Free Speech Is One Thing, Vagrants, Another

BERKELEY, CA — Hardly a stranger to political movements, this is a city that has championed free speech, no nukes, the antiwar movement and now: no sitting on the sidewalk.

During years of economic downturn, cities across the country have reported rising vagrancy and rushed to pass laws banning aggressive panhandling, giving food away in public parks and even smelling foul.

This bastion of populist politics is no exception.  The City Council and mayor have put a measure on the November ballot that would ban sitting and lying on commercial sidewalks from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., at the risk of a $75 citation.

“These laws are an example of a startling national trend to criminalize homelessness,” said Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, an advocacy group.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/20/us/berkeley-targeting-homeless-proposes-ban-on-sidewalk-sitting.html?pagewanted=1&ref=us&_r=0

Sound Advice Given To Business Owners At Lansdale’s Community Action Network Meeting

Location of Lansdale in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

The Community Action Network is a new organization in Lansdale and Thursday was their first meeting.  Lansdale is revitalizing their downtown and organizing merchants.  The Community Action Network is part of the process.

Former Ambler Main Street Manager, Bernadette Dougherty addressed 50 Lansdale business owners and offered some great advice.   This advice could be applied to any town in America!

Here are Bernadette’s pearls of wisdom:

Let people know your town is organized and open for business.

Stores need to be open for business.  Many stores close too early and do not stay open during special events that take place downtown.

Business owners need to attend council meetings!

In Lansdale’s case, they need to get their performing arts center reopened!  She stressed this was “critical” for Lansdale.  (Some towns should feel fortunate they have a performing arts center that is alive and well and should 110% support the arts!)

Business owners should stand in front of their store and see what the public sees.  If it is not exciting to you then it will not be to your current or prospective customers either!

The Community Action Network is asking for business owners to commit to one hour a month to make this work!  We wish Lansdale much success!