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Great post. Thanks for exposing this hideous trend for what it is. This idea that panhandlers are living the high life would be funny if it wasn't so serious.

Thanks, Tom. Any positive feedback from you makes me feel I'm on the right track. - J

Excellent post! It's just as disgusting as the practice in some cities of rounding up the homeless from tourist areas downtown and busing them to the outskirts of town to keep the tourists happy.

The window of at least one of the banks in downtown Sudbury displays a prominent sign quoting or paraphrasing Ontario's "Safe Streets Act" and its relevant hateful, poorbashing, anti-panhandling rhetoric. It makes me angry every time I walk by.

As for the "homeless meters" -- do they honestly think they are going to be able to stop angry and militant anti-poverty activists from rendering them nonfunctional pretty much as soon as they're installed? I suspect it is more about politicking than about thinking these machines will do much of anything on their own. Newsom wants to keep his rep as being progressive with rich liberals who have no clue about poverty (and who will think this is a fair, compassionate idea) while making a show of being lackey-like in his responsiveness to local business leaders and other minions of capital in their desire to cleanse the city of poor people, and this stupid approach allows him to be seen as doing both...I'm sure that those actually concerned with successfully enacting 'social cleansing' (as the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty terms such efforts) know that this will do next to nothing and that it pretty much always has to happen in more draconian ways. Which will, of course, be happening too, but with less fanfare unless activists make it visible.

Ugh, Devin, I know. One alderman (Calgary doesn't believe in the term "city councillor") actually suggested creating a special park for the homeless so they could be corralled in away from the rest of the city. If course, I should also emphasize that not all panhandlers are homeless and many in Calgary are trying to make enough for the high rents.

Thanks, Scott, for updating us on the situation in Sudbury re: the sign in the window of the bank.

You're right that these campaigns are all about politiking. It scares me that people buy into it. If I asked a ten-year-old to read those slogans, they would say they make no sense...

And, yes, I do believe that children have the clarity of thought to see through the most complex of our social issues...right up until they become indoctrinated...

Don't forget the Manitoba NDP government and left-leaning Winnipeg Mayor Glen Murray, who a few years ago cooperated on a poster campaign imploring people NOT to give money to panhandlers. One of the posters that appeared on many bus shacks had a picture of a scrawny, grubby looking guy with a mournful face above the caption: THANK YOU FOR FEEDING MY ADDICTION.

Worked on me. I haven't given a penny since.

"Capitalism creates poverty NOT generosity, empathy, and kindness towards other human beings."

I think the logic that these business groups use is funny. It's all spun for their needs.

Like you said, tell a 10 year old that generosity, empathy and kindness creates poverty... and they will give you a strange look. The perspective of a child should be valued.

Raging Ranter, surely you don't get the impression that I think all is well with the NDP! In any case, thanks for the update on the Winnipeg case; hopefully others are not as susceptible to propaganda as you!

Now to a NDPer I can get behind, thanks Tyler for weighing in. It's good to see you around the blog. I've been MIA myself as of late!

Allow to make a presumption here: none of you actually lives downtown. You don't have to deal with homeless folk tearing open your garbage looking for bottles, walking onto your property and shitting beside your garage, being awoken at night by drunken parties in the alley behind you, olr having to keep a look out for needles when you walk you kids along the river.

Yeh, I'm an elitest bastard, rich (obviously) because I happen to own an inner city house. I am the bourgeois bastard who complains abotu petty things, right?

Allow me to come and shit on your front porch.

Homelessness has no simple cures. We need to take care of our own, for sure, but we have attracted the mobile homeless from across Canada thanks to our Cadillac level services.

And when the Sally Ann cancels in school programs for at risk children in lieu of increasing services for the current homeless, then that's just criminal.

I look forward to hearing your thoughtful comments...

Hmm...I would stick with ignorant bastard. I speak for the elite when I say, "You're not one of us."

I would also not say that because you live in the inner city you are obviously rich.

I can't speak for the commenters, but I lived downtown for 6+ years...

Right now, I am in the burbs. If I had kids, I can say that I would fear them being run over by some SUV as much as I'd fear needles. As for shit, I would take that of a homeless person any day over the dog shit that some cunt in my neighborhood feels he can leave in my garbage on a regular basis.

As for "Cadillac" services, educate yourself. We have some of the most restrictive policies in Canada as far as accessing services.

Please just continue to shit on my blog. My porch is reserved.

> I would take that of a homeless
> person any day over the dog shit
> that some cunt in my neighborhood
> feels he can leave in my garbage
> on a regular basis.

Not only are you (as well as most dippers) naive, you're also disingenuous.

Regarding Cadillac services... how many budget rooms do you think we could open up for the cost of the multi-million dollar drop in centre?

What of the Sally Ann who would rather perpetuate their own organization (the Iron Law of Bureaucracy) than actually attack the root causes of the issue? Don't think they'll come if we build it? Then why do we have such a large population of east African blacks here all of a sudden? (And don't say they came from Brooks!)

It's sophisticated thinkers like many of the readers here that contributing to the problem, a little thing called enablement.

As for shitting on your blog, what... can't stand anyone standing up to your tripe?

I personally think that David Eby in Vancouver, is keeping track of some pretty horrendous happenings in the DTES, and the work of the PIVOT society.

http://davideby.blogspot.com/

And here is a post I did a while back, the BC Gubbermint trying to push poll on panhandling.

http://www.acreativerevolution.ca/node/733

and some great links here:
http://www.acreativerevolution.ca/node/369

There are a lot of NIMBY's around like ol'jonothon there.
The problem worsens. We have no national housing programs, and myopic governments. They ignore all the information that it costs more to keep looking away. Both financially, and in humanitarian terms. Pull up yer own bootstraps!
Hard to pull up, when you have none.


Thanks for posting this Polly.

This meter thing reminded me of Calgary Silly Hall considering the idea of banning dumpsters from the downtown area (just to show poor people who is boss!). But since they didn't have an alternative garbage disposal plan, local businesses complained.

"Allow to make a presumption here: none of you actually lives downtown. You don't have to deal with homeless folk tearing open your garbage looking for bottles, walking onto your property and shitting beside your garage, being awoken at night by drunken parties in the alley behind you, olr having to keep a look out for needles when you walk you kids along the river."

I don't live downtown, but I've worked downtown in various locations for the past five years, including one block away from that famous Homeless Depot in the East Village. If you don't like "having to deal with homeless" then do what people like you are always telling the poor: MOVE!! Homeless people aren't shitting on your property to piss you off, they have no where else to go. Businesses and government have effectively blocked them from using private and public facilities. Maybe what's needed are more public toilets like the one on 17ave; or better still, maybe we just need to end homelessness by getting rid of capitalism.

"Yeh, I'm an elitest bastard, rich (obviously) because I happen to own an inner city house. I am the bourgeois bastard who complains abotu petty things, right?"

Right. You said it.

"Allow me to come and shit on your front porch."

No one is advocating that, so I fail to understand your point.

"Homelessness has no simple cures. We need to take care of our own, for sure, but we have attracted the mobile homeless from across Canada thanks to our Cadillac level services. "

What "Cadillac level services" might those be?

"Regarding Cadillac services... how many budget rooms do you think we could open up for the cost of the multi-million dollar drop in centre?"

Huh? The Drop In Center, as well as its two other run shelters, is already providing budget shelter for over 1000 people. A more efficient use of money than opening up individual rooms, I'd say.

"And when the Sally Ann cancels in school programs for at risk children in lieu of increasing services for the current homeless, then that's just criminal."

Then take it up with Sally Ann. Or go tell it to Oprah.

..."Then why do we have such a large population of east African blacks here all of a sudden?"

Why are you worried about east African blacks coming here?

"It's sophisticated thinkers like many of the readers here that contributing to the problem, a little thing called enablement"

Let's see if I understand your fucked up logic: By criticizing the punitive methods (e.g. installing 'homeless meters', as well as looney schemes in other cities mentioned here) used to address homelessness, panhandling and poverty in general, we are engaging in "enablement"? Seek help.

Some facts to think about:

- Half of all homeless people in Calgary are working
- One quarter of the working adult population in Calgary earn less than $12.00 hr.
- Calgary has the highest residential rents in the country and the lowest vacancy rate.
- Calgary has one of the highest homeless rates of major cities in Canada.

