In secret, behind locked gates, our Nation's Oldest City dumped a landfill in a lake (Old City Reservoir), while emitting sewage in our rivers and salt marsh. Organized citizens exposed and defeated pollution, racism and cronyism. We elected a new Mayor. We're transforming our City -- advanced citizenship. Ask questions. Make disclosures. Demand answers. Be involved. Expect democracy. Report and expose corruption. Smile! Help enact a St. Augustine National Park and Seashore. We shall overcome!
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Should we make alms-giving a crime? (SAR)
Letter from Sunday, November 26, 2017 St. Augustine Record:
‘Please don’t feed the panhandlers’
Editor: There has been a lot of ink discussing how to prevent bothersome panhandlers on St. George street, with minimum results. Why not attack from another direction? I believe there is a statewide law against feeding alligators and other wildlife.
If so, this leads to a hefty fine. Fort Lauderdale and other Beach towns have large fines for feeding seagulls, because that led to them swiping hot dogs off some grills.
So, why not start with signage warning tourists not to give money to bums who refuse to work? Follow that with a $25 fine if the sign is ignored. Other than bums, the only others against such a proposal would be liquor store owners.
1. It would likely be unconstitutional for City Commission to impement the repressive notion in Jack Knee of Nocatee's letter (urging fines for people giving money to the homeless). 2. The Citizens United case held that money equals speech under our First Amendment. 3. If you choose to give a dollar to a panhandler or a street musician or a charitable fundraising bell ringer during the Christmas holidays, that's your business. It's also probably First Amendment protected activity. Jack Knee's notion of criminalizing alms-giving is immoral, illegal and unAmerican. 4. There's no compassion or love in Jack Knee's angry letter. Pray for him and for those privileged but tortured souls, who vent hate directed against the less fortunate.