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#1 2012-03-06 22:31:12

Kevin
Administrator
From: Tanglewilde
Registered: 2004-09-08
Posts: 6,929

Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

Houston’s Plan to Criminalize Charity - Marc Levin and Tim Cook, Texas Public Policy Foundation

Houston City Council will be considering an ordinance (see page 32) today which would criminalize the giving of food to the needy without permits or complying with a long list of regulations. The offense for helping others in a way that is not approved by city bureaucrats is a fine of up to $2,000 a day, with each new day of renegade charitable giving classified a separate offense.

The reasoning behind the law seems to have little sense and the enforcement mechanism in place makes even less sense. People and non-profit organizations shouldn’t be deterred from helping others due to government red tape. With no requirement of a culpable mental state for conviction (mens rea), those who will most likely suffer are those who had no idea such a statute existed or attempted to comply but made a mistake when trying to follow cumbersome regulations.

About that road paved with good intentions - Cory Crow, No Upgrades

When I first saw this story i thought it was something that came from The Onion.

Indeed.

While Mayor Parker imagines that an anti-gay cabal is responsible for her narrow avoidance of a runoff last fall, we would submit instead that her policy misadventures such as the rain tax (in which she and supporters misled the public about the cost), massive water-rate increases, massive fee increases, and dithering for quite some time on red-light cameras before finally terminating them all contributed to her poor showing. Add the recent effort to overregulate auto mechanics and now this proposal to criminalize charitable feeding of the poor to the list of misadventures.



Link to post:  http://www.bloghouston.net/item/8908

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#2 2012-03-06 22:48:45

9HlpHouHomeless
Member
Registered: 2012-03-06
Posts: 10

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

Dear Ms. Parker try being honest. All the people who helped reelect me especially the rich don’t want homeless people around. The people I know that hand out food that is prepared in a Houston inspected kitchen and have food handling permits. All people no matter their circumstance deserve dignity & respect. It is easier to look the other way at the intersection yet is that WJWD? So when you hypocrites are getting ready to get in your nice cozy warm bed tonight you I ask one small favor, please go to the mirror and take a good look at yourself if the person you’re looking at doesn’t need some kind of help then you certainly have made the right decision. Yet if there is area’s that you’re not perfect maybe you may find it in your heart to help the homeless.

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#3 2012-03-06 22:59:50

Ross
Member
Registered: 2010-08-31
Posts: 61

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

Having lived in a part of town where do gooders come to feed the homeless and leave piles of trash and other crap all over, this ordinance took way to long to appear. I was in several meetings where touch feely types from Katy and other parts of the area talked about the good work they do. They weren't at all interested in cleaning up the mess their acts of charity create. To hell with them, bring on the regulations.

If you want to feed the homeless, either build a dedicated location, or do it your neighborhood.

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#4 2012-03-07 00:26:15

9HlpHouHomeless
Member
Registered: 2012-03-06
Posts: 10

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

I do live in Houston. And I serve on a community outreach which also addresses several issues and yes homelessness. You refer to me a do gooder yet you may see me in your neighborhood cleaning up graffiti. Or maybe helping repair a senior citizens porch and painting in order to improve a neighborhood. Did I say picking up trash we collected 57 bags on Memorial last month. So yes I’m quite possibility guilty of do gooding. Quite frankly I don’t give a hell what you think because when I lay my head down at night I can sleep well knowing I’m at least trying to do the right thing not just thinking of myself. #Diginity #Respect If you have a chance please look up you may learn something today yet I doubt due to the blinders you wear.

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#5 2012-03-07 07:07:09

Kevin
Administrator
From: Tanglewilde
Registered: 2004-09-08
Posts: 6,929

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

Ross: Having lived in the "developing" part of Midtown not that long ago (closer to 59 than to the mixed-use developments closer to Montrose), I'll agree that litter can be a problem related to the soup kitchen outreach. But, this ordinance seems a bit like using a bazooka to deal with a gnat if that were the main motivation of its proponents.

9HlpHouHomeless: Welcome to the forums. It's good to have some new blood around here.

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#6 2012-03-07 11:00:03

Sedosi
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From: Hanging with the road kill
Registered: 2005-05-04
Posts: 1,011
Website

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

It's always tempting to push for regulation of that which we don't like, while railing against "excessive" regulation of what we like.  In my view, this ordinance is an overreach and will catch too many honest dolphins in a poorly designed net that won't nab many tuna.


Taking long walks off the short pier of sanity.

