Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff Proposes Jail for Feeding Homeless

June 2011 UPDATE: See 3 arrested for feeding the homeless in Orlando, Florida

By Meryl Williamson

Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff has created regulations around giving food to the homeless that few could meet and that would apply a fine and imprisonment to anyone trying to do so in the old fashioned way: “Here is a little something to tide you over. We wish you the best.” Try to be generous again, and the fine goes up and the jail sentence gets longer.

Commissioner Sarnoff is using “food safety” as a cover for criminalizing donating food to the homeless.

The ordinance must be put in context, for Commissioner Sarnoff is not alone in what he is doing to shut down rights around food. The City of Orlando recently won an appeal in federal court allowing it to criminalize feeding groups of 25 or more homeless people. The Miami ordinance goes further, banning all free food distribution without a government license.

“Food Safety,” in fact, is the chosen weapon in the next major corporate assault on this country, after Goldman Sach’s destruction of the economy, and its food speculation that drove up prices and the number of starving people.

This time the corporations and banks want control over all food. They have not finished making money off misery.

But to gain full control over food, it is necessary to break all normal interactions and our natural generous connections around it, and to come up with a phony reason that would “sound” caring but would allow only corporations to handle food.

Their reason: Food is scary! And Americans and American farmers are too dirty to share or sell it!

The joke is that those who are actually killing us with contaminated food have used the fear they generated from the deaths they caused, to sell the country their bugaboo of “Food Safety.”

The “food safety” concern for the homeless in Miami is false – they are not dying from bad food or even getting sick from food people are donating to them, and they certainly aren’t complaining about the food. So, why did this ordinance pop up, even as millions more Americans are in need thanks to Goldman Sachs?

An aide in Commissioner Sarnoff’s office told me that the increasing number of homeless in the area are bothering people.

The “food safety” ordinance provides Commissioner Sarnoff a disguised means to get rid of homeless, not to help them. It is phony “humanitarianism” wielded as an immoral weapon.

This disguised corporate assault on our rights to food is not just happening here. It is international. Dr. Vandana Shiva discusses international food laws in this brief excerpt from a 2006 speech:

Though Americans have, for thousands of years, been buying all kinds of food from farmers and sharing food with each other and running small businesses based on food, here are just a few of the changes the corporations have wrought in everyone’s lives, as they insidiously remove everyone’s rights around food itself, using the cooked up justification of protecting people:

* Food cannot not be prepared at home to be donated for church fund raisers;
* Food may not be prepared in other than government facilities to be sold at markets;
* Eggs may not be transported to farmers markets except in refrigerated trucks;
* Children cannot bring home baked goods to sell at fundraisers;
* Raw milk is being criminalized;
* Food may not be shared with the homeless, and on.

At a time when the country has lost millions of jobs and is losing more, and people who are unemployed can’t find work, corporations are working to prevent people from going into food businesses and eliminating all kinds of active food businesses by getting governments to raise “food safety” standards of all kinds, until no one can afford to comply.

But they have reached the bottom of the moral barrel when they use “food safety” to try to stop one human being from sharing food with another, from possibly even saving a life. The corporate need to control food is now so great that giving food away for free interferes, and generosity with food must be stopped with jail and fines.

Millions more Americans are in need thanks to Goldman Sachs. This Miami ordinance is meant to stop people there from sharing food with fellow Americans in need. In Miami, is starvation preferable to food provided without a government class in food safety?

The FDA “food safety” czar recently asserted in court, “Food safety” is most definitely not about protecting anyone’s health. It is openly about removing American’s rights to food and the most fundamental right to health itself. According to an FDA court brief, in a recent case against raw milk:

* There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food.

* There is no ‘deeply rooted’ historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds.

* Plaintiffs’ assertion of a ‘fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health… is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.”

* Even if such a right did exist, it would not render FDA’s regulations unconstitutional because prohibiting the interstate sale and distribution of [insert the food you consider most essential to your health] promotes bodily and physical health.

* There is no fundamental right to freedom of contract.

Miami Commissioner Sarnoff’s contribution to this international corporate assault on human beings’ right to food is not just an immoral ordinance, but an aggressively anti-moral one, akin to slapping one’s child for sharing food with a sibling.

