Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

No Dancing Ordinance and No Camping Ordinance – Could There be a Connection?

By Emerson Drake

Just a few short years ago the Modesto Police Department (MPD) wrote an ordinance against dancing in public  without a permit and it was so poorly written that an Officer suggested if three patrons in an eating establishment were nodding their heads or tapping their feet in time to the music it could be called dancing and the establishment closed and the owner fined.  Now the MPD is proposing a no camping ordinance supported by the Council’s own Safety and Community’s Committee which is just as misguided.

I recognize this ordinance change is an attempt to provide another tool for law enforcement in Councilman Joe Muratore’s WAR AGAINST THE HOMELESS.”  Unfortunately, just like the original “anti-dancing” ordinance, it is poorly written.  It can’t be evenly enforced without making criminals out of every child who carries a sleeping bag to a friends house for a sleepover.

The Ordinance invades our personal rights and our private property by saying we can’t allow anyone, including our children, to camp or sleep outside on our private property for two consecutive nights without buying a permit from the city manager.  It even make criminals out of visiting relatives who might sleep in an RV either in our driveways or parked in front of our homes for two nights.

According to the ordinance if you take a blanket to a city park for a picnic you can be charged with a crime. The list they refer to as paraphernalia sounds like everything a boy scout might take on a camping trip. And he or she could be criminally charged if they walked down the street carrying any of the equipment necessary for a camping trip.

I’m not exaggerating, please read the ordinance for yourselves. It is scheduled for a vote on Tuesday June 5, 2012. Here is the link to the agenda, it’s item #20:   http://www.modestogov.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=449&doctype=AGENDA 

Please email our city councilpersons and tell them to either send it back to committee to be written better or vote it down!


Is there anyone who doesn’t think we have enough laws intruding on our right to privacy and invading our personal freedoms?

Is there anyone who thinks we’ve had enough of the “nanny state”  ?

Write your emails. Make those calls,  And consider coming down to the city council Tuesday night and tell them in person enough is enough.

Because when they come for you, it’ll be too late.


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