If you drive around you will most likely see any number of homeless. In the past six months, there have been more than usual.
Ever wonder if they have the right to beg for money?
A few months ago, before he retired, former City Manager Tim Casey, said the city of Laguna Niguel does not have a local ordinance or policy related to panhandling.
State law prohibits aggressive panhandling (i.e. accosting persons in any public place for the purpose of begging), he said.
In addition, he noted, state law also prohibits persons from obstructing the movement of other persons on streets or sidewalks.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department enforces these state laws in Laguna Niguel when necessary and applicable.
The courts have found begging and panhandling to be forms of protected speech that cannot be summarily prohibited in public places (i.e. public sidewalks, shopping center entrances/exits and common areas), Casey said.
"The city does get occasional inquiries from residents about begging/panhandling, as well as door-to-door solicitation," he said. "As a result, the FY 11-12 City Budget included a Work Program item in the City Attorney’s Office to: 'Review law and advise City Council on alternatives to regulate door-to-door peddling, charitable solicitation and begging/panhandling in the city.'"
The city attorney is in the process of completing this legal review, Casey said.