Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Xmas Sharings, Ray Is Free

Love Thy Neighbor's Wednesday sharing will go on as usual on Christmas Eve  at 5:30 in front of the Bahia Mar hotel in the Beach.

Rebel food sharers including Reverend Mark Sims & Reverend Gail Tapscott will be doing Christmas lunch on Christmas Day at noon at Stranahan Park.

Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs will be hosting its somewhat annual "Non-Consumerist Really, Really Free Market" the day after Christmas at their regular Friday time, 4:30, in Stranahan Park. Bring holiday leftovers, unwanted gifts, and warm clothes for the extra-sized sharing. 

And of course, all these sharings will be quite legal thanks to Monday's court hearing.

The other good holiday news is that Ray Cox was released from jail last week. It will probably not come as a surprise to anyone that his long stay was a typical result of our unjust court system.  With the Judge refusing to lower his bail or release him on his own recognizance, Ray was looking at sitting in jail until February to get a trial date, so he pled no contest and was given time served. 

While injustice still prevails in Fort Lauderjail, it is a bit of a relief to know that no homeless hate law fighters will have to sit in jail through Christmas. If only that could be said of all people whose activities have been criminalized by Fort Lauderdale's Homeless Hate Laws. Cheers everyone.

Monday, December 22, 2014

City Doesn't Want to Enforce Its Stupid, Pointless Laws

After months of insisting on the "rule of law" needing to be enforced, the City had written itself into a Dickensian corner this week. By voting on appealing  the ruling that created the injunction against the sharing ban at last week's Commission meeting, the City was essentially asking the court to re-instate the sharing ban during the very height of the "charitable" holiday season. So at the latest hearing for Chef Arnold's lawsuit against the City, their attorneys made one huge conciliatory step back and proposed a further 45 day amnesty for sharing food in Fort Lauderdale.

While Mayor Magic Jack's heart has probably not grown noticeably, his ability to understand the nuance of selective enforcement seems to have developed somewhat.

It may seem like a common sense public relations move on behalf of the City, but it's also one of the biggest concessions they've made when it comes to the implementation of their anti-homeless laws. Originally proposed in late January 2013, they hit very few snags or delays all year long for most of these ordinances. But now the sharing ban will still be un-enforceable over a year after it was originally pitched.

It also begs the further, obvious question, which is that if the sharing ban is too crass and odious to enforce through Christmas-time, how is the rest of the year any different? It certainly won't be any less fair, nor are homeless people somehow less needy the other 11 months of the year.

Protests against sharing ban continue 12.20.14
Perhaps even more glaring is the farcical way in which the City insists they can reach a compromise on this issue...with Arnold Abbott. Not the other plaintiffs in the lawsuit, nor any of the dozens of other people who are sharing food with the homeless downtown with little regard for City ordinances, or, most of all, the homeless people who need this aid in the first place.

It really goes to show how apathetic, disengaged, and facile the City is that, after all these months, they continue to act like this entire dispute involves one person alone. More than anything it proves that this law is doomed to failure.

More court updates and info about sharings downtown during Christmas coming up next.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Is The Sharing Ban Back?

Homeless advocates had a confusing past 24 hours as a couple of news reports surfaced that the sharing ban is maybe a thing again.

At this point there is a still a lot of uncertainty, but Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs' Friday sharing went on as if everything was normal. So far it appears that if enforcement is going to resume it will hopefully wait until another court hearing in the Arnold Abbott case, which will take place some time on Monday. Will Van Netta, who was cited for sharing food at Food Not Bombs on November 14th, will also have his first court hearing Monday.

The confusion appears to be a result of the City's decision to appeal the previous court ruling Wednesday night at the City Commission. See Commissioner Dean Trantalis' conciliatory statement against appealing the case from Wednesday:


Another Lawsuit Filed

Reverend Gail Tapscott of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Lauderdale has also filed a lawsuit against the City's sharing ban. Here's some of their press release from this week:

As a minister in a denomination that provides a spiritual home and a social justice forum for both believers and non-believers, Rev. Tapscott and Rabbi Silver think that her suit will bring some slightly different perspectives that will add to and enhance the scope of the suits already filed on behalf of other plaintiffs such as Arnold Abbot of Love Thy Neighbor, Rev. Canon Mark Sims and Rev. Dwayne Black. Although Rev. Tapscott has not been arrested or cited in relation to laws prohibiting public food sharing with the homeless citizens, she has put herself in a position to be cited and she fully intends to continue to exercise her moral right to act out of compassion for the less fortunate into the future. Rev. Tapscott and her attorney Rabbi Silver are also acting out of concern for the right of those not protected by religious affiliation to feed the hungry, They also believe that for many people on the street, especially veterans, churches and for that matter any enclosed space may not be a safe place in which to receive help.

