Palo Alto homeless man in court for violating sit-lie ordinance Palo Alto Issues, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Jun 6, 2008 at 12:05 pm
Victor Frost is a familiar person to many people who shop at Whole Foods market in downtown Palo Alto. He sits across Homer Avenue from the market with a sign asking people to give him money. But Frost is now facing charges that he violated Palo Alto's "sit-lie" ordinance six times in the last two and a half months, Police Acting Lt. Sandra Brown said.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 6, 2008, 10:54 AM
Posted by June, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 12:15 pm
What is at stake here is the future of Downtown. If this sit-lie ban is not enforced (or is found to be unconstituional), Downtown will be lost, as a viable economic hub as well as the center of Palo Alto identity.
Rudy Giuliani was able to clean up NYC...what prevents Larry Klein from cleaning up PA?
Posted by Larry is no Rudy, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 12:25 pm
Giuliani was a pseudo-fascist who used his Brown shirts (aka NYPD) to gun down minority people in the streets and harass innocent citiznes while turning City Hall into a fortress. Is that what we want here in PA?
Larry Klein is a failed local politician who has accomplished nothing in two stints on the City Council.
Posted by TL, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 12:29 pm
Good for you Victor. I think it's great that someone is challenging the sit/lie ordinance. After all we are a country of laws and the Courts need to clarify the legitimacy of the sit/lie ordinance. Is it unconstitutional? Does it violate Victor's "freedom of expression" - whatever that is?
I hope this case goes all the way to the State Supreme Court. It may end up costing the City plenty to defend.
Posted by Kevin, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 1:30 pm
Larry is no Rudy,
Rudy brought life back to NYC. It was sliding into the cesspool. He was very popular among the citizens of NYC, even though he was a Republican. You call him a facist, but that is typcial of leftists. I doubt than anyone, with a brain, will be listening to your attacks.
Posted by Eleanore, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 1:33 pm
This is no better than frivoulous legal suits! Shame on you, Victor Frost, for wasting public money that could have been spent on libraries and schools as opposed to paying forlegal expense of this case. People like you, Victor Frost, keep abusing concept of constitution turning it into a joke.
Posted by Larry is no Rudy, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 1:41 pm
Kevin---His popularity had run out, he was saved by the 9/11 attacks,which he has shamelessly exploited for his own financial gain.
How many dead firefighters are there because he failed to get a single radio frequency for the police and fire department (his hired guns aka the NYPD objected and he went along). Plus he also is a shameless adulterer, who announced that he was divorcing his wife at a press conference!!! Some role model.
Go to NYC you will find plenty of people with brains (and maybe some without) who agree with my assessment.
Sorry, Kevin, not everyone that disagrees with a Republican is a leftist. Regardless of that, I do not care if anyone reads my postings or not--I am not trying to have a popularity contest.
Posted by Loving ya Victor!, a resident of another community, on Jun 6, 2008 at 1:53 pm
Go Victor! Hey, they should have elected you as a council member or they should purchase you the goat farm you have always wanted. Come on, you wonderful citizens of Palo Alto, help this poor soul out. Organic food is not doing it!
Posted by do-not-blame-Victor, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 2:35 pm
June, what is the Palo Alto identity that you wrote about? Is it a place that has no place for the unhoused citizens?
Our city should be able to accommodate our unhoused population. Victor Frost is a great man, and he does no harm to anyone, on the contrary, he is always helping others (with his can food drive, nice words and other donations). And he is from Palo Alto. He grew up here, this is his home!
Victor Frost does not have a place to sleep, he does not food to eat, he does not have a place to go to. What does the city wants him to do? They want him to move out from the Whole Foods Market... but where is him supposed to go?
The services that city provide are not good. The Opportunity Center has been dumping people. Victor was dumped from the OC, and he was dumped the same day that with Mary Ann was dumped, and May Ann was found dead a weak after in downtown.
Something is not working here. The city has no shelter, and services such as the Downtown Streets program, directed by former Napster CEO Eileen Richardson, has not proven to help the ones that need the most. (Mary Ann was part of the Downtown Streets Program and now she is dead)
And why is Victor being charged of blocking the side walk? There are tables everywhere blocking parts of the side walks, there are constructions on the sit-lie ordinance covered area, like the one at Lytton and Bryant has been block almost an entire block of side walk, and it has been there for over a year!
Posted by Pete, a resident of the Monroe Park neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 3:05 pm
L is no R,
"Rudy had clearly worn out his welcome by early 2001."
Do you have a scientific study that proves your point? Remember, I am talking about Rudy's cleanup of the city, not his marital affairs, etc.
I talked to my daughter last week, and this subject came up. She say's that the vast majority of NYC citizens want to keep NYC clean, now that Rudy led the way. You could be right, maybe she just talked to the vast majority of her own friends. It sounds like she did not talk to you. Your ARE from NYC, and you were there when Rudy cleaned it up, right?
Posted by Mark, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 3:15 pm
Zeke, I just read you comment, and I have to say that I just saw Victor Frost sitting in front of Whole Foods Market. So, he could not have written anything is this forum in this last hours. As far as I know, there is no wireless internet service in front of Whole Foods Market.
Doesn;t character count for anything or just not for Rudy??
Yes, I am from NYC and yes I lived in NYC during part of Rudy's "cleanup".
Saying that the vast majority of citizens want to keep New York clean is a no-brainer, the real question is how do they want this achieved. It is like PA asking it's citizens if they want 5 library branches but not asking them how to fund them all
Posted by The truth about Victor Frost, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 3:42 pm
I read all the comments in defense of Victor Frost here. However, I seem to recall reading an article about him recently. I don't remember the specific names of the people/organizations involved, but I remember clearly that Victor Frost was offered a paying job by a local non-profit that helps homeless people. Victor Frost turned it down...
I am for helping homeless people. But in this case, he refused a job offer and I have little pity for him any longer.
Posted by Mark, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 4:02 pm
Victor Frost was not offer any paying job. He was invited to take part of the Downtown Streets Team program, working on cleaning up the streets using a bright yellow jacket.
The program does not pay cash to the homeless people that work for them, it just give them coupons.
The program, directed by former Napster CEO Eileen Richardson, was created by the same group of people that pushed the city council to pass the sit-lie ordinance, the Palo Alto Business Association. One of the members of the Palo Alto Business Association who pushed the sit lie ordinance is Phil Lonard, manager at Whole Foods Market.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 4:48 pm
Mark (aka Victor),
I am sending this message from my wireless connection, in the parking lot across form Whole Foods.
You gotta do better than that!
BTW, that "26 cents" scam is pretty clever. A sucker is born every minute. However, I always look you straight in the eye and say "no". It makes me feel better about myself.
If I was a goat on your dream farm, I would hate to feel that you were responsible for feeding me. After all, if your WERE responsible, you wouldn't be siitn' on your butt on the sidwalk, demanding organic food.
Hey, PA folk, if you shop at Whole Foods, like I do, just look Vicotr (aka Mark) in the eye and and say "NO!!!". You will feel better about yourself, and your children will feel about you, too, becasue you just grew up.
Posted by poor, poor Victor. Such a victim., a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 5:26 pm
"Something is not working here." do-not-blame-Victor, you have a typo. "SomeONE is not working here." Imagine if every hour Victor spent begging for handouts he instead spent seeking a job. Surely he'd be self-sufficient by now. Obviously he doesn't want to be.
Posted by Mark, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 5:45 pm
"I am sending this message from my wireless connection, in the parking lot across form Whole Foods."
WOW! Are you really? I am so impressed that you actually have time to spend your afternoon in the parking lot watching Victor... and, btw, are you sure that you are in the parking lot, or you are actually inside Whole Foods?
Anyways, if you are really there with your nice wireless connection device, you know that Victor is a homeless man who does not have a blackberry nor a PDA device.
Posted by Jay, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 7:14 pm
Giuliani is now universally despised by New Yorkers because of his paranoid, megalomaniac personality. If he ran for dog catcher now, he would lose. All he did with the homeless was kick them out of sight using police brutality without attempting to deal with the problem-a typical Republican method. Victor frost is a bum, but he's harmless. Why waste any police and other city resources on him, when you have drivers running red lights, gardeners defying the leafblower ban, home break-ins, etc? Makes no sense to me.
Posted by Enough already, a resident of the Leland Manor/Garland Drive neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 7:39 pm
He didn't exactly RUN for City Council He did file papers which got his name on the ballot but he did not participate in the meetings where the candidates appeared. (maybe once?)
He is inarticulate and can't spell and he doesn't know what is going on in the city government. Most of the people who voted for him do it as a protest vote because they didn't like the other candidates. If by some fluke he were elected, we'd be in for an expensive farce. I'm tired of his exhibitionism.
Posted by Carrie, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 8:30 pm
That guy is a con artist, a public nuisance, an eyesore, & clearly demonstrates EXACTLY WHY the city should have the sit/lie ordinance. His schtick is NOT simply asking for money because he is temporarily down on his luck. Read the articles about how numerous professionals have tried to help him.
And next time you are at Whole Foods, go take a look @ the dirty slime mark Victor Frost has left from years of occupying his rent-free begging shop.
Hey.... & don't try to breathe when he drives away from his parking spot in his car. Yeah, he is polluting our environment on a lot of different levels.
GO CITY OF PA!! ENFORCE THE SIT?LIE ORDINANCE!!!!!
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 8:36 pm
This is the time some of us have been waiting for. At last someone is charged with the sit/lie ordnance and the someone is somewhat of a public figure to boot. Now Victor may have his say, but he will also get publicity which may or may not be a good thing depending on the trial.
The outcome of this trial is going to be watched by Palo Altans with great interest. If it goes the way of sense and reason, we just may win back our city streets.
I have nothing against people on their luck and I have nothing against the mentally ill, both groups need to be helped. Victor is neither and it is people like him who are causing people like me not to go to Downtown but to shop/eat in places like Mountain View which are so much more pleasant.
If Palo Alto is to be won back for its residents, this is the first step. We must just make sure that it doesn't become a circus for the legal profession.
Posted by Charles Darwin, a resident of another community, on Jun 6, 2008 at 9:29 pm
Victor Frost is an intelligent able-bodied man who has chosen to be a social parasite.
While there is a place for compassion for the disabled (physically or mentally) there should be no compassion for deliberate social parasites.
For every "Victor" we have, there are thousands, indeed millions, of impoverished abused third-worlders that would only yearn to have the opportunity to sit in that spot by Whole Foods in Palo Alto..... And if they had that opportunity, they would flourish here and contribute to society and to the totality of humanity.
Every time you give Victor a dime, you give a more worthy person a death sentence.
Posted by leigh, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 8:36 am
If he is so hungry how come he is sooooo big? When people give him food, they are not helping him. He has an apt., a car, a laptop and a cellphone. People that help him are hypocrites because none of these people would like to smell him in their home. He has been offered jobas and does not want them as he gets easy money being a bum! Help out struggling families and true needy cases - not Victor - the lazy!
Posted by anon., a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 8:39 am
Its a shame our community has lost a lot of its mental health assistance. Someone like this sounds like he needs medical help for a mental disorder. Why else would he choose to live like this? I feel bad that he is missing out on so many wonderful things life has to offer because he is not up to the responsibility of working or living in a real apt.
Posted by anon., a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 8:41 am
Also, forgot to mention. I personally never give money to people anymore. It only encourages them to be there asking for money. Once when i was little my mom bought someone a hamburger who was asking for $ for food. They guy threw it on the ground after we left.
Posted by June, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 1:53 pm
I suspect that you are Victor.
"June, what is the Palo Alto identity that you wrote about? Is it a place that has no place for the unhoused citizens?"
OK, Victor, Palo Alto, especially its Downtown, is the center of town, its identity. I have lived here for 40 years, and I have watched it get innundated with bums (like you), especially since the Opportunity Center was opened. If I recall, even you said that the OC would become a magnet, and it has. If we want Palo Alto to become a "destination" for tourists, we have no choice but to clean up Downtown. However, the tourists are less important than us citizens who live here! I have been accosted twice, in the past two years by very aggressive bums. I will not go Downtown anymore. I (we) have had it!
Bums do not have housing, because they are bums. Most of the bums in Palo Alto are not "Palo Alto citizens", they just hopped a bus and squatted here. Give me a break! It has nothing to do with the economy. You were a bum during the dot.com boom. You still are. I have no sympathy for you. You should have sympathy for the rest of us.
Posted by danny, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 1:58 pm
The Palo Alto Sit-Lie ordinance violates freedom of expression and should be struck down. Whether you sit or stand on a sidewalk may be discretionary in terms of how you want to express yourself to others. Victor is a big guy. If he stands, he may appear more daunting to passersby than if he sits. I rarely panhandle, but when I do (for about a few days every year or two) this is how I feel and what I observe. I’m not as big as Victor but I’m not that small either. I notice people deliberately avoiding me when I stand. If I sit, passersby don’t appear to avoid passing right in front of me.
I was in Council chambers when the Sit-Lie was debated in 1997. Liz Kniss was mayor. The then city attorney, Ariel Calonne, suggested to her that the ordinance might violate constitutional rights. Kniss then nagged him, “What do you mean, ‘constitutional rights’? Ariel was silent. For this I think the ordinance should be called the ‘Liz Kniss’ ordinance instead of the ‘Victor Frost’ ordinance. If Kniss doesn’t understand constitutional rights, then she has no business in public office. I hear she’s now on the county board of supervisors.
Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 2:24 pm
There is a public sanitation reason to require everyone to have a sanitary place to attend their wants. I have written before of the need for caravansaries, flop houses and minimum solution shelters to which "homeless" could be directed. I also believe that panhandlers must be licensed and pay tax on their earnings. I believe the foodstamps for cleanup program is a potentially liability to the city or sponsors because it violates wag and employment laws.
Perhaps we can subcontract Sheriff Arpaio to host our unhoused.
Posted by my2cents, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 3:07 pm
Victor lives on the streets, he does not have an apt as stated before. He does have a car, but it is an old, old, old one. I have never seen him with a cell phone, so I do not believe that he has one. Also, he did not move to Palo Alto to use the "services" offered by the city, he grew up here... Palo Alto is his home. Isn't he also a war veteran? And, how can people state that he has no physical/metal problems?
Posted by narnia, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 4:39 pm
I hate to disappoint walter, but Frost doesn't have earnings. The law of the land is that anybody can give anybody else up to $12,000.00 per year without the recipient paying taxes on that amount. The only stipulation is that the gift may not be given to the recipient in exchange of work or property. In that case becomes earnings or capital gains, respectively.
I believe federal law trumps state law in this case.
So Frost owes no taxes on what passers-by give him.
Posted by narnia, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 6:54 pm
You are confused. Whatever people give Frost, up to 12,000 per year each person (2008) are gifts since they have no working relationship with him. It's the same for you if your friends give you money or a gift or your grandparents and a friendly couple decide to give you $12,000 each ($48,00 in all)-you pay NO income taxes on it. But if your employer gives you 48000 you do pay income taxes on it. This IS the law. Don't like it? ask congress to change it. Frost owes no taxes on the monetary or in kind gifts people give him and therefore he is not cheating on taxes. You seem to imply that the law of the land applies to anyone but Frost.. .how bizarre!
Posted by narnia, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 7:12 pm
the question is not whether Frost violated any laws. The question is " can a city enact an ordinance like the lie-sit one? There are cases in which federal courts deemed that they could ( richard kreimer vs Morristown) and therefore constitutional rights were not at stake in that case. (That doesn't mean that there couldn't be a constitutional rights state case)
The difference between the Frost and Kreimer case is that the Morristown nj public library already had an ordinance against patrons that stank. It didn't seek to establish a new ordinance to get rid of some people they thought were inconvenient.
However, the library is a closed space (open to residents) and the street isn't so I wouldn't bet either way. Essentially, the right to be a library patron maybe very different than the right to sit on a public street, which is open to all residents and non-residents alike. There is no law that requires that you walk upright to use a public space. The constitutional limits of ordinances are always hard to figure out. Let the courts decide. My guess is that if the city was careful in the language and the application of the law, it is enforceable.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 7:31 pm
Now we are getting somewhere. Perhaps the homeless could go and read books inside the downtown library branch. This would make the branch so unpopular that it would make sense to close it down. The savings could be spent updating Mitchell and Main. Hooray. A solution.
Posted by danny, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 7:53 pm
Victor hasn' t been online here today. He's been hanging around his car all day and sleeping there. When I rode by on my bike around 1pm he saw me and asked me to retrieve the postings here, which I hadn't previously seen, so I made a printout for him up to the one I made above.
I made a Yahoo group for him now and I tried to get him to sign up for PayPal so people could donate to him directly online into his own bank account. He likes the website but he doesn't trust PayPal yet. I told him I could put my own PayPal account for donations instead and our deal now is 50/50 as long as a donor indicates 'victor and danny' in the PayPal transaction. I hope he will get his own PayPal account soon, but working with him to do it would be like trying to work with all the other aol clueless.
My email address for the PayPal transaction is firstname.lastname@example.org and the web address for the new yahoo list is Web Link
Posted by Xuan (law student), a resident of the Evergreen Park neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 7:55 pm
I agree that the application of the sit and lie ordinance is vital
in retrospect to Victor situation. However the court will need to
validate that if the application of sit and lie do not have a hidden
agenda to remove Victor based on discrimination. The flag is raised
because the issue is that the original ordinance was modified to
expand which was designed to target Victor which may meet the
criteria for discrimination. The arguement can be made as the purpose
and the intent and if it being the application of the law under this
ordinance being applied fair because why is Mr. Frost getting citations and no one else. Now you have another issue of administering the policy under the ordinance in a eauitable way. The judge will need to dig deep to figure out the real motive of the ordinance and the authors of the ordinance in retrospect of a conflict of interest.
Posted by Xuan ( Law Student), a resident of the Evergreen Park neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 8:19 pm
The court will need to validate the premise of the expansion of
the sit and lie ordiance and question the true intent because Victor was already a fixture years before the expansion.
City expands sit-lie ordinance
True purpose of law questioned
By Kristina Peterson / Daily News Staff Writer
One day after the Palo Alto City Council expanded an ordinance prohibiting people from sitting or lying on public sidewalks, Victor Frost was back panhandling at his usual spot outside the Whole Foods Market on Emerson Street.
"I'm going to stay here until they arrest me and I go to jail," said Frost, a well-known member of the local unhoused population, who noted at noon Tuesday that no one had yet asked him to relocate.
The council voted 6-3 Monday to expand the city's sit-lie ordinance beyond University Avenue to include any area within 50 feet of a commercial property between Lytton and Channing avenues from Alma to Emerson streets, an area that includes the popular panhandling spot Whole Foods and other businesses.
But much of the debate focused on whether such an expansion benefited the greater public's safety or targeted a handful of the homeless.
"This might be called the Victor Frost ordinance," said Council Member Jack Morton, one of three council members who opposed expanding the ordinance.
But City Attorney Gary Baum said the ordinance was "not about any one individual."
"We are entitled to assist our businesses in a constitutionally appropriate manner," Baum said. The ordinances does not prohibit panhandling, which is guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, he added.
Police Chief Lynne Johnson argued that the expanded ordinance gives the police department a valuable tool with which to create a safe downtown area.
"Without this ordinance, we would not have the legal authority to go up to someone sitting or lying on the sidewalk and ask them to move," she said.
Still, Council Member LaDoris Cordell cautioned that enforcement of the ordinance must be applied equally to everyone, including employees at the Peet's Coffee adjacent to Whole Foods and street musicians.
"This ordinance must be enforced against all who are in violation - not against those we don't like to look at," Cordell said.
Several council members and residents said that despite the emphasis on public safety, the ordinance appeared aimed at removing the homeless from city streets.
"I am deeply troubled by what I see as a disconnect between what we're stating we're doing and what we're really doing," Council Member John Barton said.
"Part of it comes down to the perception that certain kinds of people are not welcome in town," resident Norm Carroll said.
Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto countered that Palo Alto already does "more than most communities for the unhoused population."
Vice Mayor Larry Klein said the city may in fact need to consider "whether we've been too nice" to the homeless.
"I don't see any infringement on anybody's rights," he said.
By Tuesday, merchants at least seemed happy with the council's decision.
"I think it's a sign that we're moving in the right direction of supporting the downtown businesses and their needs," said Stacey Yates, spa director at Skin Spirit and a board member of the downtown business improvement district.
Sherry Bijan, the district's president, said she was pleased by the vote, but puzzled by the council's emphasis on the panhandling outside Whole Foods.
Posted by Xuan (Law Student), a resident of the Evergreen Park neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 8:55 pm
The court will need to examine the application of the ordiance:
I retreived article and pay close attention to the last paragragh.
Palo Alto's recently adopted sit-lie ban prompted a stream of angry letters to City Hall, several protests and a failed attempt at a referendum. Now, Palo Alto appears to be headed for another round of debate about the treatment of the homeless in town.
by Peter Gauvin
This is the first in a three-part joint Civic Journalism project presented by the Palo Alto Weekly and Stanford journalism students. For the next three weeks we will examine the debate surrounding Palo Alto's recently approved sit-lie ban and explore issues of homelessness, panhandling and economic vitality in downtown Palo Alto. For more details about this joint project, see the Our Town column.
Palo Alto's newly adopted ban on sitting on University Avenue has done little to change the behavior of Robert Fulton. Fulton, a self-described alcoholic and panhandler, is openly defiant. He will continue to panhandle on University Avenue and sit down on the sidewalk if he sees no cops present.
And if an officer stops by?
"I'll just stand up," he said.
Fulton, who recently turned 54 but looks much older after 20 years of living on the streets, says he panhandles enough to pay for his vice--$2 bottles of white port.
"When you sit down (on the sidewalk) with a cup, than people know what you're doing," said Fulton, seated on a bench in front of Walgreen's at University and Bryant Street.
On this afternoon, the Wyoming native and Navy veteran is about to move to the sidewalk in order to earn some money. It's difficult to panhandle sitting on the benches, he explained.
"I don't give a damn if they throw me in jail. I spent about five years in the county jail (for various alcohol-related offenses)," he said.
Despite Fulton's defiance, police have issued no citations for violations of the city's much-debated "sit-lie" ban since the law took effect April 24. Police are required to issue a warning, followed by a $100 citation for the first violation (second and third violations are $300 and $500, respectively).
The sit-lie ordinance was adopted by the City Council on March 10 on a 7-2 vote. Council member Jean McCown and Vice Mayor Ron Andersen were staunchly opposed.
The law bans sitting or lying on University Avenue sidewalks between High and Cowper streets from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. It also prohibits sitting on milk crates or any other device that is not a fixed piece of furniture or provided by a business establishment.
The ordinance was first proposed last summer along with two other ordinances designed to clean up the downtown. One law banned open containers around stores that sell alcohol, and the other banned panhandling in public parking lots. Those two were passed without controversy on July 8.
The new laws were also intended to help the city's year-old downtown police patrol, for which $217,000 was added to the budget last year.
The sit-lie ordinance, however, met with a fire storm of opposition. Defenders of the poor said the law was designed as an end-run around anti-panhandling laws, which have yet to be ruled constitutional, and to keep the homeless from tarnishing Palo Alto's well-to-do image.
Police said it was about public safety. Downtown streets have become increasingly crowded, and teens and homeless sitting on the sidewalks are creating safety hazards, particularly for senior citizens, they said. Members of the Chamber of Commerce said it was about the unfortunate need to legislate what is and is not socially acceptable behavior.
At the July 8 hearing, Council member Andersen made a motion to kill the ordinance but got no support. However, McCown said she was surprised by the lack of data from police demonstrating that a safety problem existed.
Council members Fazzino, Schneider and Liz Kniss expressed support for some version of the law, while others remained quiet.
The council referred the measure back to the City Attorney's Office. This also gave the city's Human Relations Commission time to discuss it. Commission members were unanimously opposed.
The proposal was scheduled to come back to the council in September, and then in November, but it was crowded off the agenda by issues such as the demolition moratorium on pre-1940 homes.
On Nov. 22, Berkeley received clearance from a U.S. District Court judge to begin enforcing a similar ordinance banning sitting on sidewalks within six feet of buildings. But Palo Alto City Attorney Ariel Calonne said that wasn't a factor in the delay here. "We're not worried about legal concerns about sit-lie," Calonne said. "It has been delayed for purely internal scheduling reasons."
In the meantime, at the request of the council, the penalty for violators was changed from a misdemeanor to an infraction to eliminate the risk of imprisonment.
Assistant Police Chief Lynne Johnson said the only way a sit-lie offender could be jailed is if a warrant already had been issued for that person's arrest.
The measure finally returned to the council on Jan. 21, and opponents clogged the meeting. More than 50 people signed up to speak on the issue. Twenty spoke that night before the hearing ran late and was continued until March 10. Most said the law was clearly targeted at harassing the poor.
"The California state penal code section 647(c) clearly prohibits obstructing the sidewalk," said resident Roy Jacob. "This proposal is about poverty."
When asked, police could not cite a single documented incident of anyone tripping on another person downtown. Downtown officers Derek Souza and Sandra Brown, however, said they often witnessed people having to divert their flow around people sitting on the sidewalk, particularly on busy weekend nights.
That didn't wash with opponent Glenna Violette. "There's all kinds of distractions (for pedestrians)," she said. "There's no way you're going to remove all of them. My husband is distracted by good-looking women."
At the March 10 hearing, McCown urged two amendments to the law: that sidewalk sitters would have to actually be causing an obstruction before they could be cited; and that the law sunset out of existence after 18 months (as the youth curfew did after one year). Both failed on votes of 6-3, with McCown, Andersen and Council member Sandy Eakins in the minority.
"We have no incident of anyone tripping on another human being in downtown Palo Alto," Andersen argued. "We are reluctant to admit that we don't like human grunge on our streets."
The majority said the law is targeted at a specific behavior, not a group of people. Plus, Fazzino said, it is limited to the city's most congested street and people could still sit on benches along University or on the sidewalk on side streets if they prefer.
"The common sense argument is that sidewalks are reserved for walking," said Council member Dick Rosenbaum.
A group of homeless people and homeless activists, CALM, Citizens Against Legislated Meanness, tried to get enough signatures to get a referendum of the sit-lie ban on the November ballot. However, the group fell well short of the 2,207 signatures needed by the April 23 deadline.
Larry Duncan, a homeless person and an organizer of CALM, said the group is considering an initiative that would include the changes to the law McCown pushed for. "The council will then be forced with a decision: the will of the people or the Downtown Marketing Committee?" he said.
Another group of opponents, led by former Human Relations Commissioner Trina Lovercheck, staged a sit-in protest on the night the ordinance took effect. An estimated 150 to 200 people participated in the peaceful demonstration.
Lovercheck said no other protests are planned at this time. But they plan to advocate for public restrooms downtown, financial support for the 52-bed homeless shelter at the Menlo Park VA Hospital and that the council address the city's Homelessness Task Force recommendations, which were sent to the council last summer and have been mothballed since then.
Council member Fazzino maintains that sit-lie is not an attempt to drive the homeless from downtown; otherwise why would Palo Alto spend more on homeless programs than probably any other city on the Peninsula, he said.
"This issue has been magnified far beyond its importance," Fazzino said. "I don't view sit-lie as purely and simply a homelessness issue. I think they're separate issues. . . . We had received a number of complaints, from seniors in particular, that it was becoming more and more difficult to navigate on downtown streets because of people sitting on sidewalks, tables on sidewalks, news racks and other obstacles."
Paul Gilbert, chair of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the ACLU will be watching to see if the sit-lie law is enforced selectively on poor people before considering a lawsuit.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 9:16 pm
The question I have with all this is we don't live in a vacuum. Why does PALO ALTO have all these problems with aggressive panhandlers/homeless whereas it's much easier to walk the streets w/o being hassled in Mt. View, Sunnyvale, San Jose, Santa Clara...all I can conclude is there's a network "advertising" PA as a great destination filled with suckers who give $ to people standing/sitting around the streets (and sometimes hassling/following people in my experience). Please donate to reputable charities concerned with helping derelicts (I recommend Salvation Army and Goodwill) but do not give handouts to strangers on our streets. This may help ameliorate the problem we have here.
Posted by narnia, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2008 at 10:08 pm
you actually have it wrong .
Federal law doesn't "allow gifts gifts between certain people"..... ANYBODY benefits from that law. You don't have any relationship with the giver. As l long as it can't be construed as a payment for services rendered ( or in lieu of property).
As I just learned, California no longer has a gift tax.
For your information , unearned income is an individual's income derived from sources other than employment, such as interest and dividends from investments, or income from rental property.
Gifts , which is what people give to Frost is not unearned income. Gifts to Frost like to you or me by ANYBODY do not pay taxes up to the amount permitted .
This post is from the mother in law of a california attorney.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2008 at 2:51 am
You get served whether you tip or not. Would some of the fine legal scholars here explin how the gift of a tip is income, while the gift to the bum to asuage one's guilt is not income? I suspect most panhandlers make more money then most servers.
Sidewalks and streets are not unrestricted ublic properties - you cannot pitch a tent in the middle of a street, your use must comply with the initial dedicated purpose. Sitting is not the same as traversing.
Posted by danny, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2008 at 6:18 am
I don't know about anyone else here, but last night I had to go panhandling. I was on University Ave. I made a quick poster sign that said "(please donate $) Homeless and moneyless because of corruption - also, tonight I don't have a date" and used one of those carboard beverage flats as a pan. I was standing up most of the 5 or so hours I was there. I heralded passersby with 'Spare change?" and joked sometimes telling groups that I was a genuine Homeless Bum, which right now I am, and I'd sometimes say to a group "Please donate to my massive fundraising drive" etc. I made about 8 dollars. I'm not very good at it. It's not my line of work.
