Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Photos From Possibly Last Legal Sharing Of Food By Food Not Bombs In Houston—Annise Parker Says It Has To Stop

(Blogger’s update 3/21/12–Mayor Parker has changed the ordiance and the issue remains before Houston City Council. I’ll have more to say about this in the days ahead.) 

This evening I attended that may be the last legal sharing of food here in Houston by Food Not Bombs.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Houston City Council are considering a city ordinance that would criminalize some acts of sharing food with the homeless in Houston.

Above you see what may soon be illegal.

These proposed restrictions would be the third city ordinance directed at the homeless in Houston in nine months. 

In her inaugural address a few months back, Mayor Parker said the homeless would be a focus of her administration in her second term.

I guess she was not lying.

Councilwoman Helena Brown was at the Food Not Bombs food sharing tonight.

Above you see Ms. Brown speaking to a citizen of Houston.

While Councilwoman Brown is a right-wing extremist who denies fulltime hours and access to City of Houston health insurance to her staff, it is good that she was present this evening.

Councilwoman Brown is right to see this proposed ordinance as overreach by government.

Above you see a final photo of the events of this evening.

The American flag is quite appropriate here as people in need are offered help by their fellow citizens.

I’m sorry that Annise Parker has a problem with the scene in the photo above, and that she is engaging in a legislative barrage against the homeless in Houston.

As it stands now, the Houston City Council meeting at 2 PM on Tuesday, 3/20 will be when this ordinance is discussed and possibly voted on.

Call the Mayor and members of Council to make your voice heard.

March 20, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

16 Comments »

  1. this is absolutely FANTASTIC – thank you so much for writing this article and attending the festivities tonight.
    .dena yanowski.

    Comment by Pancho and Leftey | March 20, 2012

  2. I’m curious because I’ve only heard hints of this up here, but did your homeless population grow significantly after Katrina? Wondering if some of the hostility to the homeless you’ve been mentioning might have to do with some resentment of Katrina refugees. Or if it’s just regular mean-spiritedness.

    Comment by Brendan Halpin (@bhalpin) | March 20, 2012

  3. Pancho & Leftey–Thank you.

    Brendan–I think at lot of it is being pushed by developers and downtown ficiancial interests who want the homeless confined to certain areas and out of sight. Money is driving a lot of this, as well as some of the larger homeless charities who seem to be in a turf war with others who are also serving the homeless.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | March 20, 2012

  4. I participated last night with my family…hope this sharing and love will not become a crime….will be speaking at City Hall today

    Comment by Pancho and Leftey | March 20, 2012

  5. What, exactly, are they making illegal? Feeding the homeless, period? Or just feeding the homeless in certain areas of Houston? This seems to be idiotic legislation–even for conservatives.

    Comment by Persto | March 20, 2012

  6. “This seems to be idiotic legislation–even for conservatives.”

    What on earth makes you think it was enacted by conservatives?

    That’s not a rhetorical question — please provide the reasons underlying your belief.

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | March 21, 2012

  7. “That’s not a rhetorical question — please provide the reasons underlying your belief.”

    It was a misleading statement written in haste. I meant that this would be idiotic legislation, even, if it were coming from conservatives–who have a track record of disliking the poor and homeless. In other words, I could understand–it would still be ignorant, but I could understand–this being a facet of the conservative agenda, but not Mayor Parker’s. It was poorly executed, I know.

    Comment by Persto | March 22, 2012

  8. I don’t know why you’d expect conservatives to propose something like this. It’s a new regulation that expands the power of local government, restricts property rights and limits the voluntary action of individuals. We hate all that stuff!

    In addition, we believe private charitable action outperforms government programs in helping people for a number of reasons. First, it’s more honestly motivated. Its voluntary nature means its participants are likely to work harder and more efficiently. It operates at ground level, where the information needed to make decisions is found. It’s more nimble and responsive.

    That’s why we seek opportunities to expand the role of private charity and contract the role of government social programs.

    But such a proposal would be entirely in keeping with Parker’s track record. I don’t mean some personal animus against homeless people, but her approach to governing in general. She has sought to expand both the reach and the detail of regulation on everything from handing out sandwiches to fixing cars, and she seldom appreciates — or even acknowledges the existence of — unintended consequences.

