At the May 31 City Council meeting councilors adopted an order submitted by Mayor Joseph M. Petty requesting that City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. develop a policy for having a police presence “when appropriate” at public meetings.
He did so in response to an incident at the May 25 meeting of the Public Health and Human Services Committee, details of which Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson recounts here and can be seen here (beginning at the 1:28 mark).
The next day Augustus went on the record to address the proliferation of panhandlers on city streets in light of last year’s ruling that the city’s ordinance against panhandling violated the right of free speech.
“People should not give money to panhandlers,” Augustus said in a Telegram & Gazette article on June 1. “There are a number of very worthy charities that are available to folks, and they can make sure that their money is going to what good-hearted people hope for, which is providing housing, providing healthcare and providing food for people who truly need it.”
It is convenient to view these events independently, to assume they are not related.
We do not believe this is true.
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