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.

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