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published on April 23, 2019 - 1:43 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand and Councilmember Garry Bredefeld have joined forces to encourage business owners to address problems with panhandlers.

The pair hosted a press conference Tuesday morning calling on businesses to place “Help Us Help Fresno” signs on private property, to encourage people to donate to organizations that help the homeless instead of giving money to panhandlers.

A measure that would’ve had the city placing the signs around town failed to pass an April 11 Fresno City Council vote. The margin was 3-3, with supporter Steve Brandau’s Distrct 2 council seat vacant after he won a race for Fresno County Supervisor.

The signage campaign got what Bredefeld’s office called an “unprecedented” boost as all four candidates for the District 2 seat —Michael Karbassi, Lawrence Garcia, Jared Gordon and Debbie Hunsaker — appeared at the Tuesday press conference voicing support for the signs.

“We must do all we can to stop panhandling. One effective way is to encourage our citizens to donate to charitable organizations that help the homeless rather than give money directly to panhandlers, which only serves to either keep them homeless or continue using drugs and/or alcohol,” Bredefeld said in a statement. “These signs are designed to educate the public and to ask them to support organizations that are truly helping the homeless, and to encourage the homeless and those panhandling to seek services. Business owners will now be able to put these signs on their private property to discourage panhandling outside their businesses.”

Bredefeld said he intends to renew the sign effort with the city council after the Aug. 13 special election to fill Brandau’s former seat.

Bredefeld said the signs are about $65 each. For information about receiving a sign, call Bredefeld’s office at 559-621-8000.

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