Smith: Maricopa should ban sleeping in cars on residential streets

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By Walter Smith

Because of a recent unfortunate incident in the Rancho El Dorado neighborhood, it has come to the attention of other residents and myself that the city of Maricopa has no city ordinance to prohibit anyone from sleeping in a car in front of a house, whether or not they live in that house, in the neighborhood in question, or even in the city of Maricopa itself. We believe that this oversight by our city government should be corrected promptly in order to ensure the safety of the residents of the city of Maricopa.

In the recent incident that brought this oversight to light, a former convict had been evicted from a house in Rancho El Dorado by his fellow tenants for his continued use of illegal drugs and for causing problems with neighbors because of that drug use. The eviction came after a swarm of police descended on the residence when, following a confrontation with another neighbor, the man flashed a handgun at the neighbor and his two sons. But, instead of moving on after his eviction, the man simply began sleeping in his vehicle in front of that house after most people on the street had gone to sleep.

When some of us began to notice the man asleep in his car in the morning when we’d wake up, we called the Maricopa Police Department and the Rancho El Dorado HOA to have the man removed, as an armed former convict flashing a gun at neighbors a short distance from sleeping children (my wife and I alone have a 2-year-old and a newborn 8-week-old less than 100 feet away from the man’s car) is not exactly the most desirable attribute to suburban living. Both MPD and the Rancho El Dorado HOA told us that there was nothing that they could do about the man sleeping in his car because that wasn’t illegal in the city of Maricopa nor prohibited by the Rancho El Dorado CC&Rs.

Since the man became aware of the flurry of e-mails about his presence, the former convict has moved on. That does not, however, correct the problem.

Yesterday, it was a former resident sleeping in the street in his car just a few feet away from my children. Tomorrow, that might be a drug-running cartel member who needs some shuteye after making it up through the Vekol Valley, and it might be your house he stops in front of to catch some winks. But no city ordinance prohibiting sleeping in the street in your car means that your neighborhood, in front of your house with your sleeping family, is a perfectly viable spot for him to relax and unwind. After all, what can MPD or your HOA do about it? There’s no law.

It is ludicrous that a resident of this city would need to sleep in his or her car in the street. Even considering domestic tensions, the houses in Maricopa should be of more than sufficient size to separate squabbling residents. And even if they’re not, a driveway is certainly a much more appropriate place to sleep in your car than the public streets outside of your own personal real estate. No one is asking for further restrictions against what residents may do in their own driveways. Maricopa is well served on that front. But a city ordinance banning sleeping in cars on public streets is a prudent measure to consider for the safety of all Maricopans.

As recently as Monday, Sheriff Paul Babeu warned of cartel assassins in Pinal County. Restricting sleeping in cars is not an uncommon practice. It is done in cities across the countries, including in the cities of Minneapolis and Palo Alto. Even the city of Phoenix prohibits sleeping or camping in the street, and Arizona revised statutes permit municipalities to make decisions about such activities for the safety and peace of mind of their residence. I suggest that the city of Maricopa implement a ban on sleeping in cars in public streets immediately. When can Maricopans expect to see some action on this front?


Walter Smith is a resident of Maricopa.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. So, let's see here.
    1) I have a legally registered vehicle.
    2) I own said legally registered vehicle.
    3) I have no active warrants for my arrest.
    4) I am not disturbing the peace.
    5) I am parked on a public street.
    6) I allegedly flashed a hand gun at somebody, but was not arrested for assault(which brandishing a weapon is… actually a felony).
    7) Nobody sees me urinating or defecating in a public place.

    I'm not seeing the issue here …..

    What if I have an RV parked on the street, would you also make that illegal to sleep in?

    How about we run the homeless out of town also if we see them standing peacefully at a corner holding a sign asking for assistance.

    I say "Lighten Up Francis".

    And if he's a former convict, why did he have an alleged gun (that again he was not arrested for).

    Maybe you should pack up and move to Palo Alto… LOL

    • 1. Legally registered vehicles do not give you the right to park your crap jalopy in front of my house while doing drugs with neighbors and then running away when the cops are called, Francine.
      2. Owning said legally registered vehicle does not give you the right to park your crap jalopy wherever you want while doing drugs with neighbors and then running away when the cops are called, Francine.
      3) No active warrants? So what, Francine? No active warrants does not give you the right to park your crap jalopy wherever you want while doing drugs with neighbors and then running away when the cops are called, Francine.
      4) You're disturbing my peace and the peace of the neighbors who called the cops to have you removed, Francine.
      5) Yeah, you're parked on a public street. You're very bright, aren't you, Francine?
      6) You were not arrested because you took off before the cops showed, Francine. And you didn't return with the gun when you started sleeping there, Francine.
      7) All the neighbors see you urinating or defecating between houses, Francine.

      You're not seeing the issue because you're clearly a classy renter who just left his apartment for Maricopa and doesn't understand that the rest of us don't want low-life, bottom-dwellers living on the curb in their jalopies. For those of us who own our homes, we'd like to keep the neighborhood nice, completely free of ex-cons living in their cars. I'm sure that you and whomever you're renting from don't really care. The rest of us do.

      Nobody said remove panhandlers. They're not parked in front of my house, doing drugs in their cars, flashing a gun at a homeowner who confronted them, and then passing out for the night.

      Please let the rest us keep our neighborhoods free of scum.

      • 1. Legally registered vehicles do not give you the right to park your crap jalopy in front of my house while doing drugs with neighbors and then running away when the cops are called, Francine.

        A legally registered car means I can park wherever I like whether it be my driveway or on the street in front of your neighbors house, or your house. Now, are you alleging that illicit drugs are being consumed in a common area within your scope of view? If yes, then the police are at fault for not catching your "supposed" ex-con.If no, then you are ASSuming and your statement is immediately hearsay and false.

        2. Owning said legally registered vehicle does not give you the right to park your crap jalopy wherever you want while doing drugs with neighbors and then running away when the cops are called, Francine.

        See #1.

        3) No active warrants? So what, Francine? No active warrants does not give you the right to park your crap jalopy wherever you want while doing drugs with neighbors and then running away when the cops are called, Francine.

        See #1.

        4) You're disturbing my peace and the peace of the neighbors who called the cops to have you removed, Francine

        Move to a gated community in Palo Alto.

        5) Yeah, you're parked on a public street. You're very bright, aren't you, Francine?

        Again, see #1. And being an offensive does not help your weak cause.

        6) You were not arrested because you took off before the cops showed, Francine. And you didn't return with the gun when you started sleeping there, Francine.

        Oh, so you saw the gun? How do you know the gun is was no longer present when the "EX CON" was sleeping there?

        7) All the neighbors see you urinating or defecating between houses, Francine.

        So that would have been a legitimate complaint and reason for arrest if witnessed and reported. Especially if excrement was left as proof. And where are all the phone videos that seem to be the rage these days?

        8) You're not seeing the issue because you're clearly a classy renter who just left his apartment for Maricopa and doesn't understand that the rest of us don't want low-life, bottom-dwellowers living on the curb in their jalopies. For those of us who own our homes, we'd like to keep the neighborhood nice, completely free of ex-cons living in their cars. I'm sure that you and whomever you're renting from don't really care. The rest of us do.

        So, by me expressing my opinion on a public forum that does not support your issue I am now a classy renter? Are you saying that renters are scumbags without opinions? There are a couple more points taken away from your case. And to clear that up, I am a HOME OWNER in Maricopa since 2005 with a home on a 1/4 acre lot probably large enough to hold three of yours within the city limits of Maricopa. When did you move here? 2011 when the prices were at rock bottom?

        And would it be okay the Mayor slept in his car in front of your house? How about I had a couple to many to drink and was trying to make sure I was sober before I drove away? Still scum bags?

        9) Nobody said remove panhandlers. They're not parked in front of my house, doing drugs in their cars, flashing a gun at a homeowner who confronted them, and then passing out for the night.

        But they might be homeless drug addicts sneaking into your backyard at night and peeing at your wife and children through the windows! Better round them up and get them out while you are infringing on peoples civil rights?

        10) Please let the rest us keep our neighborhoods free of scum.

        Oh, and by the way… if I had this issue in my neighborhood, we as a community would not hide behind our children, but instead we would address the issue personally. If this was not effective we would harang the police with suspicious lurker calls. Either way, it sounds like your "EX-Con) left when it became obviously apparent that he was an unwelcome guest.

        So it sounds to me like you have work to do as a neighborhood before we enact more ridicoulous legislation.

        Good Day

        • Regular Sailor Guy,
          <em>
          1. A legally registered car means I can park wherever I like whether it be my driveway or on the street in front of your neighbors house, or your house. Now, are you alleging that illicit drugs are being consumed in a common area within your scope of view? If yes, then the police are at fault for not catching your "supposed" ex-con.If no, then you are ASSuming and your statement is immediately hearsay and false.</em>

          Nope. You are quite mistaken. There are many, many rules for where you may park your car, Matlock. You can't park within a certain distance of a fire hydrant or a stop sign. You can't park in front of someone's driveway. You can't park on private property. And pretty soon, you won’t be able to park in front of someone’s house if you don’t live there.

          You should leave the legal mumbo-jumbo to Matlock since you clearly have no idea what you're talking about. "Hearsay?" "Alleged?" This isn't a court of law, Matlock. This is a discussion about a matter of public safety. “Hearsay” and “alleged” and all the rest of that belong in a courtroom, not here. And “false”? You really need to learn what words mean. “Hearsay” does not mean “false.” It has nothing to do with false.

          The city of Maricopa may legally pass any restrictions they desire that don't conflict with the federal or state constitutions. These restrictions come in a variety of forms. For instance, you may not wash cars for money in the city of Maricopa and just let your runoff enter the PUBLIC STREET.

          But wait! What!?!?!? It's a public street! It's my civil right!!!

          No, Matlock, it's not a civil right. It's not a civil right to dispose of your trash in the street. It's not a civil right to let your runoff enter the public street when you’re washing cars for money. And it's not a civil right to park wherever you like.

          <em>2. See #1.

          3) See #1.

          4) Move to a gated community in Palo Alto?</em>

          No, thanks. I'll work with the city council and the people of Maricopa to make sure that any old yahoo can't just roll up in his RV or his busted jalopy and park up and down the street for a camp out — as is my right as a citizen of these here United States, the great state of Arizona, and the magnificent city of Maricopa.

          5) Again, see #1. What's offensive is your lack of any understanding, Matlock. Deeply offensive.

          6) No, the kids saw the gun, Matlock. Move to strike? Hahaha! I believe the two kids. And I know the gun wasn't there because the police said they searched the car when they approached him the first time they were called about a nonresident parking his hoopty in front of a house he didn't live at. So I believe the cops too.

          You know who I don't believe? You, Matlock. You’re unbelievable.

          7) What difference, at this point, does it make? Or to put it in a manner you’d understand: Facts not in evidence! Badgering! Permission to treat the witness as hostile! Hahahaha! You’re a hoot, counselor!

          8) No, I'm saying lots of scumbags have opinions. I moved here in 2009. And I *HIGHLY* doubt you own your home. Or a quarter acre. Or much of anything. Or you'd have a damned sight more interest in making sure scumbags weren't camped out in front, smoking meth and causing trouble, when they don’t live in the house, in the neighborhood, or in the city.

          No, it wouldn't be okay if the mayor slept in his car in front of my house unless he came in and told me what was going on. And it really wouldn't be okay if you were there either, Matlock, especially if you had TOO many to drink. I can't speak for a fact to whether you're a scumbag, but I’ll let your writing speak for itself.

          But if you were parked in front of my house, drunk and sleeping it off, I'd DEFINITELY say you were a scumbag. Sleep it off in your own "quarter acre in the city." (Hahahahaha!) Sleep it off wherever you got drunk. Sleep it off in someone's driveway. But don't sleep it off in front of my house or the houses of my neighbors. We don't like it. And it’s not your “civil right.”

          The mayor, on the other hand, is a standup guy. He'd have the class (unlike some drunk losers behind the wheel on the side of the road) to knock on a door and let someone know what was up. And we’d invite him in to discuss the pending legislation to keep nonresidents from sleeping in their cars in our city. He sure wouldn't be skulking around, drunk or high (big fans of those, are you?), waiting until everyone was asleep and then parking in front of a house he didn't live at. That’s kind of weird, considering your post to throw the book at the four illegals recently arrested for transporting pot.

          <em>9) But they might be homeless drug addicts sneaking into your backyard at night and peeing at your wife and children through the windows! Better round them up and get them out while you are infringing on peoples civil rights?</em>

          They might be. And when the homeless drug addicts sneaked into my backyard, they'd get the cops called on them. Because there's a law. Just like the one we're hopefully going to have to prevent any old transient from sleeping in front of houses they don't live in, in neighborhoods they don't live in, in cities they don't live in.

          THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A CIVIL RIGHT TO PARK YOUR CAR AND SLEEP IN IT WHEREVER YOU WANT. Surprise!

          10) We, as a community, are doing something. We're working with the city of Maricopa to get this oversight corrected. And we're working with our HOA to do the same.

          Hiding behind children? Hahahaha! Okay, Regular Sailor Guy, hiding behind the anonymity of a fake name on the Internet. See that right there, Matlock? That's my name, Walter Smith. I'm hiding behind nothing. I'm working to get the problem resolved legally so that police can address the issue legally.

          You'd harangue (that's how it's spelled) the cops? Hahaha! Sure you would, pal. Sure you would. And we'd be laughing at you when the cops arrested you and threw you in jail for being the nuisance that you clearly are.

          Yeah, it does sound like he left when it became apparent (no need for "obviously," Matlock — it's a synonym for "apparent") that he was an unwelcome guest. But that won't prevent him from returning. Because as of yet, there's no law preventing him from camping out in front of my house or my neighbors house.

          And, yes, I do have my work cut out for me in the neighborhood. And in the city of Maricopa, where we'll be working diligently to be sure that on two fronts, no transients can hang around in the streets at night when they've no business being there.

          Good day yourself.

        • And, just so we're clear, there are plenty of great renters. My wife and I have been renters ourselves. But there are also plenty of terrible renters. And you, Matlock the Retired Sailor Guy, seem like the former. And if you're not a terrible renter, then you just must be a terrible neighbor.

        • Retired Sailor Guy, apparently your legal training isn't quite up to snuff, is it? You'd just be AMAZED, brilliant legal scholar that you are, how the house that I own is listed.

          Perhaps there's an episode of Matlock or Law & Order you could watch to help you out? Hearsay! Objection! Habeas corpus! Stricken from the record! Hahahaha! Please, thrill us with your legal acumen.

          Oddly, though, for a guy looking up property records and dismissing concerns about children as "hiding behind children," I note that you're still hiding behind "Retired Sailor Guy" and that there's no one with THAT name listed as a property owner either! Wouldn't be "hiding," now would you, haranguer of cops?

          I've got another legal term for you, Judge Wopner.

          Case dismissed.

          LOL

  2. "a driveway is certainly a much more appropriate place to sleep in your car than the public streets outside of your own personal real estate."

    Since he was evicted and can't park his car in the driveway, post your address so he can come sleep on yours.

  3. Making more laws won't make anyone any safer. This guy apparently broke the law by being an armed convict and another by brandishing a weapon. Actually, houses are so close together in Maricopa that you're probably sleeping closer to your next door neighbor than you are someone parked in the street sleeping in their car.

  4. Good Luck in your process Walter. I have shared my thoughts on this and you have shared your emotions and poor sarcasm. No more input here. One point for you to consider. Being emotional just makes you look weak when trying to push through a project. Just use provable facts. That is all. you may carry on.

    • I shared my emotions and poor sarcasm and you shared your "thoughts"? Thoughts? Haha! Is that what you call them? Thoughts? They sound more like someone mentally flashing between thirty-year-old comedies and a marathon of Perry Mason! Thoughts, huh? LOL! Okay, Retired Sailor Guy. Whatever you say.

      Thoughts! HAHAHAHA! That's rich!

    • Also, you're the loser who made fun of someone's appearance elsewhere on this site (https://www.inmaricopa.com/getting-to-know-mariam-jordan/). What was that about — your racism or your misogyny? Because there's absolutely nothing wrong with the beautiful young woman in that picture.

      And then you criticized her UPS box address? You're quite the stalker, aren't you, Retired Sailor Guy? What is it with you and the address of people with whom you disagree (because you're just not very bright)?

      Carry on? I may carry on? Well, I hope you'll understand me clearly when I say I hope you don't carry on at all. The city and the world will be a better place.

  5. "Well, I hope you'll understand me clearly when I say I hope you don't carry on at all. The city and the world will be a better place." …. So you call me names and now you wish me dead Walter? I truly hope that your little opinion piece actually reaches Facebook so all of the wonderful people of Maricopa that use Social Media can get a true snapshot of your sociopathic mindset.

    You are a sick man Walter and hopefully your children did not receive any of your genes that may lead them to similar issue.

    Good Luck with the rest of your life as I believe you will truly need it since Bernie Sanders won't be there to take care of you and yours.

    Good-bye