Archive for Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Panhandling ordinance sees little action

August 8, 2007


Reader poll
How well does the city enforce its "aggressive panhandling" ordinance?

or See the results without voting


One year after the Lawrence City Commission passed an ordinance intended to stop aggressive panhandling, the panhandlers are still around - especially downtown.

"You can come down here any day and get asked for money. Any day of the week," said Ken Campbell, owner of Winfield House, 835 Mass.

Bob Schumm, owner of Buffalo Bob's Smokehouse, 719 Mass., agreed.

"I've been approached quite a few times myself during the past year," Schumm said. "I've called the police on some people who are aggressive when you say 'no thank you' and they have some foul response for you."

Five citations have been written for panhandling in the past year, according to Municipal Court records. Of those, four were dismissed and one is pending. City prosecutor Jerry Little was not in the office Tuesday so no other details about the cases were available.

But at least one Lawrence city commissioner, who owns a downtown business, doesn't think five citations accurately portrays the scope of the city's panhandling problem. And City Commissioner Mike Amyx encourages anyone who thinks they've been the target of an aggressive panhandler to call police.

The Lawrence ordinance, which was passed in July 2006, makes it a misdemeanor if someone aggressively panhandles on a public sidewalk. Aggressive panhandling could be construed as someone who continues to ask for money after they've been told "no."

The city does not bar all panhandling, although it is prohibited next to an ATM and a few other places where people could feel threatened, said Scott Miller, an attorney in the city's legal services office.

In April, Kansas City, Mo., approved a new panhandling law - a law its police department says it won't enforce. Top police officials say the law - which, like Lawrence's ordinance, bars aggressive panhandling - is unconstitutional.

But it sets broad definitions of panhandling and restricts other types of panhandling from certain areas of Kansas City. Asking for a handout is allowed in most of the city, but not on the Plaza or in Westport, for example.

"The new (Kansas City) law doesn't share a lot in common with our ordinance," Miller said.

The Lawrence ordinance is similar to one Kansas City had from 1996 until it recently was repealed, Miller said. That law was being enforced, he said.

Anyone convicted of aggressive panhandling in Lawrence would face a fine and possible jail time. Because it is likely the violator won't have the money to pay the fine, that person could be ordered to perform public service work.

Amyx, owner of a Massachusetts Street barbershop, said he knows panhandling remains a problem downtown.

"I encourage everyone to call the police and let them take care of it," he said. "I think one of the things that needs to happen is I need to sit down with (city) staff and the police department to find out why more people aren't being charged if, in fact, calls are being made."

Schumm and Campbell said they have called police about some panhandlers. They said they didn't always pay attention to see whether officers arrived or whether anyone was cited. Sometimes officers have talked with them after responding.

Police Sgt. Paul Fellers said officers respond to panhandling calls, just like any other complaints they receive.

"If an individual calls we'll investigate it, and if there is reason to believe (a violation) occurred, then we can take action," he said. "We'll talk to the reporting party and see if there are any witnesses."


leadrain 10 years, 7 months ago

Please Don't Feed The Animals: They'll only begin to EXPECT you to.

Nikki May 10 years, 7 months ago

I've never encountered "aggressive panhandlers". Seriously, most of the people I see just sit there and don't even ask for money. The ones that have asked just ask and you say you don't have anything they leave you alone.

Crossfire 10 years, 7 months ago

I'd still rather buy a bum a beer than deal with the little westboro freds ranting on the corner.

doc1 10 years, 7 months ago

OUr Police Department is overun by stupid calls from everyone with a cell phone these days. You add that they go from call to call and have no time to followup on the reports they have already taken and you will scratch your head and wonder why the City refused to hire more of them.

mick 10 years, 7 months ago

I don't expect anyone to understand.

KUDB99 10 years, 7 months ago

Just another good reason why homeless shelters shouldn't be located by in busy downtown areas. Here's an idea, let's require Wal-mart to build a shelter next to their new store on the outskirts of town. Who knows, they may just have some potential labor to be found within the shelter.

mick 10 years, 7 months ago

You would have had to been there. Ha ha.

packrat 10 years, 7 months ago

I'm learning to play the classical guitar. Someday I'm going to go to the South Park and play just to see what happens

Susan Mangan 10 years, 7 months ago

For what it's worth, I respect people playing instruments for money. They show initiative and are working for money. That's commendable, in my opinion.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 7 months ago

Duffman There would be no logical purpose in me responding to all that you've posted, as none of it has anything to do with me or anything that I've posted... It's all about you... all in your head...

You assume everything about others and are blind to your own follies...

StirrrThePot 10 years, 7 months ago

Yet another good reason not to carry cash, except maybe a few coins for the parking meter. I'll even show them my empty wallet if they don't believe me.

Duffman 10 years, 7 months ago

Wow SITM more avoidance you are dumb .......if you read over all our post you will see that it is you who "assume everything about others and are blind to your own follies:" Good luck with your avoidance issues.

p.s. stop giving beggars money!

geekin_topekan 10 years, 7 months ago

Some of them DO accept Visa or Mastercard for your convenience!

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 7 months ago

Duffman You're just complaining about things that you bring on yourself... A lot of that happens here in the comments section...

allateup 10 years, 7 months ago

my kids "panhandle" me daily.....rightthinker your post brought a smile to my face :)

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 7 months ago

Duffman I think I see why you have a problem with beggars... You seem to have a rather short fuse... I'm guessing that you've been the cause of your negative experiences... I've been going downtown for 30 years and have NEVER had a problem...

And it's your choice not to go downtown... don't blame others for your fear...

herman 10 years, 7 months ago

Panhandlers are everywhere, but especially around 10th and Mass. I wonder why. Could it be that this is the closest busy street corner to the LCS so they don't have to walk as far? No, that would be too easy of an answer don't you think?

Look at this poll! And we want to "preserve" our downtown by not building another Walmart? Whatever folks; people don't come downtown because they don't want to be panhandled and getting yelled at by the "people in need" residing at the LCS if they don't give them a buck. People with little children are just scared.

Give me a freking break! The LCS is full of criminals, and in the meantime the people that REALLY need help and are TRULY homeless don't want to stay at the LCS, because they are scared as well!

The police wants to clean up the mess we have, but our leaders at city hall don't want to do a thing because politically the subject is too loaded!

Ragingbear 10 years, 7 months ago

People who never have any money are not frightened from fines.

Scott Tichenor 10 years, 7 months ago

I'm tired of being asked. I don't want to be asked. I live near downtown so I walk there a lot. It's just wrong that this city does nothing about it.

lunacydetector 10 years, 7 months ago

my wife is pregnant, we're in town for a doctor's appointment, we don't have any money for gas, my wife is diabetic and needs ice for her medication, my friend left me stranded in town because i couldn't make it to his car in time when he left because i was visiting friends and lost track of time and i need money for bus a Christian man could you please help out a brother in need?....Jesus was homeless....

i've heard them all. these vagrants also like to hang out at convenience stores.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 7 months ago

punkrockmom Same for me... I'm downtown a lot and I've never been hassled... or experienced any "aggression"... I wonder about those who do have bad experiences... Maybe some of the panhandlers can sense something about some people and decide that they want to push their buttons... ~shrug~

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 10 years, 7 months ago

People who never have any money are not frightened from fines.

Which is why public service work is a better option. Panhandlers absolutely hate physical labor, so this may be the best deterrent.

lunacydetector 10 years, 7 months ago

pass an ordinance making it illegal to give money to panhandlers, then post signs throughout downtown saying, "It is illegal to give money to panhandlers." that might chase them off.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 7 months ago

"b3 (Anonymous) says: Throw them in the slammer and lose the key."

