City Does Not Owe the Homeless

RECEIVED Mon., Oct. 15, 2007

Dear Editor,
    In the Oct. 12 issue of The Austin Chronicle, Allissa Chambers' letter to the editor [“Postmarks”] bemoaned the anti-panhandling proposal and all attempts to clean up the homeless mess in our otherwise beautiful city.
    I've lived in Austin for more than 15 years. We have a beautiful city, but the hordes of homeless people we also have here are bringing our beloved city down. I have been accosted by homeless individuals demanding money more times than I can recall, and I've actually had to run to get away from them on more than one occasion.
    Damn right we need a ban on panhandling in Austin, but not just in a small number of certain public areas. I think there should be a citywide ban on panhandling. I think aggressive panhandling should be prosecuted aggressively. Homeless people need to understand that average Austinites don't owe them anything and are not here for them to harass. But remember, this is not a proposal to outlaw homeless people but, rather, to outlaw something obnoxious, rude, and dangerous: panhandling.
    I don't want to infringe on the rights of the homeless or seem cruel toward them; I'm just tired of being their target, just because I'm not also homeless. Austin does not owe the homeless any favors, and our city is not here for them to abuse. Please don't ever give them money, as that only encourages them more and fuels their drug abuse. To the homeless in Austin: Please leave Austin alone. Please stop ruining our city. Please find I-35, and take it north or south; I don't care. Just please leave!
Joe Zamecki
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