Lynda Bell’s Excellent Idea
Ok, SDM is not a fan of Lynda Bell, one of South Dade’s county commissioners. However, she has introduced an excellent piece of legislation that should be implemented immediately. First, recall this scene:
This picture was taken several months ago when Occupy Miami invaded the grassy area that surrounds the county building downtown. SDM walked by the “campground” several times while these “protesters” were living there. SDM could not understand why the county permitted these folks to set up shop like this.
Apparently, the county lacked authority to arrest and move these miscreants. So to resolve this obvious hole in the code, Commissioner Bell introduced legislation to make overnight camping illegal on county property. A no-brainer, right? Not so fast, SDM.
While SDM applauds, other crazies in this town are castigating the commissioner, if you can believe it. The ACLU and some so-called homeless activists criticized the law as unfair to those who have no other place to live. What?
Just for giggles, let’s walk down the road that the ACLU wants us to travel. Let’s assume that Mrs. Bell’s legislation fails and the county code remains free of the prohibition on overnight camping on county property.
These “homeless” will now be free to move their campground to the Key Biscayne Golf Course or one of the county’s natural forest communities, right? Sure, SDM is resorting to a slippery slope argument, but why couldn’t such a result occur? All the campers would have to do is put up a couple political signs, and voila, it’s a protest!
Public property must be reserved for everyone, which means it cannot be monopolized by any individual regardless of how compelling the individual’s personal story is. Should we as a society and a community assist a legitimately homeless person? Of course, but once any society permits its public spaces to be colonized, there is no going back. If you don’t believe SDM, buy a plane ticket to almost any Third World nation and you will see what happens when public spaces are “occupied.”
SDM Says: Palmetto Bay should adopt an ordinance mirroring Bell’s measure (assuming such activity is not already illegal in our parks and public spaces). Now, this is a matter worth litigating over.