Home > Arcata California, Lawsuits > Arcata panhandling trial set for May 23rd

Arcata panhandling trial set for May 23rd

[Press Release]

Arcata, CA–Is it illegal to merely hold up a sign asking for money?

Arcata thinks it is, but a citizen lawsuit contends the city overstepped its bounds and its panhandling ordinance is unconstitutional.

The free speech trial is set to begin at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23rd, in Humboldt County Superior Courtroom 8–and the public is invited to attend.

On March 17th 2012 The Arcata City Council adopted the unlawful panhandling ordinance. 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, this lawsuit filed by Richard Salzman contends the City Council overstepped its authority.

Salzman is being represent in this matter by Peter Martin. Both Mr. Martin and Mr. Salzman are board members of the Humboldt Civil Liberties Defense Fund which was created to defend against incursion of the civil liberties of all citizens of Humboldt County.

“If first they silence the poor and the homeless, and we say nothing, who will speak up when they try to silence rest of us?” 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.

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 a significant percentage of the City.

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 is well-served by the ordinance’s ban on aggressive panhandling, to which Mr. Salzman does not take exception. Mr. Salzman is of the view that ordinance’s ban on begging is not “narrowly tailored.” To achieve the City’s goal of criminalizing the speech of a few beggars, the City has criminalized all charitable solicitations for money. The picture above illustrates the problem with the Ordinance. It is OK to hold a sign offer to sell pizza, but Mr. Salman’s sign is illegal.

[PHOTO: Richard Salzman stand across from City Hall in violation of the current law.]

  1. Anonymous
    May 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Is it illegal to merely hold up a sign asking for money?

    If the person soliciting money doesn’t have a business license, absolutely, it sounds illegal.

  2. Anonymous
    May 16, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Begging is a charitable solicitation.

    Who says begging is a charitable solicitation? When making legal claims, it bolsters your position to cite sources.

    The First Amendment clearly protects charitable solicitations.

    Clearly? No. One minute of googling will reveal a bevy of recent lawsuits over the issue, which is quite a complex one. There’s nothing clear about it.

  3. Anonymous
    May 16, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    The ordinance is criminal. Is it illegal to wear a tshirt that says “can you spare any change?” For rude passerby’s, on the back it could say things like “somebody else can have my job at walmart” or “I burn zero gallons of gasoline every day, how about you?”

  4. Anonymous
    May 16, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Criminal, huh? We’ll see. The plaintiff seems woefully uninformed. Having a fervent ideology doesn’t win lawsuits.

  5. Eurekite
    May 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    ordinance is illegal – defending it is ridiculous. there are also more effective ways to address homelessness. signs are some of the least annoying things panhandlers do!

  6. Bob
    May 16, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Hay man we have every right in this world to panhandle and only annoiey when were hungry or thirsty you have no right to hold cash from freedom. Assholes.

  7. Anonymous
    May 16, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Yes, criminal 8:09, as the picture of real live human beings above demonstrates.

  8. 69er
    May 16, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Panhandlers are the reason I never carry cash, have given to them in the past and observed them buying smokes and or alcohol with it. Have even offered to take them inside for a bite to eat and it was refused, they wanted the cash. No more from me.

  9. tra
    May 16, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    I don’t get the part where that leads you to never carry cash. You could just choose to, you know, not give them any.

  10. 69er
    May 17, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Just simply easier to say you have none than to argue with them. I’m an easy touch.

  11. walt
    May 17, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Be like Nancy Reagan. . .just say no. Or maybe make a sign of your own that just says “No!”.

    Some years ago, when I had a business in town, the city told me the signage out in front could only cover n square feet. Now people can hold up signs along any street in town, jump up and down and wiggle in costumes to get customers, and nobody says boo. What’s with that?

  12. May 17, 2012 at 6:28 am

    And what about the ILLEGAL sandwich board signs that litter Arcata sidewalks….they are CLEARLY illegal on the streets of Arcata, but in 12 years I have not seen ANY enforcement of THAT law…

  13. Mitch
    May 17, 2012 at 6:42 am

    69er,

    The part that mystifies me is the ease with which people extrapolate from “this person took my money and just bought cigarettes and booze” to “any person who is asking me for money will just use it to buy cigarettes and booze.”

    Do the people who think this way make these instant generalizations when it comes to other groups, or only regarding people who are begging in the streets?

    If 90% of the people who are panhandling are doing it for reasons you might not approve of, that means there are still a substantial number of people who need money for reasons you might accept. Doesn’t that concern you, and make you feel some shame for our society? Or do you feel that each and every person that might ask you for money in the street is doing it for cigarettes and booze?

  14. May 17, 2012 at 7:11 am

    I’ll go so far as to say it’s a human right to ask for a job or financial help. That doesn’t mean anyone should be under an obligation to give you a job or money, but it’s your right to ask.

  15. Anonymous
    May 17, 2012 at 9:06 am

    What you are, 69er, is exactly the person that’s the real “panhandling problem”. You are a tiny minority of pedestrians. You’re the lactose intollerant customer in a milkshake shop, demanding the store close down. You described the real world scenrio perfectly. That is, if you’re not lying to us. If you really don’t carry cash because you really end up arguing with people who ask you for spare change, then you really need to contemplate your pedestrian attitude because it’s not normal, and you’re intruding on the rights of all of us by demanding we cater to your timid bias.

  16. May 17, 2012 at 9:21 am

    But seriously what about the sidewalk blocking sandwich board signs all over Arcata Illegally…
    I guess its time to upload the pictures of the 35 signs that block the sidewalks illegally, in violation of Arcata city ordinances and the ADA.

  17. Bolithio
    May 17, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Who gives a crap? Beg, solicit, just not at my front door. Nothing wrong with beggars, even if they are rich and buy smokes with the money.

  18. Julie Timmons
    May 17, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Fred is correct and it’s obviously time to clarify the situation for everyone, merchants with sidewalk signs included.

  19. May 17, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Slight correction there, Julie: I’m not saying panhandlers can block traffic or just doing anything they want, just as the Occupy folks can’t. If they have signs placed on the sidewalk, maybe they shouldn’t be able to, assuming they’re interfering with other pedestrian movement. I can’t say much about that since I haven’t witnessed it.

    I don’t know that I would agree with panhandlers sitting just outside the entrance of businesses bothering customers, either.

    I’m not sure just where the line should be drawn, however, if a guy wants to stand on a street corner holding a cardboard sign saying, “Hungry. Need Help”, I consider that his human right to do so.

    And that’s coming from someone who does get annoyed by panhandlers, and seems to attract his fair share of them.

  20. Boris
    May 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    We do have this problem in Moscow. The Police have the authority to maintain order and keep freedom of commerce alive and well. Arcata is wise to follow our lead.

  21. Anonymous
    May 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Boris, your sarcasm is clear. However, that system exists in the USA today, they are the same common laws of decency practiced in every first world nation. Not that such laws are necessary in the first place on account of common sense, but there are already plenty of laws in the books restricting our pedestrian behavior and our ability to communicate with fellow human beings in public. We don’t need any more. The growing pile of beaurocracy needs to get smaller, not bigger.

  22. potato
    May 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    i would just like to say that when i give money to a homeless person, i lose the right to give a shit what that person does with it. if he wants to spend it on booze and smokes, that’s his prerogative — i have GIVEN him the cash, and now it is his to do with what he wants. perhaps his values are not my own, and i refuse to be the kind of dickhead who tries to force their values on others.

    i also honestly feel that if anyone deserves to smoke and drink, it’s the guy who’s sleeping on the sidewalk with no hope in sight, who is constantly put down and judged before he even speaks, who is now being told he isn’t allowed to ASK FOR HELP.

    what kind of people are we can justify that just because we are uncomfortable saying no? in my mind, that’s just unconscionable.

  23. Not A Native
    May 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    OK Mark, take those pictures and send them to Kevin Hoover.

    I’ll bet he’s not interested in them at all, because they would show his favored people in a bad light.

    Only way he’d feature them is to spin it, saying those signs are a good thing, showing Arcata is delightfully colorful, vibrant, and quirky. But he’ll do that only if he gets approval from the shop owners he likes.

  24. High Finance
    May 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Right, because what we need more of around here are more beggars and pan handlers.

    Why work when you can get well meaning, naive fools to hand you money for nothing ?

    The people who give them handouts are enablers. You are hurting these people not helping.

  25. Mitch
    May 17, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Why work when you can get well meaning, naive fools to hand you money for nothing?

    A question HiFi undoubtedly reminds himself of every day.

  26. tra
    May 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    But the question being addressed by this lawsuit is not whether it’s wise to give to beggars or not. The question is whether it is constitutionally allowable for the City to have what amounts to a blanket ban on begging in much of Arcata.

    I remember looking into this a bit when this lawsuit was first discussed (in fact I think at that point it was still just a letter threatening a lawsuit) and what I found was that outright bans on begging tend to get struck down, while narrowly tailored bans on begging in specific locations (like a ban on begging right by an ATM machine or in a shop doorway) have often been upheld. But if the cumulative effect of a series of specific rules create an overlapping situation where it becomes, in effect, a de-facto blanket ban on virtually all begging throughout a whole area, those kinds of laws can get struck down too.

    So I think what you’ll see is the City arguing that each of their specific rules is narrowly tailored, and the plaintiff arguing that the combined effect of all those specific rules is to create a de-facto blanket ban on begging over a whole area.

    To me, the bottom line is that the part of the ordinance that deals with aggressive panhandling is the only part that is really necessary. And that part isn’t being challenged by the lawsuit. So, I hope the lawsuit succeeds and the City is at least forced to pare down it’s anti-panhandling ordinance to something much less draconian and much less restrictive to freedom of speech.

  27. Boris
    May 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Mr. High Finance is correct. These begging bums interfere with our most cherished and important civil liberty, Freedom of Commerce.

  28. suzy blah blah
    May 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Why work when you can get well

    -exactly!

  29. May 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    These begging bums interfere with our most cherished and important civil liberty, Freedom of Commerce.

    No they don’t, assuming they’re just standing on a street corner holding a sign, or walking down the street asking for change. At some point they could interfere with commerce, as I mentioned above, but just the fact someone is asking for help or a job is not a threat to your business.

    Shame on you for even using that argument.

  30. High Finance
    May 17, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    The claim that the beggars have free speech protecting their rights to beg is bogus.

    The Founding Fathers were talking about the right to speak against the government when they were adament about free speech. They were not talking about any right to beg or shout profanity or walk around naked (a “right” in San Francisco!).

  31. May 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    They were not talking about any right to beg or shout profanity

    HiFi seems to believes Congress should make a law abridging the right to free speech.

  32. tra
    May 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    The founders most certainly did NOT specify that by “freedom of speech” they were only referring to the right to speak against the government. And the Supreme Court has never interpreted it that way. Freedom of speech has long been understood to cover people’s rights to share their opinions on cultural, religious, and aesthetic matters, or for that matter to share your opinion that your neighbor is a slob. It has also long been held to cover the right to beg.

    As with all freedom of speech, it’s not an absolute right, it does get weighed against the rights of others. You’re not allowed to come into my house and beg in my kitchen without my permission, because that interferes with my privacy and property rights. You’re not allowed to block traffic to beg, because that interferes with right to freely come and go. Blocking the entrance to a store or other business would interfere with the rights of the business owner and their customers. But just standing at the side of the sidewalk with a cardboard sign, or asking for spare change, doesn’t interfere with my rights in any significant way. It just doesn’t.

  33. 69er
    May 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    They can do whatever they want, but not with my money. I support those things that I want to support with the money I have left over after caring for my own and those I support with the taxes I pay. that’s my story and i am sticking to it.

  34. High Finance
    May 17, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Empty head thinking like that Heraldo & Tra’s is why we have the squalor of a 24 hour a day homeless camp on our Courthouse steps.

    How would you like that on the sidewalk in front of your business ?

    And Tra, use your head. The Founding Fathers never specified it because never in their wildest dreams did they think the courts would say it pertained to profanity and everything else.

  35. May 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Wow, HiFi is a psychic medium who can channel Thomas Jefferson while chanting the names of the holy Republican trinity in the church of the free speech zone.

  36. Sigmund Freud
    May 17, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    I’d say we need to re-open the state hospitals, like we had before Ronald Reagan was governor and turned them all loose on the rest of us. But now we are broke. Bummer.

  37. tra
    May 17, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Hi Fi,

    It’s telling that you continue to find the need to change the subject. But this lawsuit is not about profanity or camping or walking around naked in public. It’s about begging.

    Here’s how a federal appeals court in Utah recently ruled on an anti-panhandling ordinance:

    “SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has sided with plaintiffs arguing that Utah’s law against panhandling is unconstitutional and shouldn’t be enforced.

    The Salt Lake Tribune reports that attorney Brian Barnard sued the state in 2010 on behalf of three homeless people who were cited for panhandling. He claimed the ban violated his clients’ right to free speech.

    In a March 15 order, U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart in Salt Lake City granted the plaintiffs’ motion seeking to order agencies statewide to stop enforcing the law.

    Earlier in the week, state attorneys argued the panhandling prohibition addressed traffic and public safety concerns. But Stewart found Utah’s law is too sweeping and infringes on constitutionally protected rights.

    Barnard says if officers now enforce the law, they can be sued.”

    http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/federal-judge-puts-halt-to-utah%E2%80%99s-panhandling-law

  38. tra
    May 17, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Here’s how an Arizona appeals court reacted to a blanket ban on panhandling after dark:

    The appeals court unanimously determined that the law was not narrowly drawn because it applied to many forms of peaceful solicitations that did not threaten, intimidate or harass others…
    Furthermore, the appeals court said that the ban on nighttime panhandling was not justified by the effect that peaceful begging may have on recipients.

    “Our constitution does not permit government to restrict speech in a public forum merely because the speech may make listeners uncomfortable,” the appeals court wrote. “The First Amendment does not allow the City to restrict speech in a public forum merely because listeners might prefer not to hear a message that may annoy them or make them uneasy.”

    http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/ariz-court-strikes-down-phoenix-panhandling-law

    It’s worth noting that Arizona is not exactly known as a bastion for civil liberties, and yet even their appeals court unanimously recognized begging as a constitutionally-protected free speech activity which cannot be banned outright or restricted in an overly broad fashion.

  39. High Finance
    May 18, 2012 at 8:36 am

    You are talking about what is legal and I am talking about what is right for a civilized society.

    Heraldo can act like an idiot and pretend Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers wanted to protect the rights of panhandlers, beggars and homeless camps on Courthouse steps having parties if he wishes. But no intelligent person believes that. They were talking about political speech.

    Our society continues to degrade. Eureka has become as dirty downtown as Arcata has been. And we continue to spiral down.

  40. May 18, 2012 at 8:43 am

    …I am talking about what is right for a civilized society.

    Are you saying it should be illegal for someone to stand on a street corner holding a sign asking for help? I’m appalled.

  41. Mitch
    May 18, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Personally, HiFi, I find it distasteful that beggars living in million dollar mansions are constantly allowed to appear begging on the evangelical cable channels. I don’t think it should be illegal. I view it as yet another stupidity tax.

  42. May 18, 2012 at 9:05 am

    If the first amendment only protected political speech it would be far more limited than the liberal wording of:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

  43. HUUFC
    May 18, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I don’t see the millionaires on television begging cause I don’t watch them. I do see the bums and beggers in Fortuna now and I don’t like em. I also don’t give them anything. I did give a young couple some advice as the asked for change at the door to McDonalds, I told them they were too young to beg. He responded “I make jewelry man.” I responded “not too good at it are you.”
    Begging and panhandling are rights protected under the first amendment? Your smoking dope right?

  44. Libby
    May 18, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Hey Arcata: I NEVER come to your town to spend my money. The street people and beggars are a real deterrent. You seem to prefer the rights of non tax payers, dogs, street people and beggars to those of the working and shopping population. I haven’t been to Arcata in years ( I live in Humboldt) and I avoid it like the plague. If this is what you want, to be an isolated liberal bastion where everyone gets to do what they want, you’ve got it. What you don’t have is any business from me.

  45. Boris
    May 18, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Libby and Mr. High Finance are correct. Why would we shop where the underclass exists? I prefer the sterile mall where the security guards keep my consuming experience quiet as a ride in the elevator. The Founding Fathers did not intend the underclass to have free speech in the streets, ask Mr. High Finance, he knows their hearts and minds.

  46. James
    May 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Hey Libby, why do think anyone would want YOU to patronize their business?

  47. Dwayne Montane
    May 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Oh Libby, please save us the drama! Yes there are a handful of homeless, transients and mentally disturbed people in Arcata, but most of them hang out in front of the bars or the donut shop. Avoid those places and you likely wont be bothered. Also Mark, the sandwich boards have never really been a problem cited by most residents, unlike aggressive panhandling. Several years ago when this issue arose nearly every corner with a stop sign was occupied by a transient begging for money. Most of these panhandlers did not live here. The council reacted to the many complaints from residents about being harassed by the transients. Many people were harassed, including myself. Clearly there was problem. It’s easy to complain that the city is infringing on civil right, and much harder to find real solutions.

  48. May 18, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    The solution?
    Waterboarding. Waterboard everybody who’s poor. They’ll regret being lazy, and go back to work.

  49. Bullshit Detector
    May 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    “Many people were harassed, including myself. Clearly there was problem.”

    BBBUUUULLLLLLSSSHHIIIIIIIIITTTTTTT.

  50. May 18, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Libby doesn’t go to arcata because they’d run her ass out of town. Elitists like that don’t belong in arcata, and instead should remain in Trash City, AKA Eureka.

  51. May 18, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Quote: As ye have done un to the least of these.so have you done unto me

  52. Timothy Leary
    May 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Odd, I don’t recall Jesus begging.

    I do recall him driving the moneychangers from the temple. Bad form, as it was an intereference with the free market doing its ‘invisible hand’ thing.

    Somewhere amongst these two facts is the answer to the vexing issues of our times.

    I’ll ponder that for a while.

  53. Anonymous
    May 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Libby, you are letting the transients win. The city council does indeed see panhandling as a problem. I know many shopkeepers who are very frustrated and somewhat powerless to stop the gathering outside their stores. Arcata is one community where there is a healthy town center mostly made of mostly local businesses. Not shopping there because of the transients gives them the power to tell you where to shop. Don’t blame the whole town. By the way, wouldn’t you rather be asked for change by a mellow pothead than a desperate meth addict? There is more crime associated with the latter.

  54. tra
    May 18, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Doesn’t the fact that Arcata has a “healthy town center” with thriving local businesses suggest that perhaps the transient “problem” isn’t really much of a problem?

  55. Dan
    May 18, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    “Heraldo can act like an idiot and pretend Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers wanted to protect the rights of panhandlers, beggars and homeless camps on Courthouse steps having parties if he wishes. ” Mas Fidel er HiFi

    Did T.Jefferson mean to protect the needy? Of course-
    FDRs’ Second Bill of Rights- necessitous men are not ‘free’.

    The president then looked ahead. Hoping to be heard on every front, he told Congress and the nation that, “It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known.” And in favor of that, he proposed the recognition and adoption of a Second Bill of Rights.

    He said: “This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights… They were our rights to life and liberty. As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however — as our industrial economy expanded — these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.” But, he continued: “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. ‘Necessitous men are not free men.'” And evoking Jefferson and Lincoln, Roosevelt contended that, “In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident,” and, “We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.” This Second Bill of Rights included, he proffered:

    The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
    The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
    The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
    The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
    The right of every family to a decent home;
    The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
    The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
    The right to a good education.

    .

  56. What Now
    May 18, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Dan, that’s all well and good, but how will lower primates like Lord Lardass, er, Darth Finance, be able to feel special if they’re forced to prove themselves in a fashion other than hoarding and sucking the life blood out of others?
    THAT compromises THEIR vision of “civilization”!
    The rule of law???!!!
    THAT’S for suckers.

  57. Jack Sherman
    May 19, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Well put Dan and W.N.!

    Hilarious.

  58. Greg
    May 19, 2012 at 5:58 am

    Just do what I do, give the vagrants a penny. Four times I had a vagrants say that they would fuck me up if I don’t buy beer or give them money. But if they start a fight is when I pull out my tazer out and when they see the sparks they are running as fast as they can.

  59. High Finance
    May 19, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Nowhere in those rights Dan, did I see;

    The right to sit on your ass all day while people give you food, clothing and medical care for free.

    The right to loiter in front of County Courthouses 24 hours a day, smoke dope and harrass people trying to go about their business.

    or

    The right to refuse to clean yourself up and refuse to work to support yourself.

  60. Anonymous
    May 19, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I agree, TRA. The healthy town center does suggest that the transients are not much of a deterrent to business. It still riles me when I hear people like Libby blame the whole town and boycott it, because she hates the politics ( I am a registered Republican) and the council for being liberal. Arcata is a great town, with all sorts of politics in the mix, and usually enough of an open mind to make everyone feel like they are heard.

  61. Anonymous
    May 19, 2012 at 8:26 am

    “Timothy Leary” needs to read up on his Timothy Leary. Timothy Leary would have adamandly opposed this ordinance. He writes about his thoughts on the subject of homelesness plenty, unlike our petty blogger using his name.

  62. Mitch
    May 19, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Greg,

    You are either a liar or a criminal. If the latter, I hope you are jailed or hospitalized before you hurt someone besides yourself.

  63. Mitch
    May 19, 2012 at 8:48 am

    “Timothy Leary”‘s reading assignment for the day: Luke 18.

  64. Anonymous
    May 19, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Pick a city, any city. Where is the most LOCAL retail prosperity? Not only per business, but in number of businesses? Where are the most people,coupled with the widest dispersal of prosperity? Haight St. Hollywood Blvd. 42nd St. Telegraph Ave. 4th St. Market St. and on and on, in every town and city.

    Where is the most cultural activity? Same exact places. People talking to eachother OUTSIDE! On the sidewalks and in the parks!

    What do you see when you drive past any strip mall or big box megacenter? I see 80+ acres of pavement cooking in the sun all day every day forever. No people, nothing. For about 1/52nd of a year, these massive slab ovens will be swarming with 2-5,000cc engines operating at temperatures well over 150 degrees f. (all these slab ovens are connected via a single slab of pavement that literally spans from new york to los angeles, webbing the entire country and then some.) People will walk along with eachother in droves, speaking almost exclusively to only the company they arrived with or the person who will be taking the money for the goods they will no doubt purchase, because one isn’t allowed to just go to these places and “loiter”, and seldom do people even address others. There are cameras everywhere, recording everybody’s physical activity.

    And while all this is going on people are falling off the map every second of every day. People need places to convene for free and freely. It’s no surprise, then, that places where that occurrs results in a mutual gathering of all “classes”…true prosperity.

    All I read in support of this ordinance comes from people who have literally come to some sort of confrontation with “beggers”. How is it that 99.999% of pedestrians in these exact areas at the exact same times do not have confrontations with the exact same people we all encounter? This ordinance is nonsense fueled by bullshit. I don’t know who believes they could benefit or how. It would be a deathblow to a large part of the cultural draw that is downtown arcata. We can see people walking to and from their cars all day enough other places already. And only if we’re there to give away some money anyway.

  65. Anonymous
    May 19, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Police want physical contact too…that’s why they support the ordinance…kinda like Greece….

  66. Heather
    May 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Well, there’s always “sorry” works just fine for me. If they keep bugging me I vomit all over them.

  67. suzy blah blah
    May 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    -i think if peeps see someone panhandling with an especially creative or well made cardboard sign, we should buy it. Or ask if we could snap a photo. Then Heraldlo could sponsor an exhibition or something. Vomiting works good too, specially if youve eaten some peyote. The kids will probably save the chunky parts and dry and sell them on the plaza. Organic recycled mescaline.

  68. Amy Breighton
    May 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks for the reminder of FDR’s Second Bill of Rights Dan.

    Can you imagine how popular they would be today if media reminded us?

    Nowhere in the Constitution or Bill of Rights have I seen;

    The right of CEO’s to sit on their ass all day while getting bailed out by the hard working people of the U.S..

    The right to loiter in the Halls of Washington D.C. to bribe legislators to pass laws allowing massive job outsourcing to foreign nations with child labor and zero environmental protections, and to hide the profits in Barbados.

    or

    The right to refuse to clean up their environmental disasters themselves.

  69. What Now
    May 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Amy, thos e questionable rights are brought to you by trial attorneys working on behalf of bottom feeding pond scum shemers and maipulators, the same bottom feeding pond scum that claim the right for indigent defendants to have legal counsel is an abuse of the sytem.

    Remember INGSOC’s “New Happy Life”:
    “War is Peace.
    “Freedom is Slavery.
    “Ignorance is Strength.”

    And “corporations are people” can happily live amidst such twisted effluvia.

  70. tra
    May 20, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    One of the funniest signs I’ve ever seen a panhandler hold was in Arcata — the smiling young woman with the sign that said: “Need money for whiskey, guns and horses.”

  71. Amy Breighton
    May 20, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Yep, Arcata’s got some real zingers!

    My all-time favorite was the guy on Samoa Blvd. holding up a sign asking drivers: “How Many Iraqi Children Does Your Car Get Per mile?.”

  72. Francine
    May 21, 2012 at 9:27 am

    What happened to the old scruffy man who used to hang out in the plaza with a cardboard that says “Old man needs young vagina” I have a photo of him holding it a couple of months ago.

  73. High Finance
    May 21, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Was that “funny” or crass ?

  74. suzy blah blah
    May 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    -I’m starting a collection. I just bought a sign from a girl hitching north out of Gville an hour ago. Black marker on cardboard. She was happy to sell it for a dollar. It bore a peace sign and the words “rare endangered hippie”.

  75. May 23, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Of course, a law against asking for something is unconstitutional. Offering someone directions, saying hi, asking directions, commenting on the weather, arguing about something, saying “I love you,” handing someone a sweater, or a burrito…waving, smiling, talking politics, talking gossip- these are all forms of expression, and the gov is (supposed to be) forbidden from deciding WHAT people can express (except in very rare cases) or WHO can express what (political candidate or traveling young person).

    But on another note, I offer you this from George Orwell:

    It is worth saying something about the social position of beggars, for when one has consorted with them, and found that they are ordinary human beings, one cannot help being struck by the curious attitude that society takes towards them. People seem to feel that there is some essential difference between beggars and ordinary ‘working’ men. They are a race apart—outcasts, like criminals and prostitutes. Working men ‘work’, beggars do not ‘work’; they are parasites, worthless in their very nature. It is taken for granted that a beggar does not ‘earn’ his living, as a bricklayer or a literary critic ‘earns’ his. He is a mere social excrescence, tolerated because we live in a humane age, but essentially despicable.

    Yet if one looks closely one sees that there is no essential difference between a beggar’s livelihood and that of numberless
    respectable people. Beggars do not work, it is said; but, then, what is work? A navvy works by swinging a pick. An accountant
    works by adding up figures. A beggar works by standing out of doors in all weathers and getting varicose veins, chronic bronchitis,etc. It is a trade like any other; quite useless, of course—but, then, many reputable trades are quite useless. And as a social type a beggar compares well with scores of others. He is honest compared with the sellers of most patent medicines, high-minded compared with a Sunday newspaper proprietor, amiable compared with a hire-purchase tout—in short, a parasite, but a fairly harmless parasite. He seldom extracts more than a bare living from the community, and, what should justify him according to our ethical ideas, he pays for it over and over in suffering. I do not think there is anything about a beggar that sets him in a different class from other people, or gives most modern men the right to despise him.

    Then the question arises, Why are beggars despised?—for they are despised, universally. I believe it is for the simple reason that
    they fail to earn a decent living. In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable. In all the modem talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except ‘Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it’? Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test beggars fail, and for this they are despised. If one could earn even ten pounds a week at begging, it would become a respectable profession immediately. A beggar, looked at realistically, is simply a businessman, getting his living, like other businessmen, in the way that comes to hand. He has not, more than most modem people, sold his honour; he has merely made the mistake of choosing a trade at which it is impossible to grow rich.

    -George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London (Chapter 31) http://netcharles.com/orwell/books/downandout.htm

  76. Jack Sherman
    May 23, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Wow, great post!

    Hitler’s propagandists must have followed Orwell.

    Once they removed the property and incomes from trade-unionists, immigrants, liberals, gays and Jews, the good citizens of Germany predictably expressed boundless bigotry and hatred against them.

    The largest segment of our economy is the financial industry. They produced nothing but usurious interest rates and used trickery to finance loans to unqualified buyers packaged worldwide, collapsing the world economy and looting the U.S. Treasury in public “bailouts”.

    Grinding poverty is rapidly expanding and is once again being followed by a resurgence of bigotry, hatred and the neo-Nazi movement.

  77. Mitch
    May 23, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Thanks, Verbena,

    Your quotes from George Orwell are very to the point. For anyone who can’t be bothered to read the paragraphs you posted at 12:56, here’s a less-eloquent summary.

    Begging is hard and unpleasant, just like many forms of “acceptable work.”

    Begging is pointless except as a way to get money, but so are many forms of “acceptable work.”

    Beggars generally need not lie, like bankers or advertisers or car salesmen or politicians or Sabbath gasbags or… the list goes on.

    And Orwell’s own summary: “In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable.”

  78. Anonymous
    May 23, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Only people who easily subscribe to herd mentality show disdain toward “beggers”. A truely independent and intelligent person knows what it means for other lone individuals to keep their heads above water. Misdirected hostility. Begger is a misnomer. Of the countless thousands of times I’ve been asked if I could spare any change, almost never has anybody begged for it. I’ve seen homeless people in tears, hiding their faces, still too proud to beg. The most truely aggressive beggars I encounter continue to be salesmen. From bank tellers to politicians, they would have us believe our money is worth less than what they’re so desperate to trade. They ONLY care about taking our money, whether we can afford to give it away or not, to spend on their drugs or booze or cigarettes come time they get their tiny cut of the profit.

  79. High Finance
    May 23, 2012 at 8:26 am

    You have no understanding of the word “beg”.

    That is to ask for money in exchange for nothing. Bank tellers, salesmen and all other professions ask for our money in exchange for goods or services.

  80. Fact Checker
    May 23, 2012 at 8:56 am
  81. Anonymous
    May 23, 2012 at 8:58 am

    And sentences can span paragraphs as well, “high finance”. I’ve been asked for money, nobody’s begged me for money. Nobody believes there are masses of people begging in the streets, although the situation is at least as bleak. “Beg” works for you, because you feel they so desperately want what you have. They’re just people asking for money in all kinds of ways for all kinds of reasons. Your addiction to money has created a rank and file for human beings based on it.

    The bank tellers ask for money because their boss’s boss’s boss’s bosses want their indentured floor servants to follow one of several exact scripts that most closely relates to individual patrons’ interests, to ultimately solicit even more money from the patron. The bank teller is the middleman for the beggar who’s made a business of his method, in a pyramid of established control of the con. Money is a beggar’s industry to begin with. How much are you being paid to participate on this forum?

  82. Fact Checker
    May 23, 2012 at 8:58 am

    U.S. Pledges Top $7.7 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit (Update2)
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?sid=an3k2rZMNgDw&pid=newsarchive

  83. Mitch
    May 23, 2012 at 9:00 am

    So tell us, HiFi, which has the better result for society, begging or lobbying to delay regulations on cigarettes by pretending the science on cancer isn’t in?

    Begging or lobbying to delay action on climate change by pretending the science on climate change is controversial?

    Begging or producing advertising to convince people to buy an inferior product for more money, as opposed to a superior product for less?

    Begging or producing a television program that you, personally, consider schlock, but that you know gets the ratings to bring in the eyeballs to sell the advertising above?

    The list goes on. When the output of an economy is bad for people, begging starts to look honorable.

  84. Thorstein Veblen
    May 23, 2012 at 9:05 am

    And preachers? Or how about politicians? How about the evening calls for the deputy sheriffs association fundraiser? If the cause is deemed worthy, perhaps begging is acceptable?

    I haven’t really had an issue with beggars here locally, at least not with respect to begging. I’m more put off by the filth and detritus of the homeless and their requisite pit-bull-on-a-string.

    Funny that those beggars who are part of the community become accepted, like that old guy that stands at 18th and G in Arcata, every day, with a sign sometimes reflecting current events or holidays, (Happy Mothers Day!!) etc. Its the people moving thru that may be more scary to shoppers.

  85. High Finance
    May 23, 2012 at 9:45 am

    False choice Mitch.

    Because one is worse than the other does not make the best bad choice a good choice.

  86. Mitch
    May 23, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Good point, HiFi. It would be great if everyone switched to work that both rewarded them with money and contributed positively to society.

    Unfortunately, our economic system does not distinguish between transferring wealth and creating wealth. Anyone whose work is capable of transferring $1 of wealth from outside her employer’s control to her employer is worth up to $1 to her employer, regardless of whether the task the person accomplishes creates wealth.

    In fact, under our economic system, a person who destroys an infinite amount of wealth in the process of transferring $1 of wealth from outside her employer’s control to her employer is STILL worth up to $1 to her employer. That’s more or less the definition of an extractive industry.

  87. Anonymous
    May 23, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Like a glass company hiring someone to run around town breaking windows.

  88. Fact Checker
    May 23, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Hi Fi 9:45 What a shill! Forever defending the predators in society until someone points out how scummy Preditorial-Capitalism can be. Who would Jesus rebuke? A poor person requesting money? Or Wal*Mart exploiting workers and communities? Or Politicians begging for re-election money?

  89. High Finance
    May 23, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Do you people ever listen to yourselves ?

    You have been obsessed with the few instances of corruption and transferred those few instances into a condemnation of the entire capitalist economic world.

    Throughout the entire history of mankind there have been some bad guys stealing from the weak. In the Free world, in dictatorships, in Communist & Socialist countries, in primitive cultures, in the most advanced countries. This has always been and always will be. It isn’t Republican or Democrat. It isn’t liberal or conservative. It is just human nature that some act bad. It happened in the Stone Age and will happen in 2111 and 3111.

    If you focus on the negative you end up bitter. This negative focus gives people an excuse for their own failures. It gives others an excuse to not try to better themselves. It saps your energy and drains your soul.

  90. Fact Checker
  91. May 23, 2012 at 11:05 am

    f FREE SPEECH–I may disagree with what you say–
    but I will defend to the death your right to say it…..

  92. Jack Sherman
    May 23, 2012 at 11:25 am

    The most obvious business growth among Eureka’s shuttered storefronts are pawn shops, rent-to-own, check cashing, dollar stores, bail bonds, rental agencies, storage units, and poverty-wage big boxes that rely on public services to keep their employees afloat.

    Profiting on the economic demise of tens of millions of working families accelerates their descent into grinding poverty. Yet, these are considered legitimate businesses, and celebrated members of the Chamber of Commerce.

    According to the 2010 Census, reported in the new book “The Rich and the Rest of Us”, half the nation is now at risk of entering poverty.

    Then what? WalMart’s worker-dormitories deducting lodging and meals from meager paychecks? Isn’t that how their products are manufactured so cheaply?

    Those who defend unsustainable, predatory, unjust systems are traitors.

  93. Mitch
    May 23, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Ironically, one of the reasons businesses such as check-cashing outfits and payday loan operations are as profitable as they are is that many people don’t want to become involved in such businesses.

    But increased competition would make them less profitable and thereby benefit the people who make use of such services.

