God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen - Jars of Clay - listen now

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Will Atlanta ever get it together?

The Atlanta City Council is once again vacillating and wringing its hands over whether or not to pass an anti-panhandling ordinance. I swear to god I can't understand why this is such a hard decision. Anyone who lives in or has ever visited Atlanta has felt the uneasiness of being approached by one predatory vagrant after another trying to hustle them for money. Forget trying to use any of the parks downtown. Even at lunch time they are filled with drunkards passed out and vagrants napping and begging.

One of the most embarrasing things is the bums that group around the entrances to the Peachtree Center MARTA (subway) station in the hotel district. They wait to pounce on unsuspecting visitors who appear with their luggage in tow. These poor tourists are then subjected to insistent demands that they allow the vagrants to escort them to their hotels in exchange for a tip. I don't know about you, but an alcoholic, unwashed, urine soaked tour guide doesn't exactly bode well for a good trip anywhere.

Bernie Marcus of Home Depot fame, has helped give Atlanta one of the premier tourist attractions in the country - The Georgia Aquarium. Through the generosity of Mr. Marcus this gem hasn't cost Atlanta a dime. And how do the so called advocates for the homeless, such as Derrick Boazman, repay this generosity? By demanding that all the jobs be given to their vagrant constituency, or face an activist onslaught.
Former City Councilman and community activist Derrick Boazman, during the rally tonight, demanded Marcus give the hundreds of jobs at the aquarium to the city’s homeless.

“If you don’t want to give us a job, shut it down, shut it down, shut it down,” Boazman said.

Boazman also threatened the city's homeless would be at the aquarium on opening day.
As if the great unwashed masses would be up to the challenge. We'd have to delay opening the Aquarium for a year just to get half of them sobered up, much less through all 12 steps.

Perhaps the city council will get it right this time. Perhaps they will put the good of the entire city ahead of a vocal and non-productive minority. But I'll only believe it when I see it.


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