Two registrants challenged in federal court today residency restrictions within the City of San Diego that prohibit registrants from living within virtually all of the city. The lawsuit was filed after the San Diego City Council refused to repeal the city’s residency restrictions despite a recommendation from the City Attorney because the restrictions are “likely not enforceable”.
During the City Council’s meeting on August 1, Councilmembers defended the city’s residency restrictions and stated that they “don’t like them (registrants) living in our communities” as well as falsely stated that registrants cannot be rehabilitated. One Council member added that rejecting repeal of the city’s residency restrictions contravened “our form of democracy and constitutional justice.”
“The San Diego City residency restrictions are unlawful because they violate the state and federal constitutions,” stated ACSOL executive director Janice Bellucci. “They are also inconsistent with recent court decisions, including a decision by the California Supreme Court that similar restrictions in San Diego County were unreasonable, arbitrary and oppressive.”
In that decision, the California Supreme Court determined that registrants were prohibited from residing in 97 percent of available rental housing in San Diego County which led to increased homelessness as well as restricted access to job opportunities, medical treatment and other social services. According to materials provided by city staff to the San Diego City Council, the city’s residency restrictions prohibit registrants from living in many more places as compared to the law under review in that case.
Before the lawsuit was filed, ACSOL sent a letter to the City of San Diego warning that the city’s residency restrictions were unlawful and threatening legal action if the restrictions were not repealed. During the City Council meeting, the City Council member who made the unsuccessful motion to repeal the city’s residency restrictions predicted that if the restrictions were not repealed, they would be challenged in court.
A total of 26 lawsuits have been filed so far challenging residency restrictions in 26 cities within California. The first lawsuit, challenging residency restrictions in the City of Grover Beach, was filed in June 2015.
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