I am a member of the Action Coalition, a group opposing Amarillo’s ordinance that outlaws camping on private property.

I wish to correct some claims made by Amarillo Globe-News (Editorial: Let’s hear it for the First Amendment, April 6, amarillo.com) and (AGN Media Columnist) Jon Mark Beilue (Saying that it is doesn’t make it so, April 10, amarillo.com).

As for the claim that clapping isn’t protected by the First Amendment, Mr. (Kip) Billups was applauding Michael Green was applauding a person who announced that he was filing a lawsuit, claiming that many of the rules in the city council meeting, including clapping, do violate the First Amendment and the Texas Open Meetings Act. The question of constitutionality will be decided in court, so it’s futile to argue that point.

In 2016, Amarillo passed an ordinance outlawing camping on public property. In February, they discovered an ordinance which prohibited camping on private property. The city said they will provide shelter to all the homeless. Mr Beilue said that some camp because of drugs or alcohol. There are also those who want to sleep with their families, and sexes are separated in the shelters. Some have pets, which are not allowed in shelters.

I know of six people who were denied admittance to shelters and were forced to violate one of the two ordinances. Therefore, Amarillo is criminalizing homelessness.

Rusty Tomlinson