Sound Off Delaware: Pandhandling problems

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Dover’s City Council of the Whole’s Safety Advisory and Transportation Committee last week tabled a proposal that would prohibit panhandling between sunset and sunrise, stopping the practice in certain places and situations, making panhandlers pay a $250 fee for a panhandling permit and adding a fine between $500 and $1,000 for violations.

• Imprisoning the poor who normally have no other choices. Sounds like a great plan to me (note the sarcasm please!). Instead of wasting time developing these horrible laws, why don’t you put that into building affordable housing so people don’t need to rely on the goodwill of others by panhandling? — Susan Tanner Starrett

• A permit to panhandle? — Michael Hornberger

• Panhandling is fine as long as the government gets its cut. — Sam Fish

• Let me get this straight.. there’s no problem with panhandling, as long as the government gets their share, something is wrong with that picture ! What a joke! — Elisabeth Reiss McGuire

• Why is the only solution being proposed not addressing the root causes? Instead of hiring more officers to make others “feel” safe why aren’t we addressing the real issues of homelessness, substance abuse and mental illness better? These factors actually threaten the safety of the ones going through these challenges on a daily basis! Use that money to help the people suffering not to further victimize them! — Amber Kennehan

• There are times and places where it is dangerous and even unwanted but a $250 fee? If they can make that kind of money begging in Dover, why are people working regular jobs? Seems like the city just sees another way to fill their coffers. Unless they plan on using the money to actually help the homeless. — Lani Cotton

• Fining people with no money…how’s that going to work? So they end up in jail and cost taxpayer money instead? How about working with social service organizations to further address the roots of the problem. — Michael McKain

• How about not allowing it period? — Michelle A. Brown

• Easier to sweep the dirt under the rug than address it head on. Addressing it means admitting there’s a problem, which lawmakers don’t want to do. Never saw one campaign ad during this last midterm election that spoke about it — Wille Preacher

• NE Philly started a three strikes policy. First is warning with info on shelters, second gives lengthy list of all public services available for jobs addiction or mental counseling etc., Third picture is taken and (they are) escorted beyond city limits being advised they can not come back for 30 days if you can’t prove you requested help somewhere. — Nabeela Jeanne Black Swartz

• OK, so you’re looking to issue a fine, to a person that has no money. So when they don’t pay the fine, they get arrested and the taxpayers end up paying the fine in the form of paying to house a nonviolent, poor person, who was issued a fine for being poor. — Sean Quirk

• By the list of these comments it appears “the people” are more in tune with society than our politicians. How are you gonna permit someone, albeit with allegedly no money, then fine them for violation. Our government is too quick to just write permits and NOT apply any common sense. The only approach is to just ban the act altogether. — Dave Perrego

• I think the old adage of you can’t change others behavior, you can only change how you react is what is needed here. Stop giving them money. Go buy them groceries, that are of the don’t need a stove to cook, or keep in freezer/fridge. Snack bars, fruit, canned meat such as Spam. Or toiletries, such as wipes, mouthwash. Then at least their needs are met, rather then giving them cash. I know it’s tough to do when you don’t want to even be bothered and have things you’re doing. And I am right with you in hating the harassment from some panhandlers out there. It is scary for sure. — Margaret Gin Doloughan

• I have avoided downtown Dover since I walked out of Forney’s (when it was open) and two guys actually harassed me all the way to my truck spouting that if I could afford jewelry, I could afford to give them a few dollars. — Dan Fluman

• I just spewed my coffee out reading this — advocates have been trying for years to try to get help from Dover officials for the homeless and this is their solution. What a joke! Granted, a lot of those who ask for money in Dover aren’t homeless, however, let’s spend our time thinking of solutions to help those in need and not something which will also add more workload to our police force. — Dawn DeVries

• If I had a complaint about the panhandling it is the people who stand along the side of major highways and on concrete islands at intersections. It simply isn’t safe and this is a statewide issue not just Dover. I’ve stopped and given them food before but I refrain from giving money. Not to make an argument but there are so many places looking for employees there is no reason for panhandling. Even during the recession I don’t remember it being this bad and literally no one was hiring. —— Marvin Pedigo

• Come on! Think about how difficult it is, emotionally, for the real destitute, to get out there and beg, or offer some meager service for food or money. Yes, there are those who do it for a living. But, I don’t think that begins to encompass all of them. With that in mind, where do these fools think they are going to get the money for a “vendors/panhandlers permit”, let alone pay a fine? Good Lord, has the leadership in Delaware and the country, really dropped to this low level? — Dennis Mehrenberg

• My feelings on this are mixed. There are many homeless in Dover. I don’t like it when they are at intersections on the road. Don’t like giving money. But giving food, clothes, toilet paper, tampons, coffee, hot chocolate, a coat. I don’t see an issue with giving those things. There is a man I see all the time in Dover. Never asks for anything. I see him day and night. Just thankful he has clothes, shoes and a coat. There is a need for some. But also a lot of people are scammers. Sad. — JoAnn Marie Enrique

• Instead of everyone criticizing each and every effort, how about offering up some ideas on how to end homelessness and panhandling etc. And without raising taxes to do so. Also, can we get a show of volunteers willing to take a homeless person home with them? — Bob Hice

• I guess if the city of Dover starts issuing permits for panhandling that it wont be long before they start issuing permits to rob banks, permits to murder people, rape people….etc! Basically the permit for panhandling would be a permit to break the law and it’s very clear that it was not a well thought out plan on the part of Councilman Polce and Councilman Hare, Councilman Sudler was 100 percent correct about the whole situation as is Chief Mailey. I personally believe that they should put the brakes on the whole idea and scrap it, it’s just a bad idea no matter how you look at it. — Denise Lowman

• I really don’t understand wanting panhandlers to get permits, other than the city or county trying to figure out how they are going to get more money. On second notion if these folks had money they wouldn’t be panhandling, no they will get no money just their names In the paper and them looking dumb. This is not the answer Dover help is the answer. Help is what we need to be having council meetings about. — Wanda Hill

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