Archive for Sunday, December 17, 2017

Wichita law prohibits giving money to roadside panhandlers

December 17, 2017


— Drivers who give money to panhandlers standing at intersections in Wichita could face stiff fines or even jail time under a new ordinance approved by the City Council.

The ordinance prohibits any exchange of items between a driver and a person who steps onto a major or congested street or intersection. It also bans drivers from giving something to someone in the roadway, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Previously, such interactions were an infraction with a $20 fine. The new ordinance creates a criminal misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and/or 30 days in jail.

The ordinance, which passed unanimously Tuesday, is meant to reduce accidents, said council member Bryan Frye.

Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston said drives and panhandlers arrested under the ordinance likely will first face warnings, then fines, with potential jail time possible for repeat offenders. Panhandlers are more likely to be fined or jailed than drivers, he said.

“Hopefully we see the interaction and the person who’s cited will be the person who initiated that action, so, ideally, the pedestrian that walked out in to traffic, if they initiated that, they would be cited,” Livingston said. “If the driver’s initiating that, they could potentially be cited as well.”

Livingston said motorists were included in the ordinance to encourage them to focus on their driving.

The ordinance applies to charitable solicitations, such as firefighters’ collection charity “boot drives,” or fundraising by missionary groups or youth sports teams. Wichita firefighters this year moved their fundraising efforts to business parking lots.

A companion ordinance bars panhandlers from making physical contact, threatening or using profane language to try to prompt someone to give money. The penalties for that could be up to $500 and/or six months in jail.

“If the behavior is particularly aggressive, they’re not going to get educated first,” Livingston said. “We’re here to protect our citizens and make sure everybody has a safe, fun time while they’re out in the community.”


Aaron McGrogor 1 month ago

This seems insanely over the top to me. I understand the need to prohibit roadside panhandling, but a criminal misdemeanor with the possibility of jail time?

Thomas Bryce Jr. 1 month ago

Punish the Good Samaritan. The New Republican way." We are rich only thorough what we give, and only poor through what we refuse." Ralph Waldo Emerson. I could bring up some Proverbs but that would not be enough. The Conservative Christian Right is bent on punishing the poor for making "Bad Choices". May God have mercy on their souls because I do not have that capacity.

Gary Stussie 1 month ago

While not in agreement with Wichita's approach the Republican/Conservative Christian rant should not go unchallenged.

John Stossel's latest 20/20 report ... points out that more than 80 percent of philanthropic giving and volunteering in this country is done by conservatives. The study done over years, according to Stossel, by a self-proclaimed liberal professor at Syracuse University, showed liberals are far less likely to give to any charities, volunteer or even give blood, so this study encompasses every aspect of "personal" giving.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month ago

But the study also included tithing. Tithing shouldn't count. And this liberal has given blood quite often And I believe the study just looked at people's tax deductions. I don't deduct everything I donate.. How about you?

Gary Stussie 1 month ago

As I recall tithing was not counted. Good on you Dorothy for donating blood ... solidly in that 20% of "giving" liberals!

MerriAnnie Smith 1 month ago

The greater percent of conservative and wealthy people's giving is to museums, universities and such... in order to get their names on rooms and buildings.

That's fine, but it doesn't feed and house any needy people. This is something I've researched in the past.

David McGee 1 month ago

It's just a way to keep people out of the damn road.

Bob Smith 1 month ago

When you reward a behavior, you get more of it.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month ago

So, you don't want to pay taxes to help feed people and you don't want to give to panhandlers, so you are really messing with Gary's point. But, then, I definitely wouldn't judge all conservatives from your example, Bob. Thankfully not all conservatives are as hateful as you. Merry Christmas, Bob. I think I might donate to the homeless shelter in your name.

Bob Smith 1 month ago

" don't want to pay taxes to help feed people..." Other than in your fantastic imagination, where have you seen me say that? Stick to reality, Dorothy.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month ago

Ummm, maybe the constant whining about taxes.

Bob Smith 1 month ago

Taxes can be used for many things. You need an exact citation to prove your unwarranted attack.

MerriAnnie Smith 1 month ago

Good post, Dorothy.

In Kansas there are people who are in desperate shape and our state couldn't care less. To then cut their only resource for help is indefensible.

I believe Wichita would be considered a conservative city, primarily. If it is, then that explains it.

MerriAnnie Smith 1 month ago

So, Bob, you're saying the more we reward helping the poor, the more we will do it.

Bob Smith 1 month ago

You interpreted what I said exactly 180 degrees incorrectly, as is your wont.

Rick Aldrich 1 month ago

How about a night in jail for the panhandlers?

MerriAnnie Smith 1 month ago

Free meals and room & bed at our expense.

I don't have a problem with that, but some might.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month ago

Actually there are probably a lot of people in jail who committed a crime to get a warm bed and food.

MerriAnnie Smith 1 month ago

Someone here at my house who lives in Seattle just told me that Seattle also has a law against it, but it is not enforced. Seattle has many homeless people who live under bridges and elsewhere inside the city. They also live in parks there. In one place she lived there was a beautiful park across the street. She pointed out to me the area where the drug addicts live and the area where the disabled, old, and sick live.

It could be that the cops have a bigger heart for them than the city lawmakers have.

There are not enough jobs in Seattle that pay enough to live on. Costs there are very high.

Just fyi.

My opinion of panhandlers is... if I personally don't want to give to them, then I won't. I'm an adult and make my own decisions on that point.

So, if enough people give to them, then that means the citizens voted to help the homeless and needy, and no law is needed.

I never give to them because I firmly believe most of them are begging for drug money.

Gary Stussie 1 month ago

Toured Seattle several months ago ... "live under bridges and elsewhere inside the city" is an understatement. They are along every major roadside in and out of town. Big problem as a search of "Seattle Homeless" will demonstrate. Giving to individuals is probably funding their habit ... if you want to help, better to give to agencies that help homeless.

Clara Westphal 1 month ago

As David stated, it is just to keep the roadways safe.

Greg DiVilbiss 1 month ago

How many accidents have happened as a result of Firefighters and their boot drive for MDA? I would love to know those numbers. Seriously, don't they have anything better to do down there. I hope people purposely flaunt the law. Those photos of givers in jail would be priceless.

Gary Stussie 1 month ago

Interesting/Challenging issue.

March 2017 - Pope Francis offered a concrete, permanently useful prescription for dealing with panhandlers ... "Give them the money, and don’t worry about it."

Other web guidance: If you’re worried about the money going to alcohol or drugs there are a few options: • Give the money to an organization working with people experiencing homelessness. • Buy a street newspaper. • Buy a small gift card – i.e. for a local coffee shop or fast food restaurant. • Use the money to donate food to a food bank.

Street Newspaper - Boston's HEP, like groups in other cities, runs a newspaper for the homeless, Spare Change. The newspaper hires 252 homeless people and has recently expanded to different offices throughout the state. The monthly paper sells 30,000 copies a month. Several larger cities have started Coupon programs where shopkeepers provide 25-cent coupons for pedestrians to hand out to beggars/panhandlers which are redeemable only for food, clothing, haircuts, and laundromat services. Advocates insist "People who feel sorry for panhandlers and want to help them aren't necessarily serving them if they help them stay drunk."

This close to big cities like Wichita and KC, I believe we need to think carefully about how we address social issues ... "If you build it, they will come." may well apply.

Bob Smith 1 month ago

Meanwhile, San Diego is struggling with a deadly outbreak of hepatitis A. City workers are spraying sidewalks with a bleach solution to combat the infection that being spread by homeless people defecating in public. Is it only a matter of time before we see the same thing in Lawrence?

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