In regards to the story, "Lima may register its panhandlers," in the April 24 edition of The Lima News:
I spent most of my working life in Columbus. I have, on occasion, been asked for help by "panhandlers" — actually fellow human beings who have fallen on hard times. One city councilman actually stopped on the street to speak with a panhandler — I commend him for that. He received a mixed reaction from passers-by.
The Lima community does not have a unified voice on how to deal with panhandlers. On the other hand, I found particularly offensive the remark by another councilman when the issue of having panhandlers identify themselves as such by registering with the city and wearing a lanyard: "They haven’t taken the time to walk nowhere and get a job or anything. I don’t think they’re going to take time to get a permit."
That statement strikes me as a grossly unfair generalization about fellow human beings who are seeking help. Like all of us human beings, some panhandlers can be obnoxious. Others, perhaps most, are simply people who have fallen on hard times and need a helping hand and some recognition that they are not alone.
Rather than further stigmatizing panhandlers, a sense of justice and human solidarity would call for more concerted efforts to help them achieve the dignity of independence. That would seem to be a good topic for on-going discussion at City Council.
— Al O’Dell, Columbus Grove