DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Daytona Beach leaders are going after aggressive panhandlers.
- Police chief says panhandling is causing safety, sanitary issues
- Chief: Panhandlers are fighting for street corners
- Daytona Beach City Commission to seek attorney for help
The first amendment protects panhandlers and solicitors, but city leaders say they are concerned it could ruin their city's reputation and hurt businesses.
"I see people coming out in the middle of intersections, banging on people's car windows, going into open Jeeps, harassing people for money and it's just not acceptable," said Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri.
Capri said panhandling is causing safety and sanitary issues.
He says panhandling has become a lucrative business, not just for the homeless, with some making $20 to $30 an hour.
Capri says he sees panhandlers fight for street corners, urinate in public places and chase down tourists, demanding money.
So Wednesday night, the Daytona Beach City Commission is expected to enlist Melbourne-based Constitutional law attorney Michael Kahn to help.
He helped St. Augustine reduce aggressive panhandling and he says he is ready to aid Daytona Beach now.
"I'm protecting with my ordinances everybody's constitutional rights, including those of the panhandlers, and they have them," said Kahn, "and they have to be adequately protected but the other people also have constitutional rights, the tourists, the children, the employees, the business owners."
Kahn says the key with an aggressive panhandling ordinance is to make it specific as to why you are regulating speech and have a comprehensive record of issues.
A court can uphold such an ordinance if there are clear safety and health concerns.
The city commission will look at hiring Kahn for $30,000 when they meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday.