Earlier this week, Broward Circuit Judge Thomas Lynch ordered the city of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to temporarily stop enforcing a new ban restricting the feeding of the city’s homeless, the Sun Sentinel reported.
The decision came in the wake of a case involving Arnold Abbott, a “90-year-old World War II veteran and retired jewelry salesman who has been feeding homeless people at the beach for year.”
The ban took effect on Halloween, and limited the locations where outdoor feeding would be allowed, and required volunteers and groups to get permission from property owners. It also required the groups to provide portable toilets.
“We’re elated the judge has entered the stay,” said Abbott’s attorney, John David.
“We’ve been trying to find some amicable resolution,” said Ft. Lauderdale mayor, Jack Seiler. “We hope that Mr. Abbott meets us halfway. We’ve asked him to meet us halfway in the past.”
Saying that he would prefer to enforce the ordinance, Seiler said he was confused by the judge’s decision.
“[W]hether the judge was trying to take a little steam off the kettle, whether the judge was trying to give a little period of quiet during the holidays,” said Seiler, “I’m not sure what was the logic behind his decision.”
The logic behind Judge Lynch’s decision is probably a simple one: compassion. Abbott’s group, Love Thy Neighbor, and others like it provide a service for the city’s most unfortunate residents. Volunteers don’t make money off feeding the homeless; they do it because it is the right thing to do.