Home > Arcata > Salzman threatens Arcata with lawsuit

Salzman threatens Arcata with lawsuit

[Press release.]

Contending that Arcata’s panhandling ordinance is unconstitutional, resident Richard Salzman informed the City Council that he intends to file a lawsuit unless the ordinance is amended.

As written, the ordinance makes it a crime to merely hold up a sign asking for money. By denying citizens constitutional right of free speech, Salzman contends the City Council overstepped its authority.

“If first they silence the poor and the homeless, and I say nothing, who will speak up when they try to silence me?” Salzman asked.

He noted that the section of the ordinance against “aggressive panhandling,” including blocking one’s path, any physical contact or yelling, would be left unchallenged by this legal action.

(see attached)

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February 14, 2011

Susan Ornelas, Mayor
Michael Winkler, Vice-Mayor
Shane Brinton, Council Member
Alexandra Stillman, Council Member
Mark Wheetley, Council Member
Randy Mendosa, City Manager
Nancy Diamond, Esq., City Attorney

City of Arcata
736 F Street
Arcata, CA 95521

Re: Unconstitutional Panhandling Ordinance enacted April 16, 2010, as Arcata Municipal Code [AMC] Sections 4280-4282.

Dear City Council, City Manager and City Attorney:

Please take notice that Mr. Richard Salzman, a resident of, and taxpayer within, the City of Arcata, has retained the undersigned to bring an action against the City of Arcata to declare its panhandling ordinance unconstitutional and to enjoin the City from any further enforcement of said ordinance. The purpose of this letter is to invite the City to amend its panhandling ordinance as set forth herein, and thereby avoid the expense, uncertainty and unpleasantness of contested litigation.

Specifically, Mr. Salzman contends that AMC Sections 4282B, 4282C, 4282D, 4282E, 4282F and 4282G are unconstitutional. The overall impact of these sections is to criminalize begging in most of the City where it would be fruitful to beg. Begging is a charitable solicitation. The First Amendment clearly protects charitable solicitations. No distinction of constitutional dimension exists between soliciting funds for oneself and for charity. The fact that a beggar keeps the money she receives does not strip the speech of First Amendment protection. A speaker’s rights are not lost merely because compensation is received; a speaker is no less a speaker because she is paid to speak.

To be lawful, the ordinance must serve a compelling interest that is narrowly drawn to achieve its end. The City’s compelling interest, if one exists, is well-served by the ordinance’s ban on aggressive panhandling, to which Mr. Salzman does not take exception. Mr. Salzman objects to the near-total ban on begging in public fora, the justification for which can be little more than avoiding “annoyance” to the public, hardly a compelling interest in First Amendment jurisprudence. Moreover, the ordinance’s ban on begging is not “narrowly tailored;” indeed, it is embarrassingly broad. To achieve the City’s goal of criminalizing the speech of a few beggars, the City has criminalized all solicitations for money. A girl scout cannot sell cookies on the City’s streets. Nor may any charity solicit money in most of the City. A beggar cannot even hold a sign up to ask for money; a more clearly content-based restriction on speech is difficult to imagine.

The City’s attempt to justify these draconian restrictions on speech under the so-called “captive audience rule” is unavailing. The City’s expansion of that concept to include almost all public space within the City perverts the intent of the rule and strikes at the very heart of discourse in a democratic society- the right to communicate with one’s fellow citizens on the public commons.

Other constitutional concerns are implicated in the City’s ordinance. The criminalization of solicitation implicates equal protection concerns, to wit, the ordinance targets the First Amendment rights of the City’s poorest and most downtrodden residents, while it remains legal to accost members of the public to ask the time of day, or to sign a petition. The complexity of the ordinance, with its crazy patch-work of places where it is illegal to beg, implicates notice and due process concerns. A reasonable citizen of the City lacks adequate notice as to where she may beg and where she may not beg. Likewise, the ordinance’s definition of “panhandling” leaves questions unanswered: Is a check or credit card transaction on the City’s streets illegal, or just a cash transaction? This renders the ordinance subject to challenge for vagueness.

Mr. Salzman would prefer to resolve this matter without litigation, and to that end, invites the City and its attorneys to meet with the undersigned to work toward resolution of the issues raised herein.

Respectfully,

Peter E. Martin

  1. February 21, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Sounds like a reasonable request from Mr. Salzman.

  2. Anonymous
    February 21, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    “If first they silence the poor and the homeless, and I say nothing, who will speak up when they try to silence me?” Salzman asked.

    So, Salzman is worried the oppressive Arcata liberals will silence his begging on street corners? I can see the Mirror’s cut-and-paste now…

  3. Anonymous
    February 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Don’t worry Richard, the ordinance only applies to real people. Your pseudonyms are safe.

  4. tra
    February 21, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    I agree that the only part of the ordinance that is justifiable is the section on “aggressive panhandling.” If someone is blocking your path, making physical contact, and/or yelling at you, I do think that crosses the line of civility.

    Short of that, I think people have every right to ask for donations in public, whether it is someone collecting for an organized charity, or simply an individual trying to scrape up a few bucks for a meal or a bus ticket.

    And the City’s “captive audience” theory seems pretty weak. If you and I are both in a public space we both have the right to occupy that space, and if you’re not blocking my path or otherwise detaining me, then I’m not part of any captive audience — I’m free to simply walk away.

    If I don’t want to give a donation to the charity worker or panhandler, that’s exactly what I do, I just politely decline, walk away, and go about my business. So far that’s worked with 100% success for many decades.

    Mostly what I hear from people who favor this sort of ban on panhandling is that “makes them uncomfortable.” But that is not the test for whether speech is allowed — whether or not it makes somebody uncomfortable. If that was the test, we’d have to start banning a whole lot of other kinds of speech!

    Freedom…learn to live with it…on balance it’s more good than bad.

  5. Plain Jane
    February 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Well said, Tra. It makes me uncomfortable to see the growing number of people reduced to begging, part empathy and part “there but for fortune…” Reminders of how tenuous our safety nets have become are very uncomfortable, but not nearly as uncomfortable as those who have already fallen through.

  6. Kale Estanoche
    February 21, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I support Richard on this one (and agree with TRA’s previous sentiment).

  7. February 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    It’s been a year since my friends and I were at City Council meetings in Arcata speaking out: “If this ordinance passes, you will be sued! Not good!”

    Seriously, view the meetings on Granicus from a year, they’re highly caustic. You can hear all of us yelling when they voted 3-2 to pass it. Thankfully we got Ornelas to our side for the vote. Cheers!

    I think my friend still had the best civil protest idea: Panhandle in “off limits” areas with signs saying “Need $$$ to fight the unjust panhandling ordinance in Arcata” :)

    Seriously though: Lawsuits should be the last resort. We’re a small town… PLEASE can’t we be civil… for once?

    Sigh. Makes me regret getting into politics in the first place. :p

  8. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    February 22, 2011 at 12:41 am

    The ordinance lawsuit was another prediction; yet, the “quote”

    “If first they silence the poor and the homeless, and I say nothing, who will speak up when they try to silence me?”

    is a copy or reiteration of someone else’s words.

    As was known: who rings those x-mas bells (religion) panhandling for money in red get-ups? Or, the supermarket check-out employee asking the customer if they want to “round-up” to the next dollar for “muscular dystrophy” or “breast cancer”, etc….

    Or, better yet – the corporation’s employee doing business blocks away in the middle of the sidewalk (usually a corner where ADA facilities are most prevalent) holding and waving a sign wider than the sidewalk; and even better, local churches that put signs out in the sidewalk or landscaping zones between the sidewalk and the road, kids that solicit with car washes and bikinis or door to door sweet chocolates, etc….. I guess poor people are not sexy enough, flashy enough, religious enough and damned if they smell all fruity and sweet and stuff.

    So, county and city codes/ordinances are openly violated and the gubbamint is willfully blind (fraud and equal protection law violations)…….Business License/certificate is now revokeable by state (after a long process), county and cities; Public Works must collect encroachment fees for encroachment permits, or else refund ALL previous permit holders (again, equal protection laws)…..; Ah, let us not forget the head haunchos like city managers who must worry about insurance policy coverages and breaches and then now the jurisidiction is WAY LIABLE, OUCH.

    Obviously aggressive panhandling is unacceptible; and, if a business asks someone not to stand in their entry (loiter) or pitch their schit in front of their business, etc… then that should be respected or else. There is a line of decency that works more than one-way; yet, the ridiculus manipulations that businesses pull to force away people unsightly in their view must be weighed with regard to appropriatenesses and legal fairnesses. People have a right to be people and be where other people are at within a public area. I believe if the sidewalk areas leading to businesses are respected, then much of the problems are not gonna occur. In the past years, it was worse than it is now; so, the political nature of this is a bit far-fetched.

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  9. Mark Sailors
    February 22, 2011 at 4:15 am

    Imagine that, Arcata writing an unconstitutional ordinance…..they seem to do that a lot. ( think medical cannabis ordinance)

    Go get em Richard.

  10. Decline to State
    February 22, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Richard’s point is totally valid. I’m surprised the length progressive-leaning Arcata has gone to with this ordinance.

    I did have to snort at this comment though…

    If first they silence the poor and the homeless, and I say nothing, who will speak up when they try to silence me?

    “They” have been trying to shut Richard up for years but to no avail.

  11. Mitch
    February 22, 2011 at 7:03 am

    You know, Tea Party fans, Richard is giving you an example of what it means to support the constitution.

    The reason it’s such an awesome historical document is that it recognized the rights of everyone (well, every white immigrant male) to be protected from overreaching by the local, state, and federal governments.

  12. Mitch
    February 22, 2011 at 7:06 am

    And, DtS, the full reference is as follows:

    First They came… – Pastor Martin Niemoller


    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  13. Owltotem
    February 22, 2011 at 7:32 am

    The only reason people hold signs for money is because it works.

    I have a friend from youth who now has a hell of a habit, and not just beer mind you. It appears he supports his habit and his wife’s panhandling in Eureka. Dude wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work.

    Personally, I make an annual charitable donation to Humboldt Recovery and do not give panhandlers money (with very very rare exception).

    Holding a sign, or asking for money is absolutely protected under the first amendment. Aggressive panhandling construed as a threat could be a crime.

  14. Greg Kim
    February 22, 2011 at 7:43 am

    I say fine, I’ll start spiking the food with rodent powder. “Here, eat this you bums.” Start hammering your car horn each time you pass that bums wanting $$$$$ or food.

  15. Mitch
    February 22, 2011 at 7:55 am

    And I say, Greg Kim, that you’re a criminal.

  16. Andrew Bird
    February 22, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Though I get annoyed being panhandled all the time, I agree that asking for money or wearing a sign is protected speech.

  17. Mark Sailors
    February 22, 2011 at 8:22 am

    The fact of the matter is that the CA Supreme Court ruled in favor of LAX, and against the Hare Krishnas in regards to a ban on panhandling/ asking for donations at the airport. This ruling was on March 25, 2010. It is the “law of the land” in California.

    “It can distribute literature and speak to willing travelers,” Justice Carlos Moreno wrote in the opinion. “It can even seek financial support, as long as it does not request the immediate exchange of funds.”

    The CA Supreme Court ruled that the Hare Krishnas’ free speech rights are not trampled by city regulations, as the group has “ample alternative means of conveying its message.”

    The problem with the Arcata ordinance , as written , is it does not give people “ample alternative means of conveying their message.”

  18. Random Guy
    February 22, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Life must be good if you’re bothered by non-professionals on the street asking for handouts. Pretty sure Henchman covered the most aggressive panhandlers of them all above…the double standard some people have about the poor/homeless is mind numbing. “Aggressive panhandling” is a BS ordinance in itself, as if one is otherwise allowed to physically impede or emotionally molest another in public without it.

  19. Mark Sailors
    February 22, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Sorry the last sentance didnt come through.

    It should have read:
    The problem with the Arcata ordinance , as written , is it does not give people “ample alternative means of conveying their message.”, as almost the entire town is out of bounds under the current law.

  20. Mark Sailors
    February 22, 2011 at 8:25 am

    And sorry for that crappy spelling…….need more java…

  21. treesnstuff
    February 22, 2011 at 8:42 am

    richard’s suit is valid. first amendment protects free speech which holding a sign and asking for money definitely is. aggressive panhandling that intimates violence is not ok and could be a crime depending on the severity. drugged out kids on the plaza is part of what makes arcata great.

  22. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Drugged out kids on the Plaza is one of the things that makes Arcata sad. The thought that one of mine could end up like that is so upsetting. I feel sorry for them, never having found their dreams for their lives. Arcata is great, but that is not why.

  23. tra
    February 22, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Free speech rights are, of course, not absolute. As I recall, the state is allowed “reasonable” regulation of “time, manner, and place,” but no more than is needed to address a compelling state interest. As one instructor explained it, you do not have the right to scream obscenities through a bullhorn from a helicopter over someone’s backyard at 3 a.m. (to take an extreme example).

    The problem is that Arcata’s sweeping ordinance is NOT reasonable — it does not leave any viable alternative place and time for the speech, and it restricts the speech even when the “manner” is not agressive, threatening, or otherwise objectionable in a way that would justify the restrictions.

