Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Panhandling in the ‘hood

It is, perhaps, just another testimonial to Madison Park’s isolation from the normal froth of urban living that the sudden introduction of a panhandler into our midst should prove so disturbing—at least to some residents. As we reported last week, someone actually assaulted this guy, who has been cadging at the northeast corner of 41st E. and E. Madison for the past couple of weeks. The verbal and physical violence of that incident are certainly not reflective of our community values, and it appears that the perpetrator is not even a resident of the Park. But the assumption apparently underlying his deranged act—that beggars should not be seen on the streets of Madison Park—is a view that many people living here apparently either tacitly support or at least understand. One resident told me “we really shouldn’t allow it.” She was referring to panhandling, not physical assaults. And I’ve heard even more hard-hearted reactions from others who live here.

The man doesn’t seem to be particularly aggressive, or at least I’ve never seen him accost anyone. He’s the same guy, by the way, who used to sell Real Change newspapers in front of Bert’s (on the northwest corner of the same intersection). He told me that the management of Bert’s didn’t like him bothering their customers and asked him to move to a different location. When he moved across the street he didn’t take the papers with him, deciding that he would just ask people for money.

Is this a better-paying gigue than selling papers? He’s not saying, but the implication seems pretty clear. He could still sell papers if he wanted to, apparently. But he doesn’t. “I’m not sellin’ nothin’,” he told me, in a not belligerent way.

The guy who beat him up was hauled off to jail, and the signs that the attacker (or someone else) posted high on a telephone pole at that corner have since been removed. One sign read “The hungry 1s (ones) don’t beg.” This was the other sign:

Surely the grammatically challenged sign poster is not from around here!

[My apologies to that reader who took me to task earlier this year for my use of the term ‘hood when referring to Madison Park. When I do so, please believe me, it is entirely in the ironic sense.]


  1. The Panhandler, Ed, is a presentable and seemingly decent fellow. I suggested to himn that he ask Bert's for a job, as they know him and know that he is always on time. He told me that he has a wife and child, and that things are bad. Bert's - why not hire him!!!!!!!!

  2. Anybody who is offended by the use of the saying "the hood," should grow up and join the modern age!!!!!!! Most moderate idiots know what the phrase means!!! Get a life, people, and Ed, find a job - a lot of folks would like to hire you!!!

  3. As a former Madison Park resident and McGilvra alumni, its my opinion that Madison Park is the "Bellevue" of Seattle. Not exactly the most open-minded and tolerant of folks, unfortunately.

  4. Thank you for this post. It raises many interesting points.

    In general, I think Madison Park is quite a tolerant area. I have lived here for 40+ years and in that time, we have had at least two people I can think of that the community has "adopted." Paul, who lived in the neighborhood for 30+ years, worked at the Red Apple, directed traffic at every opportunity, and also helped out the lifeguards. There was also Charles, who came almost daily to Madison Park for many years and used to rake leaves and sweep the sidewalks.

    At face value, I have no problem with Ed being here. I choose not to support his enterprise, but I drive by him several times a day and have never seen him bother anyone. If he does, then the police should be called.

    On the other hand, I had a recent experience that has me far more worried about the person who assaulted him. I was shopping in a local store last week where he was rather loudly bragging about the assault and how he was still going to get rid of the panhandler.

    If there is someone we don't want around here, it is this person. Thankfully, the solution to both problems is easy. If you don't give money to the panhandler, he will have no reason to be here. Also, you could choose not to hire this landscaper (see previous post with Police report) and he will have no reason to be here, either. He doesn't seem like the kind of person you want to have a disagreement with.

    Again, thank you for the post and keep up the good work. Hope to see everyone at the picnic.

  5. the attack was not a madison park thing to do -- but he is the most aggressive and least friendly real change dude I've run unto. Real Change is a great thing - my wife and I buy a couple of duplicate papers a week to support the deal.

    He was not a good representative.

  6. There is NO "but" that excuses the attack on this individual in Madison Park or anywhere. Yes he seemed to be aggressive and not too friendly, but your NOT walking in his shoes trying to support a family!

    I too buy Real Change and I give the paper back to the vendor so he/she can sell it again!

    What is he not a good representative of, America today?

  7. Yes he seemed to be aggressive and not too friendly, but your NOT walking in his shoes trying to support a family!

    No, I'm trying to walk my family to the park, and being menaced by a a jackass who knows exactly how threatening he can act without getting the cops called on him.

    I bet everyone who's posted that this dude is friendly is male and large. Try walking by "Ed" as a small woman pushing a stroller. He's NOT a nice guy. He's a thug who doesn't have to threaten anybody explicitly because you all just roll over and hand him money.

    I don't want to live in a society where people get beat up on the street, but if you don't deal with obvious threats like Ed using legal and civilized methods then don't whinge when someone with more balls than sense kicks his ass. You all seem to have neither.

  8. I have to object to the person who said that he buys Small Change and gives it back so that it can be sold again--I think this sends a message that the paper is worthless which it definitely is not--it contains a lot of great articles and the point was supposed to be that the people selling it can take pride in it--give the "salesman" $5 instead of $1, but take the paper and read it! Regarding the "panhandler" in Madison Park and elsewhere in the city, I wish there was some way to determine who is truly needy and who is not, but you have to have sympathy for anyone who has to stoop to begging--it doesn't mean you have to give him or her anything, but anger seems totally inappropriate.

  9. Ummmmmmmm......same man repeatedly harassed me on the bus up to MP - and also commented to me as I walked into Bert's to shop "you're DEAD" - he needs mental health services, and should not be allowed to intimidate & threaten people trying to go about their business.


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