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Sacramento County Considers Targeting Aggressive Panhandlers

SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Sacramento County leaders have decided to get tough on panhandlers with a new initiative.

Phillip Crandall says he typically makes a decent day's pay begging for change.

"A day like today, roughly about $70," he said.

He's one of many who hold cardboard signs asking for money at Arden Way and Howe Avenue.

"I'm just here to back up on my feet," he said.

But the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors is going after those begging in suburban streets with a ban on aggressive panhandling at banks, gas stations and in the medians. Violators would be cited, and would face a misdemeanor charge on the third offense.

Several business associations, including the Stockton Boulevard Partnership, are backing the ban.

"If you are in your car and you're worried about your safety and there is an aggressive panhandler, you are not going to get out of your car and use the businesses," said Terry Johnson.

But panhandlers like Alonzo Calimee say with few resources in the county, this is his only way to get a few dollars.

"I end up coming out here to panhandle to get a motel room to stay every other day and to try to make it," he said.

He says he's doing nothing wrong, and feels the ordinance will target more than just the aggressive panhandlers.

"I don't think it's fair, because if a person for example pulls up and she rolls her window down and shows you some money, then that's OK to go to her car," he said.

Johnson says the move is for the best and will help push panhandlers in the right direction.

"It's not a job," he said. "Those people are out there because of the misfortunes they encountered. This is not their job and we need to make them go in the direction that makes them productive in the society."

The board will take a final vote in May, and if it passes, the measure would take effect June 1.

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