SACRAMENTO CITY COUNCIL CONSIDERS CHANGE TO THEIR ANTI-PANHANDLING ORDINANCE
Currently aggressive panhandling and soliciting for donations from a median or off-ramp of a freeway is against the law. Their proposed changes would make it against the law to panhandle within 30 feet of an ATM, financial institution door, transit center, bus stop, driveway to a business, or directly from someone sitting in an outdoor café.
SHOC (Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee) has been attending community meetings, City Council and Law & Legislation meetings trying to convince them that these new additions infringe on protected free speech, to no avail.
If you pace out 30 feet, it’ll take you across a two lane street including car parking. The ordinance would make it against the law to ask anyone within 30 feet from an ATM, even if that person is not planning to use the ATM machine. 30 feet equals 60 feet up and down the sidewalk with the starting point at the center. Can you imagine trying to intimidate a pedestrian from 30 feet away? Having to shout out “HELLO, OVER THERE! YES YOU! GIVE ME MONEY….PLEASE!!!” “What?” “I SAID….”
At the same time it does not make it against the law to ask a stranger what time it is, or comment how you like their shoes within 30 feet. You can still legally approach someone at the ATM machine and say, “Did you watch the game last night?” Just don’t say you are poor and in need of some spare change.
These changes have been approved by the Law & Leg Committee and will go soon to Sacramento City Council for a vote.