Saratoga Could Make Sitting On The Sidewalk Illegal
Listen , I love me some Saratoga. I can understand why they are concerned about a growing number of "vagrants" or panhandlers making spending time shopping downtown a little less comfortable for townspeople and tourists. After all, no one wants to be asked for a handout on every corner of downtown. I thought however that they passed a law against "panhandling". If that is indeed the case is this new law necessary?
According to The Saratogian, the city council will be voting on this measure tonight. If passed anyone caught sitting or laying on public sidewalks will first be given a warning and then subject to fines of up to $100. This fine can also increase for multiple offenses in a 24 hour period. The article goes on to say that after that with more violations penalties can get as stiff as fines AND imprisonment.
Again I understand that you don't want a problem with homeless begging, intimidating or otherwise scaring off patrons of a beautiful place like downtown Saratoga but I just am not sure how this will actually help. How will these fines be paid by people who already are broke or homeless? Is this just a gateway to having a reason or cause to arrest them and get them off the streets that way?
One reader posted to the Saratogian's Facebook page, "People's dogs are getting better treatment in Saratoga. At least they can sit on a sidewalk, eat with their human at a restaurant and even have water put out for them. Not the homeless!"
I also don't have the answers and am NOT a resident of the city of Saratoga Springs but I just wonder if maybe there needs to be a little more time and effort put into a real solution before laws that can effect some guy trying to get a rest while his wife shops in trouble.
What are your thoughts? What would you do to solve the problem?