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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Cops arrest charity workers for illegally feeding homeless (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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panlives
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Orlando police say they violated a city ordinance restricting the feedings.

Here's the whole story...

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/loca......62.story
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MobilityBundle
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I don't see the outrage. Here are the choices:

1. Don't regulate "group feedings" at all. I.e., don't require permits, etc.

That can lead to chaos. For example, if a space can accommodate only a certain number of people, there would be no way to ensure that no more people show up. Beyond mere accidents, it can lead to more targeted chaos. For example, if you're having an event for your cause, and I disagree with your cause, maybe I'll have a competing event for my cause at the exact same time and place. Not good.

2. Okay, so we need permits. But surely not for good deeds!

Great. What's a good deed? If feeding homeless people counts as a good deed, what about feeding the elderly? Or what about feeding the children? Or what about a group feeding in affirmation of Christ? But wait... if good ole' fashioned Christian values are worth exempting, isn't it unfair to exempt Satanists? You get the point... the line is tough to draw.

They DO have exceptions, to be sure. Those exceptions are pretty bright, easily drawn lines. "The ordinance applies to feedings of more than 25 people." If you have 26 people, you need a permit. Easy, unambiguous, workable.

So there's an alternative... just don't have these big events. If you want to feed the homeless, great. That's an admirable thing to do. But do it on a 1 on 1 basis (or a 1 on 1-25 basis), or do it on private property.

---

Separately, a line from the article is worth noting:

"'They basically carted them off to jail for feeding hungry people,' said Coleman [, a spokesman for Orlando Food Not Bombs], who was not present. 'For them to regulate a time and place for free speech and to share food, that is unacceptable.'"

Two things:

1. "They" are not regulating a time and place for free speech. There is absolutely nothing in the ordinance saying people can't get together and engage in speech. Not sure why Mr. Coleman included the speech barb.

2. It's been held over and over that, even to the extent permits limit free speech and assembly, that they're not per se unconstitutional. For all the reasons I gave above, if not more. Without permitting, things can get out of hand.
gdw
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Chaos, right, because that's what's happening in every other city that doesn't have similar ordinances. Oh, wait, no it's not.
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MobilityBundle
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Certainly not, gdw. It would be overstating things to say that a lack of regulation would inevitably lead to chaos in every community is definitely going to far. It depends on the community.

In Orlando, the people who know *that* community best decided to make a regulation. I don't know why. Maybe there was chaos in the past. Or maybe because those greedy fat cats down town want permit fees. Or maybe something else, who knows.

And the regulation might even be stupid. The thing to do in that case is not to unilaterally ignore the regulation and get all ****y when the consequences happen. Rather, the thing to do is take political action and get the regulation changed. If enough people agree with you that the regulation is stupid, then you'll succeed. If not, welcome to democracy.
RS1963
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One point that people miss when this happens is this. The people feeding the homeless haven't been inspected by the County health dept. It isn't known if proper cooking procedures are being followed etc... It's a matter of public health more than anything.

Not that the food servers are going to knowingly feed food that isn't fully cooked or contaminated but it can happen more often without any inspections or supervision done by the county/stat/city Health depts inspecting them.
Pakar Ilusi
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If they called it a party with a buffet can they let more than 25 people eat for free?
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
gdw
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Quote:
On 2011-06-18 07:43, Pakar Ilusi wrote:
If they called it a party with a buffet can they let more than 25 people eat for free?


Actually, I had wondered if they would enforce this bull **** on a birthday party of kids being fed in the park.
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Pakar Ilusi
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Quote:
On 2011-06-18 08:03, gdw wrote:
Quote:
On 2011-06-18 07:43, Pakar Ilusi wrote:
If they called it a party with a buffet can they let more than 25 people eat for free?


Actually, I had wondered if they would enforce this bull **** on a birthday party of kids being fed in the park.


So that's the loophole?

Call it a Party with a free food?

Strange thinking here if it is all just in the semantics of what is happening...
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
gdw
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I don't know. I imagine if one tried to have a big party, they would tell them they needed a permit, but I doubt they would do so for a kids bday party. Not that there's a difference.
Then again, they have been going after lemonade stands.
"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I won't forget you Robert.
critter
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The article says that the ordinance applies specifically to group feedings at public parks. I wonder what the specific language is regarding family bar-b-ques and such.
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gdw
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Didn't this start with bans on feeding homeless near the court house? Gotta keep that area clean, can't let it look like people are out of work.
"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I won't forget you Robert.
critter
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The Food Not Bombs controversies go back a little further than the recession if I remember correctly.
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gdw
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Quote:
On 2011-06-18 12:58, critter wrote:
The Food Not Bombs controversies go back a little further than the recession if I remember correctly.


I wasn't specifically referring to the recession, but rather the use of these laws to try and make the homeless, etc, less apparent.
"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I won't forget you Robert.
MobilityBundle
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I haven't looked, but I bet there's a definition of "group feeding" that exempts family gatherings.
gdw
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Quote:
On 2011-06-18 15:13, MobilityBundle wrote:
I haven't looked, but I bet there's a definition of "group feeding" that exempts family gatherings.


Ah, so just discrimination against charitable food based gathering.
"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I won't forget you Robert.
critter
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I am of ten minds on this. On the one hand, I think it's noble for food not bombs to want to actively help people to eat. On the other hand, I can see why the local authorities would want some say in how large public events are organized. There are risks from a health standpoint, the police have to be aware of the event in case of riots, etc.
I don't dig the two permit limit though. I can't see why they would do that. Security costs maybe?
No idea. Charge extra for the permit if that's the issue.
I can't make up my mind on this one.
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thorndyke
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The soup kitchen I worked at was a restaurant that was set up by regulation to seat only so many people and had to have a food handling certificate (which the owner did) and was regularly inspected and always passed the exam. The washroom had to pass a similar exam (and always did), everyone that worked there were volunteers, some of whom worked for food distribution companies and regularly helped get food supplies which made it possible to feed a lot of people. The owner had a system, so many in and stop, when people left she would let a similar number of people waiting outside to come in. It took us about three and a half hours to feed all the people who showed up, and she always kept the number of people allowed in as the max. Very rarely did anyone complain about having to wait. If the local government is getting uptight it probably boils down to legal issues of liability - easier if they deny anyone a chance to open a soup kitchen.
MobilityBundle
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Thorndyke, the event in question wasn't a soup kitchen. It was an event in a public park. The soup kitchen you worked at was different because, among other things, it was (I presume) private property.

Gdw, not "discrimination against charitable food based gathering." A discrimination against group feedings, possibly with the exception of family (that I was entirely presuming). There are purposes besides charity and family gatherings. For example, the regulation also covers a local business doing a group feeding to promote a new product or cause.

And, to be sure, even if the regulations were monumentally unfair, one has to scratch their heads at the Food not Bombs folks. However unfair, the regualtions sure were clear. Rather than find an alternative (of which there are many) to carry out their admirable mission of feeding the homeless, they decided to charge head-long against the regulation.
gdw
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And the did it against the back drop of a statue memorizing Gandhi.

They are consciously choosing civil disobedience for a reason. Unlike "using the ballot box," there's much more of a chance of accomplishing something.
"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I won't forget you Robert.
critter
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If getting arrested is an accomplishment. Well, I guess it would be for a sociopath. Not my bag though.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
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