City Commission Meeting 10/18/2021

My comments and questions in italic.

I want to bring 2 items (7-8 & 7-11) to readers attention that City Commissioners voted approval that was on the Consent Calendar, which the City added new wording.

“All items listed under the consent calendar are considered routine and will be enacted by one motion. There will be no separate discussion of these items.”

The Consent Calendar is where the City tries to slip through items like the $180,000.00 payout to a former employee who sued the City. If readers cant recall the incident Tony Doris from the PB Post wrote an article and can be read below.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20191118/west-palm-beach-commissioners-reject-180000-payout-over-sex-assault-allegations

7.8 “Resolution No. 273-21 authorizing the City Commission to approve a Facility Use and Maintenance Agreement with Phipps Youth Baseball.
Background Information: The City owns the baseball facilities located at Phipps Park (the “Park”) which include four (4) baseball fields, batting cages and other baseball practice facilities, the restrooms, concession facilities and parking lot (the “Baseball Facilities”), which facilities are for the use and benefit of the public.”

Who in their right mind would object to a park where kids can play ball? Not me, give the kids something to do, some place to go, have fun, make friends. Keep kids on the ball field and off the street. Win-Win. So what’s the problem? Kids play hard, coach’s insure they don’t get dehydrated insure they drink enough. Now comes the problem.
I did a story previously on the City Parks and the homeless. The City chooses to keep it’s City Park restrooms locked and bared. Why? Keep the homeless from using the facilities. No place to wash up or relieve them selves. So when residents complain about the smell from urine or feces where can the homeless go? This is a picture of Phipps Park where the ball park is located. Cant even get to the water fountain.

7.11. “Resolution No. 244-21(F) for Law Enforcement investigative expenses.
Background information: “The Federal Law Enforcement Trust Fund expenditure of $115,775 will be used to achieve law enforcement objectives in accordance with the statutes and guidelines that govern the Federal Equitable Sharing Program as set forth in the current edition of the Department of Justice’s Guide to Equitable Sharing for State and Local Law Enforcement.
The West Palm Beach Police Department continues to need additional space for investigative personnel. This request will cover the payments required for the leasing of space and continuing operational expenses: $91,575 Lease Expenses; $7,800 Electric; $6,400 Contractual Services; and $10,000 for maintenance, repairs, and service agreements as required under the lease agreement.”

If the police need additional space give it to them. They obviously out grew the old, outdated building on Banyan Blvd. Crime is growing in WPB and a reported 5 murders committed between 8/4/21 and 10/17/21. That’s unacceptable, and detectives are trying to solve crimes without the aid of residents who fear retaliation. If the City cares about it’s residents how about building a new state of the art Police Station? In the meantime City Hall has more space than they need, and I question why the City will spend $115,775 dollars to rent space (making a landlord richer) than allowing the detectives to work out of City Hall.

A Week In The Life Of A WPB Cop

Update 10/18/2021

Woke up Sunday morning, put on the coffee, let KC out to take care of business and turned on the news. Appears a cop shot a man armed with a knife. Not many details given. Below is a story from WPBF channel 25.

“Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating a West Palm Beach officer-involved shooting.
The shooting happened at the 800 block of Sunset Rd. in West Palm Beach around 2:10 Sunday morning.
Officers responded to a call of a man armed with a knife attempting to break into a residence.
According to West Palm Beach police, the man lunged at officers with a knife while they tried to communicate with him.
One West Palm Beach officer shot the suspect.
Police have not identified the suspect nor his current condition.”

I don’t know if the cop is black or white, and I don’t care. I don’t know if the man who was shot is black or white, and I don’t care, although I hope the shooting wasn’t fatal. What I do care about is the cop went home to his family and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the incident. In my opinion no department should investigate a shooting of one on their own.

I receive a weekly crime report and here is part of the report for serious crime from 10/10/2021 -10/13/21.

1) DEATH INVESTIGATION
23XX 45TH ST
Oct 13, 2021 at 10:26 am
#20210014579
************************************************
2) DEATH INVESTIGATION
66XX 66TH WAY
Oct 13, 2021 at 6:13 pm
#20210014601
************************************************
3) DEATH INVESTIGATION
10XX 25TH ST
Oct 13, 2021 at 7:25 am
#20210014573
************************************************
4) ASSAULT – AGG ASSAULT W/ A FIREARM (POSS.)
17XX VILLAGE BLVD
Oct 12, 2021 at 9:40 pm
#20210014561
************************************************
5) BATTERY – OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER, MEDICAL CARE PROVIDER
9XX 45TH ST
Oct 12, 2021 at 7:00 pm
#20210014555
************************************************
6) BATTERY – OFFICER, FIREFIGHTER, MEDICAL CARE PROVIDER
9XX 45TH ST
Oct 10, 2021 at 12:20 am
#20210014428
************************************************
Coincidence? A shooting happens in Riviera Beach. Soon after a shooting happens in WPB. Then back and forth. I have been told, and I believe, the shootings are gang related. Three death investigations in one week. I’m grateful I don’t live in Chicago where 785 victims were killed in Chicago in the past 12 months. Sixty five deaths a day. Read the report below:

https://graphics.suntimes.com/homicides/

I’ve lived long enough to know the WPB Police may not solve the 3 murders in WPB without the help of the residents stepping up if they know something. I also know residents will never find peace in their neighborhood without the Police Dept.

Residents live in fear of retaliation if they talk to police. There has to be a better way.
How about a “go between” If a resident has information is it possible to talk to a Priest or Pastor who would be willing to talk to the Police and possibly point them in the right direction?
A problem has never existed without a solution. Let’s find one.

Update 10/18/2021

Sunday afternoon, police said Lorenzo Robb was released from prison on Sept. 17. His criminal history includes 13 felony charges with one felony conviction and 14 misdemeanor charges with five misdemeanor convictions.

According to West Palm Beach police, all three officers are currently on administrative leave, which is standard department protocol. The officers will be named at a later time.

Rodney Mayo, A Man Of Compassion

Along with the City Commissioners, Mayor James, City Administrator Faye Johnson, Tony Doris of the PB Post and others I received the email below. The email is verbatim, and is a Public Record, so I’m comfortable including it with the story. Rodney Mayo & Maurice Costigan have organized MoonFest for 30 years. My comments below in italic.

“MOONFEST 2021 the TRUTH as to why it was cancelled.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise these days the lack of facts and the unwillingness to fact check in the media.
Moonfest was not approved by the City of West Palm Beach and here is why.

Moonfest’s permit application was submitted for the 400 and 500 blocks of Clematis. The reason we scaled back the event this year was two fold

1- the city changed the approval process for events on clematis and increased the number of businesses needed for consent to approve any event from 50% to 85%. After speaking with many of the businesses in the 200 and 300 blocks we felt we would not be able to reach the 85% consent for approval of Moonfest. The 400 and 500 blocks had 100% consent for approval.

2- we never wanted to produce an event where it might negatively affect any business or at the objection of any business owners. The event was created 30 years ago to do just the opposite, bring traffic to downtown!

This is why we submitted this year for only the 400 and 500 blocks of Clematis. This also would have enabled us to increase the production value , attract more artists and produce something we and the City would be proud of.

We were initially told by the special events department at the City that this proposal was ok and would be approved.

In August the City had a meeting to discuss Moonfest 2021. We were not only not invited to this meeting but were told we were not allowed to attend the meeting.    Does this sound familiar to readers, remember CMUDD and invited guests only, and I was removed from City Hall due to my name not being on the “list”.

This was highly suspect as we , as the organizers of Moonfest, had always been an integral part of the planning process and attended all the City staff meetings.
We feel that as a gated event, where the capacity is limited to a maximum safe number, is not only safe but far safer than what is going to take place. An open, completely unregulated, un-gated free event with no age limits and no way to control alcohol consumption.

In addition, unauthorized Moonfest events, such as “Clematis Socials Moonfest”, are now popping up all over the place and are making it appear that they are now the organizers of Moonfest and that the event is still on.

This could really turn into a disaster unless the city is prepared for the influx of attendees that in the past have been regulated to over 21 years of age and also supplemented by an extra 50 private security personal in addition to the 40 City of West Palm Beach overtime police officers that were hired by Moonfest.

There will be no gates to control the crowd as well so how can this possibly make it a safer “event”. It will basically be a free for all.
We are pretty baffled as to the Cities rationale in making this decision, if there is one. We do know that we were ready willing and able to make this year’s Moonfest a safe, fun event and we’re willing to work with the City as we always have in the past to assure that.
Unfortunately we were not given that opportunity by the City.
Rodney and Maurice
Founders and organizers of Moonfest since 1993.”

Below is the PB Post story written by Mr.Washington on Moon Fest

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/local/westpb/2021/10/16/moonfest-2021-canceled-west-palm-halloween-event-off-second-year/8470676002/

So Who Is Rodney Mayo? Story below is written by Krista Martinelli and excerpts are from her story. Please take the time to read the entire article and listen to an emotional Mr. Mayo address the City Commissioners. My comments in italic.

“Rodney Mayo, Community Activist and Restaurant Owner. Rodney Mayo is known for the 17 restaurants/nightclubs that he owns in the area. But also he’s been a community activist, starting up an organization called Hospitality Helping Hands (as a response to COVID-19) and speaking out against racism.

I asked Mayo why he decided to start Hospitality Helping Hands. “As a result of COVID and the layoffs, we were initially going to set up a program to feed our staff (over 600 people, many of them as the sole providers for their families). We got so many other hospitality workers looking for a hot daily meal. And then we got a flood of requests from everyone who was laid off, not just hospitality workers.” Mayo seems to be an empathetic soul; he didn’t have the heart to say no, so they just stepped up to the plate, feeding everyone who needs a hot meal and continuing to do so.

Mayo put together a Barbecue for Peace, in response to the incident in West Palm Beach when peaceful protesters were met by police officers with tear gas and rubber bullets. “The Chief of Police denied the tear gas and rubber bullets.” But when faced with physical evidence of both, “they retracted all that,” says Mayo. “I suggested a coming together with a Barbecue for police officers and protesters.” Chief of Police Frank Adderley thought it was a good idea. The date was set for Sunday, June 7th and the location would be West Palm Beach. “We were granted a permit,” says Mayo.

