Tuesday, October 18, 2011

First no-camping ticket goes to Wall Street protester

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Steve Bass
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • Steve Bass

The first ticket to be given out under the city's controversial "No Camping Ordinance" has been issued.

Steve Bass, a 47-year-old unemployed remodeler who's been living on friends' couches, was ticketed yesterday after popping up a tent in Acacia Park at 11 p.m., the time the park closes. Bass had been camping in the park since Thursday and had been issued a warning once before under the one-year-old ordinance.

Bass was participating in the Occupy Colorado Springs protest. He says others were allowed to sleep in the park, despite having been given previous warnings, because they did not set up tents. Bass violated the ordinance on purpose and hopes his case will challenge the law, which he sees as unfair. He notes that he's a longtime volunteer for services for the homeless.

"I've been working with these guys [the homeless] for 30 years," he says. "I didn't expect to be the first one [to get a ticket]!"

He goes to the Colorado Springs Municipal Court on Nov. 8 at 1:30 p.m.

On his blog at http://hipgnosis21.blogspot.com, Bass offers some basis for his actions:

... having been involved with the free food biz in Colorado Springs for decades I am confident in stating that many homeless campers are in their position by choice, having opted out of a political system found onerous. I see no legitimate difference between this lifestyle of protest and the pointed expressions of protest embraced by Occupy Colorado Springs. Other homeless campers are thus because of uncontrolled habits, some of which fall under the label of "diseased" behavior by authoritative bodies in the U.S. or because of circumstances external to their control. There are only two varieties of property in the entirety of the U.S.—public or private. If the continuously burgeoning population of homeless campers is barred from sleeping on public property, and have no means by which to acquire access to private property, they have no option at all. Others are then required by default to put them up, thus far manifest here in conditions both unsanitary and unsavory as demonstrable by the bed-bug ridden Express Inn or the Aztec Motel, or else the Salvation Army—court ordered church. Otherwise, our only other option is to incarcerate them. I maintain that an unmentioned and "unalienable" right of all human beings is simply to be, wherever that being may take place.

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