Wednesday, September 20 , 2017, 10:33 am | Partly Cloudy 68º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Santa Maria Council Bans Aggressive Panhandling

City follows lead of Lompoc, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara in adopting ordinance

Aggressive panhandling will soon be illegal in the city of Santa Maria.

The Santa Maria City Council on Tuesday night approved the second reading of the new ordinance banning aggressive solicitation in the city. The item was on the consent calendar, among multiple items approved with one vote and no discussion.

The council gave its first approval of the ordinance earlier this month, and the new law will take effect in a month.

Santa Maria followed the cities of LompocSan Luis Obispo  and Santa Barbara in adopting rules against aggressive panhandling, which is defined as intentionally touching a person or vehicle without consent, continuing to solicit within 10 feet of a person who declined the request, blocking a person’s path, or using intimidating words or obscenities.

Panhandling near an ATM or bank entrance, in a parking garage and in public transportation will also be banned.

The ban doesn’t apply to vehicles parked on a public street. It also doesn’t apply to a sidewalk or walkway unless it’s located within 10 feet of a parking lot or parking garage entrance or exit.

In a one-year period, the Santa Maria Police Department received 137 calls regarding panhandlers.

Violators of the new law would pay a $100 fine for a first infraction, $200 for a second offense and conviction within one year and $500 for each additional violation, according to city staff.

City Manager Rick Haydon said the ordinance would be paired with a public education campaign to urge people to give money directly to organizations that serve the homeless population.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at [email protected] Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >