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is "Sit-Lie" Law the Answer?

Original post made by Clean and Fair City, Old Palo Alto, on Oct 11, 2007

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I think this is an interesting approach to a complex problem that plagues almost every city in America.

Homelessness is a very complicated issue, with no perfect solution. That said, we have got to find a way to successfully deal with homeless individuals in respectful ways, and at the same time protect our citizens from the unneccessary and unsavory actions and behaviors caused by *some* (not all) homeless persons.

Citizens, merchant, kids, and visitors shuold not have to endure aggressive panhandling, human waste in parks, fetid smells of the unwashed in public institutinos (like libraries), or vagrants that hog street benches for hours at a time.

Comments (3)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 15, 2007 at 7:44 am

Don't we already have such an ordinance? It really doesn't work here, since we decided to bring so many additional homeless into the community through the recently opened Opportunity Center (homeless shelter). The police do not enforce the law. We now have "Restorative Policing", code for be nice to the homeless and do not enforce the laws already on the books. It's a disgrace.

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Posted by Buster
a resident of Southgate
on Oct 15, 2007 at 10:08 am

I take issue with the contention that "homelessness is a problem that plagues almost every city in America", especially when applied to small towns like Palo Alto.

Homelessness is a product of a city's response to it. Mountain View, Menlo Park, San Mateo, Redwood City and other towns in our area have a few issues with homelessness, but nothing like the pervasive community disruptive wave of mentally-ill and substance abusing people we have here. The main reason for this is probably the Opportunity Center as Resident points out. But the response of the city's enforcement of its feeble laws against unsocial behavior also is implicated.

When our leaders get serious about solving the homeless "Problem", it will fade to the same level of "background noise" that we see in our neighboring towns. But as long as the city allows local homeless advocates to use the existence of the homeless as object lessons in their ongoing complex street theater production, expect to see more of what Clean and Fair complains of in town.

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Posted by James
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 15, 2007 at 10:54 am


Yes, the Opportunity Center has exaccerbated the problem (the magnet effect), but it is the churches that originally ramped it up. The homeless advocate gang has the Council by the short hairs.

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