Sunday, January 22, 2012

In San Francisco, more proposed sumptuary laws for public space

The San Francisco attempt to close public space to the non-shopping public continues. Now we have a proposal from Supervisor Scott Wiener for new laws whose majestic authority would forbid the rich as well as the poor from "sleeping at any time in the plazas; prohibiting camping, cooking or creating any kind of shelter; banning the selling or bartering of any merchandise without a permit; and prohibiting four-wheeled shopping carts. Also, plaza goers couldn’t smoke."

Out of that list, per the SF Chron, Jen Friedenbach of the Coalition on Homelessness is against "Pretty much everything... Except the smoking." (But, Jen, poor people are more likely to smoke, too...)

I would add that most of those acts (except for smoking outdoors and certain narrowly defined forms of sleeping) are already against the law in San Francisco one way or another anyhow, so the proposal is probably meant as some kind of PR point.

Naturally, “Wiener said the legislation isn’t anti-homeless at all, but is just setting up basic rules for the plazas. 'Everyone is welcome here,' he said.” So he doesn't even admit what he's up to.

Where's Anatole France when we need him? Plus ├ža change...

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