Walking a Mile in the Shoes of the Homeless

by on August 12, 2013 · 39 comments

in Culture, Homelessness, Ocean Beach, San Diego

homeless guy w signBy Tom Hunter

I spent five years living in vehicles at the beach in San Diego.

I knew the cops, I knew the dealers and I knew the homeless.

I was upper class, because I managed to hang onto a vehicle. I made gas money by driving a hooker to her johns. I was elated when the courts told the SDPD to stop ticketing people for being on the streets. (The police have decided in practice that court order no longer applies).

Here’s how it goes down. The homeless get a ticket. They don’t go to court. They have a warrant issued. They are arrested and jailed. They learn from their fellow inmates how to steal, how to use stolen credit cards, and how to get along in jail. It would be much cheaper to send them to San Diego State, but that’s not going to happen.

My favorite SDPD unit is the HOT Team. These are Homeless Outreach cops that go around in a big utility van. If they find someone who wants to go to a shelter or rehab, they tell them to meet them a certain spot at 9AM the following day. Sometimes the cops don’t show. I know. I tried twice. I was there one time both times.

Now many of the homeless could use some serious mental health help. Many are drug addicts. Many are both.

I’ve got a question for you. If you were on the streets, with no hope, would you lose your mind, start taking drugs or all of the above? The homeless drinkers are not much different than the sheltered drunks.

Many of the homeless are devout Christians. “ Pie in the Sky when you Die.”

Some are quite accomplished musicians. My friend Sky wrote a song about being homeless and sang it the San Diego City Council. They were impressed. It was a haunting song about being haunted by the police.

There is a good friend of mine that has lived on the beach in her Ford van for ten years or so. For the years that I was on the street she supplied me and about 50 others with clothes that she collected from Buffalo Exchange and other places. She is a sincere Christian and puts up with people that would scare you or me big time. She’s old enough to collect Social Security and young enough to skate and dance with joy and elegance.

San Diego is rightfully proud of their new permanent homeless shelter. It holds on the order of 200 people or so. But there are another 8,000+ homeless that are not going to fit in there. Chances are good the other 8,000 are not going to be sheltered in this lifetime. They are in many cases not going to have a place to shit or shower. And they are going to be in your life, whether you have to step over them or not.

There are wonderful ladies of the Catholic Workers and the Methodist Church that help feed and clothe the homeless every week. Some can even find a hot shower now and then.

The department appointed by the City of San Diego to deal with the homeless is the Police Department. They have no tools to help the homeless. But they have plenty of tools to hurt.

This originally appeared at San Diego Free Press.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Debbie August 12, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Driving a hooker to her johns?????

R U proud of that?

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avatar obecean August 13, 2013 at 10:42 am

Everybody’s gotta eat, Debbie. I find it hard to believe that anyone who read this article would single out that fact and respond as you did. Especially a woman. Shame on you!

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

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avatar Debbie August 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Obecean, as a woman I find it disturbing that a MAN gets gas money by driving a hooker to her johns. Really dude? How about getting a job and taking care of the lady instead of having her sell her body, catch disease, get put in harms way etc. etc. If some of these street people put as much effort into getting a job as they do sign holding and begging they would be able to support themselves and not be taking from society but giving. I realize there are some that cannot help themselves but for those the choose to sit and wait for a meal to come to them I have little understanding or acceptance.

Laziness is a way of life for far too many in OB. Shame on them!

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avatar SaneVoice August 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Umm, you really need to take off your rose-colored glasses. In the real world out there, it isn’t that easy to just “get a job”. Not only is the job market highly competitive, but our America continues to punish those who make mistakes even after they’ve done their time. Shame on corporate America for promoting recidivism while they themselves continue to rape and pillage the world.

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avatar obecean August 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Sounds like he would be providing protection for her if he was escorting her to & fro her customers.

As I said, everybody gotta eat! Jobs are especially hard to come by these days, in case you hadn’t noticed the poor economy we’ve been in since 2007.

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avatar Debra August 14, 2013 at 7:59 am

I agree with Debbie. I worked for over 30yrs, the last 11 of which I was permanently disabled. I underwent numerous operations (major back surgery, 4 level neck fusion, shattered upper left arm) taught myself to walk and drive a car again (with 2 numb feet), yet I managed to stick it out. What I wouldn’t give to “skate and dance with joy and elegance.” My question for Mr. Hunter is, how did he become homeless to begin with?

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avatar obecean August 14, 2013 at 10:16 am

“Driving a hooker to her johns?????

R U proud of that?”

My criticism is that taking that one bit out of this article as a test of the man’s character says more about the commenter than the man. But since you brought ity up I will shed light to the underside of this rock.

Believe it or not, there are pimps, prostitutes and johns out there carrying on their activities on a daily basis as they have since the beginning of human history. Some of these “ladies of the night’ can make huge salaries ($100,000 or more) if they are fortunate enough to cater to the upper crust.
Some places in the world it is perfectly legal. Everywhere in the world it is a fact of life. Many in society choose to turn a blind eye to all of it-“hear no evil…” It should be legal and regulated imho.

I believe if you both feel a need to attack someone & feel prostitution is wrong you should attack the prostitute and the johns, not the writer. She will likely carry on with or without him. She has made her decision outside of the writer.

Shame on you both for kicking this guy when he is down trying to gather a few bucks where he can eat and survive in this unjust world.

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avatar Debbie August 14, 2013 at 12:57 pm

It’s called get off your butt, stop sitting on the sidewalk or street corner holding a sign begging for money and GET A JOB. It’s not that hard but you do have to try. Go to the church that feeds you, get a shower, get some hand me down clothes, clean yourself up, take the but and go pound the pavement and look for job! SURVIVE without depending on others. If you can do for yourself … you aren’t surviving…just existing.

Driving a hooker is NOT a job! Nor good “Character” IMO

Difference of opinion here…. no doubt.

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avatar obecean August 14, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Easy to throw stones, aint it?

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avatar obecean August 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I’m sure if you told your story here Debbie, there’d be some things that we could deride you about. This man was honest and forthright here and should be commended for that. Instead you chose the opposite you attecked his decisions as if you have made only wholesome, moralistic decisions you entire life?

So go ahead, if you’re going to cast stones let’s hear all about you right here in the OB Rag where you seem to be prim proper without sin, full of virtue but so lacking in compassion it would seem.

Do you volunteer to help the homeless or do you just sit on your perch and lob rocks at them? What do you do that is so fantastic that gives you the right to denigrate your fellow humans for anything they have done?

Tell us Debbie, what gives you the right to hurl projectile words about someone who may be down on their luck? Or do just look down upon?

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avatar Chev Chelios August 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm

“Do you volunteer to help the homeless or do you just sit on your perch and lob rocks at them?”

I volunteer my time calling the po-po on homeless sleeping on the beach in the early morning. Sucks to get woken up by a cop but the law is the law. I consider them transients though. Most are able bodied young white guys with the occasional pet pitbull. Real homeless live on the mean streets of East Village – without pets.

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avatar obecean August 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm

“I volunteer my time calling the po-po”
Good to know..I won’t ‘fire one up’ near you, swine lover.

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avatar Gary Gilmore August 14, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Your “swine lover” comment is out of line. This isn’t the 60’s anymore. I find it without merit & sophomoric . Comments like that reduce your credibility.

avatar obecean August 14, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Calling the cops on homeless sleeping on the beach?
Not very OB. I’m sure the police are well aware of that situation.

No one addresses points I raise in my posts its just mean spirited attacks on homeless. If you review my initial post and see the angry response it drew and then the senseless attack on homeless you’ll see why it got to that point.

Why was the response to the same article so different than here??

avatar Debbie August 14, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Something tells me that you would not be the least bit interested in my life or what I have done or do to help others but…… if you would like to enlighten OB Rag Readers please post what you are doing for those “down on their luck”? Maybe some will follow your lead and get some people off the street.

Thanks for all you do :-)

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avatar obecean August 14, 2013 at 6:53 pm

You came here to criticize the author of this article. You received an angry response which you deserved. You offered no solution but the usual “get a job. ”

Debbie, if you go over to the SD Free Press article (same one) and view the comments there, you will see a lively discussion about real issues involved. Not finger pointing or moralist bs about street life. You commented in a mean spirited manner with disrespect. What did you expect an orgy of praise ?

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avatar Debbie August 15, 2013 at 10:48 am

There is nothing mean about getting a job.

There is nothing moralistic about getting a job.

It’s part of life. It’s part of supporting yourself and your family.

Get over it already….you want to support those that don’t support themselves that is your bag…have at it.

avatar obecean August 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Gotta hand it to you Debbie, you really make some great points! Geez I never thought that all a homeless person needs to do is a get a job! Why jobs are so easy to find these days in the 7th year of this recession! I just can’t understand why the homeless don’t sit underneath the jobs tree and let a couple fall in their hands, then they could even pick and choose which job they want.

avatar obecean August 16, 2013 at 10:49 am

No Debbie. You are the one who came here to criticize this man’s ethics and morals and basically told him to “get a job” on these pages. So the onus is on you to tell us what makes you so privileged to make your point of view worthy. You must be an authority on homeless issues since you seem to be directing them

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avatar Jeffeck August 14, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Debbie if there was a “like” button, I would push it for your comment.

I did enjoy the article despite the action of the subject of the article driving the prostitute.

I do empathize with those who are suffering and constantly wrack my brain for a way to solve this problem. We need to separate those you mention above who sit and wait for a meal from those who are truly needy.

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avatar Lorraine August 16, 2013 at 5:47 pm

“Ditto” to your post. Mr. Hunter’s well-written article left me with questions, including some about his education and background: how did he become homeless and how did he change his life? Which played the greater role: hard work and determination, or luck?

I’ve recently heard a retired judge speak about homelessness in San Diego, and an activist who interacts with the homeless, bringing them much appreciated clothing items and food. Both in their way, tried to inspire action within their audiences, without robust success and without solutions. Neither addressed the following:

1. Is homelessness a choice for a percentage of the long-term homeless? If so, why do they choose homelessness rather than changing their lifestyles? Besides “winning the lottery”, what life would they choose for themselves?

2. Is homelessness a result of an inability or unwillingness to adapt to a structured lifestyle? An ever increasing fast-paced lifestyle?

3. Are a percentage of the homeless, by nature, “dependent”? Not just for handouts, but because they lack the skills to cope with adversity, to evaluate their condition and formulate a plan to change their lives? Perhaps they have always relied on others to help them through life. Perhaps they don’t know how to communicate, to reach those who can help them or are too proud to ask for help.

4. What percentage are mentally ill, former/current(?) felons, drug addicts, alcoholics? What public programs are available to help them and are they likely to participate if such programs were offered?

5. San Diego has three highly regarded universities, presumably with sociology departments and well regarded sociology professors. Do any of them study the homeless, and if so, have any of our politicians contacted them for suggestions? Mayor Filner is the only politician that I’m aware of that has expressed an interest in tackling the issue: Is he the only one?

Maybe I’m asking the wrong questions, but no one else seems to be asking any, perhaps because most people assume that the homeless, in general, are lazy and have a choice to change their lives. Right now, I’m not convinced.

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avatar Gary Gilmore August 17, 2013 at 9:26 am

Lorraine, an excellent post. In most cases I think you are spot on with your questions (Mayor O’Connor had interest in the homeless issue). When time allows I’d like to carry on this discussion. Briefly I’d like to add that it’s really not the homeless that many people have issues with, it’s the bad behavior of a few that causes many to paint all homeless with the same brush. When time allows I’d like to carry on this discussion. Your post is well written. Thank you.

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avatar Lorraine August 23, 2013 at 9:31 am

Coincidentally, a recent news story showed how one woman’s efforts to provide warm coats for the homeless in Detroit has expanded to providing jobs:
http://www.empowermentplan.org/#!

