Friday, September 26, 2008

Florida City Considers Banning Panhandlers From Street Medians

It's a common sight in cities across the country — panhandlers risking injury or worse by standing in street medians begging motorists for change.

One Florida city is taking a stand that could make such activity illegal. But the ordinance proposed by St. Petersburg also would make the medians off limits for raising money for charitable causes, campaigning and selling newspapers.

"It's just not safe out there," Council Chair Jamie Bennett told Tampa FOX affiliate WTVT.

Members of the council said they have been getting a growing number of complaints from residents about people seeking handouts.

The problem seemed to escalate after panhandling was banned in most of downtown St. Petersburg.

James Ransom, who was asking for money Friday afternoon in one of the medians, told WTVT that the city is "taking away what little food money I can try to make. Like right now, I'm trying to make enough money to go to McDonald's."

Violations would carry fines of $50 to $500.

Yeah, lets FINE these people. Everyone knows they've got lots of income just lying around to pay violations.


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