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February 28, 2009

KC must crack down on begging

Kansas City needs to get real about the people who beg day after day at intersections, on the Plaza and on highway ramps. Beggars are often substance abusers who are frustrated that social service programs don’t provide alcohol or recreational drugs. Folks who give to the beggars, while good-hearted, provide money for either alcohol or drugs, fueling the substance-abuse problems.

Kansas City should pass laws prohibiting street begging. Beggars are a traffic hazard. Begging can cause accidents at traffic lights by distracting drivers.

Beggars hurt commerce, tourism and the reputation of the city. Tourists on the Country Club Plaza are scared by the unsavory characters begging at the intersections.

Instead of falling for their ruse and giving street beggars money, take what you would have given them and spend it at one of the struggling businesses in the city. For the greater good, give a struggling business owner a much-needed foothold in tough economic times.

Bill O’Brien
Kansas City



There IS a law against pan-handling on the Plaza and you'll periodically see the Plaza Security force standing near a pan-handler like Plaza Jerry ("downpayment on a cheeseburger")... they no longer run them off.

I've stopped to speak with Jerry a few times and when I know he's going to be there for awhile, I'll bring him back a couple of $.99 cheeseburgers from McDonald's.

The thing is, Jerry has a story... and you can read it here:


Are you talking about the beautiful brown and white Pit bull with the jacket?


I'm waiting for the letter complaining about the panhandler accompanied by his dog -- a really nice looking well fed dog. How does he feed that dog? Does that dog have its shots? Does he have insurance in case that dog bites someone?

Cripes. If you see someone who looks really destitute and you want to know if they're a scam artist, go pick up some Burger KIng and take it back to them. If they thank you from the bottom of their heart, then you know they weren't going to buy drugs or booze with the 25 cents you might have given them.

I got that bit of advice from a director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless a long time ago.



We should also ban oxygen, wind, rain, dirt, hail, tornado's, snow, vermin, winter, weeds, body odor, menstrual cycles and stupid opinions like yours.

They have all been around forever and are a fact of life.

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