A new plan by San Rafael police is raising some eyebrows because it would relegate homeless people to certain zones around the city.
The San Rafael police, through the help of homeless advocacy groups, including the St. Vincent de Paul free dining room, have begun handing out maps to homeless people. The map lists three so-called hot zones homeless people are being asked to avoid, areas where police say they've gotten a lot of calls.
At the West End cafe on Fourth Street, the owner said he feels sorry for the homeless people who often congregate by his restaurant, but he also says the behavior of many of them just shouldn't be allowed to continue.
"They are intoxicated," said Aref Ahmadia, owner of the West End Café. "They cause a problem. They get loud. They get obnoxious."
The hot zones include Fourth and A streets, Fourth and B streets and Fourth and Lincoln Avenue.
Jim Fox, a homeless man, told KTVU he lost his home a year ago and has been on the streets ever since.
"All these absurd little rules, trying to make it hard... hard on the homeless," Fox said. "People don't choose to be homeless, you're stuck."
Mayor Gary Phillips said the map does not ban the homeless from downtown, but merely asks for their cooperation.
"It is not a requirement," Phillips said. "It's merely a suggestion that would help them with public relations, as well as the city."
The map also lists rules of behavior, including no public drinking, cleaning up after themselves and to using a toilet.
"Where's the toilet? There's one toilet six blocks away," Fox said.
Police said they are working with advocacy groups to come up with a long-term plan.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.