Comments about ‘Cities, state battle panhandling through the lens of public safety’

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Published: Saturday, March 8 2014 3:25 p.m. MST

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Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT

The EPA and Democrats should be out in full force on this. The number of idling vehicles, spewing their toxic poisons into the air is only increased as people that "feel" like they're doing "good" by enabling panhandlers, while holding up the traffic. It's dangerous, it backs up traffic, it increases the pollution, it's a hazard having pedestrians running in between cars.

I watched a woman in the rose park area, driving up and down the road in her jazzy with a dog on her lap, panhandling car to car. When I called the police, the dispatch asked if the situation is dangerous. Yes it is dangerous when a jazzy that has no lights, driving the wrong way, in a lane of traffic, with a driver that seems oblivious to the dangers she is in and an unsuspecting driver will be in.

That's not free speech. Again, that's someone else's "right" trumping my right.

I know it. I Live it. I Love it.
Provo, UT

Myth: Helping the needy means giving them money

Protecting our families doesn't make us less Christ-like or loving or good citizens, etc. It just means that we're not naive in a world where people abuse the naive.

I believe in helping, but not in ways that hurt people or enable them to hurt themselves. There are 6 homeless shelters in Provo, yet I still see people who are homeless sleeping elsewhere. Offering real help is usually denied. Why? If they wanted help, they'd go where they know they'll get it. I know this from experience. I see it every day. When I see people who just throw money at others, all I see is people who want to pretend problems don't exist, pretend their helping people, but don't want to actually do anything to really help. That or in ignorance perhaps they actually thought they were helping. But the truth is, it doesn't help.

Giving someone fish doesn't teach them how to fish. Giving them a fish doesn't even mean they'll eat it. In a world full of problems we need to be solvers, not enablers.

One opinion
west jordan, UT

This would be a reasonable thing to do. I know this is an employment situation for them, but by standing where there is traffic distracts the drivers. I have watched a van drop panhandlers off at different locations before. I worked downtown where the same people maintained the same corners all the time. I have visited with them many times. I look at panhandlers as people who have chosen this method to earn money and I don't shop at their store. I volunteered at a homeless shelter for one year helping tutor the children and truly enjoyed it. I learned all the things the different organizations do to help people get on their feet and it is truly great. Stop lights and traffic corners is not the place to work - it is too dangerous for both the panhandler and the drivers who don't pay attention.

Salt Lake City, UT

I am 100% in favor of this bill and hope it passes quickly.

Hey It's Me
Salt Lake City, UT

I was at the light at 1300 East and the east bound exit of 80 and the amount of trash stacking up behind the wall where the panhandlers stand is awful. Every corner by freeway exits is littered with all their trash they don't want to carry with them. They want free money and want to ruin our communities. Like an above comment. . . there are plenty of places to get help, the street corner isn't one of them!

American Fork, UT

It'll be interesting to see if this works. Any kind of multiple use of a roadway always puts the motorist at risk of liability and should not be accepted. That includes not only the panhandlers but any of those pushcart reenactments, foot and bicycle road races, etc. Roadways are built for automobiles, and the laws of physics cannot be overturned or ignored. Keep them off the streets.

andy warhol
west valley city, UT

what about "fill the boot" campaigns run by the fire department to raise money for "jerry's kids"? it sounds like if these types of ordinances are passed the fire departments will have to find another way to raise money. after all, "fill the boot" campaigns would be defined as the "the unsafe transfer of money or other personal property in a roadway." unintended consequences, but real consequences.

Danny Chipman
Lehi, UT

I Know It...,

Well said!

Mesa, AZ

Too bad that people in our society are stripped of pride, dignity, and self-worth that they will stand in traffic soliciting the beggars ransom. Perhaps it is upbringing, life's misfortunes, mental incapacity, or the result of choosing addictive drugs and substances that have led them to the curb and cardboard requests. Others appear afflicted by injury or disease, even wheelchair bound. Some even appeal as victims, such as single pregnant mom short on rent and formula, wearing a nice dress and a smile.

While some are driven by greed, appearing to manage their location on a regular basis, or in teams. It must be a lucrative business that does well in a religious community taught to give to others without question.

I support this legislation, because it will allow law enforcement to redirect these individuals to safer places, facilities, and organizations designed and dedicated to render the much needed aid. It will curtail the criminal element seeking easy earnings. It will also redirect those who enable this practice, to share appropriately.

Ex-Pat of Zion
Lititz, PA

"Don't feed the bears" ordinances should be targeted at the motorists who, bless their hearts, are the ones truly "impeding". The police should be issuing them them citations if they indeed pose a safety hazard. I remember Box Elder bugs when I was growing up there. I think the intolerance of "nuisance pests" is the attitude exhibited by the legislature and the funny thing is, like the box elder bugs, the only way to get rid of them is to cut down the tree.

And to "I Know it, I Live it, I Love it" ... you must have missed the question on the righteousness exam on Matthew 19:21. I believe the verb the Savior used in that verse was "give" though the proceeds are not stated explicitly. I disagree with your claim that you're only protecting your family. I could be mistaken, but I doubt there have been any cases of assault or vandalism reported ... unless your conscience was "assaulted".

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The greatest danger posed to our society by the street beggars in the embarrassment to the rich and powerful for their failure to correct the problems that create street beggars. For they know that when the street beggars have had enough of poverty the will stop begging and start demanding. Like those in foreign nations now.

We have the ability to end poverty if we would throw out the business control of our government and operate our civilized society for people.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@know it.

Most of my financial contributions to people are directly in the form of money. I don't give any money to commercial charities. We regularly give our unwanted "stuff" to commercial charities because the stuff is too good to put in the trash. And the commercial charities are willing to come and pick it up.

Charity is a business and is operated to produce profits for the owner/managers. If you think giving money to people harms them you probably have some examples of where commercial charities have helped end the causes of poverty.

My cash donations to poor, destitute, people are those given to 4 of my extended family relatives and as adults they don't accept much advise. It depletes my retirement savings and if my wife and I don't die in the next couple of years, the whole shebang ends up on the street. And I don't get a tax deduction.

My contributions through my taxes are distributed to millions of commercial charities, churches, Arts things, museums, zoos, monuments, theatres, amusement parks and even political organizations that I don't like. They get the tax deduction, I don't.

I know it. I Live it. I Love it.
Provo, UT

Ultra Bob,

I also give my personal belongings and money to those close to me who need help. But that has nothing to do with an organizations ability to help people effectively. The LDS Church proves that every day.

What can $10 do?

It can feed a family
It can buy a man a 7-11 hot-dog, some smokes, and a coke

I do agree that giving it to a brother may help him immeasurably at a time of need. But two facts remain. 1- that it can likewise enable. 2- that organized help can take that $10 and use it to feed 3 families. And if a tax deduction convinces more people to give, then I welcome it. I don't have to preach idealistic dogma to the world about the morality of a tax deduction. I do feel compelled to encourage people to help in ways that are safe and more effective.

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

Great idea, shove the downtrodden further and further into obscurity. After all, Christ said, "if you can't see 'em then that means they don't exist." Then He waxed philosophical about how giving to conglomerate institutions is far more effective than actually helping people.

It's simultaneously sad but ironic to watch Utahns justify their disdain for their fellow brothers and sisters.

Salt Lake City, UT

The impulse to help those less fortunate can be met in many constructive ways. Unfortunately, enabling is not the same as helping.

Ex-Pat of Zion
Lititz, PA

I Know it ...

You and I will just have to agree to disagree. In your $10 analogy: I might be going out on a limb, but a $10 "gift" is, in statistical parlance, a three sigma event. The "smokes" probably constitute what is probably the biggest vice of the beggar in most people's eyes. We've seen or heard of the $300 a day panhandler. Hate to break it to you but that's an urban myth.

Are their plights actually conveyed on their cardboard signs? I saw one fellow who had several signs stashed in a bag in his shopping cart. Maybe that gentleman has actually "learned" to fish? Are the the signs not "bait"? HIs "message" may be as genuine as the health benefits of Tahitian Noni Juice, but the latter is socially acceptable. Both "businessmen" are targeting a customer with "testimonials". HB101 discourages charity yet many claim charity should replace taxation when it comes to the poor.

You can on one hand praise the Church for it's welfare programs but on the other condemn the government for the same thing. Taxes and Tithing are collected for the privilege of membership ... but taxes are another topic


I am so tired of these panhandlers. They are on just about every corner that gets much traffic. KSL has done a few really good investigations on panhandling, and I can't remember one person they focused on that used the money legitimately for food or housing. They are all pretty convincing liars, and just use the money to feed their habits. If I ever see a panhandler smoking or with body tattoos, I don't give them a penny. Harsh? Not really, if they can spend money on those items, they should have enough for real necessities of life.

I know it. I Live it. I Love it.
Provo, UT

Every human being stands in need of help. Every human being is responsible for their service or lack of service to others and we'll all be held accountable to God for it

That said, Christ didn't carry around bags of money like Ebenezer Scrooge.

The Savior gave and gives comfort, faith, healing, love and forgiveness. I'm not perfect, but I'd rather imperfectly follow that example than Scrooge's. And if everyone still must contend with me.. I must assume people are simply looking for an admission of me being flawed.

They can have it. I'm flawed.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Know it.

I left out the word "families" in my previous post. A better post would have been 4 families consisting of 7 adults and 4 teens. And, that doesn't count the two teens who support themselves and the great grandkids living with their working mother. I cannot refuse my own offspring, even though mostly it's their own fault.

If you can feed a family with $10 you could help me if you tell me how.

The people who give to charity for the tax deduction are profiting on the deal.

I don't think government should force me to support churches and other people, especially those I don't like, through charity.

Red Smith
American Fork, UT

We are going to outlaw begging based on safety. Sounds like EPA outlawing drilling based on an endangered specie.

Are we going to put beggars in jail? There surely must be a better approach than criminalizing begging.

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