The Albuquerque Police shut down the Food Not Bombs serving today the 31st of October, 1998. We were told to pack up and leave. The Police officer cited that some businesses in the area had made some complaints. He didn’t specify who, or what they were complaining about. The officer told us that we needed to get a “Special Events” permit. And if we are to get one then he wouldn’t shut us down.
This is all happening as Albuquerque’s mayor is trying to again implement “an out of site out of mind policy”! by consolidating the Homeless into one area. He also requested that the police begin again to enforce an existing law and arrest “aggressive” panhandlers.
Also adding fuel to the cities war on the homeless is the announcement from the mayor that control of the “4th street mall” [will be turned] over to the Downtown Action Team. The 4th street mall is three blocks of 4th street between central avenue and the civic plaza that were converted into a park. The Downtown Action Team is the downtown business association. The mayor hopes that by turning over the mall to the D.A.T. the group can take the necessary steps to begin the further revitalization of the downtown area. Part of that revitalization is cleaning the downtown area of the homeless population that “loiters” in the area. 4th street mall is one area where a fair number of people can be seen hanging out. Of which many are homeless people.
We of Food Not Bombs Burque believe that the big reason behind todays shut down of our serving is due to the recent focus on the revamping of the downtown district. Especially because we serve weekly in the 4th street mall.
Todays shut down will not prevent us from serving. Our location may change a little, or our tactic, this all depends on the consensus of the group. More will be added to this as things develop.
We will be working to build a homeless advocacy coalition within the next week to begin to deal with the policy changes that are happening. This coalition will involve many of the service groups including Food Not Bombs Burque and most importantly many of the people that live on the streets.