That cost you the taxpayer about a $100 per day.......

jumpin_catfish 10 years, 7 months ago

my wife and i were approach downtown by two young men asking for money. i asked them if they were hungry and they answered yes. i told them we'd buy them lunch at which point they became upset and said they only wanted money to get a "buzz" to which we moved on quickly. this was around noon on a saturday. the city (police) should sweep down mass. street on a regular basis and keep the transients moving along. frustrate their panhandling efforts enough maybe they will get the message and leave town. i no longer offer change or assistance to these types of folks and we avoid downtown after dark. will it take some innocent person getting hurt to stir some action in this town? get them off the streets!

Duffman 10 years, 7 months ago

Good people of Lawrence... please do not give any beggars money when you are downtown... there is an abundance of food available all over downtown. AS for aggression ... punkrockmom and ITM probably have never said "NO" or "I'm not your buddy"..or "there is plenty of food available all over this area and at least three places that provide food daily" If you took the overall cost of pan handlers to tax paying citizens you would never give them money. Take the chum out of the water and the sharks will swim away. As I see it givers are the problem and they should be shunned!

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 7 months ago

Duffman ~chuckle~ I say "no" to panhandlers all the time... but I certainly don't harass them by telling them where they can get food... That's just plain stupid and asking to be harassed back...

Panhandlers... beggars... or whatever you care to call them have been a part of city life as long as there have been cities... For those don't want to deal with it it's probably best if they don't come downtown...

Duffman 10 years, 7 months ago

I might have said it better last time! Here is my old post.



I took a walk with my wife, a few nights ago, and she said "I would be scared to walk down here alone" because there were so many "homeless" 20 somethings.

I tell ya people I have my own idea how to solve this problem. If I had the time I would do my best to stop everyone from giving a bum ANY money. Lawrence provides food and shelter so if you give them money.... WHAT IS IT FOR? Drugs?

My whole life has been a struggle but I fought through and now I have a decent home, wife, life and JOB.

America is ripe for the picking and if you want it.... it is there for you to take..... just like you sorry saps giving those lazy your hard earned money.

Duffman 10 years, 7 months ago

SITM...... your an idiot ... Telling a homeless person where to find free food is not harassing them...and your solution of NOT GOING DOWNTOWN good idea...Hay stop eating your morning bowl of stupid and listen to what you are saying.....I pay for the area but I should let those who do not pay have free range and push me out?...SITM if you say NO enough you will be harassed(simply asking for money is a form of harassment) will feel threatened... and unfortunately it will take some eye popping negative experience like this for you to come around to my way of thinking.

PatKirk 10 years, 7 months ago

I don't go downtown very often, but it seems to me someone playing an instrument with a hat on the ground is a different category than someone who wants to get a "buzz" and taps you on the shoulder (very scarey). The musician is trying to give you some return on your money.

Why not have a special place for the people who play instruments - maybe South Park? so they won't block the walk. People might even seek them out if they are good at what they are doing.

As for the others, the Salvation Army and Leo Center are better places to give your money.

geekin_topekan 10 years, 7 months ago

Too many panhandlers downtown anymore.Used to be that I could make 20-30 bucks a day easily!Take a couple of friends to the bar till we got shut off,usually after our second round.Than a "traveler"(plastic 1 liter of potato sqeezin's)would get me primed for another night of harvest from the good people downtown. That was when there was only about 2-3 of us at any given time.Today?The market is saturated.too many 20somethings trying to find America.Chaps with no background.Amatuers.

bugmenot 10 years, 7 months ago

I agree so much with this statement: simply asking for money is a form of harassment. Bums and vagrants drive away customers, whether they are sitting quietly with a sign, calling out to people, or following people down the street. I remember one guy who would come up to you and bother you if you were eating in an outdoor patio. My husband and I just decided outdoor patios weren't worth it after a couple of times with him. He just lurked there and wouldn't leave us alone, even after we told him to leave. I don't care which way they ask, their very presence makes Lawrence look like a shantytown and is off-putting to most shoppers. Why would you give these people money?!

Duffman 10 years, 7 months ago

SITM.... again...... "Stop eating your morning bowl of stupid"...."don't blame others for your fears"... Never said I was scared. My problem is not and has never been with beggars it is with those who support them. Man you're dumb. Maybe even too dumb to know you're being harassed. All I am asking is "Good people of Lawrence: please do not give any beggars money when you are downtown:" SITM If you say no ever time then peace, love and happiness to ya.

bugmenot 10 years, 7 months ago

They'll chase them out of stores and restaurants if they're not buying anything (except Qdoba. They ALWAYS let these people hang around in there doing nothing.) They can't really say what to do on a public sidewalk, except directly outside their storefront. If they move them along, they'll just go to the store next door.

I honestly don't know why downtown merchants don't do anything; we don't like going downtown because of how many more beggards there are now than even 3 or 4 years ago.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 7 months ago

Duffman Peace, love and happiness... if I do what you say...? ~chuckle~

I'll say it again... I think I know why you get hassled... or at least feel like you're being hassled...

Take responsibility for your own emotions and actions... let the rest of us do the same...

Peace, love and happiness... whether you take my advice or not...

Susan Mangan 10 years, 7 months ago

I've lived in Lawrence for 19 years and, admittedly, shop downtown only once or twice a year, on average. I had never even been approached by a panhandler until about 2 years ago. The very first time I was ever asked for money was when I was with my 2 year old daughter and had to explain to her why someone kept bothering us for money. It made me nervous in the middle of a Saturday afternoon and it just scared my daughter. We didn't even have enough change to let my daugther ride the tiny carousel downtown without another child on it...we split the cost :-). But we and the other family finally had to drag our kids away from the angry and unsulting man, while trying to teach her to not judge people based on their appearance, at the same time. After going 17 years without being approached, it's become routine for the few times I've ventured down there since...every time during the daylight hours. There is clearly a problem there.

Ceallach 10 years, 7 months ago

glock: some of the businesses do take action to protect the public.

While I am happy for those who are never panhandled, I have not been so lucky. I am sooooo thankful to a young man who was working at Wheatfields. A homeless man, very large and very drunk, kept blocking my way to the door as he ranted about my thinking I was better than him, because he knew I must have money and just think I'm better than him. I was on my way to meet a friend early on Saturday morning, I had tried the "No, sorry" when he asked me for money, but he stepped in front of me and kept stepping closer so that I had to back up to keep him out of my face. Just before I hit full panic mode the employee stepped out, held the door open and said, "may I get the door for you?" As I passed by he informed me that he had called the police. Halfway through my scone and coffee the police arrived (probably 30 minutes later) and of course the man had moved on. BTW, I was dressed in jeans, sweatshirt and no make-up. I am not a person who by actions or demeanor reflects either wealth or victim mentality.

There are some very aggressive people living on our streets. Lawrence has become their nesting ground and something should be done to change that.

Duffman 10 years, 7 months ago

OK SITM....for the last time you are an idiot....You said "I say "no" to panhandlers all the time:" you say no to you are already under my power...

Being asked for money is "being hassled" this is not a deep seeded emotion only a fact.

"Take responsibility for your own emotions and actions:" This might be the only smart thing you said all morning. If you give these people money then they feel they have the right to keep asking and they don't.

What advice? To stay away from Mass.? So avoidance is you solution?

Here is a small lesson on avoidance..... Description In avoidance, we simply find ways of avoiding having to face uncomfortable situations, things or activities. The discomfort, for example, may come from unconscious sexual or aggressive impulses. Avoidance may include removing oneself physically from a situation. It may also involve finding ways not to discuss or even think about the topic in question. Example I dislike another person at work. I avoid walking past their desk. When people talk about them, I say nothing. Avoidance is a simple way of coping by not having to cope. When feelings of discomfort appear, we find ways of not experiencing them. According to the dynamic theory, avoidance is a major defense mechanism in phobias. Procrastination is another form of avoidance where we put off to tomorrow those things that we can avoid today.

