OPINION| Thomas: Callers Chime Signs Won’t Cure New Bedford’s Panhandler Ills [Video]
When it comes to rectifying a problem, people usually project "something needs to be done." I adamantly retort, "no, the correct thing needs to be done."
In New Bedford, panhandling is a growth industry. City Councilor Hugh Dunn is proposing to put signs up with a telephone number, so the compassionate people can instead donate to a local charity. Dunn states " If people consistently give to charities rather than directly to panhandlers- we can be assured that the money isn't being spent on alcohol and drugs." Great thought. However, Councilor Dunn is under the impression the givers will remember that phone number on the sign and make an unemotional gift.
Similar signs are apparently working in one New Mexico city, except for one part. We found out from our sister station in Albuquerque that their panhandler population reportedly has mushroomed. It's grown! The needy beggars sometimes stand underneath the signs. This is exactly what I mean by doing the right or correct thing, instead of throwing spaghetti against the wall and praying it sticks. I don't think the something city residents crave equals additional panhandlers.
Judging by most of my callers, they're skeptical of the newbie councilor's proposal.
Editor’s Note: Brian Thomas is the host of Brian’s Beat on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10am-Noon and Saturdays from 6am-9am. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.