On September 18, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB-2178, making it the law in California.

We described AB-2178’s new restrictions on the ability of volunteer and non-profit community groups to share free food:  https://sffnb.org/2018/09/14/call-governor-jerry-brown-to-veto-ab-2178-which-would-restrict-our-right-to-share-free-food/

From the text of AB-2178:

The bill would define that operation as an operation for food service to a consumer solely for providing charity, that is conducted by a nonprofit charitable organization, as defined, and whose food service is limited to any of specified functions. The bill would specify that the operation would not include a temporary food facility or a nonprofit charitable temporary food facility, as specified. The bill would prohibit the operation from providing food service unless it has registered with the local enforcement agency, with specified exceptions involving performance of a certain function or operation in conjunction with a food bank, and would require a limited service charitable feeding operation subject to registration, or a food bank, if applicable, to submit certain information to the agency.

In short, AB-2178 would require groups, like San Francisco Food Not Bombs, to register with the local enforcement agency in order to continue sharing free home-cooked meals with anyone who wants one as we have been doing without any incidents or problems for many years.

The California Legislature and Governor Brown have made our sharing of food a misdemeanor crime:  “By creating a new crime and by imposing duties on local officials, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Food Not Bombs does not define itself as a “charitable organization.”  We share food in order to fulfill a basic human need currently unmet by US society.  In addition, as the name indicates, Food Not Bombs is a criticism and protest of the grossly misguided priorities of the political economy.

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The California Assembly and Senate have nearly unanimously passed AB-2178, which would impose new restrictions on individuals and community groups, like San Francisco Food Not Bombs, that share free meals.  If the bill becomes law, we would have to pay to register with local authorities in order to continue to provide mutual aid by sharing free food that would otherwise be discarded.  In general, Food Not Bombs groups are entirely volunteer with almost zero budgets.

Here is the text of AB 2178:  https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB2178

Hunger Action Los Angeles has provided an excellent explanation of AB 2178, including the following important action that you can take now (http://www.hungeractionla.org/news_update_Sep_6th_2018#cgtv090618):

Please call the Governor’s office at 916 445 2841 and ask that AB 2178 be vetoed. After pressing the language selection you can press 6 to speak to a representative.

You can use these talking points:

This bill is potentially a weapon for those who want to erase the homeless from the streets and punish people who are helping the homeless.

  • Volunteer groups feeding the homeless do not have the time to register with a local enforcement agency, nor pay the fees that are allowed by this bill. Adding a layer of bureaucracy on to the activities of these groups will eventually result in them shutting down altogether, choking off one other non-governmental outlet for the hungry and increasing government burden further.
  • Volunteer groups feeding the poor and homeless pose little food safety risk. There has never been a report of food poisoning or other illness due to their activity. These groups have operated for decades.
  • These groups already follow strong private food safety practices. They are operated by people who are enthusiastic about cooking and food service because they know how to do it. They know to keep food at the proper temperature and to handle it with proper accessories (gloves), storage and transport equipment.
  • These groups are filling a critical gap, and criminalizing their volunteerism will only add to the misery that the state itself is struggling to find the resources to address. Volunteer groups that cook and provide nutritious meals would be sorely missed and not replaced in the community if they were eliminated by force of a new law based on the current version of AB 2178. We need MORE help for the homeless, not restrictions on kinds of help based on the fact that they come from “unregistered” sources.

KPFA’s Rude Awakening show discussed AB-2178 on September 10, 2018.  You can listen to the archived broadcast here:  https://kpfa.org/player/?audio=293746

Thank you for asking Governor Brown to veto AB-2178.  Please spread the word.

https://popularresistance.org/court-affirms-right-of-homeless-persons-to-not-be-punished-for-sleeping-in-public/

Boise, Idaho – The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that homeless persons cannot be punished for sleeping outside in the absence of adequate alternatives in Martin v. Boise (formerly Bell v. Boise), a lawsuit challenging Boise, Idaho’s ban on sleeping in public….

This case is part of a nationwide movement against the criminalization of homelessness, spearheaded by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and more than 700 groups and individuals who have endorsed the Housing Not Handcuffs Campaign.

Here is some good news about our friends in Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fort-lauderdale/fl-sb-food-for-homeless-appeal-20180822-story.html#

But the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday said that the group’s food distribution events were “peaceful political direct action,” and therefore enjoyed First Amendment protection.

The group “does not serve food as a charity, but rather to communicate its message ‘that society can end hunger and poverty if we redirect our collective resources from the military and war and that food is a human right, not a privilege, which society has a responsibility to provide for all.’ Providing food in a visible public space, and partaking in meals that are shared with others, is an act of political solidarity meant to convey the organization’s message.

SF Food Not Bombs showed solidarity with Fort Lauderdale in 2014:  https://sffnb.org/2014/11/14/san-francisco-fnb-stands-in-solidarity-with-fort-lauderdale/

 

Here is the article:  https://missionlocal.org/2018/08/our-city-our-home-campaign-prepares-for-david-vs-goliath-battle/.

“Only blocks away from Food Not Bombs volunteers serving black beans to a long line of homeless men and women at the 16th and Mission BART plaza…”

Anyone can eat with Food Not Bombs.  Plenty of people with inside places to live eat at our sharings.

Please join us for a delicious, nutritious meal.  And, of course, we always need help.

Here is our up to date sharing schedule:  https://sffnb.org/serving-schedule/.

The Bay Area housing affordability crisis is so extreme that the press coverage of squatting goes mainstream:  https://www.sfgate.com/expensive-san-francisco/article/To-stay-housed-in-the-Bay-Area-some-families-and-12825935.php

We will update our list of empty and abandoned buildings in San Francisco in early May on this webpage:  https://sffnb.org/list-of-san-francisco-empty-and-abandoned-buildings/

 

An update from the San Francisco Examiner:  http://www.sfexaminer.com/storied-demonstration-gardens-headed-long-vacant-mccoppin-hub/

“A community garden that was displaced from its UC Hastings-owned site in the Tenderloin neighborhood this week to make room for a new academic building has found temporary shelter at the Mission District’s embattled McCoppin Hub….

The fence also triggered an Americans with Disabilities Act requirement for a wheelchair ramp, which resulted in its continued closure. As long as the ramp’s installation is outstanding, Demonstration Gardens will not be open to the public at McCoppin Hub, [John] Gavin, [chief policy adviser of The City’s Real Estate Division,] said.

Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes McCoppin Hub, is expected to hold a community meeting in the coming months to discuss ideas to activate the plaza once again, though a date has not been set….”

The Hub will remain closed to the public, as it has been for well over a year.  Supervisor Kim has not scheduled the promised community meeting.

Here is a timely, informative essay from Ron Jacobs posted on “Counterpunch”:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/21/stamping-out-hunger/

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/15/twelve-charged-defying-california-el-cajon-ban-feeding-homeless

The authorities in El Cajon arrest people for providing mutual aid to those in need.

Here is the article:  http://www.sfexaminer.com/residents-grow-impatient-fenced-off-soma-plaza/

San Francisco’s Real Estate Division claims that it must keep the park closed because the construction of the fence triggered an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirement that apparently no one considered ahead of time.

In order to make the enclosed park ADA compliant and re-open it, the City must build a $45,000 wheelchair ramp, although there is no time frame for that further renovation.

Presumably, the unenclosed park was ADA compliant because of its multiple egresses.

Servings

Note: Servings may cancel in the event of rain

TUES: none try curry without worry – UN Plaza @ Hyde St – 5:30PM

THURS: 16th & Mission – 6:00PM

FRI: Market & Hyde – 7:00PM

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