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Do you think Lawrence has a panhandling problem?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on November 7, 2008

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Photo of Kristen Colahan-Sederstrom

“No. There are cities with much larger homeless populations, and I think Lawrence does an admirable job helping those in need.”

Photo of Adrian Gonzales

“Yes. Coming from Johnson County, I think Lawrence would be a lot nicer with less panhandling. It’s hard to even go out to eat here with your family without being harassed. I think something needs to be done.”

Photo of Jane Cotitta

“I do, but I’m not sure what else can be done. They already have rules on the books about it, and the people who are panhandling seem to abide by them.”

Photo of Steven Blustein

“I do not. The ones who ask me are polite enough and don’t bother me any further if I say no.”

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Comments

dogbait 3 years, 6 months ago

On the issue of Panhandling. Awhile back it used to make me feel uncomfortable so I tried to figure out why. My conclusion was it made me feel "fear, sadness and anger" at the same time. But with more thought, I understood that the fear was that it could happen to me also. The sadness was that I hated to see anyone have to beg for money. The anger was that I felt they should get a job. But the truth for me was that, "nobody wants to be reminded that it could happen to them so it is easier to ignore or have lack of compassion for these individuals" I now give if I can afford and try to have sympathy toward them instead of all these mixed emotions. Hey bloggers, remember, this is only my opinion. I know others may feel different about this but I think our country could use a bit more empathy, sympathy and understanding right now.

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Bosch13 3 years, 6 months ago

The kid from Johnson County WOULD say Lawrence has a panhandling problem...not enough Pottery Barns in Lawrence to deter them I guess

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rantor 5 years, 5 months ago

They should either be providing a service/talent or not be allowed. Then they should also be taxed. If they can't meet those requirements we put them to death.

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Pink_Sock 5 years, 5 months ago

...meanwhile, reading this from California...Good to hear the Maracas Girl is still doing okay. Is this finally her big break? Do I hear a record deal along with Joe the Plumber? Oh wait, didn't another bumblebee make the news recently in Lawrence? A late trick or treater on acid or something like that?

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Defender 5 years, 5 months ago

"Yes, Lawrence does and always will have a homeless problem. They should be rounded up and and destroyed, much like stray dogs and cats."Troll alert, lets all make sure this one goes bye bye real quick like.

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lance1jhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

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

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jonas 5 years, 5 months ago

and your sarcasm detector needs its batteries replaced. Or recharged, if you're going green.

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Defender 5 years, 5 months ago

"Don't worry. Obama is Prez. You won't have to pay mortgage anymore."Man, I just HATE a liar. Your ignorant political BS is not based in reality whatsoever.

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 5 months ago

Have you heard her play "flight of the bumbblebee"? -----(musician rolling with laughter here)

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Crossfire 5 years, 5 months ago

No it is no problem at all....whenever I need a little extra money i just put on my hobo clothes and go down town and mooch.

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Escapee 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes, Lawrence has a panhandling problem.Serious.

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beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

It appears that preventing panhandling is the problem, but panhandling itself seems to be going gangbusters.TOB, I was afraid that the Meat Puppets might have been too obvious. Maybe I should have gone with the Bad Livers for greater believabilty, because Damn Gutterpunks is a pretty good name.

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hoss99 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes i think there is a problem, i live a few block off mass, several times a week i have drunken bums knocking on my door to beg or occasionaly passing out in my yard. And how many times is the same guy going to be at a different store telling you he ran out of gas and needs a few bucks. i won't give them change but i have offered a few of them a job mowing my yard or raking leaves for they can earn some money and so far not one taker.

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Deja Coffin 5 years, 5 months ago

I guess I'm not downtown enough to notice. Wasn't there some festival for street performers that I missed? Well have classes at the shelter that teach fire eating and card tricks and then they could earn their money. That crazy fire eating bum would become a loved member of the community. You gotta work for my dollar!

