Monday, May 21, 2007
Dallas City Council to be briefed on new panhandling ordinance
New regulation would ban panhandling near parking meters.
DALLAS On May 23rd, Dallas City Council will be briefed on yet another ordinance targeting and criminalizing the homeless and charities. This new ordinance will target "panhandling" once again. The third such ordinance to do so.
While I myself do not enjoy "being hit up for a quarter," I fully understand there are some things I need to put up with living in a nation which evolved due to government oppression of individual rights, freedoms and representation. The new ordinance will make it illegal to panhandle near parking meters. Naturally it is intended for Downtown Dallas since parking meters are very rare elsewhere in the city. This ordinance will also target charities and the press from distributing in-person materials which could be deemed as solicitation.
Since 1999, homeless individuals have been able to distribute a "street newspaper" (nonprofit) and earn income. The income ranges from $5 per day up to $10 per day. The money is given to them by the customers. Certainly this is not much, but it is the opportunity for dignity and giving something back to society, which really matters. "Freedom of Press" and having unrestricted avenues to distribute is not only a fundamental right, it is a necessity for our country. "Freedom of Speech" is also a necessity, regardless if some speech bothers us. Only when speech can result in physical personal harm should it be limited.
The last solicitation ordinance the City passed stated that people and charities out on roadways collecting donations were in harms way and created a dangerous situation for drivers but how is it when someone asks another for a quarter while both people are standing on a sidewalk, it places anyone in danger. There already is an ordinance on the books which states it is against the law to "panhandle aggressively" and a person cannot block anothers' walking path.
So what really is the attended purpose for another ordinance?
Downtown businesses, who have collected over $400 million in tax breaks, have always complained about "Americans without homes" being a problem and they are the driving force behind this new ordinance. I do not say this lightly, but prejudice based on class-ism is just as evil as racism, sexism, etc... The exploitation of American politics by wealthy individuals to target other Americans for personal greed, has already burdened and damaged many lives (gas, electric prices...etc) and if left unchecked our Lady Liberty will be devalued to a high class prostitute status. And America will not stand for long when Liberty is bought and paid; afforded only to Elitist.
The only possible danger from someone asking me for money is annoyance, but if this new ordinance passes and once again America takes another step towards a Stalin class society, we will all pay the price of liberty lost.
This story was submitted by a member of the Pegasus News community. James is the head of the Dallas Homeless Neighborhood Association.
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