The city “Built by Disney” – Orlando, FL – is struggling with it’s image across the globe. Orlando is locked in a bitter dispute over the centrally located Lake Eola Park with an anti-poverty group called Food Not Bombs.
While arrests are piling up in this family destination city, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is trying to make sure that the media doesn’t turn on him for the city’s seemingly petty and harsh restrictions regarding permits organizations need to feed homeless citizens.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Food Not Bombs have ramped up efforts to feed Orlando’s homeless, providing people with vegetarian and vegan meals in Orlando’s most visited park in the city.
“With a political opponent, you can either negotiate, compromise or disagree,” said lobbyist and political analyst Dick Batchelor. “This organization seems to have a very strident political message, and I’m not sure they’re interested in a resolution.”
Further complicating the peaceful organization’s goals, police are not only swooping in with handcuffs, but hackers from the cyber-activist group, Anonymous, are attacking Orlando’s cyber-territory in solidarity and bad publicity is being generated worldwide.
“We are not connected to Anonymous at all. We have no connection. They do not consult us on anything that they do. We don’t support what they do. We don’t condemn it. We have no comment on Anonymous,” said Brock Monroe, of Orlando Food Not Bombs.
Orlando city officials are on the verge of looking tyrannical and draconian in the eyes of the world because it’s hard to defend arresting anti-poverty activists, who are also peaceful. Mayor Dyer says he’s concerned about the safety of having thousands of homeless people in an area shared by children, but he has yet to provide the organization with an equally accessible alternative.
“We are an anti-poverty activist organization. Our literature is equally as important as the food we share,” member Mark Stephens said. “The city doesn’t want to give us something equivalent to the park.”
A resolution to this issue doesn’t seem possible in the near future. In addition to distributing food, Food Not Bombs pushes a political message of ending poverty. Alternative feeding sites have been offered, but members say they won’t consider a location unless it meets both political and food-distribution needs.
FrugiVoice: Do you feel Orlando’s Mayor should allow Food Not Bombs to feed the homeless in the city’s most visited park?