As Usual, Dirty Politics in WPB

Carona Virus
According to the NY Times “The U.S. first identified cases among travelers who had flown in from Wuhan, China, in the middle of January. Officials worked to contain them. There is some evidence that the virus began getting a bit of traction around the end of January.”

The USA has been suffering for over a year as the country shut down, businesses close, people losing their jobs, school closing, children paying the price.

Millions of Americans standing in line for hours in the hopes they will be tested to see if they are infected with the virus. I witnessed hundreds of automobiles lined up on Haverhill Rd. hoping to be tested at the ball park. Many were tested until they ran out of test kits only to return and once again wait in line, always hopeful.

West Palm Beach, Florida

Thousands of residents depend on public transportation to move around making it impossible to drive to a testing site, or the sites are not located around their neighborhood so walking miles isn’t an option.

Thousands more don’t own a computer making it impossible to make an appointment until a group of young men & women reached out to help the elderly and others.

I live in a community consisting of 187 homes and the majority of residents are people of color. We are all concerned with the Carona Virus and I have no knowledge of how many residents have been tested. My home is located in District 2 and we will soon be voting for a new City Commissioner. Either Deandre Poole or Shalonda Warren will represent us.

Skipping ahead.


“The mission of the Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality is to identify and help address issues of racial/ethnic equity through education about racial and ethnic inequities, research of best practices, and issuance of policy/funding recommendations to address racial/ethnic inequity in the City of West Palm Beach.”

“The Task Force is in line with Mayor James’ vision of working to create a “Community of Opportunity for All”, whereby any citizen can achieve their dreams in West Palm Beach.”


“Criminal Justice, How can West Palm Beach build racial/ethnic equity regarding the criminal justice system, including policing?
Education & Workforce Development, How can West Palm Beach build racial/ethnic equity regarding education and workforce development?
Finance, Banking & Industry, How can West Palm Beach build racial/ethnic equity related to wealth-building, banking, business development and jobs?
Health: How can West Palm Beach build racial/ethnic equity regarding health access and healthcare

Real Estate & Housing: How can West Palm Beach build racial/ethnic equity related to housing and real estate?”

You can read the entire Mission Statement here:

I don’t need to inform readers of how bad it was in 2020 as we have lived through it or I should say most of us. Over 30,000 have died of the virus in FL. and the number keeps growing.

Dec. 11,2020 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine for use in the country and government states who will receive it and when.

Happening Now:

Everything you have read so far is leading to the latest story and information I have received and I want readers to be aware of.

Andros Isle: District 4

Double click flyer to enlarge.

A gated community located in the western section of the city with 912 homes and approximately 1,800 residents.

Ms. Shalonda Warren, CEO of Sickle Cell Foundation, managed to sponsor a Carona Virus testing sight in Andros Isle. The message to residents reads.

Sponsored by Shalonda Warren, a candidate for WPB City Commission.

Free testing for Andros Isle residents only. (proof of residency required)

2/27/2021      9:00 AM to 1:00PM     Appointment required

FYI: Mayor Keith James resides in Andros Isle, and endorsed Ms. Warren for City Commission.

Here is a question for Ms. Warren. Why didn’t you arrange this testing in District 2 where many residents look like you and the mayor?  1800 residents that will bring you some votes.

If you had to go outside your district why not in other areas of the city where people of color struggle to be tested? How about Roosevelt Estates or Pleasant City. Again I repeat myself where most of the residents look like you and the mayor.

Here is a question for Mayor James. Did you organize the Racial and Ethnic Equality in order to start campaigning early for your re-election as Mayor? I remind you of the key issue  Health: How can West Palm Beach build racial/ethnic equity regarding health access and healthcare?

Why Andros Isle, why not a black community, and who is paying for the tests?

District 4: City Commission. Joe Peduzzi running for re-election and is being challenged by Jonathan E. Jones. I am receiving emails from Mr. Jones and he’s telling me “Elected Officials” have failed the city over State Road 7 extension. Personally I am upset with Mayor and Commissioners for spending millions of taxpayer dollars fighting the extension for years.

Yesterday I received another flyer telling me “Elected Officials” have failed the Police Dept. and Firefighters for not coming to an agreement on a new contract. Mr. Jones is 1/2 right “Elected Officials” have failed the Police Dept. and Firefighters and it hasn’t been the commissioners but Mayor Keith James who has failed both departments with his take it or leave it attitude.

