By: Sharon Aron Baron
Exactly one year ago, the City Commission made a unanimous motion to authorize a study for City staff to evaluate street canvassing and soliciting at our most dangerous intersections.
City Attorney Sam Gorin told the commission that they would be bringing something back in the first quarter in the year. But it’s been one year and still nothing has been done.
No study, no ban, and still panhandlers and street vendors are roaming throughout traffic.
During this same period last December, the cities of Coral Springs and Lauderhill had their studies completed and by the first part of 2014, they had their bans on dangerous intersections already in place.
Tamarac Talk has been writing about the issue with street vendors and panhandlers for several years now and had even brought it to the attention of the commission, however, there was nothing the City of Tamarac could do until pending litigation from the City of Pembroke Pines had been resolved.
In September 2012, Pembroke Pines passed a series of ordinances regulating charitable solicitation. The ordinances barred individuals and organizations from asking for donations from and offering services to drivers engaged in traffic on six major city roads. In November 2013, U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum ruled that a charitable organization cannot sue a South Florida city over solicitation-permitting rules that never applied to it. The ruling allowed the City of Coral Springs and Lauderhill to move forward with their ordinances.
I spoke to Coral Springs Chief Pustizzi who said the City was anticipating the legal ruling, and had their study ready.
It only took them six months.
Six months to do a study in a city that’s much larger than ours.
Why has it taken over a year for ours?
Last December, the commissioners finally seemed in favor of it:
Commissioner Diane Glasser said “It’s been a problem for a good many years.”
Commissioner Harry Dressler said, “I have problems on a safety level with people wandering into traffic….I have concerns about public safety. I would be very supportive of anything that would prohibit it.”
Vice Mayor Michelle Gomez said, “My concern is not for their safety but for the safety for people in their cars. I look forward to whatever the study is, and I hope it’s not too long, and that we don’t have to wait until someone gets hurt…or dies…”
Until then, the clock is ticking, and meanwhile we have people meandering in and out of traffic in our busiest intersections and BSO does not have the authority to do anything about it. Not until they finally pass an ordinance.
But how much longer will it take?