I've had some pretty sharp disagreements with Bevan Dufty, but in this case, he's on the right track: Mayor Lee's idea of launching an ad campaign to discourage contributions to panhandlanders is ugly, dehumanizing, and a civic disgrace.
Homeless people are people. They're not animals at Yosemite ("please don't feed the bears.") They're not some sort of public-relations problem for downtown hotels. They're San Franciscans who for one reason or another have lost the ability to pay rent. That's not a crime and it shouldn't be the end of their humanity.
EDITORIAL The attack on public space has been underway for years now in San Francisco. Parks and recreation centers have been turned into pay-to-enter facilities rented out to private organizations. The sit-lie law restricts the use of public sidewalks. Occupy protesters have been evicted from a public plaza. And now, Supervisor Scott Wiener wants to put new restrictions on the mini-parks and plazas that have been a rare bright spot in the battle to reclaim the streets.
Wiener has introduced legislation that would ban camping, cooking, four-wheeled shopping carts, and the sale of merchandise in Harvey Milk Plaza and Jane Warner Plaza, near Market and Castro. He argues that the two parklets — one reclaimed from what had been roadway — are in legal limbo: They aren't parks, so the city's park codes don't apply, and they aren't sidewalks, so rules like the sit-lie law don't apply, either. Read more »