Thursday, August 23, 2007

Las Vegas' ban on feeding homeless
struck down by federal court

Las Vegas has been ordered by a federal court to stop enforcing its ordinance that prohibits people from feeding the homeless in city parks.

But the permanent injunction issued by Judge Robert Jones today allows the city to continue to enforce trespassing laws in parks and to require permits for gatherings of more than 25 people.

The ruling is the latest development in a 14-month-old federal court action that set the ACLU of Nevada and homeless advocates against the city.

Gail Sacco, a plaintiff in the federal court lawsuit, has been cited multiple times for feeding the homeless in city parks. She said she's glad the ordinance has been struck down, but she is concerned that requiring permits for large gatherings will lead to future problems. It's hard to predict how many people will show up when she is at a park, she said.

The food is a way of reaching out to people and establishing trust, and once people are fed, they are open to accepting other forms of aid, such as finding permanent housing and jobs, she said.

Read the Los Angeles Times report here.

Update: Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith comments on the court ruling. "On the growing list of constitutional transgressions dreamed up by local government in recent years," he writes, "none pegged the insanity meter like the city of Las Vegas ordinance that bans citizens handing out food in a park to a person who appears indigent." Read more here.


At 2:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It all depends on why you are homeless...BUT everyone has to eat...Do they chose not to eat because they are doing drugs? Do they not eat because there IS nothing affordable TO eat? Is it difficult to get to the places where free food is served?

OR do these people just prefer to BE HOMELESS and HUNGRY, AND WANT A HANDOUT?

Probably none of the above....but social circumstances prevail, and a lot more than being homeless contributes to why these people STAY HOMELESS AND HUNGRY! Oh, yeah, they have a couple of places where they can take a shower and get blankets to stay warm, but the minute they put anything down they have managed so salvage and carry around with them, someone else always wants or needs it more than they it gets lifted! But, where are the funds so that they can WASH THEIR CLOTHES and STAY CLEAN and store their things temporarily in a locker while they shower and sleep?

Nope, just let them loose all of their pride, feed them, but don't let them wash their clothes or have a place to go to the bathroom -- and on top of that ARREST THEM for indecent exposure because they had to pull their pants down to pee in public, or open their fly, or sleeping on Main Street -- in the MAIN STREET CONDOS! AND WITHOUT A BREEZE IN THE SUMMER, TRUST ME, THERE IS NO AIR CONDITIONING OR AIR PURIFIERS RUNNING TO CLEAR THE AIR....HAVE TO LIVE IN SQUALLER they themselves had no other choice BUT to create.

So, maybe they were up all night, trying to hustle up some money to do their laundry, or buy some of the things that are essential, like....SOAP, combs, sunscreen, toilet paper, sanitary goods, or whatever it takes, depending on the season. Where are they putting any food they CAN BUY WITH THEIR FOOD STAMPS? OH yeah, forgot, they can only buy food they can consume right now...forget the bargains at the grocery store,or fresh fruit or vegi's, just try to make the money stretch on fast food that has to be eaten cold or right out the the can...right away.....with mostly NO NOURISHMENT VALUE....I think they call it EMPTY CALORIES!

OH YEAH, and let's not forget that some of these people were actually in treatment for some kind of mental health disorder...but because the State cut the funding, they are now out there without their medications, or the structure they need to succeed, and no where to turn but to HAND OUTS...SO DEFINATELY, LETS NOT LET THEM CONGREGATE WHERE ANYONE CAN SEE THERE ARE MORE THAN A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE WHO CAN'T SURVIVE THE CURRENT ECONOMY, no less the place they have managed to get themselves, with very little hope of crawling out!

Okay, so let's propose something even CRUELER....Why don't we just provide them what they really need to survive, BUT, instead of building them SHELTERS NEAR ALL OF THOSE THINGS THAT ARE NOT GOOD FOR THEM LIKE GAMBLING, BOOZE, ILLEGAL DRUGS, PROSTITUTION, and WHATEVER...Let's put them in a place where they would be clothed, housed and fed, and wouldn't need public transporation because ALL THE STATE FACILITATORS WOULD BE RIGHT THERE TO RESPOND TO THEIR NEEDS and ISSUES, give them a chance to WORK IT OUT....WORK being the optimum word here....Perhaps farming and learning a worthwhile trade, so they can afford to move someday...Oh I guess that would be called a COMMUNE....Provide them with ONLY THE OPPORTUNITIES THEY NEED TO SUCCEED instead of the TOOLS THEY NEED TO USE THEIR RESOURCEFULNESS for everything OTHER than SUCCEEDING...

Does anyone understand what I am getting at here?




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