According to a Los Angeles Times article, the ACLU filed a civil rights suit because police, through harassment and arrest, routinely violates homeless people’s constitutional rights as the city fails to provide sufficient shelter beds.
Quoted in the 20-page complaint, the ACLU claims that Santa Monica should act as an oasis for homeless to live and sleep outdoors because its climate makes being homeless less horrible.
This is clearly a complex issue that has some emotional elements to it.
Unfair about the ACLU complaint is the idea they seem to argue that the City of Santa Monica, because it enjoys nice weather, has a greater obligation to provide homeless services.
This is completely ridiculous.
Santa Monica, as well as most coastal cities throughout California, would seem to be very hospitable places to live. It’s one of the reasons many choose to live here.
But to say these coastal cities with nice climates must become shelter for the rest of the state would simply be poor public policy.
Under the same logic, couldn’t desert areas around the state relinquish responsibility to provide services to constituents during the summer because it’s less hospitable outside?
Each community in this state has an obligation to address the homeless issue. In that, we would agree with the ACLU.
But the organization’s basis that Santa Monica has an obligation beyond its own population, based on being a nice place to live, is completely inappropriate.
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