Legal battles limited to passive panhandling

Your article on panhandling [December 6 cover story: "Season of giving: Is panhandling, vagrancy, destroying the Downtown Mall?"] stated that battles have been fought regarding ordinances "to restrict aggressive panhandling, which some call unconstitutional."

That is simply not correct. I represent the five people who regularly beg on the mall and who challenged, in court, certain portions of the "soliciting" ordinance that prohibited passive solicitation.

We never challenged the aggressive panhandling section of the ordinance. In fact, the position of the plaintiffs is that anyone who engages in the conduct properly described in the ordinance as aggressive should be penalized whether or not they are soliciting funds.

Jeff Fogel

Read more on: Panhandling


Were it not for the aggresive panhandlers there would not have been enough of a clamour to even get legislation passed in this liberal town...

Your argument that their rights are free speech without limitation is against standing Supreme Court rulings.

We will be a better country when lobby as hard for personal responsibility as we do for the right to be a leech.

In Fort Collins, the outdoor mall installed a parking meter that took donations for the local homeless shelter while actively discouraging panhandling. It worked great.

Bill I think your comment is aggressive and exceeds the limits of free speech. Please take it down.

In 1980, the Supreme Court held in Schamburg, that using signs to solicit for money was the same type of protected speech as anyone or any other group that solicits for money using different methods of communication. Think the City over-reached on this one.

doofus, your inability to understand the existing law doesn't make you right.

For instance, if someones wife offered to have sex with me for free that is free speech, if she wanted to charge me money then it is prostitution. So if a homeless person makes a passive request for a donation (help) then that is free speech, if that person trys to guilt a person into donating when they decline that is extortion as the panhandler is holding the first persons right to privacy and peace hostage until they either relent, flee or escalate the situation.

So in the interst of fairness under the law the supreme court has rules that reasonable retraints are alowable and not a violation of the law. Having these people stay within certain (generous) areas and expecting them to respect other peoples rights is certainly not too much personal responsibility to expect.

The city has just as much obligation to a storeowner or patron as they do to a homeless person. The Constituional protections do not grant preference to people who screwed up their lives.

There are two issues here, one is that if they do nothing then the problem will certainly get worse and possibly destroy the economic viability of the mall (and we all lose) the second is that if these peole who are getting money for FREE would police those among them who are ruining it for them legislation like this would not have been nessasary.

Let the law stand... see how it goes and modify it as nessasary. This town is so liberal if there were actually any true victims the city council would name a park after them.

@Bill M. -- some of your post I do agree with in that, in speaking with those on the DM that passively have signs asking for monetary contributions, most have said that the ones who are "aggressive" are wrong in their methods and cause big headaches for them.
However, I dont think the self-policing concept would be successful as we (meaning those of us not homeless) dont do such a great job ourselves. How could I expect that concept be successful among the panhandlers.

Sue, you are probably correct... I think if the passive panhandlers came out in favor of the restrictions it would be in their best interesti n the long run. In fact if anyone who recieved any kind of public assistance pointed out the waste fraud and abuse there would be more than enough to go around to help those truly in need.

where you been, bill? didn't fogel say the passives were in support of the anti-aggression provs of the ord (whether the aggressives were asking for money or not)? it aint really that hard to write an appropriately narrow ordinance targeting the true problem (and more specificity makes it easier for cops to practically enforce it), but our city council is not exactly brimming with expertise on that front. as you must know, since you like to cite sup ct law, being overly vague is one of the most frequent flaws that doom poorly drafted ordinances, in 1st amend con law, even where the intent behind the ord is perfectly sound. yes, we need to do more to control the aggressive bums and other types of hooligans in the city and county, but we need to be more accurate in shooting our arrows at the target than the city has been when it takes up the bow.

Legitimate non-profits must register their group, keep accurate accounting of donations and expenditures, and in some cases, pay taxes.
If you want to compare panhandlers to legitimate non-profits, I'm ok with that, but then hold the panhandlers to the same legal standards.