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 (), 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.