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Take an in-depth look (actually, a listen) at St. Pete’s panhandling ban

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

The inestimable Jackie Dowd writes: If you’re asking for donations for charity, selling a Sunday newspaper or just looking for a few bucks for yourself, you can’t do it anymore along the major roads in St. Petersburg. The city has enacted a ban on all kinds of transactions along busy roads in an effort to keep drivers and panhandlers safe.

Meet some of the people you see on the roadside and find out why the St. Petersburg ordinance already has survived a legal challenge.

The guests on WUSF’s “Florida Matters” include my friend and colleague, G.W. Rolle, who thinks the ban on panhandling and roadside solicitations takes away some of the panhandlers’ humanity. A former roadside newspaper vendor himself, Rolle admits he probably would have turned to crime when he was homeless if he hadn’t been able to sell newspapers and find other temporary work opportunities.

Another friend and colleague, Tulin Ozdeger of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, worries about criminalizing homelessness when it comes to bans on panhandling.

Listen to WUSF’s exploration of this issue here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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