Richard Shapiro is fighting a campaign on behalf of recreational vehicle owners against the City of Carlsbad.
Effective January 1, 2013, the city intends to ban RVs on Carlsbad city streets due to complaints of overnight parking and camping, among other reasons.
In a mid-October meeting, Bryan Jones, the city’s deputy transportation director, indicated RVs have become a concern due to “quality-of-life, health, and safety issues,” in part due to increased homelessness in the city.
In July, homeowners in the Avenida Encinas area reported increased numbers of RV campers and had complaints associated with them. More than one resident stated their concern about a transient occupying one of the vehicles who is allegedly a registered sex offender.
As a result of the complaints, the city council decided to have an ordinance drafted to solve the problems. Well in advance of an ordinance enactment, Richard Shapiro has launched an effort to prevent any such impositions on RVs in Carlsbad.
A draft of the ordinance is not available yet but is expected to address some of the problems that exist with current enforcement. Penalties for violation of the ordinance are expected to include fines and the possibility of being towed.
Shapiro is seeking support for his effort against the ordinance, including asking for higher attendance at council meetings. He intends to widely publicize the issue by distributing a flyer around the city and on social media. Additionally, he asks for help in “finding an attorney for a class action lawsuit if it passes, etc.”
On the flyer entitled “To All Those Who Profess To Be an Adult, not an insane child in an Adult’s body, With a Conscience Which Cannot Be Bought Out,” Shapiro says those behind the ordinance are “usually elitest [sic] and arrogant.”
Admitting there has been an increase of homelessness in the area, Shapiro's flyer continues, “The reasons most people live in their RV, Van, Car, etc., is to simply be able to exist. To have a simple roof over their head until the economy changes or they can find work that will pay a living wage so they can rent an apartment or the like.”
In their discussions, the city council first considered the ban for the coastal areas only, but then decided on the need for a citywide ordinance to prevent the problem from moving to residential areas inland.
To obtain additional perspective from the City of Carlsbad, I talked with their primary representative on the issue, Bryan Jones, by phone. In a call, Jones acknowledged familiarity with Shapiro; however, he strongly disagreed with Shapiro’s stance. He emphasized that the city’s motivation is in no way related to homelessness; instead, he said it is based upon the council’s decision to maintain a satisfying quality of life for its residents.
Jones said that Carlsbad welcomes the daytime use of RVs in the city, although some individuals continually abuse the policy. This behavior creates difficulties for homeowners and police.
When enacted in January 2013, the ordinance will undergo a one-year test period that is intended to provide additional “teeth” for law enforcement and the city council’s goals.