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Friday, June 1, 2007

Politics Let Me Introduce To You…

Posted by Scott Moore on Fri, Jun 1 at 6:22 PM

Yesterday, I was riding east out of downtown, approaching the Hawthorne Bridge (you know, right next to the bourgie-boo Veritable Quandary) when I had a sudden panic: What if street musicians like “Working” Kirk Reeves—the white-tuxedoed, Mickey Mouse-eared trumpet player who plays at the eastbound entrance to the bridge—got kicked out of downtown by the mayor’s new iteration of the sit-lie ordinance.

I stopped and had a long conversation—and impromptu jam session—with him (which I’ll probably write more about later), but he assured me that, as a street musician, he was exempted from whatever sit-lie law city council decided to pass. Mercury news reporter Matt Davis also later reassured me that that was the case, and that people like Reeves were safe under the new law.

Still, that got me thinking, and since today is the 40th anniversary of the Beatles’ mindwarp, psychedelic album about a military band leader, I had a brilliant realization: What if someone started a foundation that gave cheap instruments (plastic ukuleles, kazoos, paper accordions, etc.) to the city’s homeless, and we could teach them to play, and whenever they got harassed by the city’s cops—real or fake—they could point to the instrument and say, “I’m an artist—leave me alone.”

We’ll call it Sgt. Potter’s Homeless Art School Band.



Best idea I've heard in a long time. I loathe professional beggars, but have been a long time supporter of professional buskers.

Hell, on the really slow nights, I've thought about taking some gear downtown myself...

Yeah, this might also have the effect of getting it into the beggars' minds that they have to provide some sort of service if they want hard-working people to hand them their money. If someone can occupy my time well for a few minutes, it's no biggie to hand them some change for a beer.

That is brilliant. You're thinking out of the box for sure.

Where do I send my check?

When they make the film based on your life, Scott, I'd be flattered if my character even got a line. Ghandi, mate. Flipping Ghandi.

Yeah, lets issue talentless bums (not homeless people, they're bums) cheap musical instruments so that they may be even more annoying and skirt local ordinances on a technicality. Gotta say Scott, you seem like a sharp, well-meaning guy and all, but I cant help but think that you're long overdue for a healthy bitch slapping. I mean, bums are good, illegal aliens are good, raising taxes is good, strong arming property owners as much as possible is the thing to do. Listen to yourself, dude. The Mercury is good for a hearty chuckle on occasion and flirts with coolness, but the majority of your posts of late come off like something more suited to Portland Indymedia. Just guessing, but that's probably why so much of your "brilliant" commentary has the comment meter registering zero.

Haha, Joe is DEFINITELY reading the wrong alternative newspaper. He sure does sound like a good guy, though! I'll look out for him next time I'm at Bridgeport.

In all seriousness, this is one of the best things I've ever read on this blog. I tip my hat to you, sir.

I'd rather see people who think that sheparding homeless people to various parts of town is a good use of public money, and an ethical response, get that long overdue healthy bitch slapping.

Joe, I think you might be inserting some of your own biases into my writing by way of reverse projection. I'm not sure I've ever said homelessness or illegal immigration are "good," although if you want to break it down on a personal level ("bums" and "illegal aliens"), I'd have to point out that they're individuals, and no more "good" or "bad" than any of the rest of us.

But what I do strongly believe is that laws dealing with both should be humane and constitutionally sound--simply sweeping either population out of sight is neither, nor is it cost effective (and you want your tax dollars spent effectively, right?). What the sit-lie law and other similar policies are attempting to do is solve real societal problems with more and more law enforcement, and I think the history has been pretty clear on the wisdom of that approach.

That's basically what I meant, too.

When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be a "bum". You sit around all day, don't have to shower, and can take a piss anywhere you want. What self-respecting 4 year old wouldn't want that?

But you know, if the city spent the tax money they used to debate and decide on the sit-lie law, and the money they are going to spend to enforce it on something like... oh I don't know, a shelter or education programs for the homeless, or something along those lines, we wouldn't be seeing a homeless migration throughout the city. They are people, not cattle, not pests. So next time you're downtown, grow some balls and kick the poor guy down a couple of bucks. Hell, take him out for a beer; you'd be surprised what you can learn from the homeless.

In fact, did you know you can use a tin-foil hat to block alien mind control rays from space? I bet you didn't.

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