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Ken Schram Takes On Tacoma City Council
In what appears to be a complete disregard for the real debate, Ken Schram has given a ‘Schrammie’ to the Tacoma City Council for its recent decision on panhandling. The issue is this:
The city can’t prevent panhandling, in general, as it’s protected speech. So the city’s position was to make it illegal to block or impede the flow of traffic while collecting money. This was intended to target those panhandlers at major intersections and freeway offramps that occasionally hold up traffic as they receive money from motorists. The firefighters had asked for an exemption for their annual ‘fill the boot’ campaign for MS. They said that since they only accept donations when they have the cross walk, and since they use spotters, they had safety in mind and it should be excluded from the new law. The problem, or so we heard, is that the firefighters often didn’t follow their own rules. So, when the council heard this, they removed the exemption since, if safety is the concern and firefighters aren’t being any more safe than the panhandlers, the law should be the same for everybody. No exceptions.
Of course, there is no easy answer to this one. This was obvious during the public hearing last week. The first amendment question alone requires a decent debate to understand.
Ken Schram’s summary is “Apparently the council can’t tell the difference between a firefighter and a panhandler, and has put a stop to raising money for charity.” I can write a sweeping generalization as good as the next guy, but that’s pretty bad. Dumbing down a debate simply because one has a soapbox is… nevermind.
Update: And, as the Takhoman has pointed out, the council hasn’t voted on this yet.
Link to Komo TV
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