Why does Paul Soglin want to make homelessness a crime in Madison?

As reported earlier today by Dean Mosiman of the Wisconsin State Journal, Madison mayor Paul Soglin will propose stiff penalties for anyone sitting or lying on public benches, sidewalks, and city properties during certain hours.

In his latest attempt to address Downtown homeless problems, Mayor Paul Soglin is proposing limits with stiff penalties on sitting or lying on public benches, sidewalks and city office properties from early morning until late at night.

The so-called Downtown Pedestrian Protection Ordinance sets time limits for sitting, lying or “lodging” in those places in the Central Business District generally around Capitol Square and State Street, including the City-County and Madison Municipal buildings.


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3 thoughts on “Why does Paul Soglin want to make homelessness a crime in Madison?

  1. I get it. It’s a quality of life issue and ties into making the city attractive to visitors.

    There are better ways to help the homeless than to allow them to sleep on benches along sidewalks.

  2. Your headline is not in any way fair or accurate. There is an increase in homeless in Madison, many who shun services. This is a growing site for the homeless and the numbers reflect that fact. More drug problems have been reported with syringes littered about and we know what that can lead to, Public sex acts have been reported, and public employees at the city-county building are not feeling safe. This is a complicated matter and one that deserves facts to be placed ahead of opinions. I live on the isthmus with Lake Monona as a neighbor and know this is a grand city. There is much desire for helping the homeless. But there is also a responsibility required from those who wish to have citizens pay the tab. If you care to know some of the background from this year–and stories about this matter go back for several years—here is one place o start. http://host.madison.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/paul-soglin-takes-actions-on-drifters-and-the-homeless-engaged/article_ef24e891-abb8-5b14-bff2-e837da58f779.html

    1. Greg, thanks for sharing the additional information on what’s going on in Madison.

      While my headline may have been less accurate or fair than you would like, my perception of the situation is that this is an attempt to criminalize homelessness. Maybe there is some validity to your argument that the issue needs to be addressed this way because there’s a segment of the homeless population in Madison, but i can’t help but wonder if laws already on the books couldn’t be used to address some of the issues you described without the need for new laws.

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