Despite new ordinance, many panhandlers say they will stay in medians

     The countdown has begun for enforcement of El Paso's new solicitation ordinance.

     It's already law, but the El Paso Police Department plans to start enforcing the new rules in February after an "education phase."

     ABC-7 hit the streets this week to speak with those whom the changes will affect the most. It bans solicitation in medians, within 15 feet of banks, ATM's, parking meters and commercial properties with no solicitation signs. It was approved by city council back in October.

     Many panhandlers told ABC-7 they are well aware of the new ordinance that will soon be enforced.

     "Other signers, other people told me about it," said Dino Megliorino, who was soliciting money from a Montana median. "I'm going to keep doing it until they tell me I can't."

     Raul Gonzalez was panhandling on the corner of Airway and Interstate 10 and he said he's well aware of what's ahead.

     "I know they got a new city ordinance," Gonzalez said.

     Up at the street at Airway near Montana ABC-7 found Jason Edwards holding an advertising sign for a local furniture company in the median, which will also soon be subject to a $500 fine.

     "I haven't been told that," Edwards said. "Am I the one who's going to pay that?"

     ABC-7 also spotted a man soliciting from an 18-inch wide median on Airway and Montana. He declined an interview.

     But Jerry Murphy, a pilot from Michigan who also spotted the man, told ABC-7: "I've never seen anything like that where I'm from. It's a bit unusual."

     He said he was concerned for the man's safety.

     "On this narrow sidewalk, I kind of keep to the edge cause it's a very busy intersection," Murphy said.

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