HOUSTON, TEXAS: Back in May of this year the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the city of Houston’s draconian ordinances. These violations of human rights made it illegal for people to sleep in tents, or any other handmade shelters. It is now against the law to have a food preparation device such as a grill. If your possessions do not fit in a 3′ by 3′ container this will also get you a nice crispy citation. To add to these ‘gestapoesque’ tactics, you are breaking the man-made law if you ask your fellow human beings if they would like to donate some of their spare change, or share something to eat. Violators of these laws (made up by warm, full-bellied politicians) will be criminally charged with a misdemeanor and face fines of up to $500. One of the plaintiff’s, Tammy Kohr, said: “The main thing these laws take from us is our dignity.” Kohr, just wants to be able to keep her tent (which is her only shelter) so that she can change clothes in private and stay out of the elements. She added: “We’re not bad people. We’re just trying to survive.”
The ACLU claimed that the anti-encampment ordinance violates the 8th Amendment rights to protection from cruel and unusual punishment. For these unfortunate folks, living outdoors is unavoidable to most and freedom of choice by the rest. The inability to access the few available shelters in the city due to overcrowding, results in these tent-city type camps. The city officials are stating that their homeless populations can sleep on the ground but not in tents or on sidewalks. The ACLU of Texas staff attorney, Trisha Trigilio, said: “These latest ordinances abandon that humane approach. The City says they’re meant to get people into shelters with ‘tough love,’ but the truth is the shelters are full and Houston’s homeless have nowhere else to go.” She wrote in the lawsuit:
“Unsheltered homeless people in Houston are not in public by choice. By criminalizing possession of certain property in public, the camping ban effectively prohibits unsheltered homeless people from possessing that property at all. And by criminalizing the basic human need of sheltering oneself while in public, the camping ban effectively criminalizes homelessness altogether.”
Tickets have already been issued to some for just laying on the ground and or having a backpack on the sidewalk. I spoke with local activist, Shere Dore, in Houston, and she exclaimed: “The 6 years of being a homeless advocate, while I know Houston city government is known to pass the most despicable anti homeless laws, which is why Houston is in the middle of 2 anti homeless lawsuits, I never thought I’d see tickets for homeless putting their bag on the sidewalk or a citation for sitting on the sidewalk. Within 8 days, I received 3 tickets. Since October I’ve received 5 tickets. The first was a homeless couple, including a very pregnant homeless woman. This is without me looking for tickets but random homeless handing these to me. This means there are a lot more tickets out there. Tickets that are a waste of tax dollars. Are they really going to impose fines on people who have nothing? If they can’t pay, are they going to put a homeless person in our severely overcrowded jail for something this ridiculous? I do know had a business man or a resident shopper received a ticket for doing the same, Houston would be shamed & media would be tearing our mayor/city council to shreds. But these are homeless… just another way to bully them out of the downtown district.”
A Ronald Reagan appointee, U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt revoked the temporary restraining order that was supposed to prevent the city from enforcing its unjust rules by using the blue line gang as the armed enforcers. The pics we received prove what has been happening on the streets:
Nonetheless. the 4 plaintiffs represented by the ACLU of Texas, argued that the ordinances violate their constitutional rights. City leaders, led by Mayor Sylvester Turner, are saying that the encampments are a public safety and health issue.
In his decision, Judge Hoyt said that the plaintiffs did not meet any of the four necessary thresholds for continuing the restraining order, which would have ceased enforcement of the ordinances until the civil case is heard and decided. To prolong the restraining order, the plaintiffs had to prove “a substantial likelihood” of winning the case, and that they faced “immediate and irreparable harm,” and that any potential harm they faced outweighs the harm of granting an injunction, and that an injunction “will not dis-serve the public interest.”
Judge Hoyt, whose favorite quote is: “Blessed is a man who walks not in the council of the ungodly” wrote, “While this court is indeed sympathetic to the impact that enforcement of the encampment ordinance on unsheltered homeless individuals poses, the court recognizes the city’s police powers to enact and enforce reasonable legislation that promotes the health, safety and general welfare of all Houston residents.” All Houston residents? so the homeless that will have their makeshift shelters stolen from them are not having their “general welfare” violated? “Substantial likelihood” of winning this case? Where does it say in the Texas Constitution that people are not allowed to live in tents, and ask their fellow man for a dime? The Mayor chimed in on the ruling and cheered by saying, “I’m grateful that the judge has, for now, essentially endorsed the city’s effort to strike a balance between preserving personal freedoms of every Houstonian and eliminating threats to public health that have developed at and near encampments on public property in the center of the city,”
How can you “preserve the personal freedoms” of every person in Houston by turning a way of life into a crime just to beautify your streets and make it more palatable to your campaign donors? Mayor Turner is no better than any tyrant in history. Sweeping your fellow man out of his or her choice of homestead is immoral. If he proclaims to be a christian then he is circumventing his God’s law by doing harm and stealing from his neighbors. Here is his info: feel free to give him a piece of your mind:
Mayor Sylvester Turner
City of Houston
P.O. Box 1562
Houston, TX 77251
Phone: 311 or 713.837.0311
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or to request an appearance: email@example.com
A Pro Liberty, Pro Freedom, Human Rights Activist, very involved in a wide variety of Activism and Exposing the Truth at all costs.
This is to drive the homeless to another city such as Austin, which does jack about transients.
If these are the homeless living around the I-59 bridge, these people
are creating massive crime, gun shots fired, rapes, defecating in peoples driveways…
I have a family member living in that area, she can’t even safely leave her home now, she’s had homeless people chase her in an effort to steal her bike
when riding it to work!
Per my family member, there are homeless shelters set up with plenty of empty beds, they do not want to follow their rules, no drugs, no rapes…
these tents MUST go!
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