[Lg44] Philadelphia bars panhandling (fwd)

P. Myers (mpwr@u.washington.edu)
Sat, 20 Jun 1998 17:28:21 -0700 (PDT)


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fyi Pat Myers

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 18 Jun 1998 18:06:02 PDT
From: UPI 
Subject: [Lg44] Philadelphia bars panhandling
  	  				 
	PHILADELPHIA, June 18 (UPI) -- The Philadelphia City Council has voted  
to ban so-called aggressive panhandling and sleeping on most streets, as 
well as passing out leaflets and collecting for charity, which could 
spark court action. 
	The ``Public Places - Prohibited Conduct'' bill bars soliciting for  
money within eight feet of any building, unless it is a bank or an ATM 
machine, when the barrier extends to 20 feet. It also requires owners of 
properties to keep sidewalks free of clutter, even decorative plants. 
And the homeless would be forced to abandon their steam grates in 
winter. 
	The bill passed 12-4.  
	Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell was one no vote and said: ``It's a  
very, very dangerous bill. It takes us back to times in the history of 
this country that we would not like to remember.'' 
	Because two councilmembers specifically asked to get their districts  
included in the law, Blackwell managed to get her district excluded. 
	Mayer Ed Rendell has indicated he would sign the bill into law, which  
could prompt a suit for an injunction from the American Civil Liberties 
Union. 
	Referring to New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's ``quality of life  
initiatives'' -- tightening regulations on taxis, street vendors and 
pedestrians -- ACLU Executive Director Larry Frankel said, ``This is more 
totalitarian than anything he's done.'' 
	Frankel said as it stands, the bill would prohibit soliciting money  
for any purpose and in any manner, passing out handbills, shaking the 
canisters for the American Legion or even the Salvation Army Santas from 
setting up their collection kettles. 
	According to Frankel, theoretically a businessman on his cell phone  
could be collared if he asked the person on the other end of the line 
for money of any amount, if he was within the proscribed zone. 
	Even politicians soliciting campaign funds could be at risk. And  
Frankel said it could affect voting registration drives and street 
musicians. 
	City Council President John Street said amendments could be  
introduced in the fall to correct faults in the bill. 
  	   	

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