OPINION | Barry Richard: Crackdown on Beggars Long Overdue
The Mitchell Administration finally takes steps to deter beggars from occupying a busy intersection in the Downtown area, and it is met with a chorus of boo-hoos from some goody-two-shoe members of the City Council, who complain that the measures are "inhumane" and "malicious."
Mitchell has installed "spiked cobblestones" on the median strip of Route 6, just south of the octopus, to keep some of the most aggressive panhandlers in the city away. You'd think he'd spiked their Mad Dog 20/20 with rat poison or something.
Ward Three Councillor Hugh Dunn is so incensed by this shabby treatment being foisted upon these poor ragamuffins, that he's fired off a letter to the mayor expressing his outrage. "Those medians are there for a reason, and I'm pretty sure the reason isn't to hurt people," Dunn protested to WBSM News.
Excuse me Councillor, but the median is there to separate lanes of traffic on a busy highway. It is not meant to be crossed, and it is certainly not intended to host a beg fest.
Dunn continued, "I had to do a double take to really appreciate the gravity of what this type of architecture in our city means." Really? What does it mean, Councillor Dunn? Does it mean that our mothers and daughters are no longer going to have to tolerate a bunch of drug and alcohol-induced zombies leering at them or reaching into their cars while they wait for the light to turn?
Councillor Dunn would prefer to address the "symptoms" of panhandling, the "societal issues" driving this. His solution is to put up signs asking people not to give to the beggars, but instead donate to a human service program.
In other words, the fact that these folks are even out there in the first place is society's fault. If only you'd give more to the non-profits, they'd go away. How's that for progressive liberalism?
Is this Dunn's opening salvo for the 2019 mayor's race? You know, the one for the first four-year term? Ward Two's Maria Giesta, who has already run and lost to Mitchell, co-signed the letter, as did At-Large Councillor Ian Abreu, who usually shows better judgment on constituent service issues.
Note to Councillor Dunn: Most people want the beggars gone yesterday, and do not share your outrage at making dangerous intersections safe again.