Homelessness

Nevada City to Require Homeless to Have A Permit to Sleep Outside

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Nevada City police chief James Wickham has come up with an unusual way of managing the growing homeless population in the city. The chief has asked council members to pass a no-camping ordinance, which essentially bans people from being homeless unless they hold a proper permit.

Speaking to CBS, Wickham clarified his proposals: "The goal is to start managing the homeless population within our city," he said. "It just basically means you can't set up a tent. You can't live in your vehicle. You can't live in the woods in Nevada City."

The law will make only a few exceptions and give out a small number of permits that allow public sleeping. The ordinance aims to reduce the crime and trouble supposedly caused by the swelling homeless population. The police chief is to give out about 6 to 10 permits initially, and will look to review the program in 6 months to check whether it is working. Wickham has identified at least 60 homeless people in the immediate community and up to 500 countywide. Any homeless person found sleeping in public without a permit will be arrested.

Wickham claims the solution is 'one-of-a-kind' even though Colorado's Denver City Council passed a similar "no camping" ordinance back in 2010.  The ACLU opposed Denver's move at the time deeming it "unnecessary, mean-spirited and potentially unconstitutional." 

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  1. In the old days we’d tar and feather ’em and run ’em off.

    1. Who? The homeless, or the city council?

      1. I vote for the City Counsel! Get ’em. LOL

  2. Another magic spell.

    That’ll fix it.

  3. “The goal is to start managing the homeless population within our city,”

    They should have a bum roundup, and auction them off, just like the noble wild mustang.

  4. I thought being homeless was already an arrestable crime. Public vagrancy and all that.

    1. The courts have overturned a lot of those laws, Sarc. So basically, this is just giving the appearence of doing something about the problem, and trying to shift the blame to the courts.

      Also, have you really thought-through the implications about giving the police powers to arrest people because of status offenses like homelessness, vagrancy, etc?

      1. i don’t think sarc would support that. this cop certainly would not. i’ve never worked anywhere where we had such laws. personally, they run counter to my basic morality – punishing people for being destitute. criminalizing homelessness is just morally wrong 100% no ifs, ands or buts

        1. “they run counter to my basic morality”

          Are you the same Dunphy who insists on other threads that “following procedure” makes everything ok?

          1. Of course, if the law is passed, his enforcement of it is only the legislators’ fault.

      2. have you really thought-through the implications about giving the police powers to arrest people because of status offenses

        Yep. Gave it a lot of thought when I was homeless and routinely harassed by the Boulder PD. It’s a bunch of shit.

        1. I didn’t know that, Sarc. Respect for having survived and overcome.

      3. You mean, status offenses like having a BAC above a certain level?

        1. i am against such crimes. and fortunately, my jurisdiction has no such crimes. in fact, iirc, public intoxication laws are unconstitutional in WA state. eiether way, they dont exist

          now DRIVING with a BAC above a certain level is not a status offense.

        2. Yep, that too. If all the person is doing is walking around.

  5. From 1988, a libertarian solution:
    “Mr. Morrisseau said the idea of relocating the homeless man came to him over dinner with his wife, Laura Thompson. ”At first,” he said, ”we thought the idea was crazy, but a couple days later, it didn’t seem so crazy.”

    Their idea became a nonprofit organization, Westward Ho!, which consists of Mr. Morrisseau, Ms. Thompson and Tim Halvorson, another cafe owner on the Marketplace. The group set up a checking account of a few hundred dollars, mostly the members’ own funds, along with some donations. Through intermediaries, the group offered the offending homeless man a one-way airplane ticket to Portland, Ore., his hometown. He accepted.”

    BUT

    “”The problem of homelessness is national tragedy caused by major cutbacks in Federal spending,” said Bernard Sanders, a socialist who is Mayor of Burlington. ”The solution is not transporting homeless people from one end of this country to another. The solution is to provide affordable housing and counseling.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11…..leave.html

    1. This is just shifting the problem around.

  6. The solution is to provide affordable housing

    Bernie Sanders comes out for the abolition of Planning and Zoning Commissions? Thanks, Comrade!

    1. “Affordable” housing makes it sound like the homeless people are going to be paying rent out of their own pockets, which strikes me as plain nuts.

    2. Homeless doesn’t mean unemployed, RC. Many of the people served by the shelter at which I used to volunteer had regular jobs (fast food, parking attendants, etc).

  7. Just for the record, Nevada City is in California.

    It’s like a yuppie favorite artist enclave…where people are supposed to be superior for being so liberal.

    Lotta people out there really care about the poor–right up until the moment they actually meet them.

    1. Lotta people out there really care about the poor–right up until the moment they actually meet them.

      You already said they’re liberals. That makes the last sentence redundant. Like ATM machine or PIN number.

