Daytona Beach City Commission Adopts New Panhandling Ordinance

By on February 6, 2019 in WNDB News

Daytona Beach, FL – Over 10 hours of evidentiary hearings and almost a year of preparation leads to a unanimous vote for Daytona Beach to adopt a new panhandling ordinance.

Earlier today (February 6th), attorney Michael Kahn, the lawyer behind both Daytona and St. Augustine’s panhandling ordinances, spoke on WNDB’s Marc Bernier Show, offering some insight into the process of drafting the ordinance and some of his feelings and predictions.

Some of his comments included mentioning that Daytona Beach would be a bigger undertaking than St. Augustine,

“In St. Augustine, we dealt with different measurements,” Kahn said to Bernier. “It’s 12 square miles (in St. Augustine) as opposed to Daytona Beach’s 70 square miles, so it’s quite a bit.”

On the question of enforcement, Kahn said he was unsure of what would be done and when it would take effect. He said according to an article he read, Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri would mirror what St. Augustine Police Chief Barry Fox did.

According to Kahn, that would mean that (if and when) the ordinance went into effect, panhandlers would first receive a warning.

“And then in a period of time, an undetermined period of time, if they persist to do something unlawful under the ordinance, then he would enforce,” said Kahn.

When asked about how an ordinance is panned out, Kahn said it’s all about the safety of the people, including the panhandlers, and what areas would be feasible to enforce. Such as schools, banks, and certain high traffic public areas.

“You look at the maps of the city and you see what is feasible to be done, with precedent, which is what I’ve done before,” Kahn explained.

If you missed Michael Kahn’s interview with Marc Bernier, you can listen to it by clicking here.

Later on in the night, Kahn would make his way to what would be the final city commission meeting involving the ordinance.

First, Kahn started off his time in front of the commission, by thanking them as well as the multiple departments, such as police and the Daytona Beach IT department, for helping him draft the ordinance. He also thanked those who took the time to deliver testimony for the ordinance.

Kahn also took the time to talk about certain aspects of the ordinance, such as the ordinance is in no way banning panhandling, but instead regulating it so it’s safer for all involved.

“Panhandlers have first amendment rights too, the ordinance is regulating them and preserving their first amendment rights.”

His final action would be to submit the full transcript of tonight’s meeting as the final exhibit towards the case of the panhandling ordinance, before giving his closing comments to the council.

“What I wish for this city is when I drive up here to see the effect of the ordinance, I only hope that you all can echo what Chief Fox said to me, that the ordinance had made a night and day difference.”

Following Kahn’s testimony and public comments, the Daytona Beach City Commission voted 7-0 to approve the panhandling ordinance, only to be followed by an eruption of applause from attendees of the meeting, which included residents, business owners and public servants.

The ordinance has been in the minds of some Daytona Beach residents since last July when the city first hired Kahn to take steps towards regulating panhandling in the city.

It is not known as of now when the ordinance will take effect or when enforcement will begin.

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