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Mineola votes to ban panhandling. Really?

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Workers scale the

Workers scale the "Welcome to Mineola" sign. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Surely, I am not the only one who saw the inexplicable irony in the story “Panhandle ban for Mineola” [News, July 13] about the Village of Mineola’s decision to outlaw panhandling and “fine” panhandlers.

I had to suppress a giggle when I read that “violators will be fined $1,000 for the first offense, $3,000 for a second offense and $5,000 for three of more offenses.” Also, each offense could be accompanied by 15 days in jail.

Fining people who are, in effect, scrounging for money is the ultimate joke. Where, one might ask, will these panhandlers come up with the fines that get imposed?

Oh, that’s right, like any law-abiding panhandler, they will turn toward neighboring communities like Garden City or Williston Park to panhandle so they can return to pay the fines issued by Mineola.

As opposed to seriously thinking through the implications of fining panhandlers, the board of trustees in Mineola has made a mockery of any real attempts to curtail begging in the village.

Good luck collecting the fines as they are imposed, but I hope those fines won’t be included as receivables in the village budget.

Kevin J. McLaughlin,East Norwich

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