“O scathful harm, condition of poverte!” -Chaucer
By Joshua Stanfield Switzer
“What the hell is ‘Vending Without a License?’”
“Two hundred thirty-eight dollars!?!”
“This is police harassment!” And it was! The Pig. “You know, three blocks up, this is called a yard sale. You’d never write them a ticket!” I accused.
“Shut up, or I’ll cite you for public intoxication.”
So, I shut up. Because poverty will always be more powerful than the police.
This War on the Poor has ratcheted up another notch with Proposition L, a law to ban sitting, lying, or stopping on a sidewalk, if you’re poor. Why do we continue to encumber law enforcement with handling sociological, economic, medical, psychiatric, or public health problems? I just can’t understand. It’s sending a nightclub bouncer to perform emergency surgery…on your mother.
The only way to reduce crime is to improve reality! If you want people to be productive and working, then pay them a living wage. What an ugly concept: minimum wage…one cent above illegal? How about a reality wage?
And if you don’t want us pausing on your sidewalks, then offer some alternatives. And STOP PAVING THE PLANET!
Poverty requires ingenuity and perseverance. Survival drives a harder bargain than any beat cop or municipal code.
$238 for a few items on a blanket is a lotta do-re-mi! Up the hill it’s called a “yardsale.” Down here it’s “vending without a license.”
That’s just how the Fuzz handle the poor. Up the hill it’s a BBQ, down here it’s “Open Container.” We call it having a party, they call it unlawful assembly. Up there it’s just crossing the street, here: Jaywalking. There, visiting a friend; here they call it Trespassing. Job-hunting? Sorry, Suspicious Activity. Window shopping? Loitering. Fundraising? Aggressive panhandling.
And while I get busted for public intoxication, up in the hills they say, “I was just getting some air.”