Another news story reported about a federal program that forgives student debt for 10 years public service.
https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service
Seems like a great opportunity for eligible young people to gain work experience/skills and to help the homeless as the young woman in Detroit has done.

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avatar obecean August 14, 2013 at 3:34 pm

“I find it disturbing that a MAN gets gas money by driving a hooker to her johns.”
Would you prefer she hail a cab or hop on the bus to and fro her clients?

“How about getting a job and taking care of the lady instead of having her sell her body”
Gee, I would have thought that you would be a woman’s lib type since you post here on this progressive blog and would favor women take care of themselves rather than being “kept” by a man.

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avatar Goatskull August 14, 2013 at 11:52 am

Sometimes survival outweighs morality. Just a fact of life for many people.

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avatar Doug August 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm

There are a lot of messy intersections in the area. If a homeless person were to clean up an intersection and stand by the road with a sign saying: “I’m keeping this area clean. Please donate” I would hand over plenty of spare cash. Most people work very hard at miserable jobs to afford to live in OB. The homeless could certainly do the same. Clean up a section of the beach. Clean a restroom. Recycle. Pick weeds. Stand on a street corner and announce that you are a working member of the community and you might get more support.

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avatar Debra August 14, 2013 at 7:45 am

Great idea!!!

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avatar obecean August 14, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Get it started…organize! Show them how to help themselves you must be a natural!

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avatar obecean August 14, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Here is a much more comment worthy passage:
“Here’s how it goes down. The homeless get a ticket. They don’t go to court. They have a warrant issued. They are arrested and jailed. They learn from their fellow inmates how to steal, how to use stolen credit cards, and how to get along in jail. It would be much cheaper to send them to San Diego State, but that’s not going to happen.”

I believe this to be true. We live in a punitive country caught in a vicious cycle of incarcerating its underclass who get trapped in the system of police harrassment. jail, streets, shelters, hospitals, etc a punitive system all funded by our tax dollars and it’s costly: America has only 5% of the world’s population yet it is home to 25% of world’s prison population. The prison population has QUADRUPLED since 1980! Wondering where your tax dollars go??

Our priorities as a nation must change if we want to solve the “homeless” crisis. Education and job training and placement must start receiving a larger part of the pie at the expense of the dead end prison-industrial complex street. Prisons are full of non-violent drug offenders! It is time we made it a priority to make available useful job training and programs which guarantee people decent employment even for those who have served time.

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avatar obecean August 14, 2013 at 8:41 pm

The other day I spoke with a homeless man who lives in his vehicle around here lately. He claimed the other day someone put a insect fogger in his car window with his dog inside. I asked if he called the police and he looked at me as if I were crazy.

I’d like to ask all of you who are posting here and attacking homeless people verbally to stop and consider the consequences of your words. As I understand it, there have been numerous homeless types assaulted by groups of individuals around OB. Ridiculing, demeaning, and denigrating words toward them in this forum will not change the situation for the better. The community of OB has been dealing with this issue for decades. Work toward constructive solutions.

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avatar Tom Hunter August 15, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Wow! I am impressed by all the comments. I didn’t get a job (nor have I since) because I have horrible shortness of breath. I didn’t take care of the hooker because she was taking care of me (just gas money). I am amazed at all the judgement of a hooker. My god, she was an independent contractor taking care of a teenage daughter (not living with her). She put her life on the line every time she went to work. She didn’t owe anybody anything and from my point of view she was beautiful and selfless. In fact, if there are any hookers out their that need a cab, call me. I like people who know who they are and have very little interest in judging others.

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avatar Tom Hunter August 15, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Debbie,
I’m not sure what country you live in, but in the good old USA there are tens of millions of people without a job or a job that doesn’t pay enough for rent (Walmart, McDonalds, etc. Do you walk up to the homeless on the street and share your philosophy with them? Well, anyway, thanks for noticing that there are homeless. And yes, I was and am damn proud of driving Miss Daisy. She never got hurt or ripped off on my watch. Do you just watch the world go by?

