Drivers who hand money or food to panhandlers could soon be fined

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Fresno, CA – You can spot them at some of the busiest intersections in Fresno, panhandlers. But the next time you roll down your window and hand them food or money you could be paying a hefty fine.

Outgoing councilman Steve Brandau is spearheading this intitiative. It’s called “STOP.”  It stands for Safe Transfer of Objects through Pedestrians. Brandau believes it’s the solution to a growing a problem.

“pedestrian injuries, traffic snarls, fender-benders are all on the rise.”

The root of the problem, drivers doling out food or cash to panhandlers. It’s rare to go a whole day without seeing it on a number of streets corners throughout Fresno. Councilman Brandau wants to put a stop to it by getting the police involved.

“As their doing their regular patrols, it’s not a moving violation it’s not on their record but they would have to pay a fine.”

The first time you get caught, you will be warned. But if you become a repeat offender you will be fined $75 and up to $300.

“It’s going to hurt the charitable giving of residence in Fresno.”

Councilman Miguel Arias is not in favor of the new ordinance, he says it’s a waste of police resources.

“This ordinance will simply be taking away from police services and resources to something that is of less priority of the crime and murders in our city.”

Brandau believes the ordinance will have enough support to pass. He also says this is all about safety.

“It’s not about stopping panhandling, we just want to do in a parking lot, they can give them twenty bucks or a bag of groceries.”

The proposed ordinance will be introduced at Thursday’s Fresno city council meeting, They will vote on it and then a second vote will take place two weeks later.

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