Homeless Feeders Say They’ll Fix Up Communal House

     I spoke with a member of the Fort Lauderdale – Food Not Bombs group on the phone today. I’ll tell you what he told me in just a sec.

Food Not Bombs are one of the key players in the homeless feedings in Stranahan Park, and live in a “communal house” in the South Middle River Civic Association area.

The house has been a real problem for South Middle River, and the neighborhood President, Sal Gatanio, has been pushing the City to do something about it.

The Swamp

I called Sal to see what the problem was with the house (  FNB affectionately calls the residence the “Swamp Collective House”).

Sal was quite upset. “It’s filthy Tim, yard totally trashed out, windows blown out, pit bulls in the yard.
Sal took one short breath and continued on …. ” people sleep on the roof for God’s Sake, and the inside walls are covered in graffiti!”

I asked Sal how he knew the inside walls were covered with graffiti.

” I told you Tim, the freakin windows are blown out !!”.

So, today I talked with Hunter, who lives in the Swamp. I had put in calls to all the numbers I could find associated with Food Not Bombs, and was glad someone was calling me back.

I found Hunter to be a pleasant young man, who says he understands the neighborhoods’ concerns. He says he and his group are concentrating on feeding the homeless and fixing the world, and probably let the house go. He said the windows were going to be fixed this week, and people from My House Painter firm were supposed to be painting the house today.

But he wouldn’t make any promises about stopping the roof sleeping !

Stay Tuned ….  Tim

Police Chief Debunks Homeless Feeding Group’s Claims

      I just got off the phone with Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley.

I asked him about the charge of Police intimidation leveled by the homeless feeding group
Food Not Bombs. I’ll get back to the Chief in a minute, but here’s what I’ve been able to find out about Food Not Bombs.   

     Food Not Bombs is one of the key feeding groups that have been feeding the homeless in Stranahan Park for the last few years. The feedings have caused friction with many City residents and City Leaders, because the park has now become a haven for the down and out, a few just out ( of prison that is), and a smattering of the mentally disabled and sober – living – challenged folks. 

     Food Not Bombs Fort Lauderdale is the local chapter of nationwide group that bills itself as the “fastest growing revolutionary movement in North America.”


     Started 30 years ago in Cambridge Mass. as an anti-nuclear group, the group’s mission today is to protest war and poverty, and share free vegetarian food with the homeless.
     The San Francisco chapter of Food Not Bombs boasts that they have over “1000 arrests in the governments’ efforts to silence it’s protest against the city’s anti-homeless policies”.

      The group is affiliated with other anti-government policy groups such as the Anarchist Black Cross, Free Radio Movement, and Homes Not Jails.

                                    But back to Police Chief Adderley

     Adderley says the groups claims of Police misbehavior are hogwash. He says his officers responded to complaints from the South Middle River Civic Association about a “squatters residence” in their neighborhood. The association has been fighting crime and blight in their neighborhood and complained of unsavory characters and possible illegal drug activity at the home.

     Adderley says his officers found the home in poor condition, without electricity and water. He says his officers gave the residents a short time frame to clear up those problems or move out, but after the group threatened a lawsuit, the Police “backed off”,  until the City’s legal department had a look at the situation.

     I haven’t gotten any return phone calls or e-mails from Food Not Bombs.

      I’ll continue to follow the story –   ……  Tim

Homeless Activists Charge Cops With Misbehavior

The Homeless feeding group that calls itself FNB ( Food Not Bombs) is charging the Fort Lauderdale Police Department with intimidation and  “criminalizing community activism”. 

Read their e-mail below……  I haven’t been able to reach Chief Frank Adderley yet this morning, but I’ll try and get his take on these charges later today ……     

CALL FOR SOLIDARITY!: Regarding the 2/17 Police Raid
at the SWAMP Collective House


In the past five months, tensions between the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and Food Not Bombs activists have escalated. Within this time, the FLPD has not only prevented multiple groups from sharing in Stranahan Park, but has installed a police surveillance tower in the park amidst repeated verbal assaults against Food Not Bombs activists.



On Thursday, February 17th, an unanticipated FPL electricity inspection led to the power being turned off at the home of activists frequently the target of police harassment. The electricity bill had been paid prior to this but the FPL inspector claimed a short-term repair was creating a fire hazard, thus necessitating the disconnection. Several hours later, all tenants left the house while a few guests remained. During this time, an unwarranted police raid took place under the premise of ‘uninhabitable’ living conditions.


The house was deemed ‘uninhabitable’ due to the lack of electricity, which had been turned off that morning. House guests were pulled outside and searched by over a dozen officers, who kicked in unlocked doors and, with a K-9 unit, searched the house with no specific intent. One female guest was frisked and inappropriately touched by a male officer. More troubling still, officers were questioning the political orientation of the house guests. They asked if the house was a ‘militant training camp’, and whether or not the guests were “terrorists” or affiliated with “black bloc”. Before the FLPD left the house, they threatened to repeat raids weekly.


The Food Not Bombs activists in Fort Lauderdale are not involved in any of the activities suggested by the police. Rather, activities organized out of the house include free bike repair, FNB gatherings and sharing of food with the homeless, animal rights activities, candle making workshops, foreclosure & civil rights activism, etc. We, Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs, strongly condemn the intimidation tactics which include the police surveillance tower in Stranahan Park, unwarranted police raids, and the criminalization of community activism. Fort Lauderdale city officials have already targeted the poor and disenfranchised. Now the range has been expanded to include those who dare to help them. We call on South Florida activists to stand with us in solidarity as we struggle against the city’s efforts to repress the homeless and community-based activism.


UPDATE: Fort Lauderdale Police returned to the activists’ home on Saturday, February 19th at around 9:00PM. The two officers did not attempt a repeat of Thursday’s raid, but rather briefly insulted and intimidated one of the tenants and their guests. The police entered the house, with permission from the tenant but then left shortly afterward.




Food Not Bombs South Florida


We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, demand an immediate end to, and stand united against, the current Fort Lauderdale Police intimidation of Food Not Bombs South Florida, as well as efforts by all branches of Law Enforcement to stifle Free Speech and legal community activism =

Gettin Outa Dodge !

     Winter in Fort Lauderdale…….. we are very lucky, eh?

     But sometimes, even the beautiful weather, the peaceful easy feelin, is just not enough.

                             What’s a restless Fort Lauderdalian to do?

     Set off to see the in-laws?   ..

     …I know, ….that’s not nice,   …..

     ……  anyway, sometimes it’s nice to get out and wander around  South Florida,  …  enjoy the sights….

          …..but where to go … and, do we really want to fight  the traffic !!!


                …… the things you see out there on the roadways !!

                     ……  those bully drivers, road rage and all !


        ….so I’m conflicted, do we go, do we stay? …nothing’s ever black and white !


          …….  hell, lets go   ….. how bad can it get?


        ………  maybe we’ll just walk to the beach….      

Hometown Spirit!

     There’s something a little different about this 21 year-old.

      We’re talking about well known, local aspiring rap artist Chris Wilder, a.k.a. –  Sneetch.

The Fort Lauderdale native, and  Fort Lauderdale High School alumni, has done something that might give you a chuckle. At least it gave me one. Let’s play kind of a ” Where’s Waldo” game in his picture below and see if you can tell what I’m talking about!

Here’s Chris !!!


Yup ! ……. Chris is such a fan of his hometown, that he has a tattoo with the logo of Fort Lauderdale right there on his bicep ( his guns, he calls them).

     The State of Florida is also represented, but he says he mostly loves the City, says there’s nowhere like Fort Lauderdale. He says he hopes the City keeps going forward, but gets back to it’s “splendor of the 1980’s” ( I’m confused too!).

     Chris told me that all rap is not ” drug dealin and gang bangin”, and invites you to hear his stuff at youtube.com/sneetchtv.

     He says you might even like it!


Leaders From the Past Yuck it Up !

     The Time Machine buzzed and chirped, and out from behind the marked up, king size bed sheet, famous Fort Lauderdalians, long dead, emerged !


                  Chief Billy and the Brave One were the first to arrive ( fitting eh?)


     Frannk Stranahan and Virginia Schuman Young took the stage next, explaining lots of important Fort Lauderdale history. Stranahan was still wearing the sewer grate around his waist that he used to drown himself a hundred years earlier !


The first town Doctor, Thomas Kennedy, was there with his hacksaw, Annie and Alfred Beck opened their lovely 1916 home ( they looked great for being 147 years old!), Ivy Stranahan nagged Frankand the crowd hooped it up with delight!  

            ….  Fun it was !!!

Frank Stranahan Speaking Sunday !!!

     I know this sounds crazy!

     But our City turns 100 years old next month, so this coming Sunday afternoon, at the monthly meeting of the Middle River Terrace Neighborhood Association, some very famous, but very dead Fort Lauderdalians will be coming back from the past to share some historical tidbits – and you’re invited!


                                                Frank and Ivy Stranahan
      Frank Stranahan ( who you’ll think bears an uncanny resemblance to Mayor Jack Seiler) will be there to tell us why he jumped in the river !

                                             mysteries finally solved !

     And former Mayor Virginia Shuman Young, though she’s been gone for decades, will be there also.
     You might think Young looks an awful lot like Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom, but Rodstrom hair isn’t stark white and it’s not up in a bun! We’ll have to ask Young what it feels like to be the only female Mayor of Fort Lauderdale (to present!)

                                          after the 1926 hurricane
      You’ll hear fascinating facts about our City, from the first Doctor who cut off limbs with a hacksaw, to the hair brained scheme to drain the everglades, to the man who got stabbed with fingernail clippers at Joe’s Bar! Other famous historical figures will also join ( and they’ll look a bit like some current people you know also

     And after the historic greats entertain and enlighten us and disappear back to the past, 

                                                  ( picture courtesy of Art Seitz)
    our current elected officials, Jack Seiler and Charlotte Rodstrom, will show up and answer a few questions from the crowd about our fair city.

     And wait…wait…. there’s more !  ..  get there at 4 pm,
     ………………….   eat free pizza

                           Place: Middle River Terrace Park
                             1329 N. Dixie Highway

                  this Sunday, Feb.13th – 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.

                               ( e-mail questions to Tim@TimSmith.com)





Hutchinson Temporarily Removed From Riverwalk

     Former Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson has been “temporarily” removed from her job as President and Director  of the Riverwalk Trust.

     The move comes as a reaction to Hutchinson’s arrest last week on public corruption charges.


The removal is temporary”, says Mark Budwig, Chairman of the Board of the Trust, while Hutchinson “attends to personal matters” (we all know what those matters are!) Hutchinson will be paid while on a 30 day administrative leave.

     Budwig added that Cindi has done an “outstanding job” as Director of the Trust, and when asked if he expects her to return, he strongly said he did.

Chair Budwig , Cindi,  and George Mihaiu ( publisher of Go Riverwalk magazine)

     The Director position at the Trust has been “temporarily” filled by dynamo and city activist Genia Ellis.

     The move was made official just this morning, and Ellis’s name already replaces Cindi’s on the Trust’s web site. But as of this morning, you still hear Hutchinson’s voice mail message if you hit the President’s extension- 202 -when calling the Trust.

     Ellis is best known as the long term President of the Council of Fort Lauderdale Civic Associations, but has spent the last few years in many other volunteer endeavors including working at the Riverwalk Trust. Most observers I’ve talked to think Ellis is the perfect fit for this Interim appointment. Budwig says bringing in Ellis ” assures a smooth transition” for the Trust.

     Ellis could not be reached for comment for this story! ( but she can’t hide forever!)

     Thirty days falls on March 9th – we’ll check back in then …