[Hpn] Las Vegas sued by ACLU over homeless feeding law

William Charles Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Thu, 03 Aug 2006 04:29:54 -0400


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http://www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/2006/08/03/vegas-homeless-suit.htm=
l

Las Vegas sued by ACLU over homeless feeding law
Last Updated Thu, 03 Aug 2006 00:30:16 EDT
The Associated Press
Activists sued Wednesday to strike down a Las Vegas law that makes it =
illegal to feed homeless people in parks. =20

The law violates free speech, free assembly and other rights, says the =
federal suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.

The suit was filed on behalf of five activists and the local chapter of =
Food Not Bombs, a national organization that describes its objective as =
"sharing free vegetarian food with hungry people and protesting war and =
poverty."

The group and its members regularly served meals to homeless people in a =
Las Vegas park, angering neighbours and sparking the debate that led to =
the ordinance, passed July 19.

It prohibits "providing food or meals to the indigent for free or for a =
nominal fee" in a city park and defines indigent as a person whom a =
reasonable ordinary person would believe to be entitled to county public =
assistance.

Violators face a fine up to $1,000 and as many as six months in jail. =
Seven people have been issued summonses, and three have been arrested.

Lee Rowland, public advocate for the ACLU of Nevada, called the =
ordinance "immoral" and "embarrassing for the city."

"Its language violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment =
by "requiring people to make a snap judgment about others based on how =
they look," she said.

City attorney Brad Jerbic said he had not seen the suit, but planned to =
defend the law and the city council, which is named in the complaint =
along with Mayor Oscar Goodman, the city manager, city marshals and =
police.

The law was aimed at the advocates' activities in Huntridge Circle park =
near downtown, Jerbic said. Their mobile meals program drew homeless =
people away from shelters and health providers.

"The shelters provide food, beds, counselling services and doctors," he =
said. "What this is doing is, it's pulling them away from services and =
abandoning them in these parks."=20





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<H1 class=3Dheadline><A=20
href=3D"http://www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/2006/08/03/vegas-homeless-=
suit.html">http://www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/2006/08/03/vegas-homele=
ss-suit.html</A></H1>
<H1 class=3Dheadline>&nbsp;</H1>
<H1 class=3Dheadline>Las Vegas sued by ACLU over homeless feeding =
law</H1>
<H4 class=3Dlastupdated>Last Updated Thu, 03 Aug 2006 00:30:16 EDT</H4>
<H5 class=3Dbyline>
<DIV class=3Dtext>The Associated Press</DIV></H5></DIV>
<DIV class=3Dclearfix id=3Dstory>
<DIV id=3Dstorybody>
<P>Activists sued Wednesday to strike down a Las Vegas&nbsp;law that =
makes it=20
illegal to feed homeless people in parks.&nbsp;&nbsp;</P>
<P>The law violates free speech, free assembly and other rights, says =
the=20
federal suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.</P>
<P>The suit was filed on behalf of five activists and the local chapter =
of Food=20
Not Bombs, a national organization that describes its objective as =
"sharing free=20
vegetarian food with hungry people and protesting war and poverty."</P>
<P>The group and its members regularly served meals to homeless people =
in a Las=20
Vegas park, angering neighbours and sparking the debate that led to the=20
ordinance, passed July 19.</P>
<P>It prohibits "providing food or meals to the indigent for free or for =
a=20
nominal fee" in a city park and defines indigent as a person whom a =
reasonable=20
ordinary person would believe to be entitled to county public =
assistance.</P>
<P>Violators face a fine up to $1,000 and as many as six months in jail. =
Seven=20
people have been issued summonses, and three have been arrested.</P>
<P>Lee Rowland, public advocate for the ACLU of Nevada, called the =
ordinance=20
"immoral" and "embarrassing for the city."</P>
<P>"Its language violates the equal protection clause of the 14th =
Amendment by=20
"requiring people to make a snap judgment about others based on how they =
look,"=20
she said.</P>
<P>City attorney Brad Jerbic said he had not seen the suit, but planned =
to=20
defend the law and the city council, which is named in the complaint =
along with=20
Mayor Oscar Goodman, the city manager, city marshals and police.</P>
<P>The law was aimed at the advocates' activities in Huntridge Circle =
park near=20
downtown, Jerbic said. Their mobile meals program drew homeless people =
away from=20
shelters and health providers.</P>
<P>"The shelters provide food, beds, counselling services and doctors," =
he said.=20
"What this is doing is, it's pulling them away from services and =
abandoning them=20
in these parks." </P><BR></DIV></DIV></DIV>

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