    It’s a classic example of government overreach. Other examples are bans on sleeping in public and bans on sharing food in public. This is the product of the incestous marriage between the police state and the nanny state: The nannycop state.

  24. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 9:06 am

    The problem is that Arcata’s sweeping ordinance is NOT reasonable

    Oh please, stop the hyperbole. What’s reasonable is in the eye of the beholder. The only thing that matters is whether a judge considers it reasonable. Personally, I think the non-sweeping ordinance doesn’t go far enough.

  25. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 9:07 am

    By the way, shoveling hyperbole is not reasonable, TRA.

  26. Mark Sailors
    February 22, 2011 at 9:26 am

    PS
    The ruling says that you can ask for indirect donations so someone could fly a sign that says something like” poor broke and hungry, please give your donation to bob” and someone half a block away can hold a sign that says ” I am Bob”.

    Just sayin’…….

  27. February 22, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Lawsuits aren’t cheap. Let’s see him really do it. He’s been getting away with the easy rhetoric for far too long.

  28. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    February 22, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Or, the City of Arcata knew the ordinance would get challenged, but wanted to suck into the issue businesses and others who are panhandling too?

    Ya never know how low elected officials will stoop to resolve issues, but abusing the poorest peoples is pretty low in my book WHEN those poor are not doing nothing wrong or inappropriate. In some peoples minds, human blight is just plain some humans; kinda like how white people treated the supposed savage natives when the musket and bible first touched land. Pure bigotry in an economic sense. Anyhow, in a city where people are pushed by government to “INFILL”, expect people of all makes and models. If ya don’t like, go live on TPZ land or something….oh, that’s right, the sardine can affect is in play mode by the infillest politicians. So, deal with it businesses :-). Life is best out in the open, not tented out in the community forrest.

    JL

  29. tra
    February 22, 2011 at 9:34 am

    9:06/9:07,

    Well, obviously I’m offering my opinion on what is reasonable, and I hope that the judge will agree.

    But I disagree that the only opinion that matters is a judge’s opinion. Even if a judge sided with the City, the voters could still get the ordinance changed by voting in council members who are willing to repeal the objectionable parts. So, as usual, the “court of public opinion” matters too.

    Rather than just stating that I’m being unreasonable and hyperbolic, perhaps you could state your justification for why the broad restrictions on the speech are necessary in the first place.

    The narrow restrictions on agressive behavior like shouting, blocking someone’s path, etc., are not in dispute, and those narrow restrictions would address legitimate concerns about free speech being abused in such a way that it crosses the line into harassing actions. Beyond that, why is anything more needed?

    And since you say that even the broad restrictions on non-agressive speech “don’t go far enough,” perhaps you could tell us what additional restrictions you would add, if it were up to you.

  30. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    February 22, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Mark,

    I am Bob; and, Thanks for the money, see ya!

    Hate to be the guy saying, “give-it to Bob.”

    Hey, how are those green bikes working out in Arcata? I see ’em all the way down in South Eureka on Broadway!

    JL

  31. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    February 22, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Rose says:
    February 22, 2011 at 9:27 am
    Lawsuits aren’t cheap. Let’s see him really do it. He’s been getting away with the easy rhetoric for far too long.

    Response: Yep; and probably why he chose this issue – high probability of being stayed, overturned and/or amended to fit certain judical/case law guidelines or precedents. I dunno, just speculating at best right now since certain specifics have yet to be entertained with clarity. The double-standard though, as another poster nailed it, is very troubling behavior by people who are supposed to be representing everyone in the community, not everyone less the blightful people (eery to even suggest a human is blightful, but this is what this ordinance does in a way).

    JL

  32. Mitch
    February 22, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Panhandling is a problem in every town that has compassionate people coexisting with a society that is known to have a failed safety net.

    The way to minimize it is to insist that the society provide a safety net, and then ensure that most compassionate people are aware of how to help people get the help they need. They will then direct panhandlers to the appropriate resources for help, and panhandlers that just view panhandling as a way to make a living will move elsewhere, because it won’t bring in as much money.

    The existence of lots of panhandlers is a symptom, not a problem. As with everything, treating the symptom as though it is separable from the problem will just allow the problem to get worse while making things look better at the surface. That “works” only until the underlying problem begins to manifest in even worse ways.

    Unless you think there are a lot of people out there who think begging on streetcorners is more fun and dignified than working, panhandling is a sign that people are in real trouble. People who don’t like it are absolutely correct — it’s a horrible thing that your neighbors are forced to resort to it.

    Maybe people should be asking why a county agency that employs 1,000 people (!) doesn’t seem to be sufficient to provide a safety net that prevents most panhandling. It’s an excellent question.

  33. Plain Jane
    February 22, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Easy answer, Mitch. The already frayed social safety net has been torn asunder by high unemployment at a time of budget cuts, decreased charitable giving and rising cost of living. Those county workers are handling more clients with less money to spend. It’s hard to think about where we’re going to end up if there isn’t an abrupt change of direction.

  34. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 10:05 am

    The cops need some teeth to deal with this. I am for it. The people like my parents don’t feel comfortable going there. Their rights are violated as well, and they deserve to have a good Plaza experience as much as anyone.

  35. tommyboy
    February 22, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Agreed, but Peter’s assertion does use unprofessional language, such as “crazy patchwork and embarrasingly.”

  36. Mitch
    February 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

    PJ,

    I don’t think it’s quite that simple. Yes, you’re right, there are more people in trouble and less money to spend.

    But I wonder whether the County is interested in helping those who need help, or if its priority is getting grants to cover the costs of DHHS management. Bureaucracies sometimes exist to benefit those at the top of the bureaucracy, not those who are supposedly served.

    I’d really like to see figures on how much of the DHHS budget goes to staff, and how much of that staff actually meets with or serves supposed clients.

    I’d really like to see figures on the average size of a loan (not grant) that the County welfare department makes to someone on welfare, and how much gets deducted if they wish to be put up in a motel for a night.

    I wish people understood what the time limits are on receiving welfare, and what the asset limitations are. I wish people understood how long it takes to get approved for the existing welfare services, and all the roadblocks that are placed in people’s way.

    If only there were a local news organization that thought such matters relevant, the public might not still be thinking in terms of “Welfare Queens,” thirty years after Reagan’s propaganda.

    It might instead be thinking of ways to fire those at the top of dysfunctional bureaucracies, unless they can show results that compare favorably with functional organizations.

  37. High Finance
    February 22, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I am disgusted by the panhandlers. Begging for money, using their (or other people’s children) for sympathy or having some poor dog with them is contemptible.

    These people are NOT doing it because of any “failed safety need” or being reduced to it. They are panhandling because they’re too damn lazy to get a job & it makes them a lot of money.

    With that said, it is a free country and if they are not aggressive they have a right. As long as they are not on private property or blocking access.

    But I fully understand the reasons why the Arcata city council passed their ordinance.

    Want to stop panhandlers ? Don’t give them any money. If we all did that they would stop.

  38. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    February 22, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Good compassionate words Mitch,

    This quote here,

    Unless you think there are a lot of people out there who think begging on streetcorners is more fun and dignified than working, panhandling is a sign that people are in real trouble. People who don’t like it are absolutely correct — it’s a horrible thing that your neighbors are forced to resort to it.

    suggests you are correctomundo grandesque because look at corporations panhandling within public sidewalk rights-of-ways without an operating permit or ADA facilities to mitigate for the blocked sidewalks.

    Why?

    For their bottom line while illegally breaching the business certificate that the City Manager’s Office in Arcata approved. Oh well, Sales Tax Money from corporations doing illegal business in a different geographic location than what is on the business certificate is more important than the hypocracy that goes with Arcata AND corporations, certain religious manipulators and those certain politically connected small businesses with snooty, elitist attitudes – simply disrespects.

    JL

  39. Mark Sailors
    February 22, 2011 at 10:14 am

    “Hey, how are those green bikes working out in Arcata? I see ‘em all the way down in South Eureka on Broadway!”

    Glad you asked, although i have ZERO to do with that program, it is my understanding that the insurance issues were what killed the loaner bike system…..now there are literally hundreds of “library” bikes running around the area.

    PS
    In Arcata ALL bicycle are supposed to be licensed, so anyone riding an unlicensed bike is in violation of the law……they are cheap and you can get them at the front desk at the APD.

  40. Mark Sailors
    February 22, 2011 at 10:18 am

    “These people are NOT doing it because of any “failed safety need” or being reduced to it. They are panhandling because they’re too damn lazy to get a job & it makes them a lot of money.”

    Whether you agree with the drug laws or not, anyone that can not pass a drug test can not get a job. Put that together with employers not hiring anyone with a “gap” in employment history you are looking at a massive homelessness problem nationwide.

  41. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    February 22, 2011 at 10:21 am

    High Finance says:
    February 22, 2011 at 10:12 am
    I am disgusted by the panhandlers. Begging for money, using their (or other people’s children) for sympathy or having some poor dog with them is contemptible.

    Response: Hmm, kinda like Ronnie Pelligrini going before the Board of Supervisors, turning around, pointing at some toddler in a cart, and claiming “that is the future of the fishing industry” ……. all the while using a child as a political tool to get public tax money for their occupation or lifestyle of choice. That is manipulation BIGTIME DUDE.

    So, don’t single out the poor. In fact, those UNION teachers in Wisconsin are doing the same thing – using kids and young adults as UNION tools…not to benefit the NON-UNION child, but to benefit the instant gratification of the UNIONIZED adult or person pushing the UNIONIZED/COMMUNAL public relations style arguments.

    Just sayin, Panhandling is from whose perspective…. ;and, that is usually dictated by class level comparisons, sadly.

    JL

  42. Mitch
    February 22, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Hi Fi,

    I guarantee you it would be educational for you to go to the welfare office as a silent observer for a day.

    I’d be fascinated to hear your suggestions for employers for many of the people who need aid. Maybe you’d be willing to employ them yourself.

  43. Mitch
    February 22, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I think I need to correct a mistake. I implied that people who ask to be put up in a motel for a night have money deducted from their welfare check. That’s a mistake — I don’t think anyone ever actually wants to be put up in a motel. But the county, if I remember correctly, will automatically put you into a shared room at a motel and deduct from your check if the weather is bad enough, even if you beg them not to.

    Motel owners then get the vast sums of money that the Welfare Queens would have spent on drugs.

  44. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    February 22, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Mark,

    Not all panhandlers are lazy – panhandling takes time and effort and a little bit of work, don’t ya think? Anyhow, I doubt laziness is ubiquitous (spell check). Yet, you are partially correct – laziness does exist… but in minority. As has been written in the past few days – people with skills and nothing to do to utilize those skills become people with nothing to do but wander. Now, color me blind and call me stupid or whatever, but the worst thing is a bunch of human beings with nothing to do; and, then go crazy cuz there is nothing to do. Ya, life ain’t looking good for mass society, especially those metropolis zones.

    We are so lucky to live in N. California!

    JL

  45. Plain Jane
    February 22, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Is there a secret list of job openings that only Republicans know about? Their cavalier attitude about unemployment was summarized by Boehner, “If people lose their jobs, so be it,” while opposing unemployment benefits for people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Where are all these jobs that people should get instead of drawing unemployment or begging on street corners?

  46. Owltotem
    February 22, 2011 at 10:39 am

    They are panhandling because they’re too damn lazy to get a job & it makes them a lot of money.

    I disagree hi fi, I think a large number are hope to die dope-fiends deep in their addiction who have found a viable way to support it and actually may be salvageable and employable iff that cycle is broken.

    There needs to be a focused effort on either fixing these fools the second they are released from prison or changing the punishment system to include addiction education and vocational training.

    The light house ranch model worked for many, the rescue mission works for a few, Humboldt Recovery has good track record but when these guys are out there and in it they are going to do what they need to do to stay loaded, usually (sadly) incarceration is what breaks that cycle.

    Once you.ve seen the heroin shuffle you recognize it and at least 2/3 of Eureka’s pan handlers are doing it.

  47. Julie Timmons
    February 22, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Good for Richard!

  48. tra
    February 22, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I understand how people can get annoyed and frustrated with the young travelers who pass through Arcata and Eureka and use panhandling to augment whatever other funds they may have as they enjoy their summer tour of festivals, campgrounds, concerts, and so on. I don’t consider those folks truly needy, and I politely decline to contribute to their crunchy-groovy extended vacations. But I don’t think that these travelers should be harassed, they have as much right as anyone to use our public spaces and to exercise their free speech rights, including soliciting donations verbally or with a sign. I just exercise my own free speech rights by politely declining to contribute.

    It does seem to me that by soaking up some of the local panhandling dollars as they slough through town, these travelers may be in effect be taking food out of the mouths of some of our local homeless population, as well as helping to increase apathy and “compassion fatigue” in some local residents. I wish these less-needy lifestyle/traveler-type panhandlers would realize that there are degrees of neediness, and that they are not even close to the top of my list.

    But there’s no way to make an effective legal distinction between (a) a dreadheaded young hipster-wannabee who is just looking for a few extra bucks for beer and smokes as they enjoy the freewheeling summer travel scene, (b) a layed-off worker who has lost their apartment and is desperately trying to keep themselves fed and sheltered for the next few days (and is anxious to find work and a way out of their situation), and (c) someone with mental health and/or substance abuse problems who is unable to work and has slipped through the holes in our tattered safety net and become truly homeless and destitute.

    So we’re left with the choice of either recognizing everyone’s rights (the not-so-needy, as well as the truly needy), or trying to restrict everyone’s rights, as the overly-broad Arcata ordinance does. The latter approach, in my opinion, amounts to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    My feeling is that we must not let our annoyance at these less-needy “lifestyle” panhandlers prevent us from having compassion for all the folks who are in truly dire straits. And aside from the moral/ethical considerations, there are practical ones: If you take away the basic right of desperate people to ask for help directly from members of the community, in a public space, some of these desperate people will be driven to even more desperate measures, such as prostituting themselves, committing acts of burglary, theft, robbery, etc.

    Although, as I said above, some of the less-needy panhandlers that I see do kind of irk me, as a practical matter it’s not really a problem for me to tolerate their presence. I just ignore or politely refuse those I think are most likely not-so-needy “lifestyle” panhandlers, but I do sometimes give a buck or two to somebody who looks to me that they are truly down on their luck.

  49. High Finance
    February 22, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I agree Owltotem.

    Those people who give to the panhandlers are enablers and are doing those beggars great damage in the long run.

    Instead of fostering dependence on begging and rewarding laziness, tough love says we should force them to become productive by withholding the dollars.

  50. tra
    February 22, 2011 at 11:05 am

    The people like my parents don’t feel comfortable going there. Their rights are violated as well, and they deserve to have a good Plaza experience

    Apparetnly you are laboring under the mistaken belief that you have a “right” to “feel comfortable” and that this “right” magically supercedes actual free speech rights.

    Show me where your “right” to “feel comfortable” appears in the Consitution. Meanwhile we do have a right to free speech, try the First Amendment.

  51. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I think for every person called “lazy” there is a person who had learning problems, substance abuse, or child abuse in their past. Some people simply cannot get it together to show up regularly at a job. They really need guidance and a program to put them in some sort of daily system they can follow. Throwing money at them either by just giving food or shelter, or by giving it to them on the street obviously is not enough.

    Stop subsidizing them on the street. It is not in their best interest. Give money to programs that you believe work to bring these people a new life. I can’t think of one, but maybe others know about some. A halfway house situation is necessary, in my opinion.

  52. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 11:16 am

    tra, my parents deserve to be comfortable. They have given more to this community and to this country than 90% of the people I know. It is a personal opinion, not a Constitutional right. Everyone’s personal freedoms as laid out in the Constitution (how free to you FEEL to speak?) are subjective measures. I feel their rights are violated considering their age and abilities. They are vulnerable to just about any obstacle, your opinion about whether it is an obstacle or not is a matter of personal experience.

  53. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Salzman is grandstanding. For what purpose, I don’t know.

    Panhandling is prohibited in narrowly defined circumstances in narrowly defined sections of the city where it has proven to be a problem, infringing on the rights of other citizens — namely, everyone who isn’t a panhandler.

    Yeah, the free speech right to pester people only goes so far. The rest of us have rights, too.

    I say, bring the lawsuit on. Salzman will lose.

  54. Mitch
    February 22, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Hi Fi,

    Great bumper sticker.

    Please show me and others your brilliant plan for forcing everyone to become productive. I completely agree with you that everyone who is able to hold a job should not be dependent on handouts, and I think our welfare policies have reflected that for some time, complete with requiring make-work (litter cleanup around government offices, etc…) from participants.

    Please, do your society a favor by going down to the General Relief offices and watching the intake workers for a day. Then, do us all a service by coming up with your detailed plan that accomplishes what we all agree is necessary. You’re not allowed to send people to jail for not working, because while that would make things easy, it would be far too expensive. Also, our society is not quite to that point yet, though we’re getting closer.

    I’d appreciate seeing your appendices for dealing with people who have never learned personal hygiene and never will, people who may seem normal for ten minutes, but who you then realize are completely incapable of recognizing when they need to stop talking, people who are clearly just plain stupid, but not so stupid that they need to be in an institution, people who are currently drug-addicted, people who have been born with various mental disorders, and people who give everyone around them the willies.

    Your plan should not pawn all these people off on those who just need a hand up, because that’s the best way to keep down the people who might otherwise escape dependency.

    Let’s hear it Hi Fi. We all know you think highly of your problem solving ability. So put up or shut up, for once.

  55. Mitch
    February 22, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Oh, yeah. Whatever your plan does, Hi Fi, you’re not allowed to come up with something that might raise taxes. Too many people will oppose it. And remember you’ve got to get it past the electorate, the CoC, and the rest of the local “leadership.”

    Let us all know when your plan is ready. I figure I’ll check back in ten minutes, because you’re a problem-solving kind of a guy.

    Oh yeah. No internment camps allowed.

  56. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Amazing how the U.S. used to address this problem, similar to the rest of the industrialized world…by providing fundamental services and jobs.

    I recently returned from a business trip to Auckland and made a point to walk in this capital city downtown beginning at midnight. After 2 hours I gave up…I couldn’t find ONE homeless person or beggar, NOT ONE!

    Turns out, that New Zealand’s 12% sales tax, combined with reasonable Tariffs and business taxes, provides EVERY citizen with no-frills shelter, food, health care, education, job training and job placement! An effective incentive for foreign investment.

    If citizens want more, and most do, they must get educated and work harder for it.

    HOWEVER, America’s right-wing goon squads cherish their bigotry and hatred of the poor, so they support policies that manufacture more of them. They need to get out of their single-wide hate bubbles and travel a little. Amerika’s “free-press” tells them NOTHING!

    Meanwhile, the fattest welfare queens this world every excreted are still looting the U.S. Treasury.

    Civilizations are ultimately judged by how they treated their weakest members.

  57. Mitch
    February 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Careful, 11:58, Hi Fi’s gonna call you a commie. And Homeland Security is gonna wonder what you’re doing out of the country.

    Everyone knows nothing anywhere is better than anything here, and if you see otherwise you’re just an uppity unpatriotic so-and-so who ought to love American or leave it.

  58. High Finance
    February 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Thanks to lax policies and free handouts in the past, you’re right Mitch in saying some of those people are too far gone to ever be helped now.

    But it is the next generation that needs to learn they must be self sufficient.

    Your cruel policies are condemning some of them to learning the wrong things and being too far gone later.

  59. From Arcata
    February 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    This is soooo Arcata. Baroness Von Stillman and her lapdog Kevin Hoover are defenders of the Propertied Class / Merchant Class. The only thing progressive about most Arcatans is they support abortion rights and gay marriage. Other than that, it’s power to those with the (organic) wealth. They’ve got their Arcata High Jail and Freedom of Speech is for Kevin and company. Everyone else can continue the American dream; eat, work, shop, watch TV, and sleep. As long as its at Wildberries or the Co-op and as long as its KEET-TV, everything is cool. Care to donate to the new Fire Station? We can’t seem to save any money so wee need to beg for it.

  60. Mitch
    February 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    So what are you going to do about the people who are too far gone now, Hi Fi? Is it just too bad for them, or do they need to be provided with help?

    And if the next generation needs to learn to be self-sufficient, are they just going to have to compete with Chinese peasants? Because the non-renewable resources that were extracted to create the American century are gone now, and even the headquarters of the corporations are moving to wherever taxes will be lowest. And Clinton signed us on to free-trade that makes it impossible to silo our economy.

    So how are our young people supposed to maintain a formerly-American standard of living while competing with a work force that is under the control of the Red Army, and that will get shot when it tries to unionize?

    I’m still waiting for your report on how to end panhandling, so there’s no rush on solving this one. Take until tomorrow. Remember, though, NO NEW TAXES!

  61. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    12:44 did you know Kevin and Alex in the older days when they were more liberal? They are still Dems, and lean to the left, just not as sideways as you. They are older now, and smarter, have raised kids and had businesses and know how it doesn’t work until you are more of a centrist in the political world, and how you have to put your time in, as well as your money, to make it work. They know how to work hard and they give back to their community. I have observed them for years, and they are sure “okay”.

    Those of who support this community to give a lot to the fire station. We know how important it is, and we also shop at the Coop, Wildberries, Safeway, Murphy’s Ray’s, and Hutchins, and all the other little markets.

    My kids went to Arcata High and it was a safe and supportive place, sent them on their way to further their lives.

    Sorry you are sad about things around here. I think it works pretty darn well.

  62. From Arcata
    February 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    1:07 “lean to the left” a.k.a. Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee. Works well? Have you seen the foreclosures in town? The University builds concrete buildings while dismantling the Nursing program? “It works well” means “I got mine.” P.S. I’m not “sad”, I’m wide awake in America. Obama’s Defense Secretary just told Congress that Guantanamo is not going to close. “Things are working pretty darn well” tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee dee dee

  63. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I guess I am more of an optimist than you. Arcata is is great shape compared to a lot of towns, with wonderful people and businesses who care about their community. There are many in much worse shape.

  64. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    The concrete buildings have nothing to do with the nursing program.

    Does “I got mine” mean you didn’t? Oh… Well, keep working on it. We have a great community.

  65. From Arcata
    February 22, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    No, I have mine. But I am making a living, not a killing. Which is better than I can say for some of my fake liberal friends in Arcata. You don’t see a connection or disconnection between building multi-million dollar buildings while laying off teachers? Jeez-O-Pete! The disillusions in Arcata are more pervasive than previously revealed. I like your line of false-logic. There are third world countries worse off than us so pay no mind to the fact that we are the only first world country without health care for all. But keep your illusion, just watch someone “in much worse shape” and you will be placated into submission. Tweedle Dee Dee Dee (Guantanamo: Open Forever!) Arcata: One giant liberal chicken coup!!

  66. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Gosh, you are completely jaded. I meant there are many TOWNS worse off. I am not comparing Arcata to a foreign economy or country. Making a killing? I don’t know anyone in Arcata who is doing that. The concrete buildings have completely different funding than the nursing program or the money for salaries in the rest of the school and the money is not interchangeable.

    Relax a little. Some things are good here.

  67. From Arcata
    February 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Some things are good, some things stink. Like no free speech and the dismantling of the University. Keep up with the sunshine and ignore the problems, they’ll go away.

  68. From Arcata
    February 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    In case you didn’t notice, this thread is not about the lollipops and sunshine in Arcata. Its about the absence of Free Speech by the poor in freedom loving Arcata!!!!!!!!!!!!

  69. High Finance
    February 22, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    So Mitch, what non renewable resources “are gone now” ?

    We could end panhandling without any government intervention. All people have to do is say “no”. Too many soft hearted, but wrong headed people, keep giving & hurting them so it really isn’t going to stop.

  70. Not A Native
    February 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Just want to say anon 1:44, your feeling better about your situation because you think someone is worse off than you is kinda nasty and mean. I know you think you’re ‘counting your blessings’ but what you’re really counting is someone else’s misery.

    Its the same attitude that justifies the orphanange owner to getting angry at Oliver Twist because he asked for more. Instead, Oliver should have thought about the blind, deaf, and ill children around him and ‘relaxed a little’, feeling good about it.

  71. Mitch
    February 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Hi Fi,

    I don’t think I urged that your plan involve government intervention. Please, by all means use the private sector so my taxes won’t go up. Just explain how you are going to deal with the people you seemed to acknowledge are too far gone to help themselves? What’s your plan, or do you feel they are disposable? Saying people shouldn’t give to panhandlers is fine, and I mostly agree. But what are you going to do to keep people from starving or getting sick being out on the streets and incapable of earning an income?

  72. Mitch
    February 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    And HiFi (1:52),

    For starters, the planet’s atmosphere. But I know you think that’s just a fraud perpetrated by scientists and librals.

  73. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    NAN, you are a jaded one as well. I think our town is doing well compared to others. I didn’t say one word about myself, but I can tell you, my blessing counting lies in being simply alive and appreciating the difference between dire health and healthy enough to enjoy what a wonderful town we have.

    I have seen the other and it is not pleasant. We are lucky here and those of us who can get out and see experience it.

  74. Bob
    February 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    This is not the answer, people. No matter how upset we may get, or how frustrated we may be, we’re not gonna solve our problems out in the street. It’s just the wrong way to do it. We have to have a “Code of Conduct” we can all agree to live by. Now, I asked George and Burt here to sketch out some ideas–and I think they’ve done a terrific job. If we all agree on these then we can take a vote and I think we’ll start to move in the right direction. “ONE: All public disruption and acts of vandalism are to cease immediately. TWO: All citizens of Pleasantville are to treat one another in a courteous and ‘pleasant’ manner…

  75. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Whatever, Freaks! Doesn’t anyone have a job around here?

  76. Not A Native
    February 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    As always anon you feel your OK because you must be’compared to others’. You’re feelin’ good only as long as you know someone else is feelin’ worse.

    Sounds like you’re satisfied only if you think someone else doesn’t ahve what you have. You’re not jaded, your attitude is meanspirited, based on insecurity, needing someone to envy you or who you can feel you are doing better than. Instead of looking down to feel tall, why not look up and see what you can aspire to?

  77. David/Bud
    February 22, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    “THREE: The area commonly known as Lover’s Lane as well as the Pleasantville Public Library shall be closed until further notice. FOUR: The only permissible recorded music shall be the following: Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, Jack Jones, the marches of John Phillips Sousa or the Star Spangled Banner. In no event shall any music be tolerated that is not of a temperate or “pleasant” nature.”

  78. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Well, NAN, as usual, you’re a frickin’ jerk. All I said was our town is doing well, I think I’m gonna live, and you’re a jerk. And that’s all.

  79. Lisa Anne
    February 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    “Courteous and Pleasant manner.” That doesn’t sound too bad.

  80. Not A Native
    February 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Ahh anon, finally you’re run to ground revealing your natural state of vulgar name calling. Its completely consistent with what you’ve written before, just less subtle.

    You’ve now shed your soft sell facade and clearly display your true colors of nastiness and smugness. You take satisfaction by thinking others are worse off then you. Now that we’re all certain what you are, no need on your part for anything more.

  81. From Arcata
    February 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I used to live in Pleasantville/Arcata. Like Fortuna, the are “Friendly” to each other, but if one challenges their dominant paradigm … whoo boy! They get as nasty as Cheney hunting with an attorney. Don’t tell them that being “progressive” means more than celebrating Martin Luther King day. As long as they have their “Smart” cars, they can feel better as they drive into extinction.

  82. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    You prove yourself to me every time, NAN. I never said I was without strength or conviction. Why would you judge a comment by a “history” on some anonymous person?

  83. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    NAN and Mr. Nice. Could they be the same person?

  84. From Arcata
    February 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Anon. I was defending Arcata years ago to a colleague. I maintained that we (Arcatans) were more civil than the Neanderthals. They pointed out that we were more sophisticated but not more civil. I strongly disagreed. Over the years I have come to see the wisdom of this person’s observation. Like the eloquent grace of the French people and their art and culture against the backdrop of their cruel prisons. That my friend ANON, is Arcata. You too are friendly as you articulate the sunshine of Arcata but you get plenty nasty when someone points out the imperfections in Pleasantville.

  85. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Really, from my short piece you have read all this? What I see from you and NAN is depression and sadness. I wish you both the best. I maintain Arcata is mostly a wonderful place and we are lucky to be here.

  86. High Finance
    February 22, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    First of all Mitch, the atmosphere is renewable and the last time I checked, it was still there.

    Silly Mitch.

  87. Silly Mitch
    February 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Your plan on homelessness, hifi? Still waiting.

  88. tra
    February 22, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    tra, my parents deserve to be comfortable.

    I’m sure they do. That doesn’t mean they have a constitutional right to be comfortable.

    Meanwhile, people DO have a constitutional right to free speech. The fact that this speech makes somebody else uncomfortable does not negate this right. It’s inconvenient to your parents, and I’m truly sorry for that, but this is part of the price we all must pay for living in a (relatively) free society.

    Meanwhile, unlike speech, aggressive conduct is not Constitutionally protected, which is why the section of the ordinance that deals with aggressive panhandling practices, such as blocking someone’s path or touching them, is not being challenged by this lawsuit.

    See the difference. Really…it’s not that hard.

  89. Reverse Panhandling
    February 22, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Instead of making it illegal to panhandle, make it illegal to give money to panhandlers. Fine the people enabling the beggars.

  90. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Right-wingers haven’t a clue what to do with America’s walking-wounded homeless.

    25% are U.S. vets!

    Right-wing bigots are blinded by victory, thrilled that the class they envy has the “right” to have its lips firmly attached to the U.S. Treasury while American citizens “learn their lesson to be more self-sufficient”!

    Ha Ha.

    Hypocrites and traitors, never leave voluntarily….the class war is heating up in Europe, Asia and South America.

  91. Nero
    February 22, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Soylent Green is people.

  92. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Don’t forget the riots in the Middle-East, they won’t be forgetting us.

  93. treesnstuff
    February 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    “Your plan on homelessness, hifi? Still waiting.”

    @silly mitch: a blog comment classic. damn straight, how come hifi doesn’t have a silver bullet plan to solve homelessness? and, how come he hasn’t elucidated said plan in this comment thread? hey hifi, you probably feel pretty dumb right now. good one silly mitch.

  94. Anonymous
    February 22, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Mr Dick head has stuck up his ugly head again!

  95. February 23, 2011 at 2:16 am

    I got obsessed with this issue last year. Here are all the posts I did bout it, if interested: http://www.thereporta.com/?tag=panhandling

  96. Plain Jane
    February 23, 2011 at 5:43 am

    Reverse Panhandling, Giving money is protected speech as well.

  97. Walt
    February 23, 2011 at 5:49 am

    Unless it’s aggressive, PJ.
    “Here, take this money!”
    “No, I don’t want it, thanks.”
    “No, really. Take it” (pushes it against the person’s body)
    “Hey, leave me alone or I’ll call the police!”
    “Damn you,take it!” (starts stuffing money in the person’s pockets as he tries to pull away.”
    “Help! City Council!”

  98. High Finance
    February 23, 2011 at 7:40 am

    My “plan” on homelessness ?

    Stop the free handouts. Get those who are mentally ill or drug & alcohol addicted into hospitals for their own protection. The others will either go without or start working to feed themselves.

    Remove the children from parents who are unable or unwilling to provide for them & put them into foster homes.

    One definition of insanity is to keep repeating the same actions over and over again, expecting a different result. All you people can offer is to keep doing what has miserably failed these last 40 years, but do more of it.

  99. Plain Jane
    February 23, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Who will pay for those hospital rooms that don’t exist, HiFi? Where are they to start working? Who will pay for the foster care? Another definition of insanity is proposing faux solutions for which there are no resources, but it’s easier to throw stones at homeless people than to actually do something to help them.

  100. Plain Jane
    February 23, 2011 at 7:55 am

    LMAO, Walt!

  101. Mitch
    February 23, 2011 at 7:57 am

    No, HiFi, that’s not a plan. You yourself admitted that many people today are too far gone to help themselves, so “either go without or start working” is a bumper sticker, not a plan. You mean “go without and die.”

    The California Report recently had a program on the FACT that one in four foster kids end up committing crimes within, I think it was, two years of leaving the system. So removing children from parents sounds like a bumper sticker, not a plan.

    It’s also incredibly expensive, so it violates your first commandment of NO NEW TAXES. We live in what’s left of a constitutional democracy, so it’s not easy for the state to seize a person’s children.

    And Gandhi had the right answer to your truly wrong-headed suggestion that we’ve already tried something as simple as doing the right thing. When he was asked what he thought of Western civilization, he replied he thought it would be a great idea.

    We have yet to actually devote our society to the supposed Christian ideal of serving those who need help. Instead, we’ve devoted our society to ensuring that those who are able to grab money can keep more and more of what they’ve successfully grabbed. It’s disgusting and pathetic.

    Support the arts — “no money.”

    Support the sciences — “no money.”

    Support the poor — “no money.”

    Support the middle class — “no money.”

    Support those who destroyed the economy by making unsupported bets at the Wall Street casino — “we have to, or everyone will suffer.”

    Support the corporations that are shipping employment overseas daily — “we have to, they drive our economy.”

    Support the “defense industry” — “we have to, or our nation’s security will be endangered.” How? We’ve already sold control of our economy to the Chinese, and we still have enough nuclear weapons to threaten any state that attempted to invade us. Why are we letting our limited resources drain into the banks which screwed us, the corporations which view us as overpaid cogs that need to be replaced with labor from dictatorships, and the cesspit of military contracting?

    Oh, it’s because Republicans have “values.” Biggest lie ever.

  102. High Finance
    February 23, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Never said there would be no cost Jane. But it would not be as expensive as it sounds because the current system costs a fortune in police services, emergency room services, social services.

    Comrade, I have no “first commandment of no new taxes”. The cost of this program would worth the increase in the quality of life for the other 99% of us.

    Do you two have no compassion for these direlicts ?

  103. Plain Jane
    February 23, 2011 at 9:47 am

    That’s what the left has been saying FOREVER, HiFi! It is cheaper to put a poor kid through college than to incarcerate one for a year. It is cheaper to put people to work picking up papers, or even digging holes and filling them back in, than the social programs, prisons, and waste of human potential that is occurring now. There are no jobs for them to take, HiFi; but you are opposed to the government doing anything to create jobs and put people to work. You want us to believe that abolishing labor laws, cutting taxes, abolishing regulations will somehow create jobs but unless people are willing to work for Chinese wages (which would still leave them homeless) the jobs aren’t coming back.

  104. Mitch
    February 23, 2011 at 10:00 am

    See what happens, Jane? You prompt HiFi just a little to think about a solution that would actually work, and it turns out he’s a leftist.

    The difference between the Tea Party and the left is about ten minutes of thinking.

    Comrade HiFi, welcome.

  105. Plain Jane
    February 23, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Miracles do happen, Mitch. It’s that 10 minutes of thinking that’s so hard for them.

  106. Director
    February 23, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Meanwhile, all the Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons engage in another round of centrifugal bumble-puppy….

  107. Anonymous
    February 23, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Amazing.

    Is there some way we can have musical accompaniment for such monumental blog-epiphanies?

  108. High Finance
    February 23, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Silly Mitch & Jane.

    What on earth do you think is leftist about wanting to hospitilize people who are mentally unable to fend for themselves and then stop the handouts for all the bums getting a free ride at our expense ?

  109. Plain Jane
    February 23, 2011 at 11:29 am

    That was only one of your solutions, HiFi. How much more are you willing to pay in taxes for those hospitals and foster homes? Where are the jobs they should go out and get? Bet you’re already salivating over those day laborer cues at Home Depot.

  110. Plain Jane
    February 23, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I wonder if HiFi remembers that it was Reagan who closed state mental hospitals and then wouldn’t fund community programs to deal with the burden.

  111. Hugo
    February 23, 2011 at 11:48 am

    More employed people means more taxes to extract. Taxes should be an option as well as spending cuts. Only tunnel visioned party ideologues claim otherwise. Everyone benefits from a society’s infrastructure. Everyone should contribute.

  112. Chelsea M
    February 23, 2011 at 11:50 am

    That was an awfully long time ago, Jane. There have been many opportunities to remedy that mistake. Where have your heros been?

  113. Plain Jane
    February 23, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Who are my heroes, Chelsea?

  114. Mitch
    February 23, 2011 at 11:57 am

    HiFi,

    Oh, comrade HiFi, you were doing so well. When you say “stop the free ride,” I guess you mean no loans for them from General Relief, and no money from panhandling. Again, excellent bumper sticker.

    OK. So now you have 20, 200, or 2000 people with limited life skills and no source of money. I’d still urge you to head on down to the General Relief intake to come to a more informed decision about what percentage of these folks you or other employers would care to employ. Let’s say half are employable without heavy investment (I doubt that very much); that still leaves 10, or 100, or 1000. As I believe you agreed, they are beyond help. What are you planning to do about them?

    You can try to get them to leave the area, and if all your wise brethren in other areas choose the same approach, we’ll have a new set of names but an identical problem, and we’ll have spent a good deal on Greyhound tickets to shuffle them all around. The beat cops will have to learn the new names.

    You can leave them starving, in which case you’d better increase the size of your police force and be prepared to house them, very expensively, in our jails.

    If any of them collapse on the street or make their way on foot to emergency rooms, you’re also going to get stuck with pretty heavy bills as their malnutrition and disease gets treated in the most expensive possible way.

    You can put them in internment camps, but people like PJ and myself will complain loudly, the bastards.

    So you are left with providing them with food and shelter, whether you consider them deserving or not. How much less than what is paid now do you think would generate the minimum daily calorie load?

    And, as I think you’ve pointed out, there are children being raised by the undeserving. You suggest that these children should be taken away from parents who don’t have sufficient life skills to care for themselves, let alone their children.

    OK, I think that’s very noble of you. You’re going to need to pay for a lot of lawyers (and judges), and you’re going to need to set up a very large system for ensuring that these kids are placed in new non-abusive homes. Foster care is expensive, so please let us know how much you’ll set aside for the vastly increased foster care system, and how you’re going to pay for it.

    As you know, it’s not the fault of the kids that their parents are bums. So you’re going to want to treat them well, especially because many of them are probably suffering from problems related to their upbringing to date. They may not think all that highly of adults or discipline. They may not be all that nicey-nice to the people who are now supervising them. They’re going to need extra care to become contributing members of society 10, 15 years down the road. So you’d better hire some pretty compassionate and well-trained public service workers, and some pretty heavy-duty investigators to make sure that their new homes are not abusive.

    I think it’s wonderful that you’ve decided our society needs to pay for all this and, again, I welcome you to the set of people who’ve thought about the issues for more than the time it takes to read or write a bumper sticker. It’s called the left.

  115. Mitch
    February 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Chelsea M,

    Many of them are working for social service agencies, buried under layers and layers of idiotic, mean-spirited bureaucrats who are kept in place not because they run their agencies well, but because they are good at wiping local political ass and keeping costs shoved off onto federal taxpayers rather than local taxpayers. That’s where.

  116. Chelsea M
    February 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Please tell me, Jane, who are your heroes. The ones that would reverse the tragedy promulgated by Reagan. Anyone in the Presidency or Congress since 1989.

  117. tra
    February 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Getting back to the original issue of this threatened lawsuit against the Arcata ordinance, I just wanted to note that HiFi appears to agree that aside from the “aggressive panhandling” provision (which is not being challenged by the lawsuit), the Arcata ordinance goes to far in attempting to ban panhandling altogether.

    High Finance says:
    February 22, 2011 at 10:12 am
    With that said, it is a free country and if they are not aggressive they have a right. As long as they are not on private property or blocking access.

    Sounds like most of us can at least agree on that.

  118. Plain Jane
    February 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Nope, Chelsea. None of my heroes was in the presidency or congress (or the governor’s mansion) since 1989. Although there have been quite a few who have championed the downtrodden and fought for funding programs to end the cycle of poverty, the response has been too little and much too late. Of course, we all know which political parties were on which sides of these debates.

  119. February 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Do we, Jane?

  120. QP
    February 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Jane,
    Stop typing and start a soup line.

  121. Chelsea M
    February 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Could they have become heroes had they corrected the wrong?

  122. treesnstuff
    February 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    my plan for the homeless? make mitch president of the universe. problem solved. you’re welcome.

  123. Anonymous
    February 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Oh David, you’re so cute.

  124. skippy
    February 23, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Yours truly doesn’t mind panhandlers holding benign signs.

    Why? Here’s some experiences. Make of them what you will, file them where you want, or please disregard this altogether.

    Yours truly has never panhandled– but seen a few things and talked to many people as the opportunity arises. People are simply interesting.

    One down-and-out young man nicely asked the startled younger deli worker in her Eureka store, “If I steal this sandwich, will you do anything?” She said he shouldn’t steal. He said, “Yes, I know that. But you don’t understand. I haven’t eaten in days, I’m starving, I don’t have any money– and I’m going to steal this sandwich. Will you say anything?” Hesitating, she meekly answered, ‘No,’ and the clean-cut young man, sandwich in hand, whisked away, a strange and seemingly negotiated shoplifting disposition having taken place.

    Another fellow had a different approach. He waited for the two well-heeled Washington D.C suits strolling by before dropping his hook: “For $5, I’ll tell you how to make a million.” They bought it, putting a single fiver somewhat doubtfully into his styrofoam cup. A 15 minute complex real estate lecture resembling the likes of Dave Del Dotto and Donald Trump ensued. Foreclosures and mortgages, cash flow and laddering properties, agencies, and questions, all included. The guy knew his stuff, the suits happy, and both leaving quite satisfied.

    In Eureka, one performed a card trick reversing the order of two playing cards right before your very eyes– and only for a buck. It was fairly amazing. For a second clam, he’d show how to do the simple trick– with one feeling amazingly more stupid and amused learning of it. It was well worth it. I’ve shown 10 others since.

    A young teen from North Carolina panhandling in Arcata was getting by– but this was only a sideline for his larger venture: coordinating raves. He explained his group, anonymously in contact with disposable cell phones, nicknames, and specializing in separate duties, rent a space using their shill and paying cash, each member independently organizing the music, sound, water, advertising, and drugs at the correct time and given location. “We make a a grand or two each, every few weeks before moving on to the next rave location,” he said, “and panhandling just keeps me going until the next gig.” In talking, he had this rave business down pat. This kid, a mature runaway waif of 17, knew everything about drugs, intoxicating substances, synthetic and natural chemicals, and how to manufacture all of them on a phenomenal level of expertise I’d never heard of before.

    At the Eureka Gazebo, ‘Cowboy’ latched onto me like white on rice. Ranting his alcohol-fueled irritation about Folsom prison, parole, the Rescue Mission and half a dozen other things, he kindly showed me the inside lining of his coat, conveniently cut away into 2 large pockets for shoplifting…

    …for brevity’s sake, I’ll cut this short. If you’d like to know the ending… let me know, holler. Thanks. Let’s get back to the discussion. No, I don’t mind benign signs.

  125. Anonymous
    February 23, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Who’s gonna read all this crap?

  126. Plain Jane
    February 23, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    I enjoyed that, Skippy, and would like to hear the ending. Do you have a blog?

  127. treesnstuff
    February 23, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    oh anonymous, you’re so anonymous.

  128. Owltotem
    February 23, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Skippy, I loved it, thanks for taking time to listen and experience people, what a prince, you are a better person than I. I rarely give a panhandler the time of day, and obviously, to my own loss,it is closed minded of me and I have clearly made an assumption based on a preconceived notion. But I will help someone who is sincere and trying tho change their lives. Not usually right away, but if you show the fortitude to get through being dope sick and are looking for a chance at life, I’ll reach out.

    and Hi Fi,February 22, 2011 at 11:01 am
    You can never force anyone into being productive. I in no way advocate paying panhandlers but I do advocate for temporary ancillary services when someone is ready to try life. It happens, it is rare but when it does some of these folks just need a little encouragement and therapeutic support. Imagine, crawling out of the weeds, with nothing but a habit and deciding to try life. Takes balls man.

  129. Anonymous
    February 24, 2011 at 5:36 am

    “If any of them collapse on the street or make their way on foot to emergency rooms, you’re also going to get stuck with pretty heavy bills as their malnutrition and disease gets treated in the most expensive possible way.”

    I thought we didn’t have healthcare in the united states for the poor? are you saying people can go to the emergency room and get treated? my, this flies in the face of what i have been hearing.

  130. Mitch
    February 24, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Dearest 5:36,

    Thanks to the generosity of our nation any people dying on the streets are still offered aid. It’s at its most expensive; think of the difference in cost between preventing a small fire from getting out of hand and fighting a fire when it is raging.

    5:36, was the President wrong when he proposed that health care would cost us all less if all were cared for earlier? Or was Nixon right after all?

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2007/11/28/22163/democrats-health-plans-echo-nixons.html

    Or perhaps the undeserving should be left to die on the street? I don’t know, it’s a real retail downer to have a dead person lying in front of your store. Still, maybe it’s worth it to you so you can punish the undeserving and feel all is right in your world.

  131. skippy
    February 24, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Jane, thank you. No, yours truly doesn’t have a blog, still learning his chops, practicing, an amateur as dumb as a box of rocks. Thankfully H provides a home. If a blog ever started, you’d be the first of informed and knowledgable contributors.

    Owl, you’re a great man, don’t ever forget that. Continue to help others. Yours truly is reminded that everyone is a minor miracle in their own right: formed from the simple union of two cells born on a planet sustaining of wonderful life, hurtling through a distant part of our inhospitable universe, and capable of good, bad, or indifferent things.

  132. High Finance
    February 24, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Owl, 11.45 pm. Agreed, you cannot FORCE anyone to be productive.

    But what we can do is take away the freebies. Given a choice of starving (for real) or being productive, they will eventually choose the better course.

    But make it easy to survive, the lazy & weak will take the easier path.

  133. tra
    February 24, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    HiFi,

    From some of your earlier comments on this thread it seems like you believe that anyone who is homeless or desperately poor fits into one of two categories: Either able to work but too lazy, or not able to work and mentally ill to the point that would justify forcing them into mental health facilities.

    From what I’ve seen, many of the people who are living on the street don’t really fit either category. They are not raving mad, nor are they perfectly fit but just lazy.

  134. Anonymous
    February 24, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Got that? Let’s return to starvation as a motivator…back to the “good old days” when an automatic weapon and a few solid friends could make you king for awhile.

    Alas, I must disagree with Mitch’s conclusion @ 11:57.

    New Zealand is ANYTHING but “left”, they are mostly right-wing, religious, nationalists.

    Yet, being TRUE CONSERVATIVES, they EVOLVED and succeeded in avoiding a homeless problem via reasonable Tariffs, corporate taxes, and a 12% sales tax.

    Their police spend most of their time chasing teenagers with island fever because essential shelter, food, health care, education, job training and job placement, provides the dignity fundamental to civilization….if they want more (those that can) must educate themselves and work harder! Many scientific advances have come out of their university in Auckland.

    In the U.S., we’re waiting for the next epidemic (chaos) to teach us a lesson learned in every other industrialized nation.

    “love it or leave it”? U.S. corporations already took our Treasury and left.

  135. High Finance
    February 25, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Tra, if they are not “raving mad” or lazy, Sun Valley Bulb Farms would like to hire about 50-100 of them.

  136. Anonymous
    February 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Microsoft is using its U.S. bailout to rapidly train young Vietnamese how to work in the micro-chip manufacturing industry in Vietnam.

    While senseless fools like you can only goad poor American citizens in communities saturated in low wage jobs to “prove you’re not lazy” by adding pesticides, fungicide, and back breaking, no-skill labor to the incentives.

    Hi-traitor, you are truly disgusting.

  137. Curley
    February 25, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Skippy- if you start a blog I’ll be a faithful reader.

  138. tra
    February 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    HiFi,

    Most employers, and I suspect this is true of Sun Valley, require more of prospective employees than simply that they are not raving mad or lazy.

    Just as one example, many physical jobs require that the prospective employee can lift 50 lbs or more, repeatedly throughout the day.

    There are plenty of people who are neither lazy nor raving mad who cannot meet that requirement.

  139. Anonymous
    February 25, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Arcata has been growing more and more repressive in the last decade under the Arcata Eye’s pro-authoritarian cheerleading and the politicians mobbed up with the Hoover/Mendosa corrupt media/corrupt cop alliance. No sitting on the sidewalk eating your lunch, seriously? No walking your dog if you pause for a moment to say hello to a friend? No holding a sign up in front of a bank in protest? Arcata Police State, brought to you by the Eye, KHUM and the Democratic Party.

  140. skippy
    February 25, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Hi-Fi and Tra both have good points.

    Tra nailed and narrowed down the discussion more precisely (as usual) @ 12:01; Hi-Fi egressed well and efficiently (as usual) @ 11:58. Tra correctly brings up physical limitations said above. Yours truly could add mental disabilites or limitations as well.

    Shortly put, some folks are just simply not employable or unable to work, being neither mad or lazy.

    True, there may be some scoundrels of skullduggery pandering and panhandling precociously about.

  141. tra
    February 25, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Given that it’s often impractical, expensive, and sometimes near-impossible, to sort all the not-so-needy out from the truly-needy, in part it comes down to the question of whether it’s better to make sure all truly-needy folks get the help they need, even though some non-to-needy folks will take advantage of the situation to get some free help for themselves, or whether it’s more important that none of the not-so-needy people get any unneeded/undeserved help…and if, in designing a system to guarantee that, some number of truly-needy folks suffer as a consequence, well, so be it.

    In a way, it’s similar to the question of whether it’s better to have a justice system where 100 guilty people go free in order to make sure not one innocent person is convicted, or the reverse (better that 100 innocent people go to prison than that one guilty person escapes punishment for their crimes).

  142. Anonymous
    February 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    It’s about time Arcata did something about the panhandling. They have steadily lost business in the downtown because of the bums. This is not because of an economic downturn that the place is filled with obnoxious freeloaders. It is well known by the professional bums that Arcata has for many years rolled out the welcome mat for the 60s hippy vagabond wannabes. It is about time Arcata made a correction.

  143. skippy
    February 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Tra, Hi-Fi has the info to parry and lunge with. I trust he’ll do so well.

    Curley, thank you. Larry and Moe wish you the best of n’yuk and the act back together.

  144. Anonymous
    February 25, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Agreed, 6:18, about the Arcata situation. I concur with tra that not all people living on the street can be lumped into two categories. There are definitely many homeless who have encountered negative circumstances, and who are neither lazy nor mentally ill. That said, in my opinion the typical Arcata Plaza panhandler falls more into the lazy category – or at least appear to have made a lifestyle choice. They are mostly youngish, look healthy and seem to like to hang out, smoke, play music and ask for money from passers by.

  145. High Finance
    February 25, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    OK, so the two type of people argument was a little simplistic and I didn’t mean to say I believed that.

    What I really believe & should have made clearer was that there are three types.

    1) The mentally ill and the drug & alcohol addicted. Where they are to the point of being unable to care for themselves. They should be taken off the streets & hospitalized in the old system like society did before Reagan & BOTH parties threw them out on the streets.

    2) The lazy & the users of people. No more benefits, no more handouts. Let them suffer, they will improve themselves eventually.

    Then everybody would be happy to help the third group.

    3) Those that have had a rough break and need temporary help to get back on their feet. The phyically handicapped and the mildly mentally handicapped that just need a little assistance to add to their SS disability payments to get by.

  146. Anonymous
    February 25, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Thank you for clarifying, HiFi.

    1) I’m not sure what kind of hospitals you refer to, but I agree that group needs medical attention of some sort.

    2) This is the group I mostly run into on the Arcata Plaza. I resent being approached by most of these individuals.

    3) Agree…these are the people we all (or most) want to see receiving assistance.

    I think it was tra who said, it is very difficult to distinguish between the truly needy and those on an extended vacation. Maybe we can do so more easily on a personal basis than across the board, politically.

    It’s unfortunate that the typical Arcata “bums” have chosen to congregate in a place that detracts from the local businesses. It’s one thing to enjoy the free and open spaces and another to camp out in front of a store, restaurant or bar. That is where we may be able to draw a line?

  147. tra
    February 25, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    HiFi,

    Glad to see you acknowledge the existence of the third group. The tough part, of course, is that there can be some significant overlap between the second and third group and often some real difficulties distinguishing which of the three categories (if any) a given person really fits into.

    For example, some folks that have had a long series of “rough breaks” tend to get discouraged and as a result may appear “lazy” because they have (at least for now) given up on taking advantage of the limited opportunities that come their way. They may even seek solace in alcohol and/or drugs, and therefore have some characteristics of the first category as well as the second and third.

    And when people are moderately physically and/or mentally handicapped, that may not be readily apparent to the casual observer. These facts may come out in a formal social service screening process, but may not be apparent in a panhandling situation — the point being that we might want to try to not be too judgemental of panhandlers just because from a first glance they seem “able-bodied” and we presume they are “employable.” [I readily admit that I’m no angel on that count, as it’s pretty hard not to make those snap judgements based on appearance, and in all liklihood those snap judgements are correct a good deal of the time. But sometimes we’re wrong, and that’s why even when I choose not to give some spare change to a particular panhandler (even though I have some in my pocket and could afford to share it) I do always try to be polite to them.]

    Formal social service programs generally try to deal with all this complexity through a process of screening potential clients to make sure they meet some particular criteria of “neediness.” Given that these agencies have limited resources, and, yes, there are always some not-so-needy people who attempt to get free services that are intended for truly-needy individuals, this sort of screening process is necessary. But it’s not simple or fool-proof, as real human beings don’t always fit neatly into the categories we design to try to sort out the truly needy from the not-so-needy.

    The more stringent the screening process and the tougher the criteria, the more not-so-needy people that are eliminated, but also the greater risk that some truly needy individuals are also turned away. It’s a bit of a balancing act, as I alluded to in my 5:33 comment.

    In addition, a more stringent process requires more intake workers, social workers, paperwork, etc., and if you take that approach too far you end up in a situation where more and more of the money intended to help the needy is spent trying to screen out the not-so-needy.

    And by the way, it is quite possible for a person to be not handicapped enough to qualify for SS disability, and yet plenty handicapped enough that it is very hard, if not impossible, for them to maintain regular employment.

  148. tra
    February 25, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    In short, there are plenty of ways for vulnerable individuals to “fall through the cracks” in our social and economic system, and for some of them panhandling is a last-ditch effort to at least hang on by their fingertips until they can, hopefully, somehow begin to pull themselves back up, or until somebody reaches down to help pull them up. To take that last-ditch opportunity away from already-desperate people (in the name of increasing the level of comfort and the aesthetic experience of those who are far more fortunate), as the Arcata ordinance does — well. in my opinion that is just unconscionable.

    I do find it encouraging that so many individuals, with political philosophies ranging all the way from the mainstream-liberal position of Richard Salzman to the mainstream-conservative position of HiFi, can recognize that non-agressive panhandling really ought not be outlawed. Perhaps that ought to suggest to the Arcata City Council that the challenged portions of their panhandling ordinance ought to be repealed, or at least rewritten with greater compassion for those folks who have fallen through the cracks, as well as with greater deference to the free speech rights of all individuals, truly-needy or otherwise.

    This overbroad, overreaching ordinance was passed by the very “liberal” Arcata City Council, but it’s surprisingly similar to rules passed in some uber-conservative communities. This seems like an example of where the left-right political spectrum sometimes seems more like a circle than a line, wherein both extreme left and extreme right sometimes end up on common ground in their enthusiasm for needlessly authoritarian forms of social control.

  149. Disgusted
    February 26, 2011 at 12:16 am

    How outrageous it is to toss around such terms and categories referring to “others”, and “those people”, considering the limitless experiences that life entails.

    I was a teen in the 70’s and I can assure you that the free university, health care, subsidized SRO housing, job training, job placement, and good public transportation that I desperately needed, (AT NO FAULT OF MY OWN), are largely GONE…along with my old public elementary school that served everyone well.

    With U.S. divestment in its human resources went the ability to logically determine who’s being lazy!!

    Attempts to do so anyway are pure bigotry.

    The ABSURDITY of getting riled-up over the suspected “laziness” of destitute people is mind-boggling!

    Meanwhile, this world’s fattest welfare cheats just collapsed the world economy! Looted the U.S. Treasury, used the money to export more jobs to foreign children, purchase their own stocks, and merged, while most never paid a dime in taxes!!

    For a generation our own local welfare queens have been harvesting the public’s infrastructure beyond capacity, enriching themselves with mini-mansion subdivisions while building LITTLE that’s affordable to the locals that subsidized it!!

    Redistribute the public’s resources to benefit the public again AND THEN you can start calling people “lazy, stupid or crazy” if they fail.

    Idiots!!

  150. Mitch
    February 26, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Disgusted,

    Just so.

  151. Owltotem
    February 26, 2011 at 6:48 am

    It snowed last night, I don’t think it mattered what category a brother(or sister)fell into. They were cold. And right now, they are probably wet and hungry.

  152. Anonymous
    February 26, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Hurry HiFi!

    “Disgusted 12:16” just made way too much sense, isn’t this another one of your blank moments when you must play your “comrade” card!??

    Hurry, we’re all waiting for it!

    HiFi?

    Hello?

  153. Mark Sailors
    February 27, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Again, someone would have challenged the illegal medical cannabis ordinance already, but no one wants to be know as “THE GUY THAT SUED THE CITY OVER POT GARDENS.” It is much more PC to sue over “free speech”.

  154. February 27, 2011 at 7:38 am

    “our own local welfare queens” have been bilking the system, including getting subsidized PG&E while they rack up $5-7,000 a month utility bills and rake in several hundred thou a year. That and burning down their landlords houses.

    Food stamps, WIC, subsidized housing, are just the beginnings of programs available to help people who truly do need it. Each and every program came about because people saw and acknowledged the need to help and met the challenge. No, they don’t provide a mansion, a maid and a chauffeur, but they do provide a safety net so no one has to starve, and people do have a place to live. Stop discounting and sneering at it. It’s a huge chunk out of the economy.

    For some reason – every time some kind of argument like this comes up, you guys like to pretend that there is NOTHING in place, and that nothing is good enough. Strip it all back to zero, and you try to come up with something better. Bearing in mind that up to a point people are willing to give, at another point you are stealing from the productive to subsidize the non-productive.

    Play SIMM City here, design your own, what does it look like?

    Start with an imaginary tribe of 20 or 30 – in which the tribe’s survival depends on everyone pulling their weight. Add in a guy who gets injured while hunting, the tribe does not mind feeding him while he gets better. Then add in a guy who sits on his ass and does not contribute – how far is the tribe willing to go?

    As for the Salzman thing – the panhandling thing in Arcata has gotten so bad it has passed the threshold of tolerance, and you should not be surprised that people are taking steps to rein it back in.

    You want those people to find gainful employment? Start doing something to create jobs. Salzman has put prodigious efforts into local elections helping elect the job-killers. he has brought in HUGE sums of money and he is fully capable of finding plenty of it for this cause of his (and I don’t mean the suit). Imagine if you could put the money he has bilked out of this community just to keep Gallegos in office and put it into a program to help house the homeless. How much has he gotten from YOU? Add it up. He’s been to the well so many times, and he keeps coming back. Which of his candidates have done something to help the poor beggars in Arcata?

  155. Mitch
    February 27, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Subsidized $5,000 PG&E bills? Tell me more, please.

  156. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 7:56 am

    PG E has programs to help pay for a large percentage of your bill if you demonstrate need. If you have “no income” you are showing them you are needy. It doesn’t appear to matter how large your bill is, or what you happen to be spending it on (not heat for yourself, your family).

  157. Mitch
    February 27, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Anonymous and Rose,

    If you really have evidence that anyone with a $5,000 PG&E bill is getting a poverty subsidy, I think you have a big story that many people would be interested in.

    The first question that comes to mind is why neither PG&E or its regulators would investigate anyone who is living at poverty level yet needs $5,000 of electricity. The ability or desire to spend $5,000 on electricity is, I’d think, proof in itself that you are not living at poverty level.

    I won’t say you’re wrong, but I will say your story sounds highly unlikely without proof. If you have proof, I’d be the first to agree with you that the recipients should be charged with fraud and, if found guilty, sent to jail.

  158. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Well, that has been the buzz in Arcata for about three years. I hear it happens, cutting bills way back that are super high. Privacy issues prevent disclosure, but you are correct, it would make big news if it were shown to be happening. I believe it has been written about but perhaps someone here can shed some light on it.

  159. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Mitch, don’t even get me started. PG&E subsidizes low income customers with a program called CARE. A CARE recipient is not locked into “baseline” (the minimum cheap electricity you get before you start getting charged more) and tiered pricing (in other words they get a cheap flat rate)AND there is no limit to what they use. CARE is perfectly appropriate for legitimately poor people, you have to heat your home refrigerate food etc. But with CARE, there is no limit, you can use as much as you want.

    I think that baseline should be a super cheap low tier for everyone, that way everyone gets rewarded for conserving energy. But then PG&E would not be able to distinguish how many poor people they are helping.

    I am not positive what is in it for PG&E I suspect they are regulated and required to provide a certain amount of services into which this program fits. I have actually had PG&E (subcontractor) telemarketers pressure me to sign up for their low income programs even after clearly stating I DONT QUALIFY.

    If there is one thing I dislike more than discrimination, human rights and civil rights violations, retaliation and retribution by government and corporations to keep the people “in their place” , and environmental irresponsibility it is outright FRAUD and corporate complicity. Yes PG&E subsidizes indoor weed growers.

  160. Plain Jane
    February 27, 2011 at 8:43 am

    The only “evidence” is mostly based on assumptions, no real stats. It is a fact that there are subsidies available for people of low income and assumptions that since pot growers can’t report their income, they are low income and receive subsidies. This article from the NCJ says that indoor grows add 145 KWH per Humboldt household, but either don’t have or didn’t provide the evidence of how many of those KWH’s are discounted for poverty. They mention a prosecution of someone using a huge amount of electricity, but don’t claim it was subsidized. Surely if there were instances of people using $5,000 in subsidized electricity a month someone would have written about it and / or the IRS would have been checking into the unreported incomes of people who could pay even the subsidized rate for that much electricity with no income.
    link

  161. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 8:48 am

    People have written about it. It is not popular to go against growers in some circles. Here?

  162. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 8:54 am

    8:38 nailed it.

  163. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    February 27, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Care-PGE

    They are making huge profits based upon societal graftations, regardless. Off-the-grid is the key.

    JL

  164. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 9:13 am

    PG&E’s CARE program…how to rip off people with money AND make people who have less money feel like they’re NOT getting ripped off. Don’t forget, PG&E lied about profits and fabricated california’s energy crisis earlier this decade. And when places around the state have tried to go public with their power to escape PG&E’s monopoly, mysterious circumstances have always followed the vote. How quickly things become yesterday’s news.

  165. Plain Jane
    February 27, 2011 at 9:16 am

    “People have written about it.”

    Links?

  166. February 27, 2011 at 9:17 am

    You’d think it would be a big story wouldn’t you, Mitch.

    A sophisticated indoor marijuana grow on Oriole Drive in Brooktrails… Based on an electricity bill found at the scene, the residents were apparently being helped with their $1,500 per month electricity bill by the CARE low-income subsidy, say deputies. For a three-person household to qualify for a CARE subsidy, gross income is limited to a maximum of $34,400 per year.

    Lanzit and Grilli qualified in 2007 for a $350,000 mortgage with estimated payments of $30,000 per year and real estate taxes of $1,900 according to public records. These payments, along with the electricity costs, suggest a somewhat higher annual income than is allowed under the CARE program.

    Pacific Gas and Electric Company does request verification of income for CARE subscribers, says spokeswoman Jana Morris. This verification typically involves an income tax return or record of wages and salaries.

    So you see, Mitch, they are not only cheating the PG&E system, they are not paying taxes, business license fees or any employee withholding. They cheat on every single level, and this is sanctioned by people like you, who would not tolerate it from anyone else… talk about “welfare queens” has to include those who are completely and totally skipping out on their responsibilities and this amounts to sanctioning unequal treatment under the law.

    Maybe you could afford to pay for all these homeless if Salzman wasn’t propping up the illegal growers who suck resources and pay nothing.

  167. Mitch
    February 27, 2011 at 9:21 am

    8:48,

    The thought of growers stealing money set aside by our society to enable those in poverty to heat their homes is disgusting. I’m sure people reading the Herald would be just as disgusted as anyone else. And it has nothing to do with whether you feel pot should be legal.

    If there is actual evidence that seriously above-average usage is being subsidized under programs intended to assist those in poverty, I’d love to hear it.

    8:38, you sound like you know what you’re talking about, but it seems to me that PG&E’s regulators could insist that abnormally high usage by anyone registered in CARE be reported to law enforcement as presumptive evidence of fraud. I think the vast majority of the population would be totally supportive.

  168. Anonymous
  169. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Why is it that the same people complaining about indoor marijuana growers “sucking up resources” are all for more and bigger development projects? When it comes to resource consumption and pollution, how many indoor grows would the Marina Center equal? One giant 40 acre indoor grow, that’s how many. Worse, considering human traffic.

    Turn off 1/3 of the lights in every commercial building over 10,000 sq. feet before telling me I’m part of the problem because I don’t use compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

  170. tra
    February 27, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Well, that’s a total of one documented case, Rose, and it’s not even in Humboldt.

    That being said, I suspect that there probably ARE some CARE-cheating indoor growers in Humboldt, though whether we’re talking about a widespread phenomenon or just one or two exceptional cases is not clear.

    But I certainly agree that people do who abuse the CARE program in this way should be prosecuted for fraud, and I also think that there should be some kind of limit on how much electricity the CARE program pays for. (If there are people who really are low-income, and for some reason they really do need lots of power for some legitimate reason, then there could be a waiver, which might require PG&E to inquire why the unusually large amount of electricity is needed.

  171. Mitch
    February 27, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Rose,

    Thanks for the link. Unfortunately, your blog’s post links to the Willit News article, but the article is no longer online.

    First, $1,500 is not $5,000. It’s bad enough, but it’s off by 70%.

    So what happened? Your link is to a two year old news item from Mendocino County. Did the DA there prosecute? Did anyone introduce legislation making this fraud more difficult? Has PG&E been forced to modify its CARE procedures? Was this a one-off, or have there been other such cases?

    Does PG&E publish anonymous usage statistics showing the range of kWh per month used by CARE recipients — that would not run afoul of privacy, if the statistics did not include personally identifiable information.

    And I hesitate to ask, but what on earth does this have to do with Richard Salzman?

  172. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 9:42 am

    A;right heraldophiles time to convince Mitch. I thought this was common knowledge.

    Mitch, you do not even have to prove your income, it is an on your honor application, I own rentals and pay the PG&E because I dont want anyone growing dope in my shit so I monitor it and pay the bill. I get at least 1 call per month per account trying to get me to sign up.

    The dope growers do it because it increases the profit margin (or decreases the cost of medicine pppfffftttt)and to some extent “it’s rippin off the man, the corporate machine” (anyone remember the A1 trucking gypsies?) so it is justified.

    Here’s my 2 cents to the indoor growers in general. You freaking lazy lames, it’s time right now, drag your fat Pabst Blue Ribbon drinking asses out from in front of your X Box and go dig some holes. You live in Humboldt Freaking County, how dare you SUCK more energy off the grid. Anyone wonder WHY we needed monstrous natural gas generators at the PG&E plant? anyone else wonder WHY it costs so much to upgrade your PG&E service,any one wonder HOW much keeping up the distribution infrastructure associated with WASTING electricity costs us? Ive seen transformers BLOW UP! You lame ass lazy little wannabees dont even have the right to call yourselves growers. PFFFFFT.

  173. Volt
    February 27, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Next time you see a PG$E guy installing a smart meter ask them what the protocol is for reporting high usage. They will tell you (as they have told me) there is none. They all know what properties are using excessive electricity, but where is the incentive to investigate when electricity is what you sell?

    Even if a do-gooder broke ranks and initiated an investigation, who in this county would prosecute? What law enforcement agency would waste their time building a case when there would be no support? Its this apathy toward the subject that perpetuates the problem.

    Why is Humboldt still pot heavy when the industry has gone indoors? When you can grow pot anywhere now, what continues to make Humboldt a favorite son? The lax enforcement of law in this county because it is still very protected by the good ol’ boys ( to use a phrase I hate). You may or may not be surprised by who all is involved.

  174. Anonymous
  175. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 9:55 am

    testing testing. have posted three links and nothing has shown up.

  176. Mitch
    February 27, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Given the hoops that a semi-incompetent is forced to jump through in order to get a $100 welfare check to buy food with, I would be amazed if people could waltz in unchecked to get a government subsidy on their $1,500 electric bill. It just doesn’t make sense.

    But if people are claiming poverty while submitting $1,500 electrity bills, I don’t know a single person who would oppose their being prosecuted for fraud. The only quibble I can see is that some people would insist that the PG&E executives who’ve given the money away should be sued or prosecuted AS WELL AS, not instead of, the cheats. I agree with them, if this is happening.

  177. Anonymous
  178. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

    So Here is my post without the inflammatory links,

    “Does PG&E publish anonymous usage statistics showing the range of kWh per month used by CARE recipients — that would not run afoul of privacy, if the statistics did not include personally identifiable information. ”

    Hell No. There is something in it for them! They are probably getting the margin between CARE and standard rates subsidized or something. I do not know why. It is FRAUD, WASTE AND ENVIRONMENTAL RAPE. It is too freaking easy to plug shit in, there is no interconnectedness between the growlight and the environment.

    The views expressed here are not necessarily the views of the Herald nor the Mainstream BUT THEY ARE LEGITIMATE

  179. Mitch
    February 27, 2011 at 10:23 am

    If anyone cares to investigate this further, here is a link to the board which oversees the CARE program; the PG&E rep’s email is at the bottom:

    http://www.liob.org/who.cfm

    An attempt to search their document library ends up getting an error message.

    A few minutes of checking suggests that CARE offers a 20% discount on the bills of low income customers, paid for by the rates paid by non-CARE-eligible customers. If these discounts are offered on bills more than twice or three times the median size, the PUC should definitely be investigating.

  180. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 10:25 am

    It seems to be common with growers to do this. The word is out and they take advantage of it.

  181. Mitch
    February 27, 2011 at 10:28 am

    That low income advisory board website is one of the funniest/saddest I’ve seen in a while.

    The drop down menus offering start and end dates for document searching don’t let you search anything more recent than 2005, at least on my system. And the topics include the word “safety” repeated four times in a row.

  182. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 10:29 am

    test test test, am I being moderated too (different anon)? posted with and without links, I am beginning to believe this is unpopular content, come on heraldo, dish it out

  183. Mitch
    February 27, 2011 at 10:31 am

    10:25,

    Well, anyone who is fraudulently taking money should be prosecuted. I can completely understand someone breaking the law on growing pot. I don’t view breaking that law as wrong, though I can understand those who disagree.

    Stealing, though, is wrong, whether you’re stealing to grow dope, shoplifting, or running an investment bank.

  184. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 10:32 am

    please post the freaking pollution links this is the connection that needs to be made

    censorship sucks

  185. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 10:37 am

    The problem with your reasoning, mitch, is that money decides the distribution of a limited and necessary resource. PG&E doesn’t care what you use the electricity for, just soze long as you pay for it. They are saying if you’re poor, you don’t deserve the luxury….but if you’re rich, waste away. And the rich definitely waste away.

  186. February 27, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Posting links can trigger the spam filter. All such comments should be up now.

  187. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 10:50 am

    OK so the broken links are probably my bad they were a hideous dam, mountaintop coal mining, a nuclear plant discharging hot water into a river (the least of that worry) bright red NOX and SOX discharging from stacks at a powerlant incinerating God Only Knows What and finally a packed full o racks room of clones.

    The interconnectedness I mentioned before is, when you flip on a switch, you are effectively flipping on a powerplant, that plant needs to be fueld and the fuel comes at the cost to our environment. And I am not even touching war for oil this morning.

    Ha Ha Richard, look what you started!!!!! Ironic, NO?

  188. Mitch
    February 27, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Thanks for all the posts, especially those with links.

    No, I’m not naive enough to think that nobody tries to scam the system.

    But I am naive enough to be surprised that the PUC hasn’t made an effort to recover from PG&E shareholders the money PG&E has collected from ratepayers to give to growers. I’m mystified why no up-and-coming lawyer or consumer group hasn’t sued PG&E, the PUC, or both. I guess it would go against the anti-regulation spirit of the times.

    I thought there were due diligence responsibilities imposed on corporations. I know they’ve been weakened, but this is a genuine surprise.

    I think any grower who’s committed this particular fraud is both a thief and a fool — the records won’t go away, and they got Al Capone on tax evasion, not bootlegging. As far as I know, Capone didn’t sink low enough to rob from the programs intended for widows and orphans.

  189. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Somebody clue me in, how many square feet in a $1500 electric bill indoor grow? How many square feet of marijuana could you grow with 5000 worth of electricity? How many square feet is Target? The bayshore mall?

  190. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 10:55 am

    But Mitch, it’s medicine, don’t discriminate against the disabled.

  191. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 10:59 am

    The difference is the mall and Target are legal wastes of energy, who nonetheless do pay for their energy. It appears many grows are scamming other consumers by using a program set up for low income persons to save on their heating/electrical bills.

  192. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Right, 10:59. The mall and Target pay PG&E to waste OUR electricity. Tons of it. Hundreds of thousands of square feet of buzzing luxury at our expense. PG&E is a private company who, unlike public providers, is subject to infinitely less “regulation” from we the people. As long as PG&E continues to “legally” take advantage of corporate personhood, they are a “who”.

  193. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 11:14 am

    My point is…it’s obvious who cares more about marijuana growing than genuinely does about resource waste.

  194. Mitch
    February 27, 2011 at 11:15 am

    10:55,

    First, it is medicine for some people. That is no longer worthy of debate. Sneer as much as you want, but people with AIDS and people undergoing chemotherapy are people and are entitled to ingest substances that work.

    Second, if the only way to enable others to use the intoxicant of their choice is to pretend they’re using it as “medicine,” that’s fine by me. It’s less dangerous than alcohol. It should be completely decriminalized (not legalized for RJR Nabisco to monoculture) and producers should be taxed and brought within the legal system.

  195. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Mitch, indoor growing on CARE (at 125 w/sq ft)should cost about $5/month per square foot during vegetation. On regular PG&E baseline,$6.60/square foot to $18/square foot at 300% of baseline which everyone paying a regular PG&E bill and growing indoors will promptly reach, thus slamming the profit margin out of the product and driving growers outdoors.

    It is in PG&E’s best interest to keep people growing indoors AND to subsidize it. (They are supplying a demand at an affordable rate and stabilizing their market). And everyone of you out there that are doing it, allowing it and not speaking up are complicit, you are partnered with the corporate monster. Pick your un dam the klamath stickers off your cars, you are hypocrites.

  196. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 11:56 am

    And it is not a sneer, there are legitimate uses for weed, shit getting high is a legitimate use for weed. I am just pointing out the argument that is used to justify the blatant waste of energy. Legalize it, not as an intoxicant, not as a controlled substance, like an herb or flower, Sell it at farmers market at the herb shops, in the produce isle and in the floral department. Everyone in the freaking world will grow it, the bottom will fall out of the black market (and the humboldt green market economy as well) BUT if you have been around long enough to notice, WHO ARE these people? And where do they spend their money? it doesn’t seem to be here anymore….OH OH Wait, maybe they are giving it to PG&E.

  197. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Right, the point is not about your feelings on pot or Target but about a scam against lower income people. They are the losers, as their discount is going to suffer when some abuse the system. It also isn’t fair to the rest of the payers of service. We all pay more because of this.

  198. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Fuggin “grower” paranoia…you folks gotta get a grip. They’re a twig on the mountain of Humboldt’s burdens. Do you REEEAAALLLY care about wasted electricity? Diminishing resources and pollution increase? Simple: NO marina center, NO rezoning McKinleyville for dense development, NO mega-villages…no more feeding that beast fer cryin out loud! It’s permanent waste that multiplies. Let’s up EVERYBODY’s quality of living in Humboldt.

  199. Volt
    February 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    This must be what is meant by subsidizing the green economy.

  200. Mitch
    February 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    11:18/11:56,

    We basically agree about pot, but I don’t want to see pushers like Coors and RJR Nabisco pushing it on 12 year olds with the advanced mind-control technology they’ve perfected.

    If you think PG&E should cut off CARE rates at twice the median household usage (with waivers for people who apply and have legitimate documentation), we completely agree.

    I think with Gov. Brown in office, the PUC should try to recover any ratepayer losses due to CARE fraud which could have easily been detected from excess usage.

    And I hope the PUC goes back into the records for a few years and forces fraudsters to (at the very least) pay back their illegal gains.

  201. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Humboldt blogland: a conversation about the homeless turns into a conversation about marijuana growers. Not surprisingly, both groups are unconditionally hated by an obvious class of self righteous individual.

    Completely decriminalize marijuana, that’ll settle that. Stop building so much infrastructure if you hate the homeless, duh. Homeless beggers a common sight in densely populated areas flooded with minimum wage jobs???? Derrrr…how’d that happen?!?!

  202. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    “If you think PG&E should cut off CARE rates at twice the median household usage (with waivers for people who apply and have legitimate documentation), we completely agree.”

    I do not, I think a reduced baseline rate (and an actual attainable tier) should be available for every single rate payer. Say $0.084/kwh for 275 kwh per month ANYone CAN achieve that (without air conditioning). This way everyone get to benefit if they conserve electricity and if you are poor, you have to. Then the cost goes up stiffly so if you are a pig, you pay for it. It is both the carrot and the stick. It is completely legal. Someone clue the eureka city council this is exactly the way the residential water rates should have been structured so you COULD conserve your way into affordable utilities.

    Jerry wont be able to do shit retroactively EVERYTHING goes through PG&E legal and their ass is always covered, they lay their liability on the backs of their subcontractors and ratepayers. But he can certainly influence the future.

    We should all consider community choice aggregation as a viable alternative where we may actually have a choice. Oh and growing outdoors of course. (It’s just about that time…dig away…)

  203. February 27, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Well, Mitch – why don’t you talk to the reporters and see why they don’t report on this more – they love to put pot leaves on the front banner, and even post pot articles as christmas carols. You’ll be surprised – this is not that uncommon, nor is it uncommon for growers to be pulling in welfare and WIC.

