Worcester City Council approves anti-panhandling plan #3
Last night the Worcester City Council voted in favor of its third anti-panhandling plan in recent years. Councilors O’Brien and Rivera voted no; Councilor Germain was absent.
This plan has three parts: discouraging people from running into traffic, discouraging “aggressive” behavior while begging, and banning asking for help in various times and places.
The time-and-place restrictions are the ones that have had me, the ACLU, and other residents up in arms over this plan. Once again, the City Councilors completely ignored the time-and-place restrictions in their discussions. I even began the public comment section by giving chapter-and-verse on these sections, and directly asking them to be addressed, but to no avail. This disregard was even more amazing after Konnie Lukes berated the audience for not reading the ordinances, and then Rick Rushton explained the ordinances completely backwards, saying soliciting on sidewalks would not be affected, whereas an entire third of this plan, conceptually, is about restricting times and places of soliciting on sidewalks. I am a little discouraged but mostly amazed.