Home > Arcata California, Richard Salzman > Salzman sues Arcata

Salzman sues Arcata

[Press Release]

Arcata, CA –  On Thursday May 19th Richard Salzman filed a lawsuit in Superior Court of California against the City of Arcata claiming that their Panhandling Ordinance is unconstitutional.

In March the City of Arcata declined Salzman’s request to amend its panhandling ordinance.  “I requested that they amend their ordinance so as to comply with our guaranteed protection of free speech as outlined in the United States Constitution.  Since they declined to do so I felt compelled to file a complaint yesterday in the Superior Court of California against the city” said Salzman.

Salzman has stated that he is a proud lifelong member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and staunch defender of the Constitution of the United States and the First Amendment right to free speech.

As written, the ordinance makes it a crime to merely hold up a sign asking for a hand out. 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 notes that the section of the ordinance against “aggressive panhandling,” including blocking one’s path, any physical contact or shouting, was left unchallenged by this legal action.

Read the full complaint here.

Earlier: Salzman threatens Arcata with lawsuit

  1. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    May 20, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    On this political issue, RS is doing the right thing :-)

    Good Luck!

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  2. tra
    May 20, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    I’m sorry to see that the Arcata City Council has foolishly declined to amend their overreaching, free-speech-stomping abomination of an ordinace.

    Thanks, Richard, for following through on your offer to sue them. Sadly, when elected officials stubbornly insist on trying to exercise powers that they don’t actually have under our Constitution, eventually it gets to a point where you have to stop asking, pleading, demanding, and beseeching, and start exercising your legal options. Clearly that time has come.

    It’s unfortunate that Arcata taxpayers will end up having to foot the bill for defending the indefensible, but hopefully they will assign the blame where it belongs: on the City Council members who were more concerned about pandering to class prejudices, business owner’s preferences and aesthetic snobbery than they were about protecting the free speech rights of the desperately poor.

  3. Anonymous
    May 20, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    I welcome the court revealing that this would-be king wears no clothes.

  4. May 20, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    I love the sign.

  5. Anonymous
    May 20, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    a staunch defender of the consitution????

    Has Mr. Salzman ever served in the U.S. Military? Served in any capacity where he had to swear to defend the constitution against all enemies forgien and domestic?????? Just curious.

  6. Anonymous
    May 20, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    What a waste of money, this lawsuit. They are just trying to stop the aggressive panhandling, which is super annoying and scary for old people.

    Go away, Salzman!

  7. tra
    May 20, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    To be a “staunch defender of the Constitution” one does not necessarily have to serve in the Military or in a position where they must swear to defend the Constitution.

    And sadly, there are plenty of elected officials who do swear to defend the Constitution, but then go right ahead and ignore it when they find its restrictions on their power to be inconvenient.

    That’s why we need folks like Salzman, and organizations like the ACLU, to hold their feet to the fire.

  8. tra
    May 20, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    What a waste of money, this lawsuit. They are just trying to stop the aggressive panhandling, which is super annoying and scary for old people.

    You’re half-right. It IS a waste of money — on the part of the Arcata City Council. Salzman’s lawsuit specifically does NOT challenge the portion of the ordinance dealing with “aggressive” panhandling. His lawsuit asks that that portion be retained, while the overbroad, overreaching blanket ban on even NON-aggressive panhandling in most of Arcata be removed.

    So if the Arcata City Council is really “just trying to stop the aggressive panhandling,” then they can easily settle this matter by agreeing to repeal the portions of the ordinance that don’t deal with “aggressive” panhandling.

    That is what Salzman’s previous letter demanded, and, unfortunately, that is what the Council, in a 4-1 vote, declined to do, basically inviting this lawsuit.

    So, yes, it’s a “waste of money.” Direct your complaints to those doing the wasting — the Arcata City Council majority.

  9. Anonymous
    May 20, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Why doesn’t the city line the plaza with red carpet and allow only the homeless to use it?

  10. May 20, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    “Has Mr. Salzman ever served in the U.S. Military?”

    I’m happy for Anonymous that he was able to squeeze out one rhetorical question that wasn’t followed by a half dozen question marks.

  11. May 20, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Anonymous, thanks for bringing up the military angle. Are you aware that military veterans make up a disproportionate percentage of homeless people?

    Source: “The Forgotten Americans – Homelessness: Programs and the People They Serve,” released Dec. 8, 1999, by the Interagency Council on the Homeless. Data is from the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients (NSHAPC); visit http://www.huduser.org to download the NSHAPC reports.

    23% of the homeless population are veterans
    33% of homeless men are veterans
    Only 9% of the total U.S. population are veterans (2000 U.S. Census)
    47% served during the Vietnam era
    17% served in the post-Vietnam era
    15% served prior to the Vietnam era
    67% served for 3 years or longer
    33% were stationed in a war zone
    25% have used VA Homeless Services
    85% completed high school/GED, compared to 56% of non-veterans
    89% received honorable discharges
    79% reside in urban centers
    16% reside in suburban areas
    5% reside in rural areas
    76% experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems
    46% are white males, compared to 34% of non-veterans
    46% are age 45 or older, compared to 20% of non-veterans

  12. A true american
    May 20, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    A True Blooded American Says: Why doesn’t the city line the plaza with red carpet and allow only the homeless to use it?..?????????
    See how much more patriotic those ?? make me????

    Every ???? indicates an unused brain cell.

    Why don’t we line up the homeless and shoot them??????????

    Did they ever serve in the military????????????

    (Sadly, yes, many have. Some have chronic mental illness because of it.)

    Who gives a shit about those stats. RUSH!!!!!!! Next they’ll be comin for YOUR guns!!!!~ Out of my cold dead hands!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Line in the sand!!!!!!!!!!! Look out, OMG!!!!

    ?????????????

    This God fearing, war mongering Christian says: who’s crazy!!!!!! ???????????

  13. May 20, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Some veterans find out that they are fighting more for international corporate interests than the US Constitution. This causes mental problems for some that have killed innocent people over this big lie. Some of them turn to drugs and alcohol to try to erase the memory. They become homeless.

    Would Salzman be any more of a productive citizen if he had served these corporations through military service or would he just scare you more?

  14. What Now
    May 21, 2011 at 12:55 am

    “Anonymous says:
    May 20, 2011 at 9:17 pm
    a staunch defender of the consitution????

    Has Mr. Salzman ever served in the U.S. Military? Served in any capacity where he had to swear to defend the constitution against all enemies forgien and domestic?????? Just curious.”

    Easily one of the most useless, noxious, and inanae posts to ever (dis)grace this blog.
    Anonymous, your curious because you’re incapable of critical thinking.By definition, that necessitates a plural number of brain cells and that disqualifies you/

  15. snoopy
    May 21, 2011 at 1:20 am

    All those rich money-grubbers in Arcata have to defend their sacred snob-ground. Hooray for Richard! Hopefully there are enough loving souls in Arcata to fight back like they did in Berkeley the year after that city adopted a prohibition of pan-handling near ATMs newsracks, bus stops, etc. The people fought back and had the ordinance rescinded and the spirit of tolerance, compassion, brotherhood and acceptance lives on.

  16. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    May 21, 2011 at 2:28 am

    Ah,

    the seer has yet another affect upon local politics. Gotta love the illegal business being done within a public right-of-way. Just proves more of what fascism is and by whom it is erected …….. in so far as “public officials” and corporations is concerned.

    Round Table and City of Arcata Motive = share/sales margin profit, higher costs, higher tax collection returns…..GREED! Wait until the first Round Table Pizza worker gets injured on the job (err sidewalk) or causes an injury ……..laugh all the way to the bank :-)

    JL

  17. Dollar 4 Me
    May 21, 2011 at 5:32 am

    Hey bro gotcha can spare a dollar? THEN F.U! I KILLL YOU!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Anonymous
    May 21, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Love the “incapable of critical thinking” that seems to almost come up with someone doesn’t agree with that comment.

  19. Norman
    May 21, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Run the bum over with a bicycle, hey it’s organic.

  20. Mitch
    May 21, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Richard Salzman is a patriot. More important, he’s a mensch. Thank you, Richard.

    Tom Sebourn brings the only relevant military statistic to the discussion: 23% of the homeless population are veterans, and 33% of homeless men are veterans. Thank you, Tom.

    Anonymous 9:17 probably thanks veterans for their service the day they come back; unfortunately, his statements prove he thinks they can then be treated like trash if they struggle financially.

  21. Plain Jane
    May 21, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Threats to the constitution are usually fought in courtrooms against domestic enemies, not on battlefields against foreign enemies, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that 9:17 lacks critical thinking skills with his question Salzman’s military service, as if that is in any way relevant. Soldiers don’t even have full civil liberties themselves while in the military.

  22. a non
    May 21, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Let us assume that 9:17, who wants to know if RS ever took an oath to defend the Constitution, is a veteran of the military. Meaning, he took the oath.

    Now comes an unconstitutional ordinance intended to prohibit one of our most cherished rights: free speech.
    Why is 9:17 not defending the constitution against this obvious attack? He has broken his oath. Traitor!

  23. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    May 21, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Mitch @ 7:27,

    Yep, and wonder why men have so many problems with family law and family services; wonder why women and children are given more opportunities to pick themselves up compared to the men living as homeless?

    So, for Planned Parenthood and those “other feel good women and children organizations”, it is quite disparit those opportunies among men, women and children.

    Funny how so many liberals clamor against war; then, when the troops come home, they are again clamored against the troops. So, if you serve in the military, there is a 1 in 4 chance that a former military member will be part of a homeless list. Then, figure the ratio of the number of troops serving – men and women – and compare mathematically to the number of homeless to get a sense of what percentage of the overall military makes up homelessness. It would be interesting to know the percentages where men and women (glbt) are culled out seperately to get an idea of which gender has it worse when coming home from their military engagements for the puppet masters.

    Either way, serving in the military is a bad move today. Heck, even the war machine conservatives turn their backs on the very troops that served the puppet masters. Then, when the troops come home and become homeless or have mental disorders caused by their militarisms, then they are just called bums, dirt, scumbags, hippies, etc… because they are homeless or mentally ill. Then, these silly little local political people who try to “hide-away” the very problems they once supported by way of other alterior reasonings. This is yet another form of “back-stabbing”. Money knows no empathy or sympathy or logic or rights. Money knows only greed, as greed knows money goes hand in hand with power and control.

    Shame on the Arcata City Council, their names are public information. Maybe time to youtube embarrass local governments by way of “exposure”?

    JL

  24. Not A Native
    May 21, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I’d incorrectly predicted that Salzman wouldn’t follow through and file a suit. I’m glad he did because the ordinance’s intention is discriminatory. I just hope the political discussions in Arcata around the illegalities centers on the wrongheadedness of Stillman and Ornelas, who I believe are the instigators of the idea.

    It will be interesting how Kevin Hoover, one of their apologists, spins this suit. I expect to see a headline like “Trinidad Resident Salzman Attacks Arcata”

  25. May 21, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Planned Parenthood serves men, too, Hench. They would even help you.

  26. Anonymous
    May 21, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I think I have a right not to be bugged by people. I don’t care if they carry a sign but don’t come up and talk to me. I help in other ways and don’t want to speak to strangers.

  27. May 21, 2011 at 10:09 am

    958 to be honest with you Jehovah’s Witnesses irritate me, I have no problem with other people’s religions for the most part but I don’t like being proselytized. But still, when they knock on my door I don’t abuse them. I tolerate them.

    Perhaps you should exercise some tolerance towards the poor, especially in a public place. After all these people are begging on a sidewalk, they are not knocking on your door.

    have a peaceful day,

    Bill

  28. tra
    May 21, 2011 at 10:11 am

    If I don’t want to (or can’t) give money to a beggar, I just say “no” or “not today” or “sorry, no.” It has worked every time.

  29. Plain Jane
    May 21, 2011 at 10:11 am

    There is no right not to be bugged by people, 9:58. Strangers have the right to speak to you and you have the right not to listen and / or walk away.

  30. Anonymous
    May 21, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Maybe the bums should file for a business licence before soliciting for change, Used to be $75 or so. Then they could pay taxes on their earnings and start rejoining society.

    This is just Salzman’s Lawsuit de Jour.

    It’s funny how NaN branded Pro-Arcata Kevin Hoover as an apologist for Stillman and Ornelas. Yea Opinions.

  31. May 21, 2011 at 10:16 am

    … Jehovah’s Witnesses irritate me, I have no problem with other people’s religions for the most part….

    I kinda like the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They might even be my favorite religion now if for no other reason than they don’t vote.

  32. tra
    May 21, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I just hope the political discussions in Arcata around the illegalities centers on the wrongheadedness of Stillman and Ornelas, who I believe are the instigators of the idea.

    Maybe they are the “instigators,” but they are only 2 out of 5 votes on the City Council. I believe the recent vote in support of the ordinace was 4-1, with Shane Brinton being the only councilmember voting to modify the ordinance so that it would only cover “agressive” panhandling.

    So it looks like in addition to Stillman and Ornelas, some of the blame for this overreaching ordinance, and the lawsuit it has invited, falls on Michael Winkler and Mark Wheetley as well.

  33. Anonymous
    May 21, 2011 at 10:26 am

    “Are you aware that military veterans make up a disproportionate percentage of homeless people?”

    True that, and it’s not going to get better anytime soon.

    Great sign, very worthy action…the law is inhumane.

  34. Anonymous
    May 21, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I am sick to my stomach at the constant references to “Holding their feet to the fire” in American political discussions.

    Holding someone’s feet to the fire is TORTURE.

    Don’t you people oppose torture?

  35. Anonymous
    May 21, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Tom Sebourn says:
    May 20, 2011 at 10:22 pm
    Some veterans find out that they are fighting more for international corporate interests than the US Constitution. This causes mental problems for some that have killed innocent people over this big lie. Some of them turn to drugs and alcohol to try to erase the memory. They become homeless.

    This is a real problem, and it didn’t start with the most recent wars. It goes way back. The great uncle of a good friend of mine explained how he spent his time in the US Army. Making the world safe for the United Fruit Company. Like most veterans, he would not speak about the killing.

  36. Anonymous
    May 21, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Still learning block quote technique, folks. My words above were:

    This is a real problem, and it didn’t start with the most recent wars. It goes way back. The great uncle of a good friend of mine explained how he spent his time in the US Army. Making the world safe for the United Fruit Company. Like most veterans, he would not speak about the killing.

  37. May 21, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Welcome to “The Rapture.” (Awakening)(Arab Spring)

  38. Anonymous
    May 21, 2011 at 11:18 am

    To put it simply, Stillman and Ornelas were the liberal “hippies” of the past who would not have made this choice years ago. Now that they have been in business and had children, learned what truly makes a community work, they know that this behavior needs to be discouraged and people who have something positive to bring need to be encouraged (ie business people, visitors, residents who want to freely move about without being harassed). It may fly in the face of free speech or be onconstitutional, but you can’t blame them for wanting to try it to fix this problem. Always seems like those who abuse the system are given the most leeway to exercise that right.

  39. Cristina Bauss
    May 21, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Anon at 10:35, thank you for sharing. That’s a nasty part of our history most people don’t care to know about, and it’s certainly not taught in K-12 schools.

    On a similar note, during a discussion a couple of nights ago my partner told me about finding a stack of old family letters somewhere, and seeing the following written by a male relative who had served in the Philippine-American war: “Went around the coast today. Shot ten nigers [sic] from the boat.”

    Makes you feel all gushy inside about “making the world safe for democracy,” doesn’t it?

  40. a non
    May 21, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Wheatly, Winkler, Stillman and Ornealas – they are all responsible for this unconstitutional act. Didn’t THEY take an oath to uphold the Constitution and the law?

  41. Anonymous
    May 21, 2011 at 11:38 am

    In the late 90’s I worked alongside a 24 year old who’d just got out of the marines. His job was to sit on a tank with a machine gun while they “patrolled” the dominican republic. During their “show of force” missions, they’d sound a warning, then just drive straight through the middle of shanty towns. Literally a straight line over homes and everything. Shoot at anybody who resisted. He was traumatized and he knew it…his years of experience were rapidly turning into apathetic anger toward the sleeping world of everyday american life. Justifiably so, IMO. One of many stories I’m sure we can all tell.

    Poverty isn’t a crime.

  42. Anonymous
    May 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    No, poverty itself is not a crime, but there are ways to help those in need. Panhandling should not be encouraged. Stealing or cheating helps get a meal for a person and that is not okay either. Panhandlers are on the border of legality and make helping those in need more difficult.

  43. Anonymous
    May 21, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    “Panhandlers are on the border of legality and make helping those in need more difficult.”

    The border of whose legality? Laws aren’t human or, in this case, even humane.

  44. scooter
    May 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    So, 67% of homeless Vets served for at least 3 years. What is going to happen to all of the “stop loss” recruits that have served 5,6,7, or even 8 tours in Baghdad, or Kandahar? These poor souls will come home and what then?
    We need to stop “stop loss” service extensions. If we cant get enough recruits for our unpopular wars then maybe we shouldn’t be fighting them.

  45. Anonymous
    May 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I should have said “Aggressive Pandhandlers” are on the border of legality, depending on their behavior.

  46. Anonymous
    May 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    There are already laws against aggressive behavior toward others. Nothing short of class prejudice to further criminalize those who already have nothing. Welcome to america, the dream is just that.

  47. a non
    May 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    scooter said We need to stop “stop loss” service extensions. If we cant get enough recruits for our unpopular wars then maybe we shouldn’t be fighting them.

    Maybe if we revived the draft people would be less apathetic about stopping the wars. When you, or your own offspring have to fight in them it. We should stop private contracts to hired killers, too.

  48. Sgt Rock
    May 21, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    ha ha ha, you got me laughing

  49. Eric Kirk
    May 21, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    23% of the homeless population are veterans
    33% of homeless men are veterans
    Only 9% of the total U.S. population are veterans (2000 U.S. Census)
    47% served during the Vietnam era
    17% served in the post-Vietnam era
    15% served prior to the Vietnam era
    67% served for 3 years or longer
    33% were stationed in a war zone
    25% have used VA Homeless Services
    85% completed high school/GED, compared to 56% of non-veterans
    89% received honorable discharges
    79% reside in urban centers
    16% reside in suburban areas
    5% reside in rural areas
    76% experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems
    46% are white males, compared to 34% of non-veterans
    46% are age 45 or older, compared to 20% of non-veterans

    I don’t know if the stats hold up to this day, but back in the 1980s when I worked these issues, about 1/3 of all homeless worked full time, and just over half worked at least part time. And I was never certain how seasonal workers such as farm workers, fish processors, and carnies fit into those stats. But getting a first and a last, not to mention references for a landlord, is very problematic once you are in that zone.

    Of course, an elephant in the room is the cost and shortage of rental housing due to the particular local conditions.

  50. QP
    May 21, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Did you suppose the pizza ad waving dude in the photo might have had to obtain a permit?

  51. QP
    May 21, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    …as in, what’s the size limitation of that sign if no permit required ‘cuz I may have a new non-aggressive advertising business.

  52. Anonymous
    May 21, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    I agree that the ordinance crosses boundaries and verges on being unconstitutional (possibly is), I empathize/sympathize with the homeless population and financially support food banks and causes that provide for those in need. I don’t dislike Jehovah’s Witnesses.
    However, I do dislike them coming to my door (where I feel my space is being invaded) and I dislike having to say “not today” or “sorry, no” to panhandlers. I hate the guilt I feel associated with rejecting someone, yet I resent being put in that position. I dislike it so much that I avoid areas where I know people are soliciting and I don’t think I’m a alone. It seems very unfair to business owners to have to tolerate this sort of activity near their places of operation, possibly driving business away. Yet, that is why the panhandlers station themselves where they do, hoping for traffic. It is really a difficult problem to address and it seems that tackling “aggressive panhandling” became the quasi-solution.

  53. Anonymous
    May 22, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I feel like some of my rights have been violated by panhandlers. Coming up to my window as I am driving and talking with me when I come to a stop or light, has got to be illegal. It is scary to have someone approach you that like.

  54. May 22, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Fred, there are other things to like about Jehovah’s witnesses: they are unfailingly polite, they refuse to participate in war, they refuse to salute flags (and thus, don’t say the pledge of allegiance).

  55. Mitch
    May 22, 2011 at 9:10 am

    “Coming up to my window as I am driving and talking with me when I come to a stop or light, has got to be illegal.”

    Of course it’s illegal. Cars are magic, and people are constitutionally required to respect your cloak of invisibility.

  56. Big Al
    May 22, 2011 at 9:14 am

    that pizza sign job looks cool, easy money!

  57. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    May 22, 2011 at 9:22 am

    7:55am,

    few and far between with regard to the overall #s’s of panhandlers: I question the instances possibly being claimed. Maybe give a known street location for verification. Around these parts, not seeing what you describe. In fact, it would seem that even people panhandling understand where the boundaries are in so far as ruining their opportunity to panhandle at certain places and times if they call dramatic attention to themselves, thus initiating a police response. Panhandlers are smart enough in MOST situations to understand that limit or line of drawing too much attention, at least this is the historic and current views from my perspectives.

    Now, maybe you are 100% accurate in your experiences, but I just am not agreeing that it is even anywhere near “a problem”. Besides, if you run over their foot while you are driving because of their unsafe practice, you are not in the wrong,and thus you may have changed the attitude of the “panhandler who follows”.

    Anyhow, it may also be true (need verification) that certain areas in a “setting” may have differences in the “types” of panhandlers. Aggressive vesus more passive; better health versus mental health issues; male versus female; young adults; those with animals versus those without animals, etc….

    Yes, there are sub-structures or sub-classes within the overall structure or classification of panhandling one would summise. Even panhandling offers its low incomed, middle incomed and upper incomed tiers……because panhandling is not relegated to “actual poor persons”. Very capable people panhandle because they make more “dough” than flippin’ burgers for Mickey D’s or Booger King’ or, working at some low wage retail store selling clothing or books, or general merchandises, or waiting tables, etc…. Some people look at how much effort one must exert for a return on effort (earnings)…. some say panhandlers can be kinda intelligient and smart.

    JL

  58. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    May 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

    QP,

    The main difference is one sign bearer is a “business” while the other is “non-business”.

    Ya see, the fascism of local government is proven once again when they must compare their city codes and ordinances (along with the states) to the very same applications for the equal protection of the laws that other “workers within the public row” had to follow and adhere to….. ya know, because those workers with the orange flack jackets/vests, safety helmets, etc… had to make sure they had a city issued encroachment permit within a public right-of-way (the round-a-bout island landscaping looks awesome btw).

    In fact, only work being done to the infrastructure or special event permit is allowed to do business or entertainemnt within a prow. Yet, it is Round Table – lots of corporate and “franchised” money, big time attorneys and a city budget that will apparantly allow businesses to do whatever because of the shortcomings of a local revenue stream. More sales equals more cut of those sales taxes for the City of Arcata.

    JL

  59. robash141
    May 22, 2011 at 9:57 am

    My own class prejudice comes to the fore when get hit up for my spare change by a perfectly able bodied looking kid wearing expensive skateboarder duds that I could never afford working for my salary and flashing a dazzlingly white smile. It’s happened more than once to me in Arcata.
    Perhaps this ordinance overreaches somewhat but it does arise out of a legitimate public concern that the street life in Arcata is getting way out of hand. It’s not just the panhandling it’s all the stuff that seems to go along with, like petty thefts vandalism assaults,drug dealing taking craps in public throwing used hypes in the flowerbeds and sundry boorish anti social behaviors I wish some opponent of this law would at least acknowledge that there is a problem in Arcata that needs to be addressed.

  60. Anonymous
    May 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Ya, wow, Arcata sucks lately, becoming more and more like Eureka every year. Probably going to end up moving to Fieldbrook in a few years.

  61. Anonymous
    May 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

    or maybe Westhaven.

  62. May 22, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I want to weigh in here to say that I think the Arcata City Council Members who voted for this law were mostly well intentioned, albeit misguided. For the record and to my knowledge (now Mayor) Susan Ornelas joined Shane Britton in voting AGAINST this law during that original vote, so she should probably not be grouped with Alex Stillman as an instigators of the idea. Ms. Ornelas did join the majority in voting to uphold the law when they declined my invitation for them to alter it to come into compliance with the U.S. Constitution (The Supreme Law of the Land) and avoid this lawsuit.
    I can imagine arguments in defense of that second vote based on not wanting to set precedent on changing existing laws based solely on the threat of a lawsuit and in trusting that the legal council they’ve been getting is sound (a point with which I obviously disagree).

  63. anonymous
    May 22, 2011 at 11:10 am

    11:18 said, “Always seems like those who abuse the system are given the most leeway to exercise that right.”

    Yeah, the city council is in the perfect position to abuse their power and violate our constitutional rights, but I don’t think that was the implication that you intended.

  64. May 22, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I agree with Robash141, but the specific measures taken by the Arcata City Council will need to conform with Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

    I find the gaggles of smelly, hyperactive, foul-mouthed smokers in front of the bars on the Plaza to be more obnoxious than the bums, but I understand the concerns of people who are tired of marching through the minefields of mendicants in Arcata.

  65. Random Guy
    May 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Jesus fucking christ, how badly can you folks exaggerate the homeless situation in arcata. GUESS WHAT! America, as we grew up being told it was, isn’t. Frankly, some of you read like sheltered agoraphobes.

  66. Shmoezer
    May 22, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    One out of every three vehicles you see on the road is a gigantic pickup truck with a 12″ lift and a 20-something pot grower’s girlfriend behind the wheel.
    Your internet and long distance connectivity is severed every few months when Caltrans digs up the fibre to San Francisco.
    Everyone you know has been robbed or burglarized at least once.
    You never leave your car unlocked, not even for a couple minutes while you run into the gas station for smokes.
    The sun only comes out once a week, maybe less.
    The pungent smell of fresh marijuana wafts through your neighborhood on a regular basis.
    You don’t bother calling the cops, ever, because you know they won’t show up for at least two hours.
    There’s an indoor marijuana garden related house fire at least once a month.
    Every person under the age of 30 you see walking around town is wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
    Every person under the age of 24 has their hood pulled up over their head, even when the weather is nice.
    You fully expect every driver on the road to be uninsured and driving an unregistered vehicle without a valid license.
    Nobody smiles at you or says hello.
    White people with super gross dreadlocks are everywhere. The longer the dreads, the more disgusting the person wearing them seems to be.
    At dusk, only half the drivers on the road use their headlights. The other half are divided into two groups: those who refuse to turn their lights on until it’s actually pitch dark, and those who think it is acceptable to drive around with only their parking lights on.
    Every house has the curtains drawn or the shades closed to hide the marijuana growing activity within.
    Locals are outnumbered 4-1 by out-of-towners who moved here to grow pot.
    There are hundreds of restaurants, but only about 5 that are worth eating at.
    You can’t walk down the street without some homeless 19 year old with dreadlocks asking you for spare change. When you refuse, he cusses at you and says something about capitalism and greed.
    Nobody drives the speed limit. They either go 5 mph under the limit, or they go 10-20 mph over.

  67. May 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Random Guy makes a valid point, but I have nits to pick with Smoezer:

    That’s me going 5mph under the limit. Go around.

    “Everyone you know has been robbed or burglarized at least once.”
    Not so. And where do you live that it takes the cops two hours to get there?

    “Super gross dreadlocks” is redundant.

    “internet and long distance connectivity is severed every few months”
    When was it last severed? It’s been years.

    “The sun only comes out once a week, maybe less.”
    One of the many blessings that Eureka offers, it’s nice and cool. Spend some time in the Central Valley or SoCal.

    “…gigantic pickup truck with a … pot grower’s girlfriend behind the wheel.”
    Got me on that one.

  68. BeenThereAndBack
    May 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Several years ago, during the Bush/Cheney administration, a few members of congress decided to live on the approximately $427 of food-stamp benefits provided to the poor. They reported regularly on how they managed to stretch this meager amount across the entire month in order to feed their families.

    I attended the Arcata City Council in 2010 meeting when the aggressive panhandling ordinance was passed in a 3-2 vote with Shane Brinton and Susan Ornelas voting against (Ms. Ornelas seemed prepared to vote in favor but was swayed by the ground-swell of public comments against, hence the 3-2 vote rather than a 4-1 vote).

    I wonder if any members of the Arcata City Council would be willing to shed their homes, hot showers and ‘normal’ lives to live for just a few months on the streets of a strange town with no money–just as many of the folks targeted by this ordinance do? I myself had been living a comfortable, well-insured and highly functional existence paying not one but three mortgages and preparing for retirement alongside other ‘American Dreamers’ when suddenly I experienced an extremely embarrassing and shameful psychotic break from reality. A period of complete and udder madness which quickly led to multiple “5150’s,” months in and out of fancy and not-so-fancy psychiatric hospitals, and finally homelessness after being prescribed a prescription drug with a known side effect of psychosis (similar to well-publicized accounts of our armed forces who are required to take prophylactic doses of anti-malarial drug mefloquine).

    Within a short time, although I owned several homes, I was living on the streets and in the parks of San Francisco and eating out of trash cans. Finally I was placed in a locked-ward of Napa State Hospital for the criminally insane. No one expected to ever see or hear from me again. Not one family member came to visit or called to inquire how I was or answered my mail.

    I can personally attest to the fact that however a person becomes homeless, once there you quickly come to understand how cruel and uncaring other humans and their laws can be. Helpless, vulnerable, broke and suffering from untreated mental illness hardly equip one to better their circumstances. Thoughts of suicide are constantly on your mind. And police officers can trigger a panic attack upon site.

    As I walked the streets in a daze and looked through the windows of other people’s homes, my only wish was that one kind person living behind one plate-glass bay window trimmed with expensive, custom-made curtains in their well-heated homes would reach out to me and offer me a shower. I had been working since I was 14-years old and remained well-employed for most of my adult life. That low-point was not the life I worked so hard to attain. But it happened to me anyway, without warning, without time to properly prepare. Without the ability to find homes for my dogs. I never saw my puppies again.

    I hope the City Council members of Arcata will consider ways they might better understand the plight of these fellow human beings who live on sidewalks across American perhaps by committing to walking a few blocks, for a few months, in their moccasins. The experience of street and park living and dumpster-diving with no money is so traumatizing and damaging that I can guarantee you will never look at ‘solutions’ to the problem of homelessness or at panhandlers the same way again.

    There IS a solution to homelessness. It’s called homes, not sidewalks, folks.

  69. Plain Jane
    May 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story, Beenthere. I recently re-read The Grapes of Wrath which had a lot to say about how people respond to the destitute. Accepting the fact that people often end up tragically destitute through no fault of their own would mean acknowledging it could happen to them too. It’s much more comfortable (and cheaper) to pretend that the poor are lacking in ambition and character and don’t deserve any help. Some go even further and claim if there was no help available they would work for whatever was offered or starve ala The Grapes of Wrath. No matter that you can’t feed your family, not to mention house them, on a full day’s wages (if you even have a job) without taxpayer subsidies and the Republicans want to end those.

  70. Mitch
    May 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    BeenThereAndBack,

    Congratulations on your recovery, and thank you for sharing your story.

    Heraldo,

    Please consider using BeenThereAndBack’s comment as a post, or please consider asking him to write a post. There is nothing more powerful to humanize “the bums” than personal testimony from someone who has been through the experience he describes.

  71. skippy
    May 22, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Very good story, BeenThereAndBack. Thank you, too, for sharing life’s reflection and posting here. Outstanding narrative and firsthand observations– right to the point. Any one of us are only a few steps away from what you’ve described.

    We wish you the best. Have things become any better… or worse over recent time? Many of us would like to hear more.

  72. Not A Native
    May 22, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    I missed the part how anyone here knows that this story is true and if it is whether all the pertinent facts are included. And how does Mitch know its a ‘he’ who wrote it?

    Anyone here read a really good fiction book that is now engraved into your memory as factual(or seen a great movie)? I understand better nowhow it is that Harold Camping so easily got such a loyal following. Tell people what they already believe and they’ll cite it as data.

  73. Mitch
    May 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    NaN,

    I don’t know it’s a “he.” Do you seriously think someone would make up that story, with the clever plan that by posting it to the Humboldt Herald, they’d be changing the world? (No offense intended, Heraldo.)

  74. May 22, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Dear Not a Native,

    As the young people say, “my bad!” Lest we get off the important subject of the Salzman lawsuit alleging Arcata has infringed upon the free-speech of its most vulnerable and voice-less, my name is Jackie Wellbaum and I approve this message:

    Several years ago, during the Bush/Cheney administration, a few members of congress decided to live on the approximately $427 of food-stamp benefits provided to the poor. They reported regularly on how they managed to stretch this meager amount across the entire month in order to feed their families.

    I attended the Arcata City Council meeting in 2010 when the aggressive panhandling ordinance was passed in a 3-2 vote with Shane Brinton and Susan Ornelas voting against (Ms. Ornelas seemed prepared to vote in favor but was swayed by the ground-swell of public comments against, hence the 3-2 vote rather than a 4-1 vote).

    I wonder if any members of the Arcata City Council would be willing to shed their homes, hot showers and ‘normal’ lives to live for just a few months on the streets of a strange town with no money–just as many of the folks targeted by this ordinance do? I myself had been living a comfortable, well-insured and highly functional existence paying not one but three mortgages and preparing for retirement alongside other Gucci Loafer-wearing ‘American Dreamers’ when suddenly I experienced an extremely embarrassing and shameful psychotic break from reality. A period of complete and udder madness which quickly led to multiple “5150′s,” months in and out of fancy and not-so-fancy psychiatric hospitals, and finally homelessness after being prescribed a prescription drug with a known side effect of psychosis (similar to well-publicized accounts of our armed forces who are required to take prophylactic doses of anti-malarial drug mefloquine).

    Within a short time, although I owned several homes, I was living on the streets and in the parks of San Francisco and eating out of trash cans. Finally I was placed in a locked-ward of Napa State Hospital for the criminally insane. No one expected to ever see or hear from me again. Not one family member came to visit or called to inquire how I was or answered my mail.

    I can personally attest to the fact that however a person becomes homeless, once there you quickly come to understand how cruel and uncaring other humans and their laws can be. Helpless, vulnerable, broke and suffering from untreated mental illness hardly equip one to better their circumstances. Thoughts of suicide are constantly on your mind. And police officers can trigger a panic attack upon site.

    As I walked the streets in a daze and looked through the windows of other people’s homes, my only wish was that one kind person living behind one plate-glass bay window trimmed with expensive, custom-made curtains in their well-heated homes would reach out to me and offer me a shower. I had been working since I was 14-years old and remained well-employed for most of my adult life. That low-point was not the life I worked so hard to attain. But it happened to me anyway, without warning, without time to properly prepare. Without the ability to find homes for my dogs. I never saw my puppies again.

    I hope the City Council members of Arcata will consider ways they might better understand the plight of these fellow human beings who live on sidewalks across America perhaps by committing to walking a few blocks, for a few months, in their moccasins. The experience of street and park living and dumpster-diving with no money is so traumatizing and damaging that I can guarantee you will never look at ‘solutions’ to the problem of homelessness or at panhandlers the same way again.

    There IS a solution to homelessness. It’s called homes, not sidewalks, folks.

    This is my story.

  75. Not A Native
    May 22, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Mitch, you wrote(my CAPS) “…personal testimony from someone who has been through the experiences HE describes.” I’m sure you probably don’t even realize the assumptions you make.

    No offense to you, Jackie but I take posts that assert facts with a grain of salt, yours included. Even a post with a person’s name doesn’t mean its not imagined, embellished, or missing important info. Whether your story is factual and complete or not, I can’t say. But simply writing it up on a blog doesn’t mean its credible, IMO. Submit your story to a place where it will be at least rudimentarily fact checked before publishing and I’ll have more confidence. Or include lots of details that can be verifed by anyone.

  76. Mitch
    May 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    NaN,

    You are correct. I should have written “he or she.”

    Perhaps we can return to the topic(s) at hand.

  77. Mitch
    May 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Ms. Wellbaum,

    Please don’t forget to provide your long-form birth certificate. There have been problems recently with short form certificates.

  78. Ching Hao
    May 22, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    We simply need to reopen a state run, or have a private firm reopen building for the insane, if you really want to know what the State needs. However we have to wait around for five years or so when we rebound the economy.

  79. Cristina Bauss
    May 22, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Thank you, Mr./Mrs./Ms. Wellbaum (“Jackie” can go either way) for sharing your story.

  80. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    May 23, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Mitch,

    heck with that short-form/long-form stuff if a person is a self-proclaimed gloater of wealth for whom takes credit for spending the money to force the certificate to be shown, displayed.

    Trump may be smart, economically, but a buffoon he is trying to use his wealth status and popularity to bragg and gloat about how powerful his wealth is. People like that are worthless in the end.

    JL

  81. Random Guy
    May 23, 2011 at 10:49 am

    excellent, shmoezer…cheggitout…

    One out of every three vehicles you see on the road is a gigantic pickup truck with a 12″ lift and a logger/contracter/state worker behind the wheel, who earns as much as a well-off pot grower but managed to bury themself in bottomless debt so they hate on everybody who doesn’t have to work ten hours a day, 6 days a week.

    Your internet and long distance connectivity is severed every few months when Caltrans digs up the fibre to San Francisco, causing severe anxiety among the internet addicted population of Humboldt, which didn’t even have craigslist 7 years ago.

    Everyone you know has been robbed or burglarized at least once. But not you.

    You never leave your car unlocked, not even for a couple minutes while you run into the gas station for smokes, because you’re paranoid.

    The sun only comes out once a week, maybe less. And maybe even less than that.

    The pungent smell of fresh marijuana wafts through your neighborhood on a regular basis, unlike the rest of the nation where you smell mariuana being smoked everywhere instead.

    You don’t bother calling the cops, ever, because you know they won’t show up for at least two hours. And besides, what’s really the big deal.

    Local politicos want everybody to think there’s an indoor marijuana garden related house fire at least once a month.

    Every person under the age of 30 you see walking around town is wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and everybody of all ages owns one.

    Every person under the age of 24 has their hood pulled up over their head, even when the weather is nice. Everybody over the age of 50 has shirts and jackets with shoulder pads in them, men and women alike.

    You fully expect every driver on the road to be uninsured and driving an unregistered vehicle without a valid license. Except the big trucks with the lifts driven by pot growers and contractors.

    Nobody smiles at you or says hello. They nod and say “wassup”.

    White people wearing ballcaps are everywhere.

    The newer the ballcap, the more disgusting the person wearing it seems to be.

    …out of time, have a beautiful, so so beautiful day.

  82. anonymous
    May 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Random guy should either consider moving or getting on antidepressants. What a sad life this person has, even while he lives in one the most beautiful places on earth, he can only see what he doesn’t like.

  83. tra
    May 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    If you think Random Guy has a depressing point of view, just check out Shmoezer’s comment:

    https://humboldtherald.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/salzman-sues-arcata/#comment-142854

    That’s what Random Guy was responding to.

  84. Random Guy
    May 23, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Not my point of view at all, 12:44, just stereotyping the people who stereotype ala shmoezer’s equally sarcastic jab. Didn’t think a disclaimer was necessary, sheesh.

  85. Steak n Eggs
    May 23, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    12:44…he’s not alone. Most of Heraldo’s sheep are a depressing lot. Heavy on negativity and criticism, and light on positive solutions. A great place for global whining.

  86. 12:44
    May 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Sorry, that comment was intended for the author of the rant (Shmoezer).

  87. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    May 23, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    AH,

    so now its the solutions being used as a guise statement to cover-over criticisms warranted. Guess what, criticism is what “educates” the un-educated, the mis-educated, the under-educated, etc…

    As far as those sinister types in on the political and social schemes, they’ll be the ones complaining about criticisms to cover their historically preserved lack of solutions. Funny how those in charge to come-up with solutions, BUT CAN’T, blame others who criticize!

    Voters still don’t get politics, by majority. All these elctions over the years and still NO SOLUTIONS. Ya ever wonder why?

    JL

  88. May 23, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Richard–is that you making your point with the cardboard sign?

    But for once the messenger is not lost with the message!

  89. May 23, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Wait, I didn’t get my “Shoulder Pads.”

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