Monterey Sitting Ban Denies Homeless The Right to Rest During Business Hours

NORSE’S NOTES:  Following in the pawprints of its elder bigoted brother Santa Cruz to the North, Monterey has reversed itself from a similar proposal a year ago and passed a Sitting Ban that is somewhat less stringent.  In 2013, a big turnout of homeless activists, housed supporters, and social service providers sent a similar Ban back to the staff, from which it has emerged zombie-like to stalk the homeless community.
                    The Monterey law, unlike the Santa Cruz law applies only from 7 AM to 9 PM, mirroring a similar law proposed (but defeated) in Berkeley. Santa Cruz’s Sitting Ban is 24-hours long (MC 9.50.012).  Like the Monterey law, Santa Cruz’s was passed with no stats proving any kind of meaningful business concerns other than the anxieties of post-earthquake Santa Cruz and the special interests of merchants, then lead by Bookshop Santa Cruz owner Neal Coonerty.
                      The sitting ban and the smoking ban are the primarily weapon used by Officer Barnett against homeless people downtown (See “Report from SCPD Corner” and the Barnett ticket citation record at https://www.indybay.org/uploads/2014/09/18/barnett_cites.pdf ).

On Monday in Monterey, sitting on the sidewalk was still OK but by Wednesday, you could be facing a citation from police for doing the same.

“They are interfering with my business,” said Joseph Aiello of people who he says are often sitting around outside his jewelry store.

The idea of a sit-lie ordinance has been a long time coming for Aiello and his business. He says that people loitering outside his shop deters potential customers.

“When they see panhandlers out on the street, they feel uncomfortable and therefore, they walk by real fast to get to where they are going,” said Aiello.

Starting Wednesday, between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., officers have the authority to tell people to get up from the sidewalk in downtown, Cannery Row and along Fremont Street.

The first offense is a warning.

“For the next 30 days, that warning stays in effect and if you are found doing it again you get a citation,” Monterey police said.

Officers insist they won’t just be targeting homeless individuals.

“If this is something that is applied and and targets a specific group of people, we’re gonna catch a lot of flack for that,” said Monterey Police Chief Phil Penko.  “The application is the key.”

Penko say he hopes his department doesn’t have to write a single ticket even though Aiello says his business, a staple on Alvarado Street for the last 30 years, is in trouble and the loitering isn’t helping.

“The downtown businesses are struggling, struggling to stay in business and it does not help or improve having them always on the street,” said Aiello. “

There are exceptions to this rule -you may sit on the sidewalk if you have a medical emergency, are attending a parade or festival, or you’re in a wheel chair or baby stroller.

Here is the full text of the ordinance:

In response to increased complaints regarding safety concerns created by obstructed sidewalks, the Monterey City Council adopted Monterey City Code §32-6.2. This ordinance, which goes into effect October 1, 2014, prohibits sitting or lying down on the sidewalk in front of property designated on the General Plan map for mixed use areas (see map) between 7:00 a.m.  and 9:00 pm.

The ordinance contains exceptions for people: (1) experiencing a medical emergency, (2) using a wheelchair or other device for mobility; (3) for people sitting on a public bench or bus stop; (4) operating or patronizing a commercial establishment conducted on the public sidewalk pursuant to an encroachment permit (e.g., a sidewalk café); (5) participating in or attending a parade, etc. with an event permit or other applicable permit; and (6) a child seated in a stroller. It also requires that no person will be cited without first being given a warning by a peace officer that he/she is violating this section. One warning given by a peace officer is sufficient for a 30 day period for subsequent violations.

Police officers have been actively working to inform people in the designated business districts.

 

On Monday in Monterey, sitting on the sidewalk was still OK but by Wednesday, you could befacing a citation from police for doing the same.

“They are interfering with my business,” said Joseph Aiello of people who he says are often sitting around outside his jewelry store.

The idea of a sit-lie ordinance has been a longtime coming for Aiello and his business. He says that people loitering outside his shop deters potential customers.

“When they see panhandlers out on the street, they feel uncomfortable and therefore, they walk by real fast to get to where they are going,” said Aiello.

Starting Wednesday, between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., officers have the authority to tell people to get up from the sidewalk in downtown, Cannery Row and along Fremont Street.

The first offense is a warning.

“For the next 30 days, that warning stays in effect and if you are found doing it again you get a citation,” Monterey police said.

Officers insist they won’t just be targeting homeless individuals.

“If this is something that is applied and and targets a specific group of people, we’re gonna catch a lot of flack for that,” said Monterey Police Chief Phil Penko.  “The application is the key.”

Penko say he hopes his department doesn’t have to write a single ticket even though Aiello says his business, a staple on Alvarado Street for the last 30 years, is in trouble and the loitering isn’t helping.

“The downtown businesses are struggling, struggling to stay in business and it does not help or improve having them always on the street,” said Aiello. “

There are exceptions to this rule -you may sit on the sidewalk if you have a medical emergency, are attending a parade or festival, or you’re in a wheel chair or baby stroller.

Here is the full text of the ordinance:

 

In response to increased complaints regarding safety concerns created by obstructed sidewalks, the Monterey City Council adopted Monterey City Code §32-6.2. This ordinance, which goes into effect October 1, 2014, prohibits sitting or lying down on the sidewalk in front of property designated on the General Plan map for mixed use areas (between 7:00 a.m.  and 9:00 pm.

 

The ordinance contains exceptions for people: (1) experiencing a medical emergency, (2) using a wheelchair or other device for mobility; (3) for people sitting on a public bench or bus stop; (4) operating or patronizing a commercial establishment conducted on the public sidewalk pursuant to an encroachment permit (e.g., a sidewalk café); (5) participating in or attending a parade, etc. with an event permit or other applicable permit; and (6) a child seated in a stroller. It also requires that no person will be cited without first being given a warning by a peace officer that he/she is violating this section. One warning given by a peace officer is sufficient for a 30 day period for subsequent violations.

Police officers have been actively working to inform people in the designated business districts.

 

__._,_.___

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *