Time to Play Catch Up…

Richie Farmer

After a very busy weekend, I needed to catch up with lots of sleep yesterday. So what’s been going on since Friday? A lot, starting with what I suppose could be the big news of the day:

President Delivers Hard-hitting Speech in Indiana – Lots of “minute-by-minute” coverage by the Courier-Journal, though without much actual substance (I suppose whatever column inches Bush’s brief visit gets tomorrow will flesh out more details). Plenty of nice pictures, though I’d bet that once Richie Farmer (above, left) runs for a statewide office other than Agricultural Commissioner, he might wish pictures of himself posing with President Bush had never been taken. While the updates do note the presence of protesters, their numbers were not described. However, Bob Hill’s column today was a fairly decent read.

In Louisville news, the Metro Council is close to passing an ordinance on panhandling, as has been reported previously. Okay, so for the last ten years I’ve lived in Chicago and New York, cities much larger than Louisville, and I have to say that I can’t imagine that so-called “aggressive panhandling” is really that much of a problem here. Granted, an attorney friend of mine who works downtown related an “aggressive panhandling” story while we had after-work drinks the other day, but I still am not sure that many of the problems this ordinance is supposed to address wouldn’t be better solved by better enforcement of current laws. Some of the provisions of the new ordinance seem difficult to enforce anyway:

Panhandlers, for instance, could not ask for money within 20 feet of an automated teller machine, public restroom, school, bus stop, or parking garage. Also, the measure would ban someone from saving a public parking space in exchange for cash, or from asking for money within 6 feet of a public building, while on a bus or after dark. It also prohibits “reckless” contact with another, interfering with movement or using obscene language in soliciting.

In New York, I actually found the presence of regular panhandlers at ATM entrances to be kinda comforting, in a sense. Some down-on-his-luck guy (usually a guy, though not always) opens the door for you to enter and leave (eliminating the need to pull out and swipe your card), and you throw him a few coins. No big deal, and definitely not threatening.

One provision that seems less likely to pass the Metro Council is Doug Hawkins’ (R) ridiculous proposal on illegal immigrants and city services. So, given failure in its current form, Hawkins wants to try again:

Hawkins said he wants to make some changes and probably will separate the immigration provisions into two ordinances — one covering the agreement on the federal criminal database and the other covering city department policies and employee training.

Xenophobia aside, I’m not sure exactly why the party that’s obsessed with limiting the size of government wants to add another layer of bureaucracy to every city agency, but there you have it.

And finally, in what might be the funniest story from yesterday, as described in the story Write-in Vote Count Has a Cost, “Jefferson County election officials will spend much of this week hand-counting nearly 7,500 write-in votes for two candidates running for an office that has no pay and no powers.”

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One Response to “Time to Play Catch Up…”

  1. A homeless man won a court battle re: panhandling laws, as a violation of his rights to freedom of speech. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/276104/are_panhandlers_rights_to_freedom_of.html

    My joke is: What is the difference between a panhandler and a telemarketer?

    I do find aggressive panhandlers irritating. I am generous sharing my little with others, but there are so many homeless, it is impossible to help everyone, everyday with share change. Most panhandlers are polite and accept the no, but the aggressive kind will cuss people out and demand to be given money. I suggest calling the police on that type of person to discourage the behavior, not in laws that harm people who truly need a bit of spare change.

    I also do not like those that position themselves in front of ATM machines. Their assumption is that when one has a bank account one is just rolling in money and they should be willing to hand it over. The majority of homeless do not panhandle and most homeless are decent when they do so.

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