Activists feeding the homeless in parks arrested - Do the police have a valid point?

Park districts, where I live, are paid for through property taxes. Homeless people, by definition, do not pay property taxes. Q.E.D.

I think you are making assumptions about how much time, effort and money the FNB people have.

Look, when I was working my way through school, I had a full time job slinging hash. Once in a while I left the job with a few bags of goodies (the restaurant would have otherwise thrown away all day-old foodstuffs). I could have easily stopped by the park on the way home and divvied up the bagels, breads, and pastries to the homeless and it would have taken me all of 5 minutes and no personal expense.

I can’t think of anything different I could have done with my spare 5 minutes and zero cash in my pocket. Sure it would be better if they could spend a weekend dishing out soup in a shelter, but maybe they just don’t have the time to spare. Good samaritans have jobs and obligations they must meet, or become homeless themselves.

Neither do tenants, who comprise the majority of the population of the city I live in (SF). Does that mean that public parks exist primarily for the benefit of the property-owning minority? Does a rich landlord who owns multiple valuable properties have a greater claim to public parks than the owner of a small, modestly-priced condo who pays less in property taxes?

This makes no sense. A public park is for the public–one should not have to show a tax return to gain entry. If someone commits a genuine crime (littering, noise violation) in a park, by all means cite or arrest or remove him/her. But one should not be treated as a person non grata on public property solely because one is a member of a disfavored socioeconomic class.

Painfully incorrect. The landlord pays property taxes for them with their money. I don’t know the proper term but they pay property taxes kinda vicariously.

Feeding a homeless Person, you mean. Feeding homeless people is not like feeding stray dogs, which are merely a social nuisance. They are people! We are all one human family, even if we have to protect Ourselves from Our more abusive relations every now & then.

Soylent Green, anyone?

So your comparing helping people in need to a total disregard for safety? Classy:rolleyes:
Please explain this principle further.

Easliy done.

  1. There are facilities in place and operating for the serving of food to the homeless in this city. They have a permit system in place for those people who chose not to use these facilities.

  2. The city has valid health issues, among others, to be concerned about.

  3. The students were warned repeatedly that their actions were a violation, and informed of #1.

  4. They chose to ignore #1, 2 &3. They were therefore cited, after the cops bent over backwards NOT to cite them.

They students deserve what they get. I hope the city throws the admittedly very small book at them.

Netscape6, I am comparing the cops enforcing a just and fair law with…the cops enforcing a just and fair law. Nice strawman you’ve got there. How well does it burn? :rolleyes:

Do you understand the difference between public and private property?

The public can determine the proper use of public property by passage of law, which has happened here. The students in question were in violation of the law.

They have been asked, they have been warned, and now they are ticketed. So, this isn’t a single incident, it is a sustained compaign.

Cops on the street generally don’t roust innocuous nobodies on their own initiative. Even traffic cops want to make their busts count for something. Unless this city is so crime free that distributing food without a permit is a raging crime wave that had to be dealt with, then the chances are that these cops were following the orders, or at least encouragement of someone in authority.

And what are the Police Commissioner and the Chief of Police thinking about when they encourage street cops to bust people for distributing food for free? Do you really think that experienced law enforcement professionals are worried about this? No, the pressure comes from the political leadership of the town, or city, or state. And their motives are fairly obvious. We don’t want homeless guys hanging out in the park, so let’s roust em on out, and hope they all go the San Francisco. They don’t vote, and they don’t pay taxes, so it isn’t like it’s going to cost us anything in the way of political power.

And the attitudes of the government do accurately reflect the attitudes of the majority of the populace.


silenus I am refering to this " for what purpose" business. I would like to find uot what in greater detail what you mean by this " for what purpose" business before discussing this further with you.

What do you mean, “for what purpose?” The students were violating any number of laws and sections of the Health Code. They were completely aware that they were violating these laws. I don’t see how anybody could defend their actions. And don’t give me that “higher good” claptrap. The city has procedures in place. All the students had to do was allpy for a permit. I see no indication in the article that they were repeatedly denied a permit, which leads me to believe that they felt like they could ignore the law. Too bad for them, then. I hope they enjoy the fines.


