I believe giving to beggars is wrong. Somebody previously said the homeless population is made up of alcoholics, which can’t be true. However, substance abuse is no reason to beg.

Why should we give to beggars? They didn’t earn it. When I was growing up in Salinas, I gave my sandwich to a woman “in need” with a baby and she threw it away. Another time the Salinas paper did a story on a “homeless” man named Jim Fergusse who begged at the Lucky’s on South Main. Locals know him as “the guy with a strainer on his head.” Jim graduated with my dad and isn’t homeless – he has an apartment, car and phone. He doesn’t work because he makes more begging. His annual income is about $80,000. One time I was walking in downtown San Luis Obispo and saw an acquaintance of a friend. He has a MySpace page, lives with his parents and begs. That’s pathetic.

Lastly, there was a guy by Ralph’s with a broken arm, red curly hair and glasses. He had a sign begging, yet he made it to the bars in Monterey.

People can be cheats. Instead of throwing money, offer them lunch or give to an organization, like the Red Cross. There are several local shelters for homeless people to sleep or use as an address to gain employment that take donations. There are also houses to help the mentally ill homeless poplulation. I live next to one. Substance abuse is no excuse for draining the system that honest people pay into.

Mark Mraule
Agribusiness senior

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