It is bad enough that this and other municipalities allow beggars to panhandle on busy street corners, but the least they could do is enforce the laws so that motorists can maneuver safely without the risk of running the beggars over.

Municipal leaders fear lawsuits from civil libertarians, so they allow the bums to congregate at busy intersections. Their reluctance to adequately address the situation has emboldened the beggars who now view it as a license to harass and intimidate folks as they wait for the light to change. The panhandlers are no longer content to just beg from their perches on the median, and often just walk or stand in the streets, where they pose a safety hazard.

Local police officials must enforce the rules of the road. When did it become acceptable to stand within the zone that exists between the solid yellow line and the curb? Those yellow lines are there to guide motorists not to establish a panhandling lane for beggars. Hefty fines should be imposed for those who stand in the street to beg and those fines should be collected.

The Massachusetts Legislature can spend time and money combating rising oceans and some climate change but can't find the time to deal with this issue of public safety?

When one looks at the 60,000 people living and defecating in the streets of Los Angeles it's hard to imagine but it all began with just a few beggars and panhandlers. The majority of Americans are angry and offended by what is happening in their cities and feel as though their rights no longer matter. But they do matter and someone needs to begin advocating for the majority and not just the rights of a few.

I have a right to drive my car and not to have to dodge beggars in the street.

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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