    Why doesn’t it get reported? Please.

  204. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    …this is not that uncommon…

    And how do we know that? So far we’ve been offered only one example, from several years ago, and not even from Humboldt County.

    Meanwhile, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Dep’t busts up lots of indoor grows every year, yet we haven’t heard of them turning up this kind of evidence at any of those busts. Are the HumCo sheriffs not doing their jobs, or is this in fact a pretty uncommon practice by growers?

    look, you may be right that this is a big problem, or at least “not that uncommon.” But you’ve offered no evidence of that, just an assertion of opinion as if it were fact, and then a complaint about the lack of news coverage of the assumed-to-be-widespread problem.

    At any rate, if anyone thinks they can explain what any of this has to do with Arcata’s panhandling ordinance, and Salzman’s threatened lawsuit against it, please feel free to try.

  205. tra
    February 27, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    That was me at 5:18. Not sure why the name did not post.

  206. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    That is how blogs go man, off on their own direction

  207. Disgusted
    February 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Unbelievable!

    What is it that makes people obsess about the poor and petty frauds that are easily monitored???

    By the length of this “debate” you’d think there was a time when welfare cheaters collapsed the world economy!

    Meanwhile, attempts by the Obama administration to stop those WHO WERE responsible for collapsing the world economy from engaging in massive pyramid schemes, has the right-wing crying “foul”!

    Ca. Gov. Davis initiated a $26 billion lawsuit against ENRON and others for fixing the energy market bilking millions of citizens. ENRON was one of Arnold’s biggest campaign donors…and once elected, Arnold settled the suit for a few billion dollars!

    Please, tell me who the biggest welfare cheaters are again…and what on Earth makes corporate apologists think they’re benefactors in unparalleled frauds?

    Whining about welfare pennies while the U.S. Treasury is looted is a curious distraction.

  208. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    I agree 100%, disgusted. I believe people who direct their hate downward like that have disassociated themselves with the growing desperation of a growing population. Look at this thread, at least three people who earn a living through real estate…obviously comfortable livings at that. And notice their identical opinions of these issues, in this and other threads. They have a financial allegiance to the status quo…it’s not to their psychological benefit to see “consumers” or “the homeless” as like minded individuals. They believe in the “I did it so anybody can!” philosophies of life. And that’s not saying it’s bad to earn a living through real estate…the keepers of the status quo have them by the balls. They misdirect their hostility and don’t…or won’t…acknowledge it.

    Basically, they’re way out of touch.

  209. February 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    5:18 – I think the point was that there are LOTS of programs that give people money, support and discounts on necessary services – welfare, food stamps, WIC, housing subsidies, health insurance, discounts on PG&E, food kitchens, places like Arcata House, outreach from the Mission, and more. Some of these programs are abused, and some of the statistics about “poverty” in Humboldt county are horribly skewed by the fact that dope growers who may be making $600,000 tax free don’t report income.

    That, and the dope culture here attracts “travelers” from all over the country who come here, panhandle and generally shit on the people who live here. It’s gotten way out of hand in Arcata and they are finally standing up to say NO.

    That’s how the thread evolves – the topics are interrelated, you attract all the druggies from Seattle and elsewhere and then whine about ‘the homeless’ – just send them home.

  210. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    random guy, what is your point? we shouldn’t tell people they can do it because others can. is it better to give them things instead of encouraging them to earn those things themselves? what is your solution? keep things the way they are? give more to those in difficult circumstances?

  211. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    My point is, the symptoms aren’t the problem. The rich are always getting richer and fewer, while the poor are growing in all aspects. Life isn’t getting easier for anybody, and the planet is very unhealty. The obvious reason is THE SYSTEM IS CORRUPT FROM THE TOP DOWN.

    An honest question about where you’re coming from, 647…what do YOU think my answer to your questions are?

  212. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Rose, you’re so out of touch about it should be embarassing for you. Yeah, there’s always homeless in arcata…in the plaza…I’ve lived here a long time, it’s about the same as it’s always been…it isn’t and has never been “out of hand”. Drive south or east or anywhere and see if the homeless situation is any better, or has gotten any better anywhere. Comparatively, there’s a really small ratio of homeless in humboldt. The weather sucks and necessities are slim pickins. Talk to them, they’re flesh and blood like YOU.

  213. tra
    February 27, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Some of you must never leave the county. Newsflash: there are more homeless people, more unemployed people, and more panhandlers in just about every city in the country than there were 10 years ago. To the extent that Arcata, Eureka, and many coastal CA towns, get somewhat more than their expected share of panhandlers (maybe 10 or 20% more than the average?), this is due mainly to our relatively mild climate, and to some extent to the “low-budget traveler” phenomenon which itself is due to the fact that Arcata is one of only a few decent-sized towns along a long stretch of a major coastal highway.

    And what about the idea that our local social services are acting as a “magnet” for people from out of the area? Well, that’s pure fantasy. The sorts of services offered to poor people, transients, etc., are really no different than what is offered elsewhere. Food Stamps, Medicaid and so on, are the same no matter where you are in the state, and I think it’s safe to say that nobody is hitchhiking or hopping a Greyhound to Humboldt in order to get a free shower in Eureka or the opportunity for some low-traffic panhandling in Arcata.

    By the way, I acknowledged the “traveler” problem way upthread. But the fact that many of us find that portion of the panhandling population annoying and generally not in need of, or deserving of our support, does exactly NOTHING to change anyone’s rights to free speech, including asking for help in a public place, as long as they don’t cross the line from annoying (but constitutionally protected) speech to agressive/threatening conduct, (such as blocking someone’s path or touching them, which is not constitutionally protected).

    Salzman’s lawsuit doesn’t challenge the provisions about “agressive” panhandling that would cover that sort of conduct, and in my opinion those provisions are appropriate to protect the rights of passersby not to be blocked, threatened, or otherwise intimidated.

    But to attempt to strip away free speech rights in order to criminalize panhandling in general, merely because because we find some of the panhandlers “annoying” or because they make some people “uncomfortable?” The Framers of the Constitution must be rolling over in their graves at the news that “it makes me uncomfortable” is now being taken seriously as an argument for why certain speech should be banned.

    All in all, the Arcata ordinance as currently written seems like a pretty clear case of overreaction and overreach by Arcata’s “liberal” City Council — not to mention that as a practical matter, it’s a pretty heartless policy, or else indicative of Councilmembers who are seriously out of touch with the facts of life for the truly needy folks who slip through the cracks in our dilapidated economy and the holes in our tattered social safety net.

  214. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    random guy, i agree completely with rose. in answer to question, i would completely revise the welfare system. i would like to see able body homeless people given true job training options and, along with all citizens, free college tuition. i think that the system has been made so easy for homeless that people my age can eat plenty of food, get high and drunk all day, and have no incentive to improve themselves. i think as a society there needs to be incentives for people to get better. simply giving people things does not seem to be the answer to me.

  215. High Finance
    February 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Random Guy should put down the heated rhetoric and read his history books.

    Life isn’t getting easier ? Really ?

  216. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    I had no idea the growing number of people hitting the skids are doing so voluntarily? I’m sure, like Rose, that your heart is in the right place 731…whatever that’s worth.

  217. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    random guy, the fat, stoned homeless guys wearing patagonia in arcata are not starving. that’s progress i guess.

  218. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    No, high finance…life isn’t getting easier. How’s your life? Still getting phat checks in the mail? How far back in history should I go before I start reading? After the point where somebody can survive by kicking back and getting phat checks in the mail, no doubt.

  219. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    random guy- my heart and mind are both in the right place. that’s why i asked what solutions you had, you never answered, asked me the same question, and i offered my thoughts. the homeless i see in arcata are mostly a bunch of guys approximately my age, they get stoned, drunk, and beg. i don’t think they need more basic safety nets. they need more skills and job opportunities as a way to improve themselves. i’m not afraid to say it, most of the homeless in arcata need to improve themselves. they’re not living up to their potential as human beings and we are enabling them by providing for their basic needs.
    what are your solutions and/or thoughts on how to improve the homeless culture in arcata?

  220. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Ya, you see them 756, but you obviously don’t talk to them.

    How did you vote on Measure N and how do you feel about McKinleyville rezoning for dense “low income housing”…do you think that will make the homeless situation better or worse for humboldt county? I say NO WAY to both for the reasons that it would bring everybody’s dollar value down, increase our population (forever exponentially), increase our pollution, increase our crime, etc. etc. etc. etc. My solution is for humboldt, and it is to locally keep the perpetuators of the status quo out of every aspect of our government. “This island humboldt” is a-okay by me…I don’t care that some people see it as nimby, I’m talking about the whole county for the sake of everybody who lives here.

  221. tra
    February 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    i think that the system has been made so easy for homeless

    With all due respect, that’s ridiculous. Homelessness is a miserable lifestyle for nearly everyone living it.

    Now a young “traveler” who has a home to go back to when they get tired of their faux-hobo adventure, yeah, I don’t have a lot of concern for them. But I don’t consider them as truly “homeless.”

    In any event, with respect to the ban on panhandling, I am not willing to let my lack of sympathy for those sorts of “travelers” overwhelm my concern for those who are truly in need, and who should not have any non-violent non-criminal opportunities to raise a little extra much-needed cash taken away from them. It’s unnecessary, unjustifiable, and unfair.

  222. Anonymous
    February 27, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    random guy- i agree with your comments concerning housing redevelopment. i thought we were talking about homeless in arcata however. are things fine the way they are? would you change anything?
    tra, well put. i respectfully disagree and think that as a society, we need to get over thinking that giving people things helps them. homeless aren’t evil. i’m not blaming them for the economic downturn. however, as a society, i don’t want to give any more to those who aren’t contributing and i don’t want to make it easier for the homeless to get high and drunk.

  223. tra
    February 27, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Well, I’ll certainly agree that sometimes trying to help people doesn’t really help them, or can even harm them by fostering dependency.

    But for people who are truly struggling and truly in need, helping them sometimes really does, well, help them.

    The point is that when we become too obsessed with the folks who annoy us, the folks that aren’t all that needy, or that waste their limited resources on drugs and alcohol, we run the risk of becoming too har-hearted, and too harsh and stingy towards those who really need and deserve whatever help we can give them.

    In other words, we must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  224. Random Guy
    February 27, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    820, it’s been said and I agree that the moneys you’re talking about are pennies compared to the gold bricks the government unloads elsewhere. It’s also been said, and is completely true, that there aren’t any “handouts” a person can get without jumping through a maze of hoops to proove they need. Maybe you could get away with collecting the $50 emergency money once a month…but only for a few months tops, and not if there are any public records of what you’re up to otherwise. The “handouts” that people have to jump through hoops to get are very necessary…shudder to think they’ll be gone when I need them, my retirement options are looking rather…well…there aren’t any to look at other than government handouts.

    I suggest you look into exactly and specifically what kind of free ride you think people can get. You’re buying into the “if I can do it so can they!” philosphy. Imagine if you were born under different circumstances.

  225. Disgusted
    February 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    It’s fascinating to read the same right-wing BS served up for centuries.

    A few actual “conservatives” concede the extraordinary costs of poverty in homelessness, disease, prisons, drug abuse, lost productivity, and crime.

    The stupid ones ignore the solutions of free “public” universities, health care, subsidized SRO housing, food, job training, job placement, and good public transportation. All are largely GONE…along with many public elementary schools.

    Welfare is a last, desperate resort, it’s not a solution, it’s made difficult to qualify for and to escape from.

    Until the U.S. begins reinvesting in known solutions for its human resources, it’s pure bigotry to accuse the destitute of “laziness”.

    Decades of research reveals that bigotry is often motivated by self-hatred and the temporary solace offered in others made to suffer more.

    The Germans called in schadenfreude.

    Look it up, it’s an English word now…we’ve always had so much in common with the German culture.

  226. High Finanze
    March 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I’m disgusted by panhandlers.

    The bailouts are different, they maintained and increased American’s stock ownership value while creating tens of thousands of new high-skilled jobs somewhere. It’s also not “welfare” for your superiors to maintain unbridled access to the public’s infrastructure to build as many big homes and cars as they wish, it even benefited the largest income-generating sector of our economy, the financiers like me, who are producing real value for our nation.

    Allow the magic of the free-market to prevail and free the “doers” for the benefit of the done-to.

  227. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    March 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    2:43 pm High Finanze,

    Where is the key for the lock box holding this value you speak of? I wanna open that door and do an audit on the inventory.

    JL

  228. March 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    FREE SPEECH???I may disagree with what you say but I will
    defend to the death your right to say it..The First
    Amendment has not been amended or eliminated.

  229. Plain Jane
    March 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    If all financiers are as clueless about what caused the crisis as HiFi is, they need to be regulated to the nth degree to prevent their ignorance and greed from doing even more damage.

  230. tra
    March 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    If you’re not free to ask someone “hey, can you spare some change?” then yes, free speech rights have been curtailed.

    As stated numerous times above, obnoxious conduct like blocking someone’s path or touching them, well clearly that’s conduct, not speechm, and Salzman’s lawsuit does not challenge the part of the ordinance that deals with that sort of “agressive” panhandling.

    Again, the idea is to make sure you remove the baby from bathwater before throwing out the bathwater. Is that so hard to understand?

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