The Maricopa County Superior Court made a preliminary order Monday regarding the lawsuit against Phoenix by city residents alleging that it was creating a public nuisance by not cleaning up “the Zone,” a massive homeless encampment near downtown. Judge Scott Blaney ruled in the resident’s favor, ordering the city to clean up.
“Today’s ruling offers hope not just for the homeless themselves—who, after all, don’t deserve to be left in a ghettoized section of the city’s roads—but to the ignored small-business owners in the area, who are forced to try to earn a living in the midst of such chaos,” wrote Timothy Sandefur, Vice President of Legal Affairs at the Goldwater Institute (GI), who previously filed an amicus brief in this case.
A lawsuit filed last August challenging “the largest homeless encampment in Arizona” is going ahead after a judge denied the City of Phoenix’s motion to dismiss. Residents who live near “the Zone,” which has grown to over 1,500 people, allege that the city has failed or refused to enforce criminal, health, or quality of life statutes to improve the Zone.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Stephen Tully said in his January 16 ruling that dismissal wasn’t warranted because the city didn’t meet the standard where “as a matter of law plaintiffs would not be entitled to relief under any interpretation of the facts susceptible of proof.” He found that the plaintiffs properly pleaded their case and supported a private cause of action for public nuisance.
Austin VanDerHeyden, the Municipal Affairs Liason for the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute (GI), applauds Pima County for listening to its constituents and taking steps to address the homelessness crisis in the City of Tucson.
“Pima County has taken an encouraging first step by hearing its constituents’ concerns and by passing – in unanimous and bipartisan fashion – several motions to address the homelessness crisis. Now, Pima County officials must ensure they follow through on the action they’ve pledged to take to protect law-abiding citizens’ rights by enforcing the law. Moreover, it’s time for the Tucson City Council to step up, hold a similar meeting, and follow in Pima County’s footsteps,” said VanDerHeyden in a statement emailed to the Arizona Sun Times.
Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell revealed that Cristian Machado, 21, has been sentenced for supplying the population of the major homeless camp in Downtown Phoenix with fentanyl and other drugs.
“Selling illegal drugs to anyone in our community is a threat to public safety. To target those who are experiencing homelessness, and particularly vulnerable, is especially cruel, and this sentence demonstrates that my office will hold those who pose a danger to others accountable,” said Mitchell.
Attorneys representing a group of Phoenix business owners argued in court against the City of Phoenix (COP) Thursday regarding one of the largest homeless camps in the nation, “the Zone.” The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute (GI) said residential testimony revealed how dire the situation has become.
“Thursday’s hearing was on the city’s effort to throw out this case, brought by neighborhood property owners against the city for maintaining a gigantic homeless encampment, which is destroying neighborhood businesses and properties. The testimony revealed startling examples of the pollution, crime indecency, and violence that goes on in The Zone,” said GI Vice President of Legal Affairs Timothy Sandefur in a statement emailed to the Arizona Sun Times.
The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute (GI) filed an amicus brief in the Superior Court urging an injunction blocking the City of Phoenix from any activity that would maintain a large homeless encampment known locally as ‘The Zone.’
“City leaders have been shunting homeless people into The Zone, and police have reportedly been ordered to take no action to protect the innocent property and business owners located in the area,” said the GI in a statement shared with the Arizona Sun Times. “Hardworking Phoenicians should be able to rely on the public services their tax dollars pay for—and their elected officials owe them a duty to enforce the laws.”
Phoenix City councilman Sal DiCiccio shared that a group of Arizona home and business owners recently filed a complaint against the City of Phoenix over its handling of the homeless population.
“Phoenix has long pushed homeless into Neighborhoods. People are fed up and taking matters into their own hands,” tweeted Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio. “If Phoenix is allowed to push this problem into their neighborhood, your neighborhood will be next.”