“On that Friday at 6pm, WPB Mayor Keith James revoked the permit. With very little time on his hands, Mayo moved the BBQ for Peace, planned for about 1,000 people to Lake Worth.

In my opinion the incident with the police is the reason for the push back with Moon Fest. I have heard, from too many people, the Mayor can be very vindictive and when enough people make the statement I believe there is some truth to it.

In my opinion Mayor Keith James has absolutely no empathy, and if he can’t relate to someone’s pain he will have no qualms about causing it.

Read the entire story by Krista Martinelli below

https://aroundwellington.com/talking-about-racism-part-6-rodney-mayo-community-activist-and-restaurant-owner/

 

City Employees Resigning–Why

It’s been said If you love your job, you never work a day in your life, If you don’t care for your job, 8 hours can seem like 15. I believe both versions. Been there-done that.

West Palm Beach is to receive a total of $24.5 million in federal coronavirus relief money.
Half of the money was given to the city in May, (2021) and the other half will come next year.(2022)

From the City: “The bulk of this year’s money, about $6.5 million, will be used to replace the roughly $7 million in revenue the city said it lost because of the pandemic, which shut down businesses and limited the city’s tax receipts. The city plans to purchase vehicles to replace aging ones in its fleet. About $10 million in vehicles will ultimately need to be replaced, city officials have said.”

Employee bonuses of up to $3,800 will be issued in Nov.2021.

Premium Pay Proposal Details: Category 1: $3,800.00. “Routinely worked in areas mainly outside of City facilities. Broad potential exposure and interaction with public and/or items touched by public in the community or within City facilities” Fire, Police, SEIU (Service Employees International Union) PMSA ( Professional Managers and Supervisors Association) Non-Union Employees.

The WPB police dept. mourns the loss of 2 police officers in as many months. Officers Bob Williams and Tony Testa, both husbands and fathers passed away from Covid-19. Hopefully the City will allow the premium pay to go to their spouses and children.

Premium Pay Proposal Details: Category 2: $2,500.00 “Routinely work within City facilities. Some degree of potential exposure and interaction with public and/or items touched by public who had appointments at City facilities.” SEIU (Service Employees International Union) PMSA ( Professional Managers and Supervisors Association) Non-Union Employees (Includes Police & Fire Command Staff, Directors, Administrations)

Premium Pay Proposal Estimated Totals:

Category 1 $3,800 X 892 FTE (full-time equivalent) $3,389,600.00.
Category 2 $2,500 X 442 FTE $1,105,000. Total $4,494,600.00.”

I don’t understand why the city received $12.25 million dollars in May and will not issue the city employees their well deserved bonuses until 6 months later in Nov.2021, and wonder if  Directors and Administration will wait, or have already received their  bonus.

I was told 3 employees who worked for Code Enforcement recently resigned from the City, and it was easily verified that Supervisor Mitch Posner, everybody’s favorite Laura Borso and Joe Oliva have resigned within a month.

Code Enforcement is already understaffed, how could they afford to lose these three employees and many more.

Talk around the office it is connected with the department being moved under the watchful eye of the Police Dept. I wrote this was tried previously and was not successful.

I was advised to look into exactly how many have left the City, and I did place a PRR (Public Records Request) for information.

“I am requesting information on the number of City employees who have resigned from the City of WPB from 4/1/2019 until 9/30/2021. Please include the departments they resigned from.”

My response from the City was “275” employees resigned, and the job loss includes many from Admin, Clerical&Fiscal, Utilities, Labor, Supervision & Trades, Public Safety, and Engineering, Inspection&Related. Think of the dollars used to train all these people and now a new city will get the benefit of our lost employees.

Keep this date in mind James was sworn in as Mayor on 4/4/2019, and City Administrator Faye Johnson was promoted on 1/3/2020. These 2 people run the city, and make the decisions.

Between 4/4/2019 and 9/30/2021 = 910 calendar days.
Exclude 130 Saturdays, 130 Sundays + 31 holidays = 291

That leaves 619 working days and 275 employees resigned. Something is terribly wrong, and I have been told morale among city workers is at a all time low.

Now I ask myself, how bad can the working conditions be when employees are walking away from a Premium Pay of $2,500.00 to $3,800.00.

How bad are the working conditions at the City? Below is a list of employee’s who have left the City. Enlarge print by holding the Ctrl button down while tapping the + bar to enlarge.

WPB resigned report

 

The end.

Rules 1 For Me-1 For You!

1/13/2020 “Resolution No. 10-20 establishing the salary and other compensation for the City Administrator and amending the pay grade information for the City Administrator job classification. Based on Ms. Johnson’s extensive qualifications and experience, the Mayor is recommending to the Commission a starting salary of $249,000 for consideration, which is within the General Management Salary Rate Schedule for the City Administrator Pay Grade, GM20 ($174,303-$261,454).

Upon successful completion of a six (6) month probationary period, Ms. Johnson’s salary will increase by 5% to $261,450, also within the current salary rate schedule.

Ms. Johnson’s current salary as Interim City Administrator is $220,000.” Commissioners approved the pay raise. A raise of $41,450.00. While trying to balance the budget on the backs of Police and Fire Fighters.

Below is a section of the WPB City Charter.

“A municipal charter is the basic document that defines the organization, powers, functions and essential procedures of the city government. It is comparable to the Constitution of the United States or a state’s constitution. The charter is, therefore, the most important legal document of any city.”

Sec. 3.03. – City administrator—Appointment, removal and qualifications.

“The mayor shall appoint a city officer with the title city administrator. Such officer shall be chosen solely on the basis of executive and administrative qualifications and be subject to the immediate supervision of the mayor. The city administrator shall coordinate under the supervision of the mayor the activities of all administrative departments, divisions, and agencies, serve as special liaison between the mayor, the city commission and all departments, divisions, boards and commissions, and perform such administrative and executive duties as may from time to time be assigned by the mayor. The city administrator may be dismissed by the mayor, without the approval of the city commission. The salary of the city administrator shall be set by the city commission upon the recommendation of the mayor. When appointed, the city administrator need not be a resident of the city, but during tenure of office the city administrator shall reside within the city.”

9/20/2021   City Commission meeting    Meeting can be seen/heard below.

Resolution No. 248-21 establishing the City’s Salary Plan for fiscal year 2021-22
Item #16 started with the presentation by Human Resources Director Jose‐Luis Rodriguez @20:23 and ended with City Administrator Faye Johnson 28:55. I commented on the resolution at 21:30, and again commented on the fact Ms. Johnson doesn’t reside within the city as as required by the charter. Ms. Johnson does not follow the laws of WPB.

Mayor James stated  “For the record Ms. Johnson does live in the city limits, and for the record she’s worth every penny that we are paying her” Ms Johnson didn’t correct his lie, and she does not live in the City but in unincorporated Palm Beach County.

I requested a PRR from the County for her water bill and they supplied 3 months record of where the bill is sent. A PRR to the City could not provide a WPB address. If she is living inside the City why is her home still homesteaded? Foolish lie that can so easily be proven.

The meeting got heated, and it appeared for a moment I was about to be removed by the police from City Hall. Ms Johnson made statements which I will attempt to correct.

Johnson: “I brought 34 years of government experience.” Actions speak louder than words, and to date I’m not impressed with her experience.

Johnson: “At the onset of my position we had a model in place with 5 Assistant City Administrators. We saved in excess of $500,000.00, half a million dollars, by reducing the number of Assistant City Administrators from 5 to 2, that my predecessor had the luxury of having.”    False!

Fact: Mayor James, after being sworn in, promoted 3 staff members to Assistant City Administrators and their pay was bumped to $180,000.00/yr. Mr. Green did not have the luxury of 5 City Administrators, and the savings was not $500.000.00. The 3 promoted Administrators were demoted to their former position. and pay grade.

Johnson: “My starting salary was $ 249,000, $2,000 above Green’s $247,000.  False

Fact: Jeff Green resigned with a salary of $240,000 after serving the City for 8 years.

She finished her statements with “I came to this conclusion it’s because of the fact that I happen to be black or Africa-American or the fact that I happen to be female that somehow my years of experience and the work that I do is less valuable and shouldn’t be paid at the appropriate level and I take great exception to that.”

Fact: I take great exception to the fact she played the race card. I don’t give a damn if she’s black, African -American or a woman. Who starts a new job at the top of their pay grade, without proving themselves first, and refusing to reside in the City she oversees. If any white person questions or challenges a person of color, they are called a racist. This needs to stop.

Here are 3 examples of her leadership.

11/2019 Faye Johnson attempted to convince the City Commissioners to vote approval for a $180,000 settlement with a former employee, to avoid a lawsuit. West Palm Beach City Commissioners were unanimous in wanting more information before they would agree to the payout. In my opinion it was an attempt to cover up a scandal that included Mayor James.

Ms. Johnson failed in her negotiations with our Fire Fighters, and James declared an impasse and the issue was decided by a Special Magistrate, who thankfully protected our fire dept. The County firefighters protects her home and property.

Mayor James and Ms. Johnson failed to notify residents that we were drinking/using contaminated water for 8 days before notification. People & pets getting sick. Ms. Johnson uses County water. Contaminated water didn’t effect her.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a2qTRF5nro

The end

 

Henrietta Farms Early Lock Out

Updated 9/27/2021 @ 9:50AM

A recent article by Investigative Reporter Terry Parker (Channel 25 (WPBF) tells the story of “Brightline restarting in November, debuts ride-share service”  Part of the story reads:

“So you’d love to take the high-speed Brightline when it reopens, but there’s always a slight problem:

“How do I get to the station and how do I get from the station to my final destination, well we’ve solved that problem for you,” said Brightline Trains President Patrick Goddard.
“We’ll have a fleet of Teslas, shuttles, electric golf carts that will pick you up where you are and take you to the train station, then take you to your final destination,” Goddard said.

