Tampa City Council deadlocks (again) on panhandling issue

Yolie Capin had a message to Tampa City Attorney Jim Shimberg on Thursday: Don't mess with her.

Two weeks ago at the end of a workshop on the issue, the Tampa City Council took their first tentative steps into passing an ordinance banning panhandling, voting 5-1 on a measure that would ban such solicitations six days a week, allowing the practice to continue on Sundays,so hawkers could sell copies of the Tampa Tribune or St. Petersburg Times. They also would allow newspaper hawkers to continue to sell papers any day of the week, a provision that would allow copies of the African-American newspaper the Florida Sentinel-Bulletin to be sold on Tuesdays and Fridays, when it's published.

But Capin told Shimberg two weeks ago she wanted the ordinance tied together, and expressed fears that a court could strike down the provision allowing for the sale of the Sentinel-Bulletin during the week. But that wasn't included in the three separate motions Shimberg provided to the council to vote on Thursday, so she changed her vote from two weeks ago, as did Frank Reddick. The measure deadlocked at 3-3, with Mary Mulhern joining the dissent. Mike Suarez, Lisa Montelione and Harry Cohen supported the measure.

Because of the tie, the measure will come back to the council in two weeks time. But with the 7th member of council, Charlie Miranda, still expected to be on the sidelines recovering from an illness, the scenario for the city looks like something out of Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit.