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Archive for Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ordinance could silence panhandlers

Verbal solicitations for money would be outlawed

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday agreed to consider new regulations that would prohibit any panhandler, individual or charitable organization from verbally asking for money while on the public sidewalks of downtown.

November 12, 2008

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Panhandling could be banned downtown

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday agreed to consider new regulations that would prohibit any panhandler, individual or charitable organization from verbally asking for money while on the public sidewalks of downtown. Enlarge video

On the street

Do you give money to panhandlers?

No. I saw one on the street today smoking cigarettes and I thought if she can afford a four- or five- dollar pack of cigarettes she probably doesn’t need my money.

More responses

There soon may be a simple new rule for panhandlers in downtown Lawrence: Mum is the word.

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday agreed to consider new regulations that would prohibit any panhandler, individual or charitable organization from verbally asking for money while on the public sidewalks of downtown.

A majority of commissioners said they were willing to consider such an action because they have heard or seen panhandlers become a bigger problem downtown.

"I think it has escalated," Commissioner Sue Hack said. "I think it is becoming scary to people rather than just uncomfortable."

Commissioners asked staff to work on an ordinance that would make it illegal to verbally solicit for money on the public right of ways downtown. Commissioners said they wanted to find ways to make it legal for groups and charitable organizations - everybody from church groups to Girl Scouts - to continue to be allowed to use the sidewalks for fundraising.

But a staff attorney for the city said for the regulations to pass constitutional muster it would be necessary to treat panhandlers and other groups equally.

"The ordinance has to be content- and viewpoint-neutral," said staff attorney Scott Miller. "You can't allow one group to solicit contributions because you like its message, but not allow another group or individual to solicit contributions because you don't like their message."

Any new regulations, however, would not limit the ability of individuals or groups to "passively" solicit contributions. That means musicians and street performers could continue to perform on the sidewalk and accept tips in jars or open music cases as long as they don't verbally ask for tips.

Downtown merchants had asked for tougher regulations, but a representative with the Douglas County Chapter of the ACLU said he was concerned it would be an unreasonable restriction on people's First Amendment rights.

"As deeply as I care about downtown, I care about our country's Bill of Rights even more," said Phil Minkin, president of the Douglas County chapter of the ACLU. "I hope you don't feel compelled to sacrifice the latter to help the former."

Commissioner Boog Highberger was the lone commissioner to voice opposition to moving forward on the new regulations. Highberger said he thought more enforcement of the city's current aggressive panhandling ordinance was needed. That ordinance prohibits people from asking repeatedly for a donation, from touching a person while asking for a donation, or asking for donations near ATM machines.

In other business, commissioners:

l referred to the Community Commission on Homelessness the issue of whether a designated camping area for the homeless should be created in the city limits.

l were lukewarm to an idea to start a "good neighbor" program to remind people to shovel snow from their sidewalks. Instead, commissioners asked staff members to bring back options that would put more teeth into the city's current snow shoveling ordinance.

l unanimously approved a request to allow a developer to temporarily use eight parking spaces in the public lot in the 800 block of Vermont. The spaces will be used to store construction equipment for about nine months.

Comments

FMT6488 6 years, 1 month ago

I have been cursed at by panhandlers that I didn't give anything to. Have also had one ask me to give him the sandwich I had just bought as I was coming out of a restaurant. Have also had one try to grab my sandwich as I was going down Mass. (I sometimes get a sandwich on the way to work because I overslept - this practice is changing do to the current economy, though) I don't have a problem with them asking for money, but I don't want to be cussed at (or called foul names) because I didn't give them what they think I should have. Generally, I don't give money out to anyone - the few I do give handouts to tend to be "street musicians". I have little money to give to my bill collectors, let alone someone sitting on the sidewalk.

commonsense 6 years, 1 month ago

Just once I'd like to walk downtown Mass. and not be panhandled. I live downtown and it's a daily occurence. My retired parents are intimidated by the act and I can see them tense up as the panhandlers approach. They don't live here and they aren't used to it, but no one should have to get "used to it".

Jeteras 6 years, 1 month ago

Now wait a minute, I thought it was a law everywhere that you could not solicit people for money unless you had a permit and a legit reason.. i.e. scouts, fundraisers etc....You mean to tell me those no accounts have been doing this LEGALLY!?! what a joke,, geez no wonder they all come here,, legal panhandling, free campsites with power, free food. What the hell man get a freakin job!!!

