Posting signs urging motorists not to donate to the bums who have taken up positions on a number of city street corners is a total waste of time and money.

Especially these signs.

The problem with the signs is that they are too wordy yet never really convey the message they are supposed to convey, which is don't give money to the panhandlers.The signs are too small and confusing. No one can read them from even the shortest distance, meaning they will be largely ignored.

The city has installed "medieval spiked cobblestones" at several popular begging locations designed to keep the panhandlers away. What has happened instead, at least at the Market Basket begging post on Coggeshall Street, is that the panhandlers are now standing in the street, making it extremely dangerous for motorists and themselves. Mayor Jon Mitchell needs to instruct the police department to move them out of the street.


I am sick and tired of this issue of public begging. Most of us work hard and have to pay taxes on what we earn. Yet the government allows these folks to create human blight upon the landscape and to pocket whatever they can get their hands on tax-free.

The best way to rid ourselves of this problem is to stop giving these people money. For some, it is a tax-free scam. For others, it's a quick and easy way to raise cash to buy booze, drugs or both. You are not helping them or the situation.

If the administration truly wants to discourage people from giving to the panhandlers, it would post more realistic and honest signs in large print that can be seen from a distance that say something like, "DON'T GIVE MONEY TO THE PANHANDLERS."

The current signs are confusing and ineffective.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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