Rally Against IG Lawsuit

Our rally took place at 1pm this afternoon, in front of West Palm Beach City Hall. There was a nice showing of roughly 25 dedicated citizens from as far north as Palm Beach Gardens and as far south as Delray Beach. Our goal is to attract more West Palm Beach residents to become active and involved in what directly affects them.

We were proud to have County Commissioner Jess Santamaria attend our rally, along with his two assistants, Fred Pinto and Paul Razza. Also in attendance were, West Palm Beach’s Ex Internal Auditor, Imogene Isaacs who stopped by, in support of our stand against the lawsuit to stymie the Inspector General. The leader of South Florida 912 was there, along with the President of the Palm Beach County Tea Party.

Palm Beach Post Reporter, Eliot Kleinberg was also there and spoke with Commissioner Santamaria. There were many onlookers and some who were oblivious to the fact of 14 cities who have filed the lawsuit against the Inspector General, with West Palm Beach leading the charge. The city’s Public Information Officer, Eliot Cohen was the only city representative there. He did speak with the Post Reporter.

We would like to thank all participants who attended and therefore contributed to the success of our rally to keep our much needed Inspector General funded.

Inspector General: West Palm Beach Ethics Probe

As reported in the PB Post on 9/27/13 “Inspector General: West Palm Beach should not have repaid Mitchell in ethics probe.” This writer agrees . Here are the facts of the case, made available by requesting a Public Records Request from the PBC COE.

Commissioner Mitchell

On Dec.8, 2011 the PBC COE received a complaint,along with a compact disk (CD) concerning Commissioner Mitchell, and upon examination of the the disk an initial inquiry was begun.

On Dec.30,2011 the COE filed a Memorandum of Legal Sufficiency, recommending that a formal investigation be initiated under case # C12-001.
COE staff believes there was reasonable, trustworthy facts and circumstances for the COE to conclude that Kimberly Mitchell, a WPB City Commissioner, violated Section 2-443 (a) (1-2) Misuse of public office or employment, by using resources of an on duty City employee to resolve an issue concerning her personal, residential Comcast service.

Further, staff believed there was sufficient evidence to find that Commissioner Mitchell violated section 2-443 (b) Corrupt Misuse of official position.

On Feb.2,2012 the complaint was heard by the COE in executive session. Present were Commissioners Rogers, Harbison, Reinhart, Farach, and Fiore.

Commissioner Reinhart disclosed that Commissioner Mitchell was a friend, who referred clients to him, and he represented a brother of one of her close friends.

Commissioner Harbison disclosed Commissioner Mitchell’s mother was a former client.

Here is how the commissioners voted to continue the investigation:

  • Commissioner Reinhart: No probable cause count 1 & 2
  • Commissioner Harbison No probable cause count 1 & 2
  • Commissioner Rogers No probable cause count 1 & 2
  • Commissioner Fiore Probable cause count 1 & 2
  • Commissioner Farach Probable cause count 1, No probable cause count 2

At no time did any Palm Beach County Commissioner on Ethics, investigator, or county staff ever declare that Commissioner Mitchell was innocent, or absolved of any wrong doing. They just voted to not continue the investigation.

Commissioner Mitchell, not content with receiving a walk, then had the audacity to present the city (taxpayers) with her attorney’s bill of $7,325.00 which Commissioners Robinson, Materio, Moffitt, and James approved at a city commission meeting without any commissioner making a single comment.

Residents upset with the PBC COE decision filed a complaint against them with the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) which is reviewing the policies, and has so far reported the commission needs to sharpen its methods of handling investigations and hearings. Is it a coincidence that Commissioners Reinhart and Harbison are no longer with the PBC COE, along with Commissioner Farach who allowed them to vote on the Kimberly Mitchell/ Comcast issue after they made their disclosures?

