The vendors of the Grapevine voted to support the passage of legislation regulating panhandling despite NEOCH’s (The publisher of The Homeless Grapevine) opposition to the ordinance. The following letter was submitted on behalf of the vendors to Cleveland City Council on July 11, 2005 and read into the record:
Dear Councilman Reed:
The vendors of The Homeless Grapevine take the issue of panhandling very seriously because we utilize the same public space as panhandlers. As such, the issue came before our advisory board, and after a contentious vote, we agreed upon the need for Cleveland City Council to address this matter. Panhandlers compete with us for Valuable Street “retail space” as well as the sparse dollars upon which we rely for our hard-earned livelihood.
We feel that panhandlers, especially those who are aggressive, need to be regulated. We are troubled by the large number of people asking for money, and feel that our business is unduly hampered by the negative impact of those who panhandle.
While attempting to sell a legitimate product, we are often bypassed by potential customers who then give money to panhandlers; or in the adverse we are unjustly mistaken for such disreputable panhandlers and suffer discrimination and the loss of revenue accordingly.
In light of these circumstances, the vendors of The Homeless Grapevine have voted to support City Council’s efforts in this regard. It is hoped that reducing or eliminating aggressive panhandling in downtown Cleveland will result in more positive results for us. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
The Vendors of The Homeless Grapevine
Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue 72 August 2005 Cleveland, Ohio.