NewsTalk

Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Full circle on panhandlers

March 31, 2008
Does the political party of Indianapolis mayors influence how they deal with panhandlers, or is it just coincidence?

Steve Goldsmith, a Republican, used the police to crack down on panhandlers, pushing many of them out of downtown.

In his eight years, Bart Peterson, a Democrat, was more tolerant of people on the streets and directed police resources elsewhere.

Now Republican Greg Ballard is considering ideas to follow up on a campaign promise to deal with panhandlers.

Ballard wants to enforce existing laws and try to persuade people to give to not-for-profits rather than panhandlers. He also might propose an ordinance like those in other cities that charge a hefty fee in order to allow panhandling.

Like prior administrations, Ballard distinguishes between panhandlers, who usually have homes, and the homeless.

Are downtown panhandlers a problem? Should something be done, and if so, what?
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