Fresno City Council Votes No on Anti-Panhandling Bill
An anti-panhandling bill was introduced at Fresno City Council last week. The bill was the brainchild of outgoing City Council Member Steve Brandau and was co-sponsored by Paul Caprigolio and Luis Chavez (both Democrats). The bill would have penalized residents who transferred money or any item to panhandlers at designated stop signs.
News of the bill galvanized the community, which showed up in large number to speak against the proposed bill. Community members such as the chair of the Fresno County Democratic Party spoke against the bill and criticized the two Democrats who co-sponsored the bill. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer also spoke against the bill claiming that it was an unpractical use of police resources.
Earlier, Council Members Esmeralda Soria, Nelson Esparza and Miguel Arias (all Democrats) held a press conference where they voiced their opposition to this legislation. The mayor, Lee Brand, also hinted that he would veto such bill.
Due to the overwhelming public outcry, the bill was defeated 3-2 with Chavez abstaining (Esparza was absent).