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IrishCat 5 years, 5 months ago

Call me a party pooper, but I'm a single mom raising two kids on my own..I currently have TWO jobs, why can't they get up off the street and get ONE? I also grew up in an area of California where they allowed pandering on the streets...it just became more and more easy for people not to have to work and hang out on the street corner, in front of businesses, and in the center median of busy traffic areas. One guy in particular passed himself off as a wounded Vet that couldn't walk...I had seen him in front of this store in a wheelchair for years and usually gave him something when I passed him...then one day I was at the bank and saw him WALK in, yes WALK in, with a roll of bills in his hand that would make a bank robber jealous..I said so....looks like your legs are working pretty well today huh? His eyes got real big and he turned around and left, wad of bills still in his hand. I say that downtown has to keep an eye on the numbers or it will eventually increase so much that the merchants downtown will suffer from a lack of customers because of it...I'm just sayin....

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prospector 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't see any pans with handles out there, but I usually limit my exposure to the 600 block of Mass St. I might just have to travel down there to find out if there is a problem and have myself some Free State beer while cogitating on my discoveries.

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consumer1 5 years, 5 months ago

Copy a five dolllar bill -------only on one side, then fold it, so it looks like a real five. On the other side print, get a job ya bum!!!!This is fun!!

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 5 months ago

Bea -A Meat Puppets reference? You constantly amaze me.

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Bone777 5 years, 5 months ago

I remember when the closest thing to panhandlers were the local drunks that just seem to eat out of the trash and cuss passerbys. In paticular, two brothers that had big reddish brown hair that rode bikes all of the time... Now Lawrence is starting to look like a talentless Boulder, Co.

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beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

And yes, I know there is a ban. I was just having a laugh.

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sustainabilitysister 5 years, 5 months ago

No there is not a problem of panhandling. People are poor and live in our town. People are also not tolerant to others and don't want to see poor people trying to survive. This seems to be a "nuisance" to some but it's a representation of the economy and the lack of distribution of wealth. We can't make them go hide in the woods, they're being evicted from those places. We need to work towards taking care of ALL people, not just some.

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beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

"Damn gutterpunks"Didn't I see the Damn Gutterpunks open for the Meat Puppets once? I don't have a problem ignoring people asking me for money when I walk the street. What I do have a problem with are all the smokers standing outside blowing smoke in the faces of those who pass by. Take it inside already, damn patio-area punks.

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woodenfleaeater 5 years, 5 months ago

The only change I have expericene with is from Tuesday night....da da tss

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jumpin_catfish 5 years, 5 months ago

Of course there is and we all know it even if we don't want to acknowledge it. Money for nothing and get your drugs for free.

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macon47 5 years, 5 months ago

when lawrence folk go out to town shopping tothe big city malls, they dont have to put up withthe bums and beggars,why would we expect people that come fromout of town to want to put up with ourdegenerate panhandlers?

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autie 5 years, 5 months ago

can we panhandle here? I'm hungry and need biscuit money..please send your spare change to autie in care of the LJW...

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northsider 5 years, 5 months ago

Demo tape perhaps. Ha! You're right, I am confusing my homelessness arguement with my panhandling arguement. I like the working people, homeless or not.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 5 months ago

Goodness, northsider. Hostile, much?Now, if you could tell us your plan for leaving the good musicians free to perform, such as the sax guy and some of the guitar folks, and getting rid of the maracas girl (who I have not heard yet) and the others who are, contrasting your words, talentless and homeless, then I'd be interested in hearing it. Are you proposing that we ask for an address and brief demonstration prior to allowing them downtown?

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sunflower_sue 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't think the maracas girl is all that needy. Every time I see her, she looks as though she has been outfitted by Patagonia. All expensive "shabby chic." Is panhandling a problem? Well, there is definitely way more than when I moved here umpteen years ago. During the day, it's not a big deal. In the evening, it's annoying to have the drunks hit on me or my 14 year old. (Although, oddly, it never seems to be a problem when the hubby is along.)

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d_prowess 5 years, 5 months ago

I think everyone agrees that the musician/performers are totally seperate from the panhandlers and hopefully if the city does do something they recognize that. I have always seen the street performers as working individuals. They are actually doing something in hopes that it creates a financial gain for them; it just happens that their workplace is outside on the street.

