Los Angeles Times – 8/22/2006
Los Angeles has passed an ordinance which makes it illegal for anyone to “camp on public sidewalks.” The ACLU has filed suit against that ordinance, which has been held-up by federal court order in April, pending resolution of the suit.
The “campers” are mostly on Skid Row in Los Angeles. “Tents” have multiplied in the area, while arrests for crimes have decreased 23%. The L.A. Police Chief and the L.A. City Attorney have both said they will resist further compromises with the ACLU, which the court seems intent on forcing, through court-ordered meetings for further agreements.
The “tents” do not have bathroom facilities. Of necessity, the ACLU claim of a “right” to “camp” on the streets of L.A. also included the “right” to defecate and urinate on the same streets. The court has not explained why it is in a better position, logically or legally, to decide questions of public health and safety for Los Angeles, than the elected representatives of its citizens.