Fort Lauderdale mayor Jack Seiler lied about his city’s capacity to feed the homeless after 90-year-old WWII veteran and advocate for the homeless Arnold Abbott’s arrest attracted national media coverage, Pastor Frank Pontillo says.
To assuage the resulting firestorm, Mayor Seiler told media that "there are dozens and dozens” of locations for feeding the homeless and “we're working with some 70 churches, some 20-plus organizations – they're all feeding on a regular and daily basis."
But, Pastor Frank Pontillo tells Local Channel 10 that the mayor is lying. His church is one of four in the city that feeds the homeless, and it only has the capacity to do so every four days. The other three the homeless have to fend for themselves. There are not daily feedings for the homeless anywhere in Fort Lauderdale, he says.
“Seiler needs to stop misleading the public, and show real leadership,” said Pastor Pontillo.
“Hopefully you will confront him,” Pontillo said to Bob Norman, a reporter with the local ABC10 station.
When the mayor is confronted, he accuses the local reporter of ambushing him and says he has “no idea” where the “dozens and dozens” of feeding sites for the homeless are.
Homeless advocate Arnold Abbott doesn’t know where the sites Seiler refers to are, either, and was cited again last week for feeding the homeless on the beach.
And although the mayor doesn't know where the feeding sites for the homeless actually are, one thing the city has done is to budget $25,000 to buy one-way bus tickets for any homeless “who would like to leave town.”
As I previously reported, Fort Lauderdale’s laws:
“Limit where outdoor feeding sites can be located, requires the permission of property owners and says the groups have to provide portable toilets,” according to the Sun-Sentinel.
It is also illegal to sleep in public places in Fort Lauderdale’s downtown and to beg for money at major intersections, reports local station WLRN.
Homeless advocates call these types of ordinances, “homeless hate laws,” although city officials insist that’s not the case.