After reading the story, bells were going off. Brightline will have a fleet of vehicles to take riders to and from their home to the RR and back again. Question? Where is Brightline going to park the vehicles? Hey, how about the land that Henrietta Farms is located on?

The property is already fenced in thanks to generous donors, so vehicles will be safe. All that needs to be done is plow it under, bring in the asphalt and we have a parking lot.

Circuit Service is already doing business in Fl. “Rewire your city with on-demand, easy-to-use, electric, shuttles! Improve access to local trains, buses, essential businesses, and reduce traffic, congestion, and emissions in the process.”

The Sept. 20,2021 City Commission Meeting residents spoke out in defense of Henrietta Farms and 2 Commissioners spoke up when Commissioner Shoaf asked for information on what the land would be used for, and Commissioner Warren asked if another solution was possible. Here’s an update on the farm, and I have a possible solution.

Mr Stewart Bosley, worked tirelessly to start the farm, was sent a letter from the City informing him the lease would not be renewed. The present lease will expire on 10/16/2021.

9/24/2021 (Fri.) Mr. Bosley had a crew of volunteers to work on the farm that weekend, and when they arrived they found their locks were cut off and replaced with new one’s. A week end of work gone when the lease didn’t expire for 2 more weeks. People who were willing to spend their time off helping Boz weren’t needed after all. Shinny new lock placed on a chain bought by the farm along with the fencing.

The farm kept operating on dollars donated by caring people and from Boz own pocket, and he dug deep in order to feed the poorest of the poor in a run down section of the city, and the weekend plan was to clean up the area and remove cinder blocks, potting pots, a hot house and whatever else they could salvage.

 

Mr Bosley recently received a $20,000 grant which he returned before it was even cashed.
If my thinking is correct why can’t the city allow the fleet of vehicles to be parked in the city garage—give them the top floor and don’t charge Brightline for the parking privileged, and leave the farm alone.

10/4/2021 is the next City Commission Meeting, please try and attend and let your voice be heard on the farm issue. Bring your parking ticket with you and have it validated outside Commission Chambers (free parking). If unable to attend please write a comment and send it to the City Clerks Office, and it will be read out loud, and into the record, for the mayor and Commissioners to hear your thoughts.

“If you wish to give public comment, please attend the meeting or fill out and submit the public comment form below by 2:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting.” I have supplied the form for those who wish to address their concerns. If not you—who?

https://www.wpb.org/i-want-to/public-comment

Channel 25 news story below below.

https://www.wpbf.com/article/florida-brightline-restarting-in-november-debuts-ride-share-service/37697511

Mayor Keith James, while campaigning told voters he was raised by a single mother. James did well for himself and I can only imagine the struggle’s his mother had.

Before City Administrator was Faye Johnson she was Faye Outlaw, and she was interviewed by Carol on July 9, 2013 for FCCMA (Florida City and County Management Association)

One question and answer stood out, and I will share with readers.
What got you interested in public service?
I became interested in local government early in my childhood. It was sparked from a passion for reading the local newspaper and a curiosity about the “government.” Being raised in a family that was reliant on public assistance, I heard the word “government” all the time. However, I had no idea who or what the “government” was but was glad it existed as, for the most part, that was how my family was able to have food on the table.

Ever hear the old saying I GOT MINE; YOU GET YOURS. Translation: “A selfish mentality that is very common among people, whereby an individual strives to achieve the standards that he wants; and that after achieving, denies responsibility or aid to other people who have yet to achieve the same standards.”

How can the 2 people charged with running the City of West Palm Beach turn their back on the neediest residents needing fresh fruit and vegetables. People who look like them.

City Commissioners: The simple fact that a commissioner had to ask what purpose the land would be used for should make them aware of how much in the dark they are kept on city business. If it wasn’t  for good folks speaking out on the loss of the land they wouldn’t be aware it was an issue. Please include along with listening to “staff” recommend approval ask the questions and investigate, and readers continue to let your voiced be heard. It’s the first heads-up the commissioners hear that something isn’t right.

If the Mayor and City Administrator know the farm land will not be used to store a fleet of vehicles they need to contact me so the story can be updated. What’s their secret?

The end

CMUD Done Deal?

Update: 9/23/21 @ 3:15PM

Carl Flick, President of NSNA (Northwood Shores Neighborhood
Association) attended the 2nd. Planning Board meeting in person, and his remarks are in quotation marks. When Mr. Flick mentions ” yesterdays” meeting he is referring to the 2 Planning Board meeting held on Sept. 21 ,2021.

I attended the meeting in the comfort of my home and my comments in Italic.

“Northwood Shores has been negotiating with the City and with Jeff Greene on two major fronts. The first is to allow the public to participate in unfiltered community meetings. The second is to hold meaningful discussions on limiting the extreme 350′ height to under 267 feet.

The July 20, 2021 Planning Board Meeting had a 5-0 vote rejecting a revised CMUD and returned it back to planning staff because it was inadequate.There were 2 board members absent.

