Camps must go

One need only read headlines such as “Homeless camps put Alaska creek cleanup future in question” to realize how bad things have gotten in this city.

The story, the Anchorage Daily News reports, is that the Anchorage Waterways Council wonders whether the makeshift homeless camps dotting Anchorage’s public spaces pose a threat to its volunteers, which include children, who annually clean up the city’s creeks.

The encampments often include human waste, trash of all kinds and discarded drug paraphernalia, such as needles.

That the camps pose a health and safety danger is unarguable. That they are, for the most part, illegally trespassing on public land also is unarguable. City law is quite clear. It is illegal, under 8.45.010 of the city code, to:

Knowingly enter or remain on undeveloped public or private property:

a. In violation of a prominently posted notice against trespass or use; or,
b. When the person has had other actual or constructive notice that the property is not open to the person; or,
c. After the person has been requested to leave by someone with the apparent authority to do so.

Then it gets complicated, courtesy of the oft-overturned, San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a 2-1 ruling on April 1, a three-judge court panel denied a full court review of a September lower-court decision in an Idaho case that held prosecution of the homeless who have no other place to sleep is unconstitutional, the Idaho Statesman reported. The Boise ‘anti-camping” ordinance violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the judges said.

The Boise law barred sleeping on public property, except when shelters were filled to capacity, the newspaper reported. The appeals panel said, however, the homeless still could be turned away from shelters for other reasons, such as exceeding stay limits or failing to take part in homeless programs.

Circuit Judge Milan Smith, one of three judges who heard the arguments, dissented. He said the ruling could lead to courts overturning bans on defecating and urinating in public and he warned of tent cities blocking pedestrian traffic, the Statesman reported.

He also noted the 11th Circuit upheld an Orlando, Florida, ordinance prohibiting sleeping on public property.

The 9th Circuit’s decision prompted Olympia, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; and Sacramento, Calif., to quit enforcing their camping bans, Governing reports.

Despite the 9th Circuit’s opinion in the Boise case, Anchorage must do more to rid the city of homeless camps before disease breaks out or a campfire scorches vast tracts within the city. If it means going all the way up to the Supreme Court, the city should be ready, willing and able to do just that to return public lands to public use.

If not, if we surrender our parks and public lands without a fight, this city’s future is very much in doubt.

5 Responses to Camps must go

  1. R-Dubya May 15, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    With all of the ridiculous amounts of Municipal Tax Dollars being spent on the homeless predicament here in Anchorage, what exactly are the measurable results for the amount of dollars expended on this plight?
    Is the problem growing?
    What percent of the Homeless work themselves out of homelessness and become productive taxpayers (living on the own, working a regular job, paying their own bills, off of public assistance) and becoming responsible citizens?
    What exactly are we getting in return for these precious and limited resources (i.e. – Tax Dollars)?
    Is the Muni actively utilizing various services from local Churches, whom have a pretty good record and success rate in helping the unfortunate?
    If it’s dangerous for citizens during spring clean-up, as alleged by Anchorage Waterways Council, is it not necessarily dangerous the rest of the year for citizens to co-mingle with the Homeless … Downtown, Bus Stops, Parks, Bike Trails, Traffic Intersections, Etc?
    What role do the Homeless play in providing / exuding personal effort during spring clean-up and/or any other time of the year?
    Where are the Homeless from and why are they gravitating to Anchorage?
    Finally, if this entire endeavor is a lost cause with no meaningful benefit and no foreseeable success, then why does the Muni continue to expend precious Tax Dollars on the Homelessness plight?

