Pittsburgh Fights Panhandling and Supports Culture

I was already excited about this news story.

"A proposal to severely restrict panhandling in the City of Pittsburgh was introduced in City Council today."

Pittsburgh’s professional panhandlers drive me nuts and I’d like to see the practice banned altogether. Before you call me heartless and unsympathetic, come to Oakland sometime and witness these phonies for yourself. Anyhow, I thought any effort to combat them would be a step in the right direction.

Then I read this.

"Busking — defined as the public provision of entertainment without a vocal request for money — would be expressly permitted."

Those who’ve lived in Da Burgh for a little while is probably well aware of its inability to retain young people after graduation from one of our fine collegiate institutions. Most of the time, it seems our legislators not only have no intention of fixing the problem (witness the mayoral ads focusing almost entirely on the elderly), but they also seem intent on making it worse. Supporting busking, however, is a step in the right direction.

Buskers contribute to the cultural atmosphere of a city. It’s not like they’re jingling a cup and annoying people for a living. They’re entertaining people. They’re contributing to the ambiance. They’re fun.

Let’s hope this trend continues so Pittsburgh can stop hemorrhaging young people.

[For the record, I had to rewrite this post because I’m an idiot and read "expressly permitted" as "expressly forbidden". – Funky]