a different life. they usually know the people arond town and watch out for their surroundings. something home dwellers are not always aware of. do not pass this ordinance now. let us have a new way of social suvival. everyone is going through tough times, even housed people. we do not need anymore animosity.


Like this comment
Posted by Shaz
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 12, 2011 at 7:05 pm

palo alto mom, the many good reasons are?

If the guy parked in front of your house pooped on your lawn or was otherwise acting erratic, why didn't you call the police? That applies to anyone, not only those living in their cars. If the man in the van was not acting nutso or threatening, then there is no reason to be afraid. Not all homeless people are Jack the Ripper. The overwhelming majority have human being status.

I do feel that people should be allowed to live in their cars in Palo Alto. There is no reason to herd them anywhere simply because of irrational fears. A ban on living in vehicles won't work. The affected nomads will simply move their vehicles around town every few days to skirt the ordinance.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm

How does the city know that these are PA residents? Doesn't residence mean having a physical address? Would someone driving from San Jose to live in their vehicle in PA make them PA residents? Or are they being referred to here as residents because they've been living in their cars for awhile in PA?

What's the lure of living in your car on a residential street? Access to other amenities? I think I'd prefer a camp ground, w/a restroom and a grill nearby.

I feel for the families whose quality of life are greatly reduced when an unknown person is living in a vehicle in front of a home. Security, safety & sanctity of home are crucial.


Like this comment
Posted by danny
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2011 at 11:02 am

I see this as a high paid bureaucracy placing their occupationalism above human rights.


Like this comment
Posted by Robit Noops
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 13, 2011 at 11:28 am

When I grew up in Menlo Park, you weren't even allowed to park your car on the street overnight without being ticketed, let alone live in a vehicle.


Like this comment
Posted by Tony Ciampi
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm

"Mr. Enough a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood,"

You know not of what you speak. Before you make statements to the public about me or anyone, I suggest you get the facts correct. I was not parked in front of anyone's home at any time. Should you care to debate the merits of your position please let me know. You make it sound like I'm some black man in the south who cannot be on the same side of a public street as a white woman.
www.freewillbill.com
fwbwtd@gmail.com
I would appreciate it if you would remove your remarks that I spit on anybody, because that is a false statement made by you.





Like this comment
Posted by Shaz
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 13, 2011 at 12:50 pm

If homeless living in cars are going to be banned, will homeless living on the street and in creekside encampments also be banned from PA? That would not be politically correct. If someone sleeping in a car is a threat, so is someone sleeping on the sidewalk.


Like this comment
Posted by Walker
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 13, 2011 at 4:14 pm

People live in cars and RVs in Mountain View, also. So, Palo Alto is not the only place where homeless people are allowed to live in their vehicles. I have never seen any of these people cause any problems. In Mountain View, they usually park their RVs near small, neighborhood parks and move them almost every day. Not a real problem.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm

How many people in PA are living in their vehicles? I see a lot of regularly parked, unmoved vehicles in College Terrace, on the side streets & on ECR. Where else? The library on Newell, I see a few regularly.


Like this comment
Posted by Jeff
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm

I was driving by JJ&F last week, around 9:00 AM. I saw one of the regular bums completely harassing a woman going into the store. "F...ing b...ch, etc. She was petrified, and she moved all the way out into the street. I spun a u-turn through the gas station, and came back into the street, in case I needed to deal with it. The bum took off at that point...I followed him down to the bus stop, next to Wells Fargo, where he disappeared on the next bus. I saw him, again, yesterday, getting out of one of those parked vans in the area.

Get rid of the bums, and the cars and vans that contain them!


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 13, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Jeff, that's an interesting bit of news. Good for you for taking the time to check it out.

I went recently to pick up my friend's elderly mom from an appointment in College Terrace. I was harassed going in to the building where she waited & we were both harassed by the same guy when we came out. This went on for a bit of time, as I had to get her into my car - you know that can take a few minutes w/an elderly person. I threatened to use my dog spray on him to get him to knock it off. When we left, I saw him near the Jack in the Box, where there seem to be a number of those long parked vehicles. Isn't that the area where some guy rents out his vehicles to people?

I call the police or code enforcement when I see suspicious people in their vehicles or vehicles left too long in my 'hood. A lot of the time, they're NOT EPA residents. Sometimes they're up to no good, sometimes not. Sometimes I feel a little bad for calling on an innocent person, but it's balanced out by all the bad stuff that we prevent. We've also helped people recover their stolen vehicles this way, stopped prostitution & DUIs. If we didn't take action, the creeps win by default. We pay a high price for ennui where I live. We may not live in multimillion dollar homes, but we all deserve safety & peaceful enjoyment of our homes.


Like this comment
Posted by MoneySource
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm

How about if developers pay enough to provide reasonable security, restrooms etc. in a parking lot for vehicle dwellers as a requirement for permission to increase density beyond current zoning?

Something like providing the cost for one such vehicle for every 50 units they build.


Like this comment
Posted by Jeff
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 13, 2011 at 5:44 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm

@MoneySource,

Please don't give the liberals any ideas. They just may find a way to include your idea in the current "below market rate housing" extortion scam they hit all developers with.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 13, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Thanks, Jeff. I don't scare easily & neither does the woman I was with, but an elderly person is often a target. When someone's legit, they don't harass people, no matter where they live. It's one thing to be poor, it's another to prey on the vulnerable. We have to recognize & respond appropriately to these kinds & still stay safe.

So in the CT area, are these folks begging for money, or actually mugging people?

Does anyone here recall the books by PA author Lora Smith featuring a woman living in her VW van, who'd be harassed by the cops? I think they were written in the 80s & 90s.


Like this comment
Posted by Jeff
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Hmmm,

"So in the CT area, are these folks begging for money, or actually mugging people?"

They are harassing people for money, especially women and the elderly. They are very agressive, verbally and through body language. I have seen some physical stuff, but it is usually among themselves. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Pickle
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Long time house dweller.
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm

This could be solved without any law. The folks that do not want a law banning car dwellers should post their address. That way car dwellers would know where they would be welcome and leave the rest off us alone.


Like this comment
Posted by Pickle
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Palo Alto weekly you removed my post regarding "Hmmmm of EPA and Jeff." Please state why you removed my post.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Heh heh heh. No more Ted Bundy for Pickle!


Like this comment
Posted by Pickle
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Midtown Guy
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Midtown Guy is a registered user.

Too many commentators quick to judge someone they've never met.
Palo Alto can be better than this. We all will have tough times;
believe it, 0r you will invite it into your life, and you will
be the target, instead of the accuser. Walk in another's footsteps, people! The man who was taser'd because he lived (legally) in his van
shows dignity, strength, patience, and diligence in pursuing
his day in court, capably representing himself, something few of us could pull off respectably.

I would like to see him being offered part time work instead of jibes. He has skill, intelligence research abilities, communication skills, and due diligence in legal matters despite his homelessness.

Someone please step up and contact him, mentor him, recognize his potential, say as a legal assistant, or even as a helper in some project requiring skilled hands and quick thinking. Can't a place be found for him one of the many Single Occupancy units built over the last ten years in Palo Alto? Think of all the worse chances you've
taken in life, and try something noble for a change.

The man deserves some breaks, a hand up, not blind criticism.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 14, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

This thread isn't about Ciampi, it's about a ban on car dwelling. There seems to be quite a negative impact on residents from car dwelling. It's hard to know what the upside is, because that would go largely unnoticed, right? People living peacefully in their cars, not causing a public nuisance or problems w/not having a restroom or shower to use, not having drug or alcohol problems.

In order for these dwellers to have legal tags on their car, they have to have a registered address or PO Box. Is that what makes them PA residents, not where they park & live in their vehicle?


Like this comment
Posted by Edgarpoet
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Edgarpoet is a registered user.

The problem is Homelessness, NOT people living in Cars, That is an impact of the problem. Until this well educated society wakes up and gets the just of this situation, this "homeles problem " will not be dealt with by those who have the means to try and solve the real problem. We spend millions fighting the situation instead of spending
half that actually solving the problem.
Our society has to first get over the bigotry and "class antagonisms"
that I notice throughout these comment pages here online. For this to happen we must first look closley at ourselves and ask this question: what if I were in the shoes of that other person whom I seem to dispise? When we ask this question, then we can begin to solve problems instead of just perpetuating somebody elses misery.
Giving Handouts and funding top heavy poverty pimp programs that do not have enough successful results is NOT the answer.
The answer exists in a common sense venue, a grassroots approach
opperated by people who actually have some compassion for those they are helping. Corporate agendas and methods will never work to solve this type of problem.
But it all begins with this: "end the bigotry"


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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