A new city ordinance is being proposed at the next city council meeting that would make it illegal for anyone inside of a car to hand out food, money, or supplies to anyone who is panhandling on the street or an intersection.
Councilmember Luis Chavez is a co-sponsor of the bill and says this ordinance is suppose to promote safety for the driver as well as the panhandler.
“I have gotten a lot of calls to my office from folks who almost hit these individuals,” says Chavez.
Chavez believes it is dangerous for anyone to be in the middle of the street or in the middle of an intersection and he hopes this ordinance will pass.
“Part of the conversation for those folks who get cited will be, here is a list of organizations where you can help,” says Chavez.
Chavez is referencing the Poverello House and the Fresno Rescue Mission.
However, Councilmember Miguel Arias believes this ordinance hinders those trying to do a good deed.
“It is going to hurt the charitable giving of residence in Fresno,” says Arias.
Arias believes police resources could be better used elsewhere.
“This ordinance will simply take away police services and resources to something that is of less priority than the crimes and the murders in our city,” says Arias.
The ordinance will go up for a vote at the next city council meeting.
If the ordinance passes then those caught giving money to panhandlers will first be given a warning. Then, they will receive a fine of 75 dollars if caught again.