Editorial: Panhandling Parking Meters

The Downtown Cleveland Alliance is a nonprofit program working to promote a dynamic downtown business district. Among other efforts, the alliance fields a cadre of yellow-shirted ambassadors who clean streets and sidewalks of trash and graffiti.

So far, so good until just recently when the alliance decided to add social engineering to its list of voluntary obligations. With city approval, the alliance has installed about a dozen yellow painted parking meters downtown. The meters are just like all others except the money deposited in them will be donated to homeless programs in an effort to control panhandling.   The money would be spent to provide homeless people with social security numbers and other forms of identification so they might find work.

The whole idea is not so naïve as it is downright laughable. One can only imagine legions of panhandlers abandoning their lucrative street corners and easy money to line up for work permits. The alliance is good for downtown Cleveland but they need to stick to keeping the streets clean and the city needs to pass an ordinance that makes panhandling against the law.