Appears FireFighters Have Had Enough

Appears FireFighters Have Had Enough.

Who can blame them? The WPB FireFighters have issued a Press Release and below are what I wish to draw to readers attention, and the entire PR can be read below along with Fire Fee Facts from 2019 and the most telling Fire Assessment Expenditures. My questions / commentswill be in Italic.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEST PALM BEACH ASSOCIATION OF FIREFIGHTERS FORMALLY OPPOSES MISUSE OF CITY FIRE FEE

[WEST PALM BEACH, FL – July 20, 2021] The West Palm Beach Association of Firefighters announced today a formal opposition to the misuse of the recently increased city fire fee. The fire fee was created to stabilize funding for firefighters and paramedics during periods of economic volatility, when emergency call volume tends to be its highest. In 2019 citizens of West Palm Beach were asked to increase the fire assessment fee from $50 to $100. The West Palm Beach Association of Firefighters supported the increase under the premise that the City Administration committed to provide:
1. Two new fire trucks to increase the level of service to our community.
2. Additional firefighters to staff these two trucks.
3. $3 million dollars appropriated directly to these items.
4. Quarterly reporting and an increased level of transparency of where the money is allocated. To date, only one additional firetruck has been placed in service. That truck has been staffed by existing personnel on overtime hours, which in turn has impacted the fire department’s budget.
None of the other commitments provided by the City Administration have been kept “The misuse of these funds is having a truly detrimental impact on the Fire Department,” commented Jayson French, President of the West Palm Beach Association of Firefighters. “For the first time in history, our fire department is not a coveted place to work. Our staffing for emergency responses has fallen well below Palm Beach County standards. When the fire fee, which amounts to nearly $8 Million, is not used for the fire department it is merely another tax unknowingly created on the backs of our firefighters.”

The West Palm Beach Association of Firefighters has stated that they feel the city fire fee should either be used appropriately for fire department needs, or else abolished and the money returned to the citizens that paid it. For more information see the PR below.

firefighter fee press release.docx (2)

Our union stood in support of the fire assessment fee with the understanding that the funds would be used in accordance with the commission’s 2019 guidance. This guidance was agreed on record during a commission meeting. The citizen’s fire assessment fee was created to stabilize the fire dept budget. This fee was not meant to balance the general fund. If the fee is used to balance the general fund it is no different than property tax.
Commission Meeting 8/26/19 part 2  https://vimeo.com/channels/781232/356198501

The city Manager verbally confirmed these items during the commission meeting:
1. Two new fire trucks to increase the level of service to our community.
2. 9 additional firefighters to staff these two trucks. The number is actually 18 which equals the amount of $ confirmed. However, on record, the city manager stated 9.
3. $3 million dollars appropriated directly to these items. Technically, it is 2.8 million needed to fulfill these items.
4. Commissioners requested quarterly reporting and an increased level of transparency of where the money is allocated To date, only one item has been fulfilled. One additional fire truck was placed in service in October 2019. City Commissioners have you received the quarterly reports you requested? Are you aware of how the Fire Fee is used? The document below “Statement of Encumbrances and Expenditures” should be an eye opener for you. I remind you once again you five Commissioners oversee the City’s Internal Auditor and it will take three of you to vote for an audit on the Fire Fee and how the money is used or mis-used. I would suggest looking for a slush fund. Top management will not do their jobs——will you?

fire fee facts from 2019 vote (1)

Statement of Encumbrances and Expenditures is a two (2) page document, and I draw readers attention to the bottom of the 2nd. page where it states over $6.4 million dollars “Transfers and other financing uses.” Commissioners reading the document is this the first time you are aware $6.4 million was raised and used elsewhere?  You will also note two additional transferes and I requested what account #304 & 210 were, and received the response below. I am not comfortable knowing the City used $6.4 million dollars  for reasons  other than what tax dollars were raised for, equipment and raises for our Fire Dept. If that’s not criminal I don’t know what is.

1.”304 is a capital acquisition fund. $703k transferred is noted as reserved for future projects. It is never expensed. It rolls over into the next year and accumulates annually.
2. 210 is Other Debt Service Fund. The $2.7MM is transferred into other debt service. However $1.7MM is placed into a line of credit from 2013. The remaining is placed into fire truck leases.
3. Keep in mind. None of these expenses expand emergency services or complete the agreed upon terms of the $50 increase of the Fire Assessment.”

FIRE_ASSESSMENT_EXPENDITURES__FY2020

Deny, Deny Deny.

Below WPB Watch readers can read the Editorial written by the Palm Beach Post and they have raised more questions on the topic of our water contamination.

One section of the article reads “Meanwhile, though, the utilities director either didn’t converse at all with her boss, the city administrator, or did converse with her but didn’t mention that the water supply that more than 125,000 in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach and South Palm Beach rely upon was tainted. City Administrator Faye Johnson also no idea about the contamination until May 28, a spokeswoman says.”

Now we have City Administrator, Faye Johnson, along with Mayor Keith James denying they knew about water contamination until May 28,2021.

I find it hard to believe that Ms. Kalkat didn’t report the problem to Ms. Johnson who in turn notified James who in turn notified not one resident using City water.

This may be a sample of Circling the Wagon (meaning that members of a team or group must work together to protect themselves from some outside danger. Generally, they prepare for a possible attack.) In my opinion Ms. Kalkat is placed outside the circle, and I fear she alone will take the fall for others failures.

EDITORIAL PALM BEACH POST July 18,2021

“Just no good answers on West Palm water debacle
Several weeks after West Palm Beach residents were alerted to contamination in their water supply, they’re still not receiving satisfactory answers why their officials waited so long to tell them. Failing that, it’s hard to trust city efforts going forward.

The city knew about the algal contamination for at least nine days before alerting residents to drink bottled water. The explanation offered to Palm Beach Post staff writer Wayne Washington, that officials could not alert the public until they received approval from the state Department of Health is not credible, no matter what rulebook the city goes by.

How does it make sense to let residents drink contaminated water for nine days while the city figures out what to do about it? Whose idea of best health practices is that?
Why would the city not issue at least a preliminary caution to residents, pending further investigation of the potential health threat? As a city water official, wouldn’t you want your family to stop using the water until it could be decontaminated? So why not our families?
Through regular testing, utility workers on May 3 detected low levels of the toxin cylindrospermopsin which, at higher levels, can cause stomach upsets, vomiting, diarrhea, and liver and kidney damage. Follow-up tests returned May 19 and May 27 came in at up to twice the threshold considered harmful for children, pregnant women, nursing mothers, people with liver or kidney conditions and others considered vulnerable.
But the city didn’t issue a health advisory notice until about 10 p.m. Friday, May 28. The explanation: The city wanted to do more tests and to get the right advisory wording from the state agency, Utilities Director Poonam Kalkat said. Her staff had reason to believe the city’s water treatment system was robust and refined enough to deal with potential problems posed by algal toxins, she told Washington. “In the past year, we have seen high levels of algal toxins coming into the plant, but they were removed through the treatment process.” Meanwhile, though, the utilities director either didn’t converse at all with her boss, the city administrator, or did converse with her but didn’t mention that the water supply that more than 125,000 in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach and South Palm Beach rely upon was tainted. City Administrator Faye Johnson also no idea about the contamination until May 28, a spokeswoman says.
How is it possible that, as the mayor insists, no one thought to tell him that his city’s water had dropped dangerously out of compliance with federal health standards? How is it possible that no one thought to tell the mayors of Palm Beach and South Palm Beach, to allow them to protect their residents? Having known for at least five years that such contamination could arise, how is it possible the city didn’t have an action plan, as they told our reporter –or at least a plan better than hoping for the best for nine days before letting the public know? “No one seemed to have a clear idea of what should be done next in terms of alerting the public,” Washington wrote based on emails obtained through a public records request.
Mayor Keith James is quick to say he jumped into action as soon as he knew of the problem. But what does it say of his administration, its procedures and internal communications, that a top department head wouldn’t alert him or his top administrator –her boss — of a major health threat, not for a few hours but for one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine days? The public is right to be infuriated.

Oblivious, they drank from a tainted water supply while bureaucrats bumbled. Whether proper procedures come though the work of a task force just thrown together by the mayor or through a Department of Health investigation, changes are needed.
As we’ve noted previously, this episode isn’t likely to be the last. In recent months, problems with impure water have beset Delray Beach and Riviera Beach. And from the Treasure Coast to the Lake Worth Lagoon, toxic green algae remains a threat, while fertilizer and other contaminants also leak into our region’s water supplies. Amid all this, local governments have the duty to protect our health competently and transparently. If the thought was not wanting to alarm us, well, we’re used to alerts, whether for hurricanes or water shortages or contamination. Do our leaders want us to trust them? Then trust us. Be straight with us.”

Read the editorial below:

https://palmbeachpost-fl.newsmemory.com/eebrowser/ipad/html5.check.20100813//action/php-script/callcrop_pdf.php?file=0@/palmbeachpost/20210718/Q1FvZWJidDJEOE8rdml3OFNiUDRMT20zdElIMm9qOGlYQ2pUNWI3NXVqY29Pd0s0T1FMQVpXdzJNMEJ5UXJwSQ==/&crop=0-180-157-759&meddim=478-950&pSetup=palmbeachpost&name=The%20Palm%20Beach%20Post_20210718_A20_0&edition=The%20Palm%20Beach%20Post&article=0&TAUID=51853&gmtoffset=240

 

 

 

 

 

 

James & Kalkat No Show

July 10,2021 Palm Beach Daily News.

“Palm Beach won’t separately test water after WPB agrees to share data”

“West Palm Beach, which provides water to Palm Beach and South Palm Beach, agreed to share its sampling and water test results during a June 28 meeting with the town, said Palm Beach Director of Public Works Paul Brazil.

Before the meeting, Palm Beach officials said they would ask to do their own testing after West Palm Beach officials took eight days to notify the town that the toxin cylindrospermopsin had been detected in the water supply. Additional testing by the town is most likely not necessary at this time. City staff making the test results available to the town is a very positive outcome,” Brazil said in a Wednesday email.”

