On November 11, a New York City panhandler made a big mistake: He bragged that he raked in up to $200 an hour by using his dog to win sympathy–and money.
“On a Friday morning, I make $400 in two hours,” Will Anderson, 43, told the New York Post.
Then the former theater stagehand compounded his mistake: He admitted that he was able to rent a room–and was no longer homeless.
But by November 12, he had disappeared from his usual spot at East 42nd Street between Vanderbilt and Madison avenues.
Perhaps he realized that his new-found notoriety wasn’t likely to win sympathy–and money–from passersby.
Meanwhile, there are 59,305 derelicts infesting the streets of New York City.
San Francisco is another stronghold for what city officials euphemistically refer to as “the homeless.” Yet many of the officials working with this population have another–and unofficial–term for them: DDMBs–“Druggies, Drunks, Mentals and Bums.”
In fact, if you visit San Francisco, forget what Julie Andrews told you in Mary Poppins: Don’t “Feed the Birds.”
Getting caught doing so can net you a fine from $45 to $300.
City officials launched the campaign in 2004, fining people who fed pigeons in the Tenderloin area. Within a month, they extended the crackdown to Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown and the cable car turnaround in downtown.
Feeding birds “damages property, and it’s not good for the bird population,” said Christine Falvey, a spokeswoman for the Public Works Department at the time of the ban.
“We have a whole education campaign letting people know it’s against the law,” said Falvey. This includes posters erected by the Public Works Department, which read:
Please do not feed the pigeons. There are dozens of reasons why, but mainly: feeding pigeons harms our neighborhoods and also harms the birds.
Large population of pigeons is a health hazard.
Our huge feral pigeon population is a health hazard and creates many problems in the city.
Feeding pigeons promotes overbreeding.
Pigeon feeding produces overbreeding. Pigeons normally breed two or three times a year, producing two eggs per brood. Overfed city pigeons can breed up to eight times a year.
Pigeons are harmed when fed.
When you feed pigeons, you are not doing them a favor. They lose their natural ability to scavenge and survive on their own. Pigeon over population leads to overcrowded, unsanitary conditions and produces sick and injured birds. A smaller flock is healthier and does less damage.
It is illegal.
It’s against the law to feed pigeons on the streets or sidewalks of San Francisco (Sec. 486. M.P.C). Violators may be cited and fined.
You can help keep your neighborhood safe and clean and the pigeon population under control by not feeding pigeons. Keep edible garbage away from pigeons by discarding it in a securely covered garbage can. And don’t feed pets outside.
You may report pigeon feeders to the San Francisco Police Department at 415-553-0123, or by calling 3-1-1.
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At the same time that city officials are telling residents, “Please don’t feed the pigeons,” they aren’t telling them, “Please don’t feed the bums.”
Because of its mild climate and social programs that give cash payments to just-arrived vagrants, San Francisco is often considered the homelessness capital of the United States.
Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (1996–2004) actually proposed that the city create electronic cards for transients that residents could swipe with their credit cards, thus transferring money from their accounts to that of the recipient.
Brown dropped the idea when faced with the brutal truth that not many citizens–especially women–would be willing to whip out their credit card when confronted by a smelly, unshaved and possibly psychotic transient.
San Francisco spends $200 million annually on “homeless services.”
Estimates of their numbers range from 7,000-10,000 people, of which approximately 3,000-5,000 refuse shelter.
A similar public crackdown on “bum-feeders” could go like this:
Please do not feed the bums. There are dozens of reasons why, but mainly: feeding bums harms our neighborhoods and also harms the bums.
Our huge feral bum population is a health hazard and creates many problems in the city.
Their stolen shopping carts and filthy possessions block sidewalks and harbor parasites like bedbugs and lice. Bum food makes a mess and attracts rats.
Feeding bums promotes overbreeding. Bums normally travel alone, foraging for drugs and/or alcohol.
When you feed bums, you are not doing them a favor. They lose their natural ability to find work and support themselves and their families.
Bum over population leads to overcrowded, unsanitary conditions and produces sick and injured bums. A smaller horde is healthier and does less damage.
It’s against the law to feed bums on the streets or sidewalks of San Francisco. Violators may be cited and fined.
You can help keep your neighborhood safe and clean and the bum population under control by not feeding bums.
Keep edible garbage away from bums by discarding it in a securely covered garbage can. And don’t feed bums outside.
It is Illegal. You may report bum feeders to the San Francisco Police Department at 415-553-0123, or by calling 3-1-1.