    2. More than one place like that around, Ken. “Oh, those poor homeless people! What, wait, oh you’re not opening any soup kitchen in this area! Call the lawyers and ring the Councilman’s doorbell right away, Maria. Pronto, vamos!” LOL

  8. solves the homeless problem the same way obamacare solves the uninsured problem.

  9. status offenses like this are heinous. if you are homeless, you still HAVE to sleep. it’s a biological necessity. didn’t anybody see Nightmare on Elm Street?

    seriously, the idea of CRIMINALIZING something that a person has ZERO choice over (go long enough without sleep and you will fall asleep, whether you want to or not), is the height of injustice.

    maybe they need to look into WHY there is a growing population of homeless in the city, and hopefully charity will help these people. criminalizing homelessness is really the height of draconian law. this cop-o-crat is proposing to criminalize a status – that of being homeless, since that status NECESSITATES sleeping in public.

    i could never work for an agency where we were forced to arrest people for being homeless. it’s unconscionable

    1. i could never work for an agency where we were forced to arrest people for being homeless. it’s unconscionable

      What about an agency that forced you to arrest people for smoking marijuana? Would that also be unconscionable?

  10. “”The problem of homelessness is national tragedy caused by major cutbacks in Federal spending,” said Bernard Sanders, a socialist who is Mayor of Burlington. ”The solution is not transporting homeless people from one end of this country to another. The solution is to provide affordable housing and counseling.”

    we used to get a lot of california transplant homeless in hawaii. we referred to them as U triple C’s, Unemployed Caucasian Carpenters from California. Considering hawaii’s generous welfare, and free showers on the beach, and warm weather, if you are going to be homeless, go hawaii

  11. The ACLU opposed Denver’s move at the time deeming it “unnecessary, mean-spirited and potentially unconstitutional.”

    I assume only one of those things would give the ACLU grounds.

  12. Other Texas cities used to bus their homeless to Galveston because of some quirk in the system down there that made it easy to get benefits. I think that has since been reformed, since Galveston finally figured out what was going on.

  13. now DRIVING with a BAC above a certain level is not a status offense.

    Fuck off, slaver. And take the Precautionary Principle with you.

  14. Orlando, Fl has (or had) a similar ordinance making it a crime to sit on the curb on a public street. The entire intent of the law was to drive the homeless out of the downtown area of Orlando. I don’t think there is any similar ordinance in the surrounding Orange County, so they really just wanted the homeless out of the city limits which is really small compared to the size of the county.

    Orlando also passed a law making it illegal to feed any homeless, although that law was challenged so I’m not sure what the state of it is.

  15. So I wonder what costs more.. building and operating some type of shelter or the arrest, court case and jail time.

    1. Oh, the jail, of course (costs more per person-night than a homeless shelter). But shelters don’t completely solve the homeless problem as some homeless refuse to take advantage of shelters.

      1. In my six months of homelessness (it’s a bitch trying to save money for first, last, and deposit while having no kitchen or laundry) I discovered that for many it was a lifestyle.

        Total freedom. No one to answer to (except the cops here and there). No bills. No steady job. Nothing to stop you from going from town to town. Charities keep you from being totally uncomfortable.

        I knew at least one guy who made a point of having a warrant for his arrest in the winter so if there was a bad storm or cold snap he could turn himself in and get a warm bed and three squares.

        Another guy would con churches into paying his rent and feeding him from the food bank.

        The rest were homeless temporarily like I was.

        I really do not see it as a problem to be solved. It’s just a reality to accept.

  16. Similar to my thoughts about the SF nudity law…in Libertopia, with all (or the vast majority of) property privately owned, isn’t the end result the same? I would imagine that the vast majority of property owners would not allow the homeless to sleep on their property. So they’re relegated to whichever charitable organizations will have them. Basically the same situation as we have now. I understand that there’s no government use of force in Libertopia. But isn’t it strange for libertarians to talk about how unjust a policy is when Libertopia would have the same end result?

    1. I would imagine that the vast majority of property owners would not allow the homeless to sleep on their property.

      You’d be surprised. I remember there was this park like area in Boulder with a parking lot and some bushes, and the owner had no problem with homeless parking there and setting up tents out of sight as long as they kept quiet.

      Eventually some busybody found out, called the cops, and the owner was forced to make them leave because it was a violation of city ordinances.

    2. In many places, if a property owner allows homeless persons to sleep on his property, he risks fines for violations of the housing code.

  17. Sounds more like a Sheriff with too much idle time on his hands. Sure, fill up the over-crowded jails with more folks who didn’t hurt anybody or steal anything. Swell idea. And then cry about short budgets and more money down the jail…

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