Well, Mr. Sten, I can't believe I thought you were different. But I hear on KBOO this morning that you and all the other city council members passed Ms. Katz' "emergency" measure and took a stand against the homeless again today.
I understand that you, because you work downtown, have to politely deny panhandlers every day, and I know how this must make you feel. I too had to turn down the "spare change?" question multiple times a day for years. It makes you feel a wee bit guilty, a wee bit used, a wee bit angry, a wee bit disgusted... But it's wrong to tell these people they can't do that, and it's wrong to tell people they can't hang out in a public right-of-way - even if it is all day in the same spot. These people do not block the sidewalks. They do not even prevent people in wheelchairs from getting around. They also do not prevent access to businesses. I've been downtown. No one has any trouble getting around.
I know perfectly well that the sit-lie ordinance wasn't passed to prevent a hazardous situation. It wasn't passed to help people. It wasn't passed to do anything but assuage your and everyone else's minor feelings of guilt and disgust so that everyone might Christmas shop guilt- and disgust-free. Perhaps you think that if the tourists from Tigard didn't feel *ooky* when they came downtown, they would come downtown more - and, hooray! we'll all make more money. Well, it doesn't work quite that neatly. That place I used to have to turn down the multiple requests per hour for spare change was the Ave, in Seattle, before they passed their sit-lie ordinance. The sit-lie ordinance "worked;" it got the panhandlers off the street; but it also got rid of most of the color, richness and vibrancy of the Ave. There used to be a community there - no more. Now... guess what didn't happen? More shoppers didn't show up. The Ave is rather dead these days. There's many more closed shops than there were before the sit-lie ordinance passed. There is no major correlation between pan-handlers and numbers of shopping tourists.
I loved my Ave. I loved the "Ave Rats," the street kids with the blue hair and the multiple piercings who always said "spare change for beer?" or "spare change for psychiatric help?" I didn't like the old men who reeked of piss and alcohol. I gave change to none. I felt guilty. But nothing's quite so boring as the sterility of Disneyland, and I would rather take a few stinky people and guilty feelings than have a perfect pretty little world...
Needless to say, I shan't be voting for you again. I can't believe I thought you were different, just because you're my age.