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City Hears Comments On Panhandling

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The Yakima City Legal department is now reviewing comments made at the Yakima City Council meeting last night concerning panhandling. The city is considering enacting an ordinance that would restrict begging on city streets. City leaders heard from some people who were concerned about the problem on Tuesday night but they didn’t hear about any panhandling that created health or safety problems for residents. Many people suggested people simply stop giving to the panhandlers. Some residents suggest the city should create a public campaign to tell people to give to legitimate organizations instead of panhandlers. The city already has an ordinance that bans aggressive panhandling. The city legal department is now considering all options.

The city of Spokane is getting aggressive with panhandling to try and curb the problem just like the city of Yakima is trying to do. Spokane City Spokesman Brian Coddington says they’ve enacted an ordinance that bans people from stepping off the curb into traffic to grab cash from a driver. Coddington says since the ordinance was enacted last year the city has seen a decrease in panhandling but it hasn’t eliminated it. “It really became a public safety issue that we had to address. People were entering the roadway at busy intersections causing a big safety problem for drivers.” He says the city also has an ordinance that bans aggressive panhandling anywhere within city limits. He says both have become tools for police to move people along that are begging on city streets. So far the ordinance has not been challenged in court.

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