Overflowing Crowd for Unruly Council Meeting


Councilman Ted Howze asked at the August 26, 2008 Council Meeting that the United Samaritans Foundation’s (a non-profit that feeds the homeless and needy) permit be reviewed at the September 9, 2008 Council Meeting to possibly rescind the permit as he felt that they were not in compliance with a stipulation that states they must “co-exist in harmony with the neighborhood.” Despite the issue being pulled from the agenda, an overflowing crowd scolded the Turlock City Council during citizen participation. They Mayor tried to keep order as Councilman Howze even got fired up telling someone in the crowd to “grow up.


The Citizen Participation part of the agenda usually allows for the public to comment but Council can’t take any action while they take in the public input. The Council was all over the agenda skipping to the Council Comments section so that members of Council could comment back. The crowd was scolding the Council and the Council was giving it right back.


All of this stemmed from an issue with homeless and transient people hanging out on the “grassy knoll” across the street from City Hall. Criminal activity takes place at this location and has hurt business for establishments such as Two Guys On Broadway Catering.


Councilman Howze stated the gathering was a public nuisance and that the nuisance is because free meals are handed out nearby at the United Samaritans building.


The item was pulled from the agenda because Howze stated that the Council was informed that they can’t be the complainant and then the “judge” as the City Council takes action on it. The complaint must be presented by the people who have the complaint and that Howze has referenced.


The fact there is no shelter plan in place for the cold weather season starting in November was part of the conversation.


Later on the agenda, a voucher plan was discussed but ultimately had to be deferred to the next meeting as there were many concerns about how they would be issued and the liability of providing a room that may lead to unsafe and illegal actions.


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