As hard as it tries, the City of Austin can’t quite move itself to California, but it can act like it.
The Austin City Council voted to allow camping almost anywhere in the city. Almost anywhere. Homeless people can camp under bridges, overpasses, and on the sidewalk in front of your business. However, they are not allowed to camp in city parks or in front of City Hall.
If you detect the scent of hypocrisy, you’re on the right trail. The council seems to have exempted the spaces for which it would most be held responsible or have to look at. By exempting parks the council eased the minds of citizens who use the parks and also eliminated cleanup and safety issues. By exempting City Hall the council removed the homeless from their personal view.
But business owners, that’s another story. They can’t remove campers or ask them to leave, but will remain responsible for the cleanliness of the sidewalks and area in front of their establishments.
And it doesn’t end there. Camping is now legal in front of your house. Perhaps the campers will leave your newspaper untouched or not use the lawn as a bathroom, but don’t count on it.