Best Spectator Sport

Panhandling Ordinance

Staff Pick

Few things generate as much heat as the friction between civil liberties and business friendliness. At public hearings before the Boise City Council for the controversial Civil Sidewalks Ordinance, which would give police greater authority to combat aggressive solicitation, the heat was enough to kindle a fire. Business owners concerned that panhandling and loitering were thwarting commerce, and homeless advocates worried that "civil sidewalks" was code for discrimination, warmed their hands to hours of testimony peppered with uncivil snickers, jeers, catcalls and heckling. Who needs pro sports when you have public discourse?

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