Why should City Council legitimize ANY street begging?

Last week, Councilmember Michael Berry solicited input on Houston's street solicitation problem.

Today, KHOU-11's Doug Miller reports further on possible Council action:

At busy intersections, Houston drivers see it all the time -- youngsters raising money for charity.

"Thank you. Have a nice day."

It's a sight so common, sometimes it's scary.

"He's reaching down underneath the car where the money had fallen," said Houston City Councilmember Carol Mims Galloway, who took a photo of a child ducking under a car to grab change.

And then there are incidents like the one in 2004 when a child ended up between the tires of a truck.

"That's when the little boy came up under the truck and he was laying to the ground," said an officer at the scene in southwest Houston.

That child wasn't hurt, but he narrowly escaped death.

Now, Houston is about to change the rules on all of this. If city council approves a proposed ordinance change, nobody under the age of 16 will be allowed to solicit funds on city streets. And anybody between the age of 16 and 18 collecting money on the street would need adequate adult supervision.

Street solicitation ought to be banned outright. Streets are for cars and for driving, not for beggars.

Of course, Council will have to stick with children, since the Houston Chronicle would never stand for a ban on street "vending" -- even though the practice has proven more dangerous to vendors of their product than to children.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 11/28/05 09:49 PM | Print |

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