cphite wrote:Second, the reason he was cited was not simply that he was "giving food to the homeless" - it was that he was breaking the law by doing it in a public park, which creates public safety and sanitation issues.
Yes, we're all aware that he broke the law by feeding the homeless in a zone clearly marked 'NO FEEDING THE HOMELESS'. The contention is that this law is stupid, and that any public safety and sanitation hazard such an activity creates can easily be addressed *without* making it illegal to feed hungry people wherever you damn well find them.
Okay, then by all means please explain in detail your easy way of addressing the problem of sanitation and safety for dozens of people "wherever you damn well find them"; including how you plan to pay for it. After all, it's easy, right? Surely you'll have no problem putting a detailed plan into a paragraph or two...
cphite wrote:One fact that is notably absent from most of the reporting is that the City of Fort Lauderdale has actually offered his charity a place with proper facilities in which to feed people - and he and his group refuse to respond to the offer. But I guess "90 Year Old Veteran Refuses to Use Free Facilties, Insists on Using Park Instead" wouldn't be nearly as gripping a headline.
You do realize he broke the law on purpose, right? Because he thinks it's a stupid law. This is how you get stupid laws changed: By challenging them.
Yeah, I realize that... I also realize that there are actually valid reasons for not wanting people to set up food distribution centers in public parks. There are the obvious issues that arise from dozens of people eating and drinking without adequate restroom facilities. There are the public health concerns of people distributing food that may or may not be prepared properly according to standard health regulations. There is often violence and theft that occurs due to the influx of people looking for limited resources, including sleeping areas. These laws don't just get passed arbitrarily by evil tycoons sitting around in smoke-filled chambers, cackling over cigars and scotch; they get passed because local business owners and home owners and apartment residents grow weary of being mugged, robbed, and/or assaulted; and of seeing people shit in public.
This is one of the reasons cities build homeless shelters and soup kitchens; because it allows them to actually accommodate people in a safe and healthy manner. There is always more that can be done, obviously. But it makes far more sense to do it in a way that's actually responsible.
This guy could feed more people, in a manner that is safer and more hygienic for both the people he is feeding and the surrounding community, by working with the local government; but he refuses to even consider it. At some point, one is forced to wonder if attracting attention hasn't become the main focus of his activities.