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#7 2012-03-07 12:29:11

IHB2
Member
Registered: 2006-05-06
Posts: 291

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

Sedosi wrote:

It's always tempting to push for regulation of that which we don't like, while railing against "excessive" regulation of what we like.  In my view, this ordinance is an overreach and will catch too many honest dolphins in a poorly designed net that won't nab many tuna.

All that aaaand it won't be enforced b/c it's not enforceable without dedicated manpower.

I completely understand the desire of the food pantries and other homeless services to rationalize delivery of aid to the homeless population by forcing that population to a finite # of locations for services, but this just can't work.

Reminds me of the day labor site with air conditioned waiting area, basketball court, restrooms, etc that the county built on the corner of Westpark and Renwick in the Gulfton barrio - within days the more entrepreneurial laborers were back to standing on Westpark to intercept employers before they got to the masses waiting at the site. Within a month the only workers at the site were the ones who didn't want to work.

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#8 2012-03-07 16:43:39

9HlpHouHomeless
Member
Registered: 2012-03-06
Posts: 10

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

Sedosi wrote:

It's always tempting to push for regulation of that which we don't like, while railing against "excessive" regulation of what we like.  In my view, this ordinance is an overreach and will catch too many honest dolphins in a poorly designed net that won't nab many tuna.

Sedosi very well put A+

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#9 2012-03-07 19:01:08

9HlpHouHomeless
Member
Registered: 2012-03-06
Posts: 10

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

Kevin wrote:

Ross: Having lived in the "developing" part of Midtown not that long ago (closer to 59 than to the mixed-use developments closer to Montrose), I'll agree that litter can be a problem related to the soup kitchen outreach. But, this ordinance seems a bit like using a bazooka to deal with a gnat if that were the main motivation of its proponents.

9HlpHouHomeless: Welcome to the forums. It's good to have some new blood around here.

Thanks spend most of my online time tweeting kinda found you by mistake tweeting about feeding homeless.

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#10 2012-03-07 21:28:39

Ross
Member
Registered: 2010-08-31
Posts: 61

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

So, Kevin, can I come set up a homeless feed in your neighborhood? Pass out some food that's been off temperature for a while, and not have any trash cans?

9Hlp, good for you. Cleaning graffiti and picking up trash are good things. I do those on occasion as well, the trash part anyway. Feeding the homeless in a neighborhood where you don't live and have no personal stake is wrong. Let the agencies that have the appropriate facilities do the work - donate what you would have spent on food to them.Ad hoc feeding of the homeless is counter productive, and, in many cases, causes far more harm than good.

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#11 2012-03-08 00:21:32

9HlpHouHomeless
Member
Registered: 2012-03-06
Posts: 10

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

Ross wrote:

So, Kevin, can I come set up a homeless feed in your neighborhood? Pass out some food that's been off temperature for a while, and not have any trash cans?

9Hlp, good for you. Cleaning graffiti and picking up trash are good things. I do those on occasion as well, the trash part anyway. Feeding the homeless in a neighborhood where you don't live and have no personal stake is wrong. Let the agencies that have the appropriate facilities do the work - donate what you would have spent on food to them.Ad hoc feeding of the homeless is counter productive, and, in many cases, causes far more harm than good.

Ross a homeless person living under a bridge in the heights how does he get fed downtown every day. Or are you suggesting they all move downtown next to the overcrowded missions that are at overcapacity. There are 13,000 homeless with in Houston zip codes. I quote you ( Feeding the homeless in a neighborhood where you don't live and have no personal stake is wrong ) I'm really not a real religious guy yet do believe in a God and only by your ignorant comments I'm going to guess that I'm older and wiser than you so. I'm going to do you a favor when I get to those white pearly gates in heaven I'm going to tell the guy up there to watch out for you As you quote the Hell with the homeless. Yet today is your lucky day before I go to sleep tonight I’m going 2 say a prayer for you.

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#12 2012-03-08 19:54:30

Ross
Member
Registered: 2010-08-31
Posts: 61

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

We obviously aren't going to agree on the reasonableness of people coming into slightly seedy parts of town to spend a few minutes feeding the homeless while leaving litter and destruction in their wake. I don't think it's unreasonable for any group that is feeding more than one or two people to be required to follow food safety guidelines, and be responsible for the impact of their acts. Are the potential penalties excessive? Perhaps, but that's a separate issue.

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#13 2012-03-08 21:02:06

9HlpHouHomeless
Member
Registered: 2012-03-06
Posts: 10

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

looking for feedback? Every year I’m invited to the rodeo for customer appreciation night. While I’m there I actually go to visit 3-4 vendors that I do business with there. Basically at each one of these tents I’m served choice of steak, ribs, chicken, shrimp hamburger, hotdogs ect ect. The people serving me are my sales representatives from these companies. I know for sure there not certified food handlers and here they are feeding the masses.
      Ross I finally got your point about the trash left behind and honestly when you serve bag lunches even if you pickup while you’re there will be trash left behind after the fact. So your point is duly noted.

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#14 2012-03-08 21:18:02

Kevin
Administrator
From: Tanglewilde
Registered: 2004-09-08
Posts: 6,929

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

Ross wrote:

So, Kevin, can I come set up a homeless feed in your neighborhood? Pass out some food that's been off temperature for a while, and not have any trash cans?.

There are some parking lots surrounding Tanglewilde that might just work for that purpose.

I'm not that bothered by the idea of private charities or just charitable individuals securing access to those lots and feeding the homeless in this area, without Ma Parker's guiding hand (overly heavy, in my opinion).

But I will agree that yes, it would probably cause a litter problem, and perhaps even a spike in crime. Neither of those things are desirable. I'd hope the neighborhood associations could find a way to work with the charities if such a thing came to pass.

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#15 2012-03-14 21:57:27

rorschach
Member
From: Spring, Texas
Registered: 2005-01-05
Posts: 3,926
Website

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

sounds familiar somehow.... in more ways than one...

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2012/0 … -homeless/


http://redinktexas.blogspot.com/
"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
Samuel Adams

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#16 2012-03-14 23:38:03

9HlpHouHomeless
Member
Registered: 2012-03-06
Posts: 10

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

Great article Thanks. If you look at this closely another major shelter is objective one has 2 ask why? These major shelters are all about numbers and there funding is appropiated likwise. The point I will make in both cases is not the homeless within walking distance from the shelters yet the majority of homeless that don't have a steady meal. The kitchen I volunter for has a Houston inspected Kitchen as well as food handling permits they aren't serving out of a trunk of a car it is a orginized program.

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#17 2012-03-15 00:06:23

rorschach
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From: Spring, Texas
Registered: 2005-01-05
Posts: 3,926
Website

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

If feeding homeless is your thing, great. Personally I think it encourages more homelessness. But I don't agree with the idea that the only people that can be allowed to feed them are the big organizations that have a big monetary interest in doing it. It is not the city's business one way or another. The city should spend more time and effort going after the 96 million that METRO still owes. Or fixing drainage instead of building more bike trails that nobody uses for fear of being mugged or raped.


http://redinktexas.blogspot.com/
"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
Samuel Adams

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#18 2012-03-15 08:48:18

Ross
Member
Registered: 2010-08-31
Posts: 61

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

And making sure that the people serving food to the homeless clean up after their "act of kindness" and know enough about food safety to keep the homeless out of the hospital with food borne illness. I don't want to see some group of Katy based do gooders dropping off a bunch of food then heading back to their white bread world, feeling good about themselves, while leaving trash and general mayhem in their wake. Those morons ought to be arrested and forced to clean up the mess they leave. And I still think that feeding the homeless at random is like feeding feral cats - no good comes out of it, and you spread the problem.

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#19 2012-03-17 09:44:19

Kevin
Administrator
From: Tanglewilde
Registered: 2004-09-08
Posts: 6,929

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

Ross, is there a particular group from Katy you have in mind, or is that reference just a broader complaint about groups from outside the neighborhood more broadly (I'm asking sincerely, because I suspect it's the latter but I want to be sure)?

Barry Klein (of the Houston Property Rights Association and a friend of the blog in general) actively opposes the ordinance, and passes along this list of people/groups who have joined a coalition opposing it. I don't know how well Katy is represented, but it does seem that some of these are from central Houston:

Groups opposed to the anti-sharing amendment
By Jane Same, Nate Custer and 2 others in Houston Keep Sharing Free!
American Rights Association • Christ the Servant Lutheran Church • Dominican Sisters of Houston • Ecclesia Church Simple Feast • Harris County Green Party • House of Amos • Houston Food Not Bombs • Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center • Houston Property Rights Association • Houston United • ISKCON Houston (Hare Krishna Temple) • Last Chance Recovery Center • Last Organic Outpost • Mosque #45, Nation of Islam • National Lawyers Guild, Houston Chapter • Noah's Kitchen • Occupy Houston • Pat Greer's Kitchen • Pax Christi • Shape Community Center • Sinfull Bakery • Stand Up for Kids Houston • Texas Public Policy Foundation • West Houston Assistance Ministries • Houston Property Rights Association • Community Leaders: Deloyd Parker • Minister Robert Muhammad • Reverend Fana, Women's Resource Center • Duane Bradley, KPFT General manager • Houston City Council Member Helena Brown

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#20 2012-03-17 09:55:12

Kevin
Administrator
From: Tanglewilde
Registered: 2004-09-08
Posts: 6,929

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

rorschach wrote:

But I don't agree with the idea that the only people that can be allowed to feed them are the big organizations that have a big monetary interest in doing it. It is not the city's business one way or another.

