Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday 5 February 2007

Next time you visit Orlando for Disney World, etc., think of this ...

... behind the glitter and prosperity there is a raw underbelly. And to try and keep hidden this aspect of what many tourists see as a 'perfect' society (with its manicured gardens and constantly smiling staff), the city of Orlando has an ordinance forbidding the feeding of homeless people of whom there are apparently 8,500 in a city with a population of 200,000. Just think about the percentage this represents (4.25 per cent in case you were busily trying to work it out) in one of the more economically buoyant States in the most prosperous country on Earth. Orlando is not alone in what appears to be its hard-hearted attitude to less fortunate members of the community, for Las Vegas has similar local legislation, whose enforceability is the subject of a federal court case in Nevada. Other places which have similar kinds of local ordinances include Dallas, Fort Myers, Fla., Gainesville, Fla., Wilmington, N.C., Atlanta, Santa Monica, Calif., and Fairfax County, Va. where "homemade meals and meals made in church kitchens may not be distributed to the homeless unless first approved by the county". Basically all these places would prefer the homeless and needy just to GO AWAY, perfectly encapsulated by this charming comment from a local blogger, calling him-/her-self Justin Credible, in response to a wisecrack on NBC's Tonight show by Jay Leno that it would be far better to make it illegal to feed a lot of the VERY FAT PEOPLE one sees 'waddling' (this is my comment from personal observation - Ed.) around Disney World:

"Feeding the homeless only encourages more homelessness. Less Homeless Less Problems Better Place to Live."

I don't doubt that for some people the presence of the indigent near their properties or businesses is 'upsetting' and perceived as 'detrimental', but the callousness of these laws should act as a reality check for anyone who goes to Orlando or other popular tourist destinations on a vacation with the firm intention of spending significant sums to enjoy themselves.
(thru Jay at The Council of Lemurs in Tallahassee, FL who himself lives very close to the breadline and whose blog I have been following for a number of years, indeed it was one of the first blogs I ever linked to when I began this blog way back in April 2002.)

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