Tuesday Afternoon City Hall Protest Pushes Back Against Anti-Panhandling Measures


In advance of Tuesday evening's Boise City Council meeting, the ACLU of Idaho demonstrated its displeasure Tuesday afternoon of two proposed anti-panhandling ordinances to be considered by Boise lawmakers.

The protest opened with a song from local street musician Jim Brenton strumming a guitar to his lyrics, “Wearing Yesterday’s Misfortunes With a Smile,” while his faithful dog by his side.

“There will be no more street music if this ordinance goes through,” said Henry Krewel, manager of Corpus Christi House, a Boise day shelter for the homeless. [Editor's note: City of Boise officials stress the two proposed ordinances would not ban panhandling, nor restrict street music]. “The powerful get to make the big statements, but Boise is not a gated community. If you know anything about homeless people [in Boise] is they’re not criminals, they’re not all drunks. They are human beings just like you and me. Walking around Boise without a penny in their pocket is the way they live. You cannot shut out people who are so desperately in need.”

Boise resident Gayle Black told Boise Weekly the proposed panhandling ordinances would negatively affect someone’s ability to survive.

“People do not want to be homeless. No one wants to be homeless. Someone who is flying a sign is, literally, only making enough money to see themselves through the end of the day,” said Black. “Why ever would you want to prevent someone from being able to persevere? I don’t see people attacking cars or soliciting drivers.”

Black insisted that it was a citizen's individual choice of whether to give a donation to another individual who may be less fortunate.

“To take away that personal choice would be a very dangerous thing to put in the social fabric,” she said. “[The ordinance] works against the personal choice to express care and concern. It concerns me very much that the danger of this ordinance is not being recognized. It seems to be coming into the dialogue simply because there is a group of people that don’t like to see the homeless and consider them unsightly.”

The public will have the opportunity to weigh in on the proposed ordinances, as part of the Boise City Council meeting, Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at City Hall.