Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chief must be a Reader!

A reader sent me this from Escambia Citizens Watch:

Note: Lyter did call me to clarify that he had inadvertently misspoken when describing the ordinance as not leading to many arrests. He does understand that it provides for civil citations only.

Thanks for clarifying Chief!  It takes a village.



George Hawthorne said...

Chief Lyter is a man that has integrity and honesty. He's the kind of man that will correct his mistakes. He will be a great leader of PPD.

CJ Lewis said...

The PPD has a Legal Advisor. That position is funded in the current city budget. I bet they are going to have an "interesting" time in coming days, weeks and months. Did the City Council ever hear from that person?

Assuming the new DIB law Section 8-1-28 is found to be legal, it will have two practical effects.

First, it will outlaw the passive solicitation of donations within the 30-block Downtown Visitors' District. Such "passive" conduct to include exercise of the First Amendment will remain legal in the rest of the city.

Second, in those parts of the Downtown Visitors' District not governed by Section 8-1-25, the "active" solicitation of donations is now made illegal. As DIB Executive Director has explained to some, the real target of Section 8-1-28 is street musicians and especially the bad ones.

So, because the City Council did not repeal Section 8-1-25, and did not provide in Section 8-1-28 that Section 8-1-25 is no longer enforceable within the Downtown Visitors' District, Section 8-1-25 is still the city's main panhandling law. That again raises concern about why it has not been actively enforced since 2013.

Imagine this scenario, a person is actively panhandling near an ATM located within 500 feet of the intersection of Garden & Palafox. That conduct violates two provisions of Section 8-1-25, the prohibition against panhandling within 20 feet of an ATM and the prohibition against panhandling within 500 feet of that specific intersection, one of 13 such intersections described in Section 8-1-25.

Will the PPD arrest the above described person as they are required to do under Section 8-1-25 or will they avoid beefing up the city's arrest statistics by issuing a civil citation under Section 8-1-28? A good question for the City Council to ask the City Attorney is which law applies, when and why?

In the end, I think that the City Council is going to have to circle back around on this issue and hire outside legal counsel to render an opinion on the legality of all parts of both Section 8-1-25 and Section 8-1-28 and to determine what action is legal in view of the 2015 Supreme Court decision to regulate active panhandlers and people exercising their First Amendment rights to solicit donations not just as individuals but as groups to include local non-profits.

Further, because the city and non-city boundaries are so helter-skelter, panhandling laws seem a matter best closely coordinated with the city and county working together vice in a political vacuum.

Anonymous said...

If the panhandling doesn't happen in the Officers view can he write a citation? I assume it has to be done and witness by the Officer..If not, anybody can say anyone was panhandling. There are other problems that these Officers need to be worried about other than panhandling

Anonymous said...

A PPD Chief that is honest and has integrity? Not for long. Have you forgotten who the Chief works for? The mayor has never had any of those qualities. Was he honest when he walked into DHMV attempting to obtain a drivers license in another person's name? Do you think that Lyter will tell his boss no that's dishonest or I won't do that because it's wrong. Simmons was not honest and he wouldn't tell the mayor no when he should have. I actually think that Alexander had some integrity but that's why he isn't there any more. The mayor doesn't want an employee that is honest and has some integrity. Look what happened at the fire department. All the mayor wants is somebody that will do whatever he wants done. Lyter will follow suit because he has to.

Anonymous said...

What happens if the panhandlers do not pay the $100 fine? If they don't have the $100, the chances are good that they won't have the $400. If they don't have the $400, the chances are good that they won't have the $500. What happens then? Will the city taxpayers be saddled with the expense of arresting them, processing them, and then feeding and housing them in our jail. Do we need to build a bigger jail to handle our new guests? I am positive that our City Council has thoroughly reviewed these questions and has good answers...! Surely the council members didn't enact this law just to appease their downtown supporters.

CL Lewis is right. This is at least a county-wide problem and cannot possibly be solved by trying to create a Panhandle-Free Zone for the Special Snowflakes who have businesses in a few blocks of downtown.