Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Beggars Can't Be Choosers

I had made a comment a few days ago over at Fishsticks place. The post was regarding the economic effects of the smoking ban, and who it was effecting businesses. I pointed out the 'new culture' that was forming as a result.
On another note, that we talked about, is the whole new culture that is being created. Hennepin Ave streets are now clogged with smokers, and the businesses are now complaining of a significant increase in Pan Handling as the smokers are being forced outside, creating a whole new market for the panderers.
Not only are the businesses being culled of their smoking patrons, the ones that do show up, crowd outside and are accosted by this new breed of panhandling. Approaching this captive audience while they take their 5 minutes to spank down a heater.

So, what does the Big Brother city do. Why, make more laws.
A license to panhandle
Minneapolis police chief says his proposal would help control begging, not eliminate it

Minneapolis Police Chief William McManus wants to require a badge to beg.

After overseeing an ordinance in his former city of Dayton, Ohio, that required panhandlers to flash a government- issued photo ID, McManus is hoping the same idea can be used to curb panhandling in Minneapolis.

The city already regulates panhandling in front of cash machines, at bus stops and in restrooms, but the panhandling persists, especially in front of downtown businesses that would rather the panhandlers find another spot, McManus said.

Under the chief's proposal, police could arrest a panhandler who failed to wear the badge or who never applied for one. While many cities regulate panhandling through ordinances, only a handful in addition to Dayton has adopted licensing requirements. Among them: Cincinnati; Dallas; Greensboro, N.C., and Wilmington, Del.

"It's not a trick to get people not to be able to do this. It's just something that enables you to control it better," McManus said. Begging without a license would be a misdemeanor charge with a 30-day jail sentence and possibly a fine.
Now there is no hint as to the catalyst of this proposal. But talking to employees at the Restaurant I was at last week made it clear to me that the resurgence of panhandling on the Avenue had spiked considerably, and that customer complaints were many.

Of course, the city might want to recognize the lunacy in restricting someone's right to conduct business, and allowing the use of a lawful product in their establishment. But that might make sense, and we know we wouldn't want to do that.


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