This is my major complaint about the proposed ordinance.

Mayor Parker has stated that the ordinance is, in part, about making the feeding of homeless more efficient, and more effectively directing resources to that end.

The problem I have with her statements -- and it's a big problem -- is that she seems to think that private charity is just another department to be directed by the mayor's office.*

Now, in the case of the big nonprofits that have tight connections with the city, sure -- the mayor's office ought to exert all the influence it feels is necessary. And I have no problem with the mayor's office cracking down on litter and other problems, which CM Bradford suggests we ought to be able to handle with existing ordinances.

But as a social matter, if the motivation behind the ordinance is, even in part, to crowd out private charity in favor of public/private charitable partnerships favored by whoever occupies the mayor's office.... No, I'm not really in favor of that at all. The Houston Way is not desirable in so many public/private dealings already; I would rather not see it extend more deeply into charitable affairs.


* Further to this -- If she could just manage to run existing departments more effectively, that would be great!

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#21 2012-03-17 12:36:19

9HlpHouHomeless
Member
Registered: 2012-03-06
Posts: 10

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

I am out of breath on this issue. Yet Kevin brings another issue within the issue to light. ( * Further to this -- If she could just manage to run existing departments more effectively, that would be great! ) The city sure does have some major issues to deal with there are neighborhoods that people are afraid to let there kids outside because the drug problem is so great. I have watched houses that more cars are being served than at McDonalds. I have written the mayor several times yet have never had a reply back. If I was to write today reguarding were to send a donation I'm sure a response would be immediate. Our congress is on capital hill drilling Roger Clemans on weather he took steroids to inhance his baseball carrer. When they run out of time they may have Hulk Hogan up next. My point is this country needs jobs not more politics. These regulations are just another way to extort money from a law abiding taxpayer. If the mayor want's to help figure something out she better start with HISD and figure out why there dropout rate and low scores are some of the higest in the nation.

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#22 2012-03-18 19:02:50

Ross
Member
Registered: 2010-08-31
Posts: 61

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

Kevin, originally, the outsiders were mostly from Katy (I forget exactly who), and some storefront group on North Yale. The last time I really got involved personally was when Root Park was closing, and the do gooders proposed moving the  feeds to Baldwin Park. That got the attention of a lot of folks, and we basically told them not to even try to feed the homeless in that park. Since then, I use Katy as an example of people going outside their normal area to "do good".

I can compromise to just requiring food safety training and trash cleanup, along with some restrictions on location. No parks with playground equipment, for instance.

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#23 2012-03-18 19:06:35

Ross
Member
Registered: 2010-08-31
Posts: 61

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

9HlpHouHomeless wrote:

I am out of breath on this issue. Yet Kevin brings another issue within the issue to light. ( * Further to this -- If she could just manage to run existing departments more effectively, that would be great! ) The city sure does have some major issues to deal with there are neighborhoods that people are afraid to let there kids outside because the drug problem is so great. I have watched houses that more cars are being served than at McDonalds. I have written the mayor several times yet have never had a reply back. If I was to write today reguarding were to send a donation I'm sure a response would be immediate. Our congress is on capital hill drilling Roger Clemans on weather he took steroids to inhance his baseball carrer. When they run out of time they may have Hulk Hogan up next. My point is this country needs jobs not more politics. These regulations are just another way to extort money from a law abiding taxpayer. If the mayor want's to help figure something out she better start with HISD and figure out why there dropout rate and low scores are some of the higest in the nation.

Writing the Mayor is useless for getting the attention of HPD. Write to the Captain in charge of that area, and you should get better results. Also, call the non-emergency number from your home phone and your cell phone to report things. Have your neighbors and spouse/room,ates do the same. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

The Mayor has nothing to do with HISD - it's a totally different organization.

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#24 2012-09-25 00:00:45

MyHomeHouston
Member
From: Houston, TX
Registered: 2009-04-22
Posts: 10
Website

Re: Pro-regulation Parker Administration moves to criminalize charitable food service

So if there is a problem with cleanup it makes a lot more sense to make a law about litter.  And if people feeding the homeless don't clean up you have a law in place to deal with the problem.  Outlawing feeding the homeless seems to go beyond the problem (cleanup).   I also want to point out that Jesus would have gone to jail over this law since feeding the homeless was something he prone to do.


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