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Homeless Alliance and city head to mediation 

A civil lawsuit filed by homeless residents in San Luis Obispo against the city will head to mediation, a judge ruled July 25.

At a case management conference, San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall scheduled a mediation date of Aug. 2.

At the hearing, Crandall urged both sides to prepare and come to the conference ready to resolve the issue of people who live in vehicles parked on public streets.

“I want both sides to go in with open minds, thinking outside the box,” Crandall told City Attorney Christine Dietrick and the SLO Homeless Alliance’s attorneys, Saro Rizzo and Stew Jenkins.

The lawsuit came about after police began ramping up enforcement of a 1995 ordinance prohibiting people from sleeping in vehicles on public streets. The city argues that the effort came about following a large number of complaints from residents and business owners fearing for their safety.

Crandall previously ordered a preliminary injunction on those enforcement efforts, which was sidestepped by council members when they restructured the ordinance to address what they called Crandall’s “judicial misinterpretation.”

Speaking to the issue of the “big elephant in the room,” Crandall urged the city to use careful discretion when continuing to cite offenders until the litigation is resolved.

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