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Nov 27 2012

Busted

Hey, those Florida Humanists feeding the homeless? There are parts of Florida that frown on that kind of thing. And by “frown on” I mean “criminalize.” Orlando for example.

Over the past week, twelve members of food activist group Food Not Bombs have been arrested in Orlando for giving free food to groups of homeless people in a downtown park. They were acting in defiance of a controversial city ordinance that mandates permits for groups distributing food to large groups in parks within two miles of City Hall. Each group is allowed only two permits per park per year; Food Not Bombs has already exceeded their limit. They set up their meatless buffet in Lake Eola knowing that they would likely be arrested as a result.

Goddam class warriors.

24 comments

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  1. 1
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    How dare you be charitable?!

  2. 2
    Acolyte of Sagan

    Sheeeite! Over here, you’re not allowed to feed the pigeons in many towns and cities, but that’s because they’re seen as vermin, and feeding only them attracts more.
    What does this say about how Orlando (the city, not Bloom) views the homeless?

  3. 3
    michaeld

    Uh huh…. Does anyone know the rational for this law?

  4. 4
    Raging Bee

    michaeld: one rationale might be that distributing free food in a public park would attract large numbers of people, so the park would be crowded to a point where others would be unable to make use of it. Not sure how plausible that is, I’d have to see the location. Of course, the local government could simply licence organizations to distribute food somewhere else…like maybe a shelter or soup kitchen?

  5. 5
    Acolyte of Sagan

    #3; As I’ve hinted at above, it appears that Orlando (the city, etc.) see the homeless as vermin. By this rationale, they’re assuming that, just as with real vermin (rats, pigeons, etc.), if the food source is removed, the vermin moves on. Feed the vermin though, and word soon gets around; before you know where you are you can’t move for ‘em.

  6. 6
    AsqJames

    permits for groups distributing food to large groups in parks within two miles of City Hall

    Presumably feeding large groups in parks is fine as long as it’s done far enough away so legislators don’t have to see it? I wonder what upsets them more, the sight of homeless people or that of people being charitable.

  7. 7
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    Are there free meals for legislators in City Hall?

  8. 8
    EllenBeth Wachs

    Yes, well, you aren’t even allowed to be homeless in Lakeland, the city I live in. They will arrest you for that!

    http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/region_polk/lakeland/city-of-lakeland-approves-anti-camping-ordinance

  9. 9
    Kevin K

    Well, if they arrest you for being homeless, then you’re not homeless anymore…are you?

  10. 10
    hyperdeath

    michaeld says:

    Uh huh… Does anyone know the rational for this law?

    Preventing help being given to homeless people is the rationale behind the law.

  11. 11
    elpayaso

    hmmmm….given how much Orlando depends on tourism, here are some folks who might want to hear from you on why you won’t be spending your tourist $ in Orlando:

    http://www.visitorlando.com/

    http://www.cityoforlando.net/contact.htm

    and i figure it never hurts if they get some pressure from Da Rat: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/contact/

  12. 12
    EllenBeth Wachs

    Well, if they arrest you for being homeless, then you’re not homeless anymore…are you?

    While you may find this a laughing matter, I assure you, it is not to those that are cited under this law. People accused of violating the ordinance would get a summons to appear in court and face a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and 60 days in jail. Pretty fucking harsh for being homeless. Then when you can’t pay the fine, you are thrown in jail for failure to pay.

    Furthermore, Polk County has book-in fees of $40.00 and daily rates for inmates. They confiscate this amount from your belongings when you are booked if you have it. If you don’t, they bill you and if you don’t pay, they will arrest you. This is a business.

  13. 13
    Ophelia Benson

    Oh my god. Seriously?

    It really is like the black codes.

  14. 14
    Eamon Knight

    ….but heaven forbid that anyone or anything insufficiently Christian ever sully Polk County by its presence.

    I assume they only sell a special edition of the Bible there — you know, with all the passages about feeding the poor and freeing the captives and justice for the oppressed, left out? There was this chap called Jesus (or at least legends of such) who used to talk about that….

  15. 15
    EllenBeth Wachs

    Oh, and by the way, men have to buy their own underwear in Polk County.

    http://jonathanturley.org/2011/07/16/florida-sheriff-no-underwear-and-no-dignity-for-you/

  16. 16
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Uh huh…. Does anyone know the rational for this law?

    Acolyte of Sagan nailed it in the post above yours.

  17. 17
    Tracey

    Right-wing politicians have come right out and compared the poor to animals. One of them had a heart-warming story about his grandmother (or some such) who taught him “don’t feed the stray animals; they just breed”. The meaning was clear.

  18. 18
    LykeX

    @12

    Wait, do I understand you correctly; they charge you money for being put in jail?

  19. 19
    Ophelia Benson

    Oh yes. That’s not uncommon.

  20. 20
    Eamon Knight

    Well then, let’s just bring back debtor’s prison, shall we? And while we’re at it: indentured servitude, public stocks, maybe even with whippings and letting the crowd throw garbage at the offender — all the wondrous features of 17th Century justice.

  21. 21
    LykeX

    But that means, if you’re poor, you could end up in jail indefinitely over a minor fine. Each time you can’t pay the fee, you end up in jail again, with a new fee you can’t pay.

    Please tell me there’s some way out of that loop, ‘cos it sounds completely insane to me.

  22. 22
    Martha

    I don’t know which is worse, the law against feeding the needy or the fee scheme for time in jail. Is the fee scheme a result of privatization? Or just one more way to cut the taxes for the wealthy while the poor are soaked into despair?

    Words cannot capture my outrage. :-(

  23. 23
    Richard Smith

    Given the impending season and all…

    “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”

  24. 24
    Sili

    They set up their meatless buffet

    The bastards!

    They deserve all that’ll come to them!

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