    Reply
  2. Morrigan May 16, 2019 at 10:12 am

    What a punch line!
    .
    “…It is illegal, under 8.45.010 of the city code, to: Knowingly enter or remain on undeveloped public or private property”.
    .
    Here’s the joke:
    .
    Members of Anchorage Assembly and an oft-published “Daily Planet” columnist knowingly trespass on an Anchorage resident’s private property, harass his family, but despite posted signs and complaints to APD, APD does nothing, resident’s got pics and clips to prove it.
    .
    And this motley mob expects to enforce the same law on bums?
    .
    No, Mr. Editor, this mob is way much more about bear-proof trash cans than trashed-out bum camps.
    .
    This mob is about getting money to put bums in subsidized housing so said bums can get physical addresses and be registered to vote in Anchorage’s mail-in ballot system which is so clearly vulnerable to ballot harvesting and ballot “corrections” of dubious authenticity.
    .
    This mob’ll get their money by –deliberately– letting crime and bums reach a critical mass that only left-leaning saviors with small, fair, sustainable taxes and a couple of City Charter changes can fix.
    .
    No? What was the most powerful, lasting message from the Lt. Governor’s crime town-hall meeting at the Loussac building?
    .
    Answer: Not one damned person from the Mayor’s office, Assembly, or APD attended, testified, conferenced in, or otherwise expressed what they were going to do about what these poor people suffered and continue to suffer.
    .
    Not one!
    .
    Reality check, Mr. Editor: Anchorage residents already surrendered any pretense to parks, public lands, private-property rights, and representative democracy when they surrendered their traditional voting process to the Assembly-mandated, easily corruptible mail-in ballot scam.
    .
    Formal surrender may be a done deal, but the resistance is alive and well and will take more than social-media censorship to squash.
    .
    What resistance? People who invest their lives and life savings to creating, and keeping, decent places to live which can be passed on to their well-educated children. People who’re fed up with bums in and out of government, an overpriced, underperforming education industry, and everything represented by the Party of Hillary Clinton and Baby Butchery. People who’ve read SunTzu’s “Art of War’, Saul Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals”, and Art Chance’s “Red on Blue: Establishing Republican Governance” to figure out how to regain control of their government and what to do with it when they get control.
    .
    First, we have to figure out how to get our traditional voting system back.

    Then maybe we can learn about, and be ready to invoke, jury nullification to help, say, someone who does better than APD at recovering stolen cars, or someone who chooses to “stand his ground”.
    .
    Maybe we could petition the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce hazmat cleanup on every damned bum camp in town. Keep in mind what EPA would do to business or private property owners for allowing this kind of biohazard contamination.
    .
    Think about this: According to the IRS, nearly any debt you owe that’s canceled, forgiven or discharged becomes taxable income to you. You get a Form 1099-C, “Cancellation of Debt,” from the lender who forgave the debt.
    .
    So, for every bum who got kicked out of a village into Anchorage, or is a Native Corporation beneficiary, maybe we could figure out how to serve that village and its Native Corporation an IRS Form 1099C reflecting the cost to the city of Anchorage for supporting their castoffs, which means these groups could be stuck with massive federal tax bills.
    .
    Maybe, in lieu thereof, we could negotiate a city-wide mass cleanup and bio-remediation with Alaska’s 13 multibillion-dollar Alaska Native Corporations.
    .
    Drugs? Maybe the Anchorage drug trade might be less problematic if city, state, and feds collaborated on vigorous RICO Act prosecutions.
    .
    Of course, if the City’s only growth industries are government, “health care”, and Medicaid expansion, maybe the human wreckage from a burgeoning drug trade is exactly what city officials want.
    .
    Maybe a more sinister, but equally logical, obvious possibility explains why so many people at the Lt. Governor’s town-hall meeting talked –again– about “known” drug houses in their neighborhoods, and the indifference of city officials to their complaints… which might explain why –no– vigorous RICO Act initiatives seem to be forthcoming from city government officials.
    .
    Maybe we could persuade America’s reconstituted Justice Department to help us understand why we must tolerate “known” drug houses in our neighborhoods. Could be an Equal Housing thing, you never know…
    .
    There’s your city’s future, Mr. Editor. What are we going to do about it?

    Reply
    • John London May 17, 2019 at 3:58 pm

      Brilliant….

      Reply
  3. John London May 16, 2019 at 11:26 am

    As long as you keep calling addicts, homeless, nothing will ever get solved.

    Homeless is made up leftist vocabulary to obscure and make the issue seem more innocent than it is and to try to put victim blame on someone else.

    A problem that the left dug culture created.

    There is a whole dictionary of similar soft soap leftist created words.

    Need I go on?

    Reply
  4. John London May 17, 2019 at 9:28 am

    As long as the fake leftist word “homeless” is used instead of the leftist created addict and substance abuse culture, nothing will EVER get solved.

    The lefties have a whole dictionary and playbook of such soft-soap bogus words all created to create victims who need their help and protection.

    Reply

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