Editorial: Citizens circulating petition against panhandling

A group of St Augustine citizens, who have assembled together against panhandling, provided Historic City News with a copy of a brief petition they hope to present to city management at an upcoming city commission meeting.

The members of the group say our city government has not done enough to protect us from panhandlers, vagrants, and the negative consequences of their presence in town.

The petition declares that although the city manager has referred to the situation as a crisis, the city has not done enough to address it. The petitioners say their businesses suffer and our city is being destroyed as they continue to look for leadership, or even communications about the issues.

We are watching to see if as a community we will be given resources and support; so far, that has been unavailing. We see drug deals happening in the open, people passed out in the street, people openly drunk and high, and feces and urine all over our properties.

• Why are no police officers walking downtown every day?
• Why has the city not reached out and spoken to the business owners to learn how they are suffering?
• Why is there no hotline set up for them to call?
• Where are the cameras to monitor the issues we see daily?

Vowing that they will no longer stay silent on this issue, the petition formally calls for action, communication, and leadership. The signers demand to be heard and respected, saying that it’s time to stand up and take charge.

You can read and sign the petition online.