Mayor’s Office response to letter re: street cleaning tickets

sent via email:

Thank you for contacting the Office of Mayor London Breed regarding street cleaning. In order to honor the stay home order, SFMTA will not ticket for street sweeping through the end of the month.

Parking meter enforcement will continue in order to ensure spaces are available for people who are driving and parking for critical trips. It is crucial that we still clean our streets to prevent trash buildup and local flooding. Please still move your car for street cleaning if you can. Parking enforcement will be temporarily suspended for the following: 72-hour parking limit and towing, Residential Permit Parking (RPP) permits, Commuter shuttles, Peak-hour tow away zones. For the most updated information, please consult the SFMTA website here.

I assure you that the City is taking the necessary precautions to keep our residents safe. Please reach out if you have any additional questions.

Kind regards,

Mandy Ngu

Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services

Office of Mayor London N. Breed

City & County of San Francisco

Open Letter to London Breed and the Board of Supervisors

March 17, 2020

Dear Mayor, SFMTA Board of Directors and Board of Supervisors:

You may anticipate seeing a lot of emails and messages coming from the residents of San Francisco who are “sheltering in place” regarding the parking regulations that have been announced by the SFMTA Director this week. I was hesitant to add my voice to the issue at first, since I understand the intense pressure people are under to mitigate the many problems relating to the new order.

After seeing an article that indicates SFMTA is still towing homeless vehicles and that the city is losing 4.7 million dollars a year on the towing program, I decided to act. We heard the towing program has stopped so I hope that article is inaccurate.

Ticketing is still a problem according to residents who are protesting it, so I decided to add my voice to theirs and request a Sunday parking program be enacted during the crisis.

There is a lot less traffic without the commuters streaming in to work and the streets are empty.  The need for parking turnover was given for parking meters and time limits and since that problem is temporarily suspended all parking restrictions should be suspended as well.

The city needs to support those who are still working and volunteers in every way possible. The last thing they should worry about is parking tickets. Volunteers and health care workers are distributing food, taking care of people aging in place and sheltering in place. Residents need to take care of their families. There is no excuses for ticketing and towing during a national “shelter in place” emergency.

Federal, state and local governments are rushing to establish programs to keep small businesses alive. Making parking easy is one of the cheapest ways to support the businesses that are open. Eliminating the fear of tickets will eliminate some stress for the workers who are losing income.

Please rethink the parking policy and establish a Sunday parking policy for the City of San Francisco as long the “Shelter in Place” program is in place.

Sincerely,

Concerned Citizen

City considers Street Sweeping a health and safety issue, but, suspends other parking restrictions.

Posted on nextdoor:

The following was just posted on SFMTA Twitter feed. City considers Street Sweeping a health and safety issue. They are suspending enforcement of Residential Parking, 72 hour limit/towing & commuter shuttle zones. If you have concerns or suggestions direct them to SFMTA or call 311.

ATTN: We will continue enforcement of parking rules that impact health/safety: street cleaning (as DPW cleaners ava https://t.co/yMmhTFPSN3 SFMTA @sfmta_muni

ATTN: We will temporarily suspend enforcement on: residential permits, 72-hour limit and towing, commuter shuttles, https://t.co/nBm2vZBTaB

ATT: We will continue enforcement of parking rules that impact health/safety: street cleaning (as DPW cleaners available), bike lanes, double parking, transit lane parking, yellow zones, meters (groceries, pharmacies, banks & delivery restaurants will be open) & driveway tows.

For people who call vehicles home, SF supe wants to provide safe haven

Supervisor Vallie Brown has been preparing the latest of a round of city legislative efforts to help the rolling homeless get into permanent housing and avoid racking up pricey parking and registration tickets. But getting those people to accept help is always a tough task.

The measure calls for the creation of a “triage center,” where people living in a vehicle could come to access services like showers and bathrooms without fear of their vehicle being towed. They could also then be assessed by homelessness specialists en route to services, if they choose to pursue them.

Brown’s ordinance also seeks to create a pilot program for what she’s calling a “Vehicular Navigation Center,” a safe place to park overnight for people living in a car or RV. Similar initiatives in Seattle and other California cities have been met with mixed results…

Plans in Los Angeles, where the latest official street counts show at least 9,000 people living in vehicles, and in Seattle, where counts show the surrounding county has 2,300 vehicle campers, have been met with such resistance that few have been actually launched. The most successful program is in Santa Barbara, where a program begun in 2004 has grown to include 133 parking spaces…

Sonoma County ran a lot in Santa Rosa with about 80 safe parking spots for several years until 2017, when the state funding used to run it ran out. County Supervisor Shirlee Zane, who helped spearhead the program, called it “very successful,” and said she’d like to see it replicated if money ever comes available again…(more)

City impoundment of RV dwellers’ vehicles challenged as unconstitutional

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Advocates for the homeless filed a lawsuit against The City and other agencies Wednesday for towing, impounding and selling RVs and other oversized-vehicles without a warrant, alleging that it violates the rights of an already at-risk population.

