Tuesday, December 19, 2017

MoCo Council to take another stab at criminalizing the homeless

The Montgomery County Council building is just overflowing with Christmas spirit, as the Council is taking the initial steps before the holiday break to criminalize the homeless. This isn't the first time, as the Council tried this previously in their last term, but ran into controversy, including a report from a national organization that condemned the effort.

With Council Bill 39-17, they will again attempt to ban panhandling in the County. The Council memorably claimed last time that the majority of those who panhandle are not actually homeless, but "professional panhandlers" who drive into the County each morning from out-of-state. That's probably news to the folks in downtown Bethesda and Silver Spring whose main wheels are shopping carts filled with everything they own.

What's driving the Council's mania to criminalize the homeless? Well, it may just have something to do with politics and the election year ahead. Councilmember George Leventhal has given himself loud credit for supposedly finding homes for every single homeless veteran in Montgomery County. The local media hasn't bothered to fact check Leventhal on that claim, and simply print it as fact. In reality, it's almost impossible to verify such a boast, which is probably why Leventhal is making it.

Now Leventhal has promised to house every single homeless person in the County by December 2018. Conveniently, that will be a month after the election, in which Leventhal is running for County Executive. Wouldn't it also be convenient to use a panhandling ban to clear the homeless from their most-visible perches on County roads, to make it appear as if they aren't there?

They've just banned circus animals, now the homeless...think they'll get around to dealing with that $120,000,000 budget shortfall anytime soon?


  1. get rid of the damn panhandlers! most of the panhandlers working wheaton live in wheaton. several in the ambassador apartments at the corner of veirs mill and university. see them daily at that intersection. same faces for years...

  2. I have been verbally abused by these ‘homeless’ persons asking for money, in my vehicle and walking around. I have seen several very, very close calls with these ‘homeless’ persons being on the wrong side of a 2-ton vehicle, asking for money. I have even seen a guy in a wheel chair come ‘thisclose’ to falling in the street from a median, asking for money.

    I do not like the look of the intersections that now have furniture left by the ‘homeless’ so they have a place to sit tomorrow. These ‘homeless’ persons do not police themselves and the areas they beg. I have seen ‘homeless’ guys go over to the bushes to relieve themselves. The landscape that we county taxpayers pay for has been abused and worn away, thus needing to be replaced again and again, at taxpayer expense.

    I am aware there a many reasons people panhandle. But to give money to someone who smokes and had a cell phone long before I did is not something I want to see on my destinations around the county.

    Prior council members said ok to panhandling because of the firefighters. I see their yearly participation as being hypocritical due their rescue of persons being hit by cars in intersections.

    It is time to end panhandling.

  3. I hope this means an end to charity requests, donation collections, fire department fund requests, etc. MoCo would be advised that one man's panhandling is another's lobbying. If the intent is just to discriminate against the poor I hope they've got the money budgeted for the lawsuit they'll be losing.

  4. A dangerous decision "to house every single homeless person in the County". According to NCH, "When registering to vote, homeless voters only need to designate their place of residence, which can be a street corner, a park, a shelter, or any other location where an individual stays at night." Any homeless person can become a legal resident of MoCo.