Monday, November 30, 2009

Arcata Anti-Panhandling Ordinance to be introduced‏

Following the rude treatment of city staff in agreeing to meet with Redwood ACLU vice chair Christina Allbright, then reneging on this meeting, City Attorney Nancy Diamond, City Manager/Police Chief Randy Mendosa and Mayor Mark Wheetley have introduced their Anti-Panhandling Ordinance without any consultation with the ACLU or anyone else in the local civil rights community.

As you can read at the above link, this proposed law would seek to completely ban constitutionally-protected solicitation activity in wide swaths of the city, basically anywhere near any supermarket, any retail facility, the HSU footbridge, and more. While "aggressive" behavior and physical assault is already unlawful, these scare stories are being used to foist upon Arcata a law designed to further criminalize the homeless and punish them for continuing to exist in Arcata.

The City Council meets Wednesday night (Dec. 2) at 6 p.m., although the ordinance's introduction is under "new business" and will be rather late in the agenda, so showing up an hour or two into the meeting is probably a safe move. If you can make it to speak out on this matter, whether you live in Arcata or just visit, please do so.

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