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Hold it right there on the homeless feeding ordinance

This is the right call.

After a community outcry protesting what opponents call the criminalization of charity, Mayor Annise Parker announced this afternoon that she will not seek a vote Wednesday on her proposed regulation of the feeding of homeless people in Houston.

Parker’s original proposed regulations would require charities to register with the city, have a member take a food safety class, prepare food in city-approved kitchens and limit feedings to three public parks and on private property only with the owner’s written permission.

Spokeswoman Janice Evans said the mayor already has a revised ordinance ready to present to Council tomorrow and will ask Council to delay consideration of it until after she returns from a trade mission to Brazil at the end of the month.

“This is exactly how the process should work,” Parker said in a released statement.

See here for some background, and here for the Mayor’s statement. I think we can all agree that ensuring that public spaces are cleaned up and that food is handled safely are worthwhile goals. Let’s focus on those things, and on getting all of the people who will be affected by this involved and in agreement with any ordinance that gets proposed. Neil has more.

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6 Comments

  1. Jules says:

    Charles, you’re a sweet guy. You think that this ordinance is about protecting the homeless from food poisoning and keeping the park clean. It’s not. It’s about criminalizing charity. It’s about attacking the homeless. It’s about keeping Occupy out of cities.

    It’s already a crime to litter and poop in the park. There are no instances of accidentally poisoning the homeless.

    There is no compromise on this. No criminalization of charity. No giving up rights to peaceably assemble. No giving up rights from freedom from search and seizure. No ordinance.

  2. Ross says:

    So, Jules, how do you enforce the no littering laws on the homeless? They couldn’t care less about laws. And you don’t know that there haven’t been any food poisoning cases.

    I honestly wish the do gooders that drive in from other parts of the area would just go away. The homeless they feed don’t need the food, it’s just another time for them to take from the rest of society. Want to really help homeless that deserve it? Give to the shelters and organizations that feed homeless families. The single males that congregate at the parks and such don’t need the help from those trying to assuage their consciences by passing out food, essentially at random.

  3. Jules says:

    Ross, at least you are honest about why you support this ordinance. Just be careful about giving away your rights for a little comfort.

  4. Jules says:

    “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” Ben jamin Franklin

  5. Ross says:

    I’m not giving away any of my rights. I’m trying to make sure that others don’t infringe on my rights by doing stupid things that harm the rest of us while making them feel good about themselves.

  6. [...] them, and they make a statement that is both powerful and un-answered. When we were talking about food safety and litter, there was at least an intuitive reason for this ordinance. I don’t feel like I have that any [...]

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