End the Vannucci Injunction against County of Sonoma, City of Santa Rosa et al.
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Dear District Judge Vince Chhabria
RE: Case No. 3:18-cv-01955-VC
Nicholle Vannucci et al., Plaintiffs, v. County of Sonoma (County), City of Santa Rosa (City) et al., Defendants
The Vannucci injunction applies unreasonable and nearly impossible-to-implement conditions to shelter requirements for homeless individuals. Under the injunction, homeless individuals may decline shelter for nearly any reason tied to inadequacy of the shelter offered by the City or County, where such inadequacy is based solely on the homeless individual's definition of inadequate and solely on such individual's description of personal disability or fears, with no need for an independent, third-party confirmation of same. No medical check is necessary; no proof of pre-existing disability is required. This has tied the hands of law enforcement, preventing enforcement of no camping laws and regulations and has directly caused our homeless situation to spiral out of control in the City and County.
Homeless individuals are routinely offered shelter by law enforcement and outreach workers, and routinely decline this shelter, while continuing to branch out nearly unabated into City and County public spaces, including parks, creeks, sidewalks, business fronts, business parks, and neighborhoods. Routinely now, homeless individuals time and again choose to live in public spaces, allowing many to purchase, sell, trade, and exchange illegal drugs, unfettered by City or County law enforcement and unconstrained by the use restrictions typically in place at City and County homeless shelters. Mental illness, the result of long-standing or heavy use of such drugs, including fentanyl, methamphetamine, and heroin, is now readily apparent, with multiple instances of homeless individuals walking into public streets, acting erratically, placing their lives, and those of others nearby, at risk. Numerous fires, set by homeless individuals, at times likely while cooking drug mixtures, have taken place in the City, since onset of the injunction. Increasingly, those living on public spaces are accumulating massive amounts of trash, garbage, and personal property within such spaces, routinely blocking the use of key sidewalks, in contravention of federal ADA laws and regulations.
Something must be done.
We respectfully ask the Court to protect residents of the City and County, who have been disproportionately negatively impacted by crime, drugs, garbage, and human waste.
This is not a housing shortage; it's not some big problem needing large infusions of money and capital. Instead, this is a lifestyle choice for a majority of homeless, fueled by drug addiction and mental illness. It is time to repeal or sunset the Vannucci injunction and save our community from further decline.
By signing this petition, I respectfully request your consideration to give weight and emphasis to all those of us in the City— parents; children; families; homeowners; renters; taxpayers; business owners; and property owners — impacted over the past several years by the wide-spread homeless encampments.
Here are just two examples, each new, of public health and safety issues resulting from lawless actions by a homeless individual or individuals, allowed on the street as a result of the injunction. The first is a very sad case, the result of a process put in place which fails everyone. Here, the impact to the child may be long-lasting. The second is just one in a series of impacts to our City from the constraints put in place by the injunction: stealing from a public school to feed an addiction to illegal drugs.
With the Vannucci injunction now extended through December 31, 2020, it’s time the City, County, and US District Court take our interests to heart, reflect the dreams and desires of our families, and make certain to prioritize the interests of all hard-working City residents.
Given the foregoing, we hereby respectfully request the Court end or sunset the Vannucci injunction, putting the interests of us first and stop the lawlessness and threats to our public health and safety.
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