Letter to the editor: Enforce the law
To the editor:
I hope I have this correct: The feds can control camping on federal grounds; the state can control camping on state grounds; the county can control camping on county grounds; the university can control camping on its grounds; landowners can control camping on their grounds, but the City of Lawrence can’t control camping on public property overseen by the city because of a Ninth Circuit Court decision (Martin v. Boise) specifically citing the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Wow!
So what happened in Boise? The city spent a lot more money for more shelter space. Did the city change its ordinance? Somewhat. Did Boise turn into the armpit of Idaho? Still undecided.
Boise could still enforce anti-camping restrictions on public property if shelter is available but people refused to use the shelter.
Surely some top-notch pro bono work could be done by our Class A law school and develop plans for dealing with the urban vagabonds and panhandlers, those who want to play by their own rules and not by the rules established by Lawrence. There are criminal, health and welfare issues still to be addressed.
It is time to make some serious decisions about unauthorized camping in Lawrence. The City used to do it. Now enforce it like you used to.