Disabled Man Difficult San Diego Car Habitation Legislation Celebrated With Memorial – Courthouse Information Service
San Diego revived its Vehicle Residence Ordinance in 2019 after a federal judge found the previous iteration of the law was vague and arbitrarily enforced by the San Diego Police Department.
Donations for uninhabited San Diegans adorn a table at a memorial to Michael Bloom, who fought against the city’s ban on living in vehicles. Bloom was found dead in his van in June. (Court news photo / Bianca Bruno)
SAN DIEGO (CN) – Uninhabited San Diego residents who have sought refuge in RVs and RVs gathered Thursday to celebrate the life of one of their own: attorney and class plaintiff Michael Bloom, who died in his van on June 3 was found.
Bloom, 72, the lead plaintiff in the Bloom v City of San Diego class action lawsuit filed in the Southern District of California in 2017, fought against the city’s Vehicle Housing Ordinance, which prohibited residents from living in their vehicles, either temporarily or permanently.
He was found dead in his van this month after living in vehicles for more than a decade. He was unable to pay rent for his disability income of just over $ 1,000 a month after being injured in a head-on collision with a car in the 1980s.
In 2018, US District Judge Anthony Battaglia found the ordinance “both vague and arbitrary.” He issued an injunction prohibiting San Diego from giving people tickets or confiscating their vehicles under local law.
The injunction caused the city to repeal the ordinance in 2019, only to revive it with a new iteration three months later. The new law wanted to address Battaglia’s concerns about vagueness by establishing a list of factors police should use in determining whether someone actually lived in their vehicle, including owning or storing items such as cookware, food and drink Water, toiletries or containers with human waste.
The ordinance was drawn up during the tenure of former Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Faulconer, a Republican, is campaigning to replace Governor Gavin Newsom on a September 14 dismissal.
Faulconer’s campaign this week revealed his strategies for reaching out to the homeless in California, including building more shelters and enforcing laws banning public camping. Under Faulconer’s supervision as Mayor of San Diego, the city saw an outbreak of hepatitis A in 2017 that spread to the streets among the homeless, killing 20 people in the end.
Several of Bloom’s friends called Faulconer’s Vehicle Housing Ordinance “Legacy” at Thursday’s commemoration.
“This is his legacy and something we should probably keep in mind as he tries to work his way up to governor,” said Bloom’s friend and co-plaintiff Stephen Chatzky at the memorial service in Mission Bay Park, where many campers park their vehicles.
Chatzky was holding a quote as he discussed Bloom’s challenge to make ends meet on disability income.
“Michael did what he had to do and that was live in a van and try to avoid trouble,” said Chatzky.
Chatzky added, “So many times he had problems of $ 112.50 – that’s how much the ticket costs every time someone has an RV on the street between 2am and 6am. It adds up: five of those tickets and you’re prone to being towed and then your house goes away and it’s practically impossible to get it back once you’ve paid the confiscation fees. “
Chatzky – who said in an interview that his vehicle was confiscated a few years ago and paid a $ 1,000 fee to get it back – noted other city-issued parking tickets for parking in red zones or in front of a fire hydrant around half cost similar to that of drivers of oversized vehicles.
This van belonged to Michael Bloom, who lived in it until his death in June. Bloom has fought San Diego’s ban on living in vehicles since 2017. (Courthouse News Photo / Bianca Bruno)
“Some things are supposed to keep people out of the way and keep people in place, and these tickets do some of that,” Chatzky said.
Disability rights California attorney Ann Menasche represents plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit. She said the case was “finally moving towards a trial, albeit unfortunately without Michael” after the settlement talks with the city failed.
Menasche said Bloom died prematurely, in part because of the difficulties he faced as a person without permanent shelter.
“Like many other uninhabited San Diego residents who die prematurely each year, for me this immoral city policy against uninhabited people undoubtedly played a role in Michael’s untimely death at the age of 72. Michael was forced to skip meals or skimp on medication to pay for tickets. He always had to hide or avoid the police, which was a burden on himself, ”said Menasche.
Menasche read aloud, according to Bloom’s testimony, in which he told city attorneys, “I want you to stop using the law to beat people up. It’s awful, it’s depressing, it’s disgusting. They give tickets to people I love, you know. “
Battaglia certified the class this month to “include anyone in the city of San Diego who, after November 15, 2017, uses, uses, or will use an RV or other vehicle as their only form of accommodation anywhere, anytime. ”
A case management conference in the class action lawsuit is scheduled for July 16.
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