Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Food Not Bombs in State Health Department Hearing

"I'm exhausted," Abe Bobman, Wesleyan student, and a member of Food Not Bombs, said to me over the phone. "I'm used to working all day in the sun on a farm, not sitting for eight hours in an air-conditioned hearing room.

Bobman and other member of the Food Not Bombs organizations from Middletown and Hartford were involved in a hearing Tuesday during which the Connecticut Department of Public Health heard testimony about Middletown's Health Department's attempt to prevent Food Not Bombs from sharing meals every Sunday on Main Street.

According to Bobman, Middletown's Health Department presented testimony that the selective enforcement against Food Not Bombs, as opposed to the lack of enforcement for bake sales, lemonade stands, and the like, was based on a principal of "regularity." Because Food Not Bombs appears on a regular schedule, the city testifies that they are eligible for enforcement under state statutes.

Bobman also said that Food Not Bomb's legal representatives challenged a potentially prejudicial statement by the hearing officer that Food Not Bombs might not be counted on for truthfulness because of their declared disdain for regulation.

The day began with a collaborative shared meal, offered by Hartford and Middletown Food Not Bombs members on the sidewalk in front of the Department of Health headquarters on Capitol Avenue in Hartford.

1 comment:

Abe said...

Ed - Thanks for continuing to follow the Food Not Bombs story. Just to clarify, the hearing officer implied that Middletown Food Not Bombs was "elusive" in dealing with the health department and that members of the group might be dishonest when asked about interactions with health department officials. It's unclear how she came to this understanding, and is a characterization that of course we take issue with.

As always, we look forward to the day when we can be free from spending our time and the city's in lengthy legal proceedings. We're simply trying to reclaim the right to do what the group has been doing for the past 10 years - to be a resource in the community and to voice opposition to a society that spends money on war despite the pervasiveness of hunger and inequality.

More can be read about today's excitement at the Courant and the CT News Junkie: