Speak Out!

July 30, 2006

LAST WEEK'S ISSUE -- Minors soliciting money from motorists on Anne Arundel County roads could be fined $100 if the County Council approves a bill that has been drafted by Vice Chairwoman Cathleen M. Vitale, a Severna Park Republican. A violation of Vitale's proposed ban would be considered similar to a traffic infraction, and Vitale said she might consider revising the legislation to empower police officers to issue warnings. Citations for those 16 and older would be handled in District Court; violators under 16 would go to juvenile court. While some youth groups rely on roadside fundraising, Vitale said she is concerned about the safety of young people darting in and out of roads. Do you think the County Council should approve a bill that fines minors for soliciting money on county roads? Should the county seek authority from the state to ban all fundraising in county roads?

Punish groups, not the kids

Vitale's proposed law making it illegal for children and teens to solicit charitable donations in the median is ill conceived and presents unintended, dangerous consequences. It would put otherwise generous activist kids in jeopardy of becoming victims of a broken, overcrowded juvenile justice system. It would be far more effective to impose fines on the organizations that would send children "begging" and after three violations suspend their privileges to solicit in the county. That would put the real culprits - "those nuisance charities" - at risk instead of innocent children.

Drop the bill. I will urge my council member to vote against it.

Maryellen O. Brady Edgewater

Bill could save a child's life

Cathy Vitale is right on with this bill. She is being proactive, not reactive. Yes, County Council, pass this bill!

Vitale is potentially saving the life of one of these kids standing on the side of the road. If something were to happen, the public will demand a law be passed prohibiting this action. Pass this law and save a life, not only on county roads but on all state roads.

Mark Muckelbauer Severna Park

Pass bill, then focus on parents

I commend the children for taking their projects to a higher level to support their sports program. I don't agree that standing on the roadside is the most appropriate way to get the monies required for their projects.

I believe that we should pass this bill, but focus our attention on the parents of the children soliciting on the roadsides. It is a very dangerous proposition and could lead to the demise of our youth.

Henry L. Salvant Odenton

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