Toxins initially found in water in May
That’s in sharp contrast to earlier reactions from town officials, who were upset with how West Palm Beach notified them about the water toxin.
Cylindrospermopsin, which is produced by blue-green algae, first was detected in low levels May 3, and subsequent test results returned May 19 and 20 were above a threshold considered harmful for vulnerable populations. But West Palm officials did not notify Palm Beach and issue a drinking water advisory until May 28.
Kalkat is slated to address the Town Council on Tuesday.”

Read the entire story below:

https://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/story/news/2021/07/10/west-palm-agrees-share-water-testing-data-palm-beach/7900445002/

July 12, 2021 A WPB resident called the Town of Palm Beach to confirm the meeting was on the schedule for Tuesday July 13,2021, and if residents were allowed to attend.
The Town Clerk said all residents were welcome and the meeting with Public Utilities Director Poonam Kalkat along with Mayor Keith James would be present at the time certain of 11:00 AM to discuss the water issues. Time certain meaning the Town would end whatever discussion they were having at 11:00 AM and introduce James and Kalkat.

Who attended the meeting?

Palm Beach Mayor & Town Council Members: From the left Councilmen Lew Crampton, Council President Pro-Tem Bobbie Lindsay, Mayor Danielle Moore, Council President Maggie Zeidman, Councilwoman Julie Araskog, Councilmen Ted Cooney, along with Town Manager Kirk Blouin. Click to enlarge picture.

 

 

Who was absent from the meeting?

Mayor Keith James and Public Utilities Director Poonam Kalkat were a no-show. Kalkat and James said they has a scheduling conflict and cancelled at the last minute and Kalkat would not be making her presentation. I must ask myself what meeting was more important than an honest discussion with Town Officials over their drinking water. How disrespectful to Town Officials.

The meeting continued with Town Manager Kirk Blouin when the Town Council questioned why it took WPB so long to notify the Town about the drinking water contamination. His response was That town staff and experts will continue to seek to find out why it took so long, and it appears the Town of Palm Beach has a real issue with the delay.

Mr. Blouin also stated the City of WPB has formed a task force, and the City said that it would be ok for the Town of Palm Beach to be at the table. The Town has contracted with two water experts that will attend and observe, learn and evaluate what the City and task force is doing and will report back to the Town.

It was felt that hired experts at the table would be better than Town staff because experts have the expertise in water and Town staff does not. Experts are able to understand the test results. The experts are charged with assuring the Town that the city’s testing and reporting is correct.”

Why should WPB residents be comfortable with the Town’s reaction to the meeting that didn’t take place this morning? For me it’s knowing the Town admitting they didn’t understand all the water problems they are facing, and they are willing to hire the experts who will understand the testing and what it means.

Sadly this resident has more faith in the Town of Palm Beach to discover the truth behind the water crises than I have in my City Government to tell me the truth.

After publishing the last story on July 9, 2021 I received many responses concerning contaminated drinking water and I will share one response with readers because of the excellent points made.

Sandy-

“This is in response to your recently distributed email regarding WPB water quality. Three issues.
First, the city cites 80 micrograms per liter and below as a safe level of contamination for most (but not all) residents, adding that residents would be informed if the contamination level was high enough to be considered an emergency. However, the city does not cite the level of contamination that would be considered unsafe for drinking or a water emergency.

A second and related point is more serious. Since the city uses a 12-month moving average to monitor water quality, unsafe levels, even severe levels, can exist but be diluted statistically because moving averages are designed to “smooth” extreme or outlier data points. This method is sensible for assessing trends such as global warming. However, if contamination levels are only as safe as their weakest link, the current statistical approach of the city is egregiously flawed and arguably, dangerous.

Third, the city does not mention the impact of exposure levels to contaminants. Is someone who drinks an abundance of tainted (but classified as safe) water at greater health risk than another person whose water consumption is at a dangerous level but who drinks small amounts? This issue is similar to the notion of viral load in assessing the risk of contracting COVID; the duration of exposure is a key variable for COVID just as the amount of consumption of tainted water is a key variable for risking overall health.
We all should expect more of the water quality standards and the elected officials and experts who are responsible for their effectiveness.

The end

 

 

More Water Woes

The City (James) has taken a beating on it’s handling of contaminated water supply, and lets start the story on a positive note. I did receive my water bill on time and it contained a flyer with all upcoming City events, and I did notice on the 2 page flyer the word “water” was no where to be found.

June 23, 2021 The City issued another unsigned warning of City water once again being contaminated.

June 28,2021 City Commission Meeting which I attended and listened to a water update from Public Utilities, Poonam Kalkat, who stated “free chlorine” most effective way to remove toxins, then added disinfection by products can be harmful to consumers, and years ago the City switched from “free chlorine” to Chloramine which is a mixture of Chlorine & Ammonia

(Google) “Why is chloramine used for water treatment? Chloramines are disinfectants used to treat drinking water. Chloramines are most commonly formed when ammonia is added to chlorine to treat drinking water.”

“In an era of superbugs and viral pandemics, disinfecting your home or office is a top concern. but it’s important to remember that more isn’t always better when it comes to household cleaners. In fact, combining some household cleaners can be deadly. Take bleach and ammonia, for example. Mixing products containing chlorine bleach with products containing ammonia releases chloramine gas, which is toxic to people and animals.”  Story here:  https://www.healthline.com/health/bleach-and-ammonia

July 7, 2021 I received the notice from the City, delivered by mail.

