Nov. 2022 Multiple Shootings In WPB

Below you will read excerpts from reported stories by TV Channels 29 (WFLX), 25(WPBF), 5 (WPTV) and Channel 12(WPEC) concerning multiple shootings in WPB in Nov. 2022. I have included the links if readers wish to read the entire story. You will find two stories by Channel 12 and the story published 11/18/2022 Reporter Al Pefley traveled to the area to interview residents living in the crime infested area for their opinions, and I urge readers to read the interviews.

One of the shootings included a WPB Police Officer and an armed suspect in the area where the first 2 shootings took place. I don’t know if the cop was a male or female, black or white, and I don’t care. The armed suspect was reported as a male, and again I don’t know if he was black or white nor do I care. What I do care about is one of them went home that night and one was admitted to the hospital. I’m happy the cop went home to his family.

What you will not read are stories by the PB Post, simply because none were written on the multiple shootings. WHY? In my opinion the Post will once again endorse Mayor James for re-election and Nov. was a bad month for the mayor so deceiving your readership to promote their agenda, which is re-electing James is necessary. What the PB Post does publish is the PB Post Homicide Tracker and can be found at the end of the story. I broke it down for readers and here are the figures since James was sworn in April 4, 2019.

Murders in 2019 (12), 2020 (15) including a 1 year old baby, 2021 (23), and 2022 (17) which included another listed as Baby Kaleb 1 year old and the year isn’t over.

Nov. 14, 2022 WFLX Channel 29      3 injured in 3 separate shootings in West Palm Beach.

Law enforcement agencies are investigating three shootings that injured three people near downtown West Palm Beach Monday afternoon, including an 8-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy. The third shooting involved a West Palm Beach police officer.
The first shooting occurred just before 3:30 p.m. in the 900 block of Fifth Street off Tamarind Avenue. That’s where he says a 17-year-old male was shot, and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Shortly after, at 3:38 p.m., the police department got another report of shots fired at the intersection of 13th Street and Tamarind Avenue, near the Kareem’s Food Mart convenience store. that’s where the 8-year-old girl was shot. Her injuries were also not life-threatening. The third shooting happened at 3:43 p.m. at the intersection of 15th Street and Windsor Avenue, a few blocks away from the second shooting. A West Palm Beach police officer was forced to fire at what he called “a violent 22-year-old male armed with a gun.”

https://www.wflx.com/2022/11/14/3-injured-3-separate-shootings-west-palm-beach/

Nov 18, 2022 WPBF channel 25    Man injured in West Palm Beach after string of shootings in less than a week
A man was shot Thursday evening in West Palm Beach, officials say. This comes after multiple shootings in Palm Beach County this week, including a man being wounded in a police shooting, and two separate but connected incidents where minors were shot. One of them was 8 years old. West Palm Beach police said the Thursday night shooting happened on 14th Street and Division Avenue. The victim is an adult male. There is no word on his status at this time.

https://www.wpbf.com/article/florida-west-palm-beach-man-shot-string-shootings-this-week/41999695

Nov. 16,2022 WPTV channel 5          3 shootings less than a mile apart.

Reverend Benjamin Carrol of Greater Antioch Missionary Baptist Church said it’s obvious what’s triggering the recent rash of shootings.
“You’ve got poverty, you’ve got joblessness coupled with, not to sound preachy, but hopelessness,” he said. What he strives to do with his church is outreach connecting with kids who are in need of guidance. “I tell the congregation our responsibility is to be involved, be in that mix with them,” he said.

https://www.wptv.com/news/region-c-palm-beach-county/west-palm-beach/community-looking-for-answers-from-recent-rash-of-shootings

Nov.17,2022 WPEC Chanel 12 Man shot in West Palm Beach, 8th shooting of the week. The West Palm Beach Police Department responded to a shooting on Thursday night. Officers said at 8 p.m. an adult man was shot at 14th Street and Division Avenue.

https://cbs12.com/news/local/man-shot-in-west-palm-beach-police-department-8th-shooting-of-the-week-november-17-2022

Nov. 18,2022 WPEC Chanel 12 Police looking for help from public to solve shootings in West Palm Beach.
“West Palm Beach Police are investigating another shooting. The eighth one this week. The most recent shooting happened Thursday night and police have no information on whether it’s connected to Monday’s violence. But detectives hope someone in the area will come forward with a tip that could lead to an arrest.
“All I know is I hear something say pop, pop, pop, pop. And my grandson say, my great-grandson say grandmama! That’s gunshots. I say sure enough is,” said Johnnie Mae-Wilkerson, a West Palm Beach resident. She heard several gunshots Thursday night at 14th Street and Division Avenue in West Palm Beach, while she was inside her home watching TV. Police say a 37-year-old man was standing by his car when he was shot about 8:30 p.m. Thursday night. He’s hospitalized in critical condition.
“This neighborhood used to be a peaceful and nice neighborhood and now it’s goin’ to pieces and it’s sad,” said a woman who lives near the scene of Thursday night’s shooting. She did not want to be identified.
Police officials are urging people to come forward with information so they can solve these crimes.
But locals, including the woman who asked not to identified, say many people don’t want to talk to police officers. “I just think they just don’t want to say anything. They want to mind their own business,” she explained,” she said.
“You would say most people here are reluctant to help the police?” we asked Roger Jeffers, who lives near the scene of Thursday night’s shooting. “I would say that they’re not going to. They don’t like what’s going on but what are you gonna do?” said Roger Jeffers, another resident.

“People don’t say anything because they’re afraid, they’re afraid of retaliations,” said Chris Edwards, another West Palm Beach resident.

One example of just how little help law enforcement can expect in this area — last April a 16-month-old child was hit and killed by a stray bullet while he was sitting in the backseat of his parents’ car not far from where the shootings this week happened.

“Do you think people around here are willing to help the police or talk to the police to try to solve these shootings?” we asked a resident who would only give his first name, Jay. “I don’t think so. Why not? Because you know people don’t want to be involved in anything. They don’t want to be involved in any other situations that don’t really involve them,” Jay said.

But either way, as far as finding out who’s doing these shootings, police seem to be on their own.”

The police will never solve these crimes without the help of residents, and residents will never have peace without the help of the police. They must work together, but when residents are afraid of retaliation from criminals where’s the answer?

https://cbs12.com/news/local/police-looking-for-help-from-public-to-solve-shootings-in-west-palm-beach-november-18-2022

PB Post Homicide Tracker below.
https://apps.palmbeachpost.com/homicides/

Happy Thanksgiving to All

The end!

Rodney Mayo files to run against WPB Mayor Keith James

When it was announced that Rodney Mayo has qualified to challenge Keith James for Mayor of WPB I was overwhelmed with multiple texts and emails asking who is Rodney Mayo?

I met Mr. Mayo years ago, and was impressed by his openness and candor, he’s been an activist for the downtown business owners and residents, he has challenged Mayor James on many issues and policies, and has been punished by James for his opinion.

I wrote stories on Mr. Mayo and readers will be reminded if they take the time to read the story below titled “Rodney Mayo A man of Compassion” published  Oct.16, 2021.

Short answer on who is Rodney Mayo? He is a man of integrity, inspires confidence, as a successful businessman he has excellent decision making skills, he is his own man, nobody owns him. An honest man who can’t be bought. Mr Mayo is everything a good Mayor should be, and will return integrity to the WPB Mayor’s office.

Below is a story written by Joe Capozzi. For those of you who don’t know him here’s his story.
Joe Capozzi is an award-winning newspaper reporter based in Lake Worth Beach, Florida. For more than 30 years at The Palm Beach Post often collaborates with another award- winning former PB Post reporter Joel Engelhardt who spent nearly 30 years with the PB Post. Two winners working together, doesn’t get better than that. Mr. Capozzi operates a local independent news website, simply called By Joe Capozzi.com. Excellent read. Save the site.  Link added below.

Below are excerpts from Mr Capozzi story. My comments in italic.

