"Not eating chard. That's what all those weirdos eat at their stupid picnics on the Hungry Ghost lawn." -Nina

June 22, 2008

NYC The Blog. Also, I'm So Angry (Dissapointed, Disgusted, Disheartened, Grossed Out, Not Surprised At All) At You Northampton

Hello dear friends. Hello Northampton. Those who might wish to follow along with whatever it is I am doing/posting can do so at a few places. There is now a new blog up for my new home.

  • NYCTheBlog.com, chasing New York City with my recording tools in hand.
  • Twitter.com/newyorkist, covering New York City via text, in 140 characters or less.
  • Paolomastrangelo.com, a kind of catch-all page, which will highlight certain materials that warrant it, and maybe even a more personal style of writing.

This article made me very sad and angry. At first blush, it seems innocuous enough. The ordinance will only target "'aggressive panhandling,' defining the term as any solicitation that involves touching, following or blocking the passage of a person or using violent or threatening gestures or language." Fair enough I thought. Reading the article further however, and you find that characterization to be purposely misleading.

The article continues, "Among other restrictions, panhandling would be prohibited within 15 feet of a bank, ATM, parking pay box, pay phone, public toilet or bus stop. Panhandlers would not be allowed to solicit from any park bench, in any public park or under any railroad or street overpass. Panhandlers would also be barred from passively standing or sitting while asking for money."

Those who are familiar with downtown Northampton will know that those restrictions effectively restrict almost every square inch of public property on Main St. It is clear that the ordinance was drafted with calculated and deliberate intentions, a concerted attack of the powerful against a targeted group of the weak. That's real cute. I feel gross.

If I was a Tibetan Monk, I would self-immolate myself in Pulaski Park in protest. The ordinance above, and everything it stands for, everyone who advocated for it, those in power who did not cry out against it, tourists who think it's a great idea, the fact that it could ever even get to this point, very neatly sums up, with all the undertones of class issues, state power, inequity, and fear, why I wished to leave my home. fwiw.

The chorus of criticism against this ordinance and it's malicious intent grows.