“Members of Orlando Food Not Bombs were arrested Wednesday when police said they violated a city ordinance by feeding the homeless” in some city park.
It seems that the enlightened municipality of Orlando recently passed an ordinance that requires a permit to serve food to the homeless if there’s more than 25 of said homeless, and any given group with the temerity to encourage homelessness is limited to two permits per year per park. This city law made it as far as the 11th Circuit, who unsurprisingly supported the constitutionality of the law. While I’m no expert, I could see such a law easily passing constitutional muster (especially in the 11th Circuit), but that’s not the point. It’s a ludicrous law.
I’d be interested to hear the public statements regarding the need for this law, and more revealing, the private motivations. The latter are pretty easy to imagine: feeding the homeless en mass creates an incentive for these citizens to congregate and remain in the area, and that’s bad for business. Or something. (Or maybe the fine city of Orlando is just vindictive.) Publicly, I’d guess the arguments went along the lines of requiring assurances of public safety and sanitation. But why limit the permits per group to two per year? The city doesn’t have the money to allow a volunteer organization serving donated food to do so more than twice per year?
At least the cops, demonstrating some PR savvy, “waited until everyone was served to make the arrests, said Douglas Coleman, speaking for Orlando Food Not Bombs.”
Is this ordinance anomalous, or are there other examples of the same throughout the US?
h/t Victoria Shineman