Friday, May 18, 2007

The DSA's Panhandling Offensive?

The Downtown Seattle Association is working the media over a manufactured increase in panhandling. They landed an article in today's Puget Sound Business Journal on the 38% increase in panhandling they say they can document over the same period last year. Then Fox News on Q13 got tipped on tomorrow's PSBJ story, and the DSA got a twofer out of the deal with a Thursday night news spot as well. The "spike" in panhandling was the lead story after the tragically robbed girls' choir.

Q13 came down to Real Change to get the crazy guy's side of the story.

I don't seem to be able to link directly to the story, but you can find it here at Q13. I have to try and do something about that wild-eyed thing. Kate Joncas seems so much calmer than I.

Apparently the DSA's pandhandling education campaign is failing, and downtown begging is up by thirty-eight percent. That's what the DSA is saying anyway.

The guy named Tim Harris says that DSA's numbers have no science behind them and that the DSA is using bogus data to inevitably push for Tacoma-style toughness toward panhandlers, which makes me look a little like some commerce-hating, panhandler-loving, conspiracy prognosticating nut case. All too true.

Some guy named Tim Harris is in the PSBJ talking about this too. "The thing with the Metropolitan Improvement District numbers," he says, "is that there's no science behind them. The areas that they have people in change. Their focus on what they're documenting changes. Sometimes their ambassadors are looking for panhandlers and sometimes they're just handing out brochures to tourists. It undermines the validity of their numbers."

Oddly, the article says at one point that MID "readily acknowledges" the lack of science in their "data," but then later they say their counting methods are consistent. I suppose what they mean to say is that their methods are consistently unscientific.

To tell you the truth, I have no idea what the DSA is up to. I've called to ask, but haven't heard back yet. One assumes that an organization doesn't alert the media that panhandling is seriously on the increase without some sort of larger intent.

I'm actually not a big fan of panhandling. But I'm not wild about pushing the poor into the sea either.

In other media news, the Seattle Channel has placed the Ten Year Plan League of Women Voters panel discussion of a few weeks ago on-line. Once again, I appear dissatisfied with how things are shaping up, starting about thirty-five minutes into the broadcast.


Biby Cletus said...

Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be back

Deep Regards from the other side of the Moon

Biby Cletus

Dr. Wes Browning said...

You didn't look that wild, Tim. Any idea what the new plan for getting rid of panhandlers is? Artis wrote a story about a meeting he attended concerning Victor Steinbrueck Park in which Officer Gracey said that United Way was funding a new program to simultaneously get panhandlers and mentally ill homeless off the street, to start in June! "Without police involvement." Who knows about this? How do you get panhandlers off the street "without police involvement?" I'd like to hear this explained by someone in United Way. It sounds like a ratcheting up move: "Go quietly now, and there won't have to be trouble later."

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