Saturday, September 2, 2017
We are your fellow Santa Barbarans. We work here, go to school here, contribute to the community, and we’ve been made personae non gratae by the Santa Barbara City Council. We are the people living in the "oversized vehicles" that the City's oversized vehicle parking ordinance will ban from parking on City streets, beginning September 5.
Federal and state courts are increasingly siding with the poor against this sort of discriminatory legislation. The last time this City outlawed people living in vehicles, that law was challenged in court, but the City settled before the court ruled on whether the law was discriminatory.
Apparently in an effort to sidestep the issue of discrimination, this oversized vehicle parking ordinance pretends to address traffic safety. However, because its true intent is to force our homes off City streets, it remains susceptible to court challenges on the basis of discrimination.
Once again, our lives will be disrupted by discriminatory policing. Once again, we will not be reimbursed for the losses, incurred to our properties, livelihoods, and peace of mind, by this discriminatory legislation.
This is a cruel law. It strikes fear in the hearts of well-intentioned poor people. Surely the City has enough parking places for us. We are caught in an iron triangle, between real estate practices, business interests, and our government. Where is the voice of the community?
There are not many of us. Soon we will be forced to relocate. If the courts restore our right to live within our means, it will be too late for some of us. We need to find somewhere to live while our fate winds its way through the legal process. Unlike those in power, we don’t have lots of resources at our disposal.
Doesn’t our city government have more pressing business? Does anybody have places for us to park?