As we predicted last week in “Outlawing Poverty,”
Mayor Karl Dean has let the anti-panhandling ordinance become law without his signature. Even though his law department reported that the measure is probably unconstitutional, the mayor failed to muster either the courage or common sense to veto it. Remind me why we elected this guy?
Henceforth, if anyone asks for help after dark anywhere in the city, he or she will be subject to a $50 fine. In the winter, the cutoff is around 5:30 or 6 at night. At other times of the year, it’s different. Our best advice is to check the sky to tell whether it’s OK to ask for help without breaking the law. We’re certain that this ordinance will be applied equally, not just against those who look a little down on their luck.