Marek Warszawski

Panhandling ban in Fresno fails. Here are some other ideas Steve Brandau could get behind

Panhandling proposal mostly panned at Fresno City Hall

Opponents and at least one supporter spoke out about Steve Brandau's panhandling proposal Thursday afternoon
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Opponents and at least one supporter spoke out about Steve Brandau's panhandling proposal Thursday afternoon

Steve Brandau’s proposed ban on panhandling cloaked as a ban on handing stuff out of car windows died on the vine, but all is not lost for everyone’s favorite lame-duck Fresno city councilman.

As a parting gift, I’ve prepared a list of similar ordinances Brandau may want to get behind before he takes the oath as Fresno County supervisor.

Which cannot possibly happen soon enough.

Ban dumping of coffee from car windows at intersections

This may seem like a harmless practice, until you consider how unsightly all those stains look on our streets.

And has anyone ever stopped to consider the impact on snails? We can’t have over-caffeinated mollusks zipping up and down our streets. Could upset the balance of nature.

Ban ice cream trucks

Now here’s a real public safety issue. As soon as children hear that familiar jingle, they rush headlong into the street, traffic be darned.

Can’t have that. Young lives need our attention.

Ban walking across the street

Pedestrian fatalities in Fresno are on the rise, and here’s a simple solution: Make it illegal to cross any street on foot.

What if you’re parked on one side of the street and need to get to the other? Get back in the car and drive. Duh.

Ban putting coins into other people’s parking meters that are about to expire

Other cities already have an ordinance against this very thing. They call it “interfering with the collection of city revenue.” Honestly, I’m surprised Fresno is behind the curve.

Gotta keep those quarters, dimes and nickels rolling toward City Hall.

Ban saggy pants

Lawmakers in South Carolina recently proposed this very ordinance, once again beating Fresno to the punch. (Shame on us.)

One of the bill’s sponsors claimed it had everything to do with halting an “unbecoming” and “unprofessional” look and nothing to do with discriminating against minorities.

On second thought, it isn’t fair that people who wear tight pants wouldn’t face the same penalty.

With that in mind, I propose Brandau form an ad hoc committee to determine allowable tension standards in the buttocks and waist areas.

Ban liquor licenses

The City Council is just going to rubber stamp every application anyway, so what’s the point?

Ban public sales of Girl Scout cookies

Sure, they taste delicious. But have you for a moment considered the congestion they cause in front of supermarkets and big-box stores? Can’t have that.

Ban bicycles from bike lanes

Because cars need more space to maneuver, and nobody uses bike lanes, anyway.

Right, Steve?

Ban carpeting

Have you ever considered how much vacuuming carpet taxes our energy grid? Better to mandate only tile, laminate and hardwood floors in all Fresno domiciles.

(No, this ordinance has nothing to do with the fact that Brandau owns a carpet cleaning business. Just a coincidence.)

Ban the use of utensils while eating pizza, hamburgers and fried chicken

Thought I’d sneak this in here. Just a pet peeve of mine.

Ban public sleeping within the city limits

Brandau insists his anti-camping ordinance, passed by the City Council in 2017 only to be ruled cruel and unusual punishment by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, does not target homeless.

Just to be certain, it could be expanded to include all forms of public sleeping. And if that proves too difficult to enforce, ban all public shutting of eyes.

Ban “Paying it Forward” at Starbucks

Talk about a misnomer. When you tell the barista to add the latte of the person behind you on your debit card, shouldn’t it be called “Paying it Backward?”

And, besides, it could be construed as unsolicited panhandling. Can’t have that.

Ban “poverty pimps

Who needs social justice advocates in a city with little poverty, scant air pollution and ample park space? A city renowned for public engagement and transparency and zero history of corruption?

Better to forbid the practice altogether and let those in our community with no voice speak for themselves.


Marek Warszawski: 559-441-6218, @MarekTheBee

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Marek Warszawski writes opinion columns on news, politics, sports and quality of life issues for The Fresno Bee, where he has worked since 1998. He is a Bay Area native, a UC Davis graduate and lifelong Sierra frolicker. He welcomes discourse with readers but does not suffer fools nor trolls.