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Do you think aggressive panhandling is a problem downtown?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on December 12, 2009

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Photo of Emily Howell

“Kind of. I’ve lived here all my life and it’s always been bad.”

Photo of Harvey Steir

“I don’t think it’s aggressive. I think for the most part, they’re not belligerent.”

Photo of Bernadine Talawyma

“I would say no, though I don’t really come downtown very much. From what I’ve seen, they’ve been sitting on the side, out of the way.”

Photo of Derek Priest

“I do, yes. Sometimes it makes me not want to get out of my office and walk.”

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Richard Heckler 8 years, 3 months ago

Whatever the case may be it will not stop this family from spending dollars downtown. Downtown is a Lawrence landmark and has a ton of walk by traffic. Locals and visitors love downtown Lawrence.

8 million people lost their jobs under the GW Bush administration. So let's get behind the new adminisrtation and demand new high paying industry.

I am stunned that more citizens are not in the street demanding new USA industry that cannot be outsourced. If taxpayers want tax dollars to develop new industry so be it...YES!

A new stronger economy could be well underway if the government wanted to make it happen. The tools and labor force are available NOW. This new economy would stimulate other new business not necessarily related to energy but related to the new money available as a result of the new economy.


Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy from Union of Concerned Scientists Analysis

Reducing oil dependence. Strengthening energy security. Creating jobs. Tackling global warming. Addressing air pollution. Improving our health. The United States has many reasons to make the transition to a clean energy economy.

What we need is a comprehensive set of smart policies to jump-start this transition without delay and maximize the benefits to our environment and economy. Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy (“the Blueprint”) answers that need.

To help avoid the most dangerous consequences of climate change, ranging from extreme heat, droughts, and storms to acidifying oceans and rising sea levels, the United States must play a lead role and begin to cut its heat-trapping emissions today—and aim for at least an 80 percent drop from 2005 levels by 2050.

Blueprint policies lower U.S. heat-trapping emissions to meet a cap set at 26 percent below 2005 levels in 2020, and 56 percent below 2005 levels in 2030.

The nation achieves these deep cuts in carbon emissions while saving consumers and businesses $465 billion annually by 2030. The Blueprint also builds $1.7 trillion in net cumulative savings between 2010 and 2030. Blueprint policies stimulate significant consumer, business, and government investment in new technologies and measures by 2030.

The resulting savings on energy bills from reductions in electricity and fuel use more than offset the costs of these additional investments. The result is net annual savings for households, vehicle owners, businesses, and industries of $255 billion by 2030.

Under the Blueprint, every region of the country stands to save billions. Households and businesses—even in coal-dependent regions—will share in these savings.

Let's put people back to work with wages that allow for comfortable sustainability.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 3 months ago

Merrill you should stop dwelling on Bush and start watching what your socialist Obama is doing.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 3 months ago

Sooner or later Jane Pennington and other existing business owners are going to have to admit it is not necessarily the panhandlers.

Only local business people can stop the drain on downtown.This is the major factor affecting downtown and all other existing retail business operators:

July 24, 2009

To the editor:

The July 14 editorial asks, “What’s downtown going to look like five, 10 or 15 years from now?” The answer can be known, and the picture is not pretty.

Lawrence has enough spending to support about 4.1 million square feet of retail space, but the City Commission permitted developers to expand the supply to over 5.5 million square feet.

Lawrence has too much retail space chasing too few vendors, which means that many stores go empty, especially in the older shopping centers like downtown.

The surplus development has stalled redevelopment plans downtown and has pushed the vacancy rates so high that disinvestment and blight now threaten. Investment, both public and private, is wasted.

The taxpayers’ $8 million parking garage stands largely empty. The Hobbs-Taylor building and the 600 block of Massachusetts should be the top performing spaces in the community, but they have significant vacancies.

The recession has contributed to the problem, but had we properly managed our growth we would be much better off.

The developers’ short-term gain is now our long-term loss. Managed growth would have prevented much of the problem and would have protected and enhanced our downtown.

It will take many, many years to absorb this surplus space and, until this happens, it will be hard for downtown to compete.

We can only look forward to many years of high vacancy and disinvestment. We need a City Commission that knows how to pace the growth of supply so as to protect our unique downtown.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 3 months ago

Just shut it down. Let the vagrants have it. If no stores are there then there will be no one to beg money from. If you listen to Merril the developers already have all the decent property anyway. Fill all the buildings with bars. Eventually the drunk/druggies will take out each other.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 3 months ago

I see Thready McThreadjack is up early this morning.

