Santa Monica : Camping Initiative Dropped

A residents group has dropped its effort to place an initiative prohibiting camping in public places on the November ballot and instead will monitor the effectiveness of what they consider a weaker law passed by the City Council.

Leaders of the group, Save Our City, said they based their decision on the word of Police Chief James T. Butts that he can use the law recently passed by the council to prevent people from living in city parks.

"Spending a lot of time, energy and money to replace a 'Ford' ordinance with a 'Cadillac' ordinance is not a wise use of resources, as long as the 'Ford' will take us where we need to go," wrote six leaders of the group in a letter to members.

As the council grappled with the divisive issue of what to do about large numbers of homeless people who have taken over some parks, Save Our City presented the council with 3,200 signed postcards from residents demanding a strong anti-encampment law.

The group vowed to resurrect the initiative if it is not enforced or is otherwise undermined or watered down after the November election, in which four council members face reelection.

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