Last month, a frenzy broke out when Mayor Nutter said he wanted to prohibit outdoor feeding of the homeless, especially on city parkland, including the Ben Franklin Parkway.
Critics, mainly those who provide food for the hungry and homeless, claimed the city just wanted to get the homeless away from the Parkway, especially once the Barnes Museum opens.
The city said that it's a health issue, that there should be safety measures in place for food and its handling — including running water — which can be better addressed indoors.
But the frenzy is far from over. And in some ways, the city is keeping it alive. That's because when Nutter announced the ban on outdoor feeding on the Parkway, he said that groups could set up a temporary spot on the apron of City Hall to continue until a task force — whose members were announced last week — meets to "advance the conversation" about indoor feeding.
Although it's good for everyone to get to the table and hammer out a solution, news of this task force is a bit discouraging, because "task force" is usually city-speak for "delay making a hard decision."
Evidence that the tough decision is being delayed: The "temporary" solution offered to feed the homeless on the apron of City Hall will be in effect for one year.
In other words, the right decision — to get the providers and recipients of food inside — enters another yearlong chapter. This on top of the 10 years the city has been debating this issue.
The city should be lauded for being so accommodating — especially to food providers who continue to act the opposite of accommodating — but in this case, we say it's too much of a good thing.
The Parks & Recreation Department will hold a hearing (Wednesday, 6 p.m., Municipal Services Building), when Parks & Rec chief Mike DiBeradinis will hear testimony about a ban on feeding on city parkland. n