An Esrati panhandling solution proposal

Why do “good Samaritans” donate to our “Card-carrying panhandlers” on street corners- which apparently has become such a lucrative job- that there are now “organized panhandling gangs” working the streets (if you believe some comments). They do it- because they think, by the grace of god, that could be me.

The economy is tough. People are homeless at the highest rates ever. Unemployment is at an all-time high. Gas prices are high- and our government is running out of money and social services and safety nets are seeing funding cuts. Yep- it’s bad.

But, the Dayton City Commission thinks the answer is to create laws that will try to collect fines from the panhandlers. Only fools would think this makes sense. Besides the fact that this makes work for our police, who are already short staffed. Believe it or not- cops aren’t social workers- and jails aren’t homeless shelters. The money it would cost to rid our streets of these evil panhandlers through their solution will cost us much more than putting these people to work. That’s not including the costs of defending the sign law in the coming 1st amendment issue of free speech- which the city has a horrible track record of understanding.

Instead- we could try to do something more productive- put these people to work. Real work. Work we need to have done. In almost every place I see panhandlers- I can look at overgrown lots, trash and litter in the street, and graffiti that needs to be removed. If you ask me which is worse- I suggest the relatively clean panhandler bothers me less than the aforementioned urban dirt.

Yes, we’ll still have people standing on street corners- even with my solution- but, instead- lets make it part of a program that is organized and solving problems instead of making them.

We would start by creating a day labor pool depot. At the depot- anyone, from contractors, to landscapers to home owners, could pick up people for manual labor. The pay rate would be minimum wage- with no extra responsibility for SS, workers comp etc. A flat $7.85 an hour or whatever the rate is right now. Laborers would rate the employers- and employers would rate the laborers. For those who worry about this screwing with labor rates- those who try to use pool people for doing work that may be higher skill- on a regular basis- will be knocked out of the system quickly through the rating system. Laborers would be expected to do manual low skilled labor- from cutting grass with a push mower- to weeding, to scraping paint- or hauling off debris from a construction site.

Those who can’t do manual labor, would work at the depot answering phones, filling out paperwork, or handwork that can be dropped off- desk-bound project work like kitting packages.

The way you donate to the panhandlers would be to buy Alms Bucks- business cards printed on plastic cards- hard to duplicate- for $1 each. Each card would have directions to the depot- where the Alms bucks can be transformed into real dollars- after completing real work for at least 4 hours with a 100% rating.

Of course, some people who want to donate may not have alms bucks. In these cases, panhandlers could give the person a donation card- with info on how to get alms bucks. They would have their panhandling license number- and the donor would be sent to a web site to report their donation. Panhandlers would be checked on their integrity for reporting these donations- or have their license revoked.

Also – highest scoring workers, would be asked to don a vest- and actually officially vend Alms bucks on corners the first Friday of every month.

People buying alms bucks would be given credit for donations- for tax purposes- and to earn ratings. Church groups could raise money for the program, philanthropists could donate to the program, and individuals could donate to a program where they know that they are helping these people get back on their feet.

The program would be run by a non-profit, and the city would make a commitment to spend $100,000 hiring these people to pick up trash, cut empty lots, assist neighborhood projects- all to be invested only on a $1 for $1 match by donations.  Every panhandler would have an online profile- with their first name, their verified story, and their work history and rating- so that people who want to donate- can verify that they are truly donating to people who have real needs- and are working their way to get off the dole.

No questions would be asked about legal immigration status in the day laborer pool. The reason for this is because if we continue to ignore or rule these people as ineligible to work- their only options will be criminal activity or panhandling. If you don’t like it- find a better solution.

I’m sure there are some issues to resolve in this proposal- but that’s what comments are for. Please share your suggestions- or challenge me to solve the problems that I may have overlooked.

Thank you to the Mayor’s wife, Deborah Cool-Lorens for challenging me for an alternative solution.

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40 Responses

  1. Jen Kuhn June 20, 2011 / 9:38 am
    Hi David,
    Well thought out solution to an age old issue.  I commend your approach and the thorough nature of your solution.  One thing I would consider adding is connecting the people working within this system to a local bank or credit union.  There, they could begin to create short term gains while working for long term financial stability.  Another thing to consider is having each worker assigned a case worker to assist with other life issues.  Money is not the solution to most issues; however, a holistic approach will provide a realistic foundation to creating stability for individuals such as panhandlers.
    Bravo to your comprehensive, cost-effective, human-centered approach!
    Cheers,
    Jen

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  2. Joe June 20, 2011 / 9:48 am
    Would the city’s labor unions have something to say about paying/hiring day workers? I wonder what the city’s contract with the union states. They may already have a temp pool in the Public Works Deptartment. Alot of municipalities hire temporary summer help, I did that last summer filling potholes for a local municipality. I had to fill out the tax paper work, take a drug test, etc… Got some great exercise, it kept the lights on for the summer, and I was outdoors 8 hours a day.

    I agree that this could be a workable solution, but I wonder if there is already a City temp worker pool already setup. The case could be that there are to many workers versus what the City can afford to pay temps. Or the pnahandlers dont know about it, or are not taking advantage of it.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  3. David Esrati June 20, 2011 / 9:53 am

    @Joe- I agree that probably the only union that will support this is the FOP. However, I’d take the public works people who are now cleaning out sewers- cutting lawns- etc- and turn them into working supervisors- who use the temp pool to augment their work force. Frankly- all of them are working too hard- it’s much harder to cut lots that haven’t been cut regularly- etc.

    Also- remember, we can either spend money locking these people up- or spend it to get things done. Which do you prefer?

    @Jen- and, yes, as part of being a registered pan handler will include social services registration- and counseling.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  4. Dad June 20, 2011 / 10:36 am
    Doesn’t federal law require that Social Security (FICA) be deducted from all earnings?

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Roc June 20, 2011 / 10:42 am
    They have something like this already with the food stamp qualification and Goodwill Easter Seals. It would seem that some people avoid going down there.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. truddick June 20, 2011 / 10:54 am
    I’d accompany it with a law that fines anyone who gives cash to a beggar on the street.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  7. Gary Leitzell June 20, 2011 / 11:00 am
    David,
    The panhandlers at the road side are smart. Why would they work manual labor for minimum wage when they can clear $50 an hour tax free for doing nothing? If we forced these people to do community service in lieu of paying their fines I wonder if they would show up for work. People only change when government makes them change or it costs them money. The real solution for this problem in the end is to educate the public NOT to give to panhandlers but to donate to the homeless shelters and food pantries that already exist.

    Smackdown!. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  8. David Esrati June 20, 2011 / 11:06 am

    @Dad- the money is all donated- so no SS- at least on the panhandling dollars. Direct hire- we could administer the SS money- but unless they clear $600- they are contract labor- and given a 1099. Since the “employers” would be different- no SS.

    @Gary Leitzell- Again- public would be fined for giving money directly to a panhandler- see T. Ruddick’s comment- they would have to get a voucher- that is reportable- or risk fine. We could use decoys to test it.

    There would be a serious education process-

    I’d suggest that you post each panhandler permit holder- on a site- with photo- name, criminal record if any- and a verified history- so that people can’t be swayed by bad actors- or can report via comments if they know something different.

    You are the guys who are coming up with all these rules- try using the power of the Internet to improve it.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  9. jay madewell June 20, 2011 / 11:31 am
    You could try “sentencing” them to work…

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  10. jay madewell June 20, 2011 / 11:33 am
    I will give YOU a dollar if you can get ONE panhandler to take a job.

    Well-loved. Brilliant: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  11. Thomas Kohn June 20, 2011 / 11:47 am
    Some points may need refinement, but the plan in general seems to be on target. To consider: liability for injuries while performing the public-works activity, whether it’s indeed legal to bypass Social Security and Workman’s Compensation. To some degree, the Ohio Unemployment Bureau handles such issues. Perhaps the plan oversteps into the realm of the databases already in place there, and a special waiver would be needed to supplant or extend the focus of the unemployment services.
     
    Indeed the thrust of the city law being contemplated is a bureaucrat’s short-sighted solution, expecting a fine payment from some indigent offender. The City Commissioners should be placed in a bread line for that idea.

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  12. Gary June 20, 2011 / 2:19 pm

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  13. David Sparks June 20, 2011 / 4:11 pm
    David’s plan would be a good idea if it didn’t require several changes in the law at the federal level for it to work.
    The “Do Not Feed the Panhandlers” idea as promoted by Karl Williamson of Urban Krag is the best and most practical idea promoted thus far. In this video he explains the idea, for those who are not familiar with it.

