Panhandlers, beggars, bums, street musicians with their hats out and all other folks looking for handouts have long been part of society and will continue to be as long as money is the dominant factor in our world.
The almighty dollar, and our actions surrounding it, form the basis of most of the woes we have in American society and in most of the rest of the world also. There are a few remote places where the "love of money" has not infected the people, but these places are becoming rare. If they only knew, they would run screaming in the other direction and avoid our kind of capitalistic, materialistic, greed-driven thinking. THIS is what is really driving the panhandling ordinance.
Our system of handling money is breaking down. The unrelenting pressure of debt and the need for more and more consumerism to fuel the sales tax revenue stream is falling apart. Panhandlers are at the bottom of that food chain. Back when everything was going well, income was up, buying was rampant, sales taxes were high, people had no problem tossing some coin out the window to the folks on the corner. Then the greed driven financial industry, that works in the mostly fictional world of fractional reserve banking, got caught with their outrageous derivative, made up world of money laundering and huge profit taking schemes. The resulting world wide collapse is still causing problems and will for some time to come.
Now folks are really watching their spending, and of course those on the bottom of the pile, like the panhandlers, will pay the price first. Now that people can't "afford" to toss any coins out the window those darn panhandlers are making folks feel guilty, and so the scrutiny begins. "Well they just use the money to get booze", "those people are a menace, starting fights all the time ... lets call the police". More calls equals more jail time (at $150 bucks a day) and the thing spirals until — voila! Let's have a panhandling ordinance! That will make us feel better, and we can hand out tickets and arrest people, and cost ourselves more money than if we just hired someone to drive around and pass out some loose change.
Way to go Spokane! Let's demonize the lower class a little more, maybe the undesirables will move on down the road, go back home or to where they came from or, well, we don't care really as long as they get out of town. And there's your problem: We don't care. Eighty percent of the public just wants their "good life" to continue at whatever cost, and by God we'll use the justice system to make it happen. Good ol' individualism at its best, "these panhandlers are making me feel uncomfortable, unsafe, etc." so lets ordinance them out of existence.
We couldn't possibly think about coming up with some ways to help and support fellow human beings could we? Nah, that's what the churches are supposed to do, as long as they don't do it in my neighborhood.