Ontario outlaws begging in city
News Journal story inspired ordinance
ONTARIO — Panhandling is now illegal in Ontario.
On Thursday night, city council voted unanimously to ban the practice, effective immediately.
According to the ordinance, panhandling is any solicitation made in person, requesting an immediate donation of money.
No person may panhandle on any public or private property without written permission from the owner.
Mayor Larry Collins said he was pleased with council’s decision.
“We want to make sure that this does not continue to get out of control,” he said. “We’d like to keep our streets and neighborhoods free of people who haven’t got permission to solicit there. We just feel this is the right thing to do.”
Council member Mark Weidemyre said a recent article in the News Journal regarding issues on panhandling got the ball rolling.
“It really helped to bring the issue to light,” he said.
At the last council meeting, police Chief Rod Smith said after reading the article, he immediately went to the law director for assistance drafting an ordinance.
“This is sorely needed here in Ontario,” Weidemyre said. “I’ve said we’ve needed this for years. I don’t mind helping someone in need, but it appears that there have just been too many people being taken advantage of lately.”
Council President Dan Zeiter expressed frustration in the delay of its passage.
“I asked for this a year ago, but the former law director didn’t get it done and then resigned,” he said. “Panhandling has become quite a nuisance here, and I’m really glad this passed. The police will begin enforcing it immediately.”
Council member and Safety Committee Chair Pam Drake called it “necessary.”
“It’s not just a nuisance, it’s a safety issue,” she said. “You have these people standing right in the middle of the street sometimes, approaching cars. That’s just not safe.”
Panhandling complaints have been escalating for a while, said council member Michelle Webb.
“The city of Mansfield originally wrote the ordinance because they were having problems with people standing at the entrances to businesses,” Webb said. “It’s been working well over there. It doesn’t solve all the problems, but it gives police more teeth to deal with it. If I was a business owner, I definitely wouldn’t appreciate it.”
In other business, Weidemyre said a Fortune 100 distribution company recently sent a letter of intent about purchasing 22 acres to build in the Industrial Park.
Weidemyre said he’s been working with the company for the last three months and said the deal appears to be very promising.
If an agreement can be worked out, the company would bring approximately 150 well-paying jobs to the city.
An economic development meeting to discuss the details will be held July 5 at 5 p.m.
Politicians begging for votes.
Retailers and stores with people on the corners begging for business.
Teachers, Firemen, Policemen, begging for levies to pass.
Starting to see a common theme here that don’t look good for the little people who beg…