Council to review proposed panhandling ordinance
Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 29, 2004
The proposed panhandling ordinance going before the Suffolk City Council Wednesday is drawing questions from some city lawmakers.
The proposed ordinance bans anyone from begging or accosting another person within 100 feet of an entrance or exit to a bank or automatic teller machine, bus or bus stop.
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&uot;I have some concern about the concept itself,&uot; said Councilman Curtis Milteer. &uot;It’s best to be merciful to the poor.
&uot;I’m not sure at this time whether we would be doing the right thing,&uot; he continued. &uot;The poor will be with you always and it is always better to give than receive.
&uot;I would rather the city be in a position to give them help.&uot;
Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett said he too had concerns about the proposed policy, particularly the distance requirement of 100 feet. He wants the city to make it 15 feet, which is the distance incorporated in Norfolk’s panhandling ordinance.
&uot;I have some questions with that,&uot; said Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett. &uot;I think it is too rigid, that we need to be reasonable. People out there do have some needs.&uot;
At the recommended distance in the policy, people would not even be able to stop and sit on benches in downtown Suffolk and ask a passerby for a cigarette.
Public hearings are being held on both the panhandling ordinance and one that would make it illegal to ride a moped on city streets without a helmet and other safety equipment.