Panhandling, loitering ordinances on council agenda

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich is asking the City Council to approve measures governing panhandling and loitering when councilmembers gather Tuesday at 6 p.m. for their first-of-the-month meeting.

Two other policy issues also are on the agenda, but will not be voted on Tuesday night: a measure to reduce the number of paid holidays for city employees from 12 to 10, to satisfy state statute, which may be voted on at the council’s Nov. 14 meeting; and a proposal to regulate major special events, an issue that will be discussed at a public hearing after the council’s meeting on Nov. 14.

The panhandling and loitering ordinances have been in the works for weeks, and are being placed before the council weeks after a half-dozen downtown business leaders complained to the council about aggressive and abusive loiterers and panhandlers outside their businesses.

The panhandling measure, which would require city-issued licenses, identifies downtown locations where panhandling would be prohibited, including bus stops, public parks, near vehicles or ATMs, or near businesses that have posted “No panhandling” or similar signs. The proposed amendment also would identify aggressive panhandling, such as confronting a person, blocking their path or using profane or abusive language, and would ban all panhandling from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

The amendment to the loitering ordinance would correct the existing ordinance that the Gilich administration says is “constitutionally overbroad and vague.”

While noting that loitering is protected under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the ordinance specifically addresses the type of conduct prohibited. Among the prohibited acts would be loitering in public restrooms or public schools, in restaurants, taverns or nearby property after being asked to leave by the owner.
See the City Council agenda and supporting documents


‘The week that was’ has the inside story

If you ever want to get behind-the-scenes details on the week that was in Biloxi, check out the weekly review. Last week, the Biloxi Fire Department responded to 136 calls for service, including 95 medical emergencies; the Biloxi Police Department handled 2209 calls for service, which generated 95 arrests; and the Community Development Department issued 59 permits for a total construction valuation of $2.38 million.

Meanwhile, the city’s Engineering Department has a four-page report that gives the status of nearly four dozen major projects, including design work on new fire stations, the new Howard Avenue and more.
See the weekly reports


News and notes: Rasslin’, traffic update

Wrestling: “Pro rasslin'” makes its way to the Dr. Frank G. Gruich Community Center on Saturday, Nov. 18 with a card that will feature such independent wrestlers as Ryan Fury, Mountain Man and Ricky Reyes, aka Castro Cortez, among others. For more about Diamond Championship Wrestling and the Biloxi matches, click here.

Traffic: To see the status of major roadwork and street closures throughout the city, click here.