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CITY HALL JOURNAL

LONG BEACH : Council to Weigh Ban on Roadside Solicitors

August 11, 1994|JOHN POPE

The City Council has voted unanimously to consider a proposal that would ban people from asking motorists for work or money at street corners.

The proposal was introduced by Councilman Douglas S. Drummond, who said that solicitors often create traffic problems at busy intersections in the city's east side. The ordinance would also apply to people selling items such as flowers or fruit at intersections, he said.

"It's a roadway situation that impedes traffic and creates danger for the person soliciting and the drivers," he said.

Drummond said a similar ordinance in the city of Agoura Hills has survived court challenges because it bans solicitations at intersections but does not outlaw them entirely.

Marshall Blesofsky, treasurer of an advocacy group called the Homeless Organizing Committee, said the proposal is an infringement on free speech that unfairly targets the city's homeless. "The First Amendment guarantees certain rights, and that includes the right to hold a 'Will work for food,' sign," he said.

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