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Old June 15, 2009, 08:47 PM   #1
Creature
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Privatizing city streets?

How does one trespass ... on a public street? Have my civil rights be violated by the passage of this law. Also, I was under the impression that public housing is funded by taxpayer money? Are taxpayer dollars being used to pay for the police to become private security in what amounts to a government funded "gated-community"?

http://www.wvec.com/news/topstories/....82da93c1.html

Quote:
Debate rages over new Portsmouth trespassing law

PORTSMOUTH -- A law closing two Portsmouth streets to outsiders is dividing those who live there.

Some applaud the stricter trespassing code, but others say it's turned their neighborhood into a prison.

The Portsmouth City Council last week voted to close Lexington and Dale drives to anyone who isn't a resident or guest. Those streets wind through the Lincoln Park and Dale Homes public housing areas.

The new law means the streets are now owned by the Portsmouth Housing Authority and are considered private -- a similar designation given to streets in gated communities.

The city installed new "no trespassing" signs on Wednesday.

The change gives police the power to issue trespassing citations to people standing on the street "who do not belong there," said Delores Adams, Portsmouth Director of Housing Management.

She said the code change will help deter drug dealers and criminals.

Portsmouth Police say they’ve already issued a handful of trespassing citations using the new law that took effect June 9.
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Old June 15, 2009, 09:37 PM   #2
OuTcAsT
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Nope, the did the same thing here with the "projects".
If you're crazy enough to be there between 9PM and 5AM, and are not a resident, you are trespassing. The same rules apply to most public parks as well.
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Old June 16, 2009, 06:29 AM   #3
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Usually it is the residents themselves that want such things. Some would like to turn their block into a sort of gated community, if only to keep down the traffic on their street. But having the local government doing something like this is a little different. Of course, government-owned has long meant something isn't public, just the same way the local mall is technically a private place.
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Old June 16, 2009, 08:03 AM   #4
OuTcAsT
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The property is "owned" by the Federal Government, and the city housing authority is considered the DeFacto "tenant"
as such, they can ask for this kind of enforcement. the "city streets" contained within are considered to be a part of that property. This is really nothing new.
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Old June 16, 2009, 08:53 AM   #5
Dr. Strangelove
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A similar issue became a big deal in Florida several years ago. Seems developers were getting public money to build roads in their new subdivisions, which they then gated and refused access to anyone but residents. Some folks cried foul, with the result being some very unhappy residents in these expensive neighborhoods, as they had to allow anyone access.

Moral: if you want private roads, don't use public money to build them.
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Old June 16, 2009, 09:09 AM   #6
OuTcAsT
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I think the confusion here is the "community" being gated.
We are not talking about a bunch of private homes that a developer built on a public street, the OP refers to "public" or "housing projects" administrated by a housing authority. These properties are typically built with federal dollars, on federal land, to provide housing for folks who qualify for federal housing assistance. I don't think anyone loses by doing this.
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Old June 16, 2009, 11:28 AM   #7
bob.a
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There's a somewhat similar situation in downtown Silver Spring, MD. A developer had somehow acquired the rights to a previously public street. (I'm vague on the details, but here in Maryland, "Cradle of Graft", almost anything is possible except for an ordinary citizen to get a carry permit). A photographer was taking pics, and a private security cop came out and told him it wasn't permitted, as the street was private property. (!). It caused a bit of stink, but in true MD style I believe it ended up with the "owners" letting the picture-taking to go on, while the politicans who cut the deal blew smoke up everyone's skirts until there were enough serious issues intervening to take J Q Public's attention elsewhere.
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Old June 17, 2009, 04:29 PM   #8
Creature
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But the kicker here is that merely being on the STREET...a PUBLIC street, you risk being ticketed or arrested.
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Old June 17, 2009, 04:59 PM   #9
wickedrider
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Creature, this has been going on for over ten years. For a while, security guards were hired to police the areas. I'm not sure, but I think that the courts have supported the localities exercise of their police and community caretaker responsibilities. I agree with you that it seems implausible that one cannot walk on a public street at will. However, in an attempt to prevent crimes, i.e. drugs, murder, etc., they are restricting the time period during which the streets are open to the public. I guess it's akin to a public park being open during certain hours.

Perhaps in the long run it is saving tax dollars
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Old June 17, 2009, 05:13 PM   #10
OuTcAsT
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Quote:
But the kicker here is that merely being on the STREET...a PUBLIC street, you risk being ticketed or arrested.
Unless you are a resident of this particular community, it is not a public street, any more than my driveway is.

This development is owned by, and administrated by, the City of Portsmouth, The streets are considered a part and parcel of the development as a whole, and thus, can be treated the same as a "private" driveway. If you are so opposed to this, you should have disputed it during the vote.


Quote:
I guess it's akin to a public park being open during certain hours.
It is exactly the same authority.
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Old June 18, 2009, 04:05 PM   #11
Creature
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I see it now. You're right. Thanks for "re-calibrating" me!
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