    I’ve long thought that a reputable religious organization should create and invest in a non-profit payday loan business, but I’m not holding my breath. The banks should do it as a public service, but they worry, correctly, about the terrible publicity.

    It’s interesting (to me at least) how the distaste many of us feel for such businesses works against the victims of the businesses and benefits the owners of the businesses.

  94. Jack Sherman
    May 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    I’m always amazed how our media systematically fails to remind us of what worked so well in the past…despite their nation’s desperate hour of need.

    I would support a real community newspaper over anyone offering a reasonable payday loan.

    If media did its job, the other half of America might be motivated to register to vote and send Obama the democratic Congressional candidates that once defined the party…. to enact the solutions FDR proved effective.

  95. Anonymous
    May 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    “You have been obsessed with the few instances of corruption and transferred those few instances into a condemnation of the entire capitalist economic world.”

    You are 100% incorrect. Focus is on the few instances of corruption which transfers into the degredation of the entire capitalist economic world, as you call it. Your assumption surpasses mere generalizing, and with it you are the blind accuser you decry others as being…as usual, “high finance”.

  96. High Finance
    May 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Thank you comrade 12.59pm for giving my post a perfect example.

  97. suzy blah blah
    May 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    If you focus on the negative you end up bitter. This negative focus gives people an excuse for their own failures. It gives others an excuse to not try to better themselves. It saps your energy and drains your soul.

    -you nailed it HiFi. I totally agree. There’s no excuse for looking at the panhandlers and their signs negatively. Always look at the bright side. I’m starting to focus on buying up creative cardboard signs cheap. When i get a few dozen or so i will then capitalize on this positive resource by upping the price and reselling. Ebay can help raise the vibe. They will be signed by the panhandler and a photograph will be included. The more inventive the sign, the higher the price.

  98. Mitch
    May 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    suzy’s efforts will be in MoMA in no time. And people will be selling counterfeits for thousands of dollars. And the people who sold suzy their signs will be suing her.

    I’m doing up my counterfeits even as I type. Business is business, and the early bird gets the best price. (That’s it, isn’t it?)

  99. suzy blah blah
    May 23, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    -that’s a great idea Mitch, why didn’t i think of it? Suzy Blah Blah T.M. can maintain her MaMA cardboard under a printer light and make clones. Which will then be affordable to those folks suffering under middle class incomes. And btw, i’m not worried about being sued … cuz i already am ;) But could you please explain that part about the thousands of dollars again? Does the price go down mid-morning?

  100. Jack Sherman
    May 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Very funny you two!

    Looks like you caught the “positive police” Highly-Mistaken with his/her hypocritical pants down.

  101. Anonymous
    May 24, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Another positive aspect of panhandling is the money quickly circulates through the local economy whether that be the corner liquor store, fast food outlet, grocery store or through the drug dealers pocket to other pricier purchases. Some of it might even end up in the pockets of slum lords.

  102. Anonymous
    May 24, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I am a landlord. I dislike slumlords as much as you do. I just hope you aren’t referring to all landlords.

  103. Mitch
    May 24, 2012 at 11:55 am

    This guy’s got an interesting approach:

    http://olyblog.net/reverse-panhandling

    He’s also got a book:

    http://www.freewillastrology.com/pr/robbio.html

  104. suzy blah blah
    May 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    -i bought another sign this morning from a guy sitting in front of Ray’s with a dog and backpack:

    Things to do –
    1. ignore me
    2. walk faster
    3. talk on your cell phone
    4. check your pocket to make sure your wallet is secure
    5. cross to the other side of the street

  105. George Shieman
    May 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    It has been well established that “panhandling” is a Constitutionally protected 1st Amendment right. A town or City can enact so-called “reasonable” restrictions dealing with what most courts call “aggressive panhandling.” Panhandling ordinances have (apparently backed by courts) been able to prohibit panhandling within 20 feet of an ATM, 20 feet within the entryway to a business, etc. The problem with a law against “aggressive” panhandling is that it is uncertain just exactly what “aggressive” is. Doesn’t really define the prohibited behavior, until the courts address each issue as they come up. Constitutionally “void” for vagueness, etc.

    Apparently, some people..including City Council people, seem to think that just standing silent…holding a sign…is aggressive panhandling. Kind of strange, having grown up in Arcata, to see the town legislating law like they are of the1960’s Mississippi and Alabama mindset. Who is going to be Arcata’s “Bull Connor?” I’m sure someone, judging from some of the blog and comment responses, will step up to the plate.

    Importantly, in Mr. Salzman’s case… showing a sign is pretty much established to be Constitutionally protected (especially when the sign constitutes “political” speech) His sign is not only asking for food…but the reason, it could be said, that he is doing the sign carrying at all…. is that he is intending to make a political statement. And, as we all know (most of us) political speech/protests/signs ARE the most protected of all 1st Amendment Free Speech Rights.

    From what I read in some blog comments, College of The Redwoods probably ought to offer a “Constitutional Law/Bill of Rights” class directed to “back country/Behind the Redwood Curtain” bloggers and to people who write Letters To Editors.

    He should probably win on the “sign-carrying” issue. Not sure about all other issues.

    But I do wish him well..and thank him for his courage to take on these issues.
    George Shieman gshieman@aol.com
    Eureka/SanFrancisco

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