But he keeps an eye out for chalk on the tires of his aged Fireball, the telltale sign that he's not wanted there.
"When I get tired of being moved, I go back to the industrial area," said Rodriguez, who has lived in campers for five years. "The sheriffs won't bother you there unless people in front of the companies complain. I stay out of Gardena because they'll stay on you until you move."
Reacting to a reported increase in the number of people living in vehicles on public streets, the Gardena City Council this week approved a police initiative to update its Municipal Code.
The council voted 4-1 on Tuesday to give police an additional enforcement mechanism to counter the problem - a provision that allows officers to issue infraction tickets to people living in their cars. Previously, they could only give warnings or issue misdemeanor criminal violations, Police Chief Ed Medrano said.
"We've had a significant increase in the amount of people living in motor homes on our streets and we're getting complaints from community members and business owners," Medrano said. "Our posture has always been to give warnings first, then secondly to give enforcement action."
Several South Bay cities have reported larger homeless populations in recent years.
Torrance police Sgt. Robert Watt said homelessness isn't an epidemic in the city, but it's more noticeable lately.
"The numbers are on the rise of transients and people living in their vehicles," Watt said. "Usually they're warned on the first occurrence, and then they can be subsequently cited. It's a threat to public hygiene - they have limited access to toilet and cleaning facilities, and who knows where they're taking care of that. It doesn't appear to have any correlation to any rise or decline in crimes."
Though it is very common for cities to ban people from sleeping in vehicles parked in public areas, homeless advocates argue that it is counterproductive to criminalize people who are just looking for a warm place to sleep.
The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty in Washington, D.C., criticized local governments for responding to homelessness with citations and evictions, rather increasing community services. The objections came in a 2011 report called "Criminalizing Crisis: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities."
"Given the dire lack of adequate affordable housing and shelter space in cities across the country, laws that penalize homeless people for engaging in activities needed for survival while in public places essentially criminalize the status of being homeless," the report states.
Rather than imposing laws against homeless people, the report recommends that cities help set up support networks for those without permanent housing.
Medrano said the Police Department does not take a heavy-handed approach, and that officers will warn people before handing out parking citations. But removing vehicle dwellers is important for community health and safety reasons, he said.
Some people dump raw sewage directly into city drains, causing a potential health hazard, he said. Also, the practice contributes to trash and loitering on public streets.
Dan Medina was the only Gardena council member to vote against the change, saying he felt it takes too harsh a stance against homeless people.
"It's a double-sided sword because we want to keep our streets clean, but at the same time we have an issue of homeless people," Medina said. "My point of view is that, if they're in a mobile home and it's clean, there's not so much of a health issue. You don't want people having no place to live."
Councilwoman Rachel Johnson said she voted for the ordinance change because she's concerned about people dumping raw sewage into city drains.
"That is unhealthy and unsafe," she said. "We know this is a sensitive issue, and that these people are homeless and need assistance. But we do need to have some kind of ordinance that addresses these issues."
Rodriguez has been living in campers on county streets for five years, but said he hopes to get an apartment if he qualifies for disability payments from the Social Security Administration.
On Wednesday, he fired up his stove and cooked potatoes and pork chops for a late lunch with his dogs. Gardena police officers impounded two of Rodriguez's previous motor homes - one was taken when he was arrested on a drug charge, and another was towed away because it was inoperable.
"If they get tired of seeing you around, they'll get you for something," Rodriguez said. "Then I'll go further into the industrial area."
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