Time for City of Kirkland to pass panhandling ordinance | LETTER
November 8, 2011 · 8:06 PM
It's time for Kirkland to clean itself up and pass an ordinance that prohibits panhandling in front of businesses and on freeway onramps and off ramps.
Panhandling has become a large problem and is affecting safety on our street and sidewalks. It also isn't good for business and certainly doesn't help with tourism.
There are many government, private, and church organizations to help these people.
Please don't misunderstand this issue as being a homeless issue. That's completely different.
Kirkland panhandlers look at it as their "job" since many of them have been "working" the same corners or areas for numerous years. It must be a prosperous proposition if the same people keep coming back to work their daily "shifts."
Of course, panhandlers don't pay taxes to help run our country, state, county and city. They receive tax free income.
Let's say a beggar makes $20 per hour. Then let's say they "work" eight hours five days a week. That's $800 per week tax free.
Multiply that by 50 weeks since even panhandlers get a two week vacation, and you come up with $40,000 tax free.
How does this help our vibrant community?
It doesn't. It doesn't help our kids, seniors or those in the middle. It's embarrassing to bring visitors to town and the first thing they see is people with cardboard signs.
That's the equivalent of going to Disneyland and seeing garbage all over the grounds or going to Lee Johnson Chevy and all the cars are trashed.
I know most people that give to beggars feel sorry for them. It makes you feel like you're helping when you give five bucks.
Please consider giving to organizations or churches if you like to give. Remember, the taxes you pay already go to help all people in our community too.
I've heard so many first-hand accounts of panhandlers running into traffic to secure money and are nearly hit by trucks and cars. Others are asking people for money in front of businesses on Lake Street.
That's just not healthy for our business community.What do we do about this problem? The Kirkland City Council needs to pass an ordinance to stop this behavior for the good of our community.
Issaquah passed an ordinance last year and Redmond is looking at a similar ordinance. It's time for Kirkland to step up and clean our beautiful city!
The ordinance in Issaquah created a fine of up to $1,000 if caught panhandling in front of businesses or on freeway off ramps and onramps. Their ordinance didn't stop the problem; it just moved it to other Eastside communities like Kirkland.
However, they did accomplish negating panhandling from their community.
Again, don't mistake this as a homeless issue. I've spoken to many of these people and they are perfectly able to work a real job like you and I.
Let's encourage them to get one of those real jobs that can pay $40,000 a year.
Please join me and let council members know that we need this ordinance in Kirkland.
John Stubb, Kirkland