Friday, January 25, 2019

How the City of Lake Worth addressed issue of intrusive panhandling and aggressive homeless people.

A short explanation and then two very short videos.

First let’s set the stage:

Coming on the heels of recent news about downtown West Palm Beach and another restaurant closing, “Clematis Street’s The Alchemist closes, citing changing area, homeless problem” consider what happened here in the City of Lake Worth when some homeless and panhandlers were aggressively targeting restaurants and other public spaces in this City.

The problem wasn’t all homeless people and those asking for money. It was just a few but those few created a very big problem.

The two videos below are from September 2016 at a City Commission meeting when the topic of aggressive panhandling and combative homeless people was a major one.

An ordinance proposed to control aggressive panhandling was passed by the City Commission but only after a very long process of educating the public. This was when the editor(s) at The Palm Beach Post tried to confuse the public that this ordinance was a ‘curfew’, which it was not. To read more about that click on this link.

Then-Commissioner Ryan Maier opted not to run for re-election in the March 2017 elections. The District 4 seat is now held by Commissioner Herman Robinson. District 3 Commissioner Andy Amoroso is now Vice Mayor Andy Amoroso; he was unopposed in this year’s [2018] March election cycle.

From the public debate in 2016 commissioners Maier and Amoroso made their case to the public. It was a grueling and contentious public debate that lasted well over a month on the Commission dais. But in the end, the public sided with Amoroso and the majority on the City Commission (which included Mayor Triolo and Commissioner Maxwell). Chris McVoy, PhD, then the commissioner in District 2 sided with Commissioner Maier.

Without further ado. . .

Former Lake Worth Commissioner Ryan Maier:

     “I do not support aggressive panhandling ordinances.
     I cannot see any definable loss through aggressive panhandling except that it is maybe annoying.

Click play to watch this 1½ minute video:

District 3 Commissioner Andy Amoroso:

     “Aggressive panhandling means somebody that’s literally following someone down the street.
     It does affect my business, the downtown businesses, City as a whole . . . and it’s the same ones over and over and over.

This video is 74 seconds long: