Madison Mayor Paul Soglin wants to ban sleeping on downtown sidewalks during certain hours. During debate on that issue at Tuesday’s city council meeting, Soglin said he’s researched the idea.
“I’ve talked to psychiatrists, and they have said repeatedly that except for schizophrenics, most people with mental health problems need rules and have to take some degree of responsibility,” the mayor said.
The city council shot down Soglin’s plan on an 11-7 vote. Opponents say the measure doesn’t provide solutions, but pushes homeless people out.
“When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” said Alder Mark Clear. “When all you have is ordinances and police, everything looks like something that should be enforced through ordinances and police. I think we should choose a different way, a way to ensure that we do not have people sleeping on our sidewalks or on the streets or in our parks.”
Soglin attempted passage of a similar measure last year with similar results.