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Opposing Fresno City Council Ordinance

Fresno County Democratic Party Chair Michael D. Evans commented at the Fresno City Council meeting today regarding the proposed ordinance on the “Safe Transfer of Objects to Pedestrians.” Although his speaking time was limited to two minutes, below is the entirety of his planned comments:

“It is hard to argue that this legislation is about public safety and not hate when you specifically exempt certain entities. It seems that it is ‘If we like you, it’s OK; if we don’t like you, it’s not.’ That’s not exactly a sound basis for developing public policy.

“Frankly, I am appalled that two Democrats on this body signed on as co-sponsors of the initiative. That is an embarrassment to Democrats and our values, it is an embarrassment to your respective communities, and it is an embarrassment to your colleagues.

“Homelessness is a real concern in our community. People are on the street because of mental health issues, substance-abuse issues, extreme poverty or just being down on their luck.

“Rather than criminalize the homeless and demonize those who want to help the homeless, we should be working to help those who are homeless and to prevent others from becoming homeless. We do that by providing opportunities for housing, medical care and other relevant support services.

“This legislation is symptomatic of why society has so little faith in government. It is grandstanding of the worst kind at the expense of the hard work that needs to be done to fix real problems.

“Some have said it is not an optimal solution to give money directly to the homeless. That might well be, and we should disseminate such information if research proves that to be the case. But it is not the objective of this body to legislate charitable behavior, and I would think those of you of a certain political persuasion would be offended at even the suggestion of that.

“What if one of you was to put forth legislation decreeing that you will be fined for contributing to the police officers’ benevolent association because some officers hassle the homeless and others are involved in officer-involved shootings? I am sure everyone of you thinks that would be an absurd piece of legislation. But it is no more absurd than what you have put forward here today.

“We must lead by example and show ourselves to be a compassionate community that wants the best for every resident housed or otherwise.”