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The Source: Councilman Calls For Changing Panhandling Ordinance

Eric Pouhier http://bit.ly/1I4oIoA

District 10 City Councilman Mike Gallagher says he and other council members are hearing from constituents and businesses about panhandlers.

“Complaining about the aggressive nature that panhandling has taken.”

Speaking on TPR's The Source on Monday, Gallagher said it isn't just the chronically homeless and those dealing with mental issues.

“There are now professional panhandlers out there. Constituents tell me is that there are vans that are dropping off people in the morning at the major intersections and then picking them up in the evening.”

However, Gallagher was unable to cite any hard evidence or data about the prevalence of professional panhandlers. San Antonio already has an ordinance passed five years ago that prohibits panhandling near banks, ATMs, parking meters, bus stops and cross walks. Gallagher said the jail time penalty may not be tough enough.

“It is a class c misdemeanor where someone could be fined or taken downtown and talked to the magistrate and released or a class b misdemeanor, in other words more serious where someone would have a heavier fine or possibly jail time.”

Gallagher admits that doesn’t solve the problem and just fills up the jail. H e said the City Council will be looking for answers in the coming weeks.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi