Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Median vendors could face ban in Largo

The city is moving forward with legislation that would boot solicitors from Largo medians.

Largo leaders say they're concerned about the safety of people who sell items on city streets. "(The ordinance) accomplishes what the city wanted to do: Make sure people weren't going to get run over in the street," said Mayor Pat Gerard.

Most city commissioners say they plan to support the legislation. Commissioners Woody Brown and Robert Murray say they also have concerns that vendors can distract motorists.

The issue traces back to earlier this year when resident Curtis Holmes complained that vendors were at risk because they regularly walked into oncoming traffic.

Largo City Commissioner Rodney Woods said he wasn't a fan of the legislation at first because he doesn't want to prevent people from making a living. But he said he will likely support the ordinance, which is scheduled to come before the commission Tuesday.

"I really don't see it as a big major problem in Largo. However looking at the big picture, there could be some safety issues there," Woods said.

The ordinance would prevent vendors, like those who sell the St. Petersburg Times, from going into the roadway to sell items. It would also prohibit the sale of goods on sidewalks, with the exception of newspapers.

Newspaper boxes would be allowed on sidewalks and newspaper vendors would be allowed there, too. But staff attorney Mary Hale told commissioners the legislation would likely deter newspaper vendors on sidewalks as well.

"If you're precluding an individual from stepping off the sidewalk into the street, it's cost-prohibitive for them to want to stand there with a stack and try to sell to that one person right next to them on the road that they can reach from the sidewalk," Hale said.

Alison Steele, an attorney for The St. Petersburg Times, said the legislation would inconvenience citizens, including those who like the ease of buying newspapers from their cars.

"It's sad when local government decides to exercise its power in a way that prohibits local citizens from using public property," Steele said.

In St. Petersburg, the City Council on Thursday approved a controversial measure Thursday banning solicitation in public medians. Under the ordinance, just standing in a median would be banned unless you are crossing the street. The measure affects charities, panhandlers, political campaigns, newspaper vendors, free speech advocates and others who depend on the medians for business or personal use.

Largo's proposed ordinance also restricts charitable solicitation on medians. But state law exempts nonprofit organizations, such as firefighters conducting charitable drives, if they adhere to certain guidelines. Hale told commissioners the ordinance will likely include a reference to those statutes.

Christina Silva contributed to this report. Lorri Helfand can be reached at or 445-4155.

Median vendors could face ban in Largo 10/04/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 2:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo


    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  2. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies


    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  3. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  4. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  5. Report: Kusher wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin


    Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, U.S. …

    The name of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's White House senior adviser, has come up as part of the Russia investigation. [Associated Press]