News from Patrick Flynn

Sitting tight

The Assembly will hear the most recent iteration of the mayor’s “sidewalk sitting” ordinance on Tuesday, November 22.  It’s been intriguing to view the e-mails on this subject with the vast majority opposing the measure as an affront to free speech.  Meanwhile the administration contends they’re trying to head off a larger problem and that the law is modeled after a court-tested version in place in Seattle.

Having grown up, generally worked and long-residing in the vicinity of downtown Anchorage I feel I have a pretty thorough knowledge of the area.  I’ve spent much less time in downtown Seattle, but enough to understand the differences between the two places, particularly as they relate to folks sitting (or laying) on sidewalks.  In short; very little here, more there.

Further, media accounts of the “Occupy Anchorage” protestors trumpeting their concerns about a block away from the guy whose presence near City Hall inspired this legislation indicate these protestors wouldn’t be affected by this new code.  So, once again, we’re back to a public policy initiative aimed at one circumstance.  (And regular readers know my general response to such things.)

That said, I’m sympathetic to those who find this sidewalk sitter offensive.  Indeed, one of my colleagues witnessed patrons of the Performing Arts Center going out of their way to avoid proximity to this person by crossing G Street using the north crosswalk and Sixth Avenue using the west crosswalk.  I can understand why folks out for a nice night of entertainment might not want to encounter something unpleasant – especially since one of those people is a life-long neighbor who wrote to voice her objection and ask me to support the mayor’s proposal.

But I’m sorry, I just can’t vote for this legislation.  If the problem were more pervasive my thinking might be different.  As the situation stands now downtown pedestrians can easily avoid the single corner they might find distasteful.  And if, in so doing, they reflect on the plight of the homeless in our community, or take a moment to talk to their children about the issue, or even decide to make a contribution to their preferred non-profit agency, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.



P.S. In the “for-what-it’s-worth” category, there was no sign of the gentleman in question when I went by City Hall this afternoon.

This contribution was made on Monday, 21. November 2011 at 17:40 and was published under the category Neighborhoods. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

«  –  »

1 Comment

  1. P.S. to your P.S. — The gentleman in question is now “working” with the Occupy Anchorage group, I suspect because their protest is heated.

    Comment: Leslie – 21. November 2011 @ 5:54 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.



Community councils


Local government


State government


RSS Feeds – Admin


Copyright - Patrick Flynn, All Rights Reserved