Evander Preston in the news again

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The Times grabbed a hold of the Evander Preston story today, previewing a City Council item that will review the legality of handing out alcohol on city sidewalks and streets.

The media seems to have latched onto the "Woodstock Santa" title that City Councilman Bill Foster gave him in a recent city memo. Foster is fond of affixing the "Woodstock" label to anything homeless (I've quoted him calling the homeless "Woodstock wannabes" in the past).

The best part of the article is the comments. Most of the comments on my original story about Preston's gift-giving came from angry downtowners. But the majority of online Times readers seem to sympathize with Preston.

A small sampling:

"City Council may just be worried about him running for office. He gives the people what they want."

"A bunch of do-gooders whining and crying because they don't approve of one man's gesture of kindness. Way to have the Christmas spirit, you Grinches. I too always try to give out a few beers and stuff to the homeless this time of year."

"It is probably better that they stand on every corner begging for money so that they can buy their bourbon. I am tempted to buy some myself and give it to them."

"Sure beats a bowl of thin soup, some stale bread, hollow promises and hope to quell the misery."

"Foster's measure would make it illegal for me to walk across the street and hand my neighbor a beer. Butt out Foster. Who are you to decide what is charity and what is not."

"I hope he won't forget the crackheads this year, either!"

"Terri's Law", anyone? It's amazing how so called conservatives are always ready to make a new government intrusion to affect the behavior of one person. So much for limited government..."

I'm set to talk with Preston today or tomorrow about all the media attention and I'll share his comments with readers. In the meantime, check out this Tampa Bay 10 news feature on him.

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