Saturday, August 18, 2007

What is it that makes some people think
they can just throw away other people's stuff?

Homeless since May 16, Melvin Sizemore sits beneath an overpass after homeless were told to leave by Baltimore City's Downtown Partnership. He was guarding his property and the belongings of other homeless people.

"Wake up!" they yelled, clapping and whistling. "Move your stuff or we'll throw it away."

Workers from Baltimore City's Downtown Partnership confiscated dozens of boxes that homeless people slept on from a grassy patch of land shaded by trees.'

The incident sent advocates for the homeless and legal groups reeling, calling the action "troubling" and "inappropriate." And they demanded answers from the partnership, a nonprofit group supported by downtown property owners to clean and patrol a 106-square-block area of the city.

Read the Baltimore Sun story here.

The Sun has added a clarification, or correction (I'm not sure how to characterize it) that says:

The headline that appears on this article should not have adopted one party's point of view. While homeless persons interviewed by The Sun said they were forced to leave, the Downtown Partnership insisted in the article and again yesterday that its workers were merely clearing trash from the area.
But the Sun may be missing the point. As the old saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure. If you don't have a home, and you don't have a bed, that piece of cardboard is the only thing you have to rest your head. Is that really trash?

Okay, I'll admit that I'm influenced by having heard city workers in other cities (like Orlando) claim they were only "clearing trash" when they were throwing away medications and irreplaceable items like family photographs and identification papers.


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