Free Speech – VS – Censorship

The First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees citizens certain rights. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion , or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to partition the Government  for a redress of grievances.

Intended or not, there were some very insensitive comments made by Commissioner Moffett in the October 26th Commission Meeting regarding diversity in the West Palm Beach Police Department. Unlike private citizens, elected officials actions are subject to public scrutiny, as they should be. A poor choice of words, used by an elected official, opens the door to subjective points of view and judgements as to what the comments mean to the eye of the beholder. An African American speaker had some strong comments in that meeting and he was denounced by the mayor as disrespectful. Different points of view stems from culture, life experiences, environment and any number of events that take place in people’s lives. Music to some, is noise to others . . . what’s disrespectful expression to some, is assertive expression to others. Too often individuals are unconcerned about a rock that hits someone else because they’re not the recipient of such condescending remarks or actions but see’s much fault with individuals who expresses an offense to the act or actions! Considering the cause will do much to better understand the effect.

In the November 23rd Commission Meeting, Commissioner Ryan and Mayor Muoio briefly discussed the possibility of moving “public comment” from the beginning of the meeting to the end  and the reasons stated was, a concern for children and visitors hearing comments from the public that was deemed as being obnoxious. There is no justification for entertaining the thought of prohibiting visitors from hearing something that someone else thinks is inappropriate for them to hear. The primary purpose of public meetings is to conduct the business of the city and the meetings are adult meetings and should not be tailored for the ears of children or to censor the public. There are questionable behaviors displayed in commission meetings, coming right from the dais.

Censorship is the suppression of free speech and free speech is, the right to express any opinion in public without censorship or restraint by the government or anyone else as long as the content is not threatening or profane language, slander or abuse of the allotted time to speak. To move public comment to the end of the meetings, with the intent of the speaker facing an empty audience, is censorship to both public speakers and individuals who attend the meetings. It is an intended punishment to speakers, that’s motivated by the content of their comments. If speakers were complimentary, that would be acceptable and there would be no suggestion to push public speakers to the end of the meeting and that confirms the move is motivated solely because of an undesirable content.

Public Comment is intended for speakers to air grievances or pleasure regarding city business, public officials or anyone who conducts any part of business for the city. When private individuals are the target of comments in public meetings and letters to the editor about the writers perception of a private individual’s comments in a meeting, shows a lack of tolerance while expecting total tolerance of ones own expression and not expecting a warranted backlash from those who feel offended . .  is self serving.

Who determines what’s offensive to someone else? Who decides how an offended person should respond to something  that is offensive to them? Who’s declaration of what’s disrespectful counts and who’s doesn’t? Who determines what’s hateful and what isn’t? A quote from ACLU Legal Director, Stephen Shapiro, as he spoke with NPR News recently, stated:  “The First Amendment really was designed to protect a debate at the fringes. You don’t need the courts to protect speech that everybody agrees with, because that speech will be tolerated. You need a First Amendment to protect speech that people regard as intolerable or outrageous or offensive . . because that is when the majority will wield it’s power to censor or suppress and we have a First Amendment to prevent the government from doing that”. 

The US Supreme Court ruled on a Freedom of Speech case in 2011 . . . Albert Snyder vs Westboro Baptist Church. The high court’s ruling was 8 to 1, in favor of the church and their right to freedom of speech with Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissenting. I think most would agree that the church’s intrusion at funerals and their remarks were insensitive at a time of grief and Justice John Roberts agreed the comments were hurtful but stated, “we cannot react to the pain by punishing the speaker”. Justice Roberts also said, “Debate on public issues should be robust, uninhibited and wide open”.              

Mayor Muoio needs to revise the city’s Civility & Decorum code, then “fairly” enforce the rules on members of the public as well as every person sitting on the dais and eliminate “content” as a reason for enforcement on some and not others. There has been disrespect to the mayor by commissioners, disrespect from the mayor to commissioners, a commissioner abruptly leaving a meeting in anger, prior to adjournment twice, a public speaker pounding the podium, declaring his community looks like a “Sh*t Hole, another speaker, who was recently awarded $50,000 from the city due to a confrontation with police, yelled, “this is bull sh*t during her public comment, another speaker warned that someone is going to get shot on his front lawn if his personal information is revealed, due to the city’s compromised public records debacle and that was said during public comment.

A former police captain was fired for indiscretions on duty, with a subordinate officer but was pre-scheduled to speak in a commission meeting about the downtown district. He was allowed to come into the chamber in uniform and armed to do a 15 minute presentation, in spite of being terminated at that time. No expressed feelings of fear and no questions as to why a terminated cop is in the chambers armed. Another speaker referred to someone as a “slut”. The mayor did not interrupt, chastise, warn, tell any of those individuals  to sit down, she didn’t threaten to have them removed from the chambers or accuse them of being disrespectful and every one of the individuals were White.

At some point and time we must look at what’s in front of us . . . It is what it is and we must say what it is. It would be nice to see a greater effort to understand the feelings of others and especially how they got there. The face of disparity and selective enforcement in city commission meetings and anywhere else, is ugly and causing division and does not coincide with a sincere desire for civility in public meetings or society by and large.

The Nomination of President Of The City Commission

Congratulations to Commissioner Sylvia Moffett on her appointment as president of the city commission for a second consecutive term. The commission president chairs the city’s audit committee, serves as temporary mayor, If the mayor dies or leaves office early and he or she runs meetings, If the mayor is unavailable.


There are clear indications to me, that Commissioner Moffett’s appointment has a lot to do with the Universal Law of Karma . . . . what goes around, comes around and the very few who closely follows the inner workings of our local government, will remember what happened in April 2013 and will agree. Within the city of West Palm Beach, there has been a tradition of rotation for commissioners to serve as president of the commission but in April 2013, a precedent might have been set when Commissioner Moffett was next in line to serve but was snubbed and publicly demeaned by Kimberly Mitchell’s remarks and nomination of another.


Commissioner Keith James was the current president of the commission during the time Kimberly Mitchell nominated him to serve a second term, with her saying, the city has major issues in front of It and that she would consider re-electing Commissioner James for a second consecutive term as Commission President. Because Mitchell had a rein over the commission at that time, It was a cinch for her to get the support she wanted. Commissioner James certainly does have ample leadership skills  and served as president very well. The problem was, Ms. Mitchell’s demeaning remarks towards her colleague and stepping outside of rotation, which opens the door for the same.


After this years March 10th Elections, a Special City Commission Meeting was held on April 2nd , for the swearing in of the newly elected commissioners, Cory Neering and Paula Ryan and incumbents, Mayor Jeri Muoio and Commissioner Keith James, who both won their races by landslides that spoke volumes. Muoio easily beat Kimberly Mitchell and James easily beat Len Fintzy. During the ceremony, Commissioner James nominated Commissioner Sylvia Moffett for a second term, as president of the commission and that was a gate previously opened by Kimberly Mitchell, when she snubbed Moffett and lead the charge to skip over her as next in line, only to have the same thing happen to her friend and team player, Materio.


It is ironic that the recipient of Mitchell’s bad act, skipped over Shanon Materio, who was next in line for the position of president of the commission and that is not something Kimberly Mitchell would have wanted and she was there to see It. The ceremonial day of April 2nd, was a cascade of failures for Mitchell, starting with her huge loss to Mayor Muoio, after vowing to forum audiences, to show us how to win an election. That evening, her parting comments were surprisingly few, compared to her normal spiel and only two on the dais walked over to embrace her.


There is still work to be done to recruit a candidate for the March 2016, District 5 race, to make sure Mitchell and Pinsky does not have a direct line to WPB city business.

A Commissioner’s Memo On Election Night

This article is belated due to the time It takes to receive public records that I wanted to post with this article.

Congratulations to Mayor Jeri Muoio, Commissioner Keith James and District 2 Candidate elect, Cory Neering for their victories in the March 10th election. Congratulations are also in order to the voters of West Palm Beach, who were able to stay focused and choose the better of the two mayoral candidates and District 4 candidates, to move our city forward without the fear of losing control of our most prized natural resource .. . water!

I did not support Candidate Cory Neering because of his association with Mitchell & Materio, and their clear team efforts. Most residents of this city would rather be served by independent and critical thinkers and  a “team player” mentality is not conducive to  independent thinking.

Both Mayor Muoio and Commissioner Keith James, not only survived a relentless barrage of criticism in commission meetings but both won by landslides. Jeri Muoio won 63% of the vote vs Kimberly Mitchell with only 37%. Commissioner Keith James won a whopping 71% of the vote vs Len Fintzy, with only 29% . The voters spoke loud and clear and was able to weed through all of the disingenuous tactics used at forums, on the street, at meet & greet’s, on campaign flyers and on the elderly by the Mitchell Team.

This mayoral election sent a clear message that nobody’s unbeatable, not even incumbents. Ms. Mitchell didn’t lose by a handful of votes, she lost by a landslide and difficult to recover from. Her frequent campaign visits to African American areas which has been unfamiliar territory to her for the full 12 years she has sat on the dais and the astronomical and overwhelming amount of campaign signs displayed at forums and the downright disrespectful behavior was enough to contribute to her loss at the polls.

Throughout Mitchell’s campaign, Shanon Materio was attached to her side and her participation seems to have been outside of the code of conduct expected of an elected official. She sits on the same board as Ms. Mitchell and not only attended every forum but participated in Mitchell’s street rally’s, holding her campaign signs and visible, up front and center at all forums.

On the evening of the election, Shanon Materio sent a memo, addressed to the City’s Administrator, Jeff Green and City Clerk Hazeline Carson, entitled “Election Irregularities”, acknowledging her travels to various polling locations. What is she doing traveling to various polling locations? Ms. Materio speaks of an “absolute conflict of interest”, in her memo, but see’s no conflict of interest regarding herself being a sitting commissioner, who was obsessively involved with another commissioners election campaign.

Read Commissioner Materio’s Memo Here:  Shanon Materio Letter

African American Betrayal On Behalf Of Kimberly Mitchell

Commissioners Mitchell and Materio may have broken the Florida Sunshine Law during this mayoral campaign while at the same time aiding and abetting in the betrayal of Black residents of the Northwest Community in order to privatize our water and move the city water plant for Poseidon Resources and Richard Pinksy, Mitchell’s ex-husband to Riviera Beach.

There has been some recent discussion involving Poseidon Resources Principals, Mitchell, Materio and her hand picked Black community representatives, who are also loyal campaign supporters and who have been assured, the water plant will be moved from It’s current location, at Banyan & Australian Avenue, If Mitchell is elected mayor. The discussions took place sometime after the current city commission voted 3 to 2 to approve a $33.5 million ultraviolet water filtration system the city says is the cheapest and most rapidly-implemented way to meet a 2018 ultimatum from the Florida Department of Health. Mitchell’s Black community representatives were assured that once Ms. Mitchell is elected, this vote of the current commission will be overturned and the water plant will be moved.

These same representatives were told that families, who live in Twin Lakes Estates, a low-income residential community just north of the water plant, will be relocated and we all know what happens to poor people who are said to be, temporarily re-located, only to be introduced to a word called, gentrification.  The Twin Lakes residents will have no choice in the matter because Twin Lakes Estates will be razed, their homes demolished and a new development built If Mitchell & Materio have their way. These Black representatives are evidently OK with that. They are willing to sell out unsuspecting poor people and their souls for the promises of city jobs and appointments from Kimberly Mitchell.

Plans are in the conception stage to connect the west side of Australian Avenue, in the Westward area where Black middle-income homeowners have been living, some for more than 35 years, to the east side. Mitchell stated she wanted sail boat activity on Clearlake and visions for the current water treatment plant property are endless, so says Materio who’s already gotten an appraisal of $33 million for that land. Kimberly’s vocal Black representatives can’t see the forest for the trees and evidently have no objection to such a plan. If by some unforeseen fluke, Kimberly Mitchell is elected as Mayor; do you really think she is going to appoint any of those, getting her into African American homes, churches and access to the elderly, a top position in city hall? Well, It’s delusional for anyone running around town for Kimberly Mitchell to think they’re going to end up anywhere but under the bus, If she wins or lose.  When does moral character reject ill gotten gains and look out for the betterment of individuals and neighborhoods that’s been systematically left behind?

Because Commissioner Materio has accompanied Kimberly Mitchell on all of her forums and debates and given a shout-out at each one, it is no surprise that these two might have been present at back door meetings where this African American betrayal took place. There may also have been a violation of the Florida Sunshine Law that occurred.

Natalie Edwards

West Palm Beach

The Last Hurrah!

I attended the last mayoral candidates forum, Friday night at 6pm, at The Bridge Church, located at 515 Palm Street, in the Grandview Park Neighborhood. I wasn’t familiar with the area so I researched  It on Google. It is in the vicinity of The Norton Art Museum, a couple blocks west of Dixie Highway. As I drove south on Dixie, past Okeechobee Blvd, Kimberly Mitchell took all of the guess work out of anyone trying to find the place. After passing Woodlawn Cemetery, I saw a barrage of “Kimberly Mitchell” campaign signs, every 2 feet. All along Dixie Hwy before even arriving at Palm St and turning right onto Palm was a sea of roughly 60 signs, leading 2 blocks up to the church. I saw two “Muoio” and two “James” signs.

I arrived early and was able to see the camaraderie. District 2 Candidate, Cory Neering, District 4 Candidate Len Fintzy, Commissioner Keith James and Commissioner Materio were all there. Prior to starting, Mayor Muoio walked the full length of the room, introducing herself and shaking hands and as guest entered, the mayor made It over to them, thanking them for coming and introducing herself. Mitchell had the two front rows of friends and supporters sitting on the left side of the room, directly in front of her seat on stage and that comfort zone of supporters is where Mitchell remained. Her cheerleaders appear to be a fix for Mitchell at every forum as she paces the floor, giving little quick waves and blinks while gazing all over the room.

The moderator explained ground rules for the audience, forbidding remarks and candidates addressing each other. Mayor Muoio was called first and she stood, introduced herself as our mayor, touched on happenings in the city and her vision moving forward. Mitchell started out looking over the audience, calling out friends she see’s in the audience and saying she sees those who like her and she sees some who might not like her and by the time she started her spiel, the time keeper called time! Mitchell stood there stunned as If an opportunity to speak was taken from her. Mic still in her hand, with a stunned look and said something, off record, to the host. That was nothing new because Mitchell has done the same thing at all forums I’ve attended, looking over the audience, calling out names of friends as opposed to introducing herself and her vision.  Like at all other forums, Materio’s name takes center stage out of Mitchell’s mouth, which has nothing to do with her record and her vision as mayor. No other candidates call out names in the audience, other than introducing a spouse that was present.

One question was the 83 meetings Mitchell missed and I’m sure the data was checked. Mitchell got up, questioned 83 meetings? and said, “I attend a lot of meetings and some are very important meetings out of state, that is a benefit to the city”. She went on to defend her absence in Agenda Review Meetings saying she protested the meetings because the public is not allowed to speak. She said she feels the public should have input and meetings are only 15 minutes and not televised.  She claimed to be sitting right in her office when the meetings are going on. Kimberly Mitchell’s answers were not only dishonest but intoxicating. Not even Smirnoff Gin can deliver a high to compare to those lies. As most of us know, agenda review meetings are very important for our elected officials to attend. The meeting is conducted by the mayor, for officials to go over the agenda items and ask questions of staff, to be prepared for upcoming commission meetings and is open to the public.

Mitchell said she doesn’t know of any public who attends agenda review meetings but how would she know when she doesn’t attend? If she becomes Mayor, will she protest the meetings she’s expected to lead? The fact is, she made up an excuse for not attending agenda review when she should have acknowledged her failure and taken responsibility for It and that is something she hasn’t been willing to do. The few agenda meetings she has attended, was she not in protest at that time?  “Here’s the thing” . . as she often says  . . .  she uses commission meetings as both agenda review and commission, grossly delaying commission meetings as she’s being brought up to speed. An abuse of the mayor, her colleagues and city staff who are subjected to her lashings in commission meetings.

The moderator had flash questions requiring quick answers and the first question was, “look in this room and find someone from “this” neighborhood you recognize and a restaurant you’ve attended in this area” Mitchell was first and out of her mouth came, “Commissioner Materio” and said, Vinnie would be upset If I she didn’t mention Ambrosia.  The neighborhood is Grandview Park, which is  roughly 5 miles from Commissioner Materio’s home. Mitchell is so fixated on Materio until she didn’t even listen to the question, based on her answer.  The mayor picked Greg Weiss who lives in the neighborhood and Table 26 as her choice of restaurant.

Mitchell talked about the condition of Howard Park being unacceptable to her and she want to see upgrades immediately. She mentioned South Olive needing repair on tennis courts and not once did she mention Westward Park where there are real dangers facing elementary school children who have to pass over or around a canal with no railings to get to and from school. “The Real Black Leaders” who Mitchell referred to, in the North End Forum, at Grace Episcopal Church, needs to take a break from promoting Mitchell and challenge the unconcern she has for children in her district and in their neighborhoods. Mitchell said she and Materio voted against The Chapel By The Lake, when both were part of a unanimous commission vote, approving the project In March 3rd Commission Meeting.

In the mayor’s closing remarks, she reiterated current events, her vision moving forward and named most of her endorsements, with one being the Palm Beach Post.  Mitchell took the mic and said,    “well, The Post got It wrong!” and talked about her $50 million dollar plan for infrastructure and roads, using Clear Lake as a great resource for sail boats, recreation and races and planning for WPB becoming a metropolitan city.

In my humble opinion, Kimberly Mitchell is not fit to be the CEO of anything. She displays an unprofessional demeanor, giddy, habitual tardiness and punctuality is the soul of business, she has a demeaning & bully behavior in public meetings toward colleagues & staff and demeaning subordinates is never ok. Kimberly Mitchell will be bad for the progressive movement and she has been the captain of a few ships and every one of them have hit the rocks because she refuse to listen to the rudder. The city of WPB is a huge ship and we need a captain who can, at least steer a ship. Mayor Muoio have not been everything most of us wanted but by far, she is the better candidate to run this city.

A Political Hustle!

In the Northwood Hills area, there are Kimberly Mitchell Campaign signs that look a slight bit different than her other signs so I took a closer look. There were a row of the signs, in front of distressed properties on Greenwood Avenue, between 35th & 36th Street that read, “Don’t Worry Jeri, Kimberly Will Fix This, Vote City First, March 10th

Ms. Mitchell, is entering into her 13th year as the District 3 City Commissioner and after 12 years, I would be very comfortable in saying, Kimberly has not set foot in the north end areas where her campaign signs are plopped any and everywhere. She has employed, indirectly or directly, a team of salesmen, running around African American neighborhoods, churches and homes, selling Kimberly Mitchell, who will be a detriment to, not only them but progressive movements in WPB.

Ms. Mitchell has done absolutely nothing for distressed areas in her own district and one example would be, Westward Park, that poses a danger every day because that city park has a canal and is located next door to Westward Elementary School. The conditions of that park was brought before Commissioner Mitchell in January 2012 and here It is, more than 3 years later, and parts are finally on order after a District 2 commission candidate, Katherine Waldron, noticed the park and immediately contacted the city.

For the past 3 years, in any commission meeting, workshop or work session, there has been no concern voiced by Commissioner Mitchell, regarding small children being subjected to dangerous conditions, which means, she doesn’t care”. If she was responsible or cared, she would have addressed the issue and insisted on immediate action. She could have placed Westward Park as an agenda item and pushed for dangerous conditions to be addressed in her district or anywhere in the city. She is very outspoken but spoke not, in defense of defenseless children around Westward Park. She never even attended their Roosevelt Estates South Neighborhood Association Meetings to hear from residents. She doesn’t care because of who the children are and where the problem is. If she argues that she does care then why haven’t she addressed the issue that’s in her District 3?

Let’s think back 3 years to recall what Ms. Mitchell’s agenda was that took priority over the safety of small school aged children. Digital Domain, FSU Motion Picture Academy in downtown and the WPB Charter School were her priorities and all were financial failures for tax payers. Small children with little back packs are still crossing and walking by a dangerous canal with no railings, to get to and from school and Mitchell’s campaign slogan is “City First”? Isn’t Roosevelt Estates South and the City’s Westward Park, part of the city?

It is a fact that Kimberly Mitchell “rarely” attends meetings or events outside of downtown and the western gated communities, she has missed an overwhelming amount of city commission meetings and Agenda Review Meetings, she often rushes into meetings late and was even late for the mayoral debate at Presidential Estates, She is constantly looking over her shoulder, watching the clock in work sessions and work shops, she texts throughout public meetings and these are all habits that are engrained in her and will not change with a title of Mayor.

Kimberly Mitchell is a commissioner who disingenuously sympathizes with the underdog but votes to the contrary, she is an outsourcing commissioner who pushed to outsource the city’s Sanitation Department, ECR Plant, Internal Audit Department and recently attempted to privatize the city’s water, along with Commissioner Materio, under the guise of a Public Private Partnership where Poseidon Resources Inc proposed to build a WPB water plant in the City of Riviera Beach, run 5 miles of under ground pipes from Clear Lake to Riviera Beach and place two 50 foot holding tanks at 23rd and Tamarind  and Poseidon would then “sell” water to West Palm Beach!  The seller would be in control of the price of their product. The majority of the commission rejected Mitchell & Materio’s insistence on a presentation by Poseidon Resources and voted January 12th, to build a new plant on it’s current site at Banyan & Australian, by the 2018 Health Dept. deadline. I might mention, Ms. Mitchell’s ex- husband, Richard Pinsky, was a representative of Poseidon Resources

There is an aggressive hustle now to become mayor and If Kimberly Mitchell becomes Mayor, could she re-visit that project and give control of our water to this private company, Poseidon Resources Inc, with the right commission in place?

It is not in the best interest of our city to be run by the Trifecta of Kimberly Mitchell, Richard Pinsky and Anita Mitchell.

Stooping To The Lowest Of Low

There is a comprehensive story, on this website entitled, “Killer To Inherit Part of Estate” and I am reporting on Dad’s city pal’s coming to the rescue with letters of support and intended influence as payback for the same personal, political gain The Fintzy’s accuses Commissioner James of engaging in.  The knowledge of three of our WPB Elected Officials, using city letterhead to write personal letters to the NY Parole Board, to influence release of an inmate who committed a horrific murder and is the daughter of Len & Rita Fintzy, has been known to a group of citizens for about a year. After unsuccessful attempts to get confirmation of the stupid and irresponsible act, the information was taken to the media, roughly six months ago. Quite contrary to the blame being placed solely on Commissioner Keith James, because a member of his campaign staff, placed a public records request to the city, for e-mails, letters, memo’s, etc., having to do with Mr. Fintzy on December 17, 2014.

Commissioner  James was one of three elected officials who wrote letters to the NY Parole Board in support of the release of Mr. Fintzy’s daughter, Michelle Lennon but he did not compose his letter on city letterhead and wisely, used his own stationary. The Fintzy Family issued a statement, for immediate release on January 16, 2015, in response to what they referred to as Keith James negative campaigning. The statement from Len & Rita Fintzy stated: “We are shocked and deeply hurt that Commissioner Keith James has chosen to stoop to the lowest of low by authorizing his campaign staff to politicize our family’s personal tragedy, for his personal political gain”.

What is really the lowest of low? Commissioner James campaign staff member, Jonathan Cooper, utilizing public records, is hardly the lowest of the low.  The act and manner in which Mr. Fintzy’s daughter violated another human being that resulted in a death, would certainly qualify as the lowest of low.  Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell using city letterhead and her title as a Commissioner, to compose two personal letters to the NY Parole Board, as influence to assist Mr. Fintzy’s daughter, Michelle Lennon, to be granted release from prison would be low on a scale of ethics and conduct unbecoming of an elected official.

Prior to entering the District 4 Commission race, Mr. Fintzy headed the Political Action Committee, Citywatch and he has been helping Ms. Mitchell remain in office since shortly after she won her first election in 2002. Ms. Mitchell has worn a physical and verbal path, back and forth through the years, to and from Mr. Fintzy in Riverwalk, to get Citywatch’s endorsements to keep herself in office. She also uses that resource to get her cherry picked recruits in office or get ones who crosses her, out of office but this carousel might be coasting to a final stop. Commissioner Shanon Materio was also reeled in by the man who delivers the votes. She wrote a letter addressed to two superintendents, dated January 9, 2014, stating in that letter, she had written a previous letter. She proudly boast, “as an elected WPB City Commissioner”, to the NY agency. Her second letter seems to be a mystery so far. Both Commissioners Mitchell and Materio used nothing but the highest level of praise for Len and Rita Fintzy, as their supporting statements for the release of the Fintzy’s daughter, whom they have not even met. Mitchell admits she does not know the incarcerated Michelle Lennon personally but yet she speaks of the progress the woman has made over the years.

Commissioner Mitchell, stressed, in her letter, “we – the collective we – are ready to embrace Michelle”. She goes on to assure that Michelle will thrive with “our” collective guidance and it would be nice to know who is  “the collective we”? Our city letterhead represents the citizens of this city and city resources should only be used for a public purpose and for the public good and our elected officials soliciting for the release of a woman who committed a heinous murder and who none of our elected officials even know, is not for a public purpose or a public good. Apparently, It wasn’t enough that Commissioner Mitchell got away with the previous misuse of her position and city services in November 2011, when she used city resources and personnel, to gain an advantage that was not available to the general public by allowing our emergency operator, to take care of a personal problem she had with her home Comcast Cable Service.

The concern was taken to the five PBC Ethics Commissioners and three found no probable cause to move forward with the investigation and It just happened to be the three acquaintances of Ms. Mitchell. After crossing that hurdle, Ms. Mitchell requested reimbursement of the $7,325 she said were her expense for her lawyer. Her colleagues, on the city commission, unanimously voted to issue the refund, in spite of admitting they knew of no facts surrounding the case but asking no questions either. I think It’s fair to say, this act qualifies as stooping to the lowest of low.

In a televised city budget meeting on September 25, 2013,  Mr. Fintzy, stepped up to the mic, not to talk about the budget but to prematurely endorse both Kimberly Mitchell and Shanon Materio for their upcoming March 2014 elections saying, “these young ladies have shown an indefatigable sense of responsibility and in-depth analysis of issues facing the city combined with an awesome devotion to the needs of the many communities in our city”  Mr. Fintzy evidently has not taken a walk through Kimberly’s District 3, Westward Park to see the dangerous conditions lingering for more than three years.  That premature endorsement is the kind of disgusting back scratching that has been going on for a decade and the letters were a favor to someone who they can count on for endorsements and votes. Mayor Muoio also strongly recommended the troubled woman be released from jail and allowed to come to WPB. Kimberly Mitchell promises a job will be waiting for Ms. Lennon . . . . compliments of  her long time friend, Rodney Mayo, who Ms. Mitchell pushed, in the August 19, 2013 commission meeting, to get him 3 months free rent for his new 509 Clematis Street business location.

Despite the glowing letters, the NY Parole Board wasn’t impressed at all with the official titles or the fanfare and denied parole until 2016.

A Private Meeting Of The Minds

I received an e-mail on Monday, January 12th, from a neighborhood contact person who often shares informative information about city business, with many in the north end. The message in the e-mail was addressed to north end leaders, inviting them to meet commission candidates, Len Fintzy and Cory Neering, on Wednesday, January 14th, 7pm,  at 3510 Spruce Avenue. Len Fintzy is a City Commission District 4 Candidate and Cory Neering, is a City Commission District 2 Candidate.

The invite stated, there will be a candidates platform and you may ask questions. It also stated, City Commission, District 2 Candidate, Katherine Waldron, was invited to “stop by” at 7:45pm. City Commission District 3 Candidate, Paula Ryan was currently unopposed so an offer to hold the event again If that changes, was extended to her. The event was held at a location referred to as “The 3510 House”, in Old Northwood. The announcement asked that attendees please make every effort to come and find out what the candidates stand for and have your questions answered. The e-mail was signed by Bob.

City Commission District 4 Incumbent Candidate, Keith James was not mentioned in the e-mail and I thought that was odd for north end leaders, who were invited to find out what the candidates stand for, to better school others on their opinions of the candidates, to not have access to all commission candidates. What was the purpose of the meeting? An inclusive invitation would have given all candidates an opportunity to be interviewed by their potential employers . . . the public . . .  as opposed to District 4 Commission Candidate Len Fintzy getting a foot up on uninvited Commissioner James in that meeting.

It’s rather concerning why Commission Candidate, Katherine Waldron was given a time certain of 7:45 to appear, as opposed to arriving at 7pm, along with Cory Neering , since the both of them are running for the District 2 Commission Seat? Or better yet, why couldn’t all three candidates appear together, at 7pm?

I planned to attend the gathering but was not familiar with “The 3510 House” so I e-mailed Bob to find out where the home was located.  Bob Beaulieu replied . . .  “it is not a forum . . it is for a small group of people . . . don’t know how this got out . . . please let those who gave it to you know, too”. I apologized, I didn’t know It was private.  Another recipient of the same e-mail requested information from Bob and shared his reply so that I may avoid a wasted trip. The answer she received was: “All . . . this is not a candidate forum . . and it is for a small group of people to meet some of the candidates . . . do not know how this got out . .  if you did not get the original e-mail . . . you are not invited . . . the north end is currently putting together a candidate forum for all candidates in February”

I decided to take a look at the Historic 3510 House on meeting night but respected the request for all who were not invited, to remain on the outside . . . looking in. There were a couple of folks arriving, who I wasn’t familiar with and a few minutes later, Bob Beaulieu arrived. Mr. Neering wasn’t far behind and rushing in was Mr. Fintzy. Carl Flick arrived as well as Betty Starkey and Denise Smith Barnes. There were roughly 15 people in attendance. A well adorned Christmas Tree glistened in the night and the entrance to the lovely facility had soft lighting and the attendees chatted as the ceiling fan twirled. It all reminded me of a smoked filled back room with a portrait of Kimberly Mitchell on the wall.

Who are the north end leaders who were invited and attended? I live in the north end and I would like to meet and know the leaders that I didn’t recognize. The president of my north end association (North Shore) is Ron Dixon and he wasn’t invited. I can think of, at least, five other north end leaders who were not invited either. Will there be a venue for attendees to share the information gathered from the meeting? It’s almost 24 hours later and I haven’t heard a word or received one e-mail from any leaders who attended the affair, to help me familiarize myself with the candidates and city issues discussed. I’d like to make an informed decision when I vote in March so I could really use the information gathered at the meeting.

Commissioner and Candidate Keith James was not invited to the private event so what If I had questions about his position on certain issues? Did someone decide there needn’t be information offered to the north end residents on that particular candidate? So, no info on Keith James but Len Fintzy can be spoon fed to whomever is unaware and unsuspecting? These factors and the corrupt nature of too many politicians is a recipe that produces apathetic citizens towards voting and any involvement with politicians.

The Property Appraisers Office has the 3510 Spruce Avenue address listed as charitable and Old Northwood Neighborhood Association, Inc., listed as owner of the property. The Historic House plays a part in Old Northwoods  Candlelight Home Tours event, as a reception area for the food. It is also referred to as Old Northwood’s official meeting house and the neighborhoods community center.

If the historical address serves as a public facility for Old Northwood, I would question a clandestine meeting there, hosting choice candidates for public city positions, with restrictions on public access. If the historic building is indeed privately owned, It would be the owners right to have held a private meeting there.  Many see’s the event as Divisive and suspicious to not include all candidates in each district race and a time certain for one and not others. I believe the north end of the city will fair a lot better when there is a show of solidarity and for all of us who reside here, to see the north end as a whole and not east or west of the CSX or FEC or east or west of Broadway being more or less worthy of recognition. We should be one.


Privatize/Public Private Partnership/Splitting Hairs

Whether West Palm Beach Elected Officials agree to enter into a contractual partnership with a private sector company, to provide water service to the residents of this city or to hand over ownership or control of our water to private enterprise, will earn It’s rightful place among the construction of an excessive city hall and FSU Digital Domain, as some of the most egregious, costly and stupid moves any municipality can make.

A private firm, Poseidon Resources, is a New England based firm, who wants to be the water provider for WPB, building a new plant to replace the city’s 110 to 120 year old complex. Poseidon says they will design, finance, build, operate and maintain the new facility and would then sell the water to WPB. Poseidon Resources is the company that both Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell and Shanon Materio are pushing hard for a presentation before the commission. Neither one of the two commissioners wanted a special city commission meeting scheduled prior to the water presentation, on January 12th. Votes can be taken in a special city commission meeting and the opportunity for the commission to vote, prior to the presentation is what the two commissioners appear to be adamantly against. Maybe the tag team are afraid the majority commission might vote Poseidon out prior to the much anticipated presentation from Poseidon.

In the Jan 5th Commission Meeting, during commission comments, Commissioner Mitchell seemed puzzled regarding talk of her wanting to privatize the city’s water. She suggested it might be a political move and she’s not sure where the accusations are coming from.  As a matter of fact, Mitchell said, “I want to talk about water for a second, and just so It’s clear to everybody here and everybody who’s watching. I have never said I would like to privatize our water . . ever. In fact, , nobody’s ever asked me . . . would you like to privatize your water?. So I’m not sure how that started but just in case there’s any confusion, I’m not supportive of privatizing our water.” Ms. Mitchell goes on to say, “I am part of a voice on the commission that is not promoting one version or another” So maybe . . . just maybe, the loop hole for her spiel, assuring the public that she is not in favor of privatizing our water is the word “Privatize”? Does PPP (Public Private Partnership) sound a little better? Now this is beginning to smell like politics indeed.

Ms. Mitchell also stated in her comments that she sometimes don’t get It right but when you don’t get It right Ms. Mitchell, the responsible and honest thing to do is acknowledge failure and atone. Digital Domain was a publicly funded train wreck that Kimberly Mitchell was largely responsible for and instead of her stepping up to the plate like city leaders in Port St. Lucie did, the moment they realize they had been duped, Ms. Mitchell say’s she would do It a million times over. If Digital Domain were a private investment of hers, I doubt her response would have been the same. Heck, It’s just tax payers monopoly money . . . there’s more where that came from. In the meantime, some of our residents are struggling to keep their water running.

Instead of responsible leadership and being good stewards of tax payers dollars, In an effort to make ends meet, our city leaders are choosing to allow developers to have their way. From violating their own master plans and allowing over development to contemplating handing over control of public services to private corporations, under the premise that private corporations are often able to run operations more efficiently than governments. Why is the city strapped for cash and pimping itself? A contributing factor would be the unbudgeted purchase of the 8111 S. Dixie property that commissioners agreed to pull $2.9 million dollars out of reserves to pay for It and have been sitting on It since October 2012.

Commissioner Mitchell is no stranger to talks of outsourcing city services, like our Sanitation Department and our Internal Audit Dept to the Inspector General’s authority. Commissioner Mitchell  seems to think different opinions is an indication of a lack of understanding on another’s part. It Couldn’t be her who misunderstands or get’s It wrong, It just has to be somebody else.

Ms. Mitchell states she doesn’t want to be a part of $700 light bulbs and I am sure, the public would much rather pay for $700 light bulbs than the millions we had to pay for Digital Domain or the $7,325 fleeced out of the public to resolve her home cable service.  No Punch Line, No Spreading of Fear and No Politics Here!

Privatization of WPB Water? What Do You Think?

There is a subtle move by two West Palm Beach City Commissioners, Kimberly Mitchell and Shanon Materio to outsource the operation of our city’s water to a private company. During the city’s December 15th Work Session, there was an open discussion, on the dais about outsourcing our water department. The public meeting was contentious as the two commissioners aggressively pushed their desire to hear a presentation from a private company, Poseidon Resources, on the possibility of providing water to WPB by building a water treatment plant outside of our city limits.

The two commissioners said Poseidon Resources has been engaged in talks with the city for a year and a presentation has been in place for 6 months. Scott Kelly is the city’s Assistant City Administrator and the point man for the water project. He allowed a single commissioner, Ms. Mitchell, to request his study on the long term water supply to include the possibility of moving the water treatment facility from its current location on Banyan & Australian Avenue to the City of Riviera Beach, near Florida Power & Light Co., where Poseidon Resources proposed to build a new plant.  Mr. Kelly never should have considered a request from a single commissioner but instead insisted on a memo from the commission board as a whole, before venturing into possibilities other than what he was directed to consider by the commission. The mayor should have corrected Mr. Kelly for acting on  a individual request from Commissioner Mitchell and then asked all commissioners If they would like to entertain the possibility of moving the water plant.

Privatization  of our city water is a false solution for municipal budget shortfalls. The two pro-business commissioners, Mitchell & Materio, seems to have decided, water isn’t so much an essential entitlement as a commodity to be traded like grain or crude oil. That mindset is prioritizing cost concerns over human rights. If citizens don’t put a stop to this move to privatize our water it will be corporatized and injustice will flow wherever they want it to go.

We can see the results of cities such as Lansing and Detroit Michigan, and Stockton California outsourcing their water with disastrous results. The Concerned Citizens Coalition of Stockton California waged a grass roots campaign that culminated in a legal victory to defeat the privatization of their municipal water utility that was outsourced by their short sighted city council. OMI-Thames water had to return control of the utility to Stockton as of March 2008.

Don’t get side tracked by the non stop red herrings on Clematis Street, in the forms of Screen on the Green, Ginger’s Dance Party, Thursday Night on Clematis Street and the Vegas Lights. We can live without cheap entertainment but we can’t live without water!

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