Fort Lauderdale commissioner asks to suspend homeless feeding ordinance

Commissioner Dean Trantalis calls for suspension of anti-feeding ordinance

By Bob Norman - Investigative Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Fort Lauderdale city commissioner made an impassioned plea Tuesday to suspend the controversial ordinance that makes feeding the homeless publicly illegal, leading to a number of arrests.

After 15 days of worldwide attention and 11 people charged criminally so far with feeding the homeless, Commissioner Dean Trantalis said Tuesday that enough is enough.

"We need to stop what is going on because it's only hurting the homeless," said Trantalis. "It's hurting us as a city. Our community is shamed as a result of what we've done."

Trantalis called for a suspension of the anti-feeding ordinance until churches can fill the hunger gap created when the city restricted good Samaritan groups from feeding in public places.

"We can't keep saying that, you know, there are churches and there are facilities to help the homeless when, in fact, they don't exist," said Trantalis.

Mayor Jack Seiler has publicly claimed the city had set up additional feeding sites and there were daily feelings available.

Related: Pastor: Mayor's claims about daily homeless feedings false

City officials admitted Tuesday that quote assumptions were made and the additional feedings don't yet exist, but Commissioner Romney Rogers and Seiler -- who arrived at the meeting late -- said it's not the city's job to make sure food is available after their ban took effect.

"I don't think that's our charge to take on that role in this community," said Rogers. "...We don't have the resources and we don't have the time."

Seiler agreed.

"I've had no citizen come to me and say we ought to take on that role of being the provider," said Seiler.

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