Federal Judge Yvonne Gonzales issued temporary restraining order on Thursday, July 16, prohibiting the City of Novato from enforcing new camping laws designed to eliminate a permanent homeless encampment at Lee Gerner Park.
The city had not begun enforcing its new rules, but expected a lawsuit from the California Homeless Union.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jason Sarris and other people living in Lee Gerner Park permanently. In a declaration filed with the court, Sarris outlined a skin condition he has that is better in a shady, wet area like Lee Gerner Park and argued any forced move for him out of the park would be detrimental to his health.
“I suffer from a hereditary disease called X-linked ichthvosis,” Sarris, 52, told the court and explained to the judge “that is a chronic skin condition. The most noticeable result of which is that my skin has a dry, scaly appearance and texture. which blocks the pores and nerves of my skin. This means that I do not produce adequate sweat when it is hot, and that my skin also does not have the same “thermostat” ability to regulate the temperature of my body. If I have to leave (Lee Gerner Park) where we have natural protection from the heat … I will be at great risk for over-heating and heat stroke.”
Arguments on Sarris’ skin condition and Novato’s camping laws will be heard in the coming weeks.