Whether you are driving off an exit ramp, or out of a shopping center, or maybe walking in parts of downtown, you may have encountered panhandlers here in the Med City.

I was at the Peace Plaza last week where I saw a young couple in their early to mid 20's. Their sign said "Need Rent Money - Anything Helps."  They both looked capable of holding a job, but there they sat, together, for a whole hour (at least), waiting for a handout.  They stopped anyone within 10 feet of them to ask for money, badgering citizens who were just trying to get where they were going, and not taking "no" for an answer.  It bothered me, to say the least.

Sometimes it seems some people are truly down on their luck, and other times it seems some people are just plain lazy.  In the past, I have given money to those who appear to really need help, such as an injured veteran, or a mother with small children. I've given to street musicians, too, even though that's usually for a completely different reason. I believe in the right for people to ask for money, but I get upset (as I'm sure you do, too) when it's "aggressive."

I was glad to learn that the Rochester City Council is considering banning aggressive panhandling.  Aggressive panhandling is defined as loud or repeated demands, touching or following the person being solicited, and begging in places that are considered particularly intimidating, such as by an ATM machine, restrooms, public buses or a person's vehicle.

A drafted ordinance is expected to be voted upon on July 7th.

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