“Subculture’s Rodney Mayo files to run against West Palm Mayor Keith James”

A DAY BEFORE the filing deadline, West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James has drawn an opponent in the March election, and it’s a name he’s familiar with — Subculture Group owner Rodney Mayo.
“I am not a politician. I am here for one term, to change as much as I can and then I’m going back to coffee,’’ he said, wearing a polo shirt, shorts and sandals when he dropped off two checks for the $9,000 qualifying fee.

James’ campaign consultant, Rick Asnani of Cornerstone Solutions, said his client would welcome any legitimate challenger. But Asnani said he planned to ask election officials to look into whether Mayo is qualified under residency rules to seek office in West Palm Beach.  And there we have it. James campaign manager Rick Asnani looking for a way to disqualify Rodney Mayo who barely has his foot in the race. Mr. Asnani received Three contracts, no bidding, no City Commission approval for a total of $357,500. James was very generous with taxpayers money, and if he’s not re- elected, Asnani will surely miss him.

Mayo owns a home in Lantana, but he also owns a building at 520 Clematis Street, where he said he lives and spends most nights in an apartment above his nightclub Respectable Street. He said he has maintained a water utility connection there since 1985. He said the Clematis Street address is on his driver’s license and voter registration. If readers are interested in sending a donation to to the Rodney Mayo Campaign Account please send donation to his residence 520 Clematis St. WPB Fl. 33401.

Mayo, 59, has flirted with the idea of running for mayor off and on over the years. He said the idea of James winning a second term by default because no one would challenge him spurred him to finally throw his hat in the ring and try to clean up the West Palm Beach “political swamp.”

“I’m the anti-politician,’’ he said. “I think people are ready.’’      People are more than ready.
Mayo, who has never sought public office, said he will unveil his campaign platform in the coming week, along with a motto that might end up being “One and Done,’’ his pledge to serve only one term. If WPB residents vote in the March 14,2023 election supporting Rodney Mayo we can make it “One and Done” for Mayor James.

Mayo knows he’s facing a formidable opponent in James, a former city commissioner who has amassed a campaign war chest of more than a quarter of a million dollars. James receives many $1,000.00 contributions from developers, attorneys, businessmen, and other wealthy contributors. That tells me if re-elected James will owe many people.

Unlike James’ campaign, Mayo doesn’t want big money. He said he will only accept contributions of no more than $100 from individuals and businesses. He said he won’t accept money from political action committees or special interests. This is a breath of fresh air. The only people he will owe is the residents who had faith in his leadership, and trust him to do the right thing, and honor him with their vote.

By challenging James, Mayo said he hopes to shine a spotlight on what he and other downtown business owners see as festering problems at City Hall under a mayor Mayo has accused on social media of employing “pay-to-play politics” and bullying tactics with political opponents. Lets not forget bullying tactics with city employees, decent city workers who have been fired, after years of devotion to a city they loved, employees re-assigned and working in a hostile environment with a Mayor who wields power and instills fear in employees always wondering who will be next to lose their job.

He has been critical of downtown parking fees, noise limitations and sidewalk cafe fees.Mayo said he has no animosity toward James, even though he and the mayor have had their differences over the years. Mr. Mayo has learned how vindictive Mayor James can be when challenged. One story written on Rodney Mayo WPB Watch can be found below.

In 2020, Mayo told The Palm Beach Post that James blocked Mayo’s proposed Clematis Street drive-in theater project because Mayo and his partners didn’t contribute to James’ 2019 mayoral campaign. A meeting in June of that year between Mayo and James ended with the mayor accusing Mayo of exercising “white privilege” for expecting the city to give him whatever he asked for, according to the Post.

Mayo said he has tried to communicate with James. “He’s the one who ignores me. He refuses to answer my emails,’’ he said.
Mayo’s campaign treasurer is Kristen Dagata, the operations and events manager for Subculture Group, which oversees 17 restaurants. Although Mayo has not hired a campaign consultant, he is taking advice from former city commissioner Kimberly Mitchell, Mayo’s childhood friend.
But Mayo, who grew up in West Palm Beach, sought to dismiss any notion that, if elected, he’d be a puppet for Mitchell.