Dan Alexander 6 years, 1 month ago

I am downtown daily and this has never bothered me for even a moment. Now when I lived in Chicago and there was that woman who had her sleeping bag on the sidewalk, who would yell at all the people now that did kind of bothered me, I still remember her scolding me for not giving her money. Or the time me and my friend almost got jumped by guys who appeared out of nowhere, thank god for that sanitation van that showed up. Now that bothered me. How many reports are there on the books where a pedestrian was actually injured or verbally assaulted by pan handlers? Pretend they are just asking you for the time. Have a little thicker skin. About the retired parents. They are probably a lot stronger than you think. Perhaps it's you who is tensing up. They on the other hand probably remember much scarier times. I don't think the minor interruptions are going to spoil their trip, besides they have their strong child to lead the way. Perhaps you should ask them if it is something that really bothers them. Don't forget that variety is the spice of life, and Downtown Lawrence is a vibrant place, and perhaps for some it does take some "getting used to". Humanity and community isn't all roses, ribbons, and rainbows. If you want gentrification go to Oak Park Mall, now that's what I call scary.

Red_Forman 6 years, 1 month ago

A legal opinion from Marion.... How much do you think it is worth? One cigarette or two?

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

and who elected the ACLU?they're nothing more than thugs threatening expensive legal torture to get their way and their agenda is very antiamerican.DA did you notice the "preview comment" stage in posting? kinda indicates you might not be a trusted source.parents shouldn't have to get used to it. I shouldn't have to worry about my wife's safety. if I bring out-of-town guests downtown, they shouldn't be hassled! you far left creeps defending the bums hitting people up for money, most likely for smokes, drugs, booze, "adult magazines" you fail to consider the effect this population is already having on downtown. you want downtown to thrive, thuggy bums aren't consistent with that! they drive people with money in their pockets to go elsewhere.

Dan Alexander 6 years, 1 month ago

...... I hate that the LJworld can edit their constant mistakes all day long but when I jack up my first sentence I can't go back and fix it. Why no edit feature LJ we all make mistakes.

JKBagby 6 years, 1 month ago

I was in Dallas Airport when American Airlines MD Super 80's were being pulled for inspection of thier wiring. THis was an FAA mandate, no warning. I stood in line next to a Vietnamese visitor to the states and a man in his seventies. We watched as our fellow Americans cried and moaned non-stop to AA employees about the inconvenience this caused. I was embarrassed that they did not deal with being taken out of their comfort zone very well. The older gentleman explained in a lively way to the Vietnamese visitor what exactly was going on. Some of us had a good laugh and crashed on the floor at DFW. Panhandlers may make some of us uncomfortable. Big Deal.

Phil Minkin 6 years, 1 month ago

Here is the existing ordinance on panhandling that I think is sufficent. Some of the problems with the proposed ordinance that would ban active panhandling(verbal request) include: If a street performer asks for a contribution(think balloon man, jugglers etc.) VIOLATION. A charitable group selling baked goods could be considered in VIOLATION(the city's staff attorney said they couldn't make exceptions) . At 9th and Mass. " Excuse me sir, would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?" VIOLATIONWe have an enforcement problem, not an ordinance problem.14-418 AGGRESSIVE PANHANDLING.(A) Definitions. For the purpose of this section: (Ord. 7891)(1) "Panhandling" shall mean any request for or solicitation of animmediate donation of money. A request or solicitation to purchase an itemfor an amount far exceeding its value, in circumstances where a reasonableperson would understand that the purchase is in substance a donation,constitutes panhandling. Panhandling shall not include the act of passivelystanding, sitting, or engaging in a musical performance or other streetperformance with a sign or other indication that donations are being sought,CODE OF THE CITY OF LAWRENCE, KANSAS14-22without any verbal request for a donation other than in response to aninquiry by another person.(2) "Aggressive Panhandling" shall mean panhandling that includes oneor more of the following actions:(a) touching the solicited person without the solicited person's consent.(b) intentionally blocking the path of travel of the person being solicited.(c) intentionally blocking the entrance to any vehicle or building(d) continuing to solicit or request a donation from a person after thatperson has refused an earlier request.(e) following or remaining alongside a person who, after being solicited,walks away from the person panhandling.(f) making any statement, gesture, or other communication that wouldcause a reasonable person to feel threatened, fearful, or compelled.(B) Unlawful Acts(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in aggressivepanhandling.(2) It shall be unlawful for two or more people to intentionally work inconcert to commit acts that would constitute aggressive panhandling if thoseacts were performed by a single individual.(3) It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in panhandling wheneither the panhandler or the person being solicited is located any of thefollowing places:(a) at any bus stop.(b) in any public transportation vehicle or facility.(c) in a vehicle that is parked or stopped on any public street or alley.(d) within twenty feet of an automatic teller machine or the entrance toa bank, credit union, or savings and loan.(e) on private property, without the consent of the owner of theproperty__

