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.

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