December 16, 2019
The US Supreme Court’s refusal to hear, or even comment on, the Boise case is disappointing to say the least. It is curious that from the five conservative justices they could not find four to agree to hear the matter. My best guess is that because cities do not actually arrest homeless persons due to their unhoused status alone, the justices assume the matter is moot. Whatever the reason, our mission is not changed. West Coast municipalities have been hamstrung by this case and are struggling to find solutions. But that still doesn’t justify a municipality, like Los Angeles, abdicating its responsibility to maintain public health and safety for all persons, housed and unhoused alike. Cities are going to have to start focusing on real, effective, and big solutions—FEMA-style emergency shelters—to address this crisis. Now that Boise is here to stay, we don’t have any other choice. Our mission to seek immediate shelters via court orders only becomes more urgent. Return to some normalcy on the sidewalks can only occur when this happens.
We have been meeting with political leaders of the City and County to inform them directly of our intentions in filing a lawsuit. We want to take this opportunity to speak directly to them before litigation prevents such discussion. At the same time we are requesting that the entities consider entering into a “settlement” which would provide for court intervention. There are political benefits to such a resolution. Forthcoming meetings with Mayor Garcetti’s office and the City Attorney will be very important. We expect to file by mid-January unless an agreement is reached.
My best holiday wishes to all.