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Loudoun Supervisors Adopt Panhandling Ban

Firefighter, MDA request exemption; board members promise to help with fundraising.

Anyone who regularly drives Loudoun’s roads has seen volunteers collecting money in boots or buckets for various causes. No more.

The Loudoun Board of Supervisors this week unanimously banned the practice, citing safety concerns. Some board members said they were OK with the restriction since it would still be permitted in towns within the county, including Leesburg. All board members said they receive complaints whenever collections occur.

Representatives from the Muscular Dystrophy Association and local firefighters organizations – firefighters raise money annually for MDA with a Fill the Boot campaign – asked the board to consider a permitting process that would enable their roadside fundraising to continue.

Of seven speakers, including those in some way living with Muscular Dystrophy, two spoke in favor of restrictions, although they expressed an interest in the permitting process. However, County Attorney John R. Roberts called such exemptions permitted by other jurisdictions “suspect” and said they could open the county to litigation.

Regardless, several supervisors said even Fill the Boot caused safety concerns.

“The safety issue has been with fire and rescue, because I’ve seen it,” said board Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large), adding that he’s witnessed firefighters collecting “when the lights are green and the traffic is flowing.”

Stewart said MDA collections would likely fall dramatically, based on historic data from the organization in other jurisdictions. Supervisor Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) said the fact that collections could continue in Leesburg gave her less concern about county restriction.

Leesburg also has the option to ban such roadside solicitors. Just about every board member promised to help MDA get the message out about fundraising.

Supervisors Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) and Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) said some fundraisers were aggressive.

“Fundraising; I do that,” said Delgaudio, who’s being investigated because of accusation about his own fundraising activities. “I know all about fundraising.”

Delgaudio also said the “panhandlers” were coming from outside the county “because we’re rich.”

Buona said firefighters could go door-to-door instead of collecting along roadsides, but that the county's growing population has made many collections sites dangerous.

Supervisors hope the ban will keep traffic from being tied up along Route 7, Route 50, Waxpool Road and other heavily traveled corridors.

Martha March 16, 2013 at 01:52 AM
I have always been opposed to our firefighters collecting for MDA and won't support them, so I'm happy about the supervisors vote. But why is Delguadio allowed to comment on ANYTHING? He's shown himself to be a completely illegal!
joe brewer March 16, 2013 at 11:56 AM
How so Martha? What has Eugene been convicted of? Need clairification e-mail CA Stamos. Tstamos@vacao.com This issue has been in the news off and on for a year at least since the last MDA begathon. The growing number of homeless and hungry beggars might be served better by a system that encourages learning skills to support themselves rather then a chairity system that enables people to be beggars.
Wendy Lillie March 18, 2013 at 08:09 PM
This ban does upset me because I am a parent of two boys with Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy. I am a volunteer medic and firefighter. First off we don't come to Loudoun County because your county has money. We collect in many other different counties. The money collected does go to the MDA clinic, research, help with equipment sometimes not covered by insurance. People seem to think the money doesn't go to support MDA families, but it does. I can see the safety issue but there are ways to make it safe. You have a child who was able to walk and you see them deteriorate little by little until they no longer walk or breathe on their own. I didn't ask for sick children. Without MDA and the funds our lives would be harder.
Bubba Gump March 20, 2013 at 12:31 PM
FINALLY! Now, if they can get door-to-door solicitation banned too so I'm not bothered on a Sunday evening at 6:30pm when I'm eating dinner.
Marcus Aurelius March 22, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Now that you can't beg, how is the school Board goning to get any money for the school budget?

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