Ordinarily we get our copy of the IBJ in the mail on Saturday. For unknown reasons it arrived today - Tuesday. The point is only mentioned because the idea for this essay came to us immediately when we saw this headline on the editorial page.
"Aggressive panhandling bad for biz."
The author tells of several personal confrontational situations he has met, some simply aggressive, some seeming to be potentially dangerous. All very uncomfortable.
In his last paragraph he favorably mentions increased police foot patrols in neighborhoods and ends with this line. "It would be great if we could find the money to put more foot soldiers on streets in the Mile Square."
We would suggest that there would be more adequate funds in the municipal till if businesses in the Mile Square, including the IBJ, were a little less enthralled by the use of TIF which siphons property tax revenues away from legitimate governmental expenditures. Specifically including "downtown foot soldiers."
We will reiterate a suggestion made previously - several times. Before asking for "more," let’s take a really objective look at (unnecessary?) disbursements of current revenues.
It also occurred to us to wonder about the similarity of actions between the ordinary panhandler asking an individual for a fifty cents or a buck, and the real estate developer, with the assistance of city government, pulling a few millions out of the taxpayer pocket.
Isn’t the panhandler just working for "economic development" on a smaller, more directly personal approach? At least a lack of response doesn’t carry the threat of legal action if the "donor" refuses to cooperate.
A "No" answer from the taxpayer appears to be rarely considered in the equation for the million dollar beggar!