Atlanta mayor plans to veto panhandling crackdown
by AP News Now
September 19, 2012 09:54 AM | 1355 views | 2 2 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed
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ATLANTA — The mayor of Atlanta plans to veto a new city ordinance that would let authorities send aggressive panhandlers to jail for up to six months, his spokesman said.

Atlanta officials have long struggled with how to deal with people asking for money from passers-by on the streets. The city has an ordinance that makes it illegal to block someone’s path when asking for money and also prohibits following, touching or using abusive language toward people being solicited. But police and attorneys say the law is rarely enforced.

A divided City Council voted 9-5 this week to give the panhandling law more teeth by adding a penalty of up to 180 days in jail for anyone convicted.

However, Mayor Kasim Reed spokesman Reese McCranie said Tuesday the mayor intends to veto the amended ordinance because “it does not sufficiently address homelessness and aggressive panhandling in a holistic manner.”

“Mayor Reed plans on announcing a comprehensive plan soon which will focus on tackling this complicated matter in a humane and less punitive way,” McCranie said in an email to newspaper.

Joe Beasley, southeast regional director for the Rainbow PUSH coalition, and other advocates for Atlanta’s homeless have opposed proposals to crackdown on panhandlers, saying they victimize the needy. And while the city’s solicitation ordinance is rarely enforced, police have been known to arrest panhandlers for disorderly conduct.

Councilman Michael Julian Bond said he supported adding jail time to address complaints about panhandlers from his constituents.

“We need to change behavior,” Bond said. “I want to be clear: This paper is not about homelessness. It’s about aggressive panhandling.”

Council member Keisha Lance Bottoms, an attorney, said questions whether parts of the proposed ordinance are legally enforceable. City Attorney Cathy Hampton said the changes have not been vetted by her office.

Council member Cleta Winslow said she’s had problems with aggressive panhandlers herself — having been asked for money at gas stations and cursed after refusing to hand over money.

“This city is just at a breaking point,” she said. “We need to get a better handle on this.”
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Samuel Adams
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September 20, 2012
There has never been so much panhandling in Cobb County. In the last year, I've been approached more times than I can count in both east and west Cobb. Buying gas, going to the grocery store...people asking for money. And so have my friends. Last weekend during a drive up towards Towne Center Mall, we saw people set up with tables and signs, begging.

If it's like this in one of the most affluent counties in the metro area, I'm sure it's widespread. I blame Obama's horrid policies and the fact he is intentionally leading us towards fracture in every sector of the economy. He wants people down so he can remake us all. And if you think he's done a good job so far, just wait until he's not going to be up for re-election. As he said to Putin's lapdog, "Then I'll really have some leeway."
common sense anyone?
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September 19, 2012
Does anyone in Atlanta have any common sense at all? Bet this just thrills people like Bernie Marcus who was good enough to sink money into a beautiful aquarium so that people would have a way to see and enjoy the wonders of the sea! Wish he had brought it to Cobb, believe me, we would have fully appreciated it! Doesn't anyone, especially the Mayor understand that aggressive panhandling gives the City a bad name? How stupid can you get?

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