Both the Police and Firemen have endorsed Peduzzi for re-election. They know they have his support.




We want To Hear From You=Joke

I attended the City Commission meeting held on 2/22/2021 and was interested in 4 items on the agenda, items # 4, 9, 10 and 17 and here is is the outcome of the meeting and includes information on items #3 ,5, and 6. Below is the final agenda for the meeting if you are interested in reading it.

At the start of the meeting Mayor James asked the City Administrator, Faye Johnson if there were any changes to the agenda, and Johnson replied # 4 was pulled, meaning commissioners would not vote on the item, and no discussion was needed. The City Commissioners unanimously approved items 3, 5 and 6.

# 3. City Commission approval is requested for appointment of Kevin Volbrecht and Cristine Perdomo as a member to the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency Technical Advisory Committee.

# 5. City Commission approval is requested for the Mayor’s reappointment of Ms. Bonni S. Jensen to the Golf Course Advisory Committee.

# 6. City Commission approval is requested for the Mayor’s appointment of Christopher Chase to the West Palm Beach Housing Authority.

# 4. (pulled from the agenda) City Commission approval is requested for the Mayor’s reappointment of Dr. Deandre J. Poole to the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee for a term of two years (2) that expires on March 8, 2023. Dr. Poole has served over the maximum allowed number of terms (3), and it is required that the City Commission confirms his reappointment. Agenda Cover Memorandum No.: 23219.

Dr. Deandre J. Poole is running for District 2 City Commission seat after Commissioner Cory Neering chose not to seek re-election. Keith James has endorsed another candidate and although Mr. Poole has served for 6 years on the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee and was to be reappointed for another 2 year year term, James has decided to pull item # 4 from the agenda.

Why would James pull the item? I can only think of one reason he didn’t want to highlight any of Mr. Poole’s accomplishments.

The city allows residents to speak on any item for 3 minutes and I submitted cards to speak on item 9 & 10 which can be read below.

9. Resolution No. 219-20 authorizing the assessment of city liens in the total amount of $36,593.58 for unpaid water service, sewer service, and stormwater service charges for the month of May 2020.
Background: In accordance with the Code of Ordinances of the City of West Palm Beach, Florida, 2003, Sections 90-4 and 90-5, the City imposes liens on private real property for delinquent payments due for utility services. The liens to be assessed by Resolution No. 219-20 are for unpaid water service, sewer service, and stormwater service charges for the month of May 2020. The list of properties to be assessed and the associated charges are in Resolution No. 219-20 as EXHIBIT A – Utility Lien List – May 2020. If not paid, these liens may be foreclosed by the City.

I asked James if he was going to foreclose on these homes because people were unable to pay their water bill, then I just waited for an answer that never came.

10. Resolution No. 36-21 authorizing the assessment of city liens in the total amount of $27,010.60 for unpaid water service, sewer service, and stormwater service charges for the month of August 2020.
Background: In accordance with the Code of Ordinances of the City of West Palm Beach, Florida, 2003, Sections 90-4 and 90-5, the City imposes liens on private real property for delinquent
payments due for utility services. The liens to be assessed by Resolution No. 36-21 are for unpaid water service, sewer service, and stormwater service charges for the month of August 2020. The list of properties to be assessed and the associated charges totaling $27,010.60 are in Resolution No. 36-21 as EXHIBIT A – Utility Lien List – August 2020.
If not paid, these liens may be foreclosed by the City.

#10 was basically the same with only the month and dollar amount changed. James refused to allow me to speak to item 10 and when I protested he asked for an opinion of City Attorney Kim Rothenburg and I honestly didn’t hear her reply due to her mask, and I emailed her.

“At last nights CC meeting James would not allow me to speak to item 10 and when I protested he asked for your opinion which you gave. Unfortunately wearing a mask I did not hear your response. Could you please let me know what you said?

“Sorry you were unable to hear me. I will be sure to speak louder next time. I will listen to the tape and let you know exactly what I said, but my recollection is that I advised the Mayor that public comment for the consent agenda could be limited to three minutes based on the rules adopted by the Commission relating to public comment.”

When she finished I asked James if I could speak to item 10. He said no, I was done. What’s the next step for James, figure out a way to eliminate public speaking altogether?

Mayor James answer’s to no one, listens to no one and never explains his actions. Is WPB a strong mayor form of government or a dictatorship?

