Lobbyist, Homeless Advocates In Shouting Match







Ron Book just wants some respect.

After all, Book is the best known, most durable and best paid lobbyist in Florida. He reported $5.6 million in income from 81 clients in Tallahassee alone last year.  That figure doesn’t included his work in Miami-Dade and Broward.

For the past two decades, Book has spent thousands of hours working to end homelessness.

So when he was booed and yelled at during a town hall meeting on the homeless earlier this week in Fort Lauderdale, Book took it personally.

He shouted back.

“I have a history on this subject. I’m not going to be intimidated,” Book explained later to Browardbeat.com

Book was attempting to speak at a meeting called by Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Dean Trantalis. The meeting’s goal was to find common ground that would cool the city’s homeless controversy.

There are two sides to this homeless crisis:

* Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners in October limited the feeding of homeless in public. They contend the homeless are threatening the lifestyle of residents.

* Homeless activists ignored the ban.  Several have been arrested, resulting in negative worldwide publicity for Fort Lauderdale

Trantalis’ meeting was packed with activists who want to continue feeding the homeless in parks and at the beach.

Book was not popular because he agreed with commissioners.

“The homeless have rights, but so do the people of Broward County,” Book later told Browardbeat.com. “You have to balance both in establishing programs for the homeless.”

Street feeding does not contribute “to ending homelessness. It continues it,” he contends. The homeless should be fed in a controlled setting so bathrooms and social services can be offered.

“The object is to get the homeless indoors where they can get cleaned up and see people who can get them off the streets – mental health professionals, social workers,” Book said.

The activists didn’t want to hear that from Book.

Trantalis’ meeting degenerated into a shouting match between the scrappy lobbyist and activists.

It got nasty.  Really nasty.  Book was screamed at.  He screamed back.


188061_412950715433671_1088107276_nRon Book

The atmosphere was so bad that Book had to be escorted to his car by a police officer. Said Book, “It is the first time in 21 years dealing with this that I felt uncomfortable.”

Ironically, Book was attacked in 2008 by a homeless man as he left a Broward County Commission meeting in downtown Fort Lauderdale.  The story is here.  It never dampened his work for the homeless.

He was one of the original promoters of Broward County’s 230-bed homeless shelter on Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, which opened in 1999.  He rounded up many of the first big contributors to the project.

Before that, Book pushed a food and beverage tax though the 1992 Legislature that raises $12 million annually for homeless services in Miami-Dade.

Miami-Dade Commissioners apparently like his volunteer work for the homeless,  Commissioners have repeatedly waved the residency requirement for Book, who lives in Plantation, to allow him to chair the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust Leadership. The trust administers the tax and raises millions more in federal and state funding.

Book said that the current debate is an “opportunity. Broward County should use this time when all this attention is focused on the homeless to formulate a plan for the future.”

He called for a summit between cities like Fort Lauderdale and Broward to discuss a realistic strategy that would help get the homeless off the street.

Book’s proposal is perhaps the most constructive suggestion to surface during this homeless hullabaloo.

It is too bad nobody wanted to listen.


25 Responses to “Lobbyist, Homeless Advocates In Shouting Match”

  1. Lynne Helm says:

    Bravo for Ron Book and his activism on behalf of the homeless, truly attempting to help.

    Thumbs down for the agitators and disrupters and other low-lifes intent on reducing quality and safety for Fort Lauderdale’s parks and Blue Wave beaches.

  2. Evan Ross says:

    Ron Book knows as much about homelessness in South Florida as anyone. He’s spent countless hours to work to end homelessness. Since the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust was formed, street homelessness in Miami-Dade County is down more than 90%.

    Instead of screaming at Dan Marino when he offers to teach you how to throw a football, people in Broward would be wise to accept his guidance and ask for his involvement in a solution.

    Ron is passionate about finding a solution rather than putting a bandaid on a life-threatening wound. I’ll say here what I have said to him many times… Thank you.

