ACLU warns West Michigan municipalities to repeal anti begging ordinances
October 29, 2013 | WGVUAn appeals
court ruling in August sanctioned public
begging as a protected right, so long as it’s peaceful.
Calling panhandlers “The most vulnerable
segment of our society,”the letters say
that municipalities “cannot and should not use the force of law to silence the
voices of innocent people who rely on charity.”
Among the West Michigan municipalities receiving the warnings are Ada Township,
Grandville and Walker in Kent County; Grand Haven, Holland and Hudsonville in Ottawa
County; and north Muskegon.
But the ACLU
warning, and indeed, the court ruling itself doesn’t tell the whole story.
Charities in West Michigan that feed and care
for the truly homeless have said in the past that the majority of street
beggars are phonies and spend the money people give them on booze or
But telling the difference
between a scammer and a needy person begging for money for themselves or a
truly destitute family…is almost impossible to do.
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