Pensacola has gone all-in in the run for Most Horrible City on the Planet with its "camping ordinance."
What is that, you ask?
Why, it's a law that prevents homeless people from covering themselves up with a blanket, and yes, this is a real thing, and yes, OF COURSE this is happening in Florida.
So far, attempts to have the city repeal the ordinance have fallen on deaf ears.
Maybe they think if enough homeless people die from exposure, the homelessness problem in Pensacola will vanish? BRILLIANT!
However, a Change.org petition to have the ordinance repealed has been on the internet for a few weeks now and has already hit more than 10,000 signatures.
Of course, when the City Council was putting this law together in 2013, people protested.
Not shocking, because of horribleness.
But the city decided to ignore the protests and went with the ordinance anyway.
Not shocking, because, Florida!
Apparently, the city wanted to put an end to what it called "camping," because it's considered detrimental to sanitation, public health, and safety. Or do you people NOT remember that the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was started by a blanket?!
The ordinance also stipulates that camping has a detrimental effect on Pensacola's "aesthetics."
Because having human people without a place to live covering themselves with a blanket is just plain icky to look at, you guys.
Specifically, the ordinance says that it's illegal for a person 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."
So, good news, homeless people: If you have anything other than a blanket, cardboard, newspaper, tent, or sleeping bag to cover yourself with -- you're golden!
Maybe cover yourself with fish? THAT's not listed in the ordinance. Ha. Ha. Nice try, City Council people!
In addition to collecting signatures, the makers of the Change.org petition are asking those interested in things like compassion, empathy, and common fucking human decency to email the Pensacola mayor about those things.
Until then, thanks to Pensacola, Florida remains the place where a person without a home is a far greater risk to public safety than a guy who goes around shooting unarmed people and getting away with it.
You can sign the petition here.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.