Letter to the Editor
Sedona, AZ –Despite attempting to gather concrete information from multiple sources on what the City of Sedona has done in response to Martin v. Boise, I have only found one City Council meeting on September 27, 2022 that addresses the relevant ordinance 9.10.010.
During the meeting, the issue is explained thoroughly, with many references to further discussion. Whether there has been further discussion or not, the ordinance remains unchanged and continues to be enforced.
I have spoken with several people who recently received a warning. After one warning, a person may be arrested.
Despite the Supreme Court’s establishment that it is unconstitutional to criminalize sleeping on public property when no local alternative exists for people without homes, the City of Sedona continues to violate citizens’ rights, quite knowingly, as the September 27 2022 City Council meeting demonstrates.
To circumvent the burden of proof needed for a criminal trial, a judge decreed that the sight of a vehicle in one place for more than 24 hours is sufficient for accusing a person of the 9.10.010 class 1 misdemeanor.
Although the Martin v. Boise ruling was made over four years ago, in 2018, Sedona has no plans to stop enforcing the ordinance. There are no plans to change the ordinance from ‘no sleeping’ to ‘no parking in one place for more than 24 hours.’
There are no plans to construct a shaded lot at the end of town for vehicle dwellers. Instead of choosing a solution, the city government continues to persecute citizens trying to exercise their right to live in peace.
The city government’s objective is to keep people who live in their vehicles out of Sedona because these people may act despicably and harm the community.
That is the supposed concern of the people enforcing an unconstitutional law violating citizens’ Eighth Amendment rights – the one against cruel and unusual punishment. That is the height of irony.
Respectfully, have you not learned from the experience of cities such as Portland, OR, Los Angeles, etc.? Provide a welcoming message to those who CHOOSE to be homeless and they will come..by the droves. I support the city’s policy to not allow camping on public streets or in areas not designated for camping. There is BLM land available for two weeks at a time. Next, you and others may want to place port-a-potties for them. Camping in vehicles…in places like parking lots, parks, church parking lots is an invitation for others to take advantage and along with it comes crime.
I agree! A parking lot would be a good solution, and there are funds available to use for the homeless.
I agree, a parking lot would solve this, and Sedona could use their funds for the homeless to build it!
Ignoring the fact that sedona had significantly larger amount of dispersed camping all over outside of the city and the city and forest service removed large swaths of that land, when everywhere else its completely legal to to disperse camp on blm and national forest land. The forest service removed that land under the justification of commercial use because it would protect the land. But now instead its being used for off roading tourism, which is way more damaging to the environment. The city of sedona also purchased the cultural center for ~21 million dollars the largest land purchase in the area since the selling of the land to finance the war and that was just to remove more land for public use. This land should never have gone to rich private owners, and we are currently going to a country wide class war.
How is the City Government allowed to break a law set by the highest court?
“Choose” is a mighty assuming inference especially since you have likely never actually spoken to a homeless person for more than a brief moment and not by choice.
If you had you’d realize that many homeless are veterans and people displaced by natural and economic disasters that plague the middle and lower class.
You might even realize that many of them likely belong in an institution of one type or another but we shut down State Mental Institutions and replaced them with prisons. There was no real money in mental health. The money is in corporate super prisons.
Some live on the streets because the only home they ever had was plagued by drugs, alcohol and or physical and sexual violence over which they had zero control so they take their chances on the streets where they tend to be victimized over and over again.
Then there are some who have elected to live the Bo Ho or Bohemian lifestyle free of responsibility for anything and usually connected to a parent’s credit account. Right or wrong always been a sect of society who elected to “live of grid” or “free”.
How do you know who is who? Do we just run them all out of town just because? Or rather do we take the time to get to know the individual and base our responses off each individual’s circumstances? When I see the homeless being run out of town just because someone’s eyes hurt to see them, it makes me think of our homeless veterans that built shanties on the streets in front of the White House during their Bonus March in order to secure the benefits they were promised prior to going to war but did not receive. Look it up, it very shamefully did not end well for the veterans who protested (Our Nations Heroes)!
You can’t yell MAGA, USA and wave the flag while taking a giant dump on Democracy and Americas most vulnerable. Just as you cannot profess to be pro law enforcement while supporting an insurrection that resulted in the direct attack upon law enforcement assigned to protect the nations Capitol and everything and everyone in it.
JB, I respectfully disagree.
Opening the door to the unhoused comes with huge consequences.
I’m progressive, but having watched Boulder go from a lovely city to a place where bikes and cars are stolen regularly, people are assaulted, women raped, garbage and filth is everywhere, the creek is contaminated with e-coli, contaminated needles are found in every public space including playground sandboxes, kids are being sold meth and fentanyl at the high school, all the public restrooms in the city are closed due to meth contamination, and fires are regularly started by campfires / propane tanks exploding (this is a major disaster waiting to happen in all desert cities)…
If you value Sedona you’ll take a good look at Portland, SF, Vancouver and learn from their mistakes.
Yes, we need to solve affordable housing. Yes, those who”ve been forced from housing due to financial hardship / dangerous living conditions must helped.
The mentally ill need help.
No, we do not need to let Sedona go the way of other progressive cities, which were once safe and welcoming and now reeling from the effects of welcoming campers (80% of whom are addicts).
and respectfully I disagree with your apocalyptic assessment of what homelessness brings.
Also I never said anything along the lines of “opening doors” to or for anyone.
I was recently in Portland for my 3rd visit. Yes it has gone through KAOS but much of the violence has been determined to have been caused by Proud Boys and other extreme right wing nut job domestic terror groups and additionally poor and or brutal policing. It now has a homeless and drug problem but the violence has for the most part ceased to exist. I used to live in Greeley CO which was overtaken not by the homeless but street thugs and punks (usually lifelong residents) who sling drugs and violence everywhere.
A good City manager will find non bias, non violence based approaches to dealing with such problems just as Detroit is finally doing after decades of extreme poverty, homelessness and drugs spurred on by racially motivated riots, burning of homes and businesses, decades of corrupt governance, gentrification, casinos going up in poverty stricken areas causing those in economic strife to “gamble” on their lives and livelihoods, almost always losing. But that’s big City! This is small town USA.
Do we have drug addicted homeless here? Yes and we also likely have as many or more people addicted to narcotic pain killers (Remember the Opiod crisis? It’s still ongoing). Drug addiction IS a mental illness just as alcoholism is. You do not CHOOSE to be either. I’m sure there is a small to median community of our homeless population addicted to some type of substance. Life is hard on the streets. Maybe you should give it a shot for 2-3 months and report back on how easy it was for you to have only the clothes on your back?
Personally I have yet to have anyone on the streets here ask me for anything directly. I get more waves and smiles than anything. So what if they have a sign asking for some generosity? It harms nothing and hurts no one! In fact I have stopped to talk with many of these folks and asked them simply how they were doing and if they needed a bite to eat? Nine times out of ten they say they are fine and thank you! Some have asked for a bottle of water or some fresh fruit! The HORROR!!
Again Peggy the homeless are people and most are citizens (all I have seen in Sedona are). So why not help a fellow citizen down and out on their luck if you have the means to do so? Or why not just be civil toward them? They might just be civil in return and remain that way for the duration of their visit if they aren’t made to feel a lynch mob is coming for them to run them outta town?
How many have been arrested for camping in Sedona?
Another article reports the Sedona Police have two officers designated to help the homeless in Sedona!
How many homeless have you assisted?
What have you contributed to help the homeless in Sedona?
If every resident contributed $100 annually via AZ TAX CREDIT the problem would be solved.