Herndon Revisits Street Solicitation Ban

Ban took effect in July

By Julie Carey
|  Tuesday, Jan 4, 2011  |  Updated 7:45 PM EDT
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There's growing pressure for the newly-elected town council in Herndon, Va., to strike down an anti-solicitation ordinance.

Julie Carey

There's growing pressure for the newly-elected town council in Herndon, Va., to strike down an anti-solicitation ordinance.

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Opponents of an anti-solicitation law are pressuring to the Herndon, Va., Town Council to overturn it. The threat of a lawsuit has new council members reconsidering the ban.

The law, which took effect July 1, prohibits pedestrians from gesturing to or offering services to drivers traveling on any public street where parking is prohibited. Supporters of the law call it a public safety measure.

Resident Bill Campenni said the ban does address a real problem of solicitors spilling into the street. Among the ban's supporters is Mayor Steve DeBenedittis, who was elected four years ago on a promise to crack down on day laborers and illegal immigrants.

Immigrant rights activists call the ban discriminatory and unconstitutional, and they are threatening to sue.

Outside the Town Council building, a group of activists and residents demanded the law be rescinded. One resident, Nancy Ramirez, said she feels uneasy going out since the law took effect.

Some council members elected after the council approved the ban expressed discomfort with it. They’ll meet behind closed doors tonight with the town attorney to hear about their options.

If the council decides to change the law, that can't happen until later this month at a public meeting.

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