ST. PETERSBURG PLANNING TO CRACK DOWN ON THE HOMELESS?

04/05/06

Our guest, Rev. Bruce Wright of the Refuge says that: In St. Petersburg, homeless men and women sleep along the waterfront on Bayshore Drive SE, around Mirror Lake and elsewhere. St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker proposed a “no-camping� ordinance that would ban the homeless from sleeping along St. Petersburg’s waterfront and parks. To the relief of homeless advocates both in and out of St. Petersburg government, he withdrew the original proposal. Now the proposal is back, taking the form of an ordinance that extends park boundaries to curbs and seawalls, and to the edges of lakes, streams and Tampa Bay. This is still the “no-camping� ordinance, but using a different approach.

It is already illegal to sleep in parks, and Mayor Baker’s ordinance would allow police to arrest homeless men and women sleeping where they legally sleep now. The homeless have already been moved from Bayshore Drive to make room for the St. Petersburg Grand Prix. If Mayor Baker’s new proposal passes, they will not be able to return.

The issue will be discussed tomorrrow @ 9AM by the St. Petersburg City Council

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