Residents are upset with the decision of the Commission on Ethics, so who do we turn to for help? I turn to the Inspector General Office. Commissioner Mitchell is 1 of 5 commissioners who support the lawsuit against the IG. The story above is one reason the WPB Commissioners refuse to stop the lawsuit. Stop funding the IG and she will stop looking into their misdeeds. Three commissioners, Mitchell, Materio, and Moffitt are up for re-election in March 2014. They need to go. If you have read this far, please continue and read the Inspector General’s report to the city of WPB.

Whither Chapel-by-the-Lake?

Sept.16,2013 was a late night for City Commissioners and the residents who met to discuss the First Baptist Church’s Chapel-by-the-Lake property. The church has a chance to sell the property for 23 million dollars, if the city agreed to allow developer Al Adelson to erect a 29 story condominium on 3 acres of land. To accomplish this Mr. Adelson would require the city of WPB to make large concessions concerning setback requirements.

The City Commission on Monday voted 3/2 to rezone the property from community service to multifamily residences, which would allow the Condominium to be built. Commissioner Robinson, who voted for the rezoning stated “My vote was for the Church” Did Commissioner Robinson listen to the residents opposed to the project? Commissioner Robinson supposedly represents the residents, taxpayers, and voters of WPB. In my opinion he does not do a very good job.

Commissioners Moffett, James, and Robinson want a smaller structure, so the developer will lower the building a few floors, and the City Commissioner’s will vote to approve the project, due to the fact they only hear ching, ching, the bell on the cash register, and many dollars will be gained in the form of taxes.

The city government does such a poor job of spending our tax dollars wisely now, why would they expect us to trust them with more of our hard earned dollars. A few examples:

  • In the last month it has cost the taxpayers over one million dollars to settle four law suits filed against the city.
  • Over five million dollars wasted on Open Sky Police Radio, and it still cost the taxpayers yearly on a radio system that has never been operational.
  • Well in excess of two million dollars wasted on Commissioner Mitchell’s pet project, Digital Domain, where the city nearly lost a piece of land worth an additional ten million dollars.
  • Commissioner Materio’s pet project to spend 2.9 million on land in her district to keep Wal-mart out.
  • The massive failure of the Waste Water Plant where the taxpayers dollars amounting to thirty seven million dollars was spent, and they shut the plant down.

Oh yes, they will vote for the Chapel-by the- Lake.

Rally to protest the WPB-initiated IG Funding Lawsuit

Concerned citizens of WPB, in an attempt to ensure an honest, and strong government, are going to hold a rally in West Palm Beach to protest the lawsuit, initiated by WPB city officials, against the Inspector General’s office.

We are in firm belief that this lawsuit is an effort to disrupt the budget of the IG and ensure Ms. Steckler is denied the funding to properly investigate complaints. In protest the residents will hold a rally to inform city government of our displeasure with their actions.

When: Sept.30,2013
Time: 1:00 PM -2:00 PM
Place: WPB City Hall Courtyard
(nw corner Clematis and N. Dixie)

Believing in “strength in numbers” we welcome everyone who takes an interest in good government to join us in making this rally a success, and have city officials take its residents’ concerns seriously.

If interested please contact either: [email protected] or [email protected].

If you join us – don’t forget to bring some water and a hat!

Here are some sign ideas but make it your own:

  • WPB Stop the IG Lawsuit
  • Pay your IG Bills
  • Fund the IG
  • Listen to your voters
  • WPB Fears IG Oversight
  • Mitchell, Materio, Moffett – NO Re-election in 2014
  • What is WPB Hiding?

Announcing WPB Gov Watch

In a Democracy, the people get the government they deserve“. So said Alexis de Tocqueville, or Thomas Jefferson, or Ayn Rand – it has been attributed to all of them. Democracy is also hard work and best not left to politicians. And the best government is one that is constantly watched. And it doesn’t take a lot of people to make a difference. In fact, Margaret Mead said ““Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does.” That is our motto. We hope to change the City of West Palm Beach.

We hope that you will join us in this effort.