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On March 7, two panhandlers were stationed at the intersection of Mira Mesa Boulevard and Westview Parkway. One of the two men stood on the center divider of Westview Parkway while another stood on the median of Mira Mesa Boulevard. An elderly man limped up and down the narrow median on Westview Parkway, using a cane and holding a cardboard sign.

Mira Mesa residents have become familiar with the almost daily presence of panhandlers on or around major intersections. Although most panhandlers go about their routines in a quiet and peaceful manner, some people in the area have grown impatient with their constant presence and consider them a distraction and safety hazard to motorists.

The issue of panhandling was recently addressed at a Mira Mesa Town Council meeting. In the March town-council newsletter, San Diego police provided some insight for residents regarding the legality of panhandling. According to San Diego police, people are free to stand on the raised median. However, police are advising residents that people who are panhandling aggressively may be taken in with a citizen-initiated arrest.

When asked if a motorist would be at fault if they were to hit a panhandler by accident, SDPD officer Susan Steffen said: “The pedestrian is at fault if they leave the median.”

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Comments

Ken Harrison March 10, 2010 @ 8:10 a.m.

I would swear these guys are a roving organized band. A few weeks ago, in the early morning, I saw five of them standing together in a parking lot talking. A few hours later, two of them were on nearby off ramps, one east bound, and the other across the bridge westbound. This was at Hwy. 78 @ Jefferson. The next day, the same two are at I-5 @ Santa Fe Dr. I think it would make a great story to find out if this is true, and how much they rake in every day. I bet it is a lot more than min. wage. If a had an extra few days to grow some stubble, I'd go under cover and do it myself, just to see. I'd even bet they'd try to run me off if I was on one of "their" exits.

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lvswhatigt March 10, 2010 @ 3:15 p.m.

The stringer editor deserves the credit for the title. Not me =)

-N.U.

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debsplay March 30, 2010 @ 12:11 a.m.

I live in the Morena/Mission Valley area and we are completely overwhelmed with bums begging for money on every street corner and raised median. It's so frustrating to see people in cars handing over money to these bums as this only continues the problem. There are so many great charities out there that could do much more with the money, even charities for the homeless. I can't tell you how many bums I have seen coming out of convenience stores with a 12 pack of beer; folks, this is where your charity is being spent. If you want to help people, giving them money for alcohol and drugs is not going to do it. Over this past weekend, I saw an even more disturbing sight. In front of Fashion Valley Mall a mother stood with her little son hanging on to her leg, in the hot sun, as the woman held a street sign begging for money. I saw no drinking water near them and the child had no sunglasses on to protect him from the bright sun. This is abuse and neglect, no child should have to stand on a corner for hours helping their parent beg for money. A block down, I assume it was the father, stood with a young daughter, again holding a sign begging for money. The young girl seemed so embarrassed and humiliated. Children should not have to spend their days begging for money on street corners in San Diego. Where is Child Protective Services? Police? If the adults want to beg, that's one thing, but children? Bums should leave their kids with a friend or family member for the day if they want to beg for money. Of course if you've burned all your bridges with everyone you know, guess that won't work. Or better yet, bums should spend the day looking for a JOB and be responsible for their children and themselves. Maybe these same bums should spend some time looking for a shelter to spend the night in or programs that assist people with children. It seems more and more like pride and respect for one's self has completely disappeared for these people and now children are being brought into the equation, disgusting.

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