Society has established an ethnic/disabled/orientation group called the “homeless.” Various people for a variety of reasons become apart of this identifiable group just like “gypsies,” “gays,” “lesbians” and the “disabled” become a part of their particular minority groups. The “homeless,” are the only group that is not protected by hate crime laws which include: race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender.
In fact,”homeless” is the only minority group of people in which local and state governments are allowed to violate their Constitutionally protected rights.
In Palo Alto some “homeless” people are violating already existing laws such as “harassment, vandalism and littering.” The City of Palo Alto is going to outlaw the use of all vehicles by all homeless people because some of the homeless are violating existing laws in order to run the “homeless” people out of town despite the fact that most “homeless” people are law abiding citizens good for the community.
Replace the “homeless” people with “black” people and what do you get?
In Palo Alto some “black” people are violating already existing laws such has “harassment, vandalism and littering.” The City of Palo Alto is going to outlaw the use of all vehicles by all “black” people because some of the “black” people are violating existing laws in order to run the “black” people out of town despite the fact that most “black” people are law abiding citizens good for the community.
Replace the “homeless” people with “Jewish” people and what do you get?
In Palo Alto some “Jewish” people are violating already existing laws such has “harassment, vandalism and littering.” The City of Palo Alto is going to outlaw the use of all vehicles by all “Jewish” people because some of the “Jewish” people are violating existing laws in order to run the “Jewish” people out of town despite the fact that most “Jewish” people are law abiding citizens good for the community.
For all practical purposes, what does Palo Alto’s vehicle habitation law actually do?
It takes away vehicles, the property of a minority of people simply because they do not
have a fixed residence, that is Unconstitutional since the law will not be applied equally to all citizens but only to those who do not have residents even though all residents will be in violation of the law virtually every day that the law exists for everyone “inhabits” their vehicles every day they use their vehicle.
Palo Alto’s proposed law violates not only the City of Palo Alto’s own Charter, the California Constitution, the U.S. Constitution but also Federal Law as well.
Palo Alto Municipal Code
9.73.010 Statements of policy.
(a) Human Rights. It is the policy of the city of Palo Alto to affirm, support and protect the human rights of every person within its jurisdiction. These rights include, but are not limited to, equal economic, political, and educational opportunity; equal accommodations in all business establishments in the city; and, equal service and protection by all public agencies of the city.
(b) Freedom from Arbitrary Discrimination. It is the policy of the city of Palo Alto to protect and safeguard the right and opportunity of every person to be free from arbitrary discrimination on the basis of their race, skin color, gender, age, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, housing status, marital status, familial status, weight or height.
(Ord. 4795 § 2 (part), 2003)
ARTICLE 1 DECLARATION OF RIGHTS SECTION 1.
“All 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.”
Notice that the Constitution does not say, “Only fixed resident people,” it states, “All People” have the right to possess and protect property, whether they are homeless or not, as such the City of Palo Alto cannot take punish a person for owning property simply because that person does not have a fixed residence.
The 14th Amendment of the United States forbids states from making discriminatory laws by stating that: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Palo Alto’s “vehicle habitation law” would punish people due to their economic status.”
Punishing citizens simply because they are poor would constitute a violation of the 8th Amendment of the United states Constitution which states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
To subject a citizen to any fine, jail time and the loss of his possessions simply because he/she cannot afford a place to live is both cruel and unusual.
Technically speaking, it could be argued that the “homeless” fall into the “disabled” group.
The 1964 Federal Civil Rights Law, 18 U.S.C. § 245(b)(2), permits federal prosecution of anyone who “willingly injures, intimidates or interferes with another person, or attempts to do so, by force because of the other person’s race, color, religion or national origin”  because of the victim’s attempt to engage in one of six types of federally protected activities, such as attending school, patronizing a public place/facility, applying for employment, acting as a juror in a state court or voting.
On October 28, 2009 President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, attached to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which expanded existing United States federal hate crime law to apply to crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, and dropped the prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity