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Disclaimer: I have not yet been able to verify this with an independent source; however, I also haven't found any reason to doubt that this is happening.

For the last six years, Love Wins Ministries has provided hot coffee and breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings to anyone who wants them. As there are apparently no  soup kitchens or other places to get free food on the weekend, this draws a fairly large homeless population (about 80 people yesterday). The group meets outside of park (meeting inside the park requires a permit, but they've been previously told they can set up on the sidewalk as long as they clean up after themselves) and have been in the same place without incident for six years. Yesterday they were told by the police that if they attempted to give out any of the food that they had to the waiting people, they would be arrested.

More details are available on the group's website, including the names and email addresses of the city council members (all of whom can also be reached at 919-996-3050).

I've already sent a polite email to one of the council members asking whether they requested the police block the Love Wins Ministries from handing out food and why. I'm hopeful that the extra attention on an indefensible policy will help get it reversed.

Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 7:55 AM PT: Update: the story has been picked up by Good Morning America:

Originally posted to wmspringer on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:21 AM PDT.

Also republished by Triangle Kosmopolitans and North Carolina BLUE.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Orlando redux (11+ / 0-)

    I remember when the mayor of Orlando (a Democrat), did even worse, arresting people and calling them "food terrorists". W.T.F.

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:52:06 AM PDT

  •  Oh HELL no (14+ / 0-)

    This is starting to sound suspiciously like the bullshit that's started up in Columbia, SC and Tampa. And if you're talking about Moore Square Park, that's directly across the street from a homeless shelter so anything happening in that area would sort of attract a large contingent of homeless by default.

    This is puzzling in no small way, actually.  The City Council isn't known to be especially right wing (the Wake County Board of Commissioners, on the other hand?) and even the Repugnican Mayor hasn't really displayed hardcore RW nutjobbiness.  If they ordered this, I smell the distinct aroma of arm twisting.  There are darker forces at work here I fear.

    I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

    by mojo11 on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:57:17 AM PDT

    •  does the shelter have a kitchen that Love Wins (6+ / 0-)

      could operate out of in the near future while this is settled?

      •  I don't know (0+ / 0-)

        But I did think of another alternative.  Suppose that some good hearted folks decided that since they couldn't just hand out free biscuits and coffee on the street, they instead treated the folks there to biscuits and coffee in one of the breakfast-serving establishments in the area.  I believe the Sheraton has a very nice breakfast buffet.  Of course it's typically Sheraton expensive (about $10 a head) but it's all-you-can-eat.  And I'm sure they'd be glad to have the additional custom, right?

        I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

        by mojo11 on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 12:44:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Albuquerque NM just settled a couple lawsuits (16+ / 0-)

    filed by people who had been arrested for feeding the homeless downtown.  I believe the city paid over $80,000.

  •  Well, a couple of points. (12+ / 0-)

    As Justice Anthony Kennedy explains it in his disquisition on the rule of law, "the issuance of a permit is not a matter of grace." What that means, I think, is that there is a presumption that the behavior for which a permit is issued is inherently good and the permit merely serves as notice to the public agency which issues it that additional services may be needed by the citizenry -- i.e. the public which owns the property.
    So, a group wanting to use the park cannot be denied a permit, as long as the information requested as to time and responsible party is provided. BUT the reason Kennedy bothers to lecture on the rule of law is because, by his own admission, lots of public officials don't understand that they are constrained and may not withhold services arbitrarily.
    There are certain sanitary standards that can be imposed on people who are giving prepared foods away. If a lot of people get sick, the community has to have some recourse and at least know who's responsible and make them stop.
    If there is a homeless shelter with kitchen and restroom facilities, it would probably be better to set up the feeding program there. Well managed communities have public restrooms that are regularly serviced and cleaned. Our island on 13,000 residents, a number which triples in the summer, has six public restrooms near the commercial/entertainment area, and restrooms with showers at the beach. But then, that's in the socialist state of Georgia.
    Let me end by noting that the Congressional penchant for rationing the distribution of dollars has many anticipated and unanticipated consequences. Rationing dollars where they originate (Washington) makes it possible to reward and punish all across the land. Rationing dollars makes it possible to control who's got entrance fees for parks and who doesn't. If the rif-raf's got no money for gas, they'll just have to stay in the trailer park where they belong.

