Perpetual Panhandler Runs for Office

Formerly homeless man announces candidacy for Palo Alto City Council -- again

By Caitlin Matalone
|  Wednesday, Jul 15, 2009  |  Updated 12:48 PM PDT
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Perpetual Panhandler Runs for Office

Getty Images / Dean Purcell

A "sit-lie" law in Palo Alto prevents people from loitering downtown.

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Victor Frost is asking for your spare change -- and your vote.

The well-known Palo Alto, Calif., panhandler has been cleared to launch his sixth consecutive run for council in that city this week.

Though he's only been on the ballot since Monday, the campaign trail has already hit a few bumps in the road.

Voter rolls list Frost's registered address as Telephone Pole No. 1139 on Page Mill Road near Park Boulevard, which, according to city officials, is a valid address.

But the Palo Alto Daily News reports Frost is no longer homeless. He recently moved into a fully subsidized apartment in Redwood City courtesy of the nonprofit InnVision.

The catch? According to the city charter, candidates have to live in Palo Alto for at least 30 days prior to the filing date.

But the city charter is no match for this persistent candidate.

Frost told the Daily News last week that he'll adhere to the residency rules by sleeping in his car within city limits during his campaign.

Beyond skirting residency rules, Frost's run at City Council allows him to duck another citywide rule -- a "sit-lie" ordinance that bans loitering in the downtown district.

While his name is on the ballot, Frost's panhandling is technically considered a "mobile campaign headquarters." The city says he can legally do that due to free speech laws.

Frost tells the paper he'll set up shop this week outside the Whole Foods on Emerson Avenue with two coin cups -- one for food donations and the other for campaign contributions.

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