“But the sign says ‘Lounge’!” A member of the Boys in Blue private security firm hired by the Hillcrest Business Association informs a homeless African-American that he’s wandered into the wrong part of town, and had better keep on walking if he knows what’s good for him.
  • “But the sign says ‘Lounge’!” A member of the Boys in Blue private security firm hired by the Hillcrest Business Association informs a homeless African-American that he’s wandered into the wrong part of town, and had better keep on walking if he knows what’s good for him.
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Hillcrest Business Association Bill Nickels likes to think he is a friendly, tolerant individual. But he’s also a businessman, and as such, his tolerance has its limits. “People like me — normal, decent, hardworking Americans — have fought long and hard to make Hillcrest the kind of neighborhood where people want to live, eat, work, and play. And we are not about to surrender our neighborhood to an objectionable minority that wants to live however it pleases.”

Nickels is referring to the population of homeless who have recently taken up residence in Hillcrest after being pushed out of downtown by what some have called a discriminatory, harassing effort by police to get them out of the popular tourist district. Nickels says he sympathizes with their plight — “Nobody likes to be told they aren’t wanted,” he grants. But he also understands the police's point of view, so much so that he’s contracted with a private security firm to conduct regular sweeps to clear Hillcrest's streets of undesirables.

“Certain sorts of people are just bad for business,” he explains. "The way they dress, the way they smell, even the way they walk and talk — it makes the rest of us uncomfortable. I understand that they’re people and they have rights, but that doesn’t mean they have to go and get up in everybody’s face about it. I know it may sound harsh, but they’ll just have to do their dirty, filthy business somewhere else."

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Comments

shirleyberan July 23, 2016 @ 1:49 p.m.

Not enough parking for people or cars, in Hillcrest and OB. Better move business cause can't visit easily and safely like we used to.

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Geranium July 24, 2016 @ 1:55 p.m.

Is this article referring to Ben Nicholls the director of the Hillcrest Business Association? I assume so. Regardless who is being quoted in this article, my question of them is are they suggesting the homeless people in Hillcrest should go sleep on the rocks Mayor Faulconer but in East Village? Where do you suppose these people should go to not offend you, Bill or Ben or whomever you are? Behind a wall somewhere? Homelessness is a tragic and large problem that we all need to work together to solve and the attitude expressed in this article is not the solution. We need our civic leaders to do more than shuffle homelessness from one neighborhood to the next. The final quote in this article is one of the most horrifying and disgusting things I have heard or read since Trump last spoke.

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