City Government

Panhandling Ordinance Put On “Hold,” God Bless

When Boise City announced plans to enact a couple of “canned ordinances” approved by a national cities organization in an effort to curb panhandling, the GUARDIAN raised questions about UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.
Homeless man holding a sign.
For instance, if it is illegal for someone to stand on the curb and hold a sign saying “Anything Helps God Bless,” it would also be a crime/infraction for a high school or church club member to hold a similar sign promoting a car wash.

The morning guys at KBOI AM 670 discussed the issue with listeners and the cumulative result is the council has wisely bounced the ordinances back to staffers for a second look to seek answers to some of the issues raised.

The city proposed the three ordinances earlier this month in an effort to curb harassing and unsafe panhandling in the city, sitting and lying on sidewalks and other issues that “negatively affect the city’s public spaces,” according to a city news release. Problems arise when an ordinance is aimed at a particular segment of the population.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Harassing and unsafe panhandling. Other than being slightly annoying, I have yet to see this alleged harassing and unsafe panhandling…

    I can’t imagine the problem was overstated and exaggerated just a bit…

  2. Grumpy ole guy
    May 30, 2013, 10:01 pm

    Well, good for the Council, let’s hope that the Staffers consideration is wise enough to consider the array of possibilities. Maybe they can even rein in GBAD?

    EDITOR NOTE–Staff may be good, but not THAT good!

  3. Agree with Frank. There didn’t seem to be much harassing and “unsafe” panhandling (I guess as opposed to safe panhandling). And would those businesses who use people holding advertising signs be barred as well? What if the businesses promised to go along with the new parking meters like good little sheeple?

    Maybe when the City creates their office of “sustainability” (never defined of course and sure to suck up taxpayer money) or “livability” some wizard of smart 20 something hipster staffer with a gender studies degree in fine arts can come up with a “solution”.

  4. What about the alleged project to convert the old downtown macy’s building into affordable (?) apartments? Is that plan supposed to include homeless folks?
    Or is it for low income not homeless?
    Or maybe only for rich folks wanting to move downtown?

  5. Don’t feed the crooks! Give them a Wal-Mart gift card with a zero balance. Write $100 on it. It gets them off the curb for a spell.

    My sister called the coppers on an overly aggressive beggar who ambushed her at car-side. The police dog found he was “rich” with drugs in his car as was his druggy friend. In addition to the outstanding warrants etc. Now we are paying for the arrest, prosecution, and jailing. If we had a “no bums” law, we’d not have the additional costs which these folks cause the community.

  6. Laws are only as good as the enforcement and I doubt the manly cops will do much to alleviate panhandling.

    I can ignore them for the most part but I get an uneasy feeling when these folks hang out at the ATM. I am big enough that I can deter overly aggressive panhandlers, women alone are another matter. I wish there could be a simple solution to this but political will alone won’t do it.

  7. I’ve lived in Las Cruces,NM for 12 years (researching Boise for possible relocation). When I first moved here we had panhandlers on every corner. Then they started fighting each other for prime territory. Got ugly. Then they started getting aggressive with drivers who wouldn’t give them money. Driver held hostage at red light, kinda hard to get away blocked in traffic. Got ugly. More panhandlers came into area-city had good rep for helping panhandlers. Every corner had 2 or 3 with hands out. Dogs started disappearing out of fenced yards. One guy got caught stealing, killing, skinning, cooking, eating old lady’s chihuahua.

    We adopted no panhandling ordinance. It’s great! Carwash and charity people simply have to get permission from property owner’s and they can have their bake sale. Lots of charitable endeavors, no panhandlers. Problem solved. Dogs still go missing but cops don’t find someone eating them.

  8. Flyhead, the “manly cops” can’t win here. If they roust them and make them leave, they are mean. If they don’t, they are lazy.
    Personally I agree with disallowing panhandling. It does not reflect well on Boise to have these folks on every corner.

  9. Really, just a question. What are they (the homeless) to do? What is your solution to the problem?

  10. tom,

    Many “homeless” beggars are doing this as a way of life and it has become a good way to make a living without paying income taxes. On a hot summer day you can watch them tag team with a friend; taking turns staying cool in a nearby idling car. That dog they have with them is allowed to roast in the sun all day and may be stolen. I’m all for helping those who need help, but many of these folks are not really in need. They are just another form a cheater. They are part of the cash economy that is not paying some of their taxes/bills etc.

    Solution you ask? A simple sales tax on everything. No exception for whom or what you are. No other tax of any kind, or fees, or license fees etc. Same rate in each State. To be collected and managed by the States, with a small share given to the feds. No fed taxing authority what so ever. The Feds get what the States choose to give.

  11. So since some do it all fall under the same label it it’s funny how that rule is selectively applied. I will defer to your knowledge of the “tag teaming” I personally have never spent that much time watching them.
    As to your solution I personally am in favor of 10% income tax across the board, no exemptions what so ever. That being said I do not understand what effect this will have on the problem being discussed here.

  12. SALES Tax, Hope that helps, God Bless.

  13. wow thanks I would have never figured that out. No seriously how do you propose using a sales tax to solve the problem being discussed here? Bless your heart.

    EDITOR NOTE–Perhaps a minimum income tax.

  14. tom, there are other resources out there. The homeless can get their needs met at the Rescue Mission and other local organizations. Food, shelter, clothing, even rehabilitation if it’s needed and they commit to it. There is no reason to panhandle.

  15. for the record, I completely support a flat tax, but I agree, it’s probably unrelated to this issue to a large extent.

  16. Really
    I hear what you are saying though I disagree that there are adequate services available. This problem is much deeper than panhandling it goes to employment, mental health, substance abuse…. ect, ect.
    As far as the tax issue, either flat or sales has nothing to do with,or with fixing this problem, except that it seems Zippo wants to tax the money given to these individuals.

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