"Hey Becker...can you spare a dime" | Buzz Blog

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Hey Becker...can you spare a dime"

Posted By on October 7, 2009, 4:18 PM

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I hate this time of year.  Soon I'll have to do battle with the Salvation Army bell ringers on my corner while dodging the cops!---

The Mayor wants to get an ordinance passed making panhandling against the law.  Cleaning up the streets of these supposed homeless people with their cardboard signs is a great idea.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Scrooge who has no feelings for the down and out, but there are places that people who are honestly in need can go for assistance.  The Mayor and Downtown Alliance fear that these street "fisherman" are causing damage to the cities business's and in some cases being down right abusive to people who want to shop, do business, dine or recreate downtown. 

It's true. I see these guys in their tattered clothing and crude cardboard signs proclaiming that they are homeless Vets or will work for food.  Have you ever offered one of these guys a job?  Mostly you get some goofy story that they really can't work but could use some cash immediatly.  I tried once to buy a guy some lunch and he refused but wanted the cash instead.  The one's who really make me mad are the one's with props usually in the form of a dog. 

If the city wants to rid the sidewalks of these guys they can waste valuable police resources to move them along or better yet, print up cards with the phone numbers and addresses of the various agency's that can offer assistance to those in need.  Business's can give these cards to customers to give to these people if they want and parking enforcement can do the same as they circle the cities blocks.  I don't think it would be long before they got the idea that there were slim pickins in downtown Salt Lake. 

It seems that this ordinance is long over due but with the building of City Creek Center, the timing is a bit suspect.  If nothing else they could at least carry a stash of Milk Bones to give to the dogs.

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Tom Barberi

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