” PUBLIC NOTICE: IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR DRINKING WATER.
Total Trihalomethanes MCL Violation at City of West Palm Beach (PWS 4501559)

Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard. Although this incident was not an emergency, as our customers, you have a right to know what happened, what we did, and what we are doing to correct this situation.

We routinely monitor for the presence of drinking water contaminants. Testing results from the defined quarter, April 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021, will show that our system exceeded maximum contaminant level (MCL), for total trihalomethanes, a byproduct of drinking water disinfectants. The standard for total trihalomethanes is 80 micrograms per liter (µg/l). It is determined by averaging all the samples collected at each sampling location for the past 12 months. The highest level of total trihalomethanes for the city’s monitoring sites averaged over the past 12 months for July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 was 108 micrograms per liter.

What does this mean?
This is not an emergency. If it had been an emergency, you would have been notified within 24 hours. Some people who drink water containing trihalomethanes in excess of the MCL over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

The paragraph above states our water system for a year residents were drinking water with 28 micrograms per liter over what is considered safe.

What should I do?

• There is nothing you need to do unless you have a severely compromised immune system, have an infant, or are elderly. These people may be at increased risk and should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.
• You do not need to boil your water or take other corrective actions. If a situation arises where the water is no longer safe to drink, you will be notified within 24 hours. We will announce any emergencies through local TV stations, newspaper, and AlertPBC (Palm Beach County’s Emergency Notification System.) Additional information may be found on the city’s website wpb.org.

What happened, and What is being done?

The elevated levels of total trihalomethanes are a byproduct of the city’s need to switch to free chlorine from its normal disinfection process to respond to the elevated levels of the cyanotoxin cylindrospermopsin found at the water treatment plant. The city switched back to the use of chloramines in the distribution system on June 19, 2021. This is expected to reduce total trihalomethane levels to below the MCL. Additional samples are being collected in June to assess the overall impacts of the changes in the treatment process to address the cyanotoxins. We anticipate resolving the cause of the exceedance within the next several weeks. However, since the total trihalomethane MCL is a 12-month average, the city will need to report quarterly for the next year on its progress in meeting the MCL.

For more information, please contact Public Utilities Laboratory Manager John Maxted at (561) 822-2269 or 401 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach, Florida 33401. Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail. This notice is being sent to you by the City of West Palm Beach. State Water System ID#: 4501559. Date distributed: June 23, 2021″

West Palm Beach water violation notice
A byproduct that exceeded contaminant levels was produced by the disinfectants intended to treat the water.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. —
“The City of West Palm Beach is alerting residents about a drinking water violation connected to the advisory that was issued weeks ago.
A byproduct that exceeded contaminant levels was produced by the disinfectants intended to treat the water. The byproduct is known as trihalomethane.
Notices will be sent out to all city water customers.
The city said the public does not need to boil water and that this is not an emergency.
If you have a severely compromised immune system, an infant or you are elderly, you may be at an increased risk.”

How can the City claim this is not an emergency then warn infants, people with severely compromised immune system and the elderly we may be at an increased risk. What the hell?

WPBF channel 25 story below.

https://www.wpbf.com/article/west-palm-beach-water-violation-notice/36821215

“Days after telling residents it violated contaminants standard, West Palm insists water is safe” Wayne Washington Palm Beach Post 7/7/2021 can be read below.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/local/westpb/2021/07/07/west-palm-beach-insists-water-safe-allows-tour-treatment-plant/7871667002/

So, is our water safe or not? I honestly have no idea. After the first warning which took 9 days to reach us I purchased 5 cases of purified water from Sam’s Club for a total of $15.00 and recently bought another 5 cases. I have spent $30.00 on bottled water and would appreciate it if the City would credit my water bill for that amount. My best advice, when in doubt don’t drink the water.

Someone needs to be held responsible and the buck stops with the Mayor. If he was not informed of the contamination as he claims, and I personally don’t believe he didn’t receive a heads up, who ever made the decision to not inform him needs to resign from the City.

The end

 

US Capitol Bombed Nov. 17, 1983

Jan. 6, 2021 — “Split along party lines, the House launched a new investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection on Wednesday, approving a special committee to probe the violent attack as police officers who were injured fighting former President Donald Trump’s supporters watched from the gallery above.

https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2021/06/30/house-approves-committee-to-probe-january-6-u-s-capitol-insurrection-on-party-line-vote/

Nov.7, 1983

In the 1980s, a Far-Left, Female-Led Domestic Terrorism Group Bombed the U.S. Capitol” 

M19 turned to building explosives. Just before 11 p.m. on November 7, 1983, they called the U.S. Capitol switchboard and warned them to evacuate the building. Ten minutes later, a bomb detonated in the building’s north wing, harming no one but blasting a 15-foot gash in a wall and causing $1 million in damage.”

