Sarasota News Leader

02/15/2013

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THE OL��� ONE-TWO PUNCH Homeless people gather during the daytime along Central Avenue in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel CITY SLAMMED WITH TWO INJUNCTIONS OVER THE HOMELESS By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Two city responses to homelessness ��� one at the top of the ���food chain��� and the other at the grassroots level ��� have been halted by a pair of legal challenges. One judicial decision stops any meeting of City Manager Tom Barwin���s ad hoc committee looking for fast responses to homelessness unless its meetings are properly noticed under Florida���s Open Meetings and Public Records laws. In both cases, City Attorney Bob Fournier tried to head off court action but was stifled by bureaucratic inertia on one hand and Barwin���s reluctance to open up his meetings on the other. Barwin was unavailable for comment, away on vacation in Ireland. THE MEETING WAS NOT CALLED TO ORDER When participants in Barwin���s ad hoc commitThe other decision stops the city police from tee arrived for the 9 a.m. meeting on Wednesarresting homeless people for using signs to day, Feb. 13, they were met by Sarasota Police solicit donations from motorists. Capt. Paul Sutton, who told them the sesOn Feb. 13, the city agreed to a 60-day ban on sion had been cancelled. He explained that enforcement of an already-repealed solicita- Fournier had recommended the meeting not proceed because of a legal challenge raised tion ordinance.

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