Monday 34,000 petition signatures were filed at City Hall to overturn Houston's ill-conceived anti-giving and sharing ordinance which outlawed Good Samaritans from feeding and sharing food with the less fortunate in Houston with criminal prosecution and fines of up to $2000 a day. Tuesday, August 14th citizens will speak to City Council. The ordinance has effectively shutdown hundreds of charitable people and organizations since the ordinance passed earlier this year for the benefit of a few downtown property owners. The Mayor's administration has already signaled it shall refuse to let the voters vote on the issue.
Also, since the law only allows Houston charter amendment every two years the City is putting on the ballot it's own charter amendment regarding slight, meaningless changes to existing charter provisions. If passed no charter amendments can occur for two years. This can be repeated every two years effectively shutting down the charter amendment process.
"The City has now implemented a sham charter amendment procedure solely to prevent citizens from ever exercising their democratic right to vote to amend the City Charter," said civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen, "This is the worst of anti-democratic tactics."
"The Mayor turned on the red light cameras after the citizens voted them out and now the administration has indicated it will not let the People vote to keep Houston free to give and share food with the less fortunate and it has implemented procedures to prevent future democratic process to amend the City's charter." said petition organizer Paul Kubosh.
"Volunteers took valuable time away from preparing food for hungry people to collect signatures because this issue is so important to the work we do," said Nick Cooper volunteer with Food Not Bombs.
The groups wanting Houston to remain free to give and share food include:
American Rights Association • A Simple Thread • Canvas Church Houston • Casa Juan Diego • Casa de la Fuente • Center for Student Missions Houston • The Central American Resource Center • Central Canaan Christian Church • Christ the Servant Lutheran Church • Clear Lake Tea Party • Dominican Sisters of Houston • Ecclesia Church • Emmaus Ministries Houston • The Executive Council • Feed My Sheep Ministries • Free Radicals • Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church • Harris County Democratic Socialists • Harris County Green Party • Harris County Libertarian Party • The Harris County Republican Party (Local Government Committee) • House of Amos • Houston Area Pastor Council • Houston Food Not Bombs • Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center • Houston Property Rights Association • Houston Tea Party Society • Houston United • Houston Young Republicans • Immaculate Concepcion Catholic Church • IMPACT: I am the Movement • ISKCON Houston (Hare Krishna Temple) • Japhet Civic Association • Joe Williams Ministries • KHA-Atheists • Last Chance Recovery Center • Last Organic Outpost • Love Out Loud Homeless Ministry • Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers • Mosque #45, Nation of Islam • Muslims Against Hunger, Disease and Injustice • Light the Way Home, Inc. • National Lawyers Guild, Houston Chapter • NHPO Leadership Institute • Noah's Kitchen • Occupy Houston • Occupy Wall Street, Houston • Pat Greer's Kitchen • Pax Christi • Ryon Civic Association • The Progressive Action Alliance • Shape Community Center • Sinfull Bakery • Stand Up for Kids • St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church Outreach Program • Texas Public Policy Foundation • Taxpayers For Equal Appraisal • UH Fair Labor Action Committee • UH Students for a Democratic Society • UH Students Against Sexual Harassment and Assault • Sonic Visions • Voice of the Homeless Awareness Project • West Houston Assistance Ministries • Young Americans for Liberty, HCC • Community Leaders: Deloyd Parker • Minister Robert Muhammad • Reverend Fana, Women's Resource Center • Duane Bradley, KPFT General manager • Houston City Council Member Helena Brown • Ray Hill • Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield, Editor and Publisher, Faith That Inspires Action • Dave Atwood, Houston Peace and Justice Center • Rhonda Omberg, Harris County GOP Pct. 839 Pct chair and several Democratic party groups
Concerned citizens will speak to City Council to urge the charter amendment put on the November ballot and not to shutdown all future democratic citizen initiated charter amendment efforts:
Date: Tuesday, August 14, 1:30 PM
PLACE: City Hall, City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, 900 Bagby
Paul Kubosh: 281/794-4391
Nick Cooper: 832/310-5414
Randall Kallinen: 713/320-3785