  3. Ha Ha Ha says:

    The people of Broward County whose religious beliefs command them to feed the homeless have rights as well. And public parks, beaches and sidewalks all fall into the Constitutional category known as a “quintessential public forum”, which means that these are locations where the Constitutional rights of individuals are at their strongest. For example, the US Supreme Court ruled in Hague v. Committe for Industrial Organization (307 U.S. 496) that municipal ordinances requiring permits for public assemblies in streets, parks, etc. were unconstitutional and legally void.

    Moreover, Florida law specifically provides even greater protection for religious freedom Florida Statute 761 (the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1998) provides that the government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion unless the infringement is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest (a very strict standard). Should the government fail to meet that very strict standard, it has to pay for the reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. There are many less restrictive means (creating dozens of taxpayer-funded homeless shelters with vast numbers of beds and free pizza, champagne and caviar would be one example), even if the government could prove that it had a “compelling” interest (which is also unlikely to happen). In other words, anyone busted under the Fort Lauderdale ordinances for feeding the homeless according to their religious beliefs can not only win in court, but make the Fort Lauderdale City Commission pay for their attorney as well.

    If the “balancing” of rights Mr. Book speaks of had actually been done, these anti-homeless ordinances would never have been enacted. The claim that these ordinances accomplish such a balancing of rights is ludicrous. If Mr. Book is making such a claim (as appears to be the case) then he should have instead heeded the classic quote: “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

  4. Owl says:

    Ron Book has helped many people whether as part of his job or as a friend. His advocacy in behalf of the homeless and others, including victims of sexual abuse, is well documented. The fact that he would be booed by homeless advocates is clear and convincing evidence that these homeless advocates are clueless and really don’t care about the homeless.

    Ron Book can pick up the phone and call the Governor and he will listen, no matter what Party won the election. The “homeless advocates” shot themselves in the foot by attacking him. The County Commissioners might as well move on to other business at this point. There’s nothing to gain by trying to satisfy illogical ingrates masquerading as caring for the homeless.

  5. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    It is 3:00 a.m. of Friday November 28th in Poznan, Poland, and maybe after a so-so Thanksgiving Dinner I put together here I may have an upset stomach that gives me a short fuse. BUT REALLY! RON BOOK WHO RAISES A FORTUNE FOR HOMELESS CAUSES GETS THREATENED BY KIDS LIVING IN THEIR PARENTS’ BASEMENTS, RENT-A-DEMONSTRATION PAID NON PROFIT TYPES WHO NEVER HAVE TIME CARDS or RECORD THEIR “WORK”! And, frankly, Commissioner Dean Trantalis is getting TOO CUTE BY HALF! He supported the Ordinances, then my fellow Commission District loonies start shouting at him and HE CAVES IN!!!! “Town Meeting” or “Agenda Review” sponsored by Commissioner Dean Trantalis gets the worst kind of bums you’ve ever seen! He has this “Agenda Review” full of old people representing these “community groups” that when you check have not filed non profit reports in years, have no treasuers or memberships, and always ARE LOOKING FOR THE CITY TO DO THIS OR THAT FOR THEM. I am sure it will turn out the “local people” at the meeting were (l) From OUTSIDE FORT LAUDERDALE (like the new City Commissioner from Plantation he voted for!), (2) employed full time by non profits asking for FUNDING BECAUSE OF THE ORDINANCES, (3) mentally ill or alcohol addicted or just plain lazy bums, (4) middle class out of school or failed in school kids who are “too socially engaged” to have time FOR WORK TO SUPPORT THEMSELVES!
    At some time people like Sam Fields, Tim Smith, and, yes, Buddy Nevins, have to be honest and say shouting at public meetings, leaving trash and empty beer cans, being drunk, sleeping on bus benches seniors have to use, and generally being a pain in the back side for the majority of decent citizens is NOT HELPING SOLVE THE HOMELESS SITUATION!
    I had a friend and his wife who walked off their jobs, had their house foreclosed, lost their cars to towing fees, THEIR COLLEAGUES at WORK, THEIR FRIENDS and FAMILY all tried to help, even after they were living in their remaining car. EVEN THREE or FOUR REHAB visits hasn’t helped. They are college educated, 40ish Whites. AND NOW THEY ARE HOMELESS. Everyone tried! But why must our lives – their colleagues, friends, family – become a nightmare because they are, yes, nuts!!! The same applies to the six White guys who live around Art Serve, get drunk, live off multiple feeding kitchens and their paid for cellphones from non profits. And the crew that terrorizes people in from the Broward County Library, Stranahan Park!
    This is not right wing anti-poor people, this is the fact that PEOPLE IN A CIVILIZED SOCIETY HAVE TO ACT CIVILIZED.

    I am afraid the “Homeless advocates” lead by the aweful, nut-job “Food Not Bombs” lunatics are ruining public debate in Fort Lauderdale.

    Mr. Book is a mensch, the homeless crowd are something I don’t have a Yiddish or other word for!

  6. Señor Censor says:

    Book was being a loud mouth bully at the symposium, when he began raising his voice with a caustic demeanor towards those in attendance, persons responded in kind to his obstreperousness.

    Lets not make this about Ron the lobbyist.

    Did Ron tip the gendarme appropriately for the escort detail.

  7. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I am in Europe at Academic and Scholarly events including Symposiums, and the only part of Symposium that Dean Trantalis and the crowd he attracts like at this “Townhall” is connected NOT TO SYM, but RELATED TO A LATIN WORD WITH “POS” IN IT, and everyone knows what I mean!

  8. The Professor says:

    Ha Ha Ha (and a hardy Har Har..!)you are guilty of be a chronic poster on here, but not guilty of being a consitutional scholar.
    Your analysis is lame. I have a feeling you made it through your first year of law school, and hit the wall at Con. Law. (imagine you can get me a deal on a new Toyota, huh?).
    In any event, the constitutional analyis is not one of strict scrutiny (religious practice, you idiot) it is the lowest level of analysis>Rational Basis. Yikes!
    These are called (in Constitutional parlance) “time, place and manner restrictions”.
    Basically, the local police can curb/limit someone exercizing a constitutional right based on the time, place or manner the person exercizes that right.
    We have the right the own and cary guns, but we can’t take them into an airport or a courthouse.
    We have the right to declare who we suport for president, but not to drive through and residential neighborhood at 3 am with a blow horn blaring our choice.
    We have a constitutional right to travel, but the govenment can set speed limits.
    Just because we have a right, does not me we can exercize that right anywhere or any way we please. Thus, time, place and manner restrictions have been recognized by our Supreme Court for more than 150 years.
    So, someone beleives that they have a religous calling to feed people. Fine, but time, place and manner restrictions can tell the person when and where they can do it.
    Now, Ha Ha Ha go finish law school.

  9. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Wealthy New Yorkers pay $100 each to have candlelit five-star dinner with the homeless
    Chefs from The New York Palace and The Waldorf-Astoria helped out

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2853706/Wealthy-New-Yorkers-pay-100-candlelit-Thanksgiving-dinner-homeless.html

  10. Sam The Sham says:

    How is it possible to have candle lit dinners with the homeless? I thought they refused to come inside.

  11. Ha Ha Ha says:


    Strict scrutiny is a form of judicial review that courts use to determine the constitutionality of certain laws. To pass strict scrutiny, the legislature must have passed the law to further a “compelling governmental interest,” and must have narrowly tailored the law to achieve that interest. A famous quip asserts that strict scrutiny is “strict in name, but fatal in practice.”

    2014 Florida Statutes

    761.01 Short title.—This act may be cited as the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1998.”
    History.—s. 1, ch. 98-412.

    761.02 Definitions.—As used in this act:

    (1) “Government” or “state” includes any branch, department, agency, instrumentality, or official or other person acting under color of law of the state, a county, special district, municipality, or any other subdivision of the state.

    (2) “Demonstrates” means to meet the burden of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.

    (3) “Exercise of religion” means an act or refusal to act that is substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the religious exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.
    History.—s. 2, ch. 98-412.

    761.03 Free exercise of religion protected.—

    (1) The government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except that government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person:

    (a) Is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
    (b) Is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

    (2) A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief.
    History.—s. 3, ch. 98-412.

    761.04 Attorney’s fees and costs.—The prevailing plaintiff in any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of this act is entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to be paid by the government.

    History.—s. 4, ch. 98-412.

  12. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Florida state courts have already ruled in favor of the religious right to feed the homeless (which is secured by the Florida Religious Freedom Restoration Act’s strict scrutiny requirement), and Fort Lauderdale violates a preexisting court injunction by interfering with that right:


    More than a decade ago the city tried to ban Abbott from holding picnics for the homeless at the beach, offering him an alternative site miles away from downtown. But Abbott prevailed when a judge ruled in 2000 that the city had violated his religious rights and that the city’s new location was too remote. Abbott resumed his feedings, and in October [2014] and November [2014] was arrested three times for feeding the homeless outdoors in violation of city ordinances that set certain rules for such feedings.

    On Wednesday, Abbott’s lawyer who handled that previous case, John David, filed a motion in Broward Circuit Court asking a judge to enforce the injunction or show cause for why the city should not be held in contempt of court for violating the injunction.

    David wrote that city officials have “once again substantially burden[ed], harassed, threatened and prevented plaintiffs from continuing their religiously motivated feedings by preventing them from feeding the homeless in the South Beach picnic area of Fort Lauderdale beach.”

  13. Just The Facts says:

    First of all, in response to Señor Censor, you must have been in a different meeting than I was at. Mr. Books was not being a “Loud Mouth Bully” the only time his voice was raised was in response to the heckling being done by those who didn’t want to hear a different point of view.

    The facts are Book is a recognized expert having spent 20+ years working to end homelessness in Miami Dade and Broward Counties as Mr. Nevins has pointed out above. The only additional point I want to make is apparently the Food and Beverage Tax in Miami Dade actually yielded $21.5 Million during the last fiscal year. Book is largely credited for having been the individual to fight for the passage of that revenue stream over 20 years ago.

    Now reasonable people can disagree but no one should questions Book’s commitment to end homeless in our community. I am also aware that Book spent countless hours on Thanksgiving making certain that homeless individuals were fed in an indoor setting. I guess we shouldn’t confuse people with the FACTS!

  14. Broward Voter says:

    Wasn’t Ron Book the disbarred lawyer who works as a lobbyist? Which means he sells whatever for whoever that pays him? And the fact that he makes many thousands of dollars in campaign contributions yearly is purely coincidental? Please correct me if this is inaccurate.

    He’s had documented run in’s with the law, correct Buddy?

    Isn’t it true Book is a disbarred lawyer as a result? Didn’t he plead to crimes? Were those related to money exchanges with public officials in any way?

    If all that is true, that’s pretty disgraceful.

    Now the rumor has it that Book wants to expand his lobbying empire by running his daughter for the State Senate. I hear she’s a nice young woman but face it. At 24 years old, shouldn’t she try something a little less lofty than the State Senate for her first run for office? Does she realizes the potential ethical dilemma being a state senator would involve given Dad’s lobbying in Tallahassee? How sad that would be.

    And where’s Steve Geller? Instead of looking at yet another county commission seat he can’t win, shouldn’t he instead man up and run for his old seat?

    Rumor is daddy wants to scare off any opponents with promises of bags of cash for daughter’s campaign. Maybe Geller has been warned. I never thought he scared so easy. By the way, where might that cash come from? His lobbyists clients? Say it ain’t so!

    Broward’s too many bad experiences with lobbyists entangled in politics, candidates and campaigns. I think I’ll take my advice on important public policy issues from other sources.


    You are referring to the incident featured in the 1997 Miami Herald story below.

    Book currently has no marks on his Bar license because disciplinary actions only stay on the Internet record 10 years. His license report from the Florida Bar website is below:

    Member in Good Standing Eligible to Practice Law in Florida
    Bar Number:
    Ronald L Book PA
    18851 NE 29th Ave Ste 1010
    Aventura, FL 33180-2848
    United States
    10-Year Discipline History:
    Sections: Administrative Law
    City, County & Local Govt Law
    Public Interest Law
    Law School:
    Tulane University Law School


    This is more than 17 years old:

    Miami Herald, The (FL) – Friday, July 11, 1997

    Author: TYLER BRIDGES Herald Capital Bureau

    Lawyer-lobbyist Ron Book will lose his right to practice law for 75 days under a ruling handed down Thursday by the Florida Supreme Court.

    The punishment was recommended by the Florida Bar Association, which disciplines lawyers. The Supreme Court must approve its recommendations for disciplinary action.

    Book is being punished for violating state election law by funneling campaign contributions through his secretaries in order to exceed the maximum contribution limits.

    Having to suspend Book’s law license won’t hurt him much in the pocketbook because he devotes only 10 percent of his work to legal matters. The rest of the time he lobbies for such clients as H. Wayne Huizenga, Metro-Dade County and the Tobacco Institute.

    But the punishment is an embarrassment to Book, who is one of the state’s most influential lobbyists.

    “I’m anxious to close this chapter in my life and put it behind me for good,” Book said Thursday.
    Caption: photo: Ron Book (a)

    Edition: State
    Section: Local
    Page: 2B
    Dateline: TALLAHASSEE
    Record Number: 9707120298
    Copyright (c) 1997 The Miami Herald

  15. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Mr.Book don’t feel bad. The homeless advocates(go ahead starve yourselfs-hunger strike -my ass-get a job-no don’t do that)have stated that they hope we have a Fergeson situation here(wait),also a cat 5 hurricaine(wait), the Mayor is going to Hell(wait), have disrupted comm. meetings for the better half of this year. Then for months we here from homeless advocates to them-selves concerned that we don’t supply them w/ enough toilets(yes) . To there is no porter -potties on every street corner. So naturally the commission would want proper toilets etc when feeding them outside. Every advocate etc. from the homeless expressed concerns that w e have no toilets for them to use(so shit in people’s backyard-I told quite a few of you”find them in your backyards etc. shoot them dead, then call me-enough.) Mr.Abbott wants to feed them, feed them, but do it in your backyard sir. Oh no Robert we want to be on the news etc. Keep your feet solid comm. We will prevail. All you people from DDA, to the Chamber of Comm. . To alot of business’ owners downtown stand by this comm. This is what you wanted(myself included). If it cost us a million dollars(litagation-and Mr.Scherer-The ‘Grand Wizard’ I was shocked to learn you are defending them)then it cost us amillion bucks. Myself and alot other people are sick of these people. We will prevail….

  16. Geewhiz says:

    I didn’t know Mr. Book’s past included disbarment for breaking the law. And what exactly did, or does, he do for the “Tobacco Institute”?

  17. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Since before I retired to my home state of Florida in 1995 to experience it here, I experienced in New York City politics people hired with cash by political campaign managers and lobbyists for companies seeking government contracts or lied, slandered, smeered or took minor things out of context to harass decent people asking questions of government, or in the case of Ron Brook and the homeless, irresponsible and usually law breaking leftists. That “Broward Voter” Mr. Nevins should be IDENTIFIED! He or she is referring to a 17 year old minor legal issue. Who even remembers Tyler Bridges? I barely remember his name, albeit he was a good reporter as I remember it. Whether it is Sam the Sham or Ha Ha or Broward Voter, it is obvious these are HIRED GUNS with PERSONAL INTERESTs, PROBABLY FINANCIAL not like myself simply a local citizen who in the passed was elected to office and has an interest if not knowledge of local government. Why Mr. Nevins does all media, even blogs, have to be “manipulated” by under the counter hacks for lobbyists who DO NOT DISCLOSE THEIR ACTIVITIES LIKE Mr. Ron Book has and does?
    17 years ago Mr. Book had a problem NOT WITH THE LAW but with professional standards on campaign contributions of a MINOR NATURE! Well, has BROWARD VOTER a police record? Has BROWARD VOTER ever been SANCTIONED FOR ELECTION VIOLATIONS? HAS BROWARD VOTER EVER TAKEN MONEY FOR A POLITICAL CANDIDATE OPPOSED BY RON BOOK? I remember back in the mid-1990s when the Miami Herald had “letters to the editor” on Sundays and Thursdays in the “Beach Neighbors” and lobbyists and their creatures would write letters WITHOUT THE NEWSPAPER REVEALING THEY WERE LOBBYISTS! It was wrong then, and “covering up” lobbyists names with “Broward Voter”, “Ha Ha” and “Sam the Sham” is just as rotten and deceitful!
    If someone is going to attack someone then PUT YOUR NAME TO IT! Don’t be a COWARD and SNEAK and use “Broward Voter”, “Ha HA” or “Sam the Sham”. YOU KNOW HOW YOU GET ETHICS IN POLITICS? BY BEING ETHICAL IN POLITICS!

  18. Ha Ha Ha says:

    In early 2013 a federal judge applied the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (same as Florida’s) to strike down ordinances enacted by the city of Dallas which attempted to impose rules on feeding the homeless very similar to Fort Lauderdale’s (requirements to provide restrooms and handwashing facilities, etc.).

    Each and every such requirement was found to substantially burden the religious expression of feeding the homeless wherever they might be according to the religious beliefs held by “an organization founded and operating based on the Judeo-Christian principle that people should feed the hungry wherever they find them – to go out to the poor and help them”. The court found that “the religious behavior at issue is not simply feeding the homeless [but rather] feeding the homeless where they are; either by setting up a single feeding location that is convenient to the homeless or by driving to different areas of Dallas when the homeless are located at any given time … Plaintiffs choose to minister to and feed the needy in a personal way, pursuant to their religious principles … Their feeding activities and proselytizing are part of their religious expression.”

    All of the allegedly “compelling interests” the city of Dallas raised – preventing foodborne illness, etc. – were found to be “exactly the kind of broadly formulated interests that courts routinely reject in these cases” or “based on nothing more than speculation”. The City’s true motivation was obvious: “The City believes that organizations that feed the homeless on the streets are thwarting the City’s efforts to get the homeless off the streets.” Because the city failed to assert a single genuine “compelling interest”, the court did not have an opportunity to further consider whether or not the city’s rules were the “least restrictive means of furthering that interest”.

    The Court ruled that “the homeless feeders are religiously motivated institutions that are afforded statutory protection [by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] to practice their religions without being substantially burdened by government regulation” and then proceeded to strike down each and every one of the City’s homeless feeding rules.



    The very same fate is in store for Fort Lauderdale’s odious homeless hate laws.

  19. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @12 – “Motion To Enforce Injunction” is here:


  20. Ha Ha Ha says:


    …Ron Book, a lobbyist and chairman of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, told the [Fort Lauderdale] City Commission as it debated the [Homeless Hate] legislation, “Feeding people on the streets is sanctioning homelessness. Whatever discourages feeding people on the streets is a positive thing.” …

    Other regions, however, have approached homelessness very differently, by passing Homeless Bills of Rights. Homeless Bills of Rights prohibit discrimination based on homeless status, and they affirm homeless persons’ right to vote and to use public spaces, including sidewalks, parks and transportation. Rhode Island was the first state to pass such a law, in June 2012, followed by Connecticut and Illinois. These laws reinforce the rights of homeless individuals and confirm that they are legitimate members of their local communities. As it contends with its sizable homeless population, and as it considers how to rectify its public image, Fort Lauderdale might take a cue from these states.

