Fight over feeding the homeless escalatesOrlando is now proposing to restrict “large group feedings” in a much bigger area of the city.
The newly revised ordinance, on the City Council agenda for July 24, also changes the definition of “large group feeding.” The ordinance would require a permit for any “event intended to attract, attracting, or likely to attract 25 or more people, including distributors and servers.” The prior proposal applied to 15 or more people, but did not include distributors and servers.
A group would be limited to two one-time permits per park each year. The city says it has provided for “reasonable, ample, alternative land space” for feeding the homeless by religious and other organizations, but doesn’t say where that space would be.
The ordinance would create the Greater Orlando Park District, encompassing all city parks within two miles of City Hall. And that makes me wonder what else the city might want to regulate in its parks in the name of promoting an “aesthetic atmosphere,” to quote the ordinance.
Orlando Food Not Bombs opposes the ordinance, saying members of the public should not have to ask permission to peaceably use public parks. The group believes the ordinance would infringe on rights of free association, public assembly and free speech. Read more here.
You can read the complete text of the newly revised ordinance here (select 07/24/06 in the left column and scroll down to "Ordinance amending Chapter 18A of the City Code").
See previous posts here, here and here.
Meanwhile in Las Vegas: The city is considering an ordinance that would make providing food or meals to the indigent "for free or for a nominal fee" a misdemeanor.
“If you have a picnic, you're going to need financial statements from people?,” asked Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for the ACLU in Nevada. “It’s OK to feed people as long as they have enough money? That has severe constitutional problems.”
Read more here.