Monday, June 19, 2006

Do free meals fuel trouble
in downtown Orlando?

The group Food Not Bombs, which has been feeding homeless people at Lake Eola Park downtown (about four blocks from my house), is protesting outside Orlando City Hall today as the City Council deliberates a proposed ordinance that would limit group feedings.

The proposed ordinance is urged by some downtown residents and business owners who say that the homeless sometimes take over the park, as well as aggressively panhandle passers-by and bring more crime downtown. The ordinance would prohibit distribution or service of food at a large group feeding without a permit issued by the city and would limit groups to two permits per year in the same park.

If the ordinance is passed today, it must go before the City Council again
-- probably in early July -- for a second vote before it can take effect.

Read the Orlando Sentinel report here. And check out an e-mail from a city commissioner's aide to business owners near the park.


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