Mountain View RV parking ban is cruel, unusual punishment, opponents say

Bay Area

MOUNTAIN VIEW (KRON) — Amid complaints and worries about health and public safety, the Mountain View city council has been working on a draft ordinance that would essentially ban people who own vehicles that discharge sewage from parking them on city streets.

Now the Law Foundation and ACLU have sent a letter advising the city to drop the plan says staff attorney Michael Trujillo.

“If the city is concerned about people sleeping in vehicles it needs to provide services to to folks, it needs to do outreach and come to a comprehensive solution but just passing an ordinance to force these people out of the city is patently unconstitutional,” Trujillo said.

In a statement, the city said it is reviewing existing parking ban laws in other cities but had no comment on any possible legal challenge.

A referendum on the parking ban is being considered by the Housing Justice Coalition says member and former mayor Lenny Siegel.

“These are residents of Mountain View, they work here and go to school here, if there is a problem with traffic or safety let’s deal with it but they have a right to be here,” said Siegel.

There are thought to be people living and sleeping in as many as 290 vehicles like these across Mountain View.

The city is also working on a safe-parking law that would accommodate some of the vehicles.

The Law Foundation and ACLU say the courts have held that an ordinance that bans parking without an offer of a place to sleep amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

“There is case law in the 9th circuit here on the west coast saying that cities cannot permissibly ticket people for unavoidable consequences of their being,” Trujillo said. “Which means that cities cannot criminalize homelessness where their not providing shelter or some other option for people to sleep indoors.”

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