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Panhandling Banned in Atlanta, GA

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posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 10:32 AM
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The Atlanta City Council voted to ban panhandling around tourist attractions in Atlanta, much to the dismay of homeless people and advocates for the poor. Atlanta now joins many other cities with "no panhandling" zones.

Listening to the radio the past week or two, this has been an issue around here, and some new information has been released. A report from the Downtown Denver Partnership in Denver Colorado, a similar sized city, estimates that nearly 5 million dollars a year are given to panhandlers in the downtown Denver area. And therefore they are estimating similar numbers in Atlanta. This report was provided to the radio station, and I am not sure if it has been made public yet.

More of the report stated that the most likely people to give to panhandlers are women between the ages of 19-29. It is also interesting to note, says the report, that around 90% of the donations come from those with incomes of less than $25,000 per year. Some of these beggars can earn over $200 a day doing this, and many of them are not homeless and have cars.

Now that the legislation has passed here, many in the suburbs are concerned that the panhanders will move into their areas. I am already witness to this, living in an Atlanta suburb, where more and more I am getting asked for money right down at my local convenience store. Lately it has gotten pretty bad, with more wierdos hanging around and scoping everyone out as they enter and leave the store. Just happened again to me last night at that same store. It's now 1 out of 3 times that I go there that I get asked for change or a couple of dollars. The stories they come up with are pretty creative sometimes. But I am not coldhearted, and occasionally when I can I have given, many times over the years.

But many will say that it is better to donate money or resources to local homeless shelters, where you can count on the money going for shelter, food and water instead of alcolhol or hits of crack.

So my question is: Do you think panhandling should be banned in any sections of your town and why? Also, do you view a ban on panhandling as an infringement on a person's right to free speech?

Related links to this story:
www.cnn.com...
www.npr.org...
www.downtowndenver.com...
www.bizjournals.com...




posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 03:36 PM
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Cities have been unable to fix the homeless problem, so the next logical step, from the city's point of view is to sweep the problem under the rug. I think it stinks, personally.

First off, it's not going to stop anyone who is desperate, all it will do is put more of a burden on law enforcement.

Secondly, it doesn't address the root cause, or provide any solutions to the problem of homelessness, it just strives to remove the reality of the situation from the perceptions of visitors and 'normal' people going about their business. This sort of 'solution' to the problem, is a problem in and of itself.

Finally, the homeless people are responsible for their own lives. They can't expect anyone else to fix the situation for them.

I don't see any reason for panhandling to be illegal. Critics of the homeless will say they commit crimes, and intimidate people, and that's sometimes true. However, we have statutes for plenty of crimes, and we have the ability to investigate and prosecute people who break those statutes. So if a homeless person breaks the law, prosecute them. All this pre-emptive nonsense is just that, nonsense.

It does infringe on the rights of the homeless to tell them where they can go, who they can talk to, and what they can say. I think this is a bull# law, and I suggest anyone with a conscience move out of Atlanta. There's too many crazy drivers there anyway, and the weather sucks. What more incentive do you need?



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 04:18 PM
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Originally posted by TrueAmerican
So my question is: Do you think panhandling should be banned in any sections of your town and why? Also, do you view a ban on panhandling as an infringement on a person's right to free speech?


I do not think it should be banned and for all the reasons that WyrdeOne so eloquently stated.

One comment I would add is that I think people who want it banned just don't want to be bothered with saying "No" to someone. Well, I say, Buck up! Learn how to say "No". Learn how to say "I said No, now leave me alone"!

I don't think laws should be made just because a group of people is uncomfortable.



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 04:24 PM
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Some of these beggars can earn over $200 a day doing this, and many of them are not homeless and have cars.


This reminds me of a story about a Toronto woman i think it was, who was asking for money downtown who actually owned a few luxury cars, a large home etc.

200 dollars a day is no small change.......

I have no answer on how to solve this problem though.



