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    Supervisors ban panhandlers


    Drivers along Route 7 and other busy roadways in Loudoun County should now be relieved of what some consider a nuisance and the Board of Supervisors determined was a threat to public safety.

    Despite opposition from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and its advocates, the board voted unanimously March 13 to implement a ban on roadside panhandlers, deeming it too severe of a safety risk.

    Local company's “Fill the Boot” campaign to raise money for the MDA has largely utilized roadside soliciting to collect more than $800,000 in the past decade; money, said speakers suffering from muscular dystrophy, that significantly helps families and individuals suffering from the disease.

    “The Muscular Dystrophy Association saved my family and I,” Frank Lombardi of Leesburg said to the supervisors. “ … The monies that are raised here helps people like me, helps out kids ...”

    Maddie Stewart, the regional director for MDA, said the ban will have a devastating effect on the “Fill the Boot” fundraising.

    “Intersection collections collect at least four times more than store fronts,” Stewart said quoting data her organization collected. “So it's realistic to predict this could result in at least $70,000 to $75,000 [per year].”

    Stewart urged the board to consider a restrictive ban, meaning organizations would have to apply for the ability to panhandle. County Attorney Jack Roberts said such a measure is suspect and could open up the county to litigation.

    Incorporated towns in Loudoun County will not have to adhere to the regulation unless the individual town has implemented a similar prohibition.

    Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run), while empathizing with Stewart, said it's a “pressing safety issue” with citizens and firefighters raising money along congested and high-speed roadways.

    Williams and other supervisors said they will assist the MDA with finding locations and raising money to make sure the organization is successful in its fundraising efforts.

    “This is a difficult issue for the board in that we're just getting so many complaints from constituents,” said Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn), pointing out concerns with safety, illegitimate fundraising and the aggressiveness of some solicitors.

    Supervisors pointed out that allowing solicitation opens up opportunity for frauds to collect money for reasons other than what they're advertising.

    Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) noted that more than 900 people in Loudoun had signed a petition calling for the ban.

    “I look forward to a safer drive around Sterling within a few weeks and am delighted that this improvement will have dramatic impact on Sterling's quality of life,” Delgaudio said in an email.


    Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    Comments

    I’m so relieved that this was passed.  Many of these folks walk between lanes and around cars while light is red and get stuck between lanes when light turns green, stopping the flow of traffic.  Any successful fundraising that takes place by legitimate folks should not be at the expense of motorist safety.


    Yeah, about time. It seems like someone is out on Loudoun’s highways/streets every day asking for money. Most of them I have no idea what it’s for since it’s hard to read the small print. It reminds of my drive through Arlington to go to work where the homeless come up to your car looking for money.


    It sounds like the “guy by the Countryside Cinema” is on private property, not under the same guidelines as the BOS’s “ban on roadside panhandlers.”  Don’t fundraisers request permission of storefront owners to solicit donations?


    I think he drives a 2009 Toyota Camry.
    Da bums were kool when it referred to a baseball team. Not when they endanger people like the creeps at Rt 7 and Ashburn Village tonight


    1. Hooray!
    2. Any chance of getting this extended to the guy by the Countryside Cinema who’s been panhandling in that shopping center intermittently for the past 2 years?


    Saw him too Chris and wondered the same thing.  I’m surprised it was just one.  Usually there is a whole crew at that intersection.


    When does this take effect? I just saw one of the “neon vest guys” out on Rt. 7 this afternoon.


    Hm. I didn’t sign Delgaudio’s petition because, from what I remember in his newsletter, he wanted an exemption for firefighters. I’m for no exceptions, thus I didn’t sign.

    But this article seems to sound like everyone is prohibited, including the firefighters. I wonder if Delgaudio tried to exempt them like he said he would. If so, why does he sound so happy here?


    First and foremost sterling citizen lets get something straight…..The volunteers have NOTHING to do with collecting for MDA.  Yes the career people might be out in their fire trucks, but they have no hand in this collection for MDA.  Get your facts right.  Second.  For all you Loudoun People…instead of hiding behind your computers talking about bums, and firefighter out doing good for the community, why not come out and show your face at a union meeting and or community function and voice your dislike of the program.  Stop being a bunch of cowards and writing on here.  Do I agree that there are people that are sitting at our corners from N.C.  NO! but do they distract my driving, or accost me?  NO! so stop with the excusses!  Nobody from the fire dept. is running in and out of traffic with boots.  All collections are done during a red light…For all you horrible drivers in loudoun, thats when you are suppose to stop.  Nobody bangs on your window or makes you do anything.  If you don’t want to give then keep your window up, and mind your own business.  But god forbid your child or someone you know has some disability like muscular dystrophy, or something else…cause your out of luck in this county. Nobody wants to help!  I’m tired of all the big tough guys hiding behind their computers after this decision by our inept board of directors.  Come show your face and complain.  Cause so far nothings been said in public but good things to the Local Firefighters in the county.


    LoudounJake:
      You are partially correct.  The fill the boot campaign is done by BOTH the paid professional firefighters AND the non-paid professional firefighters (e.g. volunteers)


    “Local volunteer firemen’s “Fill the Boot” campaign to raise money for the MDA”

    These are NOT volunteers.  They are the paid professional firefighters of Loudoun County, representing the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 3756, Loudoun County Career Firefighters.  http://www.iaff.org/MDA/history.asp


    Eugene’s delighted, and that’s all that matters, right ?  lol


    Why should the supervisors assist a charity? I support my church and make donations at work to the United Way and do not want this BOS or any BOS spending my tax dollar to assist a charitable institution.


    This was a safety issue.  Let’s hope the supervisors follow through with assistance to MDA.


    Jane - I don’t know about you, but when I am driving down Route 7 and see someone standing in the median, I’m forced to focus on them and try and figure out what the heck they are doing.  Getting ready to make a mad dash across?  Or panhandling for money?  Who knows?  One more thing for me to try and look at and assess while driving.  It is dangerous.  Route 7 is a 55mph road.  Tires blow out.  People lose control of their cars.  You don’t need someone standing in the middle of the road on a concrete strip. 

    Never mind that the last time I took notice of the Waxpool Rd. group’s bucket they were raising funds for some church in Kentucky.  Go raise money in Kentucky.  Although they only showed up once, I came across fundraisers saying there were with Penn State once in Leesburg by Costco.  Out in the busy intersection with their buckets and signs.  What are out of state groups doing in Loudoun panhandling for money?  Do they see dollar signs here since we are “rich”?

    Like I said, I’d be fine with permits for once a year events like Fill the Boot, but take your buckets back to Kentucky and stop setting up on Route 7 and Waxpool nearly every week.


    Good for Delgaudio and the supervisors. The LTM ran an article a while back about the group that’s been doing this year-round for the last few years (not MDA.) They use a name similar to a local church, but have no local affiliation. I think the LTM article said they were from North Carolina.


    Jane…calm down…this has nothing to do with people being poor.  It has to do with the distraction these money collectors are on roads that are much too busy already (Route 7 for one).  They put themselves and others at risk of injury.  Maybe the BOS will consider a permit type program on less busy roadways.


    Better communication would help if you want to be credible and represented by your elected officials better. Like when you say “they could care less” when you really mean “they couldn’t care less,” you’re really not building a strong case for yourself.


    What is wrong with you people?  If you don’t want to give any money-just ignore them!  How are they hurting you?  Has anybody ever been robbed or harassed? 

    It figures that is was all Republicans supervisors commenting on why they should be banned.  If you’re disabled or poor they could care less.  Another real good reason why I will vote Democrat for the rest of my life.


    Praise The Lord. I’m sick of being accosted for change at every intersection along Route 7.


    Frank, “The Muscular Dystrophy Association” is the subject of the sentence, “my family and I” should be the object, meaning you meant, “my family and me.” You are the one being affected by the subject, so use “me” when you are the object, please!


    “Fill the Boot” wasn’t the problem.  They do that once a year.  The problem is the people you see near Wegmans on Waxpool and on Route 7 all the time.  I don’t even think they represent a local entity.  I wouldn’t object to permitted, on time campaigns like Fill the Boot, but would rather have none than keep seeing people with buckets every weekend.


    yahooooo

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