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  14. Truth June 20, 2011 / 6:23 pm
    This would be a great solution in a perfect world where panhandlers and the homeless desire to actually hold jobs that require you to show up on time, sober, and have the will to work for 8 hours a day.
     
    This isn’t the case.  Why go mow or paint, when I can sit around and make enough in a day to afford a 35 buck hotel, a 12 pack of beer…and if I don’t want to beg tomorrow…I sleep in public because the weather is nice and still have 8 bucks left for another 12 pack…
     
    These plans are on the assumption that people want to work.  Many don’t.  Jail isn’t also an option because that is what many homeless want…notice how arrestable trespass complaints go up in crappy weather…hmmmm three hots and a cot…on the taxpayer dime.
     
    Either way…a complete abortion of law enforcement isn’t the answer and neither is a far fetched “human-centered” approach.  I see a handful of places that are hiring, most in the fast food industry, that pay those wages and have benefits better than under this plan.  Why aren’t the panhandlers strolling in looking for applications?  Yup…no desire to work.
     
    The bleeding hearts don’t like to hear this, but if panhandlers weren’t paid by passerby’s…they would stop.  They would then look to other forms of criminal activity, theft/etc…, as ways to fund their habits or living expenses…then it needs to be dealt with in iron fist.  There are enough “resources” out there, they choose not to use them.  If more people were going hungry on the streets, they may look to have a change in lifestyle.  Uncomfortable situations force change.  Yeah…it sucks to see another human suffer….but at some point during their lives, they made a decision that 99% of us sitting in front of a computer monitor didn’t.  Yes, some suffer from mental illness, many don’t.  If we keep giving and giving, people will never have the desire to make a life change.  Punish the “givers” in the cars just as we should punish employers for employing non-US citizens…
     
    So now…we are planning to promote yet another social program on the backs of Montgomery County and Dayton WORKERS…you wonder why people are flocking to neighboring counties…yes….100k for a program when essential public services are cut is too much.
     

    Well-loved. Brilliant: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  15. Hall June 20, 2011 / 11:41 pm
    @Gary: You said “…they can clear $50 an hour tax free for doing nothing”

    In all seriousness, who knows how much these folks make ? I see them all the time and rarely do I see people give them anything.

    @jay: You said “You could try “sentencing” them to work…” 

    …and that’s an EXCELLENT idea ! Instead of  any jail time, sentence them to “community service”. 

    Is it too late to change the city ordinance ?

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  16. djw June 21, 2011 / 1:22 pm
    Look, this whole conversation is silly. I’ve lived in lively successful cities with lively street life and property values 5X that of Dayton, and they all have way, way, way more panhandlers than I’ve ever seen in Dayton. If you think this is the problem with the city, you’re very, very confused about what makes cities work.

    Panhandlers aren’t a problem, they’re a symptom of other problems in society. Work on those. This issue brings out my inner libertarian pretty quickly. Anyone is free to ask me for money on a public street. I am free to say yes or no. No one has a right to be protected from people asking them questions that make them feel guilty or uncomfortable. If someone crosses a line into intimidation or whatever, we already have laws against that, just enforce those laws.

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  17. Robert Vigh June 21, 2011 / 1:49 pm
    Who is a panhandler bothering? What law are they breaking by standing somewhere and holding a sign? What exactly is the problem that the city is trying to fix? I mean, no one in the course of this entire conversation has actually defined the problem. It would appear that problem is “poor people suck and we do not like to look at them”. 

    Solutions include government programs which tax the working, increase the scope of government and open us to more fraud and abuse. It also includes fining people that want to give their private property to a private poor individual, thus infringing more on private property and micro managing humans. Also, licensing people to beg?

    I have not been doing very well and could really use some $. If anyone is able to help me out, just email me direct and I would greatly appreciate it. I have mounting medical bills and I am going to get snowed under. 

    Are you offended? Did I break the law? Should anyone that feels sympathy for me be fined? 

    It would be interesting to see someone actually follow the logic on this one and describe what the problem really is. I find most of the posts on this thread absurd………….especially Truddick.

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  18. truth June 21, 2011 / 4:01 pm
    @Robert…
     
    The panhandler issue crosses criminal boundaries as well as appearance boundaries for a City that currently has enough problems with it’s image.  The problem the city is trying to fix deals with 1. A violation of the Ohio Revised Code and 2. the problem with a poor image.
     
    For one, it is illegal in Ohio to solicit from a passenger in a motor vehicle.  So, one, you have a violation of the Ohio Revised Code, that many cities have expanded on to fit their needs.  You are not allowed to solicit anything from any passenger from a motor vehicle on a highway.  Highway is defined as roadway anywhere in the state.  This is a law that is in place from a safety standpoint for the panhandler as well as the vehicular traffic.  So…right there is your minor misdemeanor violation and with a predicate motor vehicle offense within one year, you have a jailable offense.  Don’t like the law?  Call your state rep.  This law is to keep roadways to what they are intended to be for…vehicular traffic…and not for pedestrians to roam around.
     
    Now that the first problem has been identified, you have the second.  This is no more than a pedestrian law that is equal to any zoning law that is in place to promote safety, increase the welfare of citizens, maintain or increase property values, and to have a standard at which things are to be kept.
     
    A guy with three rusted out ElCamino’s has them sitting in his front yard, right next to where you live…and your house is up for sale…Do you want his property cleaned up to be in compliance with zoning regulations?  Do you want your property values to suffer because of your hillbilly neighbor?  These issues are quite simply addressed with laws on the books that deal with zoning.  These laws are no different when dealing with panhandlers.
     
    Unless you are part of the solution, you are part of the problem.  Those individuals that employ panhandlers every day on their way home from work are part of the problem.  The main problem with half of Dayton, is that they are so concerned with offending someone with legal laws, that they lose the focus of what this area needs.  Why do many suburbs thrive?  Because zoning regulations are strictly enforced, to include pedestrian laws, which promote a higher standard and quality of life…for the people offended…this is called property values.  I don’t have to worry about the property next door being trashed or the guy down the street not mowing his grass.  I also don’t have to worry about a panhandler on my street corner because the laws are enforced.  Fortunately for me…my neighborhood doesn’t have houses for sale all over the place and plywood covering all the windows.  How odd….
     

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  19. David Esrati June 21, 2011 / 4:09 pm

    Isn’t there a law against loitering anyway? Can’t these people be arrested for just standing still? It’s almost as if the panhandling permit made it legit to do what they are doing.

    I still think the best thing to do would make them give receipts- with a printed card- that has a web address on it- where people can find out the real poop on each one-

    if they do have a family- are really homeless- are drug free- criminal record- etc. Might solve the problem quickly as people start to find out who they are supporting.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  20. Robert Vigh June 21, 2011 / 6:51 pm
    Truth,

    Thank you for the elaboration. I was unaware of the Ohio revised code on the topic. This assumes of course we have limited beggars in this discussion to only those that are approaching vehicles. Has it been clearly defined that standing on a SIDEWALK, next to a road with a sign asking for help is solicitation? Just curious. What if the sign is written on their shirt? What if they have no sign, but instead stand their with hands cupped in prayer and look awful……………..everyone would know what it meant, but would they be soliciting? Not that you need answer, I was just wondering how silly and detailed this law was written.  

    Regarding the pedestrian law, this is typically a group of people that have banded together in a burb to create a pedestrian law that basically says “poor people suck and we do not like to look at them”. It could also be that suburbs have a smaller population, less public property and more freedom for private owners to resell and revamp properties that may be desolate. They also have not encouraged social welfare programs and do not create epicenters of handouts of which poor people gather. Begging is I imagine supplemental income to other programs taken advanatage of. And since the transportation means of the poor is extremely limited, it is likely not to spread out to the burbs.

    You mention: “Unless you are part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”  …………. I guess I just have a problem with the people that are defining the problem and the subsequent solution. Let the poor man stand, make signs and breathe air.

    I think I did pretty well stating a position of freedom for poor people and not launching into the philosophical extreme of ………….”you know, this would not be an issue at all if we just got rid of public property.”

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  21. Truth June 21, 2011 / 7:16 pm
    Robert…I appreciate your feedback, but it isn’t about poor people.  It is about solicitation.  And in many of the burbs, some of the frequent panhandlers also happen to walk from their panhandling jobs right into a neighborhood of 80k houses, well manicured, and collect a disability check.  Trust me on this one, I have met one personally.
     
    The loitering facet is usually regarded for private property, such as a store front or parking lot.  The public right of way laws say nothing about standing on a sidewalk.  What Dayton and other cities have done, is state that use of the public right of way for solicitation is illegal.  If business owners and citizens weren’t for these laws, they would have never been enacted by a representative legislative body.  If that legislative body, in fact, made an unpopular decision regarding the laws, the citizens have the right to use appropriate measures to repeal the laws.
     
    The burbs in fact have adequate resources to effectively enforce and regulate zoning and quality of life laws in their cities.  This is the problem that Dayton has.  I know for a fact that DPD doesn’t have the resources to adequately enforce laws such as this in comparison with the burbs.  And I highly doubt they have enough zoning enforcement to take care of the other issues.
     
    I totally agree with you reference the “epicenters” regarding social program hubs.  That is a problem that needs to be dealt with and not let fester.  Many homeless stay out of suburbs because they know that they will be addressed when trespassing, intoxicated in public, or panhandling.  They go where it is accepted first, and where programs are second.  I guess this boils down to the fact that our social programs must not be working so well if we are creating hubs of misdemeanor criminal activity.  Since this is the case, I will be sure not to vote for the next human services levy, as the last two, since the programs obviously don’t work and create a senseless drain on services for Montgomery County.  (This is the whole essential versus non-essential programs argument can take off)
     
    I have absolutely no problem with panhandlers that are acting within the scope of the law that Dayton has provided.  They initially had a problem, tried a solution, and it failed.  It is time to either drum up another solution, enforce the laws on the books, or just throw in the towel and sit in a circle indian style trying to figure out why Dayton and certain areas fail while others prosper.
     
    As a resident of the burbs, I see what local enforcement action does for image and quality of life for citizens.  All areas have laws on the books.  The only difference is that the burbs have the enforcement capabilities to make the laws work.  No law will work without equal and fair enforcement.  We have seen how well the smoking law has worked out…it is the same with any panhandler law ever derived.
     
    Even with alternative social type programs to curb the problem, you have to have accountability, enforcement of the program, and compliance to the program.  As soon as the subject matter of the program is derailed from any of the focus points of the program, it is as useless as a non-enforced ordinance or law.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  22. wade June 22, 2011 / 12:45 am
    A guy with three rusted out ElCamino’s has them sitting in his front yard, right next to where you live…and your house is up for sale…Do you want his property cleaned up to be in compliance with zoning regulations?  Do you want your property values to suffer because of your hillbilly neighbor?  These issues are quite simply addressed with laws on the books that deal with zoning.  These laws are no different when dealing with panhandlers.

    Unlike full-fledged real libertarians, I think there are some justifications for some zoning laws that hold up to scrutiny. This paragraph is cagey insofar as it doesn’t actually state the argument it’s making, it just hints at it. But the argument about el caminos is, in essence, that all that is needed to justify the restriction of activities I engage in on (or the visual appearance of) the property I own is that some future hypothetical potential buyer of a nearby piece of property might be displeased with the proximity of that activity/appearance and offer less money for that piece of property as a result. 

    This is rather obviously a terrible argument, as it can (and, in worse times, has) been used as a justification for discrimination against people on all kinds of grounds. Now you’re using it as an excuse to discriminate and restrict the rights of poor people, or people with unusual hobbies or design ideas for their houses. I suppose it’s not quite as bad as using the argument to discriminate against African-Americans, Jews, and mixed race couples, but it’s still an argument that’s wholly inconsistent with a free society.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  23. truth June 22, 2011 / 11:40 am
    Wade…
     
    I guess maybe I should have used the example of a Prius sitting in a front yard, with flat tires, and grass growing up through the floorboards….then it wouldn’t be about poor people…it would have been about lazy people with no care to maintain their property.  I guess “true-libertarians” would be fine if a sewer pipe burst in a front yard, and sewage was flowing onto your property?  This is regulated by zoning, health, and sanitation laws.  People need to look at why certain laws are in place and what their purpose is.  Not once, did an elected official in Dayton sit back and say, ” This is the most discriminatory law we can think of…let’s go for it…”
    Just because someone is poor, doesn’t mean they can’t clean, or keep their property kept in a manner that doesn’t decrease the value/appearance of a property.  People with money don’t take care of their property either.  They have to follow the same damn rules.  That is what zoning laws are for, and if you, or anyone else for that matter, doesn’t agree with the laws in place, feel free to move to an area that doesn’t have zoning regulations or enforcement capabilities.  So now, you say that it should be okay for a rusted out vehicle to be parked in a front yard…with grass and weeds growing through it…and to have other items of garbage littering a property?  Come on now…let us have some common sense here.  This is discriminating against poor people?  This is simply an excuse on your part, and an excuse that is a core problem with Dayton.  A neighborhood in poor condition isn’t due to a lack of money…it is due to a lack of will to take pride in the care and maintenance of property.  There is no reason why a personally owned piece of property shouldn’t be maintained to some standard.  Mowed, trash picked up, etc…are you saying poor people can’t do this?  Why are DMHA properties taken care of?  That’s right…because tax dollars are preparing and maintaining these properties for habitation.  Not because the people have the will to maintain their property.  This is a fundamental problem and it is a mental state, not a financial or physical state.  Now…the accountability needs to fall on foreclosed property owners…or like Dayton has taken advantage of…and demolished properties to enhance safety and value within neighborhoods.
     
    The argument was made to simply explain why zoning laws are on the books.  For the safety and welfare of citizens, and also to promote maintenance of property values.  I suggest that observation of communities that have zoning regulations enforced needs to occur before the allegation that zoning regulations are in some way a form of discrimination.  This is precisely the argument that unfolds…any regulation of law or enforcement of laws, that are put on the books by a representative legislative body, are simply a way to discriminate against those that refuse to adhere to laws.  Are disorderly conduct and felonious assault laws also discriminatory because these offenses occur quite often in Meadowlark Apartments, DeSoto Bass, or Northland Village?  You are blaming the laws on the books for creating the discriminatory problems, when in fact, a complete disregard for adherence to the laws, is what causes the appearance of some sort of discriminatory practice due to the violators.  There are just as many issues on the East side as there are on the West side.  This isn’t a race issue, it is a non-conformance to laws issue.

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  24. Jesse June 22, 2011 / 1:04 pm

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  25. truth June 22, 2011 / 1:31 pm
    @ Jesse…
     
    Naturally, on private property, you can solicit.  Correct me if I am wrong, but solicitation on public property or on a public right of way is illegal.  However, if Krogers on Wayne Ave. wants to allow the Girl Scouts to sell cookies at their entrance, they are allowed. I agree with your concept in relation to allowing private property owners to manage themselves under the umbrella of law.  For example…if you want to allow panhandling on your property, go ahead.  If not, and someone is, you can have them charged with trespassing.  I think the basis for many of the points on this entry, is that many feel that it is a violation of rights to enforce laws, such as panhandling, in the public right of way, or on places that are for public travel.
     
    The confusion arises when we confuse public and private, as well as governing of private property rights and public property.  There are differences already, some can and can’t be enforced equally, such as CCW laws.
     
    If you own a store front on 5th Street, as soon as you exit your building, you are practically on a public right of way.  This is the reality of the government controlling portions of private property to efficiently provide services such as water, sewer, electric, cable, phone, etc…There is a valid argument for the government to govern these areas as they see fit, or how the representative government sees fit.
     
    If citizens, to include business owners, wanted panhandlers to be present all over town, they wouldn’t have made mention to their government to deal with the perceived problem.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  26. David Lauri June 22, 2011 / 2:58 pm
    Jesse says, “I, for one, don’t think the privatization of those items now ‘owned by government’ is extreme at all” and “Bring on the thumbs-downs.”
     
    Hmm, if this position really weren’t extreme, why would it get any thumbs down on Esrati.com, and why would it be so difficult to implement in the real world? Should we be holding our breaths waiting for the imminent revolution?
     
    By the way, is there a single country on Earth which has no public property? Even one?

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  27. Gary June 22, 2011 / 3:22 pm

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  28. Gary June 22, 2011 / 8:00 pm
    The lowly-down pandhandlers may just start stealing now …
    Bozo

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  29. Jesse June 23, 2011 / 11:56 am
    David,

    Are you serious?  If this position weren’t extreme why would it get thumbs downed on E.com?  Because we have had the exact same discussion 5 to 10 times on E.com and I always get thumbs-downed when I mention privatizing “public property”.   That doesn’t make the position extreme…it makes it unpopular with E.com readers.  

    I would never have been so condescending to you with regard to homosexual marriage as to say, “should we hold our breath and wait for the revolution” and am disheartened that you have chosen to take this tone.  

    I would suggest that you be aware of the fact that the government is going to be FORCED to change the way that it operates because the day is soon coming when we will not be able to borrow more without significantly debasing the currency.  We will have to, in our lifetimes, make a choice between a revolution in the way that we think about government and property or absolutely crushing poverty and riots in the streets.  We can not continue to have government own and regulate every aspect of our lives.  

    Continuing to argue that because it doesn’t exist elsewhere it isn’t rational or possible is not becoming any less a logical fallacy because you and your ilk keep stating it.  

    And an interesting quote just because.

    How did a US government “govern” a nation of 92 million people with an annual budget of $US 0.7 billion and a total (funded and unfunded) debt of $US 2.7 billion one hundred years ago? The answer is very simple. For the most part, they didn’t. And because they didn’t, they didn’t indulge in economic make believe. They had no income tax to “fund” them and no central bank to print more money – if necessary.
    Today, the US government “governs” 310 million people with an annual budget of nearly $4,000 billion and a total (funded and unfunded) debt approaching $US 100,000 billion. It takes about 5,400 times as many dollars and about 37,000 times more debt to “govern” about 3.35 times as many people as it did a century ago.

    Bill Buckler

    Smackdown!. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

  30. wade June 23, 2011 / 1:58 pm
    I guess “true-libertarians” would be fine if a sewer pipe burst in a front yard, and sewage was flowing onto your property?

    No, absolutely not. Is it that difficult to distinguish between actual damage to someone’s property and aesthetically unappealling visuals near someone’s property? I don’t see how these are comparable cases.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  31. wade June 23, 2011 / 1:59 pm
    (And I’m not a libertarian. I just happen to agree with them some of time…)

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. wade June 23, 2011 / 2:06 pm
    …the larger problem with your argument, truth, is that you’re promoting the conflation of two things:

    1. Rules that actually relate to the health and welfare of the neighborhood (sewage, piles of garbage, etc)

    2. Rules that relate to aesthetics (rusted out cars in the yard, how long you let your grass grow, etc)

    I take the position that regulating the former is the proper role of government, but using the power of the state to enforce the majorities aesthetic preferences on the minority is not. This is usually done to poor people, minorities, etc, but that’s not necessary to my argument. I oppose such a use of state power no matter who it’s being used against. One man’s eyesore is another man’s art, and sorting that out isn’t the job of government.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. David Lauri June 23, 2011 / 2:46 pm
    Jesse, twenty years ago you could have realistically said that advocating for legalization of same sex marriage was extreme. No country or state had legalized same sex marriage and the movements to push for the legalization of same sex marriage were nascent (DOMA wasn’t until 1996 and the Netherlands didn’t have same sex marriage until 2001). That’s no longer true. Same sex marriage exists in multiple jurisdictions around the world. Polls show that a slight majority of Americans favor marriage equality (higher numbers in certain places, for example, 58% of New Yorkers now favor marriage equality).
     
    The reasons why twenty years ago advocating for marriage equality could be called extreme are exactly why advocating for eliminating all public property now can be called extreme. It’s never been implemented anywhere (not in North Korea, Saudi Arabia or Antartica, despite Gary’s nonsensical reply), and there’s not even a significant minority of people anywhere who support it. You may not think of what you advocate as extreme, but it is, which is why I won’t be losing any sleep about it any time soon.
     
    You are right however that the discussion of eliminating all public property has been beaten to death on Esrati.com.  I should have ignored your claim that it wasn’t extreme.

    Well-loved. Brilliant: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  34. Jesse June 23, 2011 / 2:51 pm
    Wade,

    The government doesn’t even need to enforce the 1st rules as long as you have private organizations that enforce contracts and private property rights.  The owner of the sewage pipe or the garbage collection company would have contractual ties that would be enforced by private agencies.  

    Those agencies will naturally form, as will the proper contracts to govern the various issues that may arise without government involvement.

    What issues do you see with this argument?

    If you want more information please look into Roderick T. Long as he has a ton of literature out on this topic.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  35. Jesse June 23, 2011 / 2:55 pm
    David,

    Glad to hear that you think my “extreme position” may be held by a “slight majority” in only 20 years.   We can only hope. :)

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  36. truth June 23, 2011 / 3:22 pm
    Wade…
     
    The argument isn’t confused.  You assume that something that is visually unappealing isn’t along the same lines of valid sanitation and quality of life zoning issues.  They are the same thing.
     
    Uncut grass is somewhat visually unappealing, but it also harbors rodents and other non-native creatures that wreak havoc on properties…that’s why they law is there.
     
    Rusted out vehicles with broken windows, that don’t run sitting unsecured in people’s front yards aren’t just visually unappealing, they are also a safety issue for neighborhood children.
     
    I could go on and on with the same scenarios.  I believe in limited government overall, but laws on the books that promote the safety, welfare, and well being of a city are a good measure.  Laws that also govern property to see that others aren’t negatively effected are also a plus.  I am unable to govern my neighbor if he harbors animals which create offensive waste and odors, I am unable to govern grass cutting, I am unable to govern setbacks for parking of recreational vehicles and trailers, I can’t govern the standards for fencing, pools, and sheds…but my local elected officials can.  At which time, they are acting on behalf of the others in my community that don’t want to live in a shit hole either.
     
    What I wish that some would see, is that certain areas of Montgomery County have efficient and enforced laws that we mention.  These areas also don’t have near the problems that other areas do have.  The argument is quite simple.  If you have enforced laws that govern the appearance and standard of properties in your city, you limit the issues that bring down the quality of life.  Like it or not, if you allow things to happen they will continue.
     
    I am willing to bet, that many who feel it is okay to have a junked up property, also can’t figure out why businesses and other commercial entities keep packing their bags from said areas.  It is simple.  Image is everything.  That’s why the “elitist” 9as so many like to call them) suburbs of America seem to be doing okay as we are called names from the cities that have unfortunate problems they can’t manage.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  37. David Lauri June 23, 2011 / 4:59 pm
    Very funny :) , Jesse, but not what I said.  I just said that same sex marriage was an extreme idea at one time as is the idea of privatizing all public property now.  I didn’t say that the movement to privatize all public property would enjoy the same progress that marriage equality has and in fact I don’t think it will.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  38. Gary June 23, 2011 / 9:12 pm
    Privatize public property, who would want to do such a dumb thing in Dayton?  Same sex marriages, grotesque!  Talk about getting off topic!  And who would believe that a pandhandler would give out receipts on their demographic history, they are lazy, remember!

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  39. Mark Wasson June 25, 2011 / 12:20 am
    I must visit the wrong parts of downtown Dayton – in my experience there, panhandlers have been rather rare.

    Not non-existent, though.  Early in the years when I started heading downtown for the nightlife, I got hit for money requests.  But it didn’t take many repetitions of “I need money for gas so I can get to MVH because my wife is in labor” to realize I was being scammed.  (And as I became more familiar with the downtown area, I figured out that it would be faster to walk to the hospital than to find an open gas station that time of night.)

    Here in Seattle we’ve got a lot more panhandlers than I’ve ever seen in Dayton.  As I live downtown I’ve gotten used to the regulars – and the stories they repeatedly use.  The guy who just got into Seattle on the bus and needs money for a bed at the hostel.  The woman who has been asking for money so she can buy diapers for her six month old baby for the past three years now.  The man whose pregnant wife and kids are waiting at the police station while he tries to raise money for bus tickets to Marysville (it’s always Marysville).  The man from Canada whose mom is waiting for him back at his car, needing gas money because no one takes Canadian currency here (and apparently he and his unseen mom travel regularly to the US without their credit cards or ATM cards).  etc etc etc

    If I didn’t live downtown I might not realize how often the same panhandlers repeat the same stories, and thus might be a bit more sympathetic.  But I recognize the young men who take turns sitting on the sidewalk in front of McDonalds for a half hour in the morning and walk away with a half dozen sandwiches, beverages (the excess they dump in a nearby newspaper box) and about $20 thanks to their “Hungry” sign.

    But thanks to these types of folks, I realized that I can’t tell those who legitimately need help from those just playing on sympathies of passersby to make a few bucks.

    Here in Seattle there are a service providers – Urban Rest Stop and FareStart are a couple good ones (google them) – that provide useful services and job training.  Donating to such groups ensures that the money does the most good for those folks on the street with real needs and a willingness to work.  Who knows what some panhandler will really do with what you give him on the street.

    I only wish that more people would give their donations directly to organizations providing such services rather than to panhandlers.  Reducing panhandlers doesn’t take new programs, government actions, laws or ID cards.  Stop rewarding them for panhandling.  But that probably means educating the donors.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  40. Gene June 25, 2011 / 9:24 pm
    When I am on the road I buy bottled water and travel sized tooth paste and other items of such size. I put them in a little brown lunch bag. I hand them out. This way I can handle the locals. Not in Dayton though. I am a local here. I just ignore the locals. Sorry.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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