It's a lot of work because you're constantly engaging people. It's potentially degrading because people are constantly noticing you. You never know what they're thinking but then you always know. To me it's a lot like hitch hiking. I have a goal (I'm still about 30 dollars short). Maybe I should try a sign "Will work for cash". Maybe Dave Price needs another editor. Maybe I could become the Daily Post's Homeless Man In the Streets.
Posted by narnia, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2008 at 8:13 am
I'll explain that, walter. Today you must still be asleep. Your usual mental sharpness is still in the doldrums. I like your posts better when your faculties are in full swing.
A tip is not a gift because it's provided in exchange for work or resulting from it. It's option to give it or not but it's not a gift . The "gift" we give to teachers in the end of the year is also not a gift and theoretically its value should be reported as income -there was some IRS rumblings over this some time ago but since it's not a "regular" occurrence it would be "ignored". The same if you give a gift to your housekeeper, or anybody whose relationship with you is primarily through work. If you are friends with your housekeeper when he/she ceases to work for you, then you can give gifts. Even the retirement present is subject to taxes.The fact that you can simultaneously be a friend and have a working relationship doesn't mean you can choose to give the "gift" as a friend. If there is a working relationship it's taxable ( save other very specific circumstances).
Someone ( assume that there are no other applicable laws for a particular person) who begs on the internet and gets sent various amounts by different people and makes a lot of dough that way is also not subject to taxes on those "gifts" independently of the total amount obtainable. If the "beggar" gives you something in return*, than it becomes taxable....If the "beggar " promises you something and doesn't deliver it's called fraud.
Waiter tips are part of the regular income of the waiter and obtained through the promise or actual work. It's not a gift. the waiter expects a tip for serving you. that's it.
Nobel prizes, for example, are taxable because they result from work.
Don't like the law? Gadfly about it. But that's what it is.
*up to the maximum allowed per person and giftee-$12,000 in 2008. But the "giftee" can receive that amount from each person who wants to give it and the giver can make as many 12,000 (or up to) per "giftee".
This is what it means- you and each of your brothers and childhood friends (total 10 people) want to give the maximum gift to each of your 4 nieces (per year) . Each niece will receive a total of $120,000 and each giver spends a total of $48,000 all tax free.
Then a crazy man decides that he liked the way your nieces wave to others on the picture he has seen on the internet. He sends each niece but one (the picture cuts her in half, he doesn't like that) $ 12,000 each. Each of them now has $132,000 except for mirabella-cut-in-half , who laments her bad luck. Now, two of the sisters decide to get rid of their worldly possessions. Each gives the two others the maximum tax free. Now mirabella has
156,000 and Marina $168,00 all tax free. The the 4 sisters now decide to give Victor Frost the maximum allowed by law (they are sorry for him and it's their money). Each gives Victor 12,000 and he pockets 48,000 tax free. The two giving sisters send the rest of their money to charity institutions.
A kind hearted entrepreneur whose company just went public, in a bout of uncontrolled generosity (she is very happy courtesy of an all organic, labor fair and very alcoholic Arctic Wine ) gives Frost 1000 shares valued the day of the giving at $12,000 total. It's all tax free. Next week the total value of the shares is 120,000. Victor gets to keep it all tax free. He now has $168,000 tax free. He gets a lawyer to defend him from the city ordinance. You do know what happens from here on.....
Posted by don't matter, a resident of another community, on Jun 8, 2008 at 11:17 am
A car, he drives a car, and with the low mpg's on it, he prob fills her up around once 2 or so weeks, which prob costs around $50 every time if not more. btw panhandling pays approx $20 an hour so, no doubt he'd rather do that than get a job at minimum wage
Posted by Jim, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2008 at 11:33 am
Victor has a job (being a bum and begging). He provides a service to those who pay him (expiation of liberal guilt). If Victor was not sitting on his dirty spot each day, his clients would not be sending him "gifts" vis the U.S. Mail. His clients pay him, directly, for the service he provides. BTW, does he have a business license?
Posted by narnia, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2008 at 1:36 pm
frost has an occupation. He doesn't have a job. You can't forbid people from giving to him for whatever reasons. You can't forbid him to accept. And if he wins his lawsuit ( "some" chance?) the only thing you can do is not to respond to his interactions. what are you going to do? If he wants to live on the streets let him. If he wants to ask you something like food it is not forbidden by law and it shouldn't be- we are all able to address other people directly and we don't get ticketed for that, why should he?
The fact that i don't like to be addressed by other only gives me the right not to respond.
I'll do that. Certainly it sounds like the situation is not pleasant. But is it criminal? Is it criminal to ask others for something? Or is he physically stopping people (that's criminal)?
Is he authorized to be on the Whole foods parking lot?
I expect that mental health advocates continue their good work on behalf of those who are sick. Frost sounds sick. But they have not been able to resolve this situation and we can't wait till they do.The long term effective remedies are not here to assist the mental health advocates. I expect attorneys and the courts to continue their work on this issue. But the self righteous frustration I see reflected in some of these posts, solves nothing. If Frost cannot sit he will stand. But the city can't harass anybody in hopes of running them out of town. In the meanwhile he drives people nuts. The truth is we have to learn to co-exist. Ignoring him is better than engaging him.
Posted by Jim, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2008 at 2:03 pm
I maintain that Victor is running an illegal business (a job), on public sidewalks. He is trying to sell his service (guilt expiation for liberals). It is analagous to a street vendor selling palm readings. Yes, we, who are not believers, can just ignore it; however, the susceptible are drawn in by the sales pitch. It is a business, without a doubt.
Victor needs to buy a business license, rent a small office, and inivite his clients in for their treatment. In the meantime, he is in violation of the PA business license rules, federal tax rules and the PA sit/lie ban.
At a deeper level, why are we PA citizens, so-called progressives, allowing seriously dysfunctional people to write the rules of their own demise? Rudy Giuliani understoodd this paradox in NYC, and he had the guts to force a fix. At a local level, go down to Castro street in Mt. View. They prevent the street bums from taking over the street. I think the failure of PA to do anything forceful is just a liberal guilt thing, which is not a legitmate reason to do, or not do, anything.
Posted by narnia, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2008 at 2:40 pm
he is not selling anything tangible. He doesn't promise anything in "consideration".
I am under suspicion on this. My children also inform me now and then in a good natured way that I am just "on a guilt expiation trip" for something I might have done 27 years ago...like a certain remote controlled car that someone didn't get for Xmas...
The truth is that Frost is not selling anything, so you are not going to go there that way...
Speaking of NYC- situation is very different. Panhandlers used to be at the tunnels' entrances (they divided the territory) and "wash" windshields while you were stopped in traffic. when they "finished" they demanded payment because they had performed a service (never mind you didn't ask them) and under the law they could do it. What the giuliani administration did was to regulate the business and so they disappeared. But I can assure you that there are a lot of people begging in New york. But they are no longer able not to let you pass, unless they are payed. The Frost situation is completely different ( by these posts). He just ask and perhaps follows you around or stares (stare back or ignore). That's not forbidden ...Is he trying to intimidate or just behaves like a dog wanting his bone? there are a lot of people in NYC doing just that also. Gulliani did nothing about those because he couldn't.
Pray that Frost is allowed to continue his activities downtown. I, for one, do not want him in Midtown.
Posted by Jim, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2008 at 3:07 pm
I am enjoying this discussion with you, and I respect your point of view. However, I happen to disagree with you. Victor is, indeed, selling psychological succor to the susceptible. The alternative to not paying Victor for his service is a stare, a scow and a few words of guilt-inducing nonsense (like any good panhandler)...thus a penalty. Any good used-car salesman knows this snake oil. Victor is just like a psychiatrist, who charges you to sit on his/her couch...if you agree to pay, then you are a paying customer.
Regarding Rudy G., he cleaned up the 'Downtown' of NYC, at least the one that many of us recognize. He got the job done. We need to get the job done in Palo Alto.
Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2008 at 4:34 pm
Careful, Victor. Ask some of your legal advisors the penalty for threatening me and other Palo Altans. Rubbing someone's nose on the ground is a violent act. And, "I'll explain that", Really, the only reason tips are treated as income and alms are not is the easy in obtainine records of tips. The rest of your bafflegab is rationalization. With a begging license, the city could require beggars to report income and punish them if they didn't. Victor, your mother must be proud of you. Her sort always are.
Posted by narnia, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2008 at 5:55 pm
If you cannot post with civility maybe it's about time to ask the editor to ban your posts. Forums are for civilized and decently mannered people. you really have gone too far this time. Insults are not posts to the thread, walter.
Why is it necessary to pick on Victor's mother? Plain mean. Disgraceful conduct, walter.
Shame on you.
I will ignore your posts and won't bother explaining to you a few things of tax code you obviously don't know.... My parents taught me that a mean fool is is incomparably worst than a beggar. Walter, your mother, must be proud of you.... Her sort always are..?
Posted by danny, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2008 at 7:43 pm
Anyway, this thread will die soon as a new Palo Alto Weekly will be coming out tomorrow. A few wealthy donors of about $12,000 each for people like me and Victor can certainly turn our lives around. Anything other than direct contributions would be just another rags-to-peanuts puppet show.
I notice that some of the posters here have their butts sticking outwards. A lot of people are like that. Victor is an easy target. So am I. It is truly indecent on the part of society that he has to get money the way he does. Ditto with me.
'See y'all next thread. And come to the yahoo group and the Usenet.
Posted by Mark, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2008 at 9:18 pm
I don't believe that the posting above was written by Victor Frost. He does not speak like that, nor he does not have this type of behavior. Can anyone from Weekly check the IP address from the posting, and compare to others? I suspect that the person who wrote the message above may have written other negative messages about Victor. And, if that is the case, please delete the posting. It is okay to use a nickname, but it should not be okay to pretend to be someone else.
Posted by Joe Baldwin, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2008 at 12:24 pm
To set the record straight:
Re Xuan's posting of June 7 8:55 pm quoting lengthy Peter Gauvin article about sit/lie ordinance:
I invented CALM (Citizens Against Legislated Morality, not Meanness)long before sit/lie. CALM supported Den Pojanamat's application for a license for a card room inside his restaurant. The site was zoned for it. Den was advised by the City Attorney's office that he was entitled to it. The Planning and Transportation Commission voted to issue it. Bob Moss and Barron Park jumped into the fray, managed a re-hearing by the Commission. Again, Commission voted for issuance.
Opponents argued neighboring businesses would be adversely affected.
I personally gathered signatures from dozens of them denying this gratuitous claim. The matter reached City Council. Council member Ron Anderson (Mormon) said he had nothing against poker and in fact had helped finance his college education with poker winnings. Attorney Ariel Calonne cautioned members they were acting quasi-judicially and would need a sound legal basis to deny the application.
They denied it. Den retained Pete McCloskey and filed Pojanamat vs. Palo Alto. Calonne retained (and Palo Alto taxpayers paid for) a high-priced San Francisco lawyer to help defend. The judge was fair. The burden of proof was on the plaintiff. There was testimony in the record by Mr. Jacobsen of WSJ Properties (Jack Wheatley, Boyd Smith, Jacobsen - all three Mormon bishops), owners of the Fry's Electronics site, zoned to become housing at a later date. Jacobsen testified that although such housing would be well beyond the proximity from a cardroom set forth in the zoning ordinances, WSJ would have difficulty selling its units or getting its desired rents. On the slim reed of this self-serving "expert" testimony, the judge ruled against the permit.
Many months later the night the council reversed the housing zoning in order to retain Fry's sales tax revenues, Den phoned me about midnight, excited about the prospect of finally getting his permit.
He was unaware that shortly after the original Council denial, Ron ("I've got nothing against poker") Anderson had quietly introduced legislation banning all card rooms from Palo Alto forever.
My hand-written CALM letterhead supply was given to my friend Larry Duncan when sit/lie reared its ugly head.
Posted by danny, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2008 at 7:01 pm
A couple things about Joe Baldwin's post 6 hours prior -
City Councils in independent municipalities have to wear 3 hats - legislative, executive, and judicial.
Ariel was correct when indicating when the council was acting quasi judicially. See Arnel Development Co. v. City of Costa Mesa , 28 Cal.3d 511.
Next, when Ron Anderson proposed an anti-poker ordinance, he was acting legislatively and there is nothing that you said that indicates impropriety. It sounds like he was approached by those 3 developers and maybe a Mormon constituency who felt that he would best represent their views in a legislative situation. Part of being a public official is sometimes having to accept views and values that you disagree with or else the government risks disfranchising people on that basis, which would be totally irresponsible.
If the Pojanamet case had been appealed, it is possible it may have been reversed on the basis of insufficient (speculative) evidence, from what you said.
the homeless bum on the streets while ACLU lawyers and city attorneys are getting over $100K per year
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2008 at 9:45 pm
I think this is simple issue. PA resident don't hate Victor - or any other homeless/unhoused individuals. People just want to walk thru their town, do errands, pick up meds, etc. without being accosted by unwanted advances - very similar to not wanting solicitors calling you at home. In most places, thats a no-brainer. The only place, including San Francisco, Boston and Chicago, where I am accosted at the bagel shop, drug store and stop lights is in Palo Alto.
Posted by danny, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 10, 2008 at 6:35 am
palo alto mom,
I agree and I don't like getting hit up myself. It's indecent that those people are out there. I don't know what most of their problems are all about but I suspect its mostly present or past alcoholism, substance use (including smoking), rents above income, or a need for plastic surgery.
If I'm out in the street begging and you happen to walk by, there's a good chance I won't accost you for money if you're with your kids. If you're not, there's a good chance you'll become collateral damage.
I'm not very good at panhandling because I don't fit the image. I'm casually dressed but usually clean, fairly able bodied, able minded, and I don't look that bad, maybe. I feel I have to say _something_ to people who walk by. Last night in 2 hours I made a dollar-fifty. People who tell me to get a job are insulting because employment is always discretionary on the part of the employer, not only me.
btw, did you know that in order to get a job at Manpower you would have to waive your rights against libel, slander, and inventions? Other employer applications have similar stipulations. How would you feel if I were to picket and beg in front of the Manpower office?
Posted by midtown family, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 10, 2008 at 4:59 pm
Gee, folks, how did this topic degenerate so quickly?
Can we please keep things on topic, & not get inflammatory?
We - the citizens of Palo Alto - have a tough job to do: to make intelligent, informed & compassionate decisions about our town. Some of those decisions will by nature be complex & difficult. Some compromise will probably have to happen.
Currently we fact the issue of Victor Frost. He has chose, by his own free will, to violate our sit/lie ordinance. He even has stated that he looks forward to suing the city for his own gain. Legal experts will, naturally, weigh in on this, & advise city council.
For those of us living here, we can let city council know how we feel. Previously, the citizens have made it quite clear that the majority support the sit/lie ordinance. I am one of them. I look forward to the day that Mr. Frost is removed from (as previous poster described it) his rent free begging shop. This city has numerous agencies to help the mentally ill & the homeless. Mr. Frost does not want to be helped. That is his right, although it may be symptomatic of a mental health issue. In either case, if he is violating the law, he should be held accountable. Even mentally ill who commit crimes are still held accountable for their actions, & serve jail or institutionalized time. Mr. Frost should not be an exception.
And as a taxpaying, working member of this city, I am disgusted that he thinks he is entitiled to waste our city's time & money suing us. And get that straight, people, that money he is wasting is OURS!! It comes from our taxes.
Posted by Ken, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 21, 2008 at 10:59 am
It costs around $50,000 a year to keep a person in jail/prison and for of all of you who consider yourself citizens of Palo Alto, Victor is as well. He was born and grew up in town probably unlike most of you.
Posted by Spare Changer, a resident of another community, on Mar 29, 2009 at 8:14 pm
For a period of about 4 months, I had to panhandle to live. I had $20 a night rent to pay, plus needed food, shanpoo, etc. (I drink a little, do not smoke.) University Avenue was one of my regular "beats".
With some work, and social skills, also I am a small and nonthreatening individual with a decent voice, it was not too hard to make $50 a day. That would take about 3 hours, including travel. My best single "day" was an evening on University, got $114 if I remember correctly, it was amazing. I moved around from couch to couch, then got a girlfriend (she liked my looks, motorcycle, and skill in the sack, not my method of earning a living) and moved in with her, and not having to panhandle, stopped. Then she and I drifted apart, and I moved out, to where I am now. I'm in Gilroy. I hoe cornrows and shovel manure, do all kinds of farm stuff. I live in an old trailer nice nearly as nice as the places I paid for by panhandling, but I don't have to panhandle any more. If panhandling were all that great, I'd still be up on the Peninsula doing it. Instead, I'd rather live here and do farm work and learn to raise food. Panhandling is weird - I'd say it's nicer than a lot of jobs, in that you don't need to put in a full 8 hours a day at it, and you get to meet a lot of people. But, you're not doing anything, just asking the same old thing all the time, it's just not entertaining. And you start to see everyone as a "mark" to get money out of. I don't think it's psychologically healthy. I'd rather live here and make next to nothing (I make about $1 an hour making jewelry) and at least work for my money. I am working on learning the Musical Saw but am not ready to perform in public yet, when I am, I'm going to wow 'em in "Egg Park" incidentally, before my business crashed, I'm convinced I was the source of those round circuit boards on there. Probe cards, they're called.
I'm sure I've met Mr Frost- I think he was the immensely fat, fellow on California Avenue set up with a little table, asking for 26 cents, and something about turkeys for the homeless. I'm not sure he'd be able to work a normal job, at his weight. This is why I think the sit/lie ban is aimed at the majority of homeless, who tend to have hidden disabilities, and often can't stand all day or walk long distances. Bad backs, bad feet, hemhorrhoids, various stomach problems, vision problems, all kinds of untreated conditions abound. I think for his health's sake Mr Frost should lose weight, but most of the homeless didn't bring their bad feet or backs upon themselves, they're worn out by years of manual labor, all for someone else's profit.
I like the "caravansaries" and flophouses etc idea. Provide some kind of hidey-holes for these people to sleep warm and dry in. And I'd like to know why African-American panhandlers are allowed to be really annoying and threatening while a harmless butterball like Mr Frost is singled out like this.