Pensacola moves to eliminate homeless 'blanket ban'


#1

Pensacola News Journal:

Pensacola moves to eliminate homeless 'blanket ban’

The Pensacola City Council on Thursday took the first step toward abolishing a controversial law that makes it a crime for the homeless to sleep with a blanket on city property, established a task force to seek more lasting solutions to the city’s homelessness epidemic and narrowly rejected a related attempt to roll back restrictions on tents and other temporary shelters.

The vote to repeal the so-called “blanket ban” was unanimous. However, the proposal still will have to pass a second reading, later this month, before becoming law.

The vote followed nearly an hour of impassioned comments from opponents of the ban. Members of the audience, including founders of internationally renowned homeless outreach Sean’s Outpost, told the council the law was inhumane, a violation of residents’ basic human rights and disastrous to the city’s reputation.

Before the vote, local civil rights attorney Alistair McKenzie — who spoke out against the project when it was passed into law last year — displayed a stack of news articles to council members. McKenzie said that the stated intent of the law’s architects — to protect the city’s image and aesthetics — had backfired.

“This is what Pensacola now looks like to the outside world,” he said.

McKenzie also reminded the council that the ban was only one in a series of restrictions placed on the city’s homeless population last year.

I’m glad they are repealing this ordnance though the shame is that they passed it in the first place. It’s just another anti-homeless law among many passed all over the US. Many places have put restrictions on charities feeding the homeless &c.

Not just the US, either. Check out this from the BBC about the use of “urban design” against the homeless.


#2

And in In Iowa it’s illegal for a man with a mustache to kiss a woman in public. I could hardly imagine either of these laws having been enforced.


#3

Yikes! Under that law, I’d be a repeat offender! :smiley:

Curious, though: what was the rationale behind it?


#4

To protect the poor girls from us weirdos with facial hair? :rolleyes: Who knows.


#5

:smiley:

That could be. My wife doesn’t mind my moustache, but she has steadfastly vetoed all my suggestions about wanting to grow a beard. :stuck_out_tongue:


#6

I have to say I see no problem with the designs that help prevent skate boarding. People get hurt everyday by someone skate boarding on public walks, outside of restaurants, etc. Now, some of the other stuff seems a little cold. Unfortunately I have seen some terrible increases in the amount of loitering that goes on around businesses and I don’t mean homeless folks. I mean those that are intimidating potential customers.

We certainly need better answers to homelessness. There is not one of us that could not land up that way in a months time, or less. A lot of those who are homeless are mentally ill, have problems with substance abuse and are families who have lost everything due to the housing bubble and lost jobs. Forcing them to retreat deeper into the background does not solve the problem.


#7

Exactly.
America hates poor people. We are old that America is the land of opportunity, that anyone can make it if they try. So either the poor are defective (the easy answer) or maybe what we’ve been taught isn’t true (hard to accept). In either case it’s easier to look away, or in the case of anti-homeless statutes force them out of our field of vision.

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#8

Oh yes, I know what you mean about making sure folks don’t have to look at the poor. It is disgusting. In terms of intimidation of customers, I mean things like groups of kids with bats who are hitting stop signs and making threatening gestures at people, beggars who are too aggressive and even pushy about asking for money, and obvious gang activity. I have seen it all.

It is getting really hard to believe that there is so much aggression and nastiness in our society.
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#9

Many countries do. :frowning: (In mine, the poor are remembered for 6-7 months before elections, at best. It’s common to have people going from house to house handing out money for votes. I know because I’ve been offered some myself. No, I’m not poor, but I was living in an old and rather run-down house, so they assumed I was. :D)

We are told that America is the land of opportunity, that anyone can make it if they try. So either the poor are defective (the easy answer)

A poisonous ideology that I often see endorsed, even by a few on these forums. It’s typical of the case against democratic demagoguery.

or maybe what we’ve been taught isn’t true (hard to accept). In either case it’s easier to look away, or in the case of anti-homeless statutes force them out of our field of vision.

True.

None of the modern political ideologies have a substantive plan to address this elephant in the room. :frowning:


closed #10

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