I seem to have plenty of Irish to go around for everybody on this panhandling issue. All sides seem to be unwilling or unable to get to the heart of the matter.
Panhandling is just one of many symptoms (outcomes) of the same condition. Chattanooga is waging a multi-front war on poor people, not an overstatement. We read a new news story going toward proving it at least twice a week. Conservative mouthpieces are all for it, and liberal elites are content to build whole industries around the symptoms while dressing the wound of poor people as if it was nothing, as though they are nothing.
Having catalogued all anyone needs to know about poor people and poor communities in public documents, each case booked in two volumes with three inch binders for each volume and in file boxes of material from 25 years of related work stacked in my closet, I say that with some authority. City government is very clear about whose welfare it serves, and it is not the welfare of its poor people and other working people at risk of becoming poor. That is roughly 70 percent of the population, at least before the more recent embarrassing numbers on Chattanooga’s gentrification problem.
This is a most shameful time for Chattanooga, and it is no accident.