Cal Dem Seeks Expanded Rights for Homeless
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, introduced his Assembly Bill 5 early last month. Local laws governing urban camping, sleeping, loitering and the like often are attacks on homeless people, Ammiano aide Carlos Alcalá argues in this piece published last month in the San Francisco Bay View.
The measure, which is a long read, would establish several rights, including these and others:
"The right to engage in life sustaining activities that must be carried out in public spaces because of homelessness, including, but not limited to, eating, congregating, possessing and storing personal property, urinating, or collecting and possessing goods for recycling, even if those goods contain alcoholic residue, without being subject to criminal or civil sanctions, harassment, or arrest by law enforcement, public or private security personnel, or BID (business improvement district) agents."
"The right to 24 hours a day, seven days a week access to clean and safe public restrooms."
"The right to make his or her own decisions regarding whether or not to enter into a public or private shelter or any other accommodation, including social services programs, for any reason he or she sees fit, without facing criminal or civil sanctions, harassment, or arrest from law enforcement, public or private security personnel, or BID agents."
Former Sac Bee Reporter Carlos Alcalá becomes the communications director for Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, can be reached at Carlos.Alcala@asm.ca.gov.