The mayor (James) was having problems with the Planning Board, so he let several board members go and appointed several new ones. Yesterday’s meeting was their first. They came with little history. They essentially stacked the deck with a clean slate of board members who did not know the issues surrounding CMUD.

We did prevail in getting scores of letters sent to the planning board opposed to the 350′ height. But the way the city’s planning staff dealt with that deluge of complaints was to deliver the stack of dissenting letters, not in advance, but to give it to the planning board as they sat down last night at the meeting. So board members had no time to review those letters.”

The Mayor appoints board members and the City Commissioners approval is needed, and it is required that they confirm the Mayors appointment’s at a City Commission meeting.

I examined the City’s CC Agenda back to June 2021 and the Mayor did not submit any names for approval to the Planning Board. I assume he picked up the phone and dismissed them for not going along with what the city needed for passage of CMUD. His three new choices did his bidding, but I challenge if the Planning Board is a legal board and has the right to make any decisions. The three dismissed members obviously have what City leaders are lacking. It’s called integrity.

I joined the meeting and heard Lobbyist Harvey Oyer, who’s job it is to sell the city on developer Jeff Greene’s CMUD project, and he made the statement saying changes to the Joel Daves Park would be needed to accommodate CMUD development. For those readers new to the City Joel Daves is a former Mayor and the city honored him with a park named after him and is located at 2410 N Dixie Hwy. Mr. Oyer stated Mr. Daves was fine with changes that were needed to the park, in fact he drove the point home by restating all was fine with Mr. Daves.

It would be easy enough to verify how Mr. Daves felt about needed changes to his named park, but the City lost a gentleman when he passed on in July. Who’s to know if Oyer’s statement is true or not.

“Last nights Planning board meeting resulted in a 7-0 vote approving the proposed CMUD changes and sending the proposal to the city commission meeting- to be held in October 2021.”

City Commissioners receive all stories written on WPB Watch and it’s up to them to investigate the issue coming before them with a request for approval from City Staff.

They should be upset about the meetings being held with selected invited guests, and a planning board that may have been illegally approved by Mayor James alone.

The picture is of me looking into the Flagler meeting after being removed from City Hall and not allowed to join the meeting. My name was not on the invited list.
City Commissioners please do the job you were elected to do.

 

 

The picture of Joel Daves park was taken from the city website and you see the water view. I don’t believe Mr. Daves would be OK with the City’s planned changes to accommodate developer Green’s vision. If you knew Daves he was the people’s Mayor. He was not owned by developers.

The end.

How Could Something So Good, Go So Bad.

In September 2013 Geri Muoio’s was the WPB Mayor and a gentleman named Mr. Bosley was making an appeal to the City and asked that the $5,000.00 fee for bringing a water line to the area be waived, and his request was granted.

I listened to Mr. Bosley who acquired a lease for a piece of city owned property consisting of 1.52 acres at 1400 Henrietta Ave. and heard his plans to build a Community Farm in one of the poorest area’s of WPB, and my thought at the time was this guy has a good idea.

“In West Palm Beach, 18.7 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, compared with 14 percent for Palm Beach county and 14.5 percent for the U.S. as a whole. The city is also home to a large proportion of the county’s 27 federally designated food deserts. Residents live in a stark contrast to the area’s natural abundance of fresh produce, with limited retail and transportation options to grocery stores.

However, this is all about to change.

One man, Stewart W. Bosley Jr., and his non-profit organization Urban Growers, has broken ground on West Palm Beach’s first urban farm, and they’re set to harvest their first crop in January.
“What I didn’t realize is that it would take me four years to finally get site control,” he says. “Over the past four years, I have been steadfastly trying to acquire this property, clean it up, and put a farm on it. Now I’ve got 1,200 plants. We’ve got about 500 or 600 tomatoes, green peppers, kale, collard greens, bell peppers, and pole beans, and the first crops will be ready in January.

After a long process of land acquisition and jumping hurdles, the Urban Growers’ Community Farm, also known as the Henrietta Bridge Farm, is finally growing produce.

In addition to producing fresh and local produce for the community, Urban Growers is also providing job training and job opportunities to residents of the neighborhood, including previously incarcerated and at-risk youth. The plots were installed by previously incarcerated individuals from the juvenile justice system in Palm Beach county as part of a restorative justice program in West Palm Beach. Urban Growers hopes to continue supporting this population and other individuals from the community as they begin to harvest their first crop and expand their business.

“Where this farm is located is a perfect example of a food desert community,” he says. Where the growing center is now located, you have to go two and a half miles in any direction to get produce. The people that live in this neighborhood are all near or below the poverty line, and don’t have access to fresh produce. People who benefit from this are low-income seniors, and kids. It helps the people who don’t have access to fresh produce, many of them because of limited transportation options. The cost of transportation also has to be factored into the cost of the food.” Read the entire story below.
https://seedstock.com/2015/01/05/west-palm-beachs-first-urban-farm-serves-local-food-deserts/

One more story I hope readers will take the time to read in part explains:
Urban Growers CEDC Mission

“The primary mission is to develop and improve low-income communities and neighborhoods through economic and related development activities that will increase the opportunities for residents to become owners, managers, and producers of small businesses, affordable housing and jobs designed to produce positive cash flow and curb blight in the Greater North West Communities of West Palm Beach.

“Urban Growers CEDC is a grass roots non-profit organization dedicated to improve
the quality of life in low income communities in the neighborhoods of Coleman Park, Historic Northwest and Pleasant City. Through educational, economic and related development activities, the organization will promote actions designed to increase opportunities for residents. Read the entire story below:

http://www.urbangrowerscedc.org/

For over eight years the farm was up and growing, people were receiving fresh produce and fruit and had the satisfaction of knowing they helped create the farm and grow their food. So what went wrong?

The City sent a letter informing Urban Growers their lease for the land would not be renewed, and they have 30 days to vacate the property, and the only explanation was the City (James) stating “they have a better use for the property.”

What could be better than to give access to fresh produce and fruit to low income minority communities around the farm?

James is so proud of his “Mayor’s Taskforce for Racial and Ethnic Equality” which will sound good for his reelection, but I hope people remember what he has done to Urban Growers. Damn disgrace.

The end.

 

Right To Life

At the upcoming City Commission (9/20/21 meeting the City will make a “Special Presentation”

“Special Presentation to Mona Reis in recognition of her contributions in our community for the past 41 years.”

I was curious on what her contribution was and googled her.

“Mona S. Reis is the Founder and Director of Presidential Women’s Center, an independent abortion provider located in West Palm Beach, Florida.”

The center is within a mile of my home and on the weekends you can witness pro life supporters with their signs and rosary beads, praying for the mothers and unborn children, and they have done this for years.

“Mary Susan Pine, who stands outside abortion clinics and advises women not to have the procedure, was accused of blocking a car from entering a Florida abortion clinic in 2009.

In December, a judge threw out the case, in which the government sought $10,000 in fines and a permanent injunction barring Pine from counseling women outside the Presidential Women’s Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. The government had been appealing the ruling until it was announced Monday it would no longer pursue the case

Feminists for Life: “We believe in a woman’s right to control her body, and she deserves this right no matter where she lives, even if she’s still living inside her mother’s womb.” Please re-read the sentence.

Many states allow late abortions that can be performed up to 24 weeks meaning the child was carried for six months and able to survive outside the womb, but will never get the chance.

Women have their choice of birth control methods, including: longer-acting birth control such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants shorter-acting methods like birth control pills.. IUDs are considered one of the most effective reversible forms of birth control. Researching for this story I was surprised to find a patch, which can be worn for a week, and prevent unwanted pregnancy’s.

In general, the cost of an abortion can average $1,500.00.

People can’t afford $8.00 for a box of condoms, but can raise $1,500.00 for an abortion.

Fortunately views on abortion are changing and for that I’m grateful along with the men and women who sit quietly outside the abortion clinic with rosery in hand still praying for lost souls.

A neighbor of mine just became a grandmother and she is “over the moon” with a beautiful granddaughter, welcomed into the world with nothing but love.

How many babies have been aborted in 41 Years?

Does Ms. Reis realize how fortunate she is that her mother didn’t believe in abortion.

Currie Park Mixed Use (CMUD) Stakeholders Meeting! Part 2

Updated 9/16/2021 @6:18PM

I received the invitation below from Carl Flick along with other concerned residents and  the City Commissioners on Wed, Sep 15, 2021 @ 12:14 pm

“FYI on a sponsored Zoom meeting scheduled for tonight at 6:00 PM that will explain why the hosts think allowing 300-350 foot building heights in the Currie Corridor is OK.

Feel free to attend on-line. I have no idea if they will allow comments by those who remain unconvinced and disagree. Still, it’s important to listen to the viewpoints of all sides.
This is in preparation for this coming Tuesday’s West Palm Beach Planning Board meeting (beginning at 6:00 PM) inside City Hall’s Commission Chambers. We encourage all to attend this in-person forum.”

Carl received the invitation late and forwarded it to concerned citizens and with short notice 54 people attended the Zoom meeting, hoping to voice their opinion on the project. They were not allowed to speak, but 3 people in favor of the project were. One resident said this project is needed due to small businesses failing and closing it’s doors. My opinion small businesses are failing due to Coronavirus and nothing to do with development.

In attendance were Commissioners Fox and Peduzzi. Missing were Commissioners Lambert, Warren and Shoaf who is the district commissioner. I understand not much notice was given but Commissioners who will discuss and vote on projects that will affect residents lifestyle should not consider City Commission a “part time” job.

Harvey Oyer, an attorney and lobbyist and has the responsibility of “selling” the CMUD project for developer Jeff Greene to the City, along with it’s residents of the NSNA (Northwood Shores Neighborhood Association)

Oyer started and finished the presentation and he’s really good at his job. He mentioned how he “loved” Northwood Shores and at one time wished he could have afforded to purchase a home in the area. Things are looking up for Oyer, he purchased a $1,350,000 home in the Presidents Country Club, an upscale gated community far removed from large structures.

