World-renowned five-star chefs and people who pay exorbitant prices to munch on finger food have flocked to our city for the ultra-luxe, big-bucks Taste Fort Lauderdale events — a part of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival taking place this week.
The City of Fort Lauderdale has welcomed the festival with open arms. Earlier this month, commissioners unanimously approved $65,000 in taxpayers’ money to help fund two high-dollar events: a $125 Seaside Eats dinner on Wednesday at the Bonnet House and a $175 Bloody Mary Brunch on Sunday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Unsurprisingly, the move has homeless activists peeved. It was a little over a year ago that the same city commissioners passed an ordinance outlawing public food sharings unless organizers met certain conditions, like providing sinks and toilets. The ordinance was intended to stop people from giving food to homeless people. Activists plan to protest outside both events this week to raise awareness about the City of Fort Lauderdale’s priorities.
“This is worse than hypocrisy,” says protest organizer Jeff Weinberger, an activist with the October 22nd Alliance to End Homelessness. “If the city was serious about helping homeless people, they could use that money to house four or five chronically homeless people in an apartment. It could save lives.”