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 04:35 PM
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The Marietta St. corridor panhandling route has always been between the Salvation Army soup kitchen and drug rehab center and MARTA at CNN/World Congress Center/Omni/Georgia Dome/etc.

The tourists have been hit with it for decades. No problem.

Now though instead of abandoned warehouses, it's million dollar lofts.

Panhandling hasn't gotten bad, the neighborhood just got good.



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 04:38 PM
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Any law that prohibits what you can say in public, aside from the obvious (yelling, "Fire" falsely, etc) can't be a good thing. In fact, some states have overturned panhandling bans citing freedom of speech issues.

Panhandling is annoying, but so are the black israelites, or whoever they are, preaching in Times Square or downtown (if you're from NYC, you know what I mean). Should we ban religious speech in public, because some find it a nuisance?



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 08:00 PM
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Isn't taxation a form of panhandling? So I wonder how much the government will owe up to this new piece of legislation.



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 08:31 PM
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Originally posted by Frosty
Isn't taxation a form of panhandling? So I wonder how much the government will owe up to this new piece of legislation.


A crafty spin Frosty ...


Unfortunately, according to dictionary dot com:

Panhandling:
"To approach strangers and beg for money or food."

The Government (apparently) doesn't have to stoop to begging, it merely imposes the tax and penalties for not paying it ...


Well trying to define panhandling as a form of freedom of speech is stretching it. Sure they have the freedom to speak their political viewpoints and so on, but if their objective is to acquire money, and they do not have a license to peddle on the street, then the freedom of speech issue is totally irrelevant.

I am not sure what "tourist attractions" means exactly, but having recently visited Atlanta, I can put in my 2 cents on this. I came to Georgia Tech for a few days of training in the physics department in femtosecond laser measurement devices. I was trying to save money so I took the subway to my hotel, which was just south of Georgia Tech.

Dragging my suitcase, obviously not a local, I was just getting my bearings when I was approached by a homeless person. However, he was very polite, he did not ask me for money up front but instead helped me find my hotel. Since he helped me and I could declare "transportation" expenses for my trip voucher I gave him a "tip." He wanted $5 to get into a homeless shelter with a bed and hot shower, or something to that accord. Before I gave him the money I told him that considering that he could have mugged me, I felt that I really didn't feel bad about it ... he responded that he is a god fearing man who trusts in Jesus, and some other religious lines. People in Atlanta that I interfaced with are VERY nice. I'm not sure that's true everywhere, but frankly, I don't mind at all helping out people who are helpful and polite.

However, contrast this to an experience in Los Angeles. I took the bus to work for a while, and had to walk a block or two to the American Film Institute where I had an internship in film technology. I was accosted there by a homeless bum who demanded money and when I refused, punched me very hard above my left eye. I escaped the scene and we called the cops, and I got a few stiches at the hospital.

Now, it was not all that bad, I've been hurt worse in other situations, but the point of the motion, obviously, is to reduce the criminality of those homeless people who are a problem. By making this a potential crime, it makes it easier for law enforcement officials to be proactive in locating the problem cases, and locking them up, where they should be.

Until there is a substantial job training program for homeless people (what they REALLY need is to learn how to earn enough to pay their bills) nationwide, I feel that laws like this are good because it gives those of us who hold jobs and are trying to do the right thing the upper hand over troublemakers like the guy who attacked me in LA (who got away and was not caught) who can get away with intimidation and perhaps violence.



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 08:32 PM
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Originally posted by TrueAmerican

So my question is: Do you think panhandling should be banned in any sections of your town and why? Also, do you view a ban on panhandling as an infringement on a person's right to free speech?


Panhandling should be banned in all of Toronto. There are homeless shelters in Toronto, as there are also correctional facilities. Homelessness is NOT a way of life, as most bums in Toronto feel. Millions of dollars of tax money goes into helping these bums and they still remain on the streets and sidewalks.



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 09:17 PM
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There are restrictions on it here such as no panhandling on train platforms, within 10 feet of bank entrances and only 7am to 10 pm as well as no aggressive panhandling. That doesn't work. For one thing, it's only a summary offense, and the fines never get paid. The panhandlers are also getting worse. A good number of them are in it for their next fix, others get caught as fakes from time to time. There are still honest, decent people who are down on their luck, but there's too many who are out and about that are on crack or meth, and I for one am getting sick of being followed, yelled at, threatened, and occasionally assaulted because I said no to them.

Short of jailing the ones that resort to threats and violence nothing is going to work, but I don't want to see a total crackdown because over the years I have met some very nice guys who just needed help and were willing to do whatever they could to earn it. Those ones I have no objection to.



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 09:26 PM
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Originally posted by berglion
I for one am getting sick of being followed, yelled at, threatened, and occasionally assaulted because I said no to them.


That's the thing. if they're assaulting you, that's not panhandling, that's assault. There should be a crackdown on assault. You can't (or shouldn't be able to) stop someone from following you down the street, but assault is a different matter.



Short of jailing the ones that resort to threats and violence nothing is going to work...


This is what should be done, then. Or carry pepper spray. If they start to assault you, whip it out. If everyone did that...



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 09:27 PM
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*if you have nothing to add to a thread then dont post, baiting is not allowed*

[edit on 19-8-2005 by Amuk]



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 09:35 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic


This is what should be done, then. Or carry pepper spray. If they start to assault you, whip it out. If everyone did that...


Unfortunately pepper spray is illegal here unless you're a cop or a postman, but it would work.

The problem is that too many people want to just go about their daily business without having to deal with the problem, whether that be finding a workable solution or calling the police to deal with the violent ones.

[edit on 19-8-2005 by berglion]

[edit on 19-8-2005 by berglion]



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 09:36 PM
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Originally posted by Amuk
*if you have nothing to add to a thread then dont post, baiting is not allowed*

[edit on 19-8-2005 by Amuk]


Who baiting, i was being serious,
people are intitled to opinions are they not...



[edit on 19-8-2005 by C0le]



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 09:47 PM
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Originally posted by C0le
people are intitled to opinions are they not...


Not when there opinion is to round up a group of people and do experiments on them, Hitler had the same Idea.

My advice to you is to carry this to U2Us or file a complaint

Back on topic



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 09:52 PM
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Originally posted by berglion
The problem is that too many people want to just go about their daily business without having to deal with the problem, whether that be finding a workable solution or calling the police to deal with the violent ones.


Yeah, I'd like to go about my life without having to deal with inconveniences, too. And I'm not being a smarty. But the best way to live on this planet with the ever-increasing number of other people is to find workable solutions.

And I do that all the time because I train dogs. And to do that without punishment (which I hate) I have to 1) be smarter than the dog and 2) find workable solutions.

How about carrying a small spray bottle filled with vinegar? or soapy water?
You can ignore them, but if they ever touch you, that's grounds for a good spraying!

[edit on 19-8-2005 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 09:58 PM
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This is sad, especially considering the estimates of mental illness amongst the homeless. Do these people not live miserable enough lives already that we have to make it harder for them? Sad fact is people try ignoring and making excuses, but the problem gets worse and worse, so much so that ignoring and fabricating arguments is not enough for the average person anymore. Now to ease society's conscience even further we attempt to make it illegal.

I have never had a problem in my life with a panhandler. Why is that ? Because I have compassion, acknowledge their existence as a fellow human, and provide them with a buck or two to do with as they please. ( I was once there myself when I was 17)


Of course there is no excuse for "agressive" "spangeing" however, many of these people stand in a spot for hours on end trying to eek out an existence and 99% of the time most people can not even have the decency to look a bum in the face and flat out say -No!

Besides that there are the usual prejudices seen here such as -"Most of them are just trying to get drugs" or whatever . After standing in the sun hungry for a few hours listening to one B.S comment after another whilst the majority of people simply ignore you and that is bound to build some frustration.

