Pensacola Mayor Decides to Repeal Ban on Blankets for the Homeless | New Times Broward-Palm Beach


Pensacola Mayor Decides to Repeal Ban on Blankets for the Homeless

Oh, hey, good news, everyone. Homeless people dying for no good reason is a bad thing, Pensacola has decided.

So the city is going to go ahead and repeal its "camping ordinance."

On Tuesday, we told you about its law that made it a crime for homeless people to cover themselves with blankets.

But after "reflecting and praying" about it, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward figured it's not such a good idea to not allow people without homes to cover themselves so that they don't freeze to death.

See also: A Florida City Made It Illegal for Homeless People to Cover Themselves With Blankets

Hayward is announcing his decision in a weekly email newsletter that comes out on Friday.

In the email, titled "Blankets for everyone: A path forward on homelessness," Hayward tells the good people of Pensacola that have not set his emails to "spam" that he indeed reflected and prayed about the matter. And that he concluded from all that praying and reflecting that he will support the ordinance to repeal the blanket ban.

This is a reversal of course from 2013, when the law was first put in, because it considered homeless people with blankets "detrimental to sanitation, public health, and safety."

Not to mention the city's "aesthetics."

Because it's detrimental to public health to have to look at a homeless guy before walking into McDonald's!

And the law is pretty damned specific, saying that it's illegal for people to be "adjacent to or inside a tent or sleeping bag, or atop and/or covered by materials such as a bedroll, cardboard, newspapers, or inside some form of temporary shelter."

But the Pensacola City Council isn't filled just with the bad guys who lived on the Death Star in Star Wars or cartoon villains.

Councilwoman Sherri Myers had been trying to have the law repealed for some time. Earlier this month, Myers thought she would speak up about how maybe there are more important things to consider as far as public health and safety was concerned -- like maybe crime or people with guns, for example -- and brought forward the repeal. She was joined by fellow Councilman Charles Bare.

But Council President Jewel Cannada-Wynn blocked the repeal from being placed on the agenda. THERE ARE REALITY SHOWS TO WATCH, PEOPLE. THERE'S NO TIME TO GO THROUGH EVERY LITTLE PROBLEM.

The mayor himself has been slow to get on the repeal.

But then the petition hit and collected a crapload of signatures, and Pensacola was suddenly being looked at as the worst place in Florida -- which is saying something. And Hayward's email was published so people could ask him to stop being such a douchebag about this.

But it was prayer and reflection that finally got through to the mayor!

Hayward goes out of his way not to mention Myers or the petition in his email. He does, however, announce that he has appointed Councilman Larry Johnson to form a committee to address the city's homeless epidemic.

Evidently, just letting them die from exposure was not the way to deal with the epidemic.

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph. Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter