Saturday, October 29, 2011

Routine occupations of public space


This sign has been up for some time in the windows of a San Francisco luxury car dealer. It's a little hard to read in this cell phone photo so I'll repeat the text. It says: "Students who are loitering and that miss three buses will be subject to search and cited for loitering."

After several viewings I still can't believe the arrogance of this sign. It claims private ownership and direction of the publicly employed police force -- an attitude that decent police officers should want to discourage as an insult to the dignity of their public trust. It also threatens to cite people for "loitering," which is nonsense. There has been no such offense as "loitering" in California for the last 28 years, since Kolender v. Lawson, unless it's loitering with a specifically alleged criminal intent, such as prostitution or drug dealing.

If folks want to oppose arrogations of public property by private persons, they should start by questioning signs like these.

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