Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Panhandlers desert Gainesville streets

    George Bryant panhandles just outside the Gainesville city limits.
    "Sitting here like this with a sign, I think that's freedom of speech. Don't
    you?" he asked.
As Gainesville's new ban on street-side panhandling went into full effect, the city's street corners were empty.

Some homeless advocates say they are prepared to challenge the ban by breaking the law if necessary.

"Stupid laws like what you just passed, we could have a field day with that," said Michael Stoops, acting executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. "What we always do when stupid laws like that are passed is look at what we could do to bring a spotlight to it. We are considering some national action where we encourage students and activists to go to Gainesville."

Gainesville's ban is unique because it criminalizes the actions of both motorists and panhandlers.

Read the Gainesville Sun article here.


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