That’s Uber Unfair

Grind for September 7th, 2018
“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”

– Henry Ford

Basic Rights

The Headline

9th Circuit Court: Cities can’t punish people for being homeless
The Grind

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that cities cannot prosecute people for sleeping on the street if they have nowhere to go. Doing so amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, which is illegal under the US Constitution.

“Just as the state may not criminalize the state of being homeless in public places, the state may not criminalize conduct that is an unavoidable consequence of being homeless – namely sitting, lying, or sleeping on the streets,” wrote Judge Marsha Berzon.

The ruling followed a lawsuit filed by six homeless people from Boise, Idaho, who sued the city in 2009 over a local law banning people from sleeping in public areas.

At the time, there were about 4,500 homeless people living in Boise. The city’s homeless shelters had space for only 700 people – and only if those people met certain conditions, including religious participation.

The Details

Tuesday’s ruling has the potential to affect several West Coast cities struggling with increasing homelessness brought on by rising housing costs.

Sara Rankin, a professor at the Seattle University School of Law and director of its Homeless Rights Advocacy Project, hopes the ruling will force cities to address housing shortages and increasing homelessness.

“I think it’s finally common sense,” said Rankin. “There are certain life-sustaining activities that people can’t survive without doing. It’s a really important recognition that people have to be able to legally exist and survive somewhere.

Of course you can’t prosecute someone for being homeless.

Capitalism is the most productive economic system ever invented, but it has a flaw in that some individuals will fail, and will fail hard enough to lose their homes. This is inevitable and must be dealt with.

These people should be helped back into society with education and job training, not arrested and thrown into jail.

Hit The Breaks

The Headline

Uber to ban riders with low ratings

The Grind

Uber announced a series of changes to its app on Wednesday, including a feature that will block customers with low ratings from obtaining rides.

Starting September 19th, Uber riders in Australia and New Zealand will be blocked from the app for 6 months if their rating drops below 4 stars.

“Ideally, we don’t want people to lose access, we just want an environment of mutual respect,” says Australia-based Uber executive Susan Anderson.

“To get to a number as low as 4 there really needs to have been multiple instances of 1-star ratings, and complaints from a number of different drivers,” says Anderson. The policy will impact only a “small percentage of riders who are persistently not treating drivers with respect.”

The Details

Behaviors that could affect your Uber rating include:

— Requesting to be picked up at unsafe locations, such as no-stopping zones

— Refusing to greet your driver

— Starting inappropriate conversations

— Requesting unplanned stops

— Slamming the door

— Leaving trash in the car

— Being a back seat driver

The company has also reminded users about its no sex rule, which states it is inappropriate for riders to comment on a driver’s appearance, ask about relationship status, or arrange a personal visit after the ride has been completed.

Other changes designed to improve safety and efficiency include 2-factor login, real-time insurance information, and erasing riders’ pickup and drop-off addresses. It is unclear whether Uber plans to introduce the same changes in the United States.

Did you know… Even Antarctica has an area code. It’s 672.