JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Panhandlers may not ask for much, but asking is enough to make Councilman Johnny Gaffney propose an ordinance to expand a ban in his district.
Currently, panhandling is illegal downtown and along parts of the southbank. Gaffney believes that ban has pushed panhandlers into the Eastside and Springfield neighborhoods.
"It's been a very bad problem," he told Action News, "and the worst thing we can do is do nothing."
But Roberta Thomas doesn't think the expansion goes far enough, and she worries a partial ban will push the problem even further into surrounding neighborhoods including Arlington.
"We already can't got to the shopping malls without someone coming up to us, or pump gas without someone tapping our windows. It's very, very dangerous."
Action News asked why the council doesn't propose making panhandling illegal all over the city? Gaffney says it's something to consider.
"That's something we need to do more research on to see how we can keep this from becoming a bigger problem."
While other areas can be added to the proposal, Gaffney believes this is a good first step that's worthy of city resources and time.
Councilman Warren Jones isn't convinced, however. While he supports the expansion, he's wonders how effective it will be.
"Whether the sheriff's office has the resources, the time, to enforce it is my question, and whether or not making it countywide is legal, and whether it's enforceable."
City Council will vote on the expansion at its Tuesday night meeting.