Repeal the Anti-Lingering Ordinance

Steve Dear's picture

This is my first post on OP in a long, long time. But I'm fired up, friends. 

Tonight the Carrboro Board of Aldermen heard a report from the police chief that the anti-lingering ordinance in place since 2007 has been a success. No one has been arrested using the ordinance though many, apparently, have been threatened by the police and "educated."

There were five or six people in attendance in support of the ordinance and, unfortunately, I was the only member of the public there to speak against it. I called it a preemptive strike on civil liberties and below what Carrboro is all about.

And I mentioned that I know what it is like to be the victim of an assault and to live in a place where I had reason to be concerned for my safety when walking down my street.

I don't see the Carrboro I have long admired in this ordinance.

Carrboro should have a public hearing about this issue (and will in late March), have a real soul searching about this what this ordinance reflects about us, should repeal this violation of human rights immediately, and get creative without sinking below respect for basic human rights and civil rights and liberties. 

I hope more OP folks will again speak out publicly and in person against this policy. 

Peace,

Steve 

Tags: 

issue: 

Total votes: 0

17 Comments

Davie Road

It has helped make the neighborhood a safer and cleaner place.  As a resident of the neighborhood, I can speak first hand that the amount of trash on the ground has improved.  In addition, the safety of the neighborhood has improved.  

 

The problem has never been with the day laborers.  It is with the people that stand with the day laborers that have no intentions getting a job.  If these people are not allowed to drink all day on public property, it reduces the amount of beer cans (as well as other garbage) that we have to pick up from our yard.  This ordinance doesn't affect the day laborers as they are picked up mostly between 8 and 9 am.  

 

To be honest, I am having a hard time understanding your point of view.  Please explain to me why you are against this ordinance.  I am also curious to know if you live in the neighborhood and have any first hand experience with the situation.  

 

Thanks.  

Re:

They haven't had to arrest anyone, they don't loiter there anymore and 911 calls are down.  Sounds like a win win for everyone. 

Never understood the theory

I'd also like to hear the argument for the other side.  I understand that large crowds of people can be intimidating and that loads of idle people correlates to higher crime rates, but isn't that why things like drug peddling, prostitution, and harrassment are crimes or at least actionable.

Arrest people for the crimes they commit, not because of what might happen.

Catherine DeVine's picture

Repeal?

Steve Dear's eloquent post came close to persuading me that the anti-lingering ordinance ought to be repealed; but the mayor and aldermen crafted this thing very carefully to accomodate both the day laborers and the citizens who object to their presence.  The police chief tells us it's effective, and there have been no arrests.  So I think the ordinance ought to stand.  It's not punitive at all.  I see no nasty strike on civil liberties here.   The wording interests me. Lingering has a far different connotation than loitering, which is prohibited on countless street corners all over the US.  Lingering is a much more polite accusation.  The hours of enforcement, 11AM to 5AM, are civilized and realistic.  Chief Hutchison doesn't encourage our cops to bust lingerers -- only to ask them to move along please.   Anonymous might be thinking this way too.  

In Favor of Preserving Anti-Crime Ordinance

I live on Fidelity Street.  I have for years.  Spent twelve months living at Abbey Court at 501 Jones Ferry Road from June 2003-June 2004; what a mistake that was.I know about the drunkenness and assaults that occurred at this hangout before the ordinance.  I remember how much more garbage there used to be there.  I remember female friends who were too afraid to go there--and they had reason!!!There's a gas station/convenience store that sells cheap beer and cheap "wine."Stephen Dear, do you truly have any clue to what it used to be like at that intersection?  Have you even bothered to ask a friendly Carrboro police officer or Orange County EMS personnel what it was like?Mr. Dear, I'm willing to imagine it was a lot different to the Carrboro you know; are you the same Stephen Dear who bought a home in the Wexford neighborhood on October 18, 2004 for roughly $525,000.00 and now tax-valued at $609,663.00? 

Ruby Sinreich's picture

Careful

Bill, I don't believe that the price or location of someone's home is ever a valid requirement for having an informed opinion about a matter of interest in one's community.  I have also been the victim of people who erroneously assume they know something about me based on information from a County database. This type of attack is inappropriate and baseless, what you actually demonstrate is that you have no idea at all who you are talking about.More importantly, Steve should be applauded for his concern about the community and for sharing his ideas and opinions here, whether you agree with them or not.  Comments like yours serve to stifle discourse and contribute nothing of value to this web site. If you do not take a different approach, your posting privileges will be limited for the benefit of this community.

On the matter of inappropriate and baseless attacks

I am a resident of Davie Rd who was at the meeting on February 10.  At this meeting when Stephen Dear spoke, he accused me and my neighbors of being racist.  Specifically, he said that if all of the people on the corner had been white that nobody would have any concern.  This baseless (and rediculous if you actually know me or my neighbors) attack angered me for days.

I can assure anyone reading this that the problems associated with people lingering are very real.  There is a gas station that sells alcohol in paper bags to anyone with a couple of dollars, but there are no public restrooms.  I have on countless occasions witnessed grown adults consuming alcohol and urninating on my property.

While some may find it unfair to prohibit lingering in a public place, this  ordiance is a practical solution to a real problem.  It is unrealistic to keep a constant police presence at the corner.  The area affected is very small and there are no liberties being threatened.

Catherine DeVine's picture

Cool it

Bill Madden, you are out of line.  The purported value of a Carrboro  residence has absolutely nothing to do with the homeowner's politics.  Nothing.  Your bold-faced derision in this forum is shameful. 

Shame Me

Shame me.  Tell me about a better idea than keeping the ordinance, which makes everyone happy.  Tell me about a better idea that I didn't think up myself.Other than that, I have nothing to be ashamed of.

LMT's picture

You had Plenty to Say!

On Friday, I went around Carrboro to record people's opinions about the Anti-Lingering Ordinance for WCHL's "What You're Saying on the Street." And I asked them if the ordinance should be repealed or sustained.  I received so many passionate responses from people, on both sides of the issue, that I produced a two-part WYSOS that will air Monday and Tuesday on 1360 AM.  This may prove to be just a glimpse of what we will hear at the BOA's public forum on the matter. 

corner of Davie and Jones Ferry

I lived on that corner at 800 Davie for over 2 years and I called the police numerous times to report some crazy stuff that happened on that corner.  People from that corner would come and pi-- and sh-- in my yard in broad daylight.  White Black, Latino, female, whatever, the people hanging on that corner at any time of day or night were a SERIOUS nuisance to me and my neighbors.  As one of the closest possible residents to that corner, I am very glad the ordinance is there and is doing what it is supposed to do.  The only reason I moved away is because my GF who was to move in with me was scared of the neighborhood in part due to things going on on that corner. I lived there 2000 - 2002 or so.

Roscoe's picture

Smoke

Did you read the comments following the DTH article? I hope the authors were not UNC students.If the corner in question is such an institution for latinos seeking work then surely there are ways to let them know what behavior is not going to be tolerated, without that way being a police officer.The lingering ordinance may provide basic help for surrounding home owners but Carrboro should come up with better solutions.  

Catherine DeVine's picture

Pondering

The Carrboro aldermen had pondered a variety of alternative solutions to the lingering issue by the time they crafted the ordinance in question.  They even discussed providing the day laborers with a shelter of some sort, but there was no location available.   The nasty retorts to the DTH article probably came from UNC students and employees who read the DTH every day.  The reporter had interviewed me for the article, so I read it with some trepidation.  I wish to stay on record saying I believe this ordinance is the best Carrboro can do to respond to the Davie residents without making life harder for the people who congregate on that corner hoping to get some work.  The hours are realistic, enforcement is not punitive.  

Public Safety

I live a few blocks from this intersection and I think the ordinance is reasonable and respectful.  I have personally stopped and called 911 to report a very drunk man stumbling around in the middle of Jones Ferry Rd. traffic at night just up from the Kangaroo.  I have a friend who lives in the apartment one of the apartment complexes in the neighborhood who is afraid to go out after dark because of all of the drinking and drugging that goes on in the street. 

To call supporters of the ordinance racist, if that accusation was in fact made, is an ignorant cheap-shot.  Obviously, most of the residents in that neighborhood are minorities.  Why should they have to accept living in fear for the safety of themselves and their children.  I am guessing that if people were hanging out in front of your home gettting f*#ked up, hollering, throwing trash and pissing in your yard, you might want something done about it, no matter what color they were.   

Unfortunately, I have not heard a single alternative solution by those who oppose the ordinance here.  Saying that the town should be "more creative" isn't very helpful.