Today at 12:14 p.m. an email arrived in the inboxes of all five Eureka City Council members as well as Eureka Mayor Frank Jager and City Clerk Pam Powell. The message was unsigned, and the gmail account that sent it is attributed to “Eureka Citizen” ( 

The email begins as follows:

Please read the attached information on drafting an ordinance to limit panhandling within the City of Eureka City Limits.

The BEST solution, and one that would help Eureka’s Citizens feel safer, would be an ordinance requiring a permit to panhandle; discussed/reviewed near the end of the attachment.

That attachment was a 41-page pamphlet called “A Guide to Regulating Panhandling.” (Click here for the pdf.) Published back in 1992 by the conservative Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, the pamphlet was written by that group’s longtime legal director, Kent Scheidegger, a man who was recently dubbed “Mr. Death Penalty” for his enthusiastic support of capital punishment.

Scheidegger’s pamphlet lays out strategies and legal arguments for restricting panhandling, and it concludes with a suggested ordinance, fully composed. The introduction to this sample ordinance states:

The first five sections of the suggested ordinance prohibit aggressive panhandling and fraudulent solicitation, without an outright ban on panhandling. A cautious strategy would be to stop at that point. A more aggressive strategy would be to adopt a permit system.

Eureka Citizen advocates the more aggressive strategy, which would require panhandlers to carry papers. The proposed ordinance says, in part:

No person shall panhandle on five or more days in a single calendar year without a permit issued by the police department. A person who has been issued a permit shall keep it on his person at all times while panhandling and show it to any peace officer upon request. No person whose permit has been revoked shall panhandle for a period of two years following the revocation. Any person who violates this subdivision is guilty of a misdemeanor.

The sample ordinance goes on to say that anyone who violates any portion of the ordinance shall have his or her permit revoked by the police department.

The anonymous Eureka Citizen expresses concern over the council’s recent efforts to develop new strategies for dealing with the homeless population. Suggestions raised at recent meetings include temporary and transitional housing as well as rapid rehousing programs.

 “Eureka Citizens need the City Council to show that the council is concerned for general public safety!” the anonymous email states. “Especially, since the council is exploring ways to spend additional funds, directly on homeless issues, like housing, from the funds provided, in part, from citizen taxes.”

The email goes on:

PLEASE review this proposed panhandling permit ordinance! Citizens, and businesses, are asking why City Council appears more concerned about providing for the homeless, rather than protecting citizens’ personal, and business, safety.

IF such an ordinance were put into place, citizens, and businesses, would be more inclined to support council’s proposed homeless housing.

Twenty minutes after this email was sent to Eureka officials, another email was sent to Lost Coast Outpost Editor Hank Sims. It, too, was sent by Eureka Citizen, and it read, “I just found this on Humboldt Craigslist, Politics section.” Below the message the anonymous sender had pasted the text from this Craigslist post. The email concluded, “Perhaps you can see what your readers/commentators think?”

We live to serve, Eureka Citizen.

One last note: We sent an email to Eureka Citizen at 2 p.m. asking who authored the email and who, specifically, is behind the proposal. We will update this post if we hear back.

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UPDATE, 4:10 p.m.: Eureka Citizen responded to our inquiry but still declined to identify him- or herself. Here’s the text of the email:

At this time, it is still in the proposal stage. An actual ordinance has not been written, just modeled from similar ordinances in other jurisdictions. The proposal, and information were forwarded to Eureka’s mayor and city council members for their consideration.

This proposal is the result of a group discussion, involving over 45 Eureka citizens.  We will soon make a formal request to the city council. If a Permit to Panhandle ordinance is not passed by the Eureka city council, we plan to circulate a petition to force a ballot vote of the people.

Thanks for your interest.