34 responses to “Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff Proposes Jail for Feeding Homeless

  1. Utter utter Bastards!
    may this man and all who support this- become homeless and hungry..Very soon.
    and then rot in hell!
    I have heard and read a lot that enrages and sickens me, this may be THE winner of the year!
    mans Inhumanity to man Indeed! in Law and IN action.

    • What kind of dog is that in your pic? I have a rescue looks just like that only darker…

      • Sharon, Riley was a Deerhound. He passed on 2yrs ago Dec 29th 2009, at almost 13 which is very old for his breed. Hugely missed every day still:-(.

        • I love Deerhounds. I really loved watching that Deerhound that won last year’s Westminister Show move around the ring…..she was like poetry in motion. I also know how you feel about losing Riley. I had a New Foundland / lab mix that I lost at the age of 13 in January 2001. I still miss my Sachemo today.

  2. lol NOT-SEES! you got that right

    The depth of greed these regulators protect is unfathomable to normal humanity.

  3. I read in NYTimes today that wall street is rehiring…
    and yet?
    they have armed Military patrolling the street for supposed? terrorists and drug dealers,
    I guess they will be looking for food hampers too?
    My bet is they know the sh*ts going to splatter very soon. and the banksters are sooo precious they need protection above all.
    I am so angry.

  4. Wow, there is no depth that these bastards won’t sink to in order to control the masses is there? Answer… NO!

    Making it punishable by law to feed the hungry? That is just pure evil. It’s time we took up the torches and pitchforks against these demons before it’s too late.

  5. How do they even think of these things.

    Immoral and evil are not even strong enough words.

    I am going to forward to some Catholic Worker friends of mine who run food kitchens and ask them to forward all over their circles.

    Thanks for posting


  6. good – spread the word. Laws banning charity exemplify evil.

  7. There was a movie a few years ago called Rollerball. The basic premise was that corporations controlled the world…food corporations, fuel corporations, etc. The people competing in Rollerball were citizens of corporations, not countries. I have long maintained that who controls the food, controls people and Archer,Daniels, Midland
    was more to be feared than Islam, communists or whoever.

    • I saw Rollerball — dark dystopic view in which we now find ourselves.

      I’d say we’re really at the point now that we can no longer legislate our way back to freedom. We’ve lost the jury box (via corporate owned judges), the ballot box (via electronic voting), and the soap box (the internet being the last bastion of free speech, and currently under attack).

      We’ll have to use other means to save the planet, and ourselves.

    • Prophetic movie……huh?

  8. Where is the outrage? How and who does these law make sense too?- Not Americans. If Jesus, Moses, Muhammad , Buddah, FDR fed the poor today in Miami they would go to jail! Florida in general and Miami specific is a cold state- the weather may be warm but the people are so cold!
    Marc needs to be voted out along with the other pawned dummies who went along with him. Name names and get them out for them to continue speaks volume about the community and city at-large quietly advocating cruelty so their prestine walk is not interupted and the state run and / or contracted shelters keep getting paid. Marc who protects us from you? The people need to forget the party line and just get the bad, self serving public servants out.

  9. Back to plan B – google “arm the homeless”.

  10. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff Proposes Jail for Feeding Homeless « Food Freedom

  11. this is just sick. a way to kill off the homeless. oh…and have control over the masses. what happens to the shelters that feed the homeless? do they get closed down? when a person is hungry they are hungry and not picky about what they are given. they are just glad to eat. it’s not a law that helps homeless ppl. it makes them get treated even worse than they already are. they are human beings that deserve kindness just like anyone else. if u think this doesn’t matter listen….if they take ppl’s rights away in this what more will they take away…from all of us.

  12. This article points out some problems with the way commissioners and councilmen can change the way we are governed and can be influenced by outside entities. However the author of this article fails to attribute actual accurate quotes or cite reliable sources revealing poor research. Although true big business is out for a buck (were they not supposed to be?) and not concerned about your personal health neither are small companies or mom & pop type businesses. Those who feel they are are merely nieve and duped. The author does even mention that this ordinance in Orlando pertains to feeding 25 people or more. That’s a large number! Don’t fear giving the guy on the corner a plate of turkey and dressing this thanksgiving as the autho try to convince you not to. The “bugaboo” here is obviously the authors attempt to scare. Another telling factor of paranoia is the mention of Goldman Sachs no less than three times in article about food. It can even be argued that stopping feeding of the homeless in a place that has reportef ill ill towards them could be saving their lives! Some might be motivated tobpoison homeless people as their daily movements, habits and interactions arenot recorded or very trackable. As far as the rule on food at church functions this serves all better than intended. Without the ability to dish out food churches might receive less donations which are only used to give a little food and then the rest put toward indoctrination. The author also fails to follow up with how much a license for free food distrobution costs and how to attain one. As journalism this fails and only serves to muddle an issue that obviously needs real investigation. F.

    • I’m afraid you need to improve your reading skills, Matt.

      The link to the actual ordinance (which is in the article above) is the most reliable and most relevant source there can be in this discussion.

      And, you’re wrong – the author did explain 25-person regulation in Tampa.

      before you go around dissing other people’s articles, you should thoroughly read them.

      Overall, I’m pleased with Meryl’s post and find your criticisms inaccurate and over-reaching.

  13. Willie Taylor

    Good Day I have read this posting of what Mr Marc Sarnoff is saying, I am a follower of Jesus Christ and in Deuteronomy 15:11 it is written The poor will never cease from the land, therefore Jesus commands us to open wide our hands to our brother and sister to your poor and neeedy in your land. Mr. Sarnoff understanding is obviously not clear. When we have an abundance or there is no lack with us we so easily can begin to put down others or be merciless but we all need help and one another.

  14. Fining the homeless $100 for sleeping! Ugly efforts to criminalize the homeless just don’t stop.

    Put a moratorium on camping tickets to homeless sleepers –


  15. Two days after this article was posted, Keith Olbermann included Marc Sarnoff in his Worst Persons in the World segment. Sarnoff took the Silver.

    At about 1:25 of this video:

  16. I need to write Keith to help push Marc over to Gold.

  17. Pingback: We do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish,” the government has argued.” | OWLTHENA THE WILD WOOD MYSTIC

  18. Pingback: This is what we will face as well if we do not wake up | Michael Schmidt

  19. Pingback: Miami Commissioner threatens jail for those who would feed homeless people « The Bovine

  20. Tree Thunderchild

    “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.
    Does the government fear us? Or do we fear the government? When the people fear the government, tyranny has found victory. The federal government is our servant, not our master!”
    Thomas Jefferson is said to have said this, even if others dispute that, those truths still remain self evident.
    In the 70s I was in Fla. the town I was in was practically deserted, the shops closed, saying it was in protest to all the vagrants pan-handling, ruining their businesses, and would not open until the police did something about it. I was arrested soon after I got into town……
    I think rather than teaching people to fear the authorities, they should have instead taken some classes in economics, to help them learn to solve their problem, rather than “eliminate it” by forcing it to move to another town besides theirs.
    One method, gains respect, the other destroys it by trying to substitute intelligent creative solutions, with intimidation, AS IF that were a suitable substitute for earned respect.
    If they claim vagrants are the common problem, perhaps they should first remove the log in their own eye before trying to remove the sliver from another persons eye?

  21. Pingback: >Cannot Feed The Hungry Without A License « JustMEinT's Blog

  22. Pingback: Let’s Build A Tyranny On The Backs Of The Homeless at LibertyGuys

  23. Will Christ forgive us if we cop the plea via the Nuremberg defense as the reason we did not feed, water, clothe, and shelter the homeless and hungry?
    My email address is Read the last three verses. I will probably be jailed when the food riots begin this late summer or early autumn.

  24. and here I have just boxed up 12 dozen free range organic eggs to give to charities 100km away as in town I cant sell many, even giving them away has been hard..( health stores get 8$+ a doz I cant raise 3.50 which would cover feed bills)-.and yet I know many folks can’t afford to buy much food after bills, me included, but even bartering isnt working( there really is a limit to how many ways and days you can eat eggs..even the hounds are groaning:-)

  25. What kind of a country are we becoming? A country where greed is becoming the new God?

  26. I would be more than willing to go to jail for giving food to someone who is homeless would you?

  27. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff Proposes Jail for Feeding Homeless | Food Freedom

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