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August 7, 2012 10:16 AM Subscribe
Panhandling in Arcata tests the city's tolerance.
posted by VikingSword (162 comments total)
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'Long known as the "Berkeley of the North," Arcata traditionally has welcomed the downtrodden, embraced the leftist fringe and fostered a live-and-let-live ethos.' 'But balancing the comfort of the haves with tolerance for the have-nots has come down to a complex question of just who is worthy of help.' 'Councilwoman Susan Ornelas reflected the community's torn conscience: "While we're a progressive town and we're very open-hearted," she said, "we have limits on our tolerance."' 'A report last fall by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
found that slightly more than half of 234 cities
surveyed had bans on aggressive panhandling, the same proportion had outlawed it in specific areas, and one-fourth forbade begging citywide.'
'What about the in-your-face drifters who take handouts with little gratitude?
"How do you make a judgment of the deserving poor?" asked Michael Twombly of the Humboldt All Faith Partnership, which operates a shelter here and last month opened a lunch truck to fill the gap in services.'
'When the city leased a building one block from the plaza to the homeless resource center, matters intensified.
"You could watch the change," Stillman said. Word got out to young adults traveling a circuit from Santa Barbara to Eugene, Ore. "It became a magnet," the councilwoman said. "They served lunch every day. You didn't have to do anything — just come eat."'