Monday Forum: Columbia’s homeless plan trashes Constitution

August 26, 2013 

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TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com Buy Photo

— The Columbia City Council is creating a Berlin Wall to prevent homeless people from setting foot on downtown. The man with the machine gun at the top of the tower will be none other than Mr. Jim Crow.

Neither I nor anyone else has all of the solutions to the problem of homelessness, but one thing is for sure: If one does not have a chance to go downtown to apply for a job, one is going to stay homeless.

Along with the expensive plans to build this Berlin Wall, City Council members are planning a giant bonfire. They are going to burn the Constitution. That is the only way this Berlin Wall can be built, because in Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that vagrancy ordinances are unconstitutional because they make innocent activities criminal and place almost arbitrary discretion in the hands of the police.

The Columbia City Council seems to have the support of downtown business people. Perhaps these good businessmen should send a SWAT team to New York to topple the Statue of Liberty, since it contains the words “give me your tired, your poor.”

I do not expect much more of politicians than to reflect the public will. What disturbs me is that the public will in Columbia seems to be to criminalize the condition of being down on one’s luck.

J. Leeds Barroll IV

Columbia

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