IMMED. RELEASE: Diverse Coalition to Rally Against Homeless Ban in Palo Alto

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Peninsula Direct Action

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Aug 5, 2013, 2:16:28 AM8/5/13
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Stop the Ban Coalition to Rally
in Protest of Council's Homeless Ban Vote


Media Contacts

Aparna Ananthasubramanian, Stop the Ban Coalition: 248.462.4241

Stop the Ban E-mail: StopTh...@gmail.com


PALO ALTO - A diverse group of organizations and activists will be joining concerned Palo Alto residents as the Stop the Ban Coalition in order to rally together TOMORROW, August 5 in front of Palo Alto City Hall from 6 PM to 8 PM.

The Stop the Ban Coalition will be rallying to show the Palo Alto community's opposition against their city government's proposed vehicular dwelling ban. The ban targets the city's homeless population, many of whom work in Palo Alto but are paid far too little to afford to live in Palo Alto and end up living in their cars to get by.

Even if the City Council's claims that many of their constituents have been complaining about supposedly unclean, unsavory, and fearful people using the facilities at Cubberley Community Center and sleeping in their cars, the Stop the Ban Coalition knows that there are far more people in the community who feel that a vehicular dwelling ordinance is the solution to any perceived problems around safety and cleanliness with regards to vehicle dwellers.

Yet Palo Alto has pushed forward with a citywide ban on vehicular dwelling despite hearing from many concerned Palo Alto residents who feel that a ban is too harsh a measure. Also on the City Council's agenda tomorrow is the adoption of a resolution allowing the implementation of a one-year trial on no overnight parking on streets within the Crescent Park neighborhood. The Crescent Park area is home to several of Palo Alto's Silicon Valley elites, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Flipboard CEO Mike McCue.

James Lee Han, an inclusive housing activist and candidate for city council in nearby Redwood City, stated, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this just a backdoor attempt to prevent people from sleeping in their cars on quiet streets in Crescent Park? Why has this proposal been added to the consent agenda if the city is intending to have a public hearing re. a city-wide ban via an ordinance? Aside from being home to people like Zuckerberg, what's unique about Crescent Park that they need to take this extra step to 'protect' the neighbohood from so-called undesirables?

"There are other, more humane options that the City Council of Palo Alto should consider: alternatives that won't criminalize people we should be helping. We of the Stop the Ban Coalition are looking forward to presenting some of those alternatives to the City tomorrow." Mr. Han will be emceeing the rally.

The Stop the Ban Coalition would also like to express their disappointment that after their successful community dinner last weekend for the unsheltered and unhoused at the Cubberley Community Center, the bathrooms and showers were locked down indefinitely.

"These are public facilities," said Jess Hansen of Occupy Redwood City, a sponsor of the Stop the Ban Coalition. "In order to prevent unhoused people from having access to facilities where they can keep themselves clean and maintain their dignity, they have instead banned access to what is supposed to be a community facility for the entire public.

"This is another example of a lot of effort being made to drive out people who need assistance the most. Palo Alto is cutting off its nose to spite its face."

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EVENT INFO: August 5 rally and demonstration by and for members of the Palo Alto community who wish to speak out against the proposed vehicular dwelling ban, from 6 PM to 8 PM. The event will be held in front of Palo Alto City Hall at 250 Hamilton Ave in Palo Alto. Two contingents of the famed Raging Grannies will be performing at the demonstration. Many photo opportunities will be available for photographers and many members of the Palo Alto community, including vehicle dwellers, are prepared to share their stories.

NOTICE TO PRESS FOR THIS EVENT: While we have many unhoused people who are happy to be public with their stories, others do not want their names recorded or photos of them to be taken. Please respect the privacy of our unhoused neighbors and make sure to verify with any attendee if they are willing to let you use their name and/or photo, to respect the privacy of the unhoused. Name tags will have little "dot" stickers to indicate that the person is okay with media asking about their story.


The Stop the Ban Coalition is a diverse group of community members who believe Palo Alto should not enact a ban on car dwelling. We know this ban will hurt some of our most at-risk community members. We are inviting the community to join us for dinner in solidarity with unhoused community members and to discuss how to get involved before the impending council meeting. Those in the community who support the ban and have concerns about potential safety issues in their neighborhood are welcome as well. The coalition is looking forward to respectfully hearing those concerns and discussing possible alternative solutions that would benefit the entire city.

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