[Hpn] But ban and bust those bad bad beggars

Becky Johnson Becky_Johnson@sbcglobal.net
Thu, 12 Sep 2002 21:42:26 -0700


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Note to reader: Ed Porter says the new downtown ordinances are not =
anti-homeless. And he calls me a liar?
The ordinances prohibit the "behavior" of sitting down on most sidewalks =
in the commercial areas of the City, playing simple games such as =
hacky-sack, begging for food with a sign after dark, or begging at all =
on any sidewalk in the commercial districts (all of Mission St., all of =
Soquel Ave., River St.and Beach St) less than 14 feet wide.  Since one =
section prohibits "liquids which may become airborn" bubbles are now =
illegal regardless of what Porter or City Attorney John Barisone say.  =
As to banning clowns?  Two of Santa Cruz' favorite clown entertainers =
work for tips and hence fall into the solicitation ordinance.  The =
places where they have been playing for years are now illegal due to =
being within 14 feet of a crosswalk.                    --- Becky =
Johnson
=20
September 12, 2002
=20
Santa Cruz softens new conduct rules
MUSICIANS, POLITICAL TABLES EXEMPT
By Ken McLaughlin
Mercury News

Saying it has no intention of hurting downtown street musicians or =
discouraging spirited political debate, the Santa Cruz City Council has =
postponed parts of a new set of ordinances designed to reduce aggressive =
panhandling and verbal harassment of women and gays.

The ``emergency ordinance'' enacted unanimously Tuesday night exempts =
until Jan. 15 musicians and people setting up ``political tables'' from =
new laws requiring panhandlers and sidewalk sitters to stay at least 14 =
feet away from doorways, kiosks, drinking fountains, fences, mid-block =
crosswalks, telephones and outdoor dining areas.

Current laws specify a mishmash of distances from four to 10 feet, =
allowing panhandlers to get pushy and making enforcement difficult, =
police and city officials say. The laws, which also ban hackeysack, =
Frisbee-throwing and all sports, take effect today.

The downtown commission had been asked to come up with ``exemption =
zones'' where people could set up political tables and musicians could =
play at will. But finding those downtown spots proved more difficult =
than the commission thought, so it asked the council to at least =
temporarily delay parts of the ordinances.

When the laws were debated in July, dozens of protesters staged street =
protests against them at incendiary public hearings. Opponents, =
including a group of topless women in the city council chambers, =
denounced the laws as draconian and heartless.

Protesters on stilts and others dressed as clowns predicted that the new =
laws would destroy the colorful street scene that brings throngs of =
tourists from around the world to Santa Cruz.

Some opponents of the ordinances made the same point at the council =
podium Tuesday night.

``Santa Cruz has an international reputation for liberality,'' Charles =
Huddleston told the council. ``You will ruin your economic base by =
debasing your reputation.''

Robert Norse, the council's chief gadfly, said despite the softening of =
the council's position on musicians and political ``tablers,'' he and =
other activists will continue to take to the streets.

``The community,'' he said, ``has to resist.''

Becky Johnson, another longtime homeless activist, said the new laws =
would ban jugglers, bubble-blowing, clowns and ``homeless people asking =
for a dime.''

``What would your mothers say?'' Johnson asked council members.

Her remarks caused Councilman Ed Porter, the usually mild-mannered high =
school teacher, to issue a sharp rebuke to homeless activists.

``It's a lie,'' he said of the notion that the city was banning begging, =
bubble-blowing and clowns.

In a Sept. 1 New York Times travel article about Santa Cruz, the writer =
had reported that the new ordinances ``will make panhandling all but =
impossible.''

That, Porter said, is because local homeless activists have been =
``telling lies'' to national reporters.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------=
-------
Contact Ken McLaughlin at kmclaughlin@sjmercury.com or (831) 423-3115.=20

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<META content=3D"MSHTML 5.00.2614.3500" name=3DGENERATOR>
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</HEAD>
<BODY bgColor=3D#ffffff>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>
<DIV class=3Dbody-head><SPAN class=3Dheadline>Note to reader: Ed Porter =
says the new=20
downtown ordinances are not anti-homeless. And he calls me a =
liar?</SPAN></DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbody-head><SPAN class=3Dheadline>The ordinances prohibit =
the "behavior"=20
of sitting down on most sidewalks in the commercial areas of the City, =
playing=20
simple games such as hacky-sack, begging for food with a sign after =
dark, or=20
begging at all on any sidewalk in the commercial districts (all of =
Mission St.,=20
all of Soquel Ave., River St.and Beach St) less than 14 feet wide.&nbsp; =
Since=20
one section prohibits "liquids which may become airborn" bubbles are now =
illegal=20
regardless of what Porter or City Attorney John Barisone say.&nbsp; As =
to=20
banning clowns?&nbsp; Two of Santa Cruz' favorite clown entertainers =
work for=20
tips and hence fall into the solicitation ordinance.&nbsp; The places =
where they=20
have been playing for years are now illegal due to being within 14 feet =
of a=20
crosswalk.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; =
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;=20
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; --- Becky Johnson</SPAN></DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbody-head><SPAN class=3Dheadline></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbody-head><SPAN class=3Dheadline>September 12, =
2002</SPAN></DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbody-head><SPAN class=3Dheadline></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbody-head><SPAN class=3Dheadline>Santa Cruz softens new =
conduct=20
rules</SPAN><BR><B><SPAN class=3Ddeck>MUSICIANS, POLITICAL TABLES=20
EXEMPT</SPAN></B><BR><B><FONT size=3D-1><SPAN class=3Dbyline>By Ken=20
McLaughlin</SPAN></FONT></B><BR><B><FONT size=3D-1><SPAN =
class=3Dcreditline>Mercury=20
News</SPAN></FONT></B><BR></DIV>
<TABLE align=3Dright border=3D0 cellPadding=3D0 cellSpacing=3D5 =
width=3D100>
  <TBODY></TBODY></TABLE><SPAN class=3Dbody-content><!-- begin =
body-content --><SPAN=20
class=3Dbody-content>
<P>Saying it has no intention of hurting downtown street musicians or=20
discouraging spirited political debate, the Santa Cruz City Council has=20
postponed parts of a new set of ordinances designed to reduce aggressive =

panhandling and verbal harassment of women and gays.</P>
<P>The ``emergency ordinance'' enacted unanimously Tuesday night exempts =
until=20
Jan. 15 musicians and people setting up ``political tables'' from new =
laws=20
requiring panhandlers and sidewalk sitters to stay at least 14 feet away =
from=20
doorways, kiosks, drinking fountains, fences, mid-block crosswalks, =
telephones=20
and outdoor dining areas.</P>
<P>Current laws specify a mishmash of distances from four to 10 feet, =
allowing=20
panhandlers to get pushy and making enforcement difficult, police and =
city=20
officials say. The laws, which also ban hackeysack, Frisbee-throwing and =
all=20
sports, take effect today.</P>
<P>The downtown commission had been asked to come up with ``exemption =
zones''=20
where people could set up political tables and musicians could play at =
will. But=20
finding those downtown spots proved more difficult than the commission =
thought,=20
so it asked the council to at least temporarily delay parts of the=20
ordinances.</P>
<P>When the laws were debated in July, dozens of protesters staged =
street=20
protests against them at incendiary public hearings. Opponents, =
including a=20
group of topless women in the city council chambers, denounced the laws =
as=20
draconian and heartless.</P>
<P>Protesters on stilts and others dressed as clowns predicted that the =
new laws=20
would destroy the colorful street scene that brings throngs of tourists =
from=20
around the world to Santa Cruz.</P>
<P>Some opponents of the ordinances made the same point at the council =
podium=20
Tuesday night.</P>
<P>``Santa Cruz has an international reputation for liberality,'' =
Charles=20
Huddleston told the council. ``You will ruin your economic base by =
debasing your=20
reputation.''</P>
<P>Robert Norse, the council's chief gadfly, said despite the softening =
of the=20
council's position on musicians and political ``tablers,'' he and other=20
activists will continue to take to the streets.</P>
<P>``The community,'' he said, ``has to resist.''</P>
<P>Becky Johnson, another longtime homeless activist, said the new laws =
would=20
ban jugglers, bubble-blowing, clowns and ``homeless people asking for a=20
dime.''</P>
<P>``What would your mothers say?'' Johnson asked council members.</P>
<P>Her remarks caused Councilman Ed Porter, the usually mild-mannered =
high=20
school teacher, to issue a sharp rebuke to homeless activists.</P>
<P>``It's a lie,'' he said of the notion that the city was banning =
begging,=20
bubble-blowing and clowns.</P>
<P>In a Sept. 1 New York Times travel article about Santa Cruz, the =
writer had=20
reported that the new ordinances ``will make panhandling all but=20
impossible.''</P>
<P>That, Porter said, is because local homeless activists have been =
``telling=20
lies'' to national reporters.</P></SPAN><!-- end body-content --><!-- =
begin body-end -->
<DIV class=3Dbody-end>
<DIV class=3Dtagline>
<HR class=3Dtagline color=3D#cccccc SIZE=3D1>
<I><SPAN class=3Dtagline>Contact Ken McLaughlin at <A=20
href=3D"mailto:kmclaughlin@sjmercury.com">kmclaughlin@sjmercury.com</A> =
or (831)=20
423-3115.</SPAN></I>=20
</DIV></DIV><!-- end body-end --></SPAN></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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