Tags: Homeland Security | U.S. State Facts

Berkeley's Homeless Law Baffles

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Wednesday, 09 Dec 2015 08:13 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Berkeley isn’t called Berserkly by cynical residents for nothing. The city council has just passed an ordinance that will do wonders to improve the posture and alertness of the homeless in that city.

The CBS outlet in San Francisco reports the council recently voted in favor of a strict set of laws that will ban homeless people from taking up more than 2 square feet of space on sidewalks.

That square footage is smaller than the diameter of a World War II torpedo tube (21 inches, in case you were wondering).

The space restriction pretty much eliminates sitting, sleeping, lounging, leaning, squatting, and the sun salute.

The homeless will be able to stand at attention or at ease, if they position themselves on the diagonal.

The ordinance will probably mean the end of horizontal panhandling signs, since they will be too wide. Instead “Will Work for Food” will be stacked vertically in the future, since there is currently no limit on height.

Right off the bat there are going to be enforcement problems, assuming the Berkeley police have even the slightest interest in enforcing this law.

How does one tell if an individual is homeless?

A yard working husband pausing by the door to the hardware store to glance at his shopping list, might incur the wrath of the council. So enforcement is probably going to depend on duration of time in one spot.

I guarantee after Ferguson there will be no proactive enforcement. And I pity the patrolman called by a merchant to expel a violator.

He’s going to have to ask himself if he want’s to risk starring on YouTube if this potentially homeless individual violator decides to resist.

The homeless that abide by the new law — there’s an oxymoron for you! — may create a market niche for a daring entrepreneur. I’m uncertain as to how much venture capital it would attract but there may be a some demand for valet shopping-cart parking services, because even vertically there is no way a Kroger cart will fit a 2-foot-square space.

If you’re keeping track the new set of laws also bans disturbing the mulch in planter beds by sleeping, hanging your personal items in trees and it further constricts public urination and defecation.

In other words if the law works the bear isn’t going to be the only one pooping in the woods.

Naturally the ordinance drew “heated opposition from homeless advocates” before final passage.

Which reminds me of a project I always wished a dedicated researcher would undertake: a map overlay of the areas of a city where homeless concentration is highest and then mark on a different overlay the distance of the homeless advocate’s homes from the homeless concentrations.

It would no doubt be illuminating. 

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

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The city council recently voted in favor of a strict set of laws that will ban homeless people from taking up more than 2 square feet of space on sidewalks.
Homeland Security, U.S. State Facts
Wednesday, 09 Dec 2015 08:13 AM
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