To the editor:
It's one thing for our city commissioners to devise an ordinance to protect our merchants from homeless campers on their roofs or to forbid "lounging" on our streets, and it's proper to protect our downtown parks, where young kids and families gather, from homeless campers. But it's quite another thing to take away the one place they have found where they can be left alone: far down the river and out of our way, which is truly how they want it.
Surely, a distinction can be made if our commissioners direct it - by our wise city attorney in consultation with our wise city manager - to simply let this secluded haven be!
These are human beings with perhaps more and different needs than you and I; so alienated are many of them that they are basically asking to be left alone. Some respect for that need may be the first step toward helping them find their way back into society and perhaps, beginning to reach their other, more dire, needs. (And it may also be the trust needed to work with them to be sure that they have the protection they need to be safe out there.) There are communities across our country that have recognized and protected and established this type of homeless community park.
I am quite sure the alternative will be to have more disruption and more anti-social behavior where the merchants and their customers don't want it: downtown.
We should note carefully our commissioners' abilities to distinguish rules that protect people's basic rights from those which unnecessarily violate them.