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.