Fresno shopping cart crackdown doesn't sit well with some on the streets

The Fresno BeeMarch 12, 2014 

Not surprisingly, proposals by city government to crack down on the use of shopping carts by recyclers and the homeless didn't get a resounding thumbs-up from those who wheel the seemingly ubiquitous vehicles through Fresno.

Many residents are both annoyed by the clatter of carts down neighborhood streets at all hours of the day and angered that some of them are used by thieves to carry off property. Their vexation reached the Fresno City Council last week, and the results are proposals that include banning shopping carts from city parks and putting more pressure on businesses to retrieve them.

At a corner of Blackstone and Barstow avenues, Brett Horgan weighed in on the issue while his small dog, seated in a shopping cart, yipped in the background.

"All they're doing is forcing my stuff off my cart," he said. "I need my cart for my dog."

Horgan said that if the city wants to get tough on the issue, it should focus on those who push multiple carts down the street.

"We make our own money," he added. "We're not copper wire thieves. Most of us out here are pretty good people."

That was echoed by Rocky Menacs, who was going through a Dumpster on Hedges Avenue in the Tower District as a resident who was putting something in a nearby bin glared at him.

"I don't want to go out and beg for money," he said. "I'd rather work."

Menacs added he only used unmarked shopping carts and didn't believe there was anything wrong with using a cart without identifying logos.

Susan Nazaroff, who was wheeling a cart through Roeding Park, took exception to the proposal to keep carts out of the park.

"I don't see anything wrong with it," she said. Nazaroff added she is not homeless and simply uses a cart to collect recyclables that she redeems for extra income.

Les Brown, who was dumping recycled cans from a cart at a center on Golden State Boulevard McKinley Avenue, said he sees using carts to be a matter of convenience. He drew a distinction, however, between recyclers and the homeless. He indicated the homeless should be allowed more leeway.

"That's their transportation," he said.

Reggianette Fowler, who was in front of the Poverello House in downtown Fresno, agreed.

"Are they (city government) gonna provide suitcases and duffel bags for us?" she asked. "They're taking everything from the homeless, but not giving us any option."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6339, jguy@fresnobee.com or @jimguy27 on Twitter.http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/03/06/3807818/fresno-city-council-approves-new.html

The reporter can be reached at jguy@fresnobee.com or at (559) 441-6339 or on Twitter @jimguy27

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