The Lincoln City City Council next Monday will be reviewing a proposed city law that outlaws panhandling which occurs largely at street corners with stop lights.
Panhandlers hold a sign – someone in a car holds out a dollar bill – the panhandler goes into the street to get it – then returns to his sign. Sometimes the transaction is within the red light cycle, sometimes not, which holds up traffic.
The law being proposed to the council says it’s illegal for the panhandler to beg from the sidewalk in a way that distracts drivers, even if the light is green, or on stretches of city streets without stop signs or signal lights. The new law also snares those in their cars when they give the panhandler money. And the fines could be pretty hefty.
The rationale behind making such panhandling illegal is found in the argument that panhandlers are a disruption to attentive driving by holding up signs on the sidewalk to deliberately distract drivers which is an act that threatens the safety of the motoring public.
The ordinance is a close copy of an ordinance from adopted by the Ashland City Council.
The Lincoln City City Council will also consider an ordinance the seeks to tighten the city’s ban on using public parking lots, streets or other rights of way for overnight camping/sleeping. Homeless people who have taken their case to the city council have argued there is no law against being homeless and so there shouldn’t be a ban on a homeless person getting some shut eye in a parked car anywhere in town that’s public property.
Those opposed to “public camping” claims that Lincoln City lives or dies by tourism and that widespread overnight “camping/sleeping” in public parking lots, along streets or other public areas would seriously damage the city’s reputation for being a clean and uncluttered place for vacations or just a weekend getaway.