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/1980s-far-left-female-led-domestic-terrorism-group-bombed-us-capitol-180973904/

7 Indicted in 1983 Bombing of U.S. Capitol

“Seven members of a revolutionary group protesting U.S. international and domestic policies have been indicted for setting off a time bomb in the U.S. Capitol in 1983 and committing seven other terrorist bombings here and in New York, officials said Wednesday.
In addition to the Capitol bombing, the indictment charged the seven with conspiring to detonate explosives at three Washington military facilities and a number of sites in New York, including an FBI office on Staten Island, the Israeli Aircraft Industries Building, the South African Consulate and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Assn.
Defendants include Elizabeth Duke, who is being sought as a fugitive, Laura Whitehorn, Linda Evans, Marilyn Buck, Susan Rosenberg, Timothy Blunk and Alan Berkman, all of whom are incarcerated for other crimes, according to a Justice Department.”

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1988-05-12-mn-3985-story.html

Susan Lisa Rosenberg (born October 5, 1955) is an American activist, writer, advocate for social justice and prisoners’ rights. From the late 1970s into the mid-1980s, Rosenberg was active in the far-left revolutionary terrorist May 19th Communist Organization (“M19CO”) which, according to a contemporaneous FBI report, “openly advocate the overthrow of the U.S. Government through armed struggle and the use of violence”
Rosenberg was sentenced to 58 years on the weapons and explosives charges. She spent 16 years in prison, during which she became a poet, author, and AIDS activist. Her sentence was commuted to time served by President Bill Clinton on January 20, 2001, his final day in office”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Rosenberg

Linda Evans: “She was arrested in 1985. The Cold War was in full swing as America launched proxy armies and its own troops throughout Central America and Grenada—often circumventing congressional oversight and US law.
After opposing the US war on Southeast Asia, Linda Evans had continued her solidarity work in support of liberation movements around the world and turned to armed struggle. With a felony conviction for anti-Vietnam war protest on her record and openly revolutionary opposition US policies, her arrest for the purchase of guns with a false I.D. drew a wildly disproportional 40-year sentence.
She was subsequently convicted of conspiracy involving the explosion of a small bomb at the US Capitol Building. No one was injured.” Linda Evans released after 16 years of incarceration.”

https://www.democracynow.org/2001/1/30/political_prisoner_linda_evans_granted_clemency

Clinton’s Last-Day Clemency Benefits 176

“Rosenberg was one of two 1960s radicals, imprisoned on weapons charges, who won pardons. She was charged with conspiracy in the 1981 robbery of a Brink’s armored truck in New York, during which two police officers and a security guard were killed. The other one, Linda Sue Evans, was serving a 40-year sentence for her role in a 1983 bombing attempt on the U.S. Capitol.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2001/01/21/clintons-last-day-clemency-benefits-176/d7e3ed9b-853f-4cdd-a5d4-4f9037f832c3/

Did a ‘Convicted Terrorist’ Sit on the Board of a BLM Funding Body?

Claim:  “Susan Rosenberg is a convicted terrorist who has sat on the board of directors of Thousand Currents, an organization which handles fundraising for the Black Lives Matter Global Network.”
What’s True:  “Susan Rosenberg has served as vice chair of the board of directors for Thousand Currents, an organization that provides fundraising and fiscal sponsorship for the Black Lives Matter Global Movement. She was an active member of revolutionary left-wing movements whose illegal activities included bombing U.S. government buildings and committing armed robberies.”

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/blm-terrorist-rosenberg/

 

 

 

 

 

Artificial Turf Have Residents Damn Mad

City Commission Meeting held on June 28,2021 residents waited for a chance to address the Mayor and City Commissioners and complained about Code Enforcement filing complaint’s against homeowners for installing Synthetic grass in their front yard.

They were ordered to remove it or face very steep fines and many residents already owe thousands of dollars to the City for non-compliance.

I will make this simple for the benefit of the Mayor who receives all stories poster on WPB Watch. When you purchase a home you have 4 sides to your property, the front, back and 2 sides. Below is a picture of Synthetic grass.

The City allows homeowners to place Synthetic grass in the back yard, and both sides of their home. The City does not allow Synthetic grass in the front of their home. To my knowledge the City does not explain it’s reason.

“Synthetic lawns help in saving the surrounding air and soil from further pollution of harmful chemicals that usually come along with keeping a well-manicured, natural lawn.

Water conservation: Synthetic grass makes it easy to comply, dramatically reducing water usage without sacrificing aesthetic standards set by homeowners’ associations. Conserving water is not only Eco-friendly, it’s budget-friendly, in a big way.

Non-allergenic, Synthetic grass doesn’t grow. Goodbye, grass pollen.
No harmful chemical residues. Synthetic  turf requires no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers to remain beautiful and bug-free. That’s safer for your family, and safer for the environment. thanks to eliminating the expense of ongoing lawn care. After that, it’s all savings. Plus, an attractive grass lawn boosts the resale value of your home.”

It is my understanding Synthetic grass is quite expensive to purchase and install, and the City comes along and demands you remove it, no wonder homeowners are upset, all except one who was damn mad. I enclosed the meeting video, and if you don’t want to listen to all of it please move cursor to time 1:16:18 to listen to residents ask the City for relief.

City Commissioner Christie Fox after listening to residents, asked the Mayor to set a workshop to discuss the issue. The audience applauded her realizing someone not only heard their concerns, but was willing to discuss it. Good for her.

I have spent a small fortune over the years on my lawn with fertilizers, pest and weed control. This is a picture of my back yard with my dog KC, and she is the reason I would not use Synthetic grass in my back yard where the City would allow it. Can’t imagine picking up the mess.

Time To Open the City Commission Chambers?
May 20 & 21 the meeting with the Special Magistrate and Fire Fighters were in negotiations for new contract. Meeting is always held in Commission Chambers. I arrived in time and entered the room to find it full of people, sitting shoulder to shoulder.

A woman in the back of the room jumped from her chair and walked me right back out the door, asking what I was looking for. I explained why I was there and she told me this was not the meeting I was looking for.

The reason I mention this is due to the fact seating in the chamber’s is still limited to a few people with most of the seats roped off with yellow crime tape, and signs on the back of the chairs telling us not to sit there.
My question is why were people sitting shoulder to shoulder on May 20th. and roped off again for City Commission meetings?
My opinion it controls the number of residents who attend meetings to question the City’s decisions, and residents opinion on any subject.

Mayor James when first elected moved Public Comment to  the end of the meetings, and there have been times when residents waited hours to address elected officials.

I have enclosed a picture of the seating and the masking tape to secure the yellow crime tape back to the arm rest after the May 20th. meeting.

I rode down the elevator, and a large poster listing 19 events being held in the City was posted. Everything open but City Hall Chambers. City Administrator Johnson. Mayor James and Commissioner Warren sat on the dais mask less. Time for the remainder of officials to lose the mask.

Watch the meeting here, for residents comments and one very outspoken resident.  Starting time 1:16:18

https://www.wpb.org/government/communications/wpb-tv18/watch-the-latest-city-commission-meeting

The end!

 

 

City Commission Meeting Held 6/14/2021

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” Dalai Lama XIV

“When Your Talking, You Are Teaching. When You Are Listening You Are Learning.” Author unknown.

Her name is Becky Harris and she traveled from Stuart Florida to WPB in order to address the Mayor and City Commissioners on the blue-green algae problem and was the last resident to speak on non-agenda items All residents are allotted 3 minutes to make their case.

Ms. Harris spoke on the problem and mentioned her dog was violently ill, and was grateful her pet had survived while other loved pets did not.

She quoted information, and included documentation she had received from a study in toxins along with an analysis from the Green Water Lab and left copies of the report with the city.

She began speaking on Plan CC (I have no idea, but was anxious to hear it) and she encouraged the Mayor and Commissioners to look into it and work with the Army Corps who has something to do with Plan CC.

Her magical 3 minutes ended and James said a total of 8 times “your time is up thank you” the last time he said “your time is up” I could hear the anger in his voice. She left the podium.

Public comment is over and it’s time for Commissioner’s comment. Commissioner Peduzzi was absent and James allowed Commissioner Lambert to start.

Lambert started with a joke, and asked James if she could include Commissioner Peduzzi time to speak.

James response “You know there are no time limits on you guy’s, speak all night”

Lambert, who has aspirations for the Mayor’s seat, does have a tendency to speak longer than other Commissioners.

How do you think Becky Harris felt hearing James make that comment to Lambert?  Talk about lack of respect.

Whatever she was attempting to bring to the Mayor and City Commissioners attention, possibly give him information he didn’t have was dismissed by James. The press who is doing a great job staying on the story will not be dismissed so easily.

Wayne Washington is the Palm Beach County government reporter for The Palm Beach Post. He is a veteran reporter of 25 years, and has stepped into Tony Doris’s shoes and will cover stories for the City of WPB. Wayne has written stories on the water crisis and his newest story can be read below.

Where is Tony Doris?
Tony Doris is now the Editorial Page Editor. Tony’s writing will consists of editorials, which go without a byline. He’s responsible for all of the opinion page material, from editorials to letters to the editor and columnist selections. I wish him good cheer in his new endeavor.

Below are excerpts from the recent Wayne Washington story on the water situation. and my comments are in Italics.

James: “The letter from the Department of Health is not the final say on this matter, OK? It’s like filing a complaint in court. The defendant gets a chance to make their case, and that’s what we will do when we go meet with the Department of Health armed with the data that we have available.”

The problem I have with his approach is that he is defending his actions while the public is in possible danger. At least he recognizes he’s a defendant.

“It would not be appropriate to comment on this any further until after we have that meeting with the Department of Health. We cannot and will not litigate this matter in the public arena.”

James is handling the water issue as a defense lawyer as opposed to a lifeguard. He loves his press conferences as long as words such as green, blue and water are not up for discussion. He should have a press conference with his pal Lois Frankel. I would like her opinion on how James handled the situation.

“Residents and government officials in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach and South Beach have been angered by how the James administration has handled the drinking water problem. Many of them contend the city should have moved more quickly to alert the public to the threat.”

It was reported by city insiders that James was vacationing on the west coast of Fl. the last week of May, and he was fully briefed on the situation by City Staff. Why he continues to deny having knowledge defies logic.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/local/westpb/2021/06/25/west-palm-mayor-city-followed-law-reporting-toxic-water-samples/5347443001/

Town of Palm Beach is concerned as told in the PB Post story published 6/26/2021. Below are excerpts from the story and comments from Town Manager Kirk Blouin.

Amid transparency concerns, Palm Beach will seek to conduct own water tests.

West Palm Beach did not notify its water customers for eight days after a dangerous toxin was found in its water supply last month.
The town will ask to conduct its own tests at West Palm Beach’s water treatment plant when officials from the neighboring municipalities meet next week, Town Manager Kirk Blouin said Thursday.

Amid transparency concerns that were heightened Wednesday after the town learned that the city had received a warning letter on Tuesday from the Florida Department of Health over its handling of recent water problems,

“People just want the truth, whatever that is,” Blouin said. “That’s the bare minimum.”
“I think I feel the same way everyone else does,” Blouin said about the possible violations. “I’m disappointed and even more concerned than I was previously.”

https://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/story/news/local/2021/06/24/amid-transparency-concerns-palm-beach-seek-conduct-own-water-tests/5334852001/

The end

Weekly Meeting List –Cancelled!

The City would send notice of upcoming meetings and the last notice residents would receive was emailed June 7, 2021 and contained the Meeting List Week of June 7 2021 & Draft City Commission Agenda June 14, 2021.

“WEEKLY MEETING LIST June 7, 2021 – June 11, 2021”

Mon. 3:00 PM Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality: Time change to 4:PM.

Tues. 3:00 PM Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality: Cancelled

Wed. 1:00 PM Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality:  Cancelled

Fri. 8:30 AM Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality:     Meeting held

WeeklyMeetingList_2021-0607-0611_Correction(1)

There were 4 scheduled meetings to be held the w/o June 7 2021 on Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality. As you can see 2 were cancelled and 1 time change. This is consistent with other City notifications but at least we were kept aware of the changes by receiving updated emails and not traveling to City Hall for a meeting that was cancelled.

Until the new administration was sworn in and a new City Administrator was appointed I have never witnessed the amount of meetings cancelled, times and or dates changed, meeting location changed. The Mayor was so proud of his newest committee “Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality” that in 1 week 2 meetings were cancelled, but it will be a selling point when needed for re-election.

After receiving the last notice of City meetings this message was added.

“Going forward, the weekly meeting list and meeting agendas will be accessible on the website, “wpb.org”. Subsequently, this email will discontinue.”

I questioned why the City decided to stop sending notice of upcoming meetings, and received this response from Cheryl Robinson | Executive Administrative Assistant.
“The City is streamlining its processes. Meetings and agendas are posted to the website and available to all to be accessed at any time; therefore, it is redundant to send email notifications. Thank you for your inquiry.”

I emailed back:
I appreciated the emails you sent. Lately there have been changes to city business, like meetings being canceled, times and dates being changed. If I see a meeting I want to attend and travel to city hall only to find it’s been cancelled or time/date changed residents will not be happy. Can you tell me who made the change?

I received this response from Hazeline F. Carson, City Clerk
“Per your question to Cheryl, the change was made at my direction for the reason you mentioned in your email, that meetings were cancelled and the list had to be updated constantly. This is to eliminate all of the emails being sent out.”

Lets say Friday night I check the upcoming meetings on the City website and see a meeting I wish to attend for example the Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality to be held Monday @ 8:30AM.
I would be wise to re-check the City’s website early Monday morning to insure the meeting wasn’t cancelled, or time changed.

If you know “Chain of Command” both Ms. Carson and Robinson report to City Administrator Faye Johnson who reports to Mayor James.

If James and Johnson aren’t making changes to the way business is being handled they keep moving staff around, promoting and demoting, handing out raises, taking them back, all the while making room for friends.

It wasn’t broke, what are they trying to fix? It’s obvious to me and the rest of the City it’s not the water problem on their mind, but how to make it more difficult for residents to follow City business. Then again maybe James isn’t aware of the changes being made like he wasn’t aware of the water situation. Someone needs to inform him our City is going to hell in a hand basket.

The end

City of WPB Under Investigation

A Warning letter from the DOH (Department of Health) sent to the City on June 22,2021 was addressed to Poonam K. Kalkat, Director of Public Utilities, and stated.

“The purpose of this letter is to advise the City of West Palm Beach of possible violation of law for which you may be responsible, and to seek your cooperation in resolving the matter.

Information provided by the City of West Palm Beach (City) to the Florida Department of Health Palm Beach County (Department) on June 3, 2021 indicates that the following violations(s) may have occurred”

4 violations are mentioned, and #1 & 2 refer to Aug. 9, 2016 and mentions cylindrospermopsin was detected in 55 samples collected at the point of entry to the distribution center in which the City failed to report these detections.

#3 & 4 violations refer to May 17 to May 26, 2021 when 8 samples exceeded the Health Advisory Level of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The City issued a public notice informing the public of the HAL exceedances on May 28,2021. The City failed to issue public notice within 24 hours of receipt of sample results that exceeded the HAL for cylindrospermopsin for four (4) of the eight (8) sample results.
The aforementioned eight (8) samples were subject to notification to the Department within twenty four (24) hours. The City failed to notify the Department on four (4) of the eight (8) samples.

Violation of Florida Statutes or Florida Administrative Code Rules may result in liability for damages, and the judicial imposition of civil penalties. Read the 2 page letter below.

