Orlando, population 200,000, works hard to conjure the image of a true-life Pleasantville: a safe, welcoming place where visitors can soak up year-round sunshine and devour choreographed experiences at palm-ringed theme parks. But its spotless sidewalks, sparkling lakes and twinkling skyline belie a real city with real maladies — most notably, a surging homeless population that authorities are struggling to control.
After a law that banned panhandling was struck down by the courts, the city tried to discourage aggressive beggars by obliging them to carry ID cards, and later by confining them to 3-by-15-foot "panhandling zones" painted in blue on sidewalks downtown.
Despite these laws, the number of people living on the streets of the Orlando metro area swelled, from roughly 5,000 in 1999 to an estimated 8,500 today, dwarfing the city's shelter capacity for 2,000 people.
So in July, the city commission tried a "supply-side" approach: It passed an ordinance regulating the feeding of large groups of people in Orlando's downtown parks.
Those who wished to feed more than 25 hungry individuals at parks within a 2-mile radius of City Hall could do so, but only if they obtained a "Large Group Feeding Permit" from the parks department — and no one would be granted more than two feeding permits a year.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Do Not Feed The Homeless Take 2
first it was vegas and it's rally against the homeless, now it's orlando. what is wrong with people? i think all social ills boil down to one thing: some group always thinks they're better than another. i suppose it's primitive means of survival. there's little empathy and not much enlightenment going on these days. from the AP: