Monday, November 20, 2006

Homeless law unconstitutional- Federal Court

News Flash

Homeless law unconstitutional

A federal court judge ruled this morning that the city of Las Vegas' ordinance prohibiting the feeding of homeless people is unconstitutional because it targets a particular segment of the population.

Judge Robert Jones directed city attorneys to redraft a law that limits the number of people at a park gathering and sets restrictions on how frequently a particular group can gather. In the meantime, community activists can resume feeding the homeless.

Posted: Monday, 20-Nov-2006 1:33 p.m.

Las Vegas Review Journal

Mom's Comments: This was quite a surprise that a conservative judge granted us an injunction. Thank you Judge Jones!

Unfortunately, just like the Fremont Street Experience Freedom of Speech and Expression issue, the mayor and city attorney have promised to draft up another law. Pitiful that they don't use their energy to work on solutions. They would prefer to use their energy and taxpayer time to continue to fight to WIN just for the sake of winning??

What good does it do to have over 3500 homeless youth in Las Vegas? What good does it do to have over 4000 homeless veterans in Las Vegas? Don't they realize that the WHOLE community wins if we work on positive solutions to end or minimize homelessness and poverty?

Sharing food with hungry people in a Public Park should not be a crime. A criminal activity! Even IF we had adequate social services, "indigent" people should not be forced to eat in a "designated" location.

Reminder to City Attorney Brad Jerbic: you keep telling the public (and even the Judge) that "Ms. Sacco lures the homeless" to the public park with food and then deserts them. And then they have no way of getting back home. Please, Mr. Jerbic, where is their home? And Mr. Jerbic, if they have no transportation to get back home, how do they get to Circle Park in the first place?

You fail to tell the public that the homeless were already in Circle Park before Ms. Sacco started going there. Circle Park area IS their home. You fail to tell the public that years back (and it continues today) the City of Las Vegas performs homeless sweeps in the northwest part of the city which is called the Homeless Corridor WHERE THE SOCIAL SERVICES ARE LOCATED. These sweeps disperse the homeless throughout the valley, not Ms. Sacco's food.

And then the mayor and city attorney say that they defend "the ordinance as part of the effort to steer the homeless to social service groups." (New York Times)

Shannon West, regional homeless services coordinator for the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition also states, "Offering food at the park separates the people from the social services they could be getting... And feeding them at the park draws the homeless to the area."

Does any of this make any sense to anyone?

And last but not least, "Residents voiced complaints and frustration with a park littered by broken beer bottles, condoms and syringes..." (same source as above)

The mayor and city attorney keep repeating this accusation over and over. In addition, I keep hearing the same ONE story about a naked man in the park. Chris Guinchigliani has also made the comment about the broken beer bottles, condoms and syringes.

And my comment is this: no matter how many times you say this, it will not make it true. The above accusations are not the norm at Circle Park. Anyone committing a crime, ie, drug use, public urination or defecation, violence against another human being, prostitution, etc., etc. should be arrested whether they are homeless or non-homeless. If homeless people are cited or arrested for being in the public park before opening hours (7 am) or after closing hours (10 pm) then NON-homeless folks should be cited and arrested when they take their daily jog through the park at 5 am.

Obviously, I don't support arresting anyone for being in the park before or after hours. I believe the public parks and the restrooms should be open 24 hours a day.

These ordinances are blatantly aimed at homeless and poor people. And these ordinances are selectively enforced.

On a positive note, I want to commend the people and the casinos for putting together the new upcoming program Three Squares. I thank you for contributing in a positive way.

Food is a Right, not a privilege!

1 comment: said...

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