If the people who say they support Deandre J. Poole actually go to the polls and vote WPB is one step closer to healing.

Deandre Poole receives two key endorsements from the Hispanic community.

Police Can’t Catch a Break with James.

On 2/11/2021 I attended negotiations between the City and the FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) and what caught my attention was the topic of “take home cars” and I walked out with more information that I will share with readers thanks in part to FOP Vincent Castiglia, Florida Labor Council / Staff Representative. Jose-Luis Rodriguez, Chief Human Resource Officer represented the city and both sides were respectful of each others opinions.
Months ago I learned the Police Dept. switched from the PBA to the FOP and questioned the move. A little history below.

For over 20 years the Police Dept. was represented by the PBA (Police Benevolent Association) and members voted overwhelming to switch to the FOP because membership felt they were ignored by PBA County and their leadership.
Within the PBA, chapters can not make decisions for themselves without the County’s
involvement or approval. There have been many times over the years that the County leadership made decisions in direct opposition to the vote of their membership. Appears to me the PBA interest was more concerned with the city than it’s membership.

The FOP is organized differently, in a bottom-up format. The FOP is a member driven organization and is the oldest and largest police union in the country. The local membership and leadership make decisions for themselves and the members have a vote.

The issue regarding the take home vehicles. The city has recently taken a stance that they will not cover an employee who is operating a city vehicle “portal to portal” meaning to and from work if they are at-fault in a crash. This is based on a court case from about 2014 “Garcia vs Hollywood” which set a bad legal precedent. In that case, the Hollywood officer was represented by PBA. Mr. Castigila was making the point, case law will not change until it is challenged in court, and should the time come, FOP is willing to do so. Unfortunately, until then cities will use this case law to their benefit if they believe it suits them.

Currently, WPB Police have take-home vehicles (marked and unmarked). This is a benefit to the city as much as the employee. There are numerous fleet studies that show a take-home vehicle program is more cost-effective because the vehicle isn’t continually being operated and there is a sense of ownership to the officer. These vehicles are essentially the officer’s office on wheels so they take care of the vehicle and it lasts longer in the fleet. The other benefit is a quick response to incidents for which officers are called out from home. These can range from a detective responding to a crime scene, a K9 handler being brought in to conduct a track/ search, or specialty units like SWAT, Bomb Squad, etc. Without a take-home vehicle program, officers would have to respond from home to HQ (head quarters), load their vehicle and then respond to the scene accordingly.
There are several problems with this approach. As far as detectives, the main concerns are evidence protection and witnesses.
Patrol officers respond to scenes and hold it until the arrival of the detectives who assume the investigation. The detective is the subject matter expert who then makes decisions on how the scene is processed and evidence is collected.

Timeliness of their arrival is extremely important especially when the scene is outdoors.
Timely response by units such as SWAT is simply a life-saving issue. The quicker these specially trained officers can respond to a scene, the quicker they can take action. Who doesn’t remember the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Are you aware the Pulse nightclub shooter originally surveilled City Place as a potential target?

Officers currently pay the city a fuel surcharge for the use of the take-home vehicles. This is calculated on a sliding scale. The amount increases as with the number of miles until it reaches the max 40-mile limit. This was put in place around the time of the 2008 market crash and the high fuel prices. The city calculates the 40 mile radius “as the crow flies” from police HQ. They completely ignore the fact when the officer crosses the city limits, they are technically on duty and have a duty to act.

In new negotiations the city has suggested officers obtain a rider to their personal insurance policies to cover the operation of the city vehicles. The problem is, there very few insurance companies that will issue these riders. These can be very expensive and the officer has to move their personal vehicle/ property to these companies for coverage. The insurance company will not issue the rider solely for the city vehicle because the officer does not own it. Based on the experiences of officers from around the state, even with the rider when a claim is made to the insurance company they deny the claim and states the officer was operating an emergency vehicle and has a duty to act at any time. The officer is then placed in between the insurance company and the city. Eventually, the insurance company of the party whom he collided with will then file a civil lawsuit against the officer.
The city covering police cars has not been an issue until lately. It has never been an issue
through several city administrations. The exact reason for the change is unknown, but in my opinion James is abusing his authority once again.

For this fact, most agencies have agreed to cover the officer “portal to portal”. It is kind of the cost of doing business, and they are simply seeking the city to do the same for our officers so they can do their jobs and serve the city.
At the recent meeting the city represented the issue to be much bigger than it really is. The vast majority of crashes involving police vehicles are while the officer is in performance of their duties…..ON DUTY. The number of off duty crashes, in which the officer is at fault are small, and I can’t believe Mayor James is treating our police officers in this manner.

A comment was made about parking the police cars, and not taking them home if the city doesn’t agree to cover the officers, the union will recommend the officers not participate in the take-home vehicle program and cease the fuel surcharge deductions. This is the only way to limit the potential liability the city is exposing the officers to by not covering them. Additionally, there is not enough parking to store all the police vehicles so there may come a time when the public sees Clematis Street lined with marked police vehicles. Hopefully they wont get to that point.

While I am writing about police cars are you aware the police department is going to be forced to take approximately 20 vehicles out of the fleet this year (2021) due to being contractually obligated (age of vehicle/ mileage) to do so.
There are no replacements for these vehicles because the city denied a capital improvement request made last year for the purchase of the replacements. As a result, officers will be “hot seating” cars meaning they will operate the vehicle for their 11.5 shift and then hand it off to the officer relieving them who will drive it for his/her 11.5 shift. This 24 hour operation of these vehicles will certainly reduce the lifespan. The vehicle problem only gets worse in the coming budget year when another block of vehicles will have to come out of the fleet and there is an existing shortage.

WPB is currently 18 of 22 police agencies in PBC, earning lowest paid in dollars and benefits.
The other agencies are very small cities & PBC School Board. WPB is currently significantly behind smaller cities with smaller tax bases. This is the result of many years of ignoring the issue and allowing the police dept. to deteriorate. As a result the city has a serious recruiting & retention problem. The pay issue makes it very difficult to attract the best candidates. Many have been passed over by other agencies and our police dept. are becoming a training ground. Young officers are gaining experience while looking for a better paying job with another city or PBSO, and who can blame them if they are risking their life for us don’t they deserve to be paid properly? This issue then leads to other issues like staffing. When they can’t recruit, they can’t staff properly. Short staffing then leads to management being forced to pay overtime or order officers to fill patrol shifts (paid in OT).

Remember the PSC Security no bid contract with the city for $7.9 million dollar that resulted in a law suit and the city was forced to send it out for bid? No surprise PSC won the contract again, only difference the new contract was for $9,045,086,50 and when asked about a million dollar increase James stated the cost of living was being raised to $15.00/hour and the taxpayers paid to raise PSC staff wages, and now the city’s police officers are with hat in hand asking for a decent salary and benefits.
The WPB Police Dept. contract ended on Sept. 30, 2021 and they continue to put their lives on the line for us for going on 6 months, while James with the aid of City Commissioners gave taxpayer dollars to PSC.

James wants the police to add their police vehicle to their private insurance while he takes advantage of taxpayers by having the city purchase his Chevrolet SUV. Taxpayers pay the insurance, and James receive a $500.00/month gas allowance.

Our police officers deserve better.



City’s Monkey Business

It began with the 1/25/2021 City Commission meeting where 2 Resolution’s were discussed.

Item #4 “Resolution No. 3-21 authorizing the assessment of city liens in the total amount of $41,600.11 for unpaid water service, sewer service and storm water service charges for the month of October 2020.” Last line states “If not paid, these liens may be foreclosed by the city.”
The city can take your home, put you and your family on the street which adds to the homeless population and are subject to a $500.00 fine or 60 days in jail if your caught urinating of dedicating in parks or city streets. The city (James) claims the city is not criminalizing homelessness.

Item #8 “Resolution No. 347-20 Finding that property located at 630 5th. St. is not needed for city purposes, declaring the property to be surplus, and authorizing the conveyance of property under the Housing Assistance Incentives Program to Neighborhood Renaissance, Inc. for the development of a single-family home in the Historic Northwest Neighborhood.”
Resolution No. 22-21 approving a conveyance and Development Agreement and award of development funding to Neighborhood Renaissance, Inc. in a sum not to exceed $96,500.00 for the construction of a single-family home located at 630 5th. St. The total cost to develop this property $307,074.00. The City’s financial contribution to this project shall not exceed $96,500.00.” Can’t help but wonder where the city found the money. There have been to many homes owned by the city that are being sold as surplus, and I asked the question at the recent CC meeting if these homes were foreclosed on for non-payment of the water bill. I waited so long for an answer my 3 minutes ran out, and I never did receive a response.

