Polite agreements aside…please.

Now that I have power again, I can resume with posting. Here we go!

It’s no secret that there are plenty of people who oppose the no-panhandling ordinance the City Council has been talking about. You see them on the news and you see them downtown – picket signs going, nice chants…it’s easy to fall into thinking that hey, maybe we should have panhandlers downtown. I mean, isn’t dodging the crazies and the moochers at Five Points and Underground a rite of passage for any Atlantan or Atlanta visitor?

Don’t let the downtown businesses or the hotel group hear you say that.

The city is still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Homebuilders, taking their $1.2 million dollar ball and going somewhere else to play after a recent snafu with the hotel groups of the city. Now, they along with the hospitality industry and the convention centers are trying to bring in shows to the area to fill that gap, but the #1 complaint among tourists would be the downtown panhandlers. And why not? I mean, Downtown is lauded as this place for the whole family with Underground, the World of Coca-Cola, Centennial Olympic Park and the Children’s Museum. What fun is it to bring your kids and your family down here only to get a sour experience with being accosted by someone looking to make a quick piece of change?

I realize that I’m speaking about this with great fervor. However, those who agree with me, particularly in the hospitality and tourism industry haven’t been as outspoken.

Granted, the media will probably err on the side of sensationalism when it comes to this. You probably won’t see those who are firm advocates of the ordinance on the news. Time to put that Southern hospitality aside, y’all…hoot and holler and let folks know that this is important and why. It’s your city too, you know!

1 Comment so far

  1. Kent (unregistered) on July 13th, 2005 @ 9:13 am

    I normally come down on the “You know, its a free country, panhandling is not a crime” side of the fence. However, I’ve also become enamored of the idea of Atlanta becoming a real city. Not a dead downtown with a bunch of suburbs, but an actual metropolis.

    The first I heard of this ordinance was last night, when my wife mentioned that my landlord (who works in the hotel industry) was attending a meeting about a panhandling ordinance. After reading in the AJC that the ordinance affects only the “tourist triangle” of MLK, Ralph McGill, Marietta, and Piedmont, I don’t think its that bad of an idea.

    Downtown is dead, folks. It will continue to be dead until businesses feel comfortable developing down there, and tourists (and Atlantans) feel safe to walk around downtown.

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