DOH letter to City of WPB

You have read this far, now read how the City is attempting to get ahead of the story.
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 6:46 PM “West Palm Beach reports drinking water violation” The city of West Palm Beach issued a public notice Wednesday regarding a drinking water violation. The city also claims the Florida Department of Health has acknowledged that the situation is not an emergency.” Read the story below.

https://www.wflx.com//app/2021/06/23/west-palm-beach-reports-drinking-water-violation/

In closing it appears to me that Poonam K. Kalkat, Director of Public Utilities, will take the hit for following orders of someone who claims to have not know about the water situation until May 28, 2021.

The end

WPB Assistant to the City Administrator

“Mayor James Announces New WPB Assistant to the City Administrator Dr. Philip C. Harris

Post Date: 05/27/2021 3:30 PM

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA (May 27, 2021) – West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Philip C. Harris for the position of Assistant to the City Administrator effective Monday, May 24, 2021. In this role, Dr. Harris will oversee the City’s Community and Business Services which include the Departments of Housing and Community Development, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, Library, Office of Economic Opportunity, and ArtLife WPB.

Dr. Harris brings to the City 18 years of diversified government experience and a background in civic engagement, strategic planning, human services, public policy, emergency management, grant management, budget management, community and business development, and volunteer management.

He has held positions with the City of Clearwater, City of St. Petersburg, United Way Suncoast, Hillsborough County, Broward County, P.M.E. Development Consulting, LLC in Tamarac, FL, and Broward County Public Schools.”

“Congratulations to new Assistant to the City Administrator Dr. Philip C. Harris,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James. “With a multifaceted background in operations and administrative experience, Dr. Harris brings a wealth of experience to this position. I am confident he will do great things for our City and serve our residents well. I welcome him to the City of West Palm Beach leadership team!”

“I am grateful to the Mayor and the City Administrator for the opportunity to join the dynamic City of West Palm Beach team,” said Dr. Harris. “I have tremendous respect for this innovative city, its residents, businesses, nonprofits, and city staff. I look forward to helping address the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

“Dr. Harris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree from the University of South Florida and a Master and Doctor of Business Administration degree from Argosy University.”

Dr. Harris is the South Florida Chapter President of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators and a member of the Florida City and County Management Association (FCCMA) and the International City/County Management Association. He was also recently recognized as 2020 ICMA International Honorary Member of the Year and 2021 FCCMA Who’s Who Under 40 Award Honoree.”

The City’s pay scale salary for level GM17.

“Min. $121,330.00   Mid. $151,663.00    Max. $181,995.00”

“Mayor’s Office Harris, Philip Christopher 101117. Assistant to the City Administrator. Admin, Clerical&Fiscal GM17 $152,000.” (Mid. Level)

City Administrator Faye Johnson’s salary is $261,450.00, and as the City Charter states she must live in the City of WPB with no time frame for moving. This is a loop hole in the Charter that James and Johnson use to their benefit. James knows the rules, he just doesn’t follow them.

That’s a combined total of $413,450.00. for 2 employees. (The WPB Police Dept. has a new contract with the City after 9 months of back and forth negotiations, unfortunately the City refused to make the contract retroactive due to money shortage ???)

The City’s Education Requirements can be read below.

ASSISTANT TO THE CITY ADMINISTRATOR
FLSA: EX Page 2 of 2
B/U: NA-RgUncl Last revision: January 2020
CLASS DESCRIPTION
Class Code: 101117
• Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS AND WORK ENVIRONMENT
Work involves sedentary to light work in an office setting. There is occasional need to stand, stoop, walk, sit, lift objects (up to 25 pounds) and perform similar other actions during the course of the workday. The City of West Palm Beach promotes and maintains a drug/alcohol free work environment through the use of mandatory per-employment and random drug testing for certain employees.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS
Master’s degree with a major in Business Administration, Public Administration, or related field is required for this position, or any equivalent combination of training and experience. Education will be verified using the “Education Requirements” listed below. Must have seven (7) years of progressively responsible experience in upper management including budgetary experience.
A current and valid Florida driver’s license is required. For application purposes, a valid driver’s license from any state (equivalent to a State of Florida Class E) may be utilized; with the ability to obtain the State
of Florida driver’s license within thirty (30) days from date of employment.

Education Requirements
• To be considered valid (or verified) for position qualification purposes, and consistent with City Hiring Policy 4-5, a High School, GED or equivalent diploma, and all higher education degrees or certifications must have been issued by:
a) a public education institution in the State of Florida or any State or Territory of the United States; or
b) an institution accredited by an accrediting organization that is recognized by the Florida Department of Education or the U.S. Department of Education; or
c) an institution that is accredited by an organization that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
• International degrees will be evaluated to determine if they satisfy qualification requirements.

“On February 27, 2019, the US Department of Education stated that they were cutting off federal funding to Argosy University. According to Inside Higher Education, “The Education Department said that the roughly 8,800 students enrolled at Argosy campuses could seek to transfer their credits elsewhere or apply for loan cancellation in the event their campus shuts down.”
All Argosy campuses were officially closed on March 8, 2019.
Be sure to read the entire Wikipedia entry below for what became a bogus university.
The overall graduation rate? Answer: 6 percent.
Misspend money, lack of accreditation, multiple lawsuits and on and on.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argosy_University

I could not find where the City advertised for Dr. Harris position. Is this a case of “It’s not what you know, but who you know?”

The end.

 

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