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LAS VEGAS, July 21 — Gail Sacco pulled green grapes, bread, lunch meat and, of course in this blazing heat, bottles of water from a cardboard box. A dozen homeless people rose from shady spots in the surrounding city park and snatched the handouts from her.

Ms. Sacco, an advocate for the homeless, scoffed at a city ordinance that goes into effect Friday making it illegal to offer so much as a biscuit to a poor person in a city park.

Las Vegas, whose homeless population has doubled in the past decade to about 12,000 people in and around the city, joins several other cities across the country that have adopted or considered ordinances limiting the distribution of charitable meals in parks. Most have restricted the time and place of such handouts, hoping to discourage homeless people from congregating and, in the view of officials, ruining efforts to beautify downtowns and neighborhoods.

But the Las Vegas ordinance is believed to be the first to explicitly make it an offense to feed “the indigent.”

(Full Story By The NY Times Here)

This really just makes me sad to hear this. I mean, to me its almost like Last Vegas signing a death sentence for homeless people. Instead of trying to help them, they are only hurting them.

This line from the story really stuck out at me:
"Mr. Lichtenstein said the ordinance allows a picnicker to offer food to a middle-income friend but not to a poor one. 'If you have a picnic, are you supposed to have everybody give you a financial statement? This is a clumsy and absurd attempt to make war on poor people.'"

It made me laugh, but at the same time its very true. Here is part of the ordinance:
"The ordinance, an amendment to an existing parks statute approved by the Council on July 19, bans the “the providing of food or meals to the indigent for free or for a nominal fee.” It goes on to say that 'an indigent person is a person whom a reasonable ordinary person would believe to be entitled to apply for or receive” public assistance."
With the way the ordinance is written anyone who has applied for public assistance could not be given food in a public park. I mean, hello, so someone on welfare is now considered an "indigent person" in the city of Las Vegas? How fucked up is that? Now before you all go ape-shit on my butt, I know what they mean, but if one was to take the ordinance literally, it could be taken that way.

Also what really pisses me off, is that Las Vegas, a city that probably has more money flowing through it then most should be doing something to help the homeless, and not trying to hurt them. If there is any city that is in a position to help give homeless people a leg up, it would be Las Vegas. How much money is going to be spent enforcing this ordnance, when that money could have been used to help these people?

Another thing that striked me with this article was a line said by the Mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar B. Goodman:
And Mr. Goodman, a lawyer, said he did not fear a court fight either. “For 35 years, I represented reputed mobsters and was never afraid to go to court,’’ he said, “and I am not afraid to go to court against the A.C.L.U.’’"

I mean, Holy Shit, he is one arrogant ass-hole. I am not even sure I need to say anymore about it, but I will. This strikes me as if he is looking for a legal fight. One has to wonder if the man is getting bored in office as the Mayor of Las Vegas, and wants to go fight something in a Court of Law. Also is it just me, or did he just compare the A.C.L.U to reputed mobsters? I think he did.

Anyway, I am going to stop now, before I really get pissed off at the City of Las Vegas, more so then I already am now. I would love to hear what you all think about this, so feel free to leave me a comment (you can leave more then one if you want).


( 2 People Thought — Tell Me What You Think )
Jul. 28th, 2006 09:44 pm (UTC)
Also pissed!
I'm also very, very angry about this. It's like by making it illegal to feed people in the park, they are trying to ignore that hungry people do exist. I think that they are so focused on making Las Vegas more attractable to people, that they are willing to kill them to get rid of them. What are these people going to do? Where are they going to go? It isn't like they have some magic wand that they aren't waving which will make them get jobs or vanish off the streets (or in the parks I guess). Maybe the homeless population doubling should tell the city something - like they need to find/create better programs for these people to help them find jobs and places to live. They can't just do it on their own!!

Apparently it is all about the non-poor people of Las Vegas and their going to try and ignore that there are in fact poor people. I wonder things... like is it against the law to give them money to buy food? Or how about food vouchers (like the ones that I might get from a casino)? What about telling them that I have food outside the park? Can I tell them to come with me to a restaurant or to a picnic that I'm having on the sidewalk outside the park? Or is all that illegal too? I think this is crap! They are people too! Now I want to let the mayor of Las Vegas have a piece of my mind... which really wouldn't do anything anyway, but I'd like it even still. =)

Plus, I probably would have been arrested if San Antonio had a law like that - maybe they do and that's why there were so few homeless people down there. =)

Jul. 28th, 2006 09:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Also pissed!
Atrractable in the third sentence should be attractive. I'm so angry I don't know english anymore apparently. =)
( 2 People Thought — Tell Me What You Think )


Kevin Murray

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