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NEEDCOM:
 
Is panhandling against the law?
 
 
LANETTE:
 
Yeah, baby! You get a ticket. You get a ticket for panhandling. And if you catch a nice cop that has sympathy, they'll tell you to leave and come back when they leave. Some of them just write you a ticket—some of them just lock you up! I'm telling you, there are some nasty ones. Things have changed.
 
..........

 
NEEDCOM:
 
New York City law defines what I just saw you doing as panhandling. Do you use that term?
 
 
GARY:
 
Uh, no, 'cause what I do now is no longer what they call "panhandling." I got arrested just this last Christmas, I was going to church over next to Fulton Street, I had a sign out saying "Veteran, hungry, need a day's work, God bless you." And they came by and arrested me for panhandling.
 
They said it was just for disturbing the peace, and I said, okay, I know a way around this. My sign NOW says "Veteran, trying to survive, day's work wanted, or any odd job." I never heard it being against the law asking for work.
 
 
NEEDCOM:
 
Do you know anything about the law regarding panhandling?
 
 
GARY:
 
They said the problem was that I was blocking the sidewalk. And they said you're not allowed to sit in one spot and block the sidewalk.
 
 
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NEEDCOM:
 
Tell me about the law—is panhandling against the law in ATMs?
 
 
DONALD:
 
It's against the law—especially in ATM places—and Giuliani just passed the law not too long ago. It's against the law to even panhandle on the street. Just recently passed a law, panhandling in Manhattan is illegal now. Period.
 
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NEEDCOM:
 
What do you think's the big difference between you and other panhandlers?
 
 
ROBERT S:
 
The big difference is that I don't impose myself on people. I don't bother nobody! So why can it be against the law for me to be praying for somebody? If I ever get in trouble for praying, then this is not America! How can I get in trouble for praying? I ain't asking for nothing! How can I get into trouble, I'm an old man, I'm out here praying, I ain't asking for nothing, some people going to give me something—if not, all right. I'm still praying. I'm preaching love, so—what kind of trouble ... what am I doing to get in trouble, I'm not bothering nobody! They passed a law saying it's NOT illegal to panhandle.
 
EASY:
 
Now they gonna tell me that the law, you can't ask people! [She laughs.] There's a law you can't ask people for money!
 
 
NEEDCOM:
 
I hope there's not a law because—
 
 
EASY:
 
That is SICK! "Hey guy, will you buy me a beer?" No, that's against the law. It's full of shit! [Laughs] You know? Think about it!
 
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PRIM:
 
I don't take this for granted. Now it's against the law to do this. So now you get twenty days for doing this.
 
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RICHARD W:
 
Well, I tell you something. There are a whole lot of people earning money and they ain't paying taxes. And a whole lot of people stealing, and they ain't turning it in. I don't deal with Guiliani's law, I deal with God's law! There's man-made laws and there's almighty Jesus' law—and that's the law I deal with.
 


 
Honesty vs. need?

 
Mayor Guiliani

Police

Praying

Taxes



Which statement do you agree with more?
Panhandling is like being on welfare.Panhandlers are like entrepreneurs.

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All content copyright 1999, Cathy Davies.
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