October 12, 2012

Homeless protest in Madison.

"It’s constant harassment all the time from people walking around the streets looking at us funny to other people stealing our stuff, and now on top of it, even the city people, the police … are throwing our stuff away."

The "stuff" was left unattended on the public sidewalk near the Capitol Square, and the police stored the removed material and even tried to track down the owners.
Tenant Resource Center Executive Director Brenda Konkel said the city’s procedure for removing abandoned property is... "a violation of homeless people’s rights...."

41 comments:

Palladian said...

Tenant Resource Center Executive Director.

How does one get a job like that?

Andy R. said...

Imagine if every time you left your house the police could come there and sieze your property.

Texan99 said...

They seem very focused on their property rights.

Palladian said...

"House" is the key word, Andy.

Imagine if everybody left a bunch of their stuff in a public place and then freaked out when it was removed.

TosaGuy said...

If some people leave certain types of personal property outside of their house....like an RV, boat, clothesline....then the police can come down and give you a ticket and if you ignore it long enough they will seize your property.

All depends on the laws of one's particular location.

Texan99 said...

Imagine if every time I left my stuff piled on a sidewalk somewhere, the police stored it for me and tried to find me so they could give it back.

Sorun said...

Imagine if every time you left your house the police could come there and sieze your property.

Imagine if I could park my spare honey wagon in front of AndyR's house for the winter.

tim maguire said...

Does everyone have a right to store their stuff on the sidewalk? Or just homeless people? How do police distinguish between storage and littering?

TosaGuy said...

Madison.com must think that Romney is going to win because they are starting "Homeless Rediscovery Watch" a few months early.

rhhardin said...

The homeless should specialize in ideas.

bagoh20 said...

I see a lot of homeless here in L.A., and I have had long personal friendships with some. I have never understood the need most of them have to collect tons of stuff, nearly all which is a useless burden.

I just recently threw out a bunch of stuff that a homeless friend was storing at my house. Once he dropped it off, he never asked about it again, even though I had it for years. He was homeless by choice. Over the years I gave him a job, and he had enough money to live in an apartment, but he refused to spend it on that. He like being homeless. He was a very smart, gifted artist. He headed north from the city on his bicycle a couple years ago and was never seen again. He was in his 70's. A bona fide enigma.

bagoh20 said...

When I was homeless, I lived in my car which did not run, and cleaned up in McDonalds' bathroom, but I did not collect stuff. I always think that if I ever was homeless again that I would have nothing but a small backpack. I can live in the wilderness with just that, so why have more to carry in a city.

Bryan C said...

"Imagine if every time you left your house the police could come there and sieze your property."

Imagine if every time I camped on your front porch the police could come there and seize my property.

TWM said...

"Imagine if every time you left your house the police could come there and sieze your property."

Imagine if that made any sense . . .

ricpic said...

What about the right not to be assaulted by homeless eyesore mess?

karrde said...

@Andy R:
Imagine if every time you left your house the police could come there and sieze your property.

That does sound pretty scary.

In reverse: imagine a homeless guy who has lost everything except the clothes on his back, and his Remington 870 pump shotgun and a box of shotgun shells.

He wants to leave them in your neighborhood, on a sidewalk, while he visits a soup kitchen.

Should any Policeman who finds the shotgun leave it in place? Or should he take it to the station?

Why, or why not?

Andy R. said...

The point of my comment was not to argue that homeless people should be allowed to store their stuff wherever they like whenever they like. It was to suggest that people consider what this is like from their perspective.

Is there a concern that life is hard for homeless people and this is one of the problems they face and we should work on ways to help them? Is there any compassion for homeless people and the difficulties they face?

Or should we just score points about how we all have nice houses and don't have to worry about the problems that homeless people face and they are an eyesore and problem that the police should deal with?

The idea that the police should seize the property of homeless people if they are not nearby, does not actually need any advocates. But I guess it's fun for you to fight for something.

edutcher said...

Gee, I can remember when they were called bums.

Andy R. said...

Imagine if every time you left your house the police could come there and sieze your property.

The words "public sidewalk" mean anything, genius?

Sam L. said...

You leave stuff in downtown Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, it gets blown up.

These guys are fools, not that that wasn't already obvious.

gadfly said...

I suppose that I was over-optimistic that Althouse was writing that Madison society's John-Galt-types had finally had enough of those whose rights somehow extend into the pocketbooks of productive capitalists.

Send in the clowns . . .

Michael said...

Andy R. Homless people face daily difficult odds, insurmountable in many respects. One of the things that "advocates" for the homeless could do to mitigate their suffering is the bring them ever so slightly into the world of rules. Teach them that that have to secure their stuff in a safe place or carry it with them or have another look after it. No one lacks empathy for the homeless, they lack sympathy for those who think a separate set of rules, or none at all, apply to them.

LarsPorsena said...

'Tenant Resource Center Executive Director Brenda Konkel said the city’s procedure for removing abandoned property is...'

How much does a 'Tenant Resource Center Executive Director' make?

What are the qualifications?

How can I be one?

karrde said...

@Andy R,

My point is that homeless people leaving possessions unattended in public places can, in an extreme circumstance, constitute a hazard to the public.

The general circumstance is using public space as if it is their own private space.

If a person leaves a pile of possessions unattended in public space, that pile will be removed. (Assuming that authorities notice that the pile inhibits use of the public space by others...) Regardless of whether or not the owner of the possessions is homeless.

That's one of the results of society deciding the limits on private use of public property.

tim maguire said...

Typical Andy. Sure, because we think this "right" is fictitious and harmful, we therefore have no compassion for the homeless. Would it please you if we all include a signature line on every post in any way related to economics, "this opinion must be read in the context of my overall compassion for the homeless"?

