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Davis Considers Aggressive Conduct, Panhandling Ban

William Chen / Flickr

William Chen / Flickr

Ending aggressive panhandling is the aim of a proposed ordinance that the Davis City Council will consider tonight. The draft ordinance, on tonight's city council agenda, would outlaw solicitation along the median strip of a road, blocking a sidewalk or within 15 feet of an ATM.

Bob Erlenbusch with the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness speculates that it's in reaction to Sacramento's city council passing a similar ordinance in November.

"We'll get all these homeless people coming over to the city of Davis because now they can't aggressively panhandle in the city and county of Sacramento," says Erlenbusch.

But Davis Mayor Robb Davis says the issue isn't just about panhandling, it's about aggressive behavior.

"There are some belligerent individuals who do not want to move on when requested to do so by private business owners," says Davis. "There's a sense that we've reached a point where something needs to be done. What's being proposed, I would argue, is at best some tweaks to our current ordinances that provide the police with a little more discretion in dealing with aggressive behavior."

He says the city has been proactive in dealing with ways to reduce panhandling by adding a homeless outreach coordinator who can connect the homeless with services.

Erlenbusch says if Davis follows Sacramento's lead, it will likely trigger a domino effect.

"It would not surprise me at all to see, if the city council goes down this slippery slope, that surrounding communities will start to consider doing the same."

He says that's because cities are worried panhandlers pushed out of Sacramento and Davis will come to their towns. 

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