Kevin Murray (claystorm) wrote,
Kevin Murray

Las Vegas, NV Makes It Illegal to Feed Homeless in Parks

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).
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