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Panhandling ordinance proposed to board

DEL NORTE - A controversial amendment was proposed Tuesday morning at the supervisors meeting. Supervisor Roger Gitlin has been working on this amendment that, if passed, will change the current panhandling laws in Crescent City. 

The panhandling ordinance would make it unlawful to pass anything through a car window to someone on the street. It seeks to address issues of public urination and drunkenness, damage to property, and even potential danger. The amendment is modeled after a similar ordinance that Medford, Oregon implemented back in 2010.

Other supervisors and the community voiced some support and some concerns. The cost of implementing the ordinance is one concern. Signs would need to be placed on street corners indicating the law and more law officers would be needed to enforce the law. The civil rights of the panhandlers are also a concern.

“It's a good opportunity for us to start a very uncomfortable conversation and I understand both sides as a business owner. It's uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable for people walking in the stores and somebody asks them for money. So I understand that. But they are also members of our community. And a sign of any great community is the compassion we have for people who may be down and out or whatever you want to call it so I think it's a great first step,” Barbara Pierson, director of Health and Human Services in Del Norte, said.

A decision was not made Tuesday on the amendment and it opened up some questions that will need to be answered. It was however decided that a joint city county meeting would review the ordinance to decide what is next.