On May 6, a letter from a Southport reader said that Portland should regulate panhandling, and that panhandling is a business.

According to Merriam-Webster’s, business is “the activity of making, buying or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money.”

The Southport reader asks, “. . . would we allow prostitution on the median? A hot dog stand?” Those two activities seem to meet the definition of business, but panhandling probably does not.

What regulations do we impose on Salvation Army Christmas bell ringers and similar groups? Should we “Require a permit . . . Charge a fee. Set zoning limits,” as the reader proposes? As long as panhandling is done in a peaceful and safe manner, what regulations are really needed?

I see panhandlers, bell ringers and others as an opportunity for me to share what good fortune God has given me, and to recognize that there, but for the grace of God, go I.

Allan Neff

disabled veteran

South Portland