Banning Panhandelers: How the County Commissioners may waste more of our tax dollars

Submitted by CatWhisperer on Sat, 12/01/2012 - 07:14

Note: Updated 12/8/2016

So the Commissioners are about to take a vote on banning panhandling, like on the medians at Timberline and Mulberry (Hwy 14), as reported by the Coloradoan. I would recommend that the Commissioners attempt to do no such thing, lest they get us embroiled in a lawsuit with the ACLU as Colorado Springs has here recently.

Why would the ACLU take up the case of the panhandler? Because it is a First Amendment free speech issue for both the panhandler and driver. He (or she), the panhandler, has a First Amendment right to discuss anything with me unless I refuse so. I have the right to discuss, or not, whatever I want with that panhandler once approached. That discussion can range from the weather to the design of nuclear weapons. It can also include an entreaty for a pecuniary gratuity. And I can give it or not, at my choosing. These are all basic First Amendment rights in America. If you don't want to talk to them, you keep your window rolled up, or tell them so. If you do, you roll your window down. It's no big deal.

The Commissioners and whoever is advising them are going about this the wrong way. First off they should only focus on the problem individuals. There are three or four out there daily. None of them cause any problems. Secondly, why not register the panhandlers as they do is some metropolitan areas. That way, they display a registration number, allowing individuals to file complaints against problem ones. There are many other ideas that the County could come up with, with all of the creative minds employed in County government, that would attempt to regulate without banning.

Personally, I don't like to see somebody out there with a cat on a leash. As CatWhisperer (wink), the kitties tell me it's not a good thing for them to be around rushing cars. But that's my viewpoint, not my right to enforce on that individual. There is a friendly dog, who's owner limps on a cane. There's a homeless couple on bicycles, with the husband having been on the Coloradoan. This is their livelihoods, and if the County does decide to ban their livelihoods then the County, in it's Majesty, should have the moral balls to provide another.

Finally, alms asking and giving, if y'all recall from grade school, is ancient, as old as society itself. The Commissioners can try to ban it, but their efforts will probably be ineffective, cost the taxpayer, and hurt the innocent.



I like your comment on this subject. If you look at the job the commissioners have been doing, who are the real panhandlers? I have to say from the job performance of the commissioners, that Commissioner Steve Johnson is more of problem for panhandling than anyone on the street. Steve Johnson is a former veterinarian, who has a long history of displaying a lack of competence in his former profession. This would not be much of a problem except this incompetence is now effecting the safety and welfare of every resident in Colorado, as Steve Johnson is now part of the rule making body for DHS, as he sits on the State Board of Health and Human Services. It would seem that someone who makes claims that he has some competence from his former profession, that person should show the same level of competence as others in that profession.

After being told by Steve Johnson's former employer, Wayne Allard, about the lack of critical thinking skills and medical knowledge, which Steve Johnson continues to display. for these reasons, it seems the real panhandling problem is not on the streets of Fort Collins and Larimer County, but rather the giving of a paycheck to our current commissioners.

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