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Calhoun Targets the Homeless

by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at]
Fresno City Council member Brian Calhoun is targeting homeless people with another unnecessary “quality of life” ordinance. Calhoun wants to stop homeless people from asking for money on street medians. In his introduction to the ordinance, Calhoun writes that “Fresno Police records will show that the panhandlers are most often alcoholics, drug addicts or have mental health issues.”
Calhoun Targets the Homeless
By Mike Rhodes

Fresno City Council member Brian Calhoun wants to make it illegal for homeless people to request money while standing on median islands. He says the practice is unsafe and is seeking to pass an ordinance that would prohibit anyone from asking for money by holding a sign on a median. There is already an ordinance that prohibits “aggressive” panhandling and an ordinance was passed last year making it illegal for homeless people to push a shopping cart. These laws, we are assured, apply equally to the poor and rich alike.

Calhoun introduced this proposal two weeks ago, but it was not acted on because the council wanted to have a representative from the Fresno Police Department participate in the discussion. The ordinance was first introduced on “Kids Day,” which is a fund raiser for Children’s Hospital. On that day, there were hundreds of volunteers standing on street corners, on median islands, and even in the middle of the street. Calhoun himself is well known for setting up a table on City street corners and waving at passing drivers.

The agenda item, scheduled for 9:15 AM on Tuesday, March 25, proposes to establish a “solicitation ordinance to prohibit the dangerous practice of solicitation on median islands within the City of Fresno.” Calhoun says he has received numerous emails supporting his proposal - a .pdf of that proposal is below.

Council member Jerry Duncan indicated at the March 11 meeting, when the ordinance was first introduced, that he was not sure a new law was needed to deal with this issue. Council member Henry T. Perea asked if the ordinance would affect Kids Day. Calhoun said that it would apply to Kids Day volunteers, but probably not the Fresno Fire Department who once a year raises money from median islands.

If you are interested in attending the City Council meeting, where this issue will be discussed, go to Fresno City Hall at 2600 Fresno Street, on Tuesday, March 25 at 9:15 AM.

If you would like to communicate directly with your elected representative, here is their contact information:

Blong Xiong
Acting Council President
Councilmember District 1
district1 [at]
FAX (559) 268-1043
Brian Calhoun
Council Member District 2
district2 [at]
FAX (559) 621-7892
Cynthia Sterling
Council Member District 3 district3 [at]
Larry Westerlund
Council Member District 4
district4 [at]
FAX (559) 621-7848
Mike Dages
Council Member District 5
district5 [at]
FAX (559) 490-5395
Jerry Duncan
Council Member District 6
jerry.duncan [at]
FAX (559) 621-7896
Henry T Perea
Council President
Council Member District 7
district7 [at]
FAX (559) 498-2541
§Nobody Complained about the Kids Day Volunteers
by Mike Rhodes
Nobody complained about the “Kids Day” volunteers who stood on the median islands and even in the middle of the street to sell their newspapers. How ironic is it that Calhoun introduced his ordinance to ban homeless people from medians on Kids Day?
§Brian Calhoun
by Mike Rhodes
Calhoun says he is concerned that homeless people distract drivers and might cause an accident.
§Calhoun’s Proposal
by Mike Rhodes
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selective enforcement
Sat, Mar 22, 2008 2:28PM
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