Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fort Myers' homeless ordinance
draws opposition


"You can feed 25 squirrels; you can feed 25 pigeons," Michael Stoops of the National Coalition for the Homeless told the Fort Myers City Council. "But God forbid if you try to feed the homeless."

Photo from the News-Press.



Proposed restrictions on giving away food in Fort Myers' city parks drew some heavy-duty opposition* at a public hearing before the City Council.

Nevertheless, all the council members but one agreed that some form of restriction is needed.

The ordinance would:

• Restrict distribution of donated or complimentary food in city parks
• Require any gathering of 10 or more people in a city park to obtain city approval, fill out a special-event application and comply with other provisions that can include cleanup and security
• Limit each applicant to two permits per year
Orlando's very similar ordinance is under legal attack (filed by yours truly) on constitutional and religious grounds. See previous post here.

Read the Fort Myers News-Press article here.
---------------
* The heavy hitters were Tulin Ozdeger (you go, girl!) of the National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty, Michael Stoops of the National Coalition for the Homeless and Chris Cosden, an attorney who is challenging Sarasota's no-camping ordinance.

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