Tuesday, October 30, 2007
"Quality of Life" Citations for the Homeless in SF
At the risk of sounding ignorant and stupid, I had no idea that the city of San Francisco issues "quality of life" citations to its homeless.
What this means is that someone can be ticketed for sleeping on the sidewalk and subsequently must pay a fine or eventually have a warrant issued for his arrest.
Talk about crap logic. Why would you levy a fine against someone who can't afford a place to live?
Such a practice is not only inhumane, it is economically inefficient. To put it another way, it's mean, it makes no sense and it's costing the City and tax payers lots of money.
According to BeyondChron, the City has spent $8 million enforcing such "crimes" during the four years Mayor Gavin Newsom has been in office.
That money is wasted. Gone. It didn't go toward creating any sort of solution.
In those same four years, over 56,000 citations have been issued, most of them to people who cannot pay and thus end up with warrants that can result in the denial of Social Security benefits and federally subsidized housing.
I think the District Attorney's Office is needlessly perpetuating a vicious cycle by ruthlessly prosecuting poverty stricken individuals. And it's sending a grim message: being poor is a crime.
For a better understanding of the subject at hand, as well as possible steps to take toward finding a solution, check out this BeyondChron article. It's a little liberal for my taste, but it presents a perspective most people probably haven't heard.