The cosmopolitan vista of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway advertises Philadelphia's cultural capital.
It also advertises the city's problem of homelessness.
In a contentious and often profane public hearing Thursday evening at the Municipal Services Building, the Public Health Department announced controversial plans to require permits and increase inspections of groups that serve food to the homeless on the Parkway.
"Unneeded red tape is bad policy and bad for public health," said Niko Rayer of Food Not Bombs, an organization that distributes food to the homeless on the Parkway. "We provide better and more consistent meals than shelters at no cost to the city."