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avatar Debbie August 16, 2013 at 12:52 am

yes, I just sit and watch the world go by……..try fortune telling

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avatar Tom Hunter August 16, 2013 at 5:31 am

I fear that I have stepped on the Tea Party Wing of the Progressives.

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avatar obecean August 16, 2013 at 8:11 am

Thank you Tom for your thought provoking article. I understand people’s frustration with the homeless. In this forum, any loon can lash out and then duck behind their keyboard. These folks clearly have no concept of the larger picture –the prison-industrial complex vs lack of social services. No clue of the actual day-to day plight of those who live on the streets. They say “get a job” then shrug their shoulders and walk away. No thought at all to the issues involved in the exploding crisis of homeless in this land.

Thank you Tom for writing here. I hope you write more because obviously many have no concept whatsoever of America’s growing underclass and what it has become and why it exists.

btw, I laughed at your funny comment and I hear ya, bro.

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avatar obecean August 16, 2013 at 10:18 am

Tom,
And I am the one that gets reprimanded here publicly and censored. I think there is an attitude so pervasive in our society that says “I have mine, the rest be damned”
and they can’t see themselves, let alone others in the grander scheme of things. I think this crosses party lines. What they fail to realize, so many of us are just a paycheck away from joining you and ought treat you with dignity and respect as all humans should be.

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avatar Tom Hunter August 20, 2013 at 9:32 am

Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights and Fairness Act AB-5 Homelessness (2013-2014)
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml
(a) In the State of California, there has been a long history of discriminatory laws and ordinances that have disproportionately affected people with low incomes and who are without homes, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
Look what snuck through the California Legislature in June. This is freaking news if you have no roof in your life.
(c) Today, in the state, many people are denied the following:
(1) Housing due to their status of being homeless, living in a shelter, a vehicle, the street, or the public domain.
(2) Employment due to their current status of being homeless or living in a shelter or a vehicle on the street.
(3) Housing and employment as a result of not having a fixed or residential mailing address or having a post office box as a mailing address.
(4) Equal protection of the laws and due process by law enforcement and prosecuting agencies.
(5) The ability to make certain purchases or enter certain contests as a result of not having a fixed or residential mailing address or having a post office box as a mailing address.
(6) Access to safe, clean restrooms, water, and hygienic supplies necessary to maintain health, safety, and dignity, especially with the proliferation of closures of public restrooms.
(d) Homeless persons are unfairly targeted by law enforcement, often resulting in the violation of homeless persons’ constitutional rights. Lacking the resources necessary to obtain adequate legal representation, homeless persons are often denied relief or damages through the courts.
(e) Homeless persons rarely have access to shelters, and when shelter is available, its conditions can be so poor as to jeopardize their health and physical and mental safety.
(f) Homeless persons are often forced to separate from loved ones, give up their personal property, abandon pets, and make other inhumane choices in order to access even minimal shelter.
(g) Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender nonconforming, and queer individuals often are forced to accept inappropriate or unsafe accommodations to access publicly funded emergency shelters.
(h) Children in homeless families are denied the ability to continue receiving education in their preferred school if their family’s shelter lies outside the boundaries of their former district.
(i) At the present time, many persons have been rendered homeless as a result of a deep and prolonged economic recession, a severe shortage of safe and affordable housing, a failed mental health system, and a shrinking social safety net.
(j) Section 1 of Article I of the California Constitution provides that?“[a]ll people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.”
(k) Subdivision (a) of Section 7 of Article I of the California Constitution provides, in part, that “[a] person may not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law or denied equal protection of the laws… .”
(l) Concordant with this fundamental belief, a person should not be subject to discrimination based on his or her housing status, income level, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship, or immigration status. Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this act to protect the rights of all Californians, regardless of their housing status, and to ameliorate the adverse effects of homelessness on people who have no home and on our communities.
The homeless have been handed a page explaining their rights under the new law at a feed given by the Catholic Workers at the Presbyterian Church in Pacific Beach. Now somehow we have to get word to the San Diego City Council and the San Diego Police. The City Council has just passed further laws to push the homeless in vehicles farther into the bushes.
53.2.
(a) The existence of homelessness requires that fundamental rights that are amply protected in the home and in private places be extended to the public domain to ensure the equal rights of all Californians, homeless and housed. Every homeless person in the state shall have all of the following basic human rights and legal and civil protections, except when prohibited by federal law:
(1) The right to move freely in the same manner as any other person in public spaces without being subject to criminal or civil sanctions, harassment or arrest by law enforcement, public or private security personnel, or BID agents because he or she is homeless.
(2) The right to rest in a public space in the same manner as any other person without being subject to criminal or civil sanctions, harassment, or arrest by law enforcement, public or private security personnel, or BID agents because he or she is homeless, as long as that rest does not maliciously or substantially obstruct a passageway.
(3) The right to eat, share, accept, or give food or water in public spaces in the same manner as any other person without being subject to criminal or civil sanctions, harassment, or arrest by law enforcement, public or private security personnel, or BID agents because he or she is homeless.
(4) The right to solicit donations in public spaces in the same manner as any other person without being subject to criminal or civil sanctions, harassment, or arrest by law enforcement, public or private security personnel, or BID agents because he or she is homeless.
(5) The right to the same protections that law enforcement agencies afford any other person, including, but not limited to, the right to reasonable protection from assault, domestic violence, sexual assault, or robberies.
(6) The right to rest in a public space, without being subject to criminal or civil sanctions, harassment, or arrest by law enforcement, public or private security personnel, or BID agents, except that law enforcement may enforce existing local laws if all of the following are true: (1) the person’s county of residence maintains 12 months per year of nonmedical assistance provided for in Section 17000 of the Welfare and Institutions Code for employable, able-bodied adults without dependents who are compliant with program rules established by the county, including work requirements; (2) the locality is not a geographical area identified by the United States Department of Labor in accordance with Subpart A of Part 654 of Section 20 of the Code of Federal Regulations as an area of concentrated unemployment or underemployment or an area of labor surplus; and (3) the public housing waiting list maintained by the county contains fewer than 50 persons.
(7) The right to engage in lawful self-employment in the same manner as any other person, including, but not limited to, the right to seek self-employment in junk removal and recycling that requires the collection, possession, redemption, and storage of goods for reuse and recycling, without being subject to criminal or civil sanctions, harassment, or arrest by law enforcement, public or private security personnel, or BID agents because he or she is homeless.
(8) The right to pray, meditate, or practice religion in public spaces in the same manner as any other person, without being subject to criminal or civil sanctions, harassment, or arrest by law enforcement, public or private security personnel, or BID agents because he or she is homeless.
(9) The right to decline admittance to a public or private shelter or any other accommodation, including social services programs, for any reason he or she sees fit, without being subject to criminal or civil sanctions, harassment, or arrest from law enforcement, public or private security personnel, or BID agents.
(10) The right to occupy a motor vehicle, as defined in Section 415 of the Vehicle Code, or recreational vehicle, as defined in Section 18010 of the Health and Safety Code, either to rest, sleep, or use for the purposes of shelter, provided that the vehicle is legally parked on public property, without being subject to criminal or civil sanctions, harassment, or arrest from law enforcement, public or private security personnel, or BID agents.
(11) The right to confidentiality of his or her records and information by homeless shelters, medical centers, schools, or any other publicly funded human service provider to law enforcement agencies, employers, or landlords, except that the records or information may be disclosed if the disclosure is based on appropriate legal authority. Disclosure of an individual’s records or information shall not be allowed unless the individual received oral and written notice of the legal authority to disclose this information and the individual’s right to opt out of having the records or information disclosed.
(12) (A) The right to assistance of counsel, if a county chooses to initiate judicial proceedings under any law set forth in Section 53.5. The accused shall be advised of this right to counsel before entering a plea, and any waiver of this right shall be explicit. If the district attorney’s office or its agent is representing the state in any part of an infraction proceeding, the accused shall have the right to assistance of counsel with regard to that infraction.
(B) The county where the citation was issued shall pay the cost of providing counsel under this paragraph.
(C) This paragraph shall not be construed to eliminate any protection or right to representation available under Sections 5365 and 6500 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or any other provision of law.
Well, I couldn’t have said it better myself. While Washington DC can’t get out of its own way, and San Diego can’t get Carl DeMaio and Doug Manchester to let the law be enforced, the California State Legislature has been doing good. Godsmacked.

