Saturday, February 18, 2017
Feeding the Homeless: Activist Stands Up to City Government
Most people are used to seeing signs that say, “don’t feed the animals,” as those signs are posted in parks and zoos. What no one expects to see, however, are signs that say “Do not feed the people,” right?
One of the oldest traditions of Western civilization is giving alms to the poor, including feeding the homeless. The City of Los Angeles almost made it illegal to feed the homeless. This is how a group of activists stopped big government in its tracks.
In 2013, Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge introduced a motion before the City Council prohibiting anyone from feeding the homeless in public rights of way (sidewalks, street corners, open areas). The councilmen justified the motion on health and food safety reasons. Libertarian activist Angela McArdle had a problem with the motion.
“Who are they to tell the people they’re not allowed to help the needy?” says McArdle. According to the paralegal and Libertarian activist, she and her friends have been feeding the homeless for years. LaBonge’s rationalization for the motion was that it protected the homeless from food poisoning from improperly prepared food. If people wanted to help them, they would have to incorporate, become accountable to the IRS, open a kitchen, and have their facilities inspected by city, county, state, and federal bureaucrats.