Judge refuses to block St. Pete's soliciting banA federal judge has refused to block St. Petersburg's new ban on street solicitation, clearing the way for officials to begin enforcing it this weekend.
Starting Sunday, panhandlers, charity fundraisers and street vendors on the city's major streets could face arrest if they don't leave after a warning, St. Petersburg City Attorney John Wolfe said.
St. Petersburg Times attorney George Rahdert argued that city officials claimed the ordinance was aimed at improving public safety to disguise its real intention: getting beggars off the streets.
"This is a panhandling ordinance, pure and simple," he said.
Judge Richard A. Lazzara said the motivation for the ban was irrelevant.
In rejecting the request for a restraining order, Lazzara did not rule on the merits of the newspaper's constitutional challenge.
Read the St. Petersburg Times report here. See previous post here, and check out the post at Beach Peanuts.