Bakersfield Downtown Business Association to propose panhandling ban

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Downtown Bakersfield businesses have been plighted by people panhandling in front of their stores and restaurants.

For the first time in eight years, a group will formally approach Bakersfield City Council about stopping the activity that has become a big problem for them.

The Downtown Business Association is proposing an ordinance that prohibits panhandlers from soliciting near ATMs, bank and parking lots in downtown.

The DBA said they understand some panhandlers are in need of help and are down on their luck. They said the driving force of the ordinance is to stop feeding their addictions.

Council members who will hear the proposal said coming up with a Constitutional ordinance can be tricky.

"People have rights and we need to make sure we can balance the rights of individuals against what is there for the common good," Russell Johnson said.

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