2005-08-31 • Political Action

August 31, 2005

Honorable Sharpe James
Mayor’s Office
920 Broad Street
Newark, NJ 07102

Re: Atlanta’s mayor is a Smarty McSmartyson

Dear Mayor James:

By way of introduction, I am not one of your constituents, but I do find myself in your city five or six days per week as one of the many commuting workers Newark welcomes. I earn my living here, I spend money here, I attend concerts here, I even have a library card at the Newark Public Library. Mayor James, I am a part of this community in most ways, and it is only by accident of address I don’t vote in Newark. I view this as a distinction without difference, though as a public servant dependant on votes for your position I understand that you may have a contrary opinion.

Nonetheless, Mayor James, I write to you today to assure myself that you have been made aware of Mayor Shirley Franklin of Atlanta’s groundbreaking new ordinance banning begging. Please see the enclosed news item for more details. I officially declare that Mayor Franklin and her staff are totally brilliant in all ways throughout the universe in perpetuity for thinking this up and then making it happen.

I confess that I am originally from the Midwest and possess a doughy and affable face which seems to radiate friendliness and concern for my fellow human being in all directions, touching the hearts of all who see it. Mayor James, this is an asset in a delicate contract negotiation or when trying to get a date with a hottie, but it is an absolute horror when strolling along Halsey Street.

Nary has a single day has gone by when I have not been asked for money on the street by increasingly aggressive beggars clearly more interested in a drug fix than nourishment. I have been screamed at, grabbed and shaken, and spat upon when refusing to give money to these down and outs. Often while the acrid smell of urine (not my own) is stinging my sinuses.

Mayor James, I call upon you in your official capacity as Mayor of the great city of Newark, New Jersey and chief proponent of municipal legislation to help a bitch out. I think you need to get some of your people on this begging ban thing and see what we can accomplish right here. Enforcement in Atlanta includes a large component of steering people in need of assistance to social services before any actual punishment is meted out and non-verbal, non-aggressive begging, like holding up a sign and a paper cup, is still permitted.

I believe in you, Mayor James, and I believe in your ability to get things done. Yes, this will force some of the neediest of your constituents to change their way of life. They will be forced to avail themselves of social services or lose their liberty, but in the long run isn’t that better for them than what they face now? And besides, Mayor James, we are talking about people that eschew toileting as an unnecessary social convention, it’s not like they vote. And while I can’t vote for you, I do have a job and a check book and the freedom to donate to any campaign I choose.

Thank you in advance for putting your considerable influence behind this matter and getting it all ironed out. I look forward to an unmolested walk from the train station to my office in the very near future.

Very Truly Yours,

Brian Blaho


Posted at 11:06 a.m.

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