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northsider 5 years, 5 months ago

jonas opines, yes, losing "the maracas girl" would shatter Lawrence's music culture. Have you heard her play "flight of the bumbblebee"? You would think with so much extra time, they could actually get better. There are so many good musicians downtown that have homes and talent, it's too bad we can't listen to them uninterupted.

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Tony Kisner 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't think so, I've had pretty good luck here. It could be better if the college kids would not use all of their money to get drunk, although who am I to judge. I not sure the music play is the way to go, probably too many people in a confusing market.I do pretty well in Lawrence, no problems for me.

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Flap Doodle 5 years, 5 months ago

""You'd better hope that exactly that happens as what you suggest is the only way that Downtown will survive as a viable economic entity."Speaking from experience?"Good one, TOB.

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wildsun22 5 years, 5 months ago

spare change? change and no change.

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sgtwolverine 5 years, 5 months ago

No. Lawrence could quit anytime it wants.

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 5 months ago

"Why am I paying this mortgage again?" DuDon't worry. Obama is Prez. You won't have to pay mortgage anymore.

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duplenty 5 years, 5 months ago

"Just by the fact that we make it so nice for them"Indeed. Lawrence does make it "so nice" to be homeless...Why am I paying this mortgage again?

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 5 months ago

"You'd better hope that exactly that happens as what you suggest is the only way that Downtown will survive as a viable economic entity."Speaking from experience?

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Topside 5 years, 5 months ago

Right on papaB. I would hate to see per capita statistics. For no bigger than Lawrence is its rediculous. Lawrence creates a great environment for the homeless/panhandlers though.

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bombshell 5 years, 5 months ago

wildsun22 - i agree with you. i have no problem with those who ask for change politely and respectfully back off when you say "no." I am also much more inclined to give change to someone who is at least doing something - one guy will tell you a joke for change, at least the lady with marakas is shaking those marakas, and others play music for a dollar here and there. however, i do get annoyed when i feel someone is being abrasive about it - i've seen one guy on multiple occasions screaming obscenities at people who just walk by him and this is in the middle of the day on mass street with lots of children around. also, i haven't seen them for over a year, but there was a young couple who always seemed to be posted up right out front of zen zero and asked me for my leftovers on more than one occasion - i gave it to them the first time, but after that i had to say no because at the time, as a college kid and paying my way through school, i didn't have a lot of extra money either and a leftover dinner was a means of stretching my limited funds as much as possible.... and a zen zero dinner can substitute as three meals if you get that heaping portion of drunken noodles- making it three $3 meals.on the other hand, working downtown at a coffee shop, i've made friends with some of the nicest homeless people i've ever met. some of whom have never once asked me for one penny, but will gladly accept a bowl of soup if you offer it to them. as far as i am concerned, these people in particular can stay in lawrence as long as they want because they are peaceful and uplifting.

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nverlost 5 years, 5 months ago

Lawrence = Liberal = Enabling the "unfortunate".

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S0uPnAzi 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes, and as wildsun pointed out, the problem grows worse the more time you spend in downtown. I too, don't have a problem saying no, but there are some very aggresive panhandlers downtown, and I think that is way out of line. I have a job that I work hard at, they need to get one too.

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Marion Lynn 5 years, 5 months ago

BABBOY (Anonymous) says: Yes.I do not have any problem saying no.Pray Lawrence never gets a major mall. Otherwise, downtown Lawrence will be nothing but a bar district and a place to work for some Lawyers and other businesses that deal with the County and City who would not otherwise have reason to put their offices there."Marion writes:You'd better hope that exactly that happens as what you suggest is the only way that Downtown will survive as a viable economic entity.

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unpalinized 5 years, 5 months ago

In the old east bloc, you had 6 weeks to find work or to jail you went. Thats one good thing they had....perhaps the only good thing.Work or be put into hard labor.

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BABBOY 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes.I do not have any problem saying no.Pray Lawrence never gets a major mall. Otherwise, downtown Lawrence will be nothing but a bar district and a place to work for some Lawyers and other businesses that deal with the County and City who would not otherwise have reason to put their offices there.

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autie 5 years, 5 months ago

I'm sure it depends on who you are and what you look like..I'm a pretty stout fellow and one no, go away suffices..they are like lions on the veldt and can recognize the weak ones that will give in easy.

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PapaB 5 years, 5 months ago

"No. There are cities with much larger homeless populations, and I think Lawrence does an admirable job helping those in need."- Kristen Colahan-Sederstrom, clerk, LawrencePer capita, she's wrong. Just by the fact that we make it so nice for them with our thriving downtown and its nearby homeless shelter, homeless people come to Lawrence where it's easier. A few years, a friend of mine in City Hall said it was common knowledge that a town or two in western Kansas give their homeless a one-way bus ticket to Lawrence. I'm fine with the nice and polite panhandlers, but Lawrence has more than its share.

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hawklet21 5 years, 5 months ago

Personally, no. They ask for money, I say I don't have any, I walk away. I have never, not even once, been repeatedly asked for money on Mass. There are a lot of gross, creepy, weird bums downtown, but who cares? Turn the other way.

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woodenfleaeater 5 years, 5 months ago

I asked a panhandler for some change once to use the pay phone, and he said he didn't have any. And he said that while holding a small coffee can full of change. After I got rejected by them, I don't feel so bad using the "I don't have any" line.

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unpalinized 5 years, 5 months ago

I give em nothing. Put them into labor camps.

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autie 5 years, 5 months ago

I will only give them change or a biscuit when they are dressed in a bee costume. Other that that, move on buster...

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wildsun22 5 years, 5 months ago

there are some panhandlers that are not a problem but there are a large number that suck. i am downtown for large periods of the week. i hear panhandlers telling people to &^ off. i've seen one guy pretend to be deaf. i've seen them expose themselves. i've seen completely unstable people acting as though they are attacking or shooting people. i've seen people drunk as skunks picking up on young mothers walking there children. i've been cused out several times by people at the top of there lungs with young children in earshot. bum fights... i could go on. i don't have a problem with those that sit and ask politely for change or shake marakas or play a guitar, but that is not the majority. oh and when i watch a group collect change for a few hours and then go buy cheap vodka mix with mountain dew and come back to fall down and be obnoxious. i don't think that's what your helping hand wanted to go to. i don't know what the fix would be but be careful who you help, it could affect someone else later in the day.

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The_Original_Bob 5 years, 5 months ago

""Yes. Coming from Johnson County, I think Lawrence would be a lot nicer with less panhandling."Oh, I love me some comedy in the morning.Jonas - Yes, Waldo is a part of KC that surrounds the 75th and Wornall area. Stop in at Waldo Pizza for some damn good pizza (and 329 different kinds of beer), head over to Lew's to watch a game, or head over to 75th Street Brewery for a good meal.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 5 months ago

tony: You don't have to go all the way to Salem. There's a Waldo in KC, around 75th and Wornall area, if I recall correctly. It's a district, not a street, but isn't that Better?

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jonas_opines 5 years, 5 months ago

Man, it's sad to see JoCo corrupt one that is so young. No, we don't. It's only a problem if you allow it to be one. There's hardly a large concentration of them, and in general they stay off on the side. And, in general, all it takes is a very simple three word combination to get by."no, no change.""no, got nutn""no, sorry man""no, go away""no, get lost""yes, here's some"If you eliminate the panhandlers, you likely eliminate the musicians, too. I like the musicians. (cast)

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

No. What downtown does have a problem with is the local chamber and local government flooding the retail market = negative impact = economic pollution = less dollars for each retailer = more taxes for local residential property owners. Some day current retailers need to come to the conclusion there are only so many retail dollars available in Lawrence,Kansas. Then become very vocal and stand up for themselves. Local governments primary focus is keeping developers happy not current retailers or taxpayers.

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tonythetiger 5 years, 5 months ago

Okay, them maybe Jill Koch from KJHK production staff could tell me what is wong then?

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tonythetiger 5 years, 5 months ago

Not at all. What I am concerned about the most is; Where is Waldo ( I assume Waldo street in Salem, Oregon)?Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?and...Who dated Daphne Griffinth in Junior High back in 1984?

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