NewsTalk

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

Full circle on panhandlers

March 31, 2008
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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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