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City says its following process for panhandling ordinance

City says its following process for panhandling ordinance

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The city said on Monday that reports that the city would implement the "no solicitation" ordinance on Dec. 2 were incorrect. Colorado Springs City Attorney Christopher Melcher said in a statement to KRDO NewsChannel 13 there is a process that must take place before a new ordinance goes into effect and the city it following that process.

The legal director of the ACLU, Mark Silverstein, told KRDO NewsChannel 13 the federal judge in Denver denied the ACLU a temporary restraining order against the ordinance last week after learning the city intended to implement the ordinance Dec. 19.

"Postponing the effective date of the argument gave the court time to schedule an evidentiary hearing and consider arguments and evidence before the ordinance goes into effect," said Silverstein.

Jim plays his flutes at the corner of Pikes Peak Street and Tejon Avenue downtown. Jarred Rego with the city's communications department said Jim would have to relocate outside of the 12-block no-solicitation zone under the new ordinance. 

Jim said he knows homeless people this will effect and it won't fix the deeper problem here.

"Poverty is a big part of it, how do we stop? That's the question. You ain't going to stop it by telling them they can't go here or they can't go there," said Jim.

Downtown business owner Laura Williams said this ordinance won't take care of the problem downtown.

"If a guy is allowed to stand on a street corner and yell, 'You're going to hell and you are a sinner,' I think the person sitting silently with a sign that says, 'Help me, I need money,' should be allowed to be there too," said Williams.

The city says it will continue to move forward with a strong police presence downtown to both enforce current ordinances and educate people on the new ordinance.

There is a hearing scheduled on Dec. 13.  At this time both the city and the ACLU will present evidence and arguments.


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