Bill Nugent, Don’t have much information on him and the conversation between Bill and Harvey had me knowing they were both on the same page and Bill called on the speakers who were allowed to comment. The hi-light of the meeting was when an attendee namely Lon Sebella found a way to um-mute his mike and started to comment and the look of panic on Bill’s face when he shut off Lon’s mic only to have Lon turn it back on and continue commenting. His mike was turned off again and the meeting ended, rather abruptly.
In the previous story concerning CMUD I wrote:

“In fact the Currie Corridor is nearly vacant with the exception of a small home built in the early 1920, and is located across the street from Currie Park.”

What I have learned is the property is owned by Mr. Kenneth Witt who acquired the property in Aug.1989 and is the hold out seller to the site. Mr. Witt, in my opinion is the most important “stake holder” living in the middle of the project, and he was denied an invitation to the meeting.

Carl Flick, AICP, (American Institute of Certified Planners) is an urban planning consultant with over 25 years of municipal & county planning experience and is the President of the Northwood Shores Neighborhood Association.

Because of his vast knowledge of planning and what goes into these projects, Carl is rarely invited to the meetings and when he is, he’s not allowed to speak with the exception of 4  board members allowed to comment at one meeting. NSNA issue is that there have been no “community meetings” where anyone can enter, take part, speak and fully express themselves. Every lie told, Carl is able to offer proof of the mis-information given to residents. Carl attended the Zoom meeting and was not called on for his opinion, but 3 people in favor of the project were. That’s called “stacking the deck.” Planning staff is still planning to allow 300-350 foot towers, among the highest buildings in Palm Beach County to be built in a residential neighborhood.

Carl Flick will tell the remainder of the story below and readers will understand why Carl is not welcome at meetings. A little bird told me developer Jeff Greene has requested a meeting with 3 of the 8 board members and Carl Flick was not to be one of the invitees.

“Sharing what Northwood Shores gave to Planning staff on Wednesday, September 8, 2021 This was our negotiating plank.
Planning staff cherry-picked the minor stuff and failed to effective address the height issue.
We start again.
Carl

Northwood Shores Neighborhood Association
Committee discussion on Currie Corridor Mixed-Use Zoning District (CMUD), West Palm Beach
Monday, September 6, 2021
NSNA’s offers these key points to improve the City’s proposal for changes to CMUD zoning district.

1. The city has offered to reduce the previously suggested 397 foot maximum building height for developer Jeff Greene’s Core I sub district. The NSNA selected option #2 which sets the maximum height at 267 feet (23 stories at “13 foot floor plates”).

2. The limiting time frame for building should be reduced from the suggested 5 years down to 3 years. After this time, if no development is begun by permitting (need specific wording), then CMUD for developers and landowners enjoying more allowances must revert back to the 2014 CMUD regulations.

3. Move the highest building heights within Core District 1 – from south of 26th Street to south of 23rd Street. This will reduce negative impacts on the adjacent single family residential neighborhood of Northwood Shores.

4. Any reorganization of Joel Daves Park should result in no net loss of park square footage. The park can be narrowed and lengthened east to west (in conjunction with the extension of Northwood Road), but if it is reshaped, then its original size total must be maintained.

5. The incentives should be significantly strengthened. If developer Jeff Greene wants to take advantage of securing more height via CMUD’s incentives, then three important base incentives should be first required. The incentive addressing attainable or affordable housing should become required incentive number 1. Further the attainable housing incentive should require that affordable units be built within CMUD only and there should be no opt-out payment in lieu of building. Required incentive number 2 should be the extension of Northwood Road. Required incentive number 3 should be the inclusion of urban-street level activity. At a minimum, implement CMUD’s urban mixed-use village along the extension of Northwood Road and along North Flagler Drive.

6. Return to CMUD’s prior strength of employing urban building liners of 3-4 stories along streets, with higher building portions set back and hidden from the pedestrian street level.

7. Hold a real community meeting so that everyone can comment on the proposed changes to CMUD. At the conclusion of its July 20, 2021 meeting, the West Palm Beach Planning Board directed Planning staff to: 1) hold one or more community meetings with the surrounding residents and obtain meaningful input; 2) meet with overlooked CMUD property owners; 3) re-engage with developer Jeff Greene; 4) make the list of incentives more powerful and beneficial to the City; and 5) carry out a “massing study” so that professionals and lay individuals alike can see how each proposal for additional height will actually appear from the street level.

The NSNA anticipates that Planning staff will fulfill the Planning Board’s directives. The NSNA continues to request that City staff hold a bona fide community meeting where residents can freely comment on the Planning staff’s proposal to revise CMUD. According to email written by Armando Fana of the City, the August 31, 2021 and September 9, 2021 meetings are not “community meetings”. They are “stakeholder meetings”, which are by invitation only. Planning staff selected participants based on prestated support and has barred those who questioned the City Planning staff’s proposal.”

If Mr. Fana, Assistant City Manager, Richard (Ric) Greene, head of Development Services, not to be confused with Jeff Greene, the project’s developer had a quarter of Carl Flick’s knowledge, the City of WPB would be better off.

The end, more to come

 

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