Dan Alexander 6 years, 1 month ago

Bearded Gnome:My point was that the Ljworld has an editor who reads the stories before they are posted, but sometimes later they have to revise a story or even a headline. Why can't "posters" have the same luxury? More like Bearded Troll.

kujhawkfan 6 years, 1 month ago

A majority of people do not want to see panhandlers downtown and have not wanted them there for a long time. Whether you or Boog realize this or not, panhandlers hurt all the businesses downtown. You can say just walk by and ignore them all you want but why should people even have to deal with that? Why should you have to file a complaint? There is no reason to go shopping downtown and have to worry about being approached from some stranger asking for money. A lot of people like myself grew up shopping downtown when the streets were clean and all these panhandlers weren't around. But obviously people like yourself can't remeber those days because this is the only way you have seen Lawrence. Well, let me just say that I rarely ever shop downtown anymore and spend all my money elsewhere including Johnson County because, I don't want to deal with the circus on Mass. Street and I know I'm not alone. I have lived in Douglas County for my entire life (34 years) and it's a shame how Downtown Lawrence has allowed this to continue.

Phil Minkin 6 years, 1 month ago

bearded_gnome (Anonymous) says: and who elected the ACLU?they're nothing more than thugs threatening expensive legal torture to get their way and their agenda is very antiamerican. Their agenda is defending the Bill of Rights. I know there are people out there who think it's okay to slice a little off of the Bill of Rights when there is an unpopular cause, but any erosion of rights damages us all. I'm a proud card carrying member!

beawolf 6 years, 1 month ago

Making verbal solicitation for money a misdemeanor is a first step. I believe they will have to modify to declare "aggressive solicitation" as panhandling is indeed protected by the First Amendment. I lived in Atlanta for awhile and panhandling decreased significantly when this ordinance was passed.But folks, there is a reality to the situation that all too many of us a willing to ignore. Some of these people do not have any other place to go. Some are mentally incapable of correcting their situation. Some are addicts. Some are lazy. Some are handicapped. Some are veterans. How do we distinguish between the truly needy and the scam artist? Just turn your back, someone else will clean up the mess.How many of you donate any time or money to charitable organizations? Why is the Salvation Army food bank constantly empty? Have you volunteered at a homeless shelter or the Red Cross? In a small community like Lawrence, these organizations can have a terrific impact if properly staffed and funded.

readit 6 years, 1 month ago

Waka--I'm a Democrat and an Obama supporter, but I will not give away my hard-earned money to panhandlers. I give it to organizations I have researched that do work I believe in and trust. Those of us who work and have money worked hard to get it. I'm willing to help those who are willing to help themselves, but not leering, intimidating bums.

Dan Alexander 6 years, 1 month ago

"you both obviosuly dont frequent downtown enough to be considered a "reasonable" argument"Guess again, I have worked downtown for a decade. The point is: If someone is being aggressive then they are breaking the law, a law that can be enforced justly. If they are just asking you for money then it is just a question, and any reasonable adult or child should be able to just walk away. And yes you must get "used to" the whole range of humans be they left, right, poor, aggressive, or crooked. None of this will entirely go away. I'm sorry that since you are petite, you get scared, honestly, perhaps you should take a self defense course. I'm sorry your parents get uptight when strangers talk to them and ask them for money, I'm sorry you have to pretend to be on the phone or that you had a bad situation more than once. So is life out in the world. No ban on panhandling will stop someone from being crazy or drunk or yelling or talking to you. Yes, laws should be upheld, yes the police should punish those who cannot play nice with others. Things are going to get worst, there will only be more people who start to drop out of the normal fray. So yeah, get used to it. If you don't like it, then perhaps attacking the cause of these "problems" can bring you some solace.

oohmgrover 6 years, 1 month ago

Sure, the law can be enforced, but is it ever? I've never even see an officer patrolling on foot on Mass St. apart from the nights we won the big national basketball games. I feel zero protection from the police i n regards to aggressive panhandling.And a petite woman can take as many self-defense classes as they want, yet they can still be overpowered by a large male, especially one who is jacked up on drugs.

Arana 6 years, 1 month ago

I work downtown and I've been harrassed by all manner of people. I've gotten to the point where I pretend to talk on the phone(sometimes I actually do call someone) As a petite young woman it can be intimidating depending on who is approaching you. I often enough don't have money on me, but they won't believe you if you tell them that.When I do have a couple of bucks it goes to the people playing music downtown.Waka, despite popular defeat, many people are not rich. Surprise Surprise.

Warren6032 6 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, I give them advice on how to give a job. First step, take a shower.

snobunni21 6 years, 1 month ago

YES:.I do because I know that more than likely they need it more than I do and I'm not a psychic so I definitely can't predict what they are going to spend that money on but my philosophy is if it makes their day a little better then it's worth it!!!! Who are we as a society to judge??? If they want the money to buy alcohol or a hit that's their prerogative and if I don't give them the money to get it best believe someone else will. I think it's absurd that a law could actually ban someone for asking for money just because the greedy government wants their share if they could tax "pan handlers" best believe they wouldn't make it illegal. I know what it's like to be without even after you have worked your a$$ off. Some people can't get other jobs, what about felons who aren't even given a chance to make their life better because of mistakes they made in the past:..what are they supposed to do::or people who are disabled and got a really shtty hand dealt to them by the government and they aren't getting enough money to make ends meet but they are disabled and they aren't able to work either so they are just fkked!!! Maybe if we all would help each other out and have a little compassion for fellow human beings and try not to be so self absorbed we could actually make a difference in this world which would directly effect those people in need that we so casually refer to as "pan handlers" and get them off the streets so they couldn't be judged and ridiculed by this naive, self obsessed society

oohmgrover 6 years, 1 month ago

"Give the panhandling dignity."What could possibly be dignified about making a living off of begging for money on the street? It shouldn't be a dignified practice because it isn't something that someone should be proud of or should be getting comfortable doing. Save up that money, get a shower and a haircut, buy an outfit at Goodwill and get a job at McDonalds or something if you want to earn a shred of dignity.

Emily Hadley 6 years, 1 month ago

Perfect -- fly a sign if you want, but don't freaking harass me; if you judge me by my appearance, keep it to yourself.I don't judge people on theirs, and though you may not guess it, I am wearing a shirt I have had for 20 years and $5 used jeans, and that's how I can afford decent shoes and food. Anyone flat broke with no debt is richer than me.I think this is ideal. I love buskers of all kinds, but I am sick of being berated by rude people who think I owe them something.

angstew 6 years, 1 month ago

I agree with Readit. I, also a democrat, don't give money to panhandlers. There are so many arguments to this issue and I can see both sides. As someone who worked downtown for 8 years, the panhandlers don't really bother me, as I just say no, but on the flip side I hate seeing panhandlers who are well apt to work beg for money...especially ones who have dogs or just hang out at coffeeshops all day smoking. I would love to be able to travel/eat/drink/smoke across the county on someone else's dime...what a life to not have any responsibilities or be held accountable for anything! I know there is a large percentage of homeless people that are mentally ill or otherwise can't help it but I'm only talking about the ones who are choosing this irresponsible lifestyle. I also agree with Arana. Most people in this town, especially the ones who cater to downtown, aren't rich or even close. I choose to shop locally as much as possible...but that doesn't make me rich...in fact, I'm far from it! I also choose to be a productive member of society and have a job, therefore, I choose on how I spend my money. No job...no money...your loss, not mine.

OwlHead 6 years, 1 month ago

OH YEAHHHHHHHHH. What about Bumbertising. Why don't some local companies put boards on their shoulders and paint logos on their faces. It may not make everyone happy, but it will sure be entertaining.

NLowrider 6 years, 1 month ago

I do agree in some cases it has gotten out of control especially during the summer time.

dweezil222 6 years, 1 month ago

Anybody remember the story in the KC Star a while back about the "professional" panhandlers down on the Plaza? One of them cleared like six figures just begging for money down there.

KansasVoter 6 years, 1 month ago

Would this law apply to the Salvation Army bell ringers? Those people annoy me infinitely more than the most aggressive of panhandlers. If I had to work in retail and one of those bell ringers was outside my place of work, I'd certainly be arrested for murder.

Geminijade 6 years, 1 month ago

Call an agency any of them today bearded gnome and I want you to tell me what funding they have available. I will tell you it is NO FUNDING. People cant be charitable because they have no income of their own to be charitable with. Handouts? So I ask you have you ever had to put your pride aside and ask for help before? Maybe you dont realize exactly how demeaning it can be and yeah you usually dont see the people like families out on the street that actually need help but I want you to open your eyes and think about what drove them to do that is what I ask of you. There is no emergency housing to help get these people off the streets not unless you want to wait three years cause you were evicted because of non payment of rent. OH, and you probably are waiting on disability that they deny at least three times before they give it to you. Your solution is to say hide them and get them away from me cause "i'm scared". I say find a better solution and dont ever judge someone unless you know them personally. There are people that have drug problems and they want to do that why? Maybe they are miserable cause they are homeless...ever considered that possibly people dont like the reality they live and thats why they do drugs? Get them cleaned up and again you got to find a oxford house that would accept them and they cant get jobs cause they have no address no phone number...I am going to keep talking but it will make no difference to the people that just dont want to be reminded that they COULD make a difference if they wanted to but decided that its easier to label people and say its all their own fault. I will tell that to the next battered woman and her kids that have no home. Its their fault and they are lazy bums...

ralphralph 6 years, 1 month ago

Solution: just enforce the "agressive panhandling" ordinance. If it is seen as a growing problem, send a plainclothes officer or two downtown at random times, and they likely can spot the abusive types. Otherwise, either drop a buck or two, or just smile and walk on by. I would rather see an organized, safe and fair shelter or food kitchen set up to provide for those truly in need, but I understand that many - particularly the mentally ill homeless - just aren't going to fit into that mold. So, just leave them alone as long as they behave reasonably.As to street performers: definitely throw them a bone. They are at least sharing their talent and effort, and really add to the atmosphere. Even a quarter or two, if not a buck or two, would be a good thing. Finally ... did anybody notice the part at the end, where the City is letting a developer use public property for storage for 9 months? Whattheheck? Rent your own damn storage location! We're going to ban a hungry person from asking for some change, but let the developer use our property free of charge? Who is the developer? Surely they mentioned a name, and LJW could put that in the story. Well?

Brandon Devlin 6 years, 1 month ago

Waka. . .doesn't a beer taste a whole heck of a lot better when you've earned it?

Confrontation 6 years, 1 month ago

Hey waka1, why don't you get off that taxpayer funded library computer and get a job?

stevieags 6 years, 1 month ago

All the time these panhandlers put in begging for money they could be using their time wisely to look for a job. I can't even take a walk down Mass. street with my wife and kids without someone asking me for a quarter. GET A JOB! I can't even go in the Lawrence Public library without seeing a dozen or so bums hanging out. I saw first hand how much money some of these homeless people have. Dont' let them fool you they have got more money in their pockets than the average person carries. This 19 year old man should be ashamed of himself.

ToriFreak13 6 years, 1 month ago

I love how BOOG and Dan above use their personal experiences downtown to defend the right of what goes on downtown....you both obviosuly dont FREQUENT downtown enough to be considered a "reasonable" argument.....let's see....last Sunday around 10pm there was a drunk lady in front of US bank with a trick or treat bag begging for money....asked me twice...of course she didnt recognize I had said no the first time...because she was drunk......a little later that night there was another drunk homeless gentlemen urinating behind the ATM in front of US Bank....he later passed by me as well asking for money.....a block away another DRUNK homeless gentlemen asked for a piece of wire so he could light his smokes....I later seen him traveling back and forth in front of Liberty Hall where a show was in progress mumbling and stumbling to patrons.....and then....ANOTHER....DRUNK homeless guy....one I see downtown at nights every night....short with long blondish grey hair harrassing my fiance the two times we had to pass by him......and of course the young blonde lady shaking the marraccas in front of Sunflower.....this is way too many homeless people downtown at that time of night......who cares that they ask for money....why can they not be charged with disorderly conduct??? urinating in public? drunk and disorderly?? noise complaints? how about a loitering curfew?? for everyone??? we honestly can't afford a foot patrol? or bike patrol? while we are cleaning up downtown....how about those clusters of free publication stands??? they dont pay a fee or have a license to be there.....they just get dropped off at every corner and half of them have been vacated or left unattended....not to mention the Pitch Weekly that has so many stands down there with free access to children of any age able to access them with all the adult content/smut in them....this is Lawrence...this is our downtown....the commission needs to stand up to this c.r.a.p. and clean it up before we have the headline news Kansas City has every night now in their downtown area.

d_prowess 6 years, 1 month ago

Obviously it is not right (and illegal) for some panhandlers to bother people for money, but for those of you that just simply don't like that panhandlers exsist downtown, tough. There are a lot of things in this world that people don't like, but it doesn't make them wrong or illegal.

jumpin_catfish 6 years, 1 month ago

OK, I'm alright with the panhandlers being gone from downtown but people (bums, bankers and candlestick makers) are free to say anything they want. Did I just agree with Highberger? Oh crap, I just threw up a little in my mouth!

chzypoof1 6 years, 1 month ago

Unfortunately, no one cares about "other's" rights anymore. It's what makes us happy...common good....Take away someone's rights to make the downtown owners happy....ridiculouspoof

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 1 month ago

Fail. This is clearly a violation of 1A rights. There are far easier ways to take care of the problem.

Gabe Hoffman 6 years, 1 month ago

Waka:I'm all about social services, but to assume it's everyone's responsibility to give panhandlers money because they want it, is a little much.I worked downtown for several years and would regulary get hounded for anything from smokes, food, to rides. Initially I would give sometimes, but then it was clear to me it was expected and would be yelled at if I didn't.And from working downtown, I often saw the same people harrassing other citizens, mocking those who didn't give, and always smoking. It seems they had plenty of time to ask for something and not to work for something.And I'm not a cold blooded republican, voted for Obama, but i'm all about self responsibility, and not requiring others to provide.

snobunni21 6 years, 1 month ago

or Lawrence is just full of nothin but college kids who have no clue what the real world is like they are use to their mommies and daddies taking care of them so they couldn't imagine helping somebody else out who is actually in need.

fu7il3 6 years, 1 month ago

Maybe we'll get rid of the homeless and be over-run by mimes...

beatrice 6 years, 1 month ago

I got here late and got beat to the mime joke. Oh well. Let me expand on it then. In my mind, nothing could be worse than a bunch of guys getting trapped in an invisible box or trying to walk against a strong wind before they turn and look at you with droopy-dog expressions as they turn their pant-pockets inside out to show they are empty. I'd rather just be asked directly so I can say "no" directly and be done with it.Why does everyone assume panhandlers are homeless? I'm sure there are many of these young panhandlers who have homes they can turn to if they wished, but they choose otherwise. That usually isn't the case when dealing with older folks, though. In those cases, giving to established charities that help the homeless is best.

situveux1 6 years, 1 month ago

I don't like panhandlers asking for money. I don't like it when they get rude when I say no. I avoid downtown for that very reason. I don't go to Chicago, where they are particularly bad, because of that very reason.But I'll be the first to say this is a stupid idea. If we stop someone from asking for money in a public space, what will we stop next when we decide we don't like it?Perhaps the commission ought to treat the cause rather than the symptom of the problem. The culture of Lawrence breads this kind of behavior. Maybe that's where we ought to look.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

GJ,yes, they have a right to the sidewalk and to say what they wish. however, don't I have a right to feel secure in my person too? you talk like its difficult for the bums to get a job. well, here's a little truth for you:nobody need beg on the street here in lawrence with the handouts available from agencies. this by itself isn't bad. however the handouts do attract out-of-towners for the good pickin's. if someone is begging, more than likely he/she is going to use it on smokes/pot/harderdrugs/alcohol/adultmagazines. he or she is actually putting in an effort to get the money. if instead he or she got some free clothes like from Pennhouse, took regular showers, and put that same effort into looking for a job, bet one would be had. so, begging only supports his or her self-destructive lifestyle choice. and the no-strings handouts from agencies make the bums comfortable in their self-destruction. so, that means that giving a bum/bumette money isn't helping, its supporting the self-destruction. and, downtown now suffers from having this population downtown.

Geminijade 6 years, 1 month ago

WOW...lots of judging going on here. How about lets help get people jobs and help the disabled have a place to live and have food. What the hell makes people assume that these people are even CAPABLE of having a job. I am SO sorry that the happy little people do not like being asked for money on the street but do you now their circumstance? I keep seeing get a job get a job well how about you people give them a job to do for their quarter? Since you all want them to work then give them a job. I will still help someone in need and not be a greedy SOB. These people have needs just like everyone else and they are intitles to a little bit of respect and if you have not been there then quit being judge and jury cause only god will judge and last I heard GREED was a sin.

justaverage 6 years, 1 month ago

WTF! So, according to the ACLU, a person can block MY way on a public sidewalk until I give them some money. That is total BS! This has happened to me while walking on the sidewalk in downtown Lawrence! I'm tired of it, so I don't go downtown anymore!

JKBagby 6 years, 1 month ago

Yes, the Law is enforced and has been seen to be enforced. All you have to do is plug the Lawrence PD non-emergency number into your cell phone. Unless you have an emergency then call 911. You will be surprised at how fast a police officer will arrive to take your aggressive panhandler complaint. And by the way, I am not a cop and dont particularly care for cops but the Lawrence PD does their job rather well and with a flair of politeness. Give them a chance to handle the problem.

OwlHead 6 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 1 month ago

"Arana (Anonymous) says: I work downtown and I've been harrassed by all manner of people. I've gotten to the point where I pretend to talk on the phone(sometimes I actually do call someone) As a petite young woman it can be intimidating depending on who is approaching you. I often enough don't have money on me, but they won't believe you if you tell them that."Two words: concealed carry.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

My point was that the Ljworld has an editor who reads the stories before they are posted, but sometimes later they have to revise a story or even a headline.Why can't "posters" have the same luxury?---DAwell, you think your posts merrit such cpu-time and service from the site? just use the "preview" step, that's what its there for FGS. and, type what you know to be true, as I think you're more communicating regrets about your postings. no, it is better this way. if a poster posts something offensive, something that ticks off a lot of people, it oughta stay. that serves as a pressure on posters knowing that when they hit "post" its there for good unless it gets removed by staff. DA just try to remember, we're only posters on here! we're not part of the newspaper staff ourselves! and as to being a bearded troll, well, there's much worse I've been called, so try harder next time![just used that amazing "preview" feature, typing this in the preview step, to clean up a little wording making my text more correct grammatically. try the preview step next time.]

Dan Alexander 6 years, 1 month ago

Bearded Troll:I certainly did not mean that the editor should correct my posts, that would be absurd if not irritating. Why the ___ do you think having the power to edit your comment after it was posted is not a just desire?Can't you see the irony in a newspaper that publishes so many frequent mistakes and is constantly and silently correcting these published mistakes, yet they do no not allow their "posters" to correct/edit their statements? I just previewed my comment and edited Bearded Gnome to Bearded Troll and to place a "?" after desire. I'm sure I will later find some other mistake, but I will not have the ability to edit it out, I guess you all will just have to deal. I've had enough ranting today.

lawrencechick 6 years, 1 month ago

"Nazi's. live and let live. I have panhandled downtown before you can sure tell who are republicans and who are democrats (go Obama) by who is willing to give"--------------------------------------------------------------------Did you mean who is stupid enough to be suckered by you?

bluedog 6 years, 1 month ago

Why don't the panhandlers spray paint themselves and stand or sit in freeze-frame for tips like people do in New Orleans?

justthefacts 6 years, 1 month ago

Having myself (a) given money and/or actually fed some such folks but had food turned down by the majority of them (can't buy drugs and booze with food); (b) offered to give them rides to local shelters and/or phone money & numbers for groups that can help and been turned down 99% of the time; and (c) actually given jobs or a place to stay to many folks who were temporarily destitute, I get to say this: IF YOU WANT TO HELP THEM, DO IT YOURSELF! But do not demand that society do what you will not do yourself.Pass a law stating that anyone who is begging for money on the streets (not performing, just begging) must be offered a ride to a local shelter or food pantry or bus station etc, to be transported and/or provided by the police. And have some kind of negative result for all those who refuse legit help from society. That way, those who truly need and want real help will get it. And those who are chosing to be on the streets (for any reason) are "encouraged" to move along to somewhere else.

Geminijade 6 years, 1 month ago

So a few vs. how many? Do you know that the average age of a homeless person in the state of Kansas is seven old? SEVEN. Yeah, some will do ANYTHING to feed their family and I will help them. Yeah, some people have mental health issues or drug problems>I commend you herman for offering them a job but just because a few turned it down does not mean that a few more would not have done it very happily. I just think that one experience that is bad should not tarnish the people that really do need help and are pushed to that point and I am not going to judge them cause I know that it does not take more than a few missed paychecks to become homeless. But I suppose according to most here that would make me a lazy bum if I lost my job and became homeless because of a company layoff and I lived paycheck to paycheck like most every working class citizen. I know," just get rid of it and pretend its not there cause we dont want to see it cause it makes us feel bad". You all can do that and you will not see the seven year old kids crying cause they have no supper or place to live. You just let your one or two bad experiences color the whole thing. I feel terribly bad for you.

Phil Minkin 6 years, 1 month ago

justaverage (Anonymous) says: WTF! So, according to the ACLU, a person can block MY way on a public sidewalk until I give them some money. That is total BS! This has happened to me while walking on the sidewalk in downtown Lawrence! I'm tired of it, so I don't go downtown anymore!logicsound04 said it perfectly. Under the existing ordinance that is illegal. I posted the existiing ordinance early in the comments. Try reading and comprehending before wasting all those !!!

kubmg 6 years, 1 month ago

Why not create 'panhandling meters' (similar to parking meters) whereby citizens can feed with change. Then local organizations could use that money to create a healthier infrastructure for the poor.

herman 6 years, 1 month ago

Geminijade (Anonymous) says: I keep seeing get a job get a job well how about you people give them a job to do for their quarter? Since you all want them to work then give them a job. -----------------------------------When I asked a few guests of the shelter at 10th and Kentucky to shovel my snowy sidewalk for $5 each (10 minute job at the most) I'm told to go f**k myself. Their words, not mine. All I did was trying to help them.

dontslanderme 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm also looking forward to not to being verbally accosted by scouts and other organizations hounding me for money downtown. To me, it's just as annoying as panhandlers.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

okay so Foodboy loves and supports the ACLU, the antichristianlibertiesunion: so he must approve of them suing the boy scouts; protecting the North American Man Boy Love Assn; and threatening baldwin schools to get Santa outa the schools!thanks, we'll remember that.***and waka1, once again you post a totally wacky post. I'll tell you that I don't live in a mansion, and in fact am considered quite poor in this society. it is the poor who suffer the most when such individuals are allowed to squat on property, concentrate crime in their areas. again, your liberal prejudice is really showing!

