We have many bits of tid in today's Friday Files. But first, an update on the battle between the city of Orlando and the activists atLake Eola.
In Wednesday's column, I made a pitch for compromise in this long-running feud, which isn't helping anyone.
Now it looks as if that just might happen.
Both sides said Thursday that they were committed to getting together.
"We definitely are interested in sitting down and working out a compromise," said city spokeswoman Heather Fagan.
Similar optimism came from Jacqueline Dowd, the attorney for Food Not Bombs, the group that has been staging group feedings at the park. Dowd said "a collaborative solution" would be ideal.
The two parties are working out details. But, for the first time, it looks as if we can expect face-to-face meetings with a common goal in mind.
That's good. Because this constant stream of cops arresting people for feeding the hungry — and the worldwide publicity that goes along with it — hasn't been ideal for anyone.
Both sides can claim progress.
The activists, for instance, helped elevate the plight of the homeless and Central Florida's historical shortcomings on this front. They brought national attention to a community better known for arresting the homeless (remember the law requiring them to panhandle inside little blue boxes?) than helping them.
But since the first arrest five years ago, Central Florida has made real strides. The business and public sectors have united to look at more comprehensive solutions. We have a regional commission on homelessness, growing faith-based efforts — even an ambassador who roams downtown, looking for souls to help.
We still have a ways to go. But, as a whole, Central Florida is doing much better dealing with this problem that affects children, veterans and scores of working people knocked down by the recession.
For their side, Mayor
So, if there's a way to work together and stop throwing chili-ladlers in jail, amen.
The fact that both sides are even interested in working together is a great first step.
Now, enough of that "Kumbaya" stuff. Back to our regularly scheduled jabs.
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