Sarasota News Leader

07/04/2013

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Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2013 OPINION Page 64 THE NEW 'COLONISTS' SEARCH FOR A HOME By Stan Zimmerman City Editor COMMENTARY If there is one day of the year Americans could agree to resist government oppression, it would be the Fourth of July. And sometimes the feeling gets extended. As Mark Twain said before American troops left Tampa in 1898 to fight for Cuban independence from Spain: "It is a worthy thing to fight for one's freedom; it is another sight finer to fight for another man's." to observing poverty," said Sarasota attorney Andrea Mogensen. So Sarasota started moving "poverty" out of sight. In Sarasota's "Whac-A-Mole" approach, homeless congregations have been hustled from Five Points Park to Cocoanut Avenue to Florida Avenue. The latest daytime congregation point before the rains came was the City Hall parking lot. Employees were stepping over passed-out/laid-out/knocked-out people to get Those in government rarely see their acts as "oppression." And government acts all the to work. time: regulators, cops, inspectors — all in City Hall has become one of the last bastions the "do it my way" business. Most of us know of freedom for the homeless, one of the few enough to stay on the right side of the law. But places where they will not get rousted. Fifty for Sarasota's homeless, it is harder to figure feet from Nobody's Listening and Billy Bowout the rules. legs, you can poll Sarasota's homeless amid the artwork. ON THE RUN Downtown merchants have hired a private security force to keep the homeless and vagrants out of shady doorways and away from shoppers. The Selby Library retains private seThe recent rains are atypical. The punishing curity to patrol inside and outside to "protect" tropical sun and blinding humidity are our patrons. common lot in the summer. Where, if you The lack of public toilets in the downtown were homeless, would you escape them? area coupled with a "patrons only" policy in But what the homeless are really fleeing is local businesses only increases the probability the rich. "The wealthy condo owners object of public urination and defecation. Summer is the cruelest season in Sarasota, especially if you are homeless. Think of the rains we have endured this past week. What if you had to sleep outside?

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