After ten grueling months since the ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals eradicated an ordinance in Los Angeles city that forbids living in vehicles, the people in charge of making laws in the city seem to have changed their minds as they are now looking into rewriting it.
Based on a statement released the previous week, Los Angeles Times reported that Mike Feuer, one of the most distinguished attorneys in the City, proposed a new and supposedly “better” version of the law.
The 9th Circuit had the original law stuck down as what they call unconstitutionally vague, saying it appeared to be too harsh and seem to single out the homeless. The law also clearly stipulates that, “no person shall use a vehicle … as living quarters either overnight, day-by-day, or otherwise.”
Appellate Judge Harry Pregerson wrote in Desertrain v. City of Los Angeles that, “Section 85.02 is broad enough to cover any driver in Los Angeles who eats food or transports personal belongings in his or her vehicle,” The judge also added “Yet it appears to be applied only to the homeless. The vagueness doctrine is designed specifically to prevent this type of selective enforcement.”
According to his report last month, the Times said, Mike Feuer suggested a less expansive definition of living in a vehicle, which is a clear indication of his willingness to help out the homeless. He also added another proposal which contains a different law that provides special permits for what he called as ‘car camping” on nonresidential streets.
Despite the old law had been on the books for a whole, its implementation have already commenced prior to the decision, specifically in gentrifying Venice Beach neighborhood in LA. There have been reports that residents in the area have complained that vehicle dwellers are not as good as they seem as they throw litter in the streets, make unnecessary noises and relieve themselves in alleys.
Based on an interview with Civil rights attorney Carol Sobel, who represented the plaintiffs in Desertrain, Feuer’s proposal was “a vast improvement,” nonetheless that homelessness continues to become a serious problem. Los Angeles is currently associated with multiple initiatives that appears to be “anti-homelessness”, these include the Mayors’ Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, but Sobel says there isn’t even enough housing for the top-priority recipients in those programs.
The newspaper revealed that in one of their interviews, Carol Sobel stated that, “There is a problem with putting people in jail for performing life-sustaining functions when there is no other place to do it.”