Dear Editor: Madison has real compassion for the truly homeless. Unfortunately, there are scam artists who prey on our compassion — like the panhandlers who bother motorists on busy street median strips. Police warn that these scammers are a safety risk; social workers tell us they aren’t really homeless. Mayor Soglin told the City Council Feb. 7 that these panhandlers can earn between $40,000 and $80,000 a year — tax free.

Thankfully, the majority of city alders used common sense and put public safety first. But not Ald. Mo Cheeks. Cheeks voted to keep allowing these scam artists to disrupt traffic even though the ordinance that passed includes an education campaign and help finding real jobs.

What’s more, how is begging for dollars going to solve homelessness? If they’re short on money, they can go to work printing the “Help Wanted” and “Now Hiring” signs adorning every other retail store in Madison these days. Here’s hoping voters in District 10 choose Steve Fitzsimmons as their next alder.

Maggie Mulroy

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