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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  • Move Wheeler Mission to a less trafficked area, such as south of Methodist Hospital. We should move the jails up there too, while we're at it.
  • One of the first things friends of mine noticed from tennessee attending a convention downtown in August 2007 was the obvious panhandling going on around them. I do not recall if there impression was negative or positive, but I do know they noticed it instantly.
  • Geez! You'd think the Republicans would be a little nicer about the free enterprise system. Just supply and demand in action. Stop givi9ng and they'll go away. In the meantime, these guys are just trying to run their small businesses in this Great (Republican) economy.
  • Apparently panhandling must be fruitful considering the people regularly positioned at high traffic areas around Keystone at the Crossing and Castleton intersections with the same sign reading Will work for food.
  • Perhaps this is a result of the convention center courting all the religious conventions with generous out-of-towners that attend ? Maybe redirecting that strategy to a differnet convention attendee demographic?
    Or is it the result of the republican business community looking for a scapegoat for their loss in revenue lately? Instead of believing it is George and Mitch’s economy that is actually at fault?
  • I agree with the actions that Mayor Ballard is taking. Panhandling is not particulary threatening to a man; but women often feel at risk.

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  1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

  2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. Well...you guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

  3. It's empowering for this niche community to know that they have an advocate on their side in case things go awry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrst9VXVKfE

  4. Apparently the settlement over Angie's List "bundling" charges hasn't stopped the practice! My membership is up for renewal, and I'm on my third email trying to get a "basic" membership rather than the "bundled" version they're trying to charge me for. Frustrating!!

  5. Well....as a vendor to both of these builders I guess I have the right to comment. Davis closed his doors with integrity.He paid me every penny he owed me. Estridge,STILL owes me thousands and thousands of dollars. The last few years of my life have been spent working 2 jobs, paying off the suppliers I used to work on Estridge jobs and just struggling to survive. Shame on you Paul...and shame on you IBJ! Maybe you should have contacted the hundreds of vendors that Paul stiffed. I'm sure your "rises from the ashes" spin on reporting would have contained true stories of real people who have struggled to find work and pay of their debts (something that Paul didn't even attempt to do).

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