“I am not naive enough to think I can go from business to government and answer all the questions,’’ he said.“I will take whatever experience and resources that are out there.’’ Mitchell, a commissioner from 2002 to 2015, when she ran for mayor and lost to Jeri Muoio, said she has no interest in getting back into city politics. But she said will offer advice to help her longtime friend. Rodney has no political experience, and if Ms. Mitchell can help guide him through the process he would be foolish not to accept her help, and one thing he is not, is foolish.

“If that’s what some people think, then they have a fundamental misunderstanding of Rodney,’’ she said.
“Like anything I’ve ever done with him, it’s his vision and you carry it out. That’s it,” Mitchell said.
“He wants input and ideas, but when Rodney moves on anything it’s because it’s sitting inside of him. He calculates it and designs it. He’s got friends and people that he trusts and they go and execute it.’’
Mayo is like “a Joel Daves in a younger body with incredible business sense. That’s who Rodney is,’’ she said, referring to the late former West Palm Beach mayor, who served many years as a commissioner before serving as mayor.
Mitchell said she tried to talk Mayo out of running as recently as Saturday, warning him about how ugly politics can get. He wouldn’t hear of it.
“I do believe every once in a while really good people can succeed in politics,’’ she said. “This is that once in a while. This is when lightning strikes.’’  If Mayo wins, she won’t be in control, she said.
Mayo can “bring true integrity and magic back to a town that deserves it and absolutely needs it,’’ she said. “It’s never about him.’’ I totally agree with Ms. Mitchell’s opinion.
Mayo said he doesn’t own a suit. He is comfortable in shorts, sandals and T-shirts, usually ones advertising Joy Division, The Cure and other alternative bands whose music is played at Respectable Street. Mr. Mayo, please buy a suit for your swearing in ceremony as Mayor.

“Does Rodney look like a politician? Heck no,’’ said Sean Scott, who helped Mayo launch Subculture Coffee Roasters before moving to North Carolina in 2020, in part because of his discontent over West Palm Beach downtown policies.

“He’s absolutely mayor material,’’ Mitchell said. “He’s the most reluctant politician you and I will ever know.’’
Mayo’s supporters warn against underestimating Mayo’s popularity in town and at the polls. They also point to the openness of voters in current political times to cast ballots for unconventional candidates.
They ask: If former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura can become governor of Minnesota, if singer Sonny Bono became a California congressman, if comedian Al Frankel can become a U.S. senator, if a former reality TV show host can become president of the United States, why can’t the man behind Subculture Coffee become mayor of West Palm Beach?

“Rodney is an idea guy,’’ said Scott, who flirted briefly, at Mayo’s urging, with a run for mayor a few years ago before backing out.
“He really cares about the city and he wants to get things done. If he has the right team in place, I think he will be a powerful voice whether he wins or not.’’ Read the entire story below for more information.

https://www.byjoecapozzi.com/post/subculture-owner-rodney-mayo-files-to-run-against-west-palm-beach-mayor-keith-james

WPB Watch published a story on Oct. 16, 2021 titled Rodney Mayo A man of Compassion and I urge readers to read the story and get to know the real man.

https://wpbwatch.com/2021/10/rodney-mayo-a-man-of-compassion/

Was ready to publish when I received Rodney’s website mayo4mayor. His website also has integrity, he put his promises in writing.

http://mayo4mayor.com/index.html

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Brightline & Positive Train Control

What I have learned about Brightline death train was witnessed by me while traveling Banyan Blvd. heading for City Hall. A few years ago the traffic light turned from green to red, bells rang, lights flashed and the crossing gate came down followed by the Brightline train. I can honestly tell readers I was shocked and frightened by the train’s speed.

The train passed, the crossing gate was raised, the traffic light turned green and people were off traveling over the tracks when the traffic light turned yellow then red. STOP! People trying to make the light stopped at the red light leaving cars behind them sitting firmly on the rail tracks. Foolish, foolish, foolish, but does not deserve the death penalty.

