Wednesday, April 16, 2014

First 2 Ordinances Pass First Hearing

A revision on a public indecency ordinance and an ordinance that would restrict homeless people from leaving their belongings on public property easily passed their first hearing on Tuesday at the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. Testimony from the public went on for over two hours on these issues as representatives for wealthy business interests and homeless advocates made their arguments for who is really coming up with solutions for the homeless (and home free!) in Fort Lauderdale.

At times there was agreement from both sides of this issue that this first effort to work on homeless issues before the City in years is a pretty terrible start - a perspective shared also by City Commissioner Dean Trantalis. He along with many others also repeatedly asserted that these laws are directed specifically at homeless people, which the Mayor, City Attorney and others denied over and over again.

Much of the time the officials' evoked the phrase "Housing First" in their defense; a new program in Fort Lauderdale which amounts to 22 new beds for homeless people. It is the City's "living proof" that they care about the homeless. Representatives from the business class also came to soothe everyone with reassurances such as "banks want to help homeless people." The President of the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce started the evening off by saying the ordinances were a "pro-business position."

About a dozen homeless advocates spoke either on one or both ordinances, and much good points were made that fell on mostly deaf ears as usual. Luckily those who made these arguments also know that this is only the beginning, and that we have a lot farther to go to ultimately protect the human rights that this City is trying to take from people base on their class.

While a second hearing is coming up in two weeks for these 2 ordinances, the hearings for a ban on panhandling, sleeping outdoors, and sharing food with homeless people is not yet scheduled.

Please watch and share this video. Of all the things said last night, Ray's 3 minutes at the podium just said it all. Please share!

No comments:

Post a Comment