Thursday, September 25, 2014

How To Plug In To The Forum

We have high hopes to make the Resist Homeless Hate Laws Forum a great deal more democratic and inclusive than the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. Here's the basic plan for the schedule and how our forum will work.

We will be taking stack for participants in the forum from now until about 15 minutes after the start of the forum, 6 pm on October 18th. Participants will be asked to sign up under one of two sections of the forum, either "Speaking Out" or "Proposals." We ask that groups that may attend have a representative speak for their entire group.

David Peery (plaintiff for Miami's landmark Pottinger Agreement) and a speaker working on Fort Lauderdale's hate laws will introduce the subject of the City's campaign to criminalize homeless people.

We'll then have a brief break with music and food. From there the forum begins and speakers will get 5 minutes each (*will depend on amount of speakers). For proposals, we will allow some time for comments, and to see if there is a strong consensus from any of the attendees to take action on a proposal.

We are expecting, among other things, that the situation with the camping ban and sharing ban will require serious action either in the court system or in downtown Fort Lauderdale itself in order to prevent City policies from inflicting serious suffering on the homeless populace of downtown in the coming months. However any progressive strategies towards aiding and sheltering homeless people is strongly encouraged to be shared.

If you or your group would like to be listed as participating in the forum, or if you have a serious proposal for fighting the criminalization of homelessness in Fort Lauderdale, you can contact us through our contact form or on the Facebook event page for the Forum 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Forum October 18th: Resist Homeless Hate Laws

On Saturday, October 18th, from 6-9 pm, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Lauderdale will be hosting a community forum on the topic of solutions to homelessness in the city.

Virtually every voice opposed to Fort Lauderdale's "Homeless Hate Laws" have been shut out and ignored by the public officials creating these terrible policies, from homeless people to local mainstream journalists. We invite everyone to participate in a democratic forum where all voices can contribute to real solutions to homelessness and bad city policy.

Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs will be providing free food (which anyone is free to enjoy and also contribute to). and will also be facilitating a discussion between anyone willing to participate on the subject of solutions to homeless problems in Fort Lauderdale. Groups and organizations are encouraged to have representatives speak on their behalf. Music and a brief introduction to homeless issues are also part of the schedule.

Organizations and individuals are highly encouraged to get in touch with us about issuing their solutions as proposals at this forum or showing interest in participating in this process. You can also join our Facebook event page. We will have more information about participating organizations, and what specific solutions are being proposed, soon!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Conscienceless City Commission Passes Camping Ban

Conscienceless...rude...amoral...disrespectful...apathetic...conceited...wrong. City politicians would like to ascribe these traits to those in opposition of Fort Lauderdale's wave of homeless hate laws, but it was the City Commissioners themselves who carried themselves in this fashion last night.

One after another, homeless people and homeless advocates talked about the suffering, anguish, despair, and anger that they have experienced in the City of Fort Lauderdale at last night's City Commission. A number of them also expressed extreme displeasure at the City Commission's reaction - boredom, apathy, and annoyance. This is not even a little unusual for the City's finest public servants but was perhaps remarkable in face  of  the tragic and moving testimony from those that spoke against the camping ban, which will now take effect sometime in mid-October.

Commissioners got argumentative with some speakers but for most said nothing at all, and when all was said and done, rushed to a second vote without even a momentary discussion amongst themselves. As usual, they were in scarce, but quality company; perhaps all of 4 people came to voice support for the  camping ban, including Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce's Courtney Crush, who un-ironically came dressed as Cruella Deville.

Besides the camping ban, which will allow the FLPD to stick violators in jail for 60 days or more starting next month, the City now has 4 remaining meetings this year to implement a sharing ban which is intended to wipe out the majority of food aid providers in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Please stay tuned to this site about upcoming projects to fight back  against the City's plans, including a community forum on these issues tentatively planned for October 18th.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

9.3.14 Recap, "We Love Homeless Hate Laws"

On September 3rd, 2014, the City of Fort Lauderdale passed amendments to the public indecency code and the storage on public property law on second hearing. They also unanimously sent the new panhandling expansion and camping ban in downtown to a 2nd hearing that will take place on September 17th.

They represent 4 out of 5 laws that the city announced at the beginning of the year. The last is a law first proposed as a series of preposterous bureaucratic obstacles to prevent practically anyone from consistently sharing food for  the homeless in downtown. You know, in consistent enough to keep them alive and healthy.

If this writer were to think of a word to describe the atmosphere at this commission, it was "tantrummy." Practically everyone supporting these laws felt the need to explain to everyone how much they cared about the homeless... before then explaining why they want them to stay as far away from them as possible and that they feel perfectly entitled to deprive anyone who doesn't obey their laws of the right to sleep, eat, or urinate. Good for them. Many homeless advocates were in a bit of a huff as well - one was threatened with expulsion, and virtually all persons opposing the anti-homeless laws received a stony silence from the city commission, even when directly asked questions about laws beings discussed. Comment times were also mysteriously shortened 1 minute each after Raymond Cox's filibuster effort at the last meeting.

5 months of resistance at these meetings seems to have worn everyone a little thin on patience to hear about the terrible suffering they are creating for actual, real people in downtown...unfortunately there's a lot more to come. It remains to be seen how well the enforcers of these laws can shield themselves from the consequences of these actions.