Right on, Triskadecamus, and let’s indeed hope that the damn homeless will all go to San Francisco, where their imbued homelessness can be rationlized and everybody there can collectively understand that these people should be fed at public parks like helpless animals in the zoo so that we can all feel good about our superior placement in life without having to actually adopt a low-life "homeless person " and bring him into our own nice clean homes and thereby transform him into what we would rightly consider to be… a worthwhile person.

The point is…young students are idealistic and ignorant (as they should be), while those who are unfortunately older and fortunately wiser (as they should be) need to guide the good-hearted young idealistic kids into a more practical understanding of what is inarguably needed to effect the realization of our mutual existence.

Uh…don’t you thinking posters think that this is kinda important?

Homeless people are homeless because they are enabled to be. Pure and simple. I was homeless as a child and now that I am grown I see how my parents could have worked and stayed off drugs. In Russia homeless people are kicked and spat upon and they do not have near the homeless problem we have despite what a poor country they are because they are not enabling them to be that way.

I know you will say I am heartless but nothing could be further from the truth. I volenteer at the shelter, in fact I spent much of today cleaning out my closets for old clothes for the mission. I even got fired from a job a few years back when I was working on my degree and delivering pizzas on weekends. Reason for firing? Taking pizzas I was supposed to throw in the trash to the homeless in the area.

Having said all that I think the police did the right thing. Homeless people need to be in shelters. If they don’t like the shelter then stay whereever you want but if you are going to bug me when I’m with my kids (and that is why I go to the park) then get away from me. If you want to hang in the park and mind your business that is fine but we all know that is not how it works.

I am sick of having to explain to my son that it is okay because he always cries when we are at the park or downtown and homeless people come up to us and asking for money. He feels guilty because he has food and they don’t.

I admit to always giving my doggy bag to homeless peeps on the way home if I see one and my wife, God bless her, gives every dollar she has if targeted by these leaches but I do that for myself. Just so I won’t have to even wonder for a second if I did the right thing.

I have a friend who runs a pay by the day business that pays $7 per hour. For 6 years he and I had the agreement that if I sent him someone from the street he would put them to work. I cannot tell you over the years the number of people I have dropped off at his doorstep. You know how many went in and filled out the application? ZERO. Not one.

I have read the research. My Father is homeless and so is my cousin. I have done many personal interviews just to satisfy my own curiosity but the bottom line is there is no excuse to be homeless in America. My tax dollars go to welfare programs and there are plenty of churches and homeless shelters so don’t hit me up with your sob story. Get a job or leave me alone.

The cops did the right thing.

I clicked this one to get some entertainment, and sure did I get it. I’m currently infested with this image in my head of a very beautiful park with a big sign saying: “Don’t feed the homeless!”. A glorious picture of America.

A couple of points:

Couldn’t it be that this “don’t-feed-people-without-a-permit” law is unconstitutional? There’s no money being exchanged here. Say, if I own a book, and I wanna give it to somebody, shouldn’t I be free to do so? After all, it’s MY book. Sure, if my book turned out to be “unhealthy” I could be held accountable later. But shouldn’t I have disposition right to my property without having the government looking over my shoulder each and every time?
I presume the homeless agrees to be given the food, so isn’t this a private matter between consenting adults?

Further, concerning the argument “property tax paying citizens should have a presumptive right to use them over those who don’t pay such taxes”: It seems obvious that there are many homeless people who earlier in their lifes have been tax paying citizens to some degree. Maybe they even volunteered to help out when the park was built? Wouldn’t it be unfair to restrict access to good people who have been struck by misfortunes or taken the wrong path later in life?

Blunt sarcasm, but apparently the operative truth. The issue of public space is a very interesting one. Has there ever been any? Our models - the agora, the forum, the piazza, the public gardens and galleries, and now the parks and streets - have always enforced codes of privelege alongside strictures of behavior. One generation of hippiedom may have already seen the zenith of public space come and go.

The current trend to tie taxes paid with access to public amenities is unfortunate. It reeks of “Platinum Plus” citizenship, which should be distasteful to people who pretend to live in a classless society. Government is contracted as a means to serve the collective public, though it is often engineered to preserve the position of the powerful. That we would argue on behalf of these antidemocratic developments shows how far we have been corrupted.

That’s my obscure opinion anyway. I recommend Richard Sennet’s "The Fall of Public Man for a more scholarly approach.