Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Brother, Can You Spare the Time?

If you're tired of being delayed by panhandlers, donate a few minutes of your time to the Tacoma City Council tonight.

Councilmembers will hear testimony about panhandling during a public hearing which begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers in the Tacoma Municipal Building. The hearing is being held to gather public input on a new ordinance that will, in general, prohibit:
  1. Panhandling directed at traffic;
  2. "Coercive" panhandling;
  3. Panhandling at places where citizens are particularly isolated and vulnerable.
The proposal comes after citizen complaints about panhandling throughout the city, from freeway off-ramps to downtown streets. Revisions were made to an earlier draft ordinance after receiving input from a variety of stakeholders, including the BIA's Security Advisory Committee. The city already has language on the books regarding panhandling, but it doesn't go as far as the proposed ordinance.

Panhandling is defined as "solicitations for immediate employment, goods, services, financial aid or monetary gifts to the occupants of vehicles on public roadways" and would be prohibited under the proposed ordinance when the activity:
  • Distracts drivers;
  • Obstructs or impedes the orderly flow of traffic;
  • Causes traffic congestion;
  • Creates traffic and safety hazards that pose a danger to the solicitors;
  • Creates traffic and safety hazards that pose a danger to the persons solicited; or
  • Creates traffic and safety hazards that pose a danger to the traveling public in general
If you plan to attend tonight and testify, please contact Assistant City Attorney Kim Gerhardt at (253) 591-5917.

1 comment:

  1. The Tacoma City Council will also be making a decision on the Winthrop Hotel tonight.

    Hopefully, the council will vote "no" on any plan or contingency which would give AF Evans $1,000,000.

    The city should use all of its influence to support the restoration of the Winthrop Hotel as it was designed.

    Come and give your opinion to the council tonight (9/19) at 5:00 p.m.