Democracy was cast to the wind this evening leaving its citizens voices dead on arrival. The Policy and Service Committee clearly became a Politburo rather then a democratically elected body in its decision to not listen to the citizens it serves. The last time I looked the citizens of Palo Alto were clearly in charge. Not anymore!
Despite an overwhelming community disapproval displayed during oral communications, the council took upon itself and decided to move forward with the proposed ban making it a misdemeanor for those found inhabiting or living in their vehicle a six month jail sentence if found guilty as noted by former Santa Clara County Public Defender Aram James.
Just the first round
For many in attendance it was what appeared to be a crushing defeat for homeless rights. Not so this is just the first round says Aram James a long time Palo Alto resident and attorney. He relates;
“Folks don’t hold your heads down! Tonight was just the 1st round, the opening arguments. The politicians just played their best hand in full public view like discovery in a criminal trial we (the public) now know their best arguments–very weak at best.
Nearly thirty members of the public spoke all but two oppose this ugly draconian ordinance. Now’s the time to redouble our efforts–the full jury has not yet spoken!! Now we organize remember our weapons, jury nullification, and the defense of necessity, discriminatory enforcement and defenses to this ordinance only limited by our imagination!!!
No jury of 12 citizens will ever convict for violation of this immoral proposed ordinance!! The community united will never be defeated by self-serving politicians. It’s time to fight back elect members of the un-housed community–including vehicle dweller–to our city council”.
One thing is for sure the homeless advocates were out in force from PhD’s, lawyers, physiologists to the homeless vehicle dwellers just as predicted in the Daily Post. They really put on a “show”.
Mr. Price in his editorial seamed to vilify the homeless but if it were his newspaper racks on the line I’m sure he would be whistling a different tune. After all it’s the First Amendment he’s so proud about first and not the horrible state of homelessness on a national level.
Hopefully in round two community voices will rise to the occasion once again when full council is set to bless the ordinance so as to defeat this draconian ordinance and attack on the homeless once and for all.
Suggested legal defense strategies:
Past historic Palo Alto Police soft interactions with Vehicle Dweller