Hiding the Vagrants
Despite its many retail vacancies, downtown SLC is home to a significant panhandler population. Some may be legitimately homeless, some may be supporting drug habits and some may be running a scam. Salt Lake City’s proposed approach to reducing panhandling is an open-ended set of laws that could allow police to arbitrarily sweep away panhandlers instead of targeting specific problems, such as those harassing outdoor diners. It’s may be a better plan than one Main Street retailer we know of who chased off panhandlers parked outside his business with a bat. But the best hope for downtown is simply to get more warm bodies on the street. The more people on the sidewalks not panhandling, the less people will notice those who are.
They drove four-wheeled vehicles of all types, they burned a ton of gas, made a lot of noise, and listened to speeches decrying everything beloved by liberals. Good for them. The Take Back Utah crowd that formed a parade on State Street and ended up on the Capitol steps on Saturday did what every strong democracy needs: They got involved. For those who mock their antics, just remember the crowds you supported, whether it was Hispanics marching through the streets, repeated rallies against the War in Iraq, or wilderness lovers cheering Tim DeChristopher. Criticize their message all you want, but respect their right to gather peacefully and their willingness to vocalize their views.
Fruit trees are overloaded, backyard gardens are starting to produce their bounty, canning supplies are often sold-out, and homebrewing is now completely legal. Also, as this last weekend’s Craft Lake City festival demonstrated, homemade arts and crafts are increasingly popular. This is a good trend on many fronts, especially since every piece of homemade art or every bottle of canned jam is one less such item bought at multi-national chains filled with Chinese products. The biggest benefit, however, is the resurgence of flavorful foods, as anybody tasting an heirloom tomato will testify.