Being the a voice for democracy, fair play, and equal rights can be a lonesome role, just ask Boise City Councilor Lauren Mclean.
She was the lone vote Tuesday opposing a city “panhandling ordinance” which was passed despite opposition of homeless advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Mclean said the law goes too far and could push people who rely on donations out of Downtown. She also questioned unintended consequences, such as discouraging people from seeking strangers’ signatures on petitions.
The GUARDIAN OPPOSED the ordinance when it was first discussed in July. The major fault in our opinion is forcing the coppers to decide if someone is “aggressive” or qualifies for one of the many exemptions to the rule. Laws which can be equal justice under the law is a major concern.
Here are some instances which are against the law:
• in any public transportation vehicle
• from people waiting in line
• on private property where “solicitation prohibited” is posted
• from roads or from a vehicle on a road when entering the roadway is necessary to accept the donation
• from pedestrians crossing a road
• within public parking garages
• within 20 feet of an ATM, financial institution, sidewalk cafe, mobile or street vendor on a sidewalk, public restrooms and portable toilets, bus stops, taxi stands, valet stations and parking pay boxes or stations (not including parking meters that serve one or two spaces)
Council candidate Paul Fortin weighed in: “I commend city councilor McLean for her vote against the panhandling law. Yes there needs for government groups, business owners and the local charities to find an answer. Just passing a law means these people will get a few warm nights in jail and 3 meals.”
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