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avatar Tom Hunter August 21, 2013 at 12:54 pm

AB 5 Human Rights for the Poor
The State of California has recognized that the homeless are human beings with rights like anyone else. They have the right to sleep and crap and beg by the side of the road if they choose. So while DeMaio fiddles while San Diego burns (just playing with himself, actually) some politicians in Sacramento were busy trying to pry the SDPD handcuffs off of our local roofless class. This is a detailed listing of 7 pages of rights (can’t leave things to a Bonnie Dumanis imagination). Here it is in all its final glory http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml;jsessionid=ddfa3b6c307f8ceb47993dd3f625
While Washington is trying to figure out who to blame for the coming disaster, some California Legislators were busy with one of the final Civil Rights issues of our time. While the San Diego City Council was busy outlawing RV’s on public streets, the California Legislature was busy telling them that what they were doing is against State of California Law.
So it has finally been put into law that it is perfectly legal to be poor, to work at Walmart and fall asleep in the bushes (on public property). It is legal to live in a legally registered vehicle (sorry Bonnie and friends).
Kind of makes you proud to be a Californian (if not particularly a San Diegan). And where is the rush to publish the good news? Nowhere that I have read. Filner can get into the Guardian, the Kardashians can get on every channel, but poor people’s rights just don’t show up on any Editor’s radar. Of course, Fox leads must bleed and the witnesses that keep popping out against Filner are now 25 years in the past. I’m sure Gloria Alread will show up with some dead bodies soon.
This law was not written by ALEC, or the Koch brothers, or the Douglas of Manchester. Evidently this law was written by politicians that decided to look up from the money being offered and go for the real gold. But that doesn’t do one thing to make the powers that be notice that the California State Legislature has slipped from their grip.
Now no doubt Bonnie Dumanis is aware of this law. She will be in no hurry to enforce it, as she has been doing the opposite for so long that it is a habit. And she knows that unless she calls off the dogs at the San Diego Police Department, they will not stand down. And why should they? The San Diego Prison Industrial Complex is a well-oiled machine that eats up vast amounts of the City and County budget.
Bust out the champagne. It’s the first time in my recollection that there is good news coming out of Sacramento!

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avatar Jeffeck August 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Looks like this bill will die in committee. I dont know about you but it is not acceptable for people, homeless or otherwise to crap in the street. We have this thing I like to call civilization and sanitation. Kinda helps us with problems like Cholera, e-coli and other such blights.. If you are so possessed to live like an animal e.g. eat off the ground sleeping in feces, never bathing etc. I will oppose you. I am willing to help those who wish to help themselves, however

As for our parks, libraries sidewalks etc. They are for all to use with respect to others. Sleeping on the sidewalk and blocking others is unacceptable. Sitting your stinking ass in a library so as to make it impossible to breathe while others are doing research is unacceptable. I am not one to say I don’t stink some at times but I do conform to the current definition of hygiene( bathing , brush teeth, etc)

Sometimes when we advocate a cause we forget some standards were put in place for a reason- so we can all get along. Our forefathers weren’t fools they had reasons for their actions. Sometimes the most “tolerant” are really the most tyrannical. Like those who foist their silly demands on others. We all want to get along with each other but I refuse to put up with this childish need for others to tolerate unacceptable behavior and down right rudeness at the expense of those of us who are just trying to enjoy our lives too.

We’re all struggling. I should not be forced to deal with craziness just because there are others who cannot get themselves help. We have a large safety net. Time to use it and those who cant should be dealt with accordingly.

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