Thursday, December 18, 2008

Last-minute tiff erupts in West Palm Beach
homeless-feeding settlement

When the West Palm Beach city commission signed off on a lawsuit settlement a few days ago with groups that feed the homeless, all seemed copacetic.

The city would rescind its ordinance that banned downtown meal giveaways. Lawyers for the groups would get $100,000. And the groups would work with the city to find a location that wasn't in the face of downtown residents and restaurants.

But now one of the groups is claiming that the wording the commission voted on was changed from what the groups and city had agreed to. Mayor Lois Frankel counters that the group is quibbling needlessly with an administration that wants to help the homeless.

Barry Silver, attorney for Food Not Bombs, said the settlement the group agreed to, and which received judicial approval, never included a requirement that they work with the city "to find a safe, alternative location that will not negatively impact local businesses and residents, but will also accomplish the groups' missions."

It's not that Food Not Bombs won't work with the city, Silver said, but making that a requirement could give the city an excuse to cancel the agreement and yank the funds if an alternative site can't be found.

Read the Palm Beach Post report here.


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