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6/21/2007

Columns

MAIL SACK

 

Need to know

I appreciated the in-depth story last week about Orlando’s downtown venues [“One of these things is not like the others,” June 14]. Unlike the Sentinel, Jeffrey Billman really did his research and revealed significant information that taxpayers need to know.

Sandy Womble, via the Internet

Agreed: Patty should go

In her response to Bob Whitby’s article [“Time to go,” May 31], commissioner [Patty] Sheehan makes pretty stupid charges against Food Not Bombs that I wish to address [Letters, June 7]. I have been helping with FNB in Orlando since it got started almost two and a half years ago. In that time, Food Not Bombs has shared food with thousands of hungry people every week in Orlando, having never missed a sharing.

Commissioner Sheehan claims, “The problem is the unstructured environment bringing 100 desperate people who need services into a city park, leaving them there until dark and then walking away.” Unstructured environment? Our sharings are very organized and orderly, with people even washing their own dishes when they are finished enjoying our delicious meals. And yes, I do help bring people who need services into the park, but I also help provide them services, such as a hot healthy meal, jokes and smiles, a conversation, and often times clothing. And if a person or two is there when I leave the park at night, so what? The park is not yet closed when I leave, so people have every right to be there if they wish.

Commissioner Sheehan talks about how “one woman had her purse snatched and arm cut, one man was beaten up and robbed of his birthday present (a shirt and some socks), and one man was mugged outside of his building. What do all of these have in common? All happened in the vicinity of Lake Eola Park; all were committed by transients.” Sounds like the police have bigger problems than worrying about how many people are eating in a park. Poverty causes crime; poverty relief does not.

Commissioner Sheehan mentions that there are currently 16 homeless service providers in Orlando. Make it 17, including Food Not Bombs. It’s not like there can be too many services to the homeless in Orlando, or too much free food going around. Also, the feeding area provided by the city at Sylvia Lane is at a dangerous location where people have been beaten to death. Doesn’t sound to me like a good place to serve families and vulnerable people.

The last assertion that commissioner Sheehan makes is that “this is not about helping the hungry. It is about a small group of people being led by a convicted felon inciting instability and chaos in someone else’s neighborhood.” Of course it is about helping the hungry. Why else would I help give people food? Also, Food Not Bombs is a collective, there is no leader, and all decisions are made based on consensus. I think it is interesting how an older male is always dubbed our “leader.”

Sheehan says Food Not Bombs is inciting chaos and instability. Are you kidding me? I help give away food to poor people. I don’t run around the city vandalizing buildings, burning cars and murdering people. However, the city sure seems to spend a lot of time and tax money worrying about soup as opposed to addressing the real causes of instability, like drugs, a record-breaking murder rate and violent crime.

I agree. It is time for Patty to go.

Adam Ulrich, via the Internet

Kudos to Faiyaz

Just wanted to say, quite belatedly, thank you so much for your wonderful review [“Tea totally,” Food & Drink, May 17]. It’s always great to have a reporter who fully understands what we are about and who is about able to write about [Dandelion Communitea Café] without the “good-even-though-they-are-vegetarian” disclaimer. And, thanks to your fact-checking, I updated our website to say that we are the first to get the approval in the Southeast, since we are now not the only ones. I got to go get me some pizza! Can’t wait to see us as one of many green restaurants!

Not to be overly kind, but you do have a way with words. I’m so glad that the Weekly brought you on board.

Julie Norris, Orlando

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