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Firemen wont get the boot
Intersection solicitation being allowed by permit
Manteca firefighter Doug Escalante solicited donations at Main Street and Mission Ridge Drive last month for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. - photo by Bulletin file photo
If you want to hold a sign at the corner of Main Street and Mission Ridge Drive announcing to the world you will work for food, you aren’t probably going to get a permit from Manteca’s police chief to do so.

But if you are part of a legitimate 501 (c) (3) non-profit group that is blessed by the Internal Revenue Service and provide the city with a million dollar umbrella coverage for liability insurance, the odds are you’ll get a permit.

That is the bottom line of an amendment the City Council made this week to an anti-solicitation ordinance designed to curtail aggressive panhandling that was adopted in 2002.

That ordinance outlawed solicitation within 100 feet of any intersection, parking lot, restaurant, ATM, check cashing business or lending institution. No exception was made eight years ago for charitable organizations or individuals acting on their behalf to engage in fund- raising activities for non-profits.

The council’s unanimous approval Tuesday of Police Chief Dave Bricker’s recommended amendment to allow non-profits to solicit by permit on public property near intersections came less than a month after the Manteca Firefighters Association conducted a “Fill the Boot” drive for Jerry’s Kids at Mission Ridge Drive and South Main Street that was in violation of the municipal law that prohibits the solicitation of money for any reason within 100 feet of an intersection.

When asked how he would determine who was a legitimate non-profit, Bricker noted if qualified 501 (c) (3) groups “are good enough for the IRS they’re good enough for the Manteca Police Department” in determining legitimate non-profit status.

Originally, the city could not make exceptions once they banned solicitation for any reason since panhandling was considered a form of speech under a state high court ruling when the ordinance was adopted in 2002.

A subsequent California Senate Bill adopted in 2007 made it legal for cities to allow exceptions to panhandling ordinance if it involved public safety groups. City Attorney John Brinton indicated the permit process for those who can prove they are a legitimate non-profit and have insurance coverage passes state constitutional muster.