Raider 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm sorry but this is absolutely absurd. Comparing charitable organizations, girl scouts, etc to the bums and winos is just ridiculous. This is simply another attempt by the liberal majority in Lawrence to cater to the homeless and encourage them to come live on our streets. The reason I say this is catering to the homeless is because the commission knows the charitable community in this town will put up a fight on this. The effort will fail because of protests from the charitable community, and therefore the bums and winos will still be allowed to beg on the streets. The homeless advocates win, again.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

well LS04,perhaps you're the one who needs to be honest. you didn't deny the ACLU's involvement in the three items I listed. and, once again, who elected the ACLU they are antidemocratic, too. ***poster please don't invalidize people because they are mentally ill or handicapped! most mentally ill do not make choices to be homeless; most people with disabilities live very responsible lives. and, you shouldn't exempt these from being responsible. people who are mentally ill or who have disabilities do make the difficult choices to avoid homelessness every day. overwhelmingly these people on the streets are there because of choices they have made. choices have consequences. learning that is part of being an adult. when you cushion them from the natural consequences of bad choices, you allow them, maybe keep them, living as children. that's the invalidizing. it helps no one.

beawolf 6 years, 1 month ago

kubmg,Some areas have done exactly that. "Panhandler boxes" and they are intended to do exactly as you have mentioned. Most are located in or near downtown businesses with a list of what organizations the money goes to. In addition, pamphlets (in lieu of money) provided by merchants, can be handed out to those panhandling to explain where and how they can receive assistance.

urjokingright 6 years, 1 month ago

How can you tell the Republicans waka1? Because they don't give money? They may actually give something more tangible. I certainly have. And it was appreciated. A turkey sandwich, yogurt and milk for a young woman with small child - and the change from the lunch I brought out to her. The next time it was a coat and some warm clothes that my son had outgrown for that same child. I also gave a hungry man my tacos from a taqueria I had just come out of. I felt that he probably needed them more than I did. He was also appreciative. The young family on the streets I ran across did NOT want money - they were looking for cans and bottles so they could come by it honestly. But they did not refuse the bucket of Chicken and coleslaw from KFC for the kids. Yes I am a Republican. But I refuse to give money to someone who may very well go and "drink it away". If they are truly hungry, like they say they are, they are very appreciative of the food. If they are cold they are appreciative of the warm coat or extra blanket. Or the cup of hot coffee or hot chocolate on a cold morning. Something tangible. I am tired of being pigeon-holed as a heartless conservative. I don't tell people the things that I do. The only ones that need to know are myself, the recipients and my God. And I pray for each individual that I have helped over the years. And I resent being harrassed for money by aggressive panhandlers too lazy to go and collect a can or bottle to return for money. But I am more than willing to help a needy person on the streets out when they are down on their luck.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

hey Dan,try rereading my post that refs your ranting about editing your own post! nowhere does it refer to the editor doing it your hormones are interfering with your neurotransmitters! no, it is much better this way, and your edits didn't help your last comment; but they did serve to demonstrate what I was saying ... just do the editing before you hit post, knowing that post is final. geeeeeeeeeez, some people have the most trouble with simple concepts!

black_butterfly 6 years, 1 month ago

I didn't read all of the comments, but I do want to address WAK1 - Obama is not supporting people like you WAKA. He'll get blamed for every beggar, lazy bum and welfare mom, but that is not his agenda. He wants to assist people who are willing to work hard for what they need and want. He wants to assist less fortunate people in furthering their education. I am a democrat but I would not give money to panhandlers in Lawrence. Lawence has more helping agencies than most cities their size. There is absolutely no reason for anyone in Lawrence to be begging strangers for money just because they don't want to get a job. I have a 12 year old daughter to take care of and a son in college. Why in the world would I give my hard earned money to an adult who can work just like I work? I come from a family of musicians, so those panhandlers playing an instrument with limited talent expecting a tip do not impress me. Please get a life, and a job.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 1 month ago

hey GJ,again you're full of hot air, sound and fury signifying nothing. I have posted multiple times under various homeless-bum-related threads that I: know usually families really need the help not single people (mostly single men); that the people living at the Salvation army do deserve help because they're making better choices. and though it isn't your d---d business, I have had to ask for help and it ain't fun at all. but I've planned and been careful and my family has never been homeless because of it. and, oh yes, I also am a republican. and part of my value system is to help people when it is really help, not pushing them off a cliff!. especially if we weeded out the shiftless bums then the agencies would have an abundance to help the truly homeless and those people usually are much better behaved than the bums downtown! but today there is food clothing showers, etc., available to anyone who chooses. and, GJ, you're basically saying that its fine that these people fill up downtown, drive off business, ruin the place for everyone. now, that really makes a whole lot of sense, now doesn't it?

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