Under current policy, vehicle owners who have received five or more unpaid parking violations in a given time frame are subject to towing.

The lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court Wednesday names The City, its Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Francisco Police Department and towing contractor Auto Return. It alleges that owners are often not provided with proper notice or an opportunity to dispute the seizure, even if their vehicles are legally parked, “not involved in any crime or traffic urgency” and provide their only means of shelter… (more)

We were expecting this would go to court. Courts in southern California have so far upheld the rights of the citizens against seizure of property in these cases.

 

 

Towing worsens hardships of Oakland’s homeless

: sfchronicle – excerpt

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has been advising people to stay indoors as smoke from the Camp Fire makes air quality hazardous. I’ve been concerned about how the smoke is impacting people living in the Bay Area without homes.

I thought about Kelly Thompson and his friends, some of whom sleep in tents. Thompson is retired and a Vietnam veteran who lives in a small camper in a West Oakland field. I wrote about him this month after his pickup truck was towed at an RV encampment near 20th and Campbell streets…

The East Bay Community Law Center is part of a coalition of legal aid and civil rights organizations reviewing constitutional issues around the towing of vehicles belonging to homeless people. On Nov. 7, Osha Neumann, a supervising attorney at the law center, sent a letter to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf chiding the city for towing vehicles before it opens places for people to park their RVs and campers without hassle… (more)

Ways San Francisco nickels and dimes its residents

By Amy Graff : sfgate – excerpt (includes a gallery of ripoffs)

Parking meter rates: Up to $7 an hour Depending on demand meter prices vary from 50 cents to a maximum of $7 an hour. Thankfully meters can be paid with credit cards, because that’s  a lot of quarters…

While many of the various taxes, fees, and prices might make sense for the city’s budget, they can also make you sick and tired of San Francisco’s high cost of city living… (more)

Don’t you love living in an exclusive expensive and unhealthy city? Don’t you think adding a few thousand more jobs is the most important thing our government can do to make your life better? Or have you had enough and are ready to go elsewhere?

 

 

Coalition Demands End to City’s Unconstitutional Towing Practices

News from LCCR – SF Bay Area and Bay Area Legal Aid – Press Release

October 11, 2018

Contact: Taylor Brady, TBrady@baylegal.org, (510) 250-5234; Matt Kovac, mkovac@lccr.com, (415) 510-9601

Civil Rights and Legal Aid Groups Demand End to City’s Unconstitutional Towing Practices

Groups issue letter to City Attorney over violation of low-income people’s 4th Amendment rights

SAN FRANCISCO – One day after a federal court ordered the City of San Francisco to return an impounded car to its homeless owner, the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, represented by Bay Area Legal Aid and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, is demanding that the City immediately cease towing and impounding vehicles over unpaid parking tickets unless the City determines the owner is financially able to pay.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Bay Area Legal Aid issued a letter to City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera this morning demanding an end to the current towing policy, citing Monday’s ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California…

“The City is taking and selling the cars of low-income people across the city simply because they cannot afford to pay parking tickets. We call on the City to end its current towing policy and adopt a constitutional, common-sense approach to collecting on tickets that does not punish low-income people,” said Elisa Della-Piana, LCCR legal director...

“No one wins under the City’s current towing practices,” said Rebekah Evenson, Director of Litigation at Bay Area Legal Aid. “Poor people lose their cars without any opportunity to show that they couldn’t afford to pay.  Residents of the City lose, with increased poverty and homelessness. And the City loses financially: the value of these cars rarely covers the cost of tow and storage, and the cars are often sold at a loss. It’s time for reform.”

The City Attorney has until Friday, October 19 to respond.

Read the full demand letter here.

.. (more)

San Francisco Ordered To Return Car To Homeless Man Unable To Pay Parking Fines

cbslocal – excerpt (includes video)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the city of San Francisco to return a towed car to a homeless man who couldn’t afford to pay the parking tickets he received while working as a food delivery driver.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White said Sean Kayode had raised “serious questions” about whether the March 5 towing of his car because of unpaid parking tickets violated the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures.

White wrote that in a situation in which a car owner can’t afford to pay overdue parking tickets, “it is not clear…that seizure is reasonable in an effort to secure repayment of the debt owed.”… (more)

Judge orders SF to return impounded car to homeless man

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the city of San Francisco to return a towed car to a homeless man who couldn’t afford to pay the parking tickets he received while working as a food delivery driver.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White said Sean Kayode had raised “serious questions” about whether the March 5 towing of his car because of unpaid parking tickets violated the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures.

White wrote that in a situation in which a car owner can’t afford to pay overdue parking tickets, “it is not clear…that seizure is reasonable in an effort to secure repayment of the debt owed.”…

“We hope this opinion will induce the city to reconsider its towing policy and work with us to develop one that is constitutional and does not punish people for being poor,” said Eliza Della-Piana, legal director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil rights… (more)