Sanford getting tough on panhandlers - FOX 35 News Orlando

Sanford getting tough on panhandlers

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SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Sanford city commissioners on Monday unanimously passed the first reading of an ordinance to combat aggressive panhandling within city limits.

Chef Michael O'Brien, owner of the Corner Café on First Street, says the panhandling can become very aggressive in the evening hours.

"It gets belligerent, can be caustic and foul, and sometimes violent ," he says.

The ordinance prohibits panhandling in specific locations such as at bus stops, parks and near restaurants. Wiley Plummer, owner of the Park Avenue Popcorn Shop, says the ordinance is a must.

"We think it's a deterrent for our customers that come downtown, and I think it's a good idea that they pass and ordinance."

The ordinance also prohibits panhandling within 25 feet of ATMs, vending machines, and other machines that dispense cash.

Orange County teacher Thomas Rebmon was the only person to speak out against the ordinance.   He went homeless for 30 days as a social experiment to raise money.

"Do I think we should panhandle?" asked Rebmon.  "Absolutely not! I think we need to get the homeless off the streets so they don't need to panhandle."

There will be second reading, before final approval.

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