If you repeat a lie enough times it becomes a fact. Brightline claims people stand on the tracks to commit suicide. I don’t by it. If someone is depressed enough to want to end their lives there are easier ways to do it than standing on railroad tracks waiting for a train traveling at 80 miles an hour, and unable to stop.

Lets examine walking to your destination. Your walking when suddenly the crossing gates come down in front and behind you. Your standing between the two when you hear a train barreling down the tracks and your in the way. If your young and in good health you may manage to cheat death. If your my age good chances are you meet your maker, ready or not.

Brightline is testing runs from Cocoa to Orlando where trains will travel at 125 MPH. If people are not safe with speeds of 80 MPH what chance do they have at 125 MPH?

Why the speed? Common sense tells us the faster they travel, the more trips they make equals more money. Greed can’t see the blood left on the tracks.

It’s time for City, County and State leaders to step up and say enough is enough. You can’t speed through my City, County or State. Time for politicians to stop telling us they love us and start showing us.
Below are excerpts from stories written be media and I have enclosed the link if you care to have more information. The dates are important to the story, along with important facts concerning PTC (Positive Train Control.) If underlined please pay close attention.

WPTV Channel 5  12/19/2017

“Brightline plans to install Positive Train Control technology that could have prevented Amtrak crash. Amtrak confirms that technology could have prevented this derailment in Washington State was installed, but not active when the train left the tracks and crashed down on interstate five.
Positive Train Control slows down a train automatically when going too fast. This train was traveling at 80 miles an hour in a 30 mile-per-hour zone.

When Brightline launches its high speed service to Fort Lauderdale and Miami in a matter of days, those trains will not have positive train control either. Safety and speed are two reasons why leaders on the Treasure Coast oppose extending Brightline to Cape Canaveral, and then to Orlando.

Brightline plans to install Positive Train Control before Congress’ 2018 deadline, but in Martin County engineers worry that if that deadline gets extended that trains that one day travel through the Treasure Coast will not have the important technology.”

https://www.wptv.com/news/region-martin-county/brightline-plans-to-install-positive-train-control-technology-that-could-have-prevented-amtrak-crash

Treasure Coast Palm     May 7, 2018

“Clock ticking to install safety improvements for Brightline trains. The speedy Brightline trains will present a unique hazard when they begin zipping through Treasure Coast communities. But unless Florida East Coast Railway gets its act together, the fast trains could be even more perilous.

By the end of the year, Florida East Coast Railway — which owns and operates tracks between Miami and Jacksonville, including the main corridor through our region — is supposed to install important safety upgrades known as “positive train control.” The technology, which uses GPS and other technologies to monitor train positions, can automatically slow or stop trains to prevent collisions. A 2015 congressional order instructed Florida East Coast and 40 other railroads to implement PTC by Dec. 31, 2018.

As of the last quarter of 2017 — the most recently available report — Florida East Coast reported that none of 69 trains had received PTC upgrades; no PTC track improvements had been completed; and only 24 of 347 employees had received PTC training.

By the end of the year, Florida East Coast Railway — which owns and operates tracks between Miami and Jacksonville, including the main corridor through our region — is supposed to install important safety upgrades known as “positive train control.”

https://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/editorials/2018/05/07/clock-ticking-install-safety-improvements-brightline-trains/585793002/

Florida Politics Feb. 24,2022  “Higher-speed train safety on agenda of Florida officials Brightline has had 58 deaths including 3 in past 10 days. Representatives of South Florida’s higher-speed railroad, other train lines and local governments met with federal safety officials Wednesday to begin working out plans that they hope will decrease the number of fatal collisions between locomotives, cars and pedestrians. Brightline has had 58 deaths since it began operations in 2017, including three in the past 10 days, giving it the nation’s worst fatality rate per mile, according to an ongoing Associated Press analysis that began in 2019.

Other Florida railroads are not far behind. None of the deaths have been found to be the fault of Florida’s railroads or their crews, but that doesn’t mean the rail lines and federal, state and local governments can’t find mitigation strategies that work, said James Payne, who oversees the agency’s grade-crossing safety program. South Florida’s commuter service Tri-Rail has the 13th-worst fatality rate and the Florida East Coast freight line is 15th-worst out of more than 800 U.S. railroads, according to the AP analysis. Most of the fatal accidents have been caused by drivers going around crossing gates, pedestrians trying to beat trains and suicides.”

https://floridapolitics.com/archives/500251-higher-speed-train-safety-on-agenda-of-florida-officials/

Chanel 5 WPTV Oct. 12, 2022 “Driver dies after freight train hits vehicle in downtown West Palm Beach. A  76-year-old woman has died after her vehicle was hit by a freight train Wednesday in West Palm Beach. The crash occurred shortly before 5:30 p.m. at the railroad crossing along Quadrille Boulevard and Fern Street. West Palm Beach police said the driver, a woman in her 60s, was extricated from the vehicle and rushed to a hospital in “very critical condition,” where she later died. The crash occurred shortly before 5:30 p.m. at the railroad crossing along Quadrille Boulevard and Fern Street. Witnesses said several ambulances were at the scene. One person described the incident saying the train “plowed into a car.”

https://www.wptv.com/news/region-c-palm-beach-county/west-palm-beach/downtown-freight-train-crash-10-12-22

Please let this be the last death caused by speeding trains. May God hold her in the palm of His hand, and her family and friends find peace in the aftermath of her tragic death. Speed kills! Stop the insanity!
The end

Taxation by Citation

It appears Florida turned out to vote in the mid-term elections for Governor, US Congress, US Senator, Attorney General, Florida Chief Financial Officer among others.

WPB residents will once again go to the polls in March 2023 to vote for a Mayor and two City Commissioners.

One of the smartest men I ever met, I called him dad, was an avid reader and followed politics with a passion. Something happened in the city I grew up in and my parents, along with many others were outraged by a decision/policy made by city officials. One statement my dad made was if you’re going into politics and you screw up do it at the beginning of your term because the public has a short memory. I believed him, and still do.

So your street floods, has potholes, fees and taxes are rising, people struggle to pay their utility bill, over development, people can’t find affordable homes to buy or apartments to rent, gridlock driving and crime is up to name a few problems facing WPB. Who do you turn to for help? Certainly not the Governor or the other four mentioned above. You turn to elected city leaders. Hence the problem.

The four years Mayor Keith James has been in office, in my opinion, he has made decisions that have hurt residents and businesses alike. The story below concerns changes made to the city’s parking structure and I realize it’s “old news” but I ask readers to take the time to review the information taken from the city website and I hope readers become upset as we did when it first made the news. The City website does not mention that before this new administration on-street parking on Sundays and holidays was free, now you pay. They doubled the fee and set a two hour limit on parking. When asked, James said it was to keep traffic moving. When asked, Sandy said he found a new and more expensive way to reach into your pockets.

Below is information from the city, any comments or opinions by me are in italics, and if underlined a word or two it’s to bring to your attention.

Parking Locations:

“Terms of Use: This data is provided for reference only. Any reliance on the information contained herein is at the user’s own risk.”     That sentence from the city website, are they telling us we can’t rely on information the city supplies. We use it at our own risk?

With more than 3,600 parking spaces, City of West Palm Beach Parking Services has plenty of parking options to offer you the convenience, affordability and safety to enjoy your visit.

Metered Spaces:
About 1,500 on-street metered parking spaces are offered throughout the downtown in the area between Clearwater Drive and Flagler Drive, and Eucalyptus Street and Okeechobee Boulevard! The meters are solar powered ‘smart meters.’ The rates are determined by parking demand in three zones, A, B, and C.

Rates & Payment:    

Garage Rates:
$1.00 for the first two hours, $2 for each additional ½ hour
Maximum daily rate: $20.00
Saturdays & Sundays (excluding special events): $5.00 all day
Holidays (excluding special events): $5.00 all day
Special event rates: Up to $40.00

Monthly parking permit with 24/7 access (Check for garage availability): $100.00 plus tax

Downtown residential parking permit (Not offered in City Center Garage, Proof of residency required): $80.00 plus tax.