 Broward's local Quakers' organization, The Fort Lauderdale Friends Meeting, also put out a statement to the City in opposition to the ban.  Read it here. Expect more news about the status of the sharing ban and further expected lawsuit filings on Monday.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Besieged City Can Only Hope for A New Year

As the year draws to a close, the City will be spending its time preparing for a long and  probably costly court battle over the sharing ban. It also faces the possibility of continuing disruptive street protests in downtown Fort Lauderdale as a result of the nation's crisis with unaccountable police killings.

Final City Commission of the Year 

The City will be voting on 2 consent motions this Wednesday at  City Hall at 6 pm,  one to appeal the court order to stay enforcement of the sharing  ban, and another to hire a law firm to represent the  City in Arnold P. Abbott and Love Thy Neighbor Fund, Inc. v. City of Fort Lauderdale, which also includes Pastor Mark Sims & Dwayne Black. 

As it stands the injunction against the sharing ban is still only good until January 5th. Further court hearings could make these injunctions more or less permanent as the cases proceed, but this has not yet happened.

Shut It Down Round 2

As food sharings downtown return to a somewhat normal state, the status quo in downtown has not. For the 2nd Saturday in a row, protesters angry with the  lack of accountability for killer cops and a racially biased criminal justice system took to the streets. While the protest mostly centered around Las Olas and Broward Blvd's, the situation was much more unusual due to the Winterfest Boat Parade going on at the same time. 2 protesters were arrested and the protest was eventually forced off the street after marching down Las Olas Way alongside Riverwalk, paralleling but not blocking the Boat Parade on the New River.

In yet another unusual collaborative effort for Fort Lauderdale, Dream Defender, Anonymous, and Food Not Bombs activists worked together on this protest. Besides signs damning the biased system that has let cops like Darren Wilson and Joe Pantaleo walk free there were many messages  to the City for its discriminatory homeless policies. After the march ended, Food Not Bombs led a rowdy celebration of "Shoe Day," and many shoes were thrown at the Mayor and killer cops alike. 

The result was the 7th straight week of unrest aimed at the City of Fort  Lauderdale that dominated the evening news and has taken a huge bite out of the City's tourism and holiday oriented image.

No new plans by the Dream Defenders or other #shutitdown protesters have been announced so far, but "Christmas Is Cancelled" may well extend to New Years' downtown. As it stands now the sharing ban could be enforced again in just over 3 weeks.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

#ShutItDown & The Mystery of the Limbo Cases

On Saturday December 6th, Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs was headed to one of its weekly protests against sharing ban supporters downtown when we caught wind of a hastily-organized protest for  Eric Garner at the Federal Courthouse.

True to form, this assembly went street to street and shut down traffic for 3 hours or so. This included in front of many of the establishments we have been protesting, such as YOLO.  We were really glad to participate, as the lack of justice over police killings against people of color is completely outrageous. It was also a welcome sight to see even more people protesting in downtown Fort Lauderdale over the inequities and disenfranchisement that is built into our society.

We can only hope that homeless people, black communities, and all disenfranchised peoples of Fort Lauderdale benefit from the new plateau of dialogue we've reached this fall. Some of the leaders of this protest have said they
will gather again at 4:30 pm at the County Courthouse on Monday.

The Mystery of the Limbo Cases
The news  around Chef Arnold's case Wednesday was kind of confusing. The City never formally filed charges against him.

It actually turns out almost everyone ticketed for sharing food had not been charged. Even many of the 8 arrested at the DDA office over a month ago have simply not had trespassing charges filed against them yet. 

The takeaway here is that the City seems to be going it alone. The FLPD has not shown much enthusiasm for enforcing the ban and the courts seem to have absolutely no interest in prosecuting someone over it. This situation is actually not that unusual - the vast majority of laws that criminalize homeless activity are for the purpose of INTIMIDATION. 

For example, the police do not try to arrest absolutely everyone for sleeping on the streets, or peeing in the bushes. But many people are intimidated and  harassed from being homeless in certain areas because of the threat of arrest for these activities. The same has been the case for the sharing ban. Many sharing groups were intimidated into shutting down or changing their operations, and it now turns out that those that  resisted the law will face even fewer consequences than expected. This is not to say that food sharers will not have to deal with their tickets, but the mishandling of cases and growing lawsuit challenges seems to keep making things worse for one entity and that is the City of Fort Lauderdale.

SHOE DAY

With that in mind: We welcome you all to Shoe Day next Saturday as part of #christmasiscancelled ! Shoe Day is an annual anti-holiday celebrated by Food Not Bombs folk by going out in public with posters of famous tyrants and throwing shoes at them. This year will be a bit special - we'll be doing an "All-Fort Lauderdale" edition with posters of the local bureaucrats who have become notoriously despised for their  anti-homeless policies the last few months, and bring them to the Winterfest Boat Parade downtown. This will be a really fun one as public participation in Shoe Day (in this case, getting party-goers downtown to throw shoes at the Mayor and his croneys) makes it one of the funnest protests in South Florida. Take a Shoe to Tyranny next Saturday to #resisthomelesshatelaws  !

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Big Changes at Sharing Ban's 1 Month Mark

City Website on Monday afternoon
As many are already aware, Chef Arnold's lawsuit against the sharing ban got a hearing yesterday which resulted in a 30 day lift of enforcement against outlaw food sharers.

Sharing food downtown can resume as usual until January 2nd, 2015, or so, and some groups are already announcing their return to Stranahan Park this week. For all its furor, the sharing ban's first incarnation only lasted 32 days (Yay!)

This also effectively ends the hunger strike for the seven, but it may be safe to assume, since the sharing ban may return, that these strikes could return.

The other big stir of the week was that Anonymous announced #OpLiftTheBan on Monday and almost right away used a DDOS attack to bring down fortlauderdale.gov and jackseiler.com .

While the legal hearing that ended the sharing ban probably would have happened the next day regardless, the sharing ban fight has dominated the local news so far this week. Since Chef Arnold's first criminal court hearing and the Broward County Continuum of Care Board meeting are both this morning, Wednesday, this trend may well continue.

Viva La Resistance
Christmas is Cancelled on Las Olas 12.2.2014

No doubt, the lift on the sharing ban may quell some of the public outrage against the City of Fort Lauderdale.

Note however that Anonymous' #OpLiftTheBans declared  hack  attacks would continue if  the panhandling and camping ban were  not lifted as well. Presumably their campaign continues.

Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs and other activists have also pledged to continue to use protest and direct  action downtown to pressure businesses to oppose the sharing ban and other Homeless Hate Laws, or at least stop  supporting them. This was the case Tuesday night as protesters braved the rain, rowdy drunks, and teeming crowds of "Christmas on Las Olas" to bring revellers the  message of "CHRISTMAS IS CANCELLED."

Hundreds of people were made aware of the fact that many of the properties and businesses hosting "Christmas on Las Olas" have uncomfortably close ties to the Downtown Development Authority and other policy makers that created the sharing ban. Perhaps most remarkably, some people there actually seemed interested to hear about it regardless of the festivities. The 15 or so protesters did not get arrested, have beer  thrown at them, or any of the things you might expect when telling large groups of party-goers that "Christmas is Cancelled."

Food Not Bombs will be continuing protests downtown, even while the sharing ban is not being enforced, to convince the "downtown business interests" that the Mayor holds so dear to get rid of this monstrosity completely. FNB's first legal food share in 6 weeks will be Friday.

More news later on...we have some early morning bureaucracy to get to.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

7 Hunger Strikers As Sharing Ban Reaches 1 Month

Root Robin of Fort Lauderdale, Bettejo Passalaqua of Weeki-Wachi and Feral Peterson of Tampa have joined the hunger strike in opposition to Fort Lauderdale's food-sharing restrictions. Root declared that they would begin December 1st at  midnight, while Feral began their strike on Saturday the 29th, and Bettejo on Black Friday.
Root at Saturday's "Mass Action"

Root has been a volunteer with Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs for most of 2014. "Compassion is not criminal. Food is a right,and I refuse to eat while the restraints on public food sharing are enforced. I stand in solidarity with the poor until they're no longer repressed and until we're allowed to feed in public without restraint. The real criminals are the officials who banned public use for public space with homeless hate laws like the food sharing restrictions."

Feral has a long history of social activism, which includes working with Food Not Bombs groups in Clearwater and Saint Petersburg. “Food is the centerpiece of community,” Feral says. “This law is depriving people the right to something as encompassing as sitting down and breaking bread. It's essentially dismantling their community.”

Bettejo says she joined the strike for multiple reasons, tying together this struggle with many others faced around the world: “There are times when we have to act. We have to act when laws are passed that tell us we cannot share food with people because they are houseless. We have to act when our nation's children are gunned down in the street by overzealous militarized police who are not held accountable. We have to act when our tax dollars pay for young Palestinians to be gunned down in the street by the same Army who trained Ferguson cops. We have to act when our sensibilities can no longer be silenced. It is that time.”

The hunger strike first began with Jillian Pim, who went a total of twenty-four days without food after the initial arrests were made for food sharing. As of Monday, December 1st, Thursday Addams is on his 18th day, Dezeray Lyn and Chris Mince are on their 8th day, and Samantha Portis is on her 4th.

The strikers remain strong and confident.

What of the City? No enforcement or sometimes even police presence at recent food sharings, and many people arrested in relation to food sharing have not received court dates so far. Chef Arnold has a hearing for his 1st food sharing violation this Wednesday...will the City actually prosecute someone for sharing food, or has this all been a big bluff?

Christmas is Still Cancelled in Fort Lauderdale...Join us Tuesday evening at Stranahan. For the Seven.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful for Strikers/Minicomics

Take a moment out of the holiday weekend to appreciate those who are resisting Fort Lauderdale's Homeless Hate Laws through their hunger strike.

After 25 days, Jillian Pim ended her hunger strike on Tuesday to rebuild her strength for the long fight to end the sharing ban.

Thursday Addams is on day 14. Dezeray Lyn and Chris Mince from Tampa are on day 5, recently joined by Samantha Portis also of Tampa. Their sacrifices will continue to keep the pressure on the City of Fort Lauderdale as we head into the holiday season and upcoming court cases.

See also the new  "Homeless Hate Law" minicomic "The Great Fort Lauderdale Food Fight," which briefly recaps the momentous sea change we've experienced this month. Get them all here.

Click the link to get the reading version. Click on images to enlarge the printable version:






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:

"PROCLAMATION DECLARING NOVEMBER 16-22, 2014, AS NATIONAL HOMELESS AND HUNGER AWARENESS WEEK IN THE CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE"

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.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hunger Strike Solidarity & More

Jillian Pim of Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs is on Day 5 tonight of her hunger strike against the sharing  ban. Please check out this video and look at some of the contact info below for the officials responsible for the sharing ban that is currently depriving homeless people of desperately needed food aid.




Mayor Seiler 954-828-5003 jack.seiler@fortlauderdale.gov @jackseiler
Vice Mayor Rogers 954-828-5004 RRogers@fortlauderdale.gov
Commissioner Roberts 954-828-5004 BRoberts@fortlauderdale.gov
Commissioner Trantalis 954-828-5923 DTrantalis@fortlauderdale.gov

Downtown Development Authority 954-463-6574
Chairman John Ropes 954-525-6600 jropes@ropesassociates.com
Vice-Chair Michael Weymouth 954-463-5630 MWeymouth@thelasolascompany.com

Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce 954-462-6000
President Dan Linblade 954-462-4911 @fllchamber
Executive Committee Chair Courtney Crush 954-522-2010 ccrush@crushlaw.com @CrushEsq

Tweetstorm on twitter and instagram with some of our memes or use your own. #resisthomelesshatelaws

More City of Fort Lauderdale Twitters:

@FTLCityNews
@visitlauderdale
@OurVisionFTL
@GoRiverwalk
@FLPD411
@franka525 (Chief of Police Frank Adderly, ask him to not enforce homeless hate laws!)

Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs shares again tomorrow at 4:30. Who knows what  will happen?

You can also support Food Not Bombs and the Hunger Strike through this defense fund.

Arnold Abbott Ticketed Again


The shutdown of Love Thy Neighbor on Sunday and repeat ticketing on Wednesday has turned into an international news item. It is important to note that unlike Sunday, LTN was allowed to complete their sharing and then were ticketed afterwards.

Other Solidarity Actions

Solidarity actions have been popping up in many places, such as "Give A Sandwich (and a fuck)." Anonymous #OpHumanity also released this video today:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

8 FNB Volunteers Arrested at Downtown Development Authority, Faces Sharing Ban Arrests Friday

On Tuesday, November 4th, Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs staged a protest against Homeless Hate Laws including the new sharing ban on the streets of downtown. After marching down Las Olas, protesters decided to go to the office of the Downtown Development Authority to ask them to cease their support of homeless hate laws.
After waiting 10 minutes or so for someone to answer the door, a DDA employee came out, and after being politely told about what they were there for, she told those waiting that the Chairman and Vice Chairman were unavailable, but that she would contact Executive Director Chris Wren and gave everyone permission to wait in the hallway. Apparently this person then immediately called the cops and said that she felt "threatened," and FLPD officers soon came  and announced  the DDA would not be speaking to anyone  and that everyone needed to leave. Responding officers included Jody Weymouth, wife of DDA co-chair Michael Weymouth. Despite the fact that the DDA representative misled visitors into believing they could wait to speak to someone, and the fact that many people at the scene  were clearly in direct contact with the very DDA officials everyone wanted to talk to, 7 protesters were arrested for insisting on waiting to speak to someone. Once arrestees were being loaded into a paddywagon, Officer Weymouth then personally grabbed another protester outside for filming from a sidewalk and charged her with trespassing and resisting arrest.

Despite the DDA's false claims that they felt "threatened" by "smelly" people, or that they REALLY just needed us to make appointment,  protesters felt the ongoing impact on hunger for homeless people in Fort Lauderdale, and the ongoing hunger strike, demanded an immediate response from those responsible. So far they have refused to specifically say whether or not they would be willing to change their stance on the sharing bans which was the specific question Food Not Bombs wanted to answer on Tuesday.

Food Not Bombs vs. The Sharing Ban This Friday

Unfortunately as it stands, and judging by the events of last Sunday, it seems highly likely that sharing ban enforcement will either shut down this Friday's sharing and/or result in arrests. We ask that people continue to come to and support sharings on Friday or any other day of the week and to tell the world  what is happening in Fort Lauderjail. As well as the increasing hunger in downtown and unnecessary arrests, Food Not Bombs volunteer Jillian Pim is on day 4 of her hunger strike and  we must do everything possible to stop enforcement of the  sharing ban  for her and the oppressed people of downtown.

Please also share and help out with Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs' defense fund, donations will be used for bail money, to replace supplies if they are confiscated, and to help Jill for costs associated with her hunger strike.

Wrongful arrest outside of Downtown Development Authority

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Food Sharings Shut Down 11.2.2014, Hunger Strike Declared

At least two food sharings were disrupted on Sunday, November 2nd next to Stranahan Park. One street ministry was prevented from sharing food and later Love Thy Neighbor managed to share about 4 plates of food before being taken aside and given "Notice to Appear" tickets under the new sharing ban regulations. At least 4 people were giving tickets over the weekend including 2 clergy and 90 year old homeless advocate Arnold Abbott. Video and pictures are below.

Homeless Advocate Declares Hunger Strike in Response to Sharing Ban Enforcement

Jillian Pim, a resident of Dania, FL, and volunteer with Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs, will begin a hunger strike on 11/2/14 to protest the Fort Lauderdale City Commission's approval of the "Amendment to unified land development regulations," which bans the sharing of food in public spaces. The law was passed on October 22, 2014, and was part of a series of laws targeting the homeless which have been heavily opposed by local churches and homeless advocacy groups, including Food Not Bombs, Peanut Butter and Jelly Project, Love Bags, Project Downtown, and Love Thy Neighbor.
Since this May, Fort Lauderdale has passed ordinances restricting panhandling, the storage of belongings in public areas, camping in public, and now the sharing of food. Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs has been campaigning for and sharing food with the homeless since 2006, and has recently been opposing what they refer to as “Homeless Hate Laws” through public food sharing, demonstrations, marches, street theater, and direct opposition to the laws at City Commission meetings.
“The criminalization of food sharing with homeless people is a fundamental violation of basic humanity and morality,” says Jillian Pim, a member of Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs who begins her hunger strike today. “I choose to go on hunger strike until this law is repealed or enforcement of it is stopped. I call on the people of Fort Lauderdale and everywhere else to demand that the Mayor, City Commission, Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Development Authority, and all other supporters of these homeless hate laws abondon the criminalization of poverty.”
There are now an estimated 3.5 million homeless Americans, but since January 2013, thirty-one U.S. cities have introduced or passed legislation to restrict food sharing programs. "It is appalling that basic human kindness is an arrestable offense," says Pim.

Week of Action to #resisthomelesshatelaws Begins

Tomorrow is an online day of action to #resisthomelesshatelaws. Check out the event page and help send to the message to backers of the sharing ban that this is not the answer!

On Tuesday we will be "Voting with Our Feet" in downtown Fort Lauderdale. We will be marching to hold the City accountable for its terrible policies that are literally preventing food aid from going out to extremely needy people in the midst of a cold snap. 

We also ask anyone and everyone to spend a few hours at Stranahan Park this week and observe any interactions between the FLPD and food sharers. After a quiet first couple of days it seems like enforcement may be ongoing daily for the time being. Sharings usually happen several times most afternoons in varying frequency.

Join us!



Defiance to Sharing Ban Begins; First Ticket Issued

10.31.14, First outlaw sharing / John Penley
Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs shared heaps of food and  clothes with about 100 people Friday in Stranahan Park on Halloween. Some police were walking around the library taking pictures of homeless people but did not enter the park. It was a peaceful occasion all the way until volunteers started packing up, when several police cars abruptly pulled into the Women's Club parking lot. They announced that the park was closed and that everyone needed to get out in an aggressive, ominous tone. Several FLPD officers followed everyone to the sidewalk and then promptly left everyone alone.

Bob Norman filmed part of his latest segment on the criminalization of homelessness at this sharing. Interestingly, the Mayor is quoted in this video as saying that if police observe people sharing food that they will very likely be subject to arrest.

(see more photos)



Police escort out of Stranahan Park / John Penley
First Ticket Issued for Sharing Food

Several eyewitnesses downtown have confirmed that the first ticket for sharing food has been issued. A volunteer from the car bringing food was also arrested for giving a false name. While who these person are or what organization they are with is currently unknown, it seems they were likely picked out for being one of many sharers who drop food off with 1 or 2 people. These sharings actually constitute a large amount of the food distribution at Stranahan Park and the smallness of their groups seem to make them more vulnerable.

Anyone with more information on this situation that took place around 1:30 pm on Saturday, November 1st, or anyone who wants to help more with helping observe downtown sharings in the immediate future please contact us.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

March Against Homeless Hate Laws on Election Day 11.4.2014

As part of the #resisthomelesshatelaws week of action here in Fort Lauderdale, we will be taking an election day march down Las Olas Boulevard.

Join Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs & company to put unaccountable public officials and wealthy business interests on notice for their support and implementation of prejudicial and harmful laws targeting homeless people in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

We will meet at the Federal Courthouse on Broward Boulevard at 10 am, head south to Las Olas, march West to Andrews, and end at Stranahan Park. Bring signs.

The City of Fort Lauderdale has recently began implementing laws including sharing banscamping bans, panhandling bans, and bans on the storage of belongings on public property in order to chase homeless people out of the downtown area.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Week of Action October 31st - November 7th

With the passing of a new "sharing ban" regulation, the City of Fort Lauderdale has fulfilled its regime of "Homeless Hate Laws" along with new restrictions of going to the bathroom in public, panhandling, storage on public property, and camping. It joins 21 other cities that have created laws to restrict food sharings in the last 2 years.

Starting on October 31st the vast majority of groups that share food outdoors with the homeless will essentially be outlawed, particularly since so far it looks like most of these groups are going to be disobeying the sharing ban law. We are calling on the public to join us in a week of extra-legal food shares and protests in resistance to the criminalization of homelessness here and everywhere.

Friday, October 31st: 1st day of enforcement. Resist the Sharing Ban with Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs at Stranahan Park, 10 E. Broward Blvd, at 5 pm...it will be a very memorable outlaw's Halloween food share.

Saturday, November 1st: Project Downtown sharing, same location, 1 pm

Sunday, November 2nd: Love Thy Neighbor sharing, same location, 1 pm

Monday, November 3rd: #resisthomelesshatelaws Online Day of Action. This is for everyone: no matter where you are we need you to tell Fort Lauderdale, NO HOMELESS HATE LAWS!

Tuesday, November 4th: Vote with Yr Feet: March Against Homeless Hate Laws 10 am Federal Courthouse

Friday, November 7th/All Week: Day of Solidarity. To mark 1 week of the sharing ban law we are calling on Food Not Bombs chapters and other solidarity groups to hold their own food sharings or protests as Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs shares again on Friday, same time, same place. We particularly call for cities that have their own sharing ban problems to demonstrate support and resistance. For a complete list look here. Please look at the online day of action for links and resources that may be helpful for planning something.

Please get in touch with us and let us know about solidarity actions or if you want to add any other event to this week in Ft Lauderdale or anywhere else. While we may be able to help invite people to your actions please also feel free to plan and act autonomously.

If you are a food sharer in downtown Fort Lauderdale that will be sharing during this week PLEASE LET US KNOW we want everyone that is opposed to these laws to be aware of them.

More to come...

Resist Homeless Hate Laws Week of Action
October 31st-November 7th