    You went with a caricature: conservatives are mean, we hate the homeless. I hope you’ll rethink your caricature and consider that it might just be wrong.

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | March 23, 2012

  9. I’m not convinced as to the greater honesty or competence of charities. I’m not convinced of the full honesty or competence of many organizations whether non-profit, government, or business.

    Many people get into government with the idea of helping people. That was my experience in my three years in Cincinnati city government. Putting aside goals that people may disagree with, many in government care about what they are doing.

    While Mayor Parker often announces herself as a conservative in economic matters, it is the case that this anti-homeless ordinance does not come from folks we normally view as conservatives. That said, a conservative hostility to the poor is a reasonable enough thing to discuss. It is often the most vulnerable that conservatives seem to go after the most while defending lower taxes for the most wealthy.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | March 23, 2012

  10. “In addition, we believe private charitable action outperforms government programs in helping people for a number of reasons. First, it’s more honestly motivated. Its voluntary nature means its participants are likely to work harder and more efficiently. It operates at ground level, where the information needed to make decisions is found. It’s more nimble and responsive.”

    Charities are great, but only if regulated by the government you seem to want to contract. Would you have unregulated charities? Do you know where that would lead?

    “That’s why we seek opportunities to expand the role of private charity and contract the role of government social programs.”

    Really? It has naught to do with tax write offs for the wealthy and corporations, huh? Wait you mean religious charities; not private, right?

    “You went with a caricature: conservatives are mean, we hate the homeless. I hope you’ll rethink your caricature and consider that it might just be wrong.”

    That is not an exaggeration! It is the facts, my friend. Here are a few: Corbett making it tougher to get food stamps, Republicans battling against food assistance for poor children, the GOP trying to privatize Social Security, GOP hoping to repeal health care reform and–go figure–the Wall Street reform bill, Medicaid–health care for poor people–taking a trillion dollar cut, tax cuts for the rich, and cutting programs that are, specifically, designed to help the poor like Head Start, Public Housing Capital Fund, WIC, Pell Grants, and Texas is trying to cut Planned Parenthood.

    Should we get started on the GOP’s demands for the tax deal?

    As I said, not an exaggeration; just facts.

    Comment by Persto | March 23, 2012

  11. Also, do you have evidence that charities “outperform government programs?” Probably not. Is it just anecdotal evidence?

    Comment by Persto | March 23, 2012

  12. “Really? It has naught to do with tax write offs for the wealthy and corporations, huh?”

    Really. I’m curious what tax benefits you think there are for charitable contributions. You appear to be suggesting that I just want tax breaks.

    You do realize that the tax break for charitable contributions is a small fraction of the contribution, right? I don’t think you understand how income tax deductions work.

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | March 26, 2012

  13. Yeah they deduct 15 percent of their taxable income for charitable donations!

    Individuals may deduct a maximum of up to 50% of their adjusted gross income for the tax year the donation was given.

    You don’t think it is about tax breaks then remove the tax write offs and see what happens to charitable donations from corporations and the wealthy.

    Comment by Persto | March 26, 2012

  14. Persto, in every case, the break for deducting a charitable contribution is smaller than the charitable contribution. It is impossible to make money by charitable-contribution tax break. Do you really think a rich guy gives a $1 million donation to the opera (or whatever) merely so he can get the deduction?

    Do you know of anyone who made a charitable contribution because of the tax break? What were the circumstances?

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | March 26, 2012

  15. Also, do you have evidence that charities “outperform government programs?” Probably not.

    Sure. Take a look at average SAT scores for graduates of Catholic high schools compared to public high schools, even after adjusting for things like race and socioeconomic stratum. Or look at the Salvation Army vs. FEMA in New Orleans after Katrina.

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | March 27, 2012

  16. Does your regulations say that churches can’t have a pantry collection of stables,uncooked to hand out to needy families in their communities.This is a big concern.Get some information in the chronicle to explain your thinking on this matter. Connie

    Comment by connie johnson | August 5, 2012


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