    Segregation by dollar sign. Who can object to that? What could be more impersonal? What better sign of character could we have?

    "No free lunch" is an act of faith. It supports the belief that, if people don't get fed, they'll do what they're told.

  •  Well, the homeless are just like pigeons after all (5+ / 0-)

    Dont want to encourage them. After all, if they were good people, they wouldnt be destitute.

  •  Salt Lake City it may be illegal too. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris

    While there several years ago i was told it was illegal. Whether that is true I don't know, but is what I was told.

  •  If this is a planned event every week, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris, Pi Li

    why not get a permit?  

    The permit process assures the public that public spaces are used in a safe and sanitary way (having restrooms facilities, cleaning up afterward, etc.) and generally has a start and end time so that the public can be aware when the public spaces will be used for this and when the public spaces will be once again available for general public use.

    More importantly, getting a permit assures the organization that they cannot, and will not, be shut down as long as they comply with those kinds of permit requirements.

    Why wouldn't they want to get a permit so this can't happen?  

    •  Money (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris, Lily O Lady

      A permit costs $800/day, which obviously is considerably more than it costs them to provide sandwiches for 80 people.

      •  Really? I'm not seeing that on the website. (0+ / 0-)

        I took a quick look at the Raleigh NC website for Temporary Event Permits.  It says $78.

        Where do you get $800 a day?  

        •  From the linked article (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lily O Lady

          Maybe the location makes a difference? The article said:

          By the way, each permit to use the park costs $800. Yes, eight hundred dollars. That would cost us $1,600 every weekend, and the officer we spoke to said the City likely wouldn’t approve it anyway.
          OTOH they could just be wrong about the cost, since that doesn't seem to match the website.
          •  Still (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lily O Lady, Vetwife

            Even if they're off by a factor of 10, it's still silly that they'd need to pay $156/week to give away sandwiches.

            •  The point of a permit is that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pi Li

              one group's use of public spaces should not be to the cost, or detriment, of the rest of the public.  A permit assures that -- it assures that certain sanitary conditions are met, and certain safety conditions. The rest of the public has a right to expect that when a group -- even a charitable group -- co-ops a public space for a period of time.  And the cost is supposed to offset the city's administrative costs of the city, on behalf of the public, of making sure there is compliance.  

              The same article says that churches help with the funding.  

          •  It can't be that much for all public areas (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pi Li

            If so, I would think there might be constitutional issues.  The permit process can't be used to shut all but the well-off out of permits.  Cities can charge a reasonable fee to cover their costs of making sure people are in compliance, but I can't imagine any city charging a charitable organization that much for a relatively short event that has no alcohol (that will often up the price) and no commercial activity like sales (that will up the price).  

            If that's the figure to use the park, it might be far less to get a permit to use some other public area.  That would seem to me the way to go.

            •  The only permit that should be required is (0+ / 0-)

              Hunger..... and volunteers and food.  the food lines of the past got their soup and moved on.   What changed?   People then had bathroom needs.   What changed?  

              We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

              by Vetwife on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 12:37:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  remember (2+ / 0-)

    During hurricane Katrina, white people breaking into supermarkets were resourceful and desperate, blacks were looting.  We are a racist nation--at the core. To the bigots--poor white folk are dismissed as being almost black--white trash.  We thought things were getting better in the 1960s--after riots--sadly--only more riots will get us back on that road.  I'm not advocating violence, just pointing out that the "man" ain't gonna be nice without a strong push. I know today we're celebrating the march on DC--I lived through that era--the riots changed things--MLK was a great man--but racists didn't change because of some speech.

    Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

    by melvynny on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 08:27:26 AM PDT

  •  "and why?" (5+ / 0-)

    This is just a wild-ass guess, but I'd be willing to bet that it might have something to do with the racial composition of those lining up for the donuts and coffee.

  •  "Food Not Bombs" also harassed in S.F., CA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:10:55 AM PDT

  •  I'd be interested in the whole story (4+ / 0-)

    Just from brief looking on the internet, it appears that Moore Square, where they were gathering, might be the issue.  It looks like there's an attempt to revitalize the Moore Square area, including some events and restaurants.

    I can imagine that people holding permitted events there on weekends, for example, would complain about any group holding some fairly large not permitted event in the same location, such as the sidewalk surrounding the park.   It would not surprise me if this action was prompted by complaints by those permitted to hold events in the park, for example.

    It may not be that "feeding the homeless is illegal in Raleigh."  It may simply be the location that the group is trying to use  without a permit.

    I'd be interested to hear from the City as to what prompted this.

  •  People are hungry - feed them! (4+ / 0-)

    Seems obvious, doesn't it? Except it's not.

    This is a very thorny problem, which has been battled out in cities large and small for years. It divides homeless advocates, although there is more consensus among those who work regularly with homeless people that street feeding programs are generally a bad idea.. They do not help, and they can do harm. The following piece by one such advocate is worth reading in full, but here's a taste:

    Several years ago in Atlanta, Ga., I met a woman living under a bridge who completely changed my life and how I viewed homeless services. You didn't have to be a social service worker or medical professional to see that Angela was dying underneath that bridge. Meeting Angela broke my heart, but it was what happened behind the scenes that changed me. I was with a group of Christians. I turned to them and I asked, "What are you doing for her? How are you helping Angela?" They responded that they were bringing her sandwiches - that's when I realized that sandwiches are not enough. People need housing, jobs, and health services.
    I will be point blank honest -- public feedings often do more harm than good. Yes, it makes the person giving the food feel especially good, and there is merit in that; we should feel good about our charitable works. But public feedings do very little to end homelessness. In fact, in many ways public feedings maintain homelessness.
    Food is a powerful motivator. Many homeless services provide food, mail services, showers and laundry, which are touch point services so our homeless friends can visit and connect with us on a regular basis. Often we can begin to establish relationships that will help that person get out of homelessness. In addition, our homeless friends often have medical needs that go unattended. By having to connect with a homeless services agency every so often, if a homeless person is hurt, a case manager can help that person connect to needed services

    If it is true that Raleigh has no program meeting these needs on weekends, then the answer is for this church, and other concerned individuals, to mobilize to correct that problem.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:46:31 AM PDT

  •  This has always been a tough call for me. (6+ / 0-)

    Back in the late 80's there were a number of groups that fed the homeless in Palisades Park here in Santa Monica. Palisades Park stretches from the pier to Santa Monica Canyon on the bluffs overlooking the pacific. When my family moved back here in the late 70's we lived across the street from there. My brother and I would skateboard there at any hour and we were always safe. It remained safe at any hour through the mid/late 80's until the programs started.

    Then it began to change. Eventually it became so populated with the homeless and the problems that can come with them that it wasn't safe at any hour. At 12 I could go to that park at 9PM with no problem. When I was 25 I couldn't go to the park at noon because it wasn't safe. Over the next couple of years it pretty much became a camp site for the homeless that stretched for about 420 acres. The homeless flocked to SM and everyone else fled. Crime jumped drastically to the point where all of SM became unsafe.

    The city stopped the park feeding but being Santa Monica we didn't just stop it. It was moved the the lawn in front of City Hall and eventually the Ocean Park Community Center built a large facility that does amazing work for all aspects of homelessness from feeding to help with drugs to help for battered women and everything else.

    So maybe the people in this thread who say it is about race or something nefarious are right or maybe they see this turning into a problem like we had here in "The Socialist Republic of Santa Monica."

    Having lived through it I can tell you that it isn't as simple as it would seem.

    Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

    by Mike S on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:49:41 AM PDT

  •  Good thing they cops were not present (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries

    when Jesus feed the multitude..5,000 and not counting women and children.....Tell that to the bible thumpers.
    Law of Man and Law of God is different and I would risk jail to feed these people.   I suggest 5000 activists show up to feed the hungry..  

    Pass out Matthew 25 on a Flyer and see how those people respond....Jeesh these are the people who are Anti God..not the people willing to do good.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 12:32:39 PM PDT

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