Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Please Help, Don't Shop Redux

Though it's only slightly related to the new anti-pandhandling ordinance passed by the Metro Council this week, I've noticed Google is directing folks over here anyway (ah, the benefits of Sitemeter!). Must be the post I wrote last summer related to "Please Help, Don't Give," an anti-panhandling campaign spearheaded by local downtown merchants last summer.

I wrote of my strong moral objection to this campaign at the time. I hold this opinion today.

Let me just say that the problem of panhandlers, "vagrants" and homeless people congregating around downtown is the predictable result of poor planning, poor social services, and Chamber of Commerce, pro-business, pro-development cheerleaders who never saw a highrise they didn't like, but never bothered to consider what will happen to all the folks these new developments displaced. Everyone is to blame for this: the greedy developers, Mayor Purcell, the Metro Council, and the Downtown Business Partnership (and by the way, who exactly are you people "partnering" with, anyway? I've never figured that out.)

Now that the housing boom which has caused this flurry of development has gone belly-up, I predict we will be looking at a glut of fancy, high-priced, high rise downtown living. We will be in the unenviable position of having a lot of glittering new empty buildings, and a lot of people left homeless who can't afford these pricey palaces.

Way to go, folks.