SITM some words to live by "Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt"

Ceallach 10 years, 7 months ago

VOR: it's also important to teach children danger signs regarding people in public areas. I reserve the right to "judge" whether or not I need to avoid being anywhere near someone who is obviously drunk and dirty. Now I do not even answer someone asking for money. It may be their "right" to talk to me, but it's also my "right" not to talk to them. Judging is not always negative, sometimes it's just good old common sense.

Susan Mangan 10 years, 7 months ago

Ceallach -

Actually, I absolutely agree with you. I guess I didn't make myself clear. At 2 years old, seeing a "scary looking man" is really frightening and 2 year olds can't really discern between one "scary looking person" and another. We were trying, for our daughter's benefit, to teach her that not all "scruffy-looking" people, with long hair, beards, etc. are bad. My husband falls into that category...LOL. My point was just that it's difficult to comfort a child that age who is scared of a scary man, when they aren't terribly capable of understanding who is "good" or "bad" and why, solely based on appearances. I absolutely reserve the right to judge people based on a number of factors. My husband is a wonderful man (and father), but police have pulled him over before just because he has long hair and a beard. He's never had a single ticket. That's why we try to teach our daughter not to judge someone based solely on appearance. But it irritates me that I have to worry about that, at all, just because we're heading downtown and might run into aggressive panhandlers. I shouldn't have to worry about that, nor should my daughter. We have an ordinance that should be enforced.

Confrontation 10 years, 7 months ago

About a year ago on Mass Street, my spouse received a comment from some homeless guy. My spouse is not white, and the homeless man insinuated that my spouse didn't belong in this country. We got a good ol' laugh out of it, which we displayed in front of this idiot. My spouse has a job and actually gives something back to this community. This homeless fool, who quite possibly needs some heavy meds, gives nothing other than a headache to the Lawrence community and this country. I choose to avoid Massatransient Street as much as possible.

Ceallach 10 years, 7 months ago

VOR: I think it is terrible that young mothers have to worry about this. It's must be easier for men to stand their ground with panhandlers than for women. So, lacking the amount of testosterone needed to do so, I avoid them as much as possible.

Duffman: I don't think my actions are due to unconscious sexual or aggressive impulses :- guess I cannot be 100% sure, I may just be in denial :):)

bugmenot 10 years, 7 months ago

Seriously, the "musicians" are not that good in a lot of cases. I saw a dude playing a bucket like a drum once, and badly, I might add. I realize there's a fine line between charming street entertainment and begging, and that may be what makes this ordinance difficult to enforce. If I were panhandling and saw the cops coming, I'd grab the first thing I could reasonably pretend was musical in nature and claim I was putting on a show. I think the thing to do is to make street musicians get licenses, nominally-priced, and sit them in their hats/cases so people know they aren't just more creative beggars than most.

lynnd 10 years, 7 months ago

woman shoots panhandler dead for asking for a quarter,2933,292560,00.html

sorry if this link was already posted here!

suesay 10 years, 7 months ago

Here in Lincoln Nebraska, a group from the University of Nebraska together with the city has made campaign posters that are all over downtown to discourage people from giving money to panhandlers. They have a picture of a person holding a hand written sign on a piece of cardboard. The sign says something along the lines of "I don't really need your change, I just need change". The news paper ran a coinciding article explaining how giving spare change doesn't help and other things you could do to help instead. The posters also have a little summary of why you shouldn't give money to the panhandlers. I think that was a good idea. I've seen a lot of people reading the posters downtown.

mick 10 years, 7 months ago

"The tar in the street starts to melt from the heat and the sweat's running down from my hair.I've walked twenty miles and I'm dragging my feet- I'll walk twenty more I don't care. I wander this world, wander this world all alone. I'm like a ghost some people don't see, others just drive by and stare- a shadow that drifts by the side of the road and it's like I'm not even there. I wander this world all alone. I've never been a part of the game, the life that I live is my own. All that I know is that I was born to wander this world all alone. Some people were born with their lives all layed out and all their success is assured. Some people work hard all their lives for nothing they take it and don't say a word. Some times it's like I don't even exist- even God has lost track of my soul. Why else would He leave me out here like this to wander this world all alone. And I wander this world, wander this world all alone." -Johnny Lang The ones who really need help are the ones who never ask and you probably never see. That's a good reason not to give to the panhandlers. They just make it worse.

