On Tuesday, January 12, 2016, while walking down the street going through Simi Valley, we encountered a couple of Simi Valley Police officers who stopped to talk to us. We had a friendly conversation. They wanted to know about our journey and we told them and we proceeded on our way through Simi Valley.
As it was getting dark, we found this location to stop to rest for the evening about 50 feet away from the the railroad tracks. I picketed the mules onto a fence.
Around 6:30am this morning I got up, checked the mules, then started fixing my breakfast when Simi Valley Police appeared and informed me that they received a phone call that there were loose horses along the railroad tracks. Of course, they saw that this was not true. The mules were not loose and secured on picket lines. The officers informed me that I was on railroad property and trespassing and I had to leave.
The officer were nice about it and asked when we would be leaving. I told them that I was in the process of leaving as soon as I finished eating my breakfast in about an hour or so. We fully intended to leave and be on our way. They said fine.
As they were leaving, one officer informed us that we could not trespass on railroad property and if we ever returned here again, they would have to arrest me and impound my mules. They said that they were notifying me of that so hopefully that would not happen. I said it wouldn’t.
Before they left, I said that being the case, there is really no place in Simi Valley to stop and rest for the night. Because of that, the next time I come through Simi Valley we’ll have to use public space, county, city, state parks to to exercise our right to stop and rest for the night. They didn’t say anything and that was the end of the conversation.
This is a perfect example of how all space in this country is being taken away. You have to have access to public space to exercise your freedom to move freely in this country. If you don’t have it, you don’t have any freedom. You can’t have one without the other. To walk freely and to move freely in this country when the end of the day comes, one has to be able to stop and rest. And if there is no space for that, you in effect have no freedom at all.
This kind of occurrence is constantly happening to us. Public space must be available to stop and rest for the night. We’re not talking about staying and putting up a tent and staying for long periods of time day in and day out. We’re only talking about a stop for the night, resting, and continuing on our way.