L.A. Times Says Arcata's Panhandling Ordinance "Goes Too Far"

Posted by Ryan Burns on Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 6:14 PM

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In an editorial that's bound to make the Arcata Chamber of Commerce wince, the Los Angeles Times today came out against the city's 2010 panhandling ordinance, saying:

The city's frustration is understandable, but its remedy is too broad and too punitive, emblematic of the excesses that many municipalities succumb to in confronting the unsightly but all too human problems associated with panhandling.

Political activist Richard Salzman filed suit against the city last year, claiming that the ordinance's geographic restrictions against begging violate the First Amendment. The Times' editorial board agrees:

Yes, it can be irritating to be confronted by poverty while exiting a store, but the tender sensibilities of shoppers cannot be allowed to outweigh the rights of Americans.

A decision on the case is expected soon.

Previously: Cold Shoulders, Spare RightsMedia Maven: Free Speech Now!

Comments (36)

Showing 1-25 of 36

Wah wah wah, figures that L.A. would want them, take them all, and let them rob, get wasted every night, eat free food 3X daily, fuck up houses, and it's WARM there too! Pot is going bye bye from Hum, hello cheap mexi buds! What are you waiting for?

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Posted by Von Harmen on 08/10/2012 at 6:55 PM

Well tonight Arcata is hosting Arts Alive. I'm not there, due to being harrased by the so called "Homeless" bums. The entire county needs to take a stand on this BS. Eureka is no better but rather than panhandle they just rip you off. These are not the faces of poverty, rather they are the faces of entitlement. They expect the state, county or us working folks to give them a hand out. Believe me, I have no problem helping someone with a hand up, but I'm over all these handouts that just enables these folks. Think it's time we drug test these folks living off our tax dollars once and for all!

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Posted by LouLou on 08/10/2012 at 6:56 PM

It's about time, or now that I think of it, Arcata had become a shthole with mass dope growing, thievery, robbery, raping, hard drugs, etc. The majority of vagrants don't need to get it together when they can 'whip' up some meth, and get high all day, every day. The stupid, yeah I said it, STUPID Arcata City Council that seems that they are running on a single braincell, and the DRUGGIE VAGRANTS NEED TO GET DOWN AND LEAVE ARCATA. We homeowners and artists bring people to the area for many festivals and spend some INCOME locally. We are getting sick of the crap. Get with it ACC, and crack down now.

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Posted by Julie on 08/10/2012 at 9:04 PM

Check out http://www.topix.com/forum/city/eureka-ca/TTPJIMSNRTJ626A7B It's all about Arcata and people who live here are getting sick of the crap.

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Posted by JULIE on 08/10/2012 at 9:11 PM

The one sign that I truly can't stand are the "broke and traveling". If you're hungry and out of money, quit traveling and get a friggin' job like the rest of us.I'm not going to pay for your traveling with my change when I haven't gone on a vacation in years. And no there is no such thing as "spare" change when you have a family to support.

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Posted by Meagan on 08/10/2012 at 9:35 PM

"I have no problem helping someone with a hand up".... Most people share this sentiment...but not as a launching pad for ignorant bigotry. It's not all your fault, your "free press" NEVER bothers to inform you of the HAND UP America's poor required and received a generation ago that has disappeared. Impoverished American's fundamental needs for employment training, job placement, housing, health care, and education are unchanged. Have you actually called the EDD lately? You'd better be over 50 and able to prove you are unemployed due to outsourcing if you want job training assistance. There are 50,000 homeless in LA! Without fundamental assistance...all are treated as scum regardless of their desire and ability to work.

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Posted by Open Eyes on 08/10/2012 at 10:40 PM

As long as this area has free buds we'll have the vagrants, felons and bums mooching from the street. Crack down on indoor/outdoor growing and use the Federal system with massive fines. Arcata is a 18" zit on a 10" head, pretty sad.

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Posted by Choo Choo Train on 08/11/2012 at 9:22 AM

As a college student, Arcata was cool. As a pending father, I left Arcata to start my family... and that was BEFORE the stats came out on how many houses are grow houses.

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Posted by Yeppers on 08/11/2012 at 10:30 AM

LA can have all of our wonderful, "out-standing" and begging poor homeless folk. I for one have had enough. The problem is that we enable them to continue their hustle in our town. Drugs, alcohol, and many levels of mental illness are the real problems here. If our city doesn't start creating barriers to identify problem individuals then how can we truly help these people.

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Posted by joelsie on 08/11/2012 at 7:02 PM

It's an editorial...an opinion piece...probably ghost written by Salzman...it was not written by a news reporter so please don't present it as such. Geesh.

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Posted by Good Heavens on 08/11/2012 at 9:19 PM

I can no longer stand to be near the vagrents in arcata. I used to give them a dollar or so because I felt sorry for them in the past years but now they are rude and obnoxious and wasted on meth and cheap beer. As I was leaving the Arcata Safeway a female approached me and asked me for some money, when I said "Im sorry but no" she spit on my car and yelled "F##k You Bitch Snob". That hurt a lot, please do something Arcata City Council, or I will move out of town.

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Posted by Kathy on 08/12/2012 at 10:32 AM

Westwood used to be a dirty shithole...the creek is a shooting gallery and booze alley. When the garbage spilled out over a bike path in a waist high mound I couldn't take it anymore, and hauled out over 1000 lbs (no joke) of trash over 3 years. Civic pride is at an all time low, weeds and trash are everywhere. No one really gives a shit and the "dirtbag royalty" likes it that way. Just sayin it can be done.

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Posted by Will Ward on 08/12/2012 at 4:24 PM

@LouLou "Think it’s time we drug test these folks living off our tax dollars once and for all" That's brilliant. In fact, let's drug test EVERYONE "living off our tax dollars!" And I mean everyone - farmers who, without govt subsidies and tax breaks wouldn't be able to sustain their farms, business owners who, without tax breaks, federal and state grants, wouldn't be able to operate their business, teachers whose entire livelihoods come from taxes... And u know what? I am willing to pay for all those expensive drug tests, as I'm sure you ar, too, LouLou!! Great post! U fucking Unhelpful, judgmental, follower piece of shit.

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Posted by Drug Tests For All on 08/12/2012 at 7:29 PM

1)Make the camping fines VERY high, and NO PARKING & STAYING IN THE VEHICLES OVERNIGHT. 2)We should give them one month to find a job and place to live, if they don't have either one give them the boot. Take their photo and ban them from Arcata for two months.

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Posted by Dave on 08/12/2012 at 8:57 PM

Let them eat SPAM......

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Posted by brian connors on 08/13/2012 at 6:49 AM

I agree, Arcata could become a wonderful Art Town with so many great artisans. I love the occasional weekend drve up there from SF but I've stopped due to the vagrants and hard drugs. Last year I had a room at the Hotel Arcata and my car was broken into and seven original prints were stolen along with a p.a. system worth $400. Clean up and I'll do business with Arcata galleries and vacation again.

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Posted by Brian on 08/13/2012 at 7:12 AM

I bet the same individual posted most of these angry sociopathic rants here in the comment section. NCJ should check their logs, for the lulz. Also, I had no idea things had gotten so bad (crime rate) in Arcata. Oh wait, that's because they haven't. Keep your dome glued to fox news, its good for you! Enjoy the fear! Marinate your tiny brain in the hate.

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Posted by capt obvious on 08/13/2012 at 8:47 AM

And what about corporate bankers pillaging our communities by stealing from us, rigging contracts and other forms of crime they engage in everyday? Should we run this scum out of town too, or do we tolerate them because we stick our hands out waiting for crumbs that never fall? Does that make us unwashed parasitic bums?

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Posted by capt obvious on 08/13/2012 at 8:55 AM

Panhandler? Thats a street musician in that picture. Someday, he'll have enough money to buy all four strings, and with practice will be able to play something people might actually want to listen to. And when did Salzman get a banjo, anyway?

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Posted by Earl Scrugs on 08/13/2012 at 10:09 AM

Solution: The city should pay the panhandlers to pull the weeds that are growing in the newly "landscaped" entrance to Arcata. The classier aesthetic would certainly deter more vagrants from coming here. The city could pay the itinerant workers in community currency, a currency that is for another community (genuis, I know). They would then have to leave our fair city to be able use their hard earned "Plaza-Bucks". We could use our sister city in Oaxaca as the other community. The perma-stoned plazoids wouldn't know the difference once they take a maria-de-juana siesta in their newfound home's plaza, or "plaza" in espanol. If we end up getting a bunch of Oaxacan panhandlers up here trying to spend their "Plaza-Pesos", we could just have them deported! I see this as a win-win-lose-win situation for everyone. Vote Peter Panhandler for Arcata City Council in 2013!!!

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Posted by Peter Panhandler on 08/13/2012 at 3:27 PM

With all the mass killings around the country, it makes me nervous that the stoned, drunk, methdout, whacked vagrants are getting at times, violant, who's next for a mass shooting, Humboldt State? It wouldn't surprise me.

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Posted by Squiggly on 08/13/2012 at 6:18 PM

I work on the plaza everyday and am very familiar with the the situation described in the article above. Arcata is a considerate town, however our liberal openness has left us in a situation were we passed the ordinance to control,begging. The summer before the ordinance was passed it was not uncommon to see "homeless" on nearly every corner in the downtown area. Many locals (of all ages) have grown tired of the negative scene on the plaza. An overwhelming majority of the people considered homeless are transient kids, who don't actually live here, but are traveling. There is an easy way to clean up the plaza and tha'ts to have more of a police presence. Most of the time,the transients leave when to cops hang out on the plaza.

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Posted by plaza pat on 08/14/2012 at 5:38 PM

CRACK DOWN WITH A.P.D. ALL OVER, HAVE NARC VOLUNTEERS OUT MAKING DEALS EVERY DAY.

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Posted by YooDeDo on 08/14/2012 at 6:12 PM

Agreed...most of these posts are made by truly ignorant and hateful bigots. Meanwhile, the biggest welfare cheats this world has ever known are still looting the U.S. Treasury in "bailouts", stealing the labor of foreign children, decimating environments around the world, hiding their loot in offshore accounts while their malfeasance is protected by 800 foreign U.S. military bases, their corporate contracts enforced by U.S. courts...all without paying a dime in taxes! As in the past....the poverty, drug abuse and crime on our streets will worsen until livable wages and free "public" university educations are returned to American citizens.

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Posted by Open Your Eyes on 08/14/2012 at 11:31 PM

Plaza Pat, Thanks for your comments. I agree 100%. To be considered a tolerant, compassionate person, one does not need to put up with whatever BS others decide to throw your way. I'm sick and tired of perfectly abled bodied 20 somethings begging for change and puking on the plaza.

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Posted by JJ on 08/15/2012 at 7:42 AM
Showing 1-25 of 36

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