TheHeartlessBureaucrat 10 years, 7 months ago

I'm downtown a lot and I have the luxury of not having to get all dressed up and rich looking for I RARELY get get hassled for money. When someone does ask, I cheerfully say, "Sorry man, I'm broke too!" and I keep walking.

I've been in a lot of towns where panhandling is very aggressive. It's not as bad here as some places...worse than others.

I also appreciate the fact that folks are differentiating between street performers and panhandling.


mick 10 years, 7 months ago

These guys are just predators. I spent one night in a shelter and it was preferable for me to stay out in the rain with pneumonia. The people who ran it were wolves in sheeps clothing and those who stay there thrive in that environment. I went to the Topeka VA for my pneumonia and they showed me the door. I finally got help at the Leavenworth VA but I will never be the same. I was angry and upset at the OKC bombing but when 911 came I did not care one bit and I still don't. I don't expect anybody to care or even believe me. There is no help out there, people. My experience is not that unusual.

jdannebohm 10 years, 7 months ago

Just saw this in the Wichita Eagle : thought I would share as it loosely relates to the subject at hand.

Homeless man arrested at downtown library by stan finger The Wichita Eagle

A homeless man was subdued and arrested for a series of offenses at the downtown library Tuesday afternoon, Wichita police said.

The incident began at about 3:20 p.m. when a library patron reported that a man had been touching himself inappropriately in back aisles of the ground floor, Lt. Jeff Weible said.

When a librarian took the 58-year-old man by the elbow in an effort to escort him from the building, Weible said, the man reached behind his back.

"The librarian thought he was going to get punched," Weible said.

But a security guard saw that the man had pulled a knife out of his pocket and was preparing to slash at the librarian with it. The guard intervened to protect the librarian, Weible said, and had to deploy his Taser before the man stopped resisting.

The knife had a blade that was at least 2 inches long, Weible said. The homeless man was booked on suspicion of lewd and lascivious conduct, aggravated battery and other charges.

The librarian was not hurt.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or

FormerCentralKansan 10 years, 7 months ago

We should replace the term "panhandler" with "jobless bum" from now on. "Panhandler" sounds a little too formal for me.

mick 10 years, 7 months ago

I wish upon bugmenot the experience so heshe will come to the experience I'm talking about.

lawrencechick 10 years, 7 months ago

Close the open shelter and 80% of these people will bug another town! The Salvation Army shelter is the only one we should have.

mick 10 years, 7 months ago

Amen. The Salvation Army are good people. There's is the best program.

50YearResident 10 years, 7 months ago

I was downtown earlier this year at 12 noon window shopping. In front of Weavers laying on the sidewalk and covered with a blanket sound asleep was a female vagrant. People had to walk around her to get past. Nobody seemed to care as there was a lot of foot traffic. So I sat on the beanch nearby to see if someone would ask/tell to move on, no not one soul interviened including myself. Then another bum crossing the street came up to me and asked for some change to "buy some coffee". I sent him on his way by telling him to "get a job" This got rid of him and me too. No more window shopping that day. There were 2 more bums harrassing people getting on and off at the T-stop at the corner of 9th & Mass.

50YearResident 10 years, 7 months ago

Leo and his farmall tractor and pedal car always selling something. A long time fixture downtown untill somebody mugged him and caused his death.

geekin_topekan 10 years, 7 months ago

Marion,when is this event and what are you going to call it? I routinely practice handing out free vodka but never to the masses.Sounds like fun. Please advise.

mick 10 years, 7 months ago

I think it's time we stopped attracing the pigeons and started taking care of our own.

matahari 10 years, 7 months ago

Wow, I didn't realise that panhandling could turn away and keep so many tight fisted lawrencians at home and out of my way while I am trying to navigate downtown driving...guess I'll go down and do a little freeloading.

mick 10 years, 7 months ago

matahari- do you want to support this lifestyle?

Remy 10 years, 7 months ago

The "homeless" asking for money have plenty of services available to them in this city. If you want to help them, please give to the charities that help the homeless. I live on Mass and walk by the same guys every day. If a dollar really "helped" them, they would be on to greater things by now.

tir 10 years, 7 months ago

Leo Beuerman was an independent businessman, although his physical handicaps were severe. He never asked for anyone's charity, and steadfastly refused to accept donations when they were offered. He earned every penny from the sale of pencils and other small items, and took great pride in being self-sufficient. From birth, Leo was faced with nearly overwhelming challenges, but he overcame them with great courage and dignity. Centron made a documentary about him, directed by Herk Harvey, that won an Academy Award for best documentary short of 1969. Everybody should see this film--it's an inspiration.

TheHeartlessBureaucrat 10 years, 7 months ago

My folks remember Leo. He died shortly after I was born so I don't remember him.

His mind was sharp and he had severe physical limitations.

So when we have the reverse...the limitations are on the inside, they're less likely to look like they "deserve" help.

So, therefore, folks who are so mixed up that they are really only 50% in reality should just try harder. Sure, I don't like to give money out because I don't have enough for my own children. But I do not feel like I can dehumanize these folks. I don't deny that there is laziness and people who manipulate. If y'all knew what I do for a living, it would lend a bit more credibility to that statement. But we must look at each individual as an individual and not as a group in order to find the right solution.


Matt Toplikar 10 years, 7 months ago

I've lived in Lawrence my whole life and have spent the last six years working and living near downtown. I can't say that I like being asked for money, but I guess it doesn't bother me enough to get the police involved. If someone actually feels threatened it's a whole different story, but I'd say for the most part, our homeless community is a pretty harmless bunch of crazies. I think I've never had any panhandler become hostile to me because I'm never hostile to them. All you have to do is nicely say "Sorry, I don't have anything right now." and they move on to the next person. If you want to talk about aggressive panhandlers go to a big city. The last time I was in New York I had a guy follow me for a whole block and he was getting really angry when I didn't give him any money. I was never mean to him, and eventually he just went on his way. Obviously there are going to be exceptions to the whole "respect others and you'll be respected" philosophy, but for the most part it works pretty well. (Well... maybe not always on Journal World comment boards)

Emily Hadley 10 years, 7 months ago

"the city (police) should sweep down mass. street on a regular basis and keep the transients moving along"

Good god, what has Bush done to you all? You want this?? I don't want this. I don't want to pay for this. The same people who scoff at the ridiculous idea of paying a meter maid all night for more meter revenue somehow have no problem with a shoulder-to-shoulder police brigade marching down Mass St., roughing up anyone who is sitting on a bench without an ice-cream cone and a new pair of shoes.

I would rather do away with my daily Funeral Insurance/Satellite TV/Disney vacation salesmen, Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and junk mailers than give a mouse's behind what people are doing when I am downtown. Those other people bother me much more frequently, much more aggressively, and much more personally than anyone hoping for a simple handout on the corner.

If you think the world should be cleared, paved, scrubbed in front of you as you walk through it, then you REALLY need to get out of the Midwest for a bit and get over yourself just a little. We are all sharing this world, downtown Lawrence included.

Like the song says, 'You better take a look at the real world, 'cause this ain't no Mr. Roger's neighborhood...'

countryman1 10 years, 7 months ago

The aggressors have their locations. Try Taco Bell on 6th, or the liquior store across from Taco Bell, and McDonalds on 6th st. They will curse you with all kiinds of language, especially after they are told No. Also, Walgreens at 6th And Kasold. A man and a lady works that area. It does appear that more and more of them are finding Lawrence home.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.