Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Take an in-depth look (actually, a listen)
at St. Pete's panhandling ban

If you’re asking for donations for charity, selling a Sunday newspaper or just looking for a few bucks for yourself, you can’t do it anymore along the major roads in St. Petersburg. The city has enacted a ban on all kinds of transactions along busy roads in an effort to keep drivers and panhandlers safe.

Meet some of the people you see on the roadside and find out why the
St. Petersburg ordinance already has survived a legal challenge.

The guests on WUSF's "Florida Matters" include my friend and colleague, G.W. Rolle, who thinks the ban on panhandling and roadside solicitations takes away some of the panhandlers' humanity. A former roadside newspaper vendor himself, Rolle admits he probably would have turned to crime when he was homeless if he hadn't been able to sell newspapers and find other temporary work opportunities.

Another friend and colleague, Tulin Ozdeger of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, worries about criminalizing homelessness when it comes to bans on panhandling.

Listen to WUSF's exploration of this issue here.


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