Catzilla 8 years, 3 months ago

Oh please. I see panhandlers holding signs and asking for change as I walk by. There's nothing aggressive about it.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 8 years, 3 months ago

It's the passive-aggressive panhandling that sears my cheeks.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 3 months ago

for the most part, the panhandlers do just sit at the edge of the sidewalk and either play music or hold out there signs. There are a few random guys that may not be panhandling, but just seem to like talking to people. nothing wrong with that, unless they are holding a wino bag and a pit bull on a leash. I think the aggressive ones are the packs of teenage to twenty something kids. they have no couth, and you just don't know what to expect when you're approached.

jaywalker 8 years, 3 months ago

If it's aggressive, then it's a problem. Period.

persevering_gal 8 years, 3 months ago

The panhandling I'm referring to is not the musicians on the corners, but rather the people who simply come up and ask for money. I continue to believe that it is common, but not overly aggressive in terms of physical or being nagged. There have been times I have noticed issues with some panhandlers in which I have not providing money but only in terms of attitude; not aggression.

begin60 8 years, 3 months ago

Aggressiveness is a big problem in Lawrence. When people are so self-confident about their ignorance and don't think twice about disrespectfully getting up in the business of complete strangers it must just be part of the presumptuous hillybilly mindset. People just haven't been hanging out and quietly going about their lives for decades waiting for some busybody to intrude on their right to freely enjoy the public space. Get a clue most "help"(even advice) is not competent or wanted, especially when it involves approaching and terrorizing strangers. You yokels are not God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost all rolled up into one ball. Your idea of what constitutes help is completely retarded, making intellectually challenged people look bright by comparison.

A "mind your own business" attitude of tolerance and caution has some civilized merits. At least it involves a bit of thinking and judgment.I have later vindictively and frightenly attacked by too many blokes at first claiming to be trying to be nice or helpful and just wish you could all spare the world your ignorance and bigotry and leave me alone.

snoozey 8 years, 3 months ago

Amazing to me that the panhandlers can take this much of a break from their LJW blogging :-O

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 3 months ago

begin60, I ask you this nicely, could you share with us a specific instance because I can't imagine what you are writing about. Thanks.

tomatogrower 8 years, 3 months ago

I'll agree we should ban panhandling, if the city will finally agree to force certain developers to give up the property they are aggressively allowing to fall apart. That is probably turning more people off of shopping downtown, than a few people begging. This talk of banning begging is just a smoke screen to take our attention away from the slumlords. Oh, they aren't even slumlords. The buildings just sit empty. Take care of that problem first. Oh yeah, I forgot, those developers paid to get you into office. No corruption here.

Alexander Neighbors 8 years, 3 months ago

I think there is aggressive panhandling going on by city officials

cierasgm1 8 years, 3 months ago

I grew up in Topeka and have lived in Lawrence. I have worked at the Univ. of Calif. Berkeley and at K.U. Lawrence wants to consider itself a progressive university city, however, it should be ashamed of itself for its poor services for the homeless. Panhandling would be reduced if service agencies would work with the homeless to help them find a warm place to sleep, nutritious food, medical care and employment or training. Our homeless should not be considered "throw away citizens". Many are homeless because of the last year or more of the horrendous crimes of the financial institutions, huge companies who waste so much, and the apathetic former President George Bush. Someday you may need the compassion of a stranger. I hope you receive it.

cierasgm1 8 years, 3 months ago

Spacehog and begin60 sound like they belong together. You contribute nothing to your community, except your ignorance.

7texdude 8 years, 3 months ago

I've been asked for money all over town, not just downtown. A dude on a bike at a video store on 6th, lady in a car at a big bookstore downtown, homeless people coming into our workplace next to KU and begging, gas station on 9th, outside the library, gas station on Kasold and I might have forgetton one or two.

I don't understand what the fuss is all about when someone asks for money downtown, but then it's OK for them to do it somewhere else. I said no to all of them. Not a big deal to me. Most of them just walk away and find another dude.

I don't go downtown much because there is no reason for the trip. The homeless there are not any more aggressive than anywhere else. There are just more of them because they are too lazy to go somewhere else and get it.....or maybe not..

And, for the record, if someone needs help raking leaves or taking out the garbage, hire a student or a teenager to do it for you. I'm sure they would never use your money on booze or drugs (wink).

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