Pale, thanks for the all of these links. I would definitely encourage people to check out the last of the links in particular as your analysis is excellent and I think the growing poverty among families and lack of child care are critical issues.

Jonothan, I welcome people challenging my views. Unfortunately, Pete Moss has stolen my thunder by giving you a K.O. of a comprehensive reply.

I just want to add one thing:

Around the issue of the sudden appearance of "East African blacks" are you referring to the influx on Sudanese refugees? Are you seriously suggesting that the growth of this population in Calgary is due to the global attraction of Alberta's "Cadillac services" as opposed to being a result of displacement from one of the most tragic humanitarian crises of contemporary times?

If so, you should know that your Harper government continues a long tradition of labour market strategy that draws on refugee populations to fill qualitative labour shortages. The federal government bets on them filling the worst jobs.

It is you who is naive, sir.

Here's another reason we shouldn't give money to panhandlers.

http://tinyurl.com/3lkxtr

Where did they get the money to buy solvents from? Probably by panhandling.

I live downtown and have lived in downtowns - Calgary/Toronto/Ottawa. I have also lived on the streets in Toronto.

I wonder what is so attractive about this garbage that is left out .... in one of the miserable rooms I lived, the fellow next door would go out early garbage day morning and salvage all manner of useful implements - radios, light fixtures, kitchen tools, bicycles all recoverable with very little industry.

he was a one man recycling service all by himself.

Certainly a lot of the money that panhandler collect goes to drugs .... given the life they must lead - I do not blame them for searching out a little break from the brutality of the street. My 'bud' the recycler had been unstable since Viet Nam ... the problem being he had never been to Viet Nam.

welfare provides little more than $100 a month left over from any rent - so 'panning' fills in a void.

The poverty meters are a silly idea - but it does show that someone is willing to do something, rather than just, self-righeously, stomp on past some 'begger on the street'.

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Croghan.

http://stopthesweeps.org/

Seattle's seeing some of the same shit. Nickels has amped up pressure on panhandlers and now sends in city employees to destroy the tents, sleeping bags, tarps and blankets of the homeless that have the audacity to survive on City property. The organized opposition is led by the street newspaper Real Change and has escalated to civil disobedience. Let's sweep this mayor out of town!

Thanks, Travis, for this information. We've had the same thing happen here - people forced out of their makeshift homes. It looks like this is happening at an alarming scale and rate in Seattle with the "sweeps."

How TypePad cannot figure out an easy way to allow commenters to insert a hyperlink is beyond me...But I will update links for now...

Stop the Sweeps

I work in the beltline and give homeless people money almost every morning, my office faces the alley near the DT bottle depot. Half an hour later there is window watching that's better than cirque du soleil. Once in a blue moon someone actually goes out an gets food but for the most part it's a cheap show with front row seats. Glad to hear you are doing well P.

And, here I thought you lacked empathy and compassion, 'Oilman'. Or, are you comparing the plight of the homeless to a circus freakshow?!

Excuse me, I am not comparing anything, only "enabling" personal choices. I thought you were promoting the right of every person to express themselves and to live as they choose? Not only do you oppose anti-panhandling legislation, you support suppressing the right to advertise ones own beliefs. Although I do my part to enable, I am confused by your conflicting demands. I do not choose how these people utilize my "gift", I only report my observations as any unbais scientist would. How exactly do you draw the conclusion that I lack empathy and compassion, my handle? I have no influence on these peoples choices, I give them the truest definition of freedom - personal choice.
Also I think it quite offensive to call some of the best trained performers in the world "a circus freakshow". Name calling and shouting is chapter two in the abusive relationship handbook, how do comments like these address the issue? If you wish to effect change you must be the stronger voice. Would you appreciate comments like that to be applied to your writings? More importantly they devalue your credability and professionalism.

I should add..."suppress the right to advertise" with
Unless they conform with your own...Animal farm.

You're a complete idiot. And, yes, I do know this because I know you - don't I?

Let me gift you a "gift" of "freedom" (wow, market brainwashing): go ahead and exercise your choice not to visit this blog anymore.

Sayonara.

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