- Associated Press - Friday, May 8, 2015

BETTENDORF, Iowa (AP) - Some panhandlers object to a proposed ordinance in Bettendorf that would limit the practice, saying they rely on the money to pay for food and other essentials.

The Bettendorf Police Department presented a proposal earlier this week that would order panhandlers away from the city’s roads. The measure would prohibit panhandling at or within 100 feet of controlled-access highways or intersections, roadway shoulders or median strips.

Chief Phil Redington says panhandling is legal, but that the city is looking to control the practice for safety reasons. Since 2011, Bettendorf police made 14 arrests and issued 22 bans as territorial competition increases among panhandlers.

The current ordinance includes rules banning panhandlers from walking into the road and blocking traffic. Violations carry a six-month ban from certain locations and a $100 fine. Bettendorf is also the only city in the Quad-Cities requiring panhandlers to obtain a license to solicit funds from motorists.

Roger Van Dyne, who has panhandled since February 2012, said he understands the city’s concerns, but others argue the proposal would hurt them. Forrest Turner, who has been panhandling for nearly three years, said he uses the money he collects to pay for food and bus fares, and that he’s not sure what he’d do if the ordinance is approved.

“If we’re forced to be 100 feet away, they might as well just say, ‘No, we don’t want you out here,’” said Turner. “It wouldn’t be the same.”

But Davenport resident Bob Sieren told the Quad-City Times (https://bit.ly/1zKFsQV ) he hopes Bettendorf approves the change.

“It’s not very Christian of me to say this, but it makes our town look tacky,” he said. “I believe if they truly need help, they can find it elsewhere. There are so many programs out there for these guys.”

___

Information from: Quad-City Times, https://www.qctimes.com


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide