My kingdom for some spare change

Thanks to a tip from Chris Wage, I attended the Urban Residents Association meeting tonight, where the topic was panhandling and the new “Please Help Don’t Give” program from the Nashville Downtown Partnership, which discourages hand-outs.

I got there late and missed a lot of stuff, but what I gathered is that the majority of residents present had moved downtown with the hope of living in some sanitized urban Disney World, and had no comfort level with interacting with panhandlers, no matter how innocuous some of them might be. In fact, a few people made impassioned pleas for “zero tolerance” towards panhandling.

But rather than bore you with all that, I want to tell you what this one woman said. She encouraged everyone to remember that “home owners have rights, but homeless people have no rights.”

This turns out to be a good debate tactic, because it completely shut me down. I was stunned beyond any ability to reply, because as I told Chris, I had no idea we had time-traveled back to medieval fiefdom.

Never mind, of course, that we weren’t even talking about the homeless, per se. It makes me wonder, all those years when I was renting, was in a rights limbo? Perhaps not quite as many rights as a homeowner, but more rights than a homeless person? Or maybe just better rights.

Nope, actually, no idea how to interpret that.

6 Comments so far

  1. Christy (unregistered) on July 10th, 2007 @ 8:52 am

    You know, we are all equal.
    Homeowners are just more equal.

  2. Jon (unregistered) on July 10th, 2007 @ 9:03 am

    Oh dear. You just may get me onto a Georgist rant. I generally try to avoid these because there just aren’t enough hours in the day. The brief version: she’s absolutely right, and that’s the core of *everything* that’s wrong with our society.

    The rabbit hole begins here.

  3. nm (unregistered) on July 10th, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

    Part of the charm of living downtown is getting to know the winos on your corner. After decades in NYC, I can tell you that one of the favorite conversations is “the crazy things my local wino does/says” “no, mine is funnier.”

    My own personal favorite was the guy with the sign begging for $10,000,000.50 for wine research.

  4. Jay (unregistered) on July 10th, 2007 @ 2:44 pm


    He just had to get greedy didn’t he?

  5. Jeffrey (unregistered) on July 10th, 2007 @ 3:41 pm

    i heard about this on the news this morning, glad to know that we Nashvillians love our fellow neighbors…even those without homes…to such a degree.


  6. lcreekmo (unregistered) on July 10th, 2007 @ 8:32 pm

    Don’t you know this would be Garden City USA if we’d just pack up the homeless and the illegals and send them outta here? Sheesh.

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