Monday, November 24, 2014

Hunger Strikes, Protests Increase As City Retreats

Sharings this week were police-free
for the first time in November.
Dezeray Lyn and Chris Mince of Tampa Food Not Bombs are joining Jillian Pim and Thursday Addams in abstaining from food until Fort Lauderdale's controversial food-sharing ordinance is either repealed or no longer enforced. As of today Jill is on day 23 of hunger strike, and Thursday is on day 12.

The last week  has seen many sharings go completely uninterrupted by police, including Love Thy Neighbor's on Wednesday and Food Not Bombs' on Friday. Both were under  noticeable surveillance but it is unclear if or when anyone  will be ticketed as a result of these illegal food sharings. They come at the same time as the first hearings for food sharing violations and for civil and religious freedom lawsuits reach the courts.

Rogue Park sharing uploaded 11.19.14
City Commissioner Dean Trantalis is even holding a public forum tonight on the crisis. Notably, the narrative being passed by the supporters of the sharing ban is not playing out well in the media.

In the meantime, rogue sharings and protests against supporters of the sharing ban continue, including on Sunday. Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs had its first protest against businesses downtown owned by supporters of the sharing ban. Tim Petrillo, owner of Tarpon Bend, is also the treasurer of the Downtown Development Authority, which has been instrumental in efforts to criminalize and displace homeless people downtown. Tarpon Bend's customers heard all about this relationship yesterday as protesters chanted and handed out literature in front of the Himmarshee restaurant for about an hour Sunday evening during the big football game, whatever that was.

Solidarity efforts continue including what is now a weekly protest in front of the US embassy in  London against homeless hate laws.

After Thanksgiving there will be 2 more big protest/outlaw sharings, the Outlaw Black Friday Really Really Free Market and Mass Action: Stop Criminalizing The Homeless on Saturday. The Free Market will not only be an extra-sized sharing for goods like clothes, blankets, and toiletries, but  it's a great time to share Thanksgiving leftovers!

Tarpon Bend protest 11.23.14 c/o Invisible People FTL
30 days of enforcement is coming soon...Christmas is Still Canceled.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

1st Commissioner Relents, Homeless Man Arrested At City Hall

Just as the City Commission was about to begin today, Bob Norman broke the news that City Commissioner Dean Trantalis now supports a moratorium on the sharing ban. He had initially voted against the ban, but solely because he felt it would negatively affect the residents of Flagler Village.

This is far and away the largest break from the flock of sharing ban supporters and a major victory. He is the only City Commissioner to even publicly consider such an idea. Today his office also announced a special townhall on this very issue scheduled for next  Monday evening.

Ray Cox
Tonight before the City could even proclaim this a week of "Homeless and Hunger Awareness," they led homeless man and frequent Commission nuisance-monger Ray Cox out and  arrested him. He was arrested for missing a court date, a frequent reason for poor and disenfranchised people to be unnecessarily jailed across the nation. This makes him the 11th homeless advocate to be  arrested for his opposition to the sharing ban since enforcement again.

This is a late-breaking story. Expect news  coverage on Channel 10 and 7 in South Florida at the very least, and more from us soon.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Editorial & Week 3 Updates

This post is a bit of a change of pace from the others. It is long because it is extremely important.

This is the admin, Nathan Pim. I have been chronicling the  experience of "Resisting Fort Lauderdale's Homeless Hate Laws" on this blog alongside Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs. The events of the past few weeks has been an amazing validation of the importance of fighting the criminalization of homelessness. Countless warnings of a time of reckoning for the City are now becoming fulfilled. Where once I wrote on this blog about the history of homelessness  in Stranahan Park as a matter of posterity, the Sun Sentinel's own recent chronicle demonstrates that this is now a matter of major public interest.

After posting a nauseating editorial from the  Mayor last week, Sun Sentinel doubled down yesterday with an Editorial Board letter that seemed to  almost beg the City to start acting like they care before sharing ban detractors actually get what they want. It seems the big, powerful folk aren't too happy that we have a voice now, too. Here's an editorial toast to making it last.

We Are Just Getting Started In The Streets, The Courts, Everywhere.

Citation on Friday
Food Not Bombs' Friday sharing was not interfered with, but 3 more tickets were issued afterwards. More significantly, 3 local networks broadcast this occurrence live on their 6 pm broadcasts, continuing a 12 day trend of non-stop media attention on those that share food  with the homeless. More and more supporters also appeared from an unusual variety of backgrounds. For those still going out sharing, it seems as if they are further away than ever from being shut down. If anything the opposite is becoming true.

The crisis looks to be  headed  into court...but also into a tourist-packed holiday season quickly followed by Fort Lauderdale's City elections. The resistance to  discrimination against the homeless is becoming one of the greatest challenges to authority seen in South Florida in years. We now live in a time of unprecedented opportunity to advance the cause of the disenfranchised of Fort Lauderdale.

Sharings Downtown Don't Just Need To Be Defended, But Expanded.

It is important to understand the complex reality of the food sharings in downtown.  For instance, while there is a massive  upsurge in  public support for these sharings,  there are actually only a handful of groups or individuals defying this law. Besides those that have been "caught sharing" by the FLPD, some groups, such as The Peanut Butter & Jelly Project, have continued to share so far without being ticketed.  Another regular sharing group, Project Downtown Fort Lauderdale, has been circumventing the sharing ban by moving to a church parking lot. Love Thy Neighbor's beach sharings became a rockstar civil disobedience spectacle last Wednesday, backed by a lawsuit...but their downtown sharing was held on private property Sunday for a 3rd week. A number of other "car sharings" have gone on to varying degrees of success.

More and more groups are announcing sharings over the coming weeks to resist this law, but the food supply downtown at the moment seems to be somewhat diminished. Unfortunately the constant pressure of inequality in South Florida, if anything, demands an increase in these social services.

Homeless Hate Laws Are A Smokescreen For Institutionalized Class Oppression.

Downtown demolition for AAF
Also significant is that, while the sharing ban is almost certain to go down in flames, the plans to displace the disenfranchised downtown are going to move ahead regardless. The construction work for the developments surrounding "All Aboard Florida" is just beginning. For  those that are not  aware, this privately-funded commuter train station for downtown Fort Lauderdale is going to be built right on top of the area where the vast majority of chronically homeless people live in this area. The City has been slowly rolling up the disused parking lot spaces in this area for years, but this trend is quickly accelerating alongside the passage of these hate  laws. Condos and boutique stores will soon follow. Nowhere in this multi-million dollar development is there any mention of what will happen to the destitute people who already live there.

Park intimidation tactics circa 2011
Regardless of which sharings are moved where, or what legal challenges are moving ahead in the coming months, the root problem of this crisis is class discrimination and oppression. Fort Lauderdale courts and police have colluded for years to completely strip the rights of homeless people away and treat them with total impunity. In the past few weeks, public outcry over this inequality has gained momentum to the point that there is a real chance to change the status  quo in Fort Lauderdale. It is more urgent than ever to demand progressive solutions to disenfranchised people in downtown, and not to wait to see how Salvation Army, the  Broward Outreach Center, etc. are going to put another band-aid on a crisis they are themselves perpetuating.

Regardless of the rationale behind your support of the campaign to stop the sharing ban and resist homeless hate laws, we all have to stay united to completely change the institutions that truly perpetuate homelessness here and throughout the nation.

Even more so than the Mayor are police harassment, ineffective social services, ultra-rich/corporate interests,  austerity politics, and government misrule the real Homeless Hate Regime.

"Sign On To Resist" and "Learn About the Ordinances" are now completely updated. Most importantly there is a NEW MASTER CONTACT LIST for supporters of the Hate Laws. Please let people know there are far more people out there responsible for supporting these laws than Mayor Magic Jack. Call them, write them, send them a hunger strike video, and we'll have plenty more news about ways to get involved throughout the week...Resist Homeless Hate Laws.

Finally, thank you to everyone around the world for supporting my wife's hunger strike. Please check out these 2 new videos about this effort. Today is day 15 for my dear wife, and day 4 for Thursday.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

2nd Hunger Striker Announced, 3 Cited at FNB

Sharing ban hunger striker Jillian Pim spent most of her 13th day of strike at City Hall, but no one from the City spoke to her. With a few notable exceptions she has also been disregarded by the mainstream media. Despite this, hundreds of people participated in a solidarity fast against the sharing ban on Friday.

One hunger fast participant has decided to extend his fast and join Jill's strike. Thursday Addams of Lake Worth is now on day 2 of his hunger strike, with the same demand that enforcement of this law be stopped.

Food Not Bombs Cited But Not Disrupted

Police allowed Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs to share food and congregate in Stranahan Park until sundown on Friday. After the sharing was over the FLPD held up 3 sharers and ticketed them, although one individual refused to take the ticket. This makes 2 food sharing tickets for FNB volunteer Nik Rye. Although the police strenuously avoided arresting anyone there were some other curiosities such as a low hovering helicopter above the gazebo. A relatively full video of the sharing can be found here. This makes 6 sharing ban violations at FNB sharings so far.

Much like Wednesday's Love Thy Neighbor sharing, this incident was voraciously devoured by the press, occupying the top 6 o'clock news spot on WSVN, NBC, and Local 10.

Meanwhile, at the City Commission

The agenda for  the City of Fort Lauderdale's meeting next Tuesday lists the following presentation:


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sharing Ban Is An Ongoing Nightmare for City of Fort Lauderdale

Media on the local, national, international, and social levels have not  let up in their criticism of the City of Fort Lauderdale. See today's New York Times, local coverage on Jillian's hunger  strike, etc. 

Mid-Week Recap
Aaron Jackson's sharing
Aaron Jackson of Planting Peace shared pizzas in front of City Hall Tuesday and was ticketed a second time. 

On Wednesday, The Homeless Voice put on a big demo in front of the Mayor's house, and Love Thy Neighbor did their weekly beach sharing, where Arnold Abbott picked up his 3rd sharing citation. Both events were swarmed by press and Arnold at this point seems to have a steadily growing popular following online and at his sharings. Both Aaron's and Arnold's sharings were allowed to finish sharing even after being ticketed.

It was also announced that the Mayor had offered LTN the Beach's aquatics complex to move sharings  indoors, soon followed by a counter-announcement from LTN that they have filed a lawsuit to protect their sharings based on the rulings of their 2000 City lawsuit, and would therefore will not be moving indoors. Arnold's filing, which  hopes to stop enforcement of the sharing ban on the beach, is soon to be followed by Pastor Mark  Sims' filing, which may stop enforcement  of the sharing ban entirely. Both cases could be tied up in court for months or years and cost the City untold sums in legal costs and possible damages, and there  may be  more coming in the future.
"Celebrity Chef" Arnold on Wednesday with Anonymous 
These legal developments represent the most significant, immediate chance to stop the sharing ban,  now. However there is still the possibility of convincing the backers of the "Homeless Hate Laws" to turn back, which brought Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs and some supporters to the Downtown Development Authority's Monthly Board Meeting Thursday morning.

Despite already having prior clarification that this was a public meeting, the FLPD immediately held up everyone at the entrance to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Eventually they agreed that it was a public meeting and allowed people to enter. Inside,the Board decided to offer a resolution in support of the City's "homeless solutions" and allowed public discussion. Comments from the board were occasionally quite  bizarre, including a suggestion to "buy newspaper space" to make their side of the story heard. Despite many Board members using words like "empathy", yet another board member attempted to equate the nuisance of wealthy developers finding homeless people in their buildings to going hungry on the streets.
Food Not Bombs attends "public" DDA meeting
When Haylee Becker of Food Not Bombs stated a cold, hard fact: that the FLPD systemically targets homeless people downtown for displacement, the Board immediately ended public comment and voted unanimously in support of the resolution. Shortly thereafter, 6  or 7 FLPD officers escorted the activists out and down to the street, at one point accusing them of stealing coffee cups from the building. Food Not Bombs and  the Downtown Development Authority seem to be having quite the winter-spring romance. 

Hunger Fast & Over The Weekend

Tomorrow is Jillian Pim's 13th day of hunger  strike, and an international day of solidarity fasting.  Jillian will be at City Hall from 10 am to 4 pm to talk to the City and anyone else who is listening to stop these laws. If you still wish to participate in the hunger fast we are asking for everyone to post pictures on social media hashtag #resisthomelesshatelaws. 

Jill will then join Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs for their 3rd outlaw sharing. Last week 2 volunteers  were jailed and the  sharing was shut down.  Hopefully that is not the case this week as the FLPD are perfectly well aware of Jill's hunger  strike  and  the ongoing hate-storm descending on the City because of their enforcement of these laws.

At this time it is unknown where Love  Thy Neighbor is sharing on Sunday, we will post updates when we find out. However  it should be noted that the Women's Club of Fort Lauderdale is having an unbelievably ill-timed fancy beer tasting in Stranahan Park at the same time as LTN's  usual sharing Sunday. Their sponsor, Riverside  Market, also recently called the cops claiming that Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs was  harassing them and recently stated that "We still love our city, support our community and will always be the Official Craft Beer Hangout of Fort Lauderdale. We don't support anarchists, terrorists, radicals or extremists." The Women's Club is another of the most prominent supporters of the criminalization of homelessness. 

Supporters of the sharing ban are quickly becoming known for their subtlety and honesty.

That is all for now.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sharing Ban Week 2: Solidarity Hunger Fast & More

Fort Lauderdale's sharing ban has become an international disgrace, and the public's response to these terrible laws is growing week by week. Welcome to week 2!

Weekend Recap

Love Thy Neighbor escaped the bad weather and any ticketing by sharing inside the 5th Avenue Church of God Sunday. However, Homeless Voice & Planting Peace volunteers were ticketed for sharing pizzas in front of City Hall Monday night and claim to be doing the same again tomorrow.

This Week
The Homeless Voice will be protesting the Mayor's house at 10 am on Wednesday. Love Thy Neighbor is also doing their rogue beach sharing in front of the Bahia Mar hotel Wednesday at 5:30.  Anonymous is also protesting in support at the same location.

On Thursday, Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs will be attending the Downtown Development Authority's monthly board meeting. FNB is continuing to pressure this entity and others to drop their support of the Homeless Hate Laws.

24 Hour Hunger Fast to Resist Homeless Hate Laws

A huge online solidarity action for hunger striker Jillian Pim is planned for this Friday, 11.14. Jillian will be sitting outside City Hall from 10 am - 4 pm Friday, the 13th day of her strike, for an all day press conference. Hundreds of people have pledged to go on a 24 hour hunger fast in solidarity and will be posting selfies describing why they are doing this under  the hashtag #resisthomelesshatelaws. Jillian pledges to continue her strike until enforcement of this law is stopped or the law is overturned. Afterwards, Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs will be defying the sharing ban for the 3rd week Friday afternoon at 4:30 at Stranahan Park.

Please attend and support this effort and also continue to spread the word of the hunger strike.

Sharing ban resistance, solidarity actions and protests by other groups are piling up by the day. We will try to post info on as many of them as possible as they are coming up. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Food Not Bombs Shut Down on Friday

While most attention remains on Arnold Abbott (who despite many news items to the contrary, was not physically arrested either Sunday or Wednesday), the sharing ban finally came for Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs Friday. Although the police were waiting as volunteers set up the sharing, they actually left for about an hour and re-appeared after about 3/4's of the food had been shared. 2 volunteers were handcuffed and taken to jail for refusing to stop sharing, and another was given a "notice to appear" ticket much like those given out in the past week. They are the first to be  physically detained and arrested under the Fort Lauderdale sharing ban, despite any misinformed news stories or blogs where you may have heard otherwise.

Damien, Nikki, & Jimmy shortly before arrests
Nik Rye and Damien Gabriel of Food Not Bombs have already gotten some pretty deep treatment from Channel 10's Bob Norman, with more to come. Jimmy Dunson, a long-time Food Not Bombs volunteer, has been arrested for illegally sharing food with the homeless in Tampa, Orlando, and now Fort Lauderdale, which needless to say is a bit unique. All were free by 11 pm without posting bail.

This marks the first time that this writer, at least, can really remember that the police forcibly shut down a Food Not Bombs chapter's sharing anywhere in South Florida. If anything, the FLPD's and Park Ranger's empty threats and bluffs over the years to shut down these sharings had become a running joke a long time ago.

The  bad press is sure to keep rolling for the City of Fort Lauderdale, and these videos below surely deserve to go as viral as the one from last Sunday. Please share them with press outlets and independent media sources.

 Jillian Pim's hunger strike is now on day 6. Please also spread this video:

Project Downtown shares at 1 pm today. We wish them luck.