Time to curtail panhandling in Rochester?

Rochester is considering a ban on certain kinds of panhandling, making it illegal to beg for money aggressively.

Sitting with a sign that says you need money? That’s protected speech. But blocking someone’s path or touching someone to ask for money isn’t.

At a community forum last night, sponsored by the Rochester Post- Bulletin, speakers said there’s too much panhandling going on around the Mayo Clinic. They said it’s a public safety issue.

Others say it’s more than that. “I’m concerned that we are offended by people’s poverty,” said resident Monty Flinsch.

A police official said there are already laws in place to protect people from panhandlers, though some speakers said by the time the cops have arrived, the panhandlers are gone.

The Rochester City Council will take up the issue sometime this month, the paper says.