I understand than panhandlers can be annoying. I lived and worked in downtown Chicago for three years; no one has to tell me about panhandlers. But this kind of bothers me:
Those who do street shows or musical performances for voluntary donations will not be affected, nor will groups or individuals selling such things as Girl Scout cookies.Not that I have anything against fund raising, but in effect, it’s the same thing as panhandling. It’s no more or less annoying to be asked to buy cookies than it is to be asked for money for an individual.
The SJ-R story doesn’t define what the city considers “panhandling” and that may make the difference here. If the ban only covers so-called aggressive panhandling (blocking your way, touching, abusive language, etc.), I’m more inclined to support the idea. However, those things should be illegal anyway and apply citywide. As for non-aggressive panhandlers, you can always ignore them or say no; it’s not that big a deal.
And those who are “afraid” of panhandlers (or the homeless), I say ‘tough shit’. If you feared blacks or Asians or bankers you’d just have to live with it (or get over your prejudices). If an individual isn’t committing a real crime, there is no reason to ban them or their activity.