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April 08, 2007

Panhandling ordinance

I recently saw a homeless man who was holding up his ragged cardboard sign while standing at a busy midtown intersection. I walked up, handed him a dollar, and chatted for a bit. He wasn’t drunk, disorderly, or aggressive — just broke, discouraged and down on his luck.

Once in my life, he could have been me.

Since the Kansas City Council has passed the proposed panhandling ordinance, it is now illegal for him to stand where he was standing, asking for money.

If this had happened a few days later, he would have been subject to rousting by the police, perhaps even arrest.

If he was panhandling on the Plaza, in Westport or at Zona Rosa, he wouldn’t even have been permitted to speak to me.

Maybe he’s one of the Veterans Affairs-estimated 195,000 homeless veterans on any given night. How easily yesterday’s “heroes” become today’s pariahs.

Can’t we at least dispense with the hypocrisy? This ordinance is not about public safety, as stated. This issue is merchants’ concern for appearances, for sanitized shopping venues where paying customers won’t have to confront the stark realities about our city.

Shame on all of us.

Bob Savino
Kansas City

Comments

nosheepleallowed

As they say, "One bad apple ruins the barrel". I have NEVER had one take me up on a meal. Not to say I do not still try to help others less fortunate, i will not GIVE MONEY away. if people can not accept provisions, then they deserve what they get. Like an ex-wife bitching becuase you won't Lucky Brand becuase it is ignorant ot spend frivolously, then the courts saying that it is a prefectly acceptable entitlement.

CRD

I've bought panhandlers food, and I've been thanked. I've also offered to buy and been turned down. I figure that making the offer separates those who truly need a bite to eat from those who are just trying to score a few bucks for whatever.

nosheepleallowed

Sophie try offering a panhandler a meal, they will teall you to **** yourself!
They do NOT want money for food.
I used to be much more sympathetic until I was turn away several times offering to buy a meal instead of giving money.
You see providing is one thing, simply giving money for reckless entitlement thinkers to use on whatever they choose is something entirely different. Panhandling is not just homeless street people either, family courts, the IRS, churches and poltiicians are all panhandlers when comes right down to it. Not all of the homeless are in this boat, there are many that have mental illnes and can not get the help they need because they do not "qualify", the majority of homelss are men. I wonder why.

Sophie Demartine

The Sheeple are so scared they want everything to be handled by the police.

Panhandlers are not and should not be a problem for the police.

They are generally psychologically imbalanced and are victims of some injustice or another. The people should create social services to take care of panhandlers, this is NOT a police problem. Panhandlers are a barometer of the corruption and immorality in a society, there is a correlation between corruption and the number of panhandlers. If the society were more fair and just, there would be fewer panhandlers. A true Christian would not give a panhandler money or just ignore the panhandler a true Christian would take the panhandler to lunch or dinner and talk to the panhandler and try to help him (they're usually men for some reason), talking to the panhandler would do far more for him than just giving him a dollar. For all you Christians out there ask yourself what would Jesus do.

solstice

The new panhandling resolution is a step in the right direction (Star 3/29). Beggars add nothing to our city, and they need to be removed.

Street performers, like them or not, normally engage in some sort of activity that qualifies as "performance," i.e., juggling, playing music, etc. Sitting on a plastic bucket shaking a cup for money or begging for a cheeseburger does not qualify as performance. It is what it is...begging, and there is no place for it.

Having beggars standing at very busy intersections is a safety hazard and should be fought vigorously by the Kansas City Police. Panhandlers can be seen at high volume intersections such as 31st and Southwest Trafficway; Southwest Trafficway and Mill Street, 47th & Main; 6th and Broadway, Ward Parkway and/or JC Nichols Parkway and Southwest Trafficway, and others. They are there during the busiest hours of traffic and pose an unnecessary distraction to drivers passing by.

It seems a simple solution to assign police officers as they cruise their beats to simply pull over, flip on their lights, and roust any beggar who is standing at any traffic intersection. If they refuse to move, issue a citation and/or call the paddy wagon. A few instances of such rousting would make the point. If they show up again, do the same thing. Surely there are regulations preventing this sort of dangerous activity within the traffic flow.

It is hard enough driving through these busy intersections and negotiating the traffic without having someone yelling at you for money.

Sophie Demartine

Baudelaire, a poet from France encountered a panhandler in the street asking for money, he punched him the face and knocked him down, the panhandler got up and surprised asked why he punched him, Baudelaire punched him in the face again, the panhandler got up dazed and tried to speak again but Baudelaire knocked him down again, this time the panhandler got up and gave Baudelaire a good punch in the face and knocked Baudelaire down...from the ground Baudelaire said "now you are my equal" the panhandler was never again seen on the street asking for charity.

mike d

How horrible for a business owner to not want a person standing outside the establishment that they worked their rear-ends off for fleecing their customers.

"How shameful it is to be an American today."
What a pathetic statement. You know the door to the country swings both directions, feel free to use it if you cant take the "shame" of being here anymore

viet-vet1970

There are many reasons people are homeless, including addiction and mental illness. But a lot of people who COULD have homes don't have them for a very simple reason.

They want to do WHAT they want, WHEN they want without anybody telling them to -- no spouse, no boss, no charity worker.

Many of them have found they can get food, clothing and camping equipment from charities, plus an occasional shower. Beyond the basics, all they want is a little cash for some booze or drugs, provided by the kindly suckers who feel guilty because they are warm, clean and well-dressed in their cars.

As for getting money together for an apartment, most could earn it in a week by going to a day labor office and making themselves available to work.

That said, I don't mind the guys who just stand there with a sign. I just let somebody else support their vices.

DougS

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Poem on Statue of Liberty.

How shameful it is to be an American today. Narcissism rampant. Consumerism driving us into eternal debt (hell). And let's beat down the poor while we are at it. Whatever happened to compassion and love. We should all contact city hall and let them know how absolutely Un-American this ordinance is.

nosheepleallowed

So what about those that cry they are not being given enough entitlement money and choose to only work for $6 an hour, 1040 hours a year? These ladies are praise, glamourized and rewarded.
Maybe they should fall under the definition of panhandling.

nosheepleallowed

NO not go after but ensure that the word homeless is an option for veterans.
Zero reason any veteran that is asked or forced to serve (usually someone elses) country, to be without help.
We have millions to give the Iraqi INterior Ministry, millions for single moms, millions for Oprahs kids, millions for sports stadiums and squat for our veterans.
Then you have the Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney types that say "Screw'em, I need more money for me".......

CRD

"Absolutely we have homelss veterans, which should not even be permissable in this nation."

So we should go after homeless veterans? That may not be a good idea. Didn't you see First Blood?

BuddyT

Now you enforce it. Simple as that.

A little time on the farm will encourage the panhandlers to play there trade else where, or to seek gainful employment.

nosheepleallowed

The reality is that there are several scenarios with the "homeless".
Absolutely we have homelss veterans, which should not even be permissable in this nation. That just goes to show you how arrogant, mean and lame our government and society is. The next scenario is that "homeless" person parked their BMW down the street and simply panhandle becuase people are willing to buy into the story. The last scenario is that it is very likely if it is a male homeless person, they very well have had their lives taken from them by people like Bill Bradley, Jusge marco Roldan, Judge Nixon or Comissioner Rosen of the 16th Circuit in Jackson County. Unfortunately there are many that truly need some resources and diretcion to lead a better life, sad part is the system worries mroe about glamourizing and advocating divorce and vendication.

irishguy

Amen and well said, Mr. Savino.

Passing the anti-panhandling ordinance was the easy part. Now what?

 
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