THE ISSUE: Food pantry sues to evict food bank.
OUR OPINION: Time to end wasteful use of resources.
Sometimes, satire is the best way to explain a complex issue, because it can reduce large conflicts to simple actions and in doing, so underscore the ridiculousness of the conflict.
In “Gulliver’s Travels,” Jonathan Swift explains the religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants within England as a battle between the tiny people of Lilliput over whether an egg should be opened on the little end or the big end.
To the reader, this seems stupid and trivial, because in reality, no one really cares which end of an egg to open first. This is the effectiveness of satire.
That’s why satire would be the best way to explain the current conflict between the We Care Food Pantry Inc. and the Community Food Bank of Citrus County Inc.
Both agencies are nonprofits that work to provide nutritious food to local residents, and they seem to be in legal conflict over parking and use of a loading dock.
Food Pantry owns two buildings at 5229 W. Cardinal St. in Homosassa and Community Food Bank rents one of them for the nominal fee of $1, plus paying half of the maintenance and upkeep of the complex. The property was originally donated by a contributor who wanted to help feed hungry people. The county agreed to the unusual rezoning of the property — located in a residential area — because it was going to be used for the very public purpose of helping people in need.
Both agencies do a good job of providing outstanding service to those who have needs.
But, last summer, there was a squabble over whether the Food Bank was violating the lease by parking in restricted areas and not properly using the loading dock at the facility.
Rather than reaching an agreement, Food Pantry filed a lawsuit in November alleging lease violations and seeking to terminate the lease, which expires March 2020.
From our perspective, this looks like a matter that ought to be resolved by discussions between reasonable people, not by enlisting lawyers and filing lawsuits.
While both agencies say that the litigation is not stopping them from carrying out their missions, at a minimum, the litigation is costing money that should be going to the mission of the agencies rather than to lawyers.
We urge both parties to end the litigation, resolve the issue and get on with their important mission of providing food to the needy in our community. This litigation is a wasteful use of resources that ought to end, the sooner the better.
Clarification: A phrase on Page A8 of the Saturday, Jan. 4 editorial, “County cuts Homosassa bus route,” needs clarification. The editorial read: “some 7,000 people in the affected area used the Orange Line during 2019.” This was the county’s estimated ridership, not the number of individuals using that bus route. The number of “people” is likely less than that figure, but the county does not have the number of actual individual people using the bus line.