New Twist on Sleepless in Seattle

Article excerpt

A two-man city engineering crew hit the streets of downtown Seattle, posting signs banning people from sitting or lying on sidewalks during business hours.

Downtown resident Frederick Kubalick welcomed Wednesday's action, a prelude to police enforcement of the most strictly tailored ordinance in the nation to deal with people blocking sidewalks.

But Cameron Cook offered a different view. "In my opinion, it stinks," said Cook, 38, homeless because of drug and alcohol addiction.

Seattle's move to get tougher on the homeless came after a federal judge upheld the ordinance, clearing the way for city enforcement. It prohibits people from sitting or lying on sidewalks in the downtown and neighborhood commercial districts from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Kubalick thinks the law is a "damned good one." He said he is tired of seeing people sprawled on sidewalks and urinating and defecating in public. "I think it lowers the lifestyle of the people who live here," said Kubalick, 74, a retired nightclub owner.

But Cook said the law unfairly targets homeless people. "It's a free country. You should be able to sit or lie on the sidewalk if you're not bothering anyone. …