My friend Larry, who will speak at the demonstration to be held at City Hall this afternoon, is currently homeless--- he lives in an uninsulated camper that sits atop his nearly antique truck. He is homeless because of crippling pain brought on by chronic arthritis, and a devastating divorce that left him with nothing.
Prior to becoming homeless, Larry was a skilled auto electrician and woodworker. He will be bringing just a few of the extraordinary pieces he's crafted to this evening's demonstration, and I'm sure would be happy to show them to you, if you'd care to talk to him. Larry also mentored kids and taught boxing for many years.
Unlike some, Larry still has some income thanks to disability. Most of that income is eaten up by doctors' bills and the cost of medication. It costs him $4,000 a month simply to keep walking.
The thin layer of protection offered by disability benefits is all that stands between Larry and the street. If he had access to a shop and tools, Larry would have no problem making a living. In his words: "if I had that, I'd take over the whole northwest." When you see what a skilled craftsman he is, you will understand how he could claim such a thing-- and you would believe him.
Because of his situation, Larry deals with verbal abuse on a daily basis. He has been called "white trash" more times than he can count; he has had people call the cops on him merely for sitting in the park. Meanwhile, when he has had passers-by attempt to break into his camper or threaten him with physical violence, he has had no one to turn to but himself for protection.
Larry has never flown a sign to ask for help, but he acknowledges that unless something happens soon to change his situation, he may very well need to. The public solicitation ordinance that the city council will be voting on tonight will silence people like Larry-- people who have immeasurable potential and possibility but, due to circumstances beyond their control, no or next-to-no material wealth-- while allowing, and perhaps even implicitly condoning, others to verbally abuse them.
If there is any kind of speech that the government has a proper role in regulating, it is the hateful, oppressive speech of those who abuse our most vulnerable residents. Yet this is not on the table-- it has never even been discussed as a possibility.
Please join me in asking the mayor and city council to throw out this heartless ordinance and CREATE SOLUTIONS, NOT CRIMINALS.
Mayor Dave Bieter: email@example.com ; 384-4404
City Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
The proposed ordinances in a nutshell: do anything to disturb the sterile, narrow world of privileged cafe goers and suv drivers and get slapped with a fine you cant pay and/or go directly to jail. Also, make it possible for the police to search anyone at any time because anything a person does on the sidewalk could be illegal. (Thereby circumventing the already flimsy "reasonable suspicion" requirement.) 1984 what?
These ordinances shouldn't even be alloweda hearing.
© 2017 Boise Weekly
Website powered by Foundation