Tampa Council Deadlocks on Banning Street Sales

Photo courtesy of Change.org.
Photo courtesy of Change.org.
TAMPA (2011-9-22) -

Newspaper vendors and panhandlers still have a place on Tampa city street corners. After almost two years of debate over banning street solicitation, Tampa City Council deadlocked in a 3 to 3 vote on Thursday. Council was considering a three-part ordinance that would have allowed newspaper sales but banned other sales and panhandling except for Sundays when there's less traffic. Labor unions would be exempt.

Council member Lisa Montelione favored a full ban on street solicitation.

“All you have to do to purchase anything be it a beverage, a newspaper or hand somebody a dollar bill is get out of the lane of traffic,” Montelione said.

But, Montelione said she was willing to compromise and joined council members Mike Suarez and Harry Cohen in voting for a partial ban that exempted all newspaper sales.

Voting against the partial ban were council members Yvonne Capin, Frank Reddick and Vice Chairwoman Mary Mulhern.

“I never saw any substantial, competent, compelling evidence that this was a major safety problem” Mulhern said. “And, I don’t think it’s there.”

The deadlock means the panhandling ordinances will come back for another council vote at the next regularly scheduled meeting, Oct. 6th.

Tampa City Council Chairman Charlie Miranda is recuperating from surgery and was not at Thursday's meeting.

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