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Homeless advocates march in Burien to protest new trespass ordinance

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BURIEN, Wash. — Homeless advocates staged a march in Burien Friday.

Their chants were first fired at a chiropractic office owned by Burien’s mayor.

“There’s human rights abuses happening here in Burien  and we’re here to demonstrate,” said Joshua Farris, with SAFE, a homeless advocacy group.

Data pix.

The protesters are angry over the city’s recent trespass ordinance. They say it puts a target on the homeless.

But Burien’s city manager, Kamuron Gurol, believes the ordinance is not aimed at those living on the street.

“It has nothing to do with homelessness,” said Gurol. “ It’s all about helping to address behavior problems in public spaces, like City Hall, the library, and parks.”

Protesters on Friday were also upset about a recent proposal to require permits to panhandle.

Darla Green, owner of a local boutique, is proposing the panhandling permit to the city. She wants it to be similar to the requirements used in some cities in Texas and Florida, where panhandlers are required to present two pieces of ID and go through a criminal background check.

“I think we need to know if there’s criminals on our street corner,” said Green. “We need to know if someone has a warrant for their arrest someplace else. I think that makes our community more safe.”

Homeless advocates disagree.

“To make it so they have to jump through hoops just so they have to beg for money, you might as well be telling homeless people to drop dead,” said Farris.

Tony Siaitta is a World War II veteran who spends a lot of days panhandling in Burien. He says he couldn’t survive without the generosity of the people in the city, and he should have the right to ask for a handout.

“I think if a guy needs money, and he sits out here he should be able to do it, without getting a permit,” said Siaitta.

That’s why the homeless activists are making their voices heard. For several minutes they chanted outside Green’s business. At one point they tried to enter but police officers held the group back.

They are planning even larger protests in Burien in the future, and are threatening a class-action lawsuit if the city doesn’t repeal its trespass ordinance.

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16 comments

  • Kenneth Briggs

    so some bitch wants the panhandlers to get a permit . great but the bitch will know that it can back fire . arrest them put them in jail and what did you do ? you gave them free medical care , room and board , a cot and free meals a lawyer and what ever else that the lawyer can come up with .

  • Wallus

    Many such protesters are merely projecting their own parlor academic and conflicted ideas of a class war onto the backs of those they claim to “speak for.” If the public doesn’t really want a convicted, roaming rapist to be soliciting money from their families they have a right to express that. If a city is deluged with panhandlers what do you think that money is going toward for most of them? I’ll give you a hint, it isn’t food. Do the protesters feel there is some sort of inherent right to expect the general public to pay for someone’s alcohol or drug addiction? Advocating for services is one thing, Claiming a group as your pet project regardless of what the specific issue at hand is so you can look good with a bullhorn on youtube is quite another matter.

    • oneofich

      I ran the Old Pizza Haven on University ave back in the 80’s. It was always such a joy to have these people come into the store and start helping themselves to anything that looked like a quick grab.

  • Frank D.

    What ever happened to vagrancy laws. These people crap and pee all over peoples property and are drunk in public and generally a eye sore to the community. I know some are truly down on their luck that is why I give 10 per cent of my earnings to the Salvation Army they do wonders for people who really want to get on their feet.

    • Ann Luke

      If the old man is rat, he will be rich. he is disable. He needs ticket to go home , or take bus to get his id done……Or to hospital? Still doesn’t work for him. God, help the people understand that.

  • bleh

    I am so sick of the bums, transients, creeps and crazies in the Seattle area. The kind of miscreants that used to only inhabit the 3rd Ave downtown area have now spread all over King County. Get rid of them. Most of them are not from Washington but they come here because they hear how naive and welcoming people are to them here. And get rid of these ignorant protesters, too. What kind of mentality does it take to protest sensible prohibitions against loitering and against stinking in public? These have to be the same people I saw marching around protesting some other proposed law against reeking and stinking in public spaces.

    • CAT

      HOW STUPID CAN U GET A PARENT WHO IS HOMELESS WITH THEIR KIDS HAS TO DECIDE DOES THIS MONEY GO TO FEED THEIR KIDS OR BUY A PERMIT THE REASON WHY THEY R ASKING IS THEY HAVE NO MONEY ….

    • CAT

      IF U R SICK OF THEM THEN MAKE A WAY TO HELP THEM …I PRAY YOU NEVER BECOME HOMELESS ITS HELL YES I USED TO BE AND ITS HELL …BLEH WHAT IF U STINK WHAT IF NO ONE LIKES HOW YOU SMELL SO YOU SHOULD BE THROWN AWAY TOO …WHY NOT MAKE A WAY TO EMPOWER PEOPLE MAYBE SOME DONT KNOW HOW WHEN I CAME HERE I SURE DIDNT BUT SOEM ONE HELPED ME AND SHOWED ME AND NOW I DO THE SAME I HELP ALOT I KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO NOT HAVE ..EVERY ONE IS ONE PAY CHECK AWAY FROM BEING HOMELESS ..I WONDER IF YOU WOULD CHANGE YOUR TUNE IF YOU WERE IN THAT SITUATION

  • bleh

    Cat, most of these bums have homes and are just scamming to make money without putting up with the indignities of working at a job. Why would I give my hard earned money to someone who thinks they’re too good to work like I do? Make laws to prevent them from scamming and stinking the place up and, eventually, they may give in and work for a living like the rest of us.

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