ACLU Sues Over State Not Allowing Homeless to be Fed
State of California, Park Rangers: "'The park system we have is not set up to be an answer to social services' but exists as a recreation and vacation venue, [Roy Stearns, a state Department of Parks and Recreation spokesman,] said. He said churches and community centers would be more appropriate as sites for feeding the homeless."
Interfaith Needs Network (represented by ACLU): "'We are not inciting a riot,' Siler said. 'We are simply feeding our friends in the same manner that most of us have done for years. This is not much different than when families or others gather in the park.'
Citations were threatened against the group after feeding the homeless in a picnic area of Doheny State Beach in Dana Point last February. Park rangers said it was an unlawful assembly while advocates for the program say their constitutional religious and speech rights are being "abridged." The group tried to work it out with the state, but said they would not budge. So today, they brought the ACLU and a lawsuit to overturn the law that allows park rangers to interfere with the activity.