The criminalization of homelessness is both

Arcata’s Municipal Code contains ordinances that violate our
8th Amendement and 14th Amendment rights.
Arcata Municipal Code
SEC. 10004. Overnight use prohibited.(Amended by Ord. No. 1205)
Sleep is a human necessity, not a luxury or privilege. This ordinance prohibits sleeping outdoors in Arcata, thereby punishing the homeless with sleep deprivation. This violates the EIGHTH AMENDMENT to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees us freedom from “cruel and unusual punishment.”
Similar anti-camping ordinances have been successfully challenged in Portland, Oregon (State of Oregon v. Wickes); Santa Ana, California (the “Eichorn decision”); Miami, Florida (“Potinger v. City of Miami”); and Austin, Texas (ruling by Magistrate Jim Coronado).

Arcata Municipal Code
SEC. 4560. Sitting or Lying on Public Sidewalks, Obstructing Movement
The FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT to the U.S. Constitution guarantees “equal protection” to all persons “born or naturalized in the United States.” This law prohibits selective enforcement of the law against certain groups, such as the homeless.

Know Your Rights!!!
Trespassing:You cannot be given a trespassing ticket just for sitting, camping, or using a sidewalk or other public area. Trespassing tickets can only be issued for being on private property or state-owned property not open to the public. In the case of private property, you cannot be given a ticket without the property owner filing a complaint, except for properties that have a trespass agreement with the city. In either case, trespassing tickets cannot be given to anyone who hasn’t been first given the opportunity to leave the area.
Park Exclusions:In public parks, you can only be excluded if you have violated a law or park rule.
—Karen GilmoreOregon Legal Aid Office


  1. Anonymous Says:

    Quote an Oregon legal expert? Hmmm. Ya’ll know Arcata is in California, right?

    As for Arcata municipal code, read it why don’t ya? The blocking sidewalks ordinance doesn’t say anything about homeless people. Last I checked, most homeless people could stand up and walk like everyone else. I also had this funny idea that sidewalks were for walking on, not sitting and blocking pedestrians. Are you saying homeless people are squatters and not pedestrians?

    Why don’t you stop maligning the homeless and try doing something productive to help them?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I believe the blogger is asserting that Arcata’s homeless population consists of lazy layabouts who sit on sidewalks because they lack the mental faculties (or are drunk out of their gourd, per the blogger’s earlier entry) to walk across the street and sit on the soft and lush Plaza lawn.

    He does a disservice to all of of Arcata by degrading people like that.

  3. the PLAZOID Says:

    Thank you “anonymous” for your comments.

    I am not convinced that you are actually reading the posts before you comment.
    The relevant Arcata Municipal Code is included in this post, as well as some court cases that have successfully challenged similarly unconstitutional ordinances.
    In addition, the Humboldt County Superior Court agreed on May 12, 2005 (People v. Porter T0310779M).

    Once again, the assumption that homeless people are drunk or lazy shows the kind of prejudices held against unhoused people.

    Maybe one day you too will be homeless.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Er, actually, my comments were based on your comments. Your assumption that these ordinances single out homeless people is inherently outrageous. You are the one asserting that homeless people are drunkards blocking sidewalks.

  5. the PLAZOID Says:


    The ordinances mentioned forbid SLEEPING in public, and sitting or laying down on the sidewalk. The ordinance used to charge (formelry) homeless Porter in People v. Porter T0310779M, which went to trial this year (2005) forbids GROUPS of people from blocking the sidewalks, and Porter was by himnself.

    None of the ordinances mentioned have anything to do with alcohol.

    Thank you for your interest.

  6. Captain Ottinger Says:

    I gotta say, if a single person is indeed blocking the sidewalk, by all means, arrest the jerk. He’s accomplishing a public annoyance that normally takes a group of people to do. Plazoid, you only make that guy seem more guilty.

  7. the PLAZOID Says:

    You’re assumption that the man was indeed “blocking the sidewalk,” inspite of the FACT that he was found NOT GUILTY of blocking the sidewalk in Humboldt Superior Court demonstrates the way in which profiling by the police and bigotry on the part of the some members of the public creates the “illusion of consent” to the abuse of certain parts of society.

    This attitude of relinquishing of authority to the cops, even when they abuse their power, opens the door to the abuse of innocent people, the fractionalization of the community, and the demise of our liberties.

    Don’t fall prey to the tactic of “divide and conquer.”
    The police officers are supposed to be “public servants,” not “secret police,” and they should be held ACCOUNTABLE for their actions. Instead of covering up human rights abuses and constituional violations we should stand in solidarity with the meakest amongst us for our universal rights, and acknowledge our interdependence upon each other, like members of a family.

  8. breathing Says:

    So, non-violent spontaneously organized overthrow of the state (and their dubious band of flying monkeys) is probable. The transcendence of the ‘divide and conquer- isolate and harvest’ neo-Hegelian political tendencies held in cosmic juxtaposition with instant liberation via essenic zen anarchism, urban or otherwise.