Item #12 “Ordinance No. 4924-20 An Ordinance of the City Commission of the City of West Palm Beach, Florida, approving the sale and conveyance of city-owned property located at 225 Monroe Drive to 225 Monroe, LLC. authorizing execution of a sale and purchasing agreement for $450,000.00. The City received (5) offers to purchase City-owned property located at 225 Monroe Drive ranging from $405,000.00 to $499,900.00.”
The City accepted a sale price of $450K when they could have had a sale price of nearly 50K more. The City’s reasoning 225 Monroe, LLC has performed historic renovations on several properties including Park Slope Town and Courtyard Homes a 14 home new development. In addition 225 Monroe, LLC received the 2020 City of WPB Historic Preservation Award.
Smart move by the city to present the award, kind of locks then into  receive more properties to renovate. City claims they have the experience to do a good job. OK, but how does the city know what a different company, offering more money, can do if they aren’t given the opportunity?

And how about the city give us the name of the company that has done all the renovating never mind the moniker 225 Monroe, LLC.

If Monroe, LLC acquires another property, say at 10 Smith, will that be known as 10 Smith LLC?

These properties are located in Commissioner Lambert’s district and I can’t help but wonder if the company her husband works for Wantman Group (WGI) is working behind the scenes in some capacity.

The City Commission meetings are televised and saved so residents can view the meeting at any time after they are posted. The 1/25/2021 meeting was handled differently. A reader called and asked why the meeting was not posted on line. I checked and the only part of the meeting residents could view was the last 5 min. of the meeting when James spoke about city business. The entire meeting along with  resident and City Commissioners comments were eliminated.

On Sunday (1/31/2021) afternoon the entire meeting was posted.

I left the meeting (my bad) when it came to the Commissioners comments so I missed Commissioner Peduzzi request the city post an upcoming meeting concerning the State Rd. 7 extension which took place on Thursday 1/28/2021, a meeting I didn’t attend because I didn’t know about it. If it was posted on the city website I would have been advised and definitely would have attended. Obviously the mayor didn’t want a showing of residents, while Peduzzi wanted the city to act in the sunshine. I checked previous meetings and the State Rd. 7 was not listed on the city website.

Below is the only part of the meeting residents were allowed to view of the 1/25/2021 City Commission Meeting.

Below is an excerpt from a story reported by channel 5 and the entire story can be read below

“Two new workshops are scheduled Thursday to redesign the controversial State Road 7 extension project in West Palm Beach.

The extension of the road in the western area of the city has been a point of contention for years, leading to a lawsuit by the city and millions in legal fees to stop the construction.” Read the story below.

Another meeting not posted on the City website:

The WPB Fire Fighters are scheduled to go before the Special Magistrate sometime in February, and not being sure of the date I inquired and received the information below.

“The impasse hearing is currently scheduled for the 3rd and 4th of February, however the City is claiming that the hearings are not required to be public and therefore did not notice the public accordingly. The union has requested that the Special Magistrate issue an opinion. If he is not willing to do so we will seek an opinion from an Attorney General. If that happens, it is unlikely the hearing will proceed on Wednesday but the question has be asked, “why is the city afraid to have the hearing out in the open for all to watch?” The firefighters welcome the public and hope as many as possible are able to watch via Zoom.”

I have attended Special Magistrate meetings and it always concerned code violations with the city and homeowners and couldn’t understand what role they would play in negotiations with a new FF contract, so I asked another question and received the response below.

“Impasse hearings are governed by he Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC). PERC provides a list of Special Magistrate that both the city attorney and union’s attorney reviewed and chose one together. The Magistrate is suppose to be a neutral party, the cost of which is split between the firefighters and the city. There is also a rating system so the lawyers were able to see how often this particular magistrate sides with the unions versus the city. That being said, with the issue surrounding the attempted private hearing could force the selection of another Special Magistrate.”

“We have also put together a website to outline the issues that we are facing an seeks the publics support in our fight with the City. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Most things never change except the city has hit a new low with their attempt to keep the public at bay by not posting meetings.

UPDATE: 2/3/2021

The Special Magistrate ruled in the favor of the Fire Fighters, ruling the meeting MUST be made public. One win for the good guys/gals.

The end.