I have spent alot of time with homeless people and asked them what bothers them the most about being homeless, time and time again it is this frustration with society as a whole for failing to even recognize their humanity that leads to agressive behaviour. I have never seen a bum yell at someone when someone did not give them money( not saying it does not happen) But I have seen a derelict yell when people ignored, or insinuated that they were not going to contribute to their""habit".



posted on Aug, 20 2005 @ 04:13 AM
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Originally posted by WyrdeOne
....I think this is a bull# law, and I suggest anyone with a conscience move out of Atlanta. There's too many crazy drivers there anyway, and the weather sucks. What more incentive do you need?


Lol, WO. Actually the weather in Atlanta is quite nice, been here over 14 years. And there might be some crazy drivers, sure, but try New York City if you really want crazy drivers. The traffic here is nothing like that, and people still are polite and happy to let you in line with a wave and smile most of the time.

As to the new legislation, the Mayor does have to sign it before it becomes law, so there still is some time- and the question for callers on that radio show I was listening to was "Do you think that we have gone too far and should reconsider the ban?" Some of the caller's responses were interesting, citing many of the things mentioned here in the thread.

It seems the rich don't want to deal with it and want to make it magically disappear, while the poor folks seem to have more compassion and understanding. From what I gather, it is largely being done because of complaints from tourists.


Anyway, thanks for all the responses and the useful insights.


Regards,
TA



posted on Aug, 20 2005 @ 09:02 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic

Yeah, I'd like to go about my life without having to deal with inconveniences, too. And I'm not being a smarty. But the best way to live on this planet with the ever-increasing number of other people is to find workable solutions.

And I do that all the time because I train dogs. And to do that without punishment (which I hate) I have to 1) be smarter than the dog and 2) find workable solutions.



Exactly how to handle children too, the ones I helped raise appreciated that I was tough enough to set the rules and stick to it, but I never tried to resort to hitting or demeaning them in any way.

Back to the panners though, there are a lot of workable solutions, community groups etc... Just not enough interest or funding to do do enough. living and working in the inner city, I'm very active in helping raise funds for food banks and shelters here, and helped start a daycare for the homeless who are trying to work.

While it is the "bad eggs" that are more visible, and a good part of why cities are debating this issue, there really are people out there who still need help, and do want a better life. One older fellow that was around here a couple years ago I really liked. He simply put a box under one of the bridges downtown for "donations", he would stay under that bridge all day with a broom, cleaning the garbage out. He would also always have pamphlets for charity-run public events, mostly for kids to go to, and was generally the nicest guy around. And there are others, we have a real shortage of affordable housing, while entire communities are being built for the white collar workers.

I can't afford to give a buck, or even a few cents to everyone who asks, but I can give some of my time to work with some of the groups and agencies that are really trying to help.

As much as I don't like the ones I see panning these days, they do still have their rights as long as they aren't hurting anyone. They may be an eyesore or a bad image to have, but there are things in this world that are more important than "image".



posted on Aug, 20 2005 @ 10:06 AM
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Just a couple more points on this subject:

I, too, have been on the streets. I've slept in the park, eaten at St. Vincent De Paul, and panhandled. That was many years ago.

Once recently, my spouse and I were working on our yard (in a fairly affluent rural neighborhood) when an old Mexican man came walking up our lane. We watched him approach, waved and said hello. We realized he didn't speak a word of English and we don't speak Spanish either, so by 'signalling' we eventually understood that he wanted to do some work for us for a meal.

The 2 of us went inside and fixed him a meal while he waited outside. As we all sat in silence in the yard, he ate his meal and then motioned for instructions for the work he should do. We shook our heads no and smiled, and shook his hands and tears came to his eyes. I gave him a bottle of water and some fruit and other travel food, and he put his hand on his heart in thanks and turned and left.



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