As a Belltown resident at First and Virginia I support the pending Aggressive Panhandling Ordinance. http://www.seattle.gov/council/burgess/attachments/2010st_disorder_leg_aggressive_solicit.pdf.
In reading the statue I see described the precise behaviors that I have observed, my spouse and co-workers from the Terminal Sales Building have observed, and that need to stop.
This does NOT include folks standing with signs at corners, this does NOT include folks performing with a container out. This absolutely does NOT include Real Change vendors who in my experience are universally respectful (with few exceptions, and the one I know who snarls also stays put.) I am specifically concerned about the people who are authoritatively intervening with folks who are parking or trying to pay for parking – at some level impersonating parking attendants. I am specifically concerned about people who don’t take no for an answer but follow folks like my brother-in-law the length of a block continuing to aggressively shout, call him names and demand more of a response.
I consider myself a social justice supporter and I am definitely wary of moves to sweep the poor out of view without addressing the larger social issues that bring them to our streets – but to me this is different: the folks who are hustling my would-be neighbors at payboxes are organized. After long thought I have concluded that it is reasonable to say that I am supportive of another person’s right to linger and ask me for money only to the extent that they are supportive of my right to pass by and say no. This is no longer the current situation downtown and it’s irrational and unacceptable to allow continued deterioration. I believe this legislation appropriately distinguishes aggressive solicitation and will help.