Handling the panhandlers

Attempts to stop begging have failed; so what's next?

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Brer Rabbit
    Aug. 23, 2010 1:44 p.m.

    I give to charity enough that I am not driven by guilt to give to panhandlers. I also know that in SLC, Provo, Ogden and other areas that have panhandlers that there are support services for them, paid for by the government and charity.

    I try to help people through more effective methods. I never give to panhandlers that approach me and ask for money. They may be down on their luck, but not down enough to go to where help is provided. Most of their need for cash is to inject or snort it. So, most of your "donation," often goes to the local drug dealers.

    By "donating" to panhandlers you only increase the problem. Try donating and helping those organizations that actually help those that are down and out. Giving to panhandlers is, in my opinion, a cheap way of covering guilt.

    Aug. 23, 2010 11:25 a.m.

    We do not live in a society where poor people need to panhandle, and beg in the streets.
    People can get all the help they need if they follow a few basic rules.

  • for real
    Aug. 22, 2010 7:52 p.m.

    I am a Viet Nam veteran and just received some very bad news about my annual checkup and since I was at the veterans' hospital in SLC I went to the hospital chapel to pray and meditate to try to settle down.

    A person claiming to be a vet came up in the chapel while my eyes were closed in prayer and whispered that he needed $20 so he could get a cab to Ogden.

    Do you think I was wrong to ignore a "fellow veteran" while I was just that day diagnosed with terminal cancer and wanting to gain some peace of mind?

    Obviously there is no limit to what people will do for easy money.

    By the way, there is no ID check to prohibit entry to the hospital; anyone can walk right in.

  • Utah Dem
    Aug. 22, 2010 6:06 p.m.

    Every Saturday during the summer months at the Ogden Farmer's Market and Art Sale there are typically three or four singers with guitars. They never ask for money or even hint at it. They just play and sing and leave their guitar cases open in hopes that people will appreciate their talents and drop some coin. Most of them do pretty well on those Saturdays. Not the same as panhandling at all in my opinion.

    Last Saturday I was in SLC for several hours, it is the first time in a long time that I wasn't bothered by panhandlers which made for a nice visit.

  • Chad S
    Aug. 22, 2010 11:21 a.m.

    SLC has a particularly difficult problem because the very heart of the city center is a monument to a religion that prides itself on generosity and giving.

    I like the idea of making a panhandler obtain a business license. Any stats on the average daily income of a panhandler in SLC?

  • John Robert Mallernee
    Aug. 22, 2010 10:43 a.m.


    Many years ago, when I lived in Saint Anthony, Idaho, I went to the town square in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to play my guitar and sing.

    A detective came by and warned me about begging for money.

    I wasn't soliciting donations!

    I just wanted folks to hear my songs.

    I called the police in West Yellowstone, Montana to ask if I could perform on the sidewalk, and they said it was against the law to "panhandle".

    Again, all I wanted to do was let folks hear my music.

    I didn't know that was panhandling.

    Fortunately, we now have YOU TUBE, and I also have my own blog, OUR ETERNAL STRUGGLE, where I can post my numerous home made amateur videos, plus the lyrics to the songs I've composed.

    I'm a disabled war veteran, and when I was living in Salt Lake, I did encounter beggars who claimed to be disabled war veterans, and I always wondered WHY they needed to beg?

    When I offered them a meal, they'd refuse, because they wanted money.

    Thank you.

    John Robert Mallernee
    Armed Forces Retirement Home
    Washington, D.C. 20011-8400

  • John Charity Spring
    Aug. 22, 2010 8:22 a.m.

    The idea that the 1st Amendment protects panhandling in any way, shape, or form is pure nonsense. The Founding Fathers would be appalled to hear that left-wing extremists are citing the 1st Amendment as a basis for legalizing panhandling.

    The Fathers never meant for "speech" to protect conduct that was harassing, intimidating, and terrorizing to the general public. Indeed, Justice Holmes recognized over 100 years ago that freedom of speech did not allow someone to yell "fire" in a crowded theatre.

    In addition, the Fathers established this Country on the principle that a man would work for what he received, and if he would not work, he would not receive. Given this irrefutable fact, it is incomprehensible how anyone could think that the Fathers intended for the 1st Amendment to be used to produce a lazy, slothful, idle segment of the public who survived off the hard work of others.

  • anti-liar
    Aug. 22, 2010 2:09 a.m.

    Rational is correct. It was a mistake to remove the lying clause. Four times over a period of about as many years I encountered or came within earshot of one particular conman delivering the self-same, highly-detailed story about needing 17 bucks in order to replace his broken engine serpentine belt so that he could continue on his interstate journey. This guy is as bad as any con man and in fact ought to be charged with Fraud.

    A few undercover police watching to see if a person really does go and buy that bus ticket or hamburger or whatever, and that would be THE END of panhandling at that spot.

  • Rational
    Aug. 22, 2010 12:13 a.m.

    "Also, an earlier section making it illegal to make a false statement – that you are a disabled veteran or need money for bus fare, for instance – has been removed."

    Big mistake.

    In this day and age, that is the easiest thing to enforce. People could record the "pitch" on a phone, take a picture, and that would be the end of that panhandler. The professionals would be off the streets in a matter of days.