    Plazoid said…
    Maybe you will take it seriously when it’s your turn to lay face down on the concrete with a police boot on your neck and a shotgun to your head
    11:05 AM.

    Anonymous said…
    Heh, hood and shotgun. What fantasy land do you inhabit? It sure ain’t Arcata. Keep talking. You only worsen your case.
    11:12 PM

    Plazoid: Self-actualization through right speech shall be a worthy asset within this praxis of non-violent social accord. Compassionate discipline (eightfold path accordingly) transmutes that which these ‘illum-anonymous’’ purport. It’s a Job that some enjoy professionally, namely attempting to counter the illusory terrorist threat posed by that which can not be countered or controlled. Hmm. Hehheh.

    As such here’s an anecdote for inclusion:

    According to police information, Jesse Quindt was contacted by Arcata police officers in response to an unidentified complaint call. NOT ½ block from the Co-op, two police cars were noticed stopped. From a vantage point directly across the street, 4 witnesses gathered to overhear questioning of Mr. Quindt during a detainment by Park Ranger Brent Chase and Sergeant Ron Sligh. There between 2 parked vehicles both officers stood with arms crossed about 10 feet away from their quarry. Jesse was questioned mainly by Ranger Chase while being corralled along the fence. Clean, well spoken and intelligible responses came from Jesse in response to each question. Elaborations from Jesse sounded perfectly cogent. Mr. Quindt articulated that he was well, thank you very much. Little did anyone on location surmise (besides the cops themselves) that the detainment was in actuality an ‘on the spot’ psychiatric evaluation. This young man was about to demonstrated upon. Jesse suggested they write him a ticket for whatever he ‘did wrong’ and he’d be on his way. He asked for the reason he was being detained and questioned and intimidated.

    The officers did not answer his questions which were aimed to clearly resolve the situation. Instead there was more questioning by the police and eerie periods of silence. Mr. Quindt stood composed. No mention of a complaint call. Now, ten minutes into this detainment, a third police cruiser showed up; Officer O’Connor on the scene. He joined in the formation around Jesse as the isolation and harvest processed. The police formation shifted and the arrest maneuver began. Witnessed watched on, myself in mystical disgust.

    One of the witnesses petitioned the officers, “What is he being arrested for?”
    Officer Sligh: “He’s not being arrested; he’s being taken to Sempervirens”
    Mr. Quindt: “I don’t want to go there.”

    From the Plazoid’s archives:

    If the police stop you:

    Ask, “Am I free to go?”
    If not, you are being detained.
    If yes, walk away.

    Ask, “Can you explain why you are detaining me?”
    To stop you, the officer must have specific reasons to suspect your involvement in a specific crime (not just a guess or a stereotype).

    It is recommended that, for everyone’s safety, you do not resist physically.

    Remember names and badge numbers of officers involved.
    If a cop tries to search your home, your car, or your person, say repeatedly that you do not consent to the search.

    It is recommended that, for everyone’s safety, you do not resist physically.

    If the police arrest you:

    Say repeatedly, “I don’t want to talk until my….”

    (Jesse seemed to follow this scenario presented up until the arrest point)

    Officer Sligh declared, while being questioned later by a witness at the Police Station that Jesse was ‘seen and talking to somebody that was not there’. In these trying times, talking aloud is a proper and innocent act of political dissent. As such, communicating outwardly was enough to warrant this ‘police call to sick- code 5150’. This disintegrating society is thrusting upon hapless citizens a price of ‘involuntarily commitment’ to the psych-ward for the service of being driven mad. Even if said people are peaceable and non-threatening, the Arcata Police Department can now play the role of outreach psychiatrist.

    Jesse maintained poise throughout this all, knowing that as a regular of the Arcata’s outside living experience, he was prone the dichotomous ‘helping hand /strong arm of the law’ that manufactures degenerative, perfidious individuals out of human beings engaged in free expression of their first, fourth and eighth constitutional guarantees. Implementation of this Patriot Act methodology at the behest of the occupying force created a casualty of an Arcata man empowered by spontaneous individuality.

    It’s also possible that part of the determination of Jesse’s mental/physical competency was based upon the fact that he had been sleeping near where this incident transpired.

    The war against insurgency (freedom fighters) is replicated in America as a war against anarchists and advocates of justice and enlightenment. The public eye can now recognizing the craft of anonymous ruling-class semantic warfare. Choose truth and freedom.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    RE: This disintegrating society is thrusting upon hapless citizens a price of ‘involuntarily commitment’ to the psych-ward for the service of being driven mad. Even if said people are peaceable and non-threatening, the Arcata Police Department can now play the role of outreach psychiatrist.
    A disabled elder was 5150’d at local ER Dept. recently while seeking help for intractable chronic pain not being helped by his legal RXs, so staff confiscated them, sedated him, mocked his physical pain, told him cops were coming. He pleaded he was quite rational but was forced to flee the hospital in horror!

  10. musicwoman Says:

    See my blog on LEGACY ON THE LAND AND HOMELESS. I’d be interested in your take on this.

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