The reality is, attitudes like yours, however warm and fuzzy they may make you feel, however superior they convince you you are, do nothing to help the homeless.

In fact, if there were a way to quantify this, i'd be willing to bet money that if the Althouse commenters were ranked in descending order by their work for the homeless, you would, at best, appear in the bottom half. Possibly in the bottom quarter.

Sofa King said...

The idea that the police should seize the property of homeless people if they are not nearby, does not actually need any advocates.

But apparently it does.

Carnifex said...

Liberals confuse me. The rights of homeless people to do whatever they like, where ever they like, and when ever they like, on public, and private ground should never be infringed, but a private citizen has to hire a certain number of people of a certain color, or sexual orientation, or build a house a certain way, or arrange the landscaping to "public" decided arrangements.

It's like they have a whole set of different rules for different people. And that' discrimination. And we know liberals can never never discriminate(Boy! Ain't that the truth)

I am assuming ANDY R was one of the few liberals decrying the arrest of some poor schmuck film maker in the dead of the night just so the administration could score points with the Muslim Brotherhood...RIIIIGHT?

bagoh20 said...

If we accommodate a homeless lifestyle we will leave more people homeless for longer. It does them no favor. The level of destitution that the homeless suffer is exactly what we allow them to suffer. Some people will regress to the level of animals if you let them.

If you love people, you insist that they respect themselves and others. You would not allow your own child to do this, but you would a stranger. Ask yourself why that is.

bagoh20 said...

The reason people remain homelss long term is that they get comfortable with it, and getting out of it becomes the more difficult path. If we truly care about these people, we need to ease the path out, and burden the path of staying in that situation.

Tibore said...

"Andy R. said...
The point of my comment was not to argue that homeless people should be allowed to store their stuff wherever they like whenever they like. It was to suggest that people consider what this is like from their perspective."


Yes, but inherent in that is the error in the homeless people's perspective: That they can treat public spaces like their personal homes. The fact they're living in the street doesn't mean they get to use it as private property, nor should it mean they'd be exempt from the same treatment that home- and business-owners would get if they also "stored" possessions on public sidewalks.

Yes, we understand what their perspective is. And why they react the way they do. But that's our point: That perspective shouldn't be enabled by people such as Konkel. It needs to be made clear to them that they have no different rights than other citizens. And they don't get special treatment for this issue simply because they're homeless.

alan markus said...

When Obama is re-elected, all the homeless get ObamaHome. That's right, ObamaHome! Romney sucks!

Note: in the ObamaHome program, all the homeless get a free mini-storage unit to store their stuff & they sleep in it too if they want. And the units don't have restroom facilities, so there won't be that expectation to practice personal hygiene.

ricpic said...

...if we truly care about these people...

We would re-institutionalize them.

damikesc said...

Imagine if every time you left your house the police could come there and sieze your property.

You'd have to HAVE a house first.

Otherwise, it's just trash left outside for others to deal with.

The point of my comment was not to argue that homeless people should be allowed to store their stuff wherever they like whenever they like. It was to suggest that people consider what this is like from their perspective.

Except Sentence 2 leads directly to Sentence 1.

The idea that the police should seize the property of homeless people if they are not nearby, does not actually need any advocates. But I guess it's fun for you to fight for something.

So, you oppose all littering laws, eh?

Because it is, literally, the exact same thing.

bagoh20 said...

"We would re-institutionalize them"

Certainly many need that, but if you get to know some, you find that many are very bright, sane and capable. They just developed a new set of values which don't include paying rent or going to work everyday. The thing is, you can't do that without imposing on others, and that's where we have a right to say: "Stop it. I don't want to carry you if you can carry yourself."

Lyle said...

Andy R.,

A house isn't public property now is it?

Haha.

Seeing Red said...

--Tenant Resource Center Executive Director Brenda Konkel said the city’s procedure for removing abandoned property is... "a violation of homeless people’s rights...."---


So if a homeless person or persons decide to leave their stuff in front of her business, what does she do?

And why do I have to manoeuver around obstacles on sidewalks?

If I tripped, who would be liable?

AllenS said...

Sounds here like the biggest problem is homeless hoarding.

Carnifex said...

People should also remember that the situation of homeless people is dire...compared to our present lifestyle. I dare say a peon in North Vietnam would love to have the life of a homeless person in America.

I know that is scant comfort for the homeless, but never the less, true. We are the richest nation ever created on the face of the earth and our poor are relatively well off. There is no one "starving" but the truly degenerate who could and should be hospitalized. Some of these people choose this life style, some are crazy, and some are just snakebitten. You can't save those who won't save themselves.

Carnifex said...

Ps.

That richest nation etc stuff...Slow Joe would call that malarky. But when your poorest have tv'a, cars, access to medical care (even if via emergency room only), and food, this makes the best case for capitalism vs. socialism you could ever make.

But as with some homeless, logic, and common sense makes no difference to a liberal communist.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I must admit that I'm a bit shocked by the comments on this thread. If all your worldly possessions were tied in a bundle too large to bring into the place you were going to get breakfast or take a pee, and you came out again and found that the cops had impounded them, you might be aggrieved.

A couple of commenters mention homeless people's belongings being obstructions on the sidewalk. Jeez, cry me a river.

You know what's an obstruction on many sidewalks? Bicyclists. Going the wrong direction wrt traffic as like as not, and making pedestrian me step into the frakkin' bike lane to get out of their way. At least untended property of homeless people isn't actually careening at you.

n.n said...

Our government allocates thousands of dollars in monthly subsidies for immigrants, legal and illegal, and we still have homeless Americans.

Unless these people are homeless by choice, then this is a certain indication of corruption, and that our welfare policies are ineffective.

MikeDC said...

The Tenant Resource Center shouldn't be helping the itinerant