  21. Ha Ha Ha says:

    The US Supreme Court recently ruled on the meaning of the RFRA phrase “substantial burden” in its June 2014 “Hobby Lobby” case:


    … if [Hobby Lobby does] not comply, they will pay a very heavy price — as much as $1.3 million per day [but Hobby Lobby has annual revenue of $3.3 billion dollars – see http://www.forbes.com/companies/hobby-lobby-stores/%5D. . . . If these consequences do not amount to a substantial burden, it is hard to see what would.” 134 S. Ct. at 2759. Hobby Lobby thus held that a “substantial burden” on religious exercise arises when the Government “demands” that entities either (1) “engage in conduct that seriously violates their religious beliefs” or else (2) suffer “substantial” economic consequences. … [the Supreme Court’s ruling in the] Hobby Lobby [case] shows that RFRA requires courts to assess the “consequences” of noncompliance, i.e., the pressure placed on plaintiffs to violate their beliefs …

    As the Texas federal court correctly noted (@18 above), the costs of providing restroom facilities, etc. when feeding the homeless serves to “substantially burden” the religious expression of homeless feeding groups, which violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

  22. Ha Ha Ha says:


    … three clear lessons from [the US Supreme Court’s June 2014 decision in the] Hobby Lobby [case]: (1) The Supreme Court will enforce RFRA’s comprehensive coverage as broadly as its capacious text reaches; (2) the “substantial burden” trigger for RFRA’s protections should be understood from the point of view of the sincere religious believer asserting a burden, with no “attenuation” escape hatch allowing legal recharacterization of these beliefs by government lawyers or federal courts; and (3) strict scrutiny under RFRA really is strict.

  23. Ha Ha Ha says:


    Judge tells Fort Lauderdale to stop enforcing homeless feeding law
    December 2, 2014 – 1:50 PM

    A judge Tuesday issued a 30-day stay on Fort Lauderdale’s enforcement of new restrictions on feeding homeless people and ordered all sides into mediation to resolve an issue that has brought the city a storm of unpleasant international attention.

    The decision came in the case of Arnold Abbott, the 90-year-old World War II veteran and retired jewelry salesman who has been feeding homeless people at the beach for years.

    Broward Circuit Judge Thomas Lynch ordered the city to temporarily stop enforcement of the law that took effect Oct. 31 that limits where outdoor feeding sites can be located, requires the permission of property owners and says groups distributing food must provide portable toilets

    “We’re elated the judge has entered the stay,” said John David, Abbott’s attorney…


    Judge issues temporary ban on Fort Lauderdale arrests for feeding homeless in public
    For 30 days, police are not allowed to arrest or issue citations to people feeding homeless in Fort Lauderdale

  24. no kidding says:

    “Book was not popular because he agreed with commissioners.”

    ha! Book wants to keep the fat cat lobbying contract he has with fort lauderdale city commission.

    we are NOT grubers here.

  25. Ha Ha Ha says:


    Man uses all-you-can-eat Olive Garden pass to feed the hungry throughout Salt Lake City
    December 2, 2014 – Daily Mail

    * Matt Tribe of Ogden, Utah, purchased one of Olive Garden’s 1000 Never Ending Pasta Passes in September
    * The pass entitles the cardholder to unlimited pasta when dining at a restaurant or one free ToGo meal
    * Tribe got 100 meals from Olive Garden, distributing most to family, friends, mailmen and homeless residents of Salt Lake City
    * On Twitter, Olive Garden denied involvement with the stunt, beyond providing the pasta, but has tweeted in support of Tribe