Metered Rates:  Parking rates at meters vary between $1.00 and $2.50 per hour, depending on location.

High demand, on-street meters in Zone A: $2.50 per hour (2-hour maximum).

Additional on-street meters in Zone B: $1.50 per hour (4-hour maximum).
Additional on-street meters in Zone C: $1.00 per hour (6-hour maximum).

Parking Permits: The City of West Palm Beach offers monthly garage, lot and on-street parking permits for purchase:

Garages:      
Residential Parking Permits: $80.00 plus tax (City garage permits for West Palm Beach residents who do not have parking at their facility)

General Parking Permits: $100.00 plus tax (City garage permits for the general public, but excluding residents who do not have parking at their facility)
Discount for Hospitality Workers: $50.00 plus tax (Businesses that employ hospitality workers may purchase monthly garage parking permits on a space available basis, at a discount of 50% of the market rate, for eligible employees with proof of employment as a hospitality worker.

Off-Street Parking Lot Permits: $50.00 plus tax (Monthly permits available to the public for parking in the following parking lots: Palm Beach Post Centennial Park Lot, Howard Park Lot, and Fishing Club Lot).
On-Street Parking Permits: Purchase and renew your On-Street Parking Permit with our Online Permit Management System.

Permit Locations and Availability:
Location Available                         In Use                                  Waiting List
400 Block of Gardenia St.                7                                                  14
Okeechobee Lot                                 55                                                  4

Above shows two locations Gardenia and Okeechobee. It appears the city did did not allow enough spaces for Hospitality Workers. So when their shift is over, been on their feet for hours, it’s dark out, how far must they travel to retrieve their cars?

Citations & Fines: The City of West Palm Beach Parking Administration offers four options to pay your citation.
Online: Click here for the Parking Citation Payment Portal. If your citation is over 35 days old or if you have more than 3 citations, contact Parking Services for assistance at (561) 822-1500.
By Mail: Pay the amount due and make full payment by mail. Send check or money order made payable to the City of West Palm beach with your ticket. Do not send cash. Send to: City of West Palm Beach Parking Services, P.O. Box 31240, Tampa, FL 33631-3240.
By Phone: Call (561) 822-1500 In Person:

Fines:
Expired Meter: $35.50
2nd Offense within 6 months: $75.00
3rd Offense within 1 year: $150.00
Non-Moving Violations: $60.00
2nd Offense within 6 months: $75.00
3rd Offense within 1 year: $150.00
Disabled Parking: $250.00
Stopping, Standing and Parking in Restricted Areas: $75.00
Truck Parking Violation $150.00
Late Fees: $25.00
Immobilization Fee: $50.00

Google explains  “Vehicle immobilization is something the police use to stop a vehicle from moving. Police officers have the power to immobilize your vehicle when they stop you. They also have the power to move the vehicle, or tell you to move it so they can fit an immobilization device.”

Crossing Guard Surcharge (added to each citation): $3.00         Is this even legal?

Appeal A Parking Citation:

“To request an appeal hearing for a traffic citation issued by the City of West Palm Beach, you must do so within fourteen (14) calendar days.”
The City has 8 steps to be taken if you wish to appeal a parking citation.

Important Information:
Do not pay your fine at this time if you are appealing it (you will be required to pay the court later if the citation is upheld).
You waive the right to pay the current amount of the civil fee (parking fine) to the City of West Palm Beach when the citation is forwarded to the Clerk of Circuit Court.
If the citation is upheld, it may be subject to additional fees and costs.
Only those appeals filed correctly, and written within the time allowed will be processed.
Postal delays or electronic equipment failures will not be considered a valid excuse for an untimely appeal request
https://www.wpb.org/government/parking-administration

“Cities and towns nationwide use their power to enforce traffic, property code and other ordinances to raise revenue rather than solely to protect the public. And, as this report finds, a wide range of state laws may enable or even encourage such taxation by citation.”
https://ij.org/report/municipal-fines-and-fees/

The end

 

Mayor James 2nd. Attempt To Change FCOE Outcome!

July 29, 2020   State of Florida Commission on Ethics. James decision.  See below page 3

“The Commission rejected the recommendation of its Advocate and found probable cause to believe West Palm Beach Mayor KEITH JAMES misused his position to urge the award of a no-bid security contract to a company operated by one of his friends.”

FCOE James 7-29-2020

July 31, 2020  PB Post:  Below is an excerpt from the PB Post. Entire story below.

“State ethics panel finds West Palm Mayor James possibly at fault in no-bid deal

The Florida Commission on Ethics, rejecting its investigator’s recommendation, found probable cause that Mayor Keith James “misused his position to urge the award of a no-bid security contract to a company operated by one of his friends.”

The decision is not a finding of guilt but it means the commission found the case merited further review,  trial before an administrative judge or settlement talks with the board.

No additional action along those lines has been scheduled yet, said C. Christopher Anderson III, executive director and general counsel of the commission. If James is found to have violated state ethics law, he could face fines of as much as $10,000 per violation or removal from office.

The West Palm Beach case arose after the award of a $7.9 million citywide security guard contract last September to Professional Security Consultants without competitive bidding. The Palm Beach Post reported that James and other city officials socialized with Willie Perez, the firm’s regional director.”

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/local/2020/07/31/state-ethics-panel-finds-west-palm-mayor-james-possibly-at-fault-in-no-bid-deal/42000069/

April 22, 2022   STATE OF FLORIDA COMMISSION ON ETHICS

PUBLIC SESSION AGENDA           James  Page 2
CONSIDERATION OF COMPLAINT DISMISSAL
A. Complaint No. 19-180GPS/RGM
In re KEITH JAMES (WEST PALM BEACH)
Elizabeth A. Miller (Advocate)    Ms. Miller is an attorney who works for the State of Florida Commission on Ethics and investigated the complaint, and found no probable cause to investigate.
Atty. Ron Meyer (R)         Ron Meyer represents Mayor Keith James
Adam Giddens (C)           Mr. Giddens is the complainant   (Giddens Security)

FCOE Agenda 4-22-2022

April 22 2022  Florida Commission on Ethics     Video runs 2:09:41

James case begins @ 9:43 and finishes @ 57:29. James attorney, Ron Meyer speaks to the Commission from 48:42 to 53:24. Commissioners end the James case @ 57:24. If you view the video you will hear the term DOAH which is a acronym for Division of Administrative Hearings. According to Google

(“DOAH is a state agency that employs full-time Administrative Law Judges to conduct hearings in most cases in which the substantial interests of a person are determined by an agency and which involve a disputed issue of material fact.”)

Motion to Dismiss: Commission found Probable Cause to investigate.
Mayor Keith James case goes quickly when enough Commissioners finds Probable Cause to continue the investigation. Other Commissioners disagreed and a conversation begins with Commissioners attempting to change the minds of Commissioners who voted they found probable cause. The meeting ended with Mr. Meyer addressing the Commissioners, and no minds were changed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzHNL9uY6ok 

My concern is how Mr. Meyer is paid for his service defending Mayor Keith James. I can think of 3 possibilities. Mayor James is paying his own way, the taxpayer is footing the bill or it’s paid out of James re-election campaign.

The good news is the lawsuit against James is tentatively scheduled for the end of November 2022. I’ll keep readers posted.
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The Last Straw?

When you received your water bill in Oct. 2022 you also received an insert which reads.

Single – Use Plastic Straw Ban. If it’s underlined it’s to draw readers attention to what I consider important.

WPB is taking action: Ordinance 4836-19 is in effect

“As part of the City’s effort to reduce plastic litter, beautify our community, protect native fauna, and lessen the economic impact of litter abatement, the sale, use and distribution of single-use plastic straws and stirrers in the City of West Palm Beach is prohibited. Do your part to help – kindly remind businesses that these items are not allowed in our city. Violations are considered Class 111 and may incur $125 fine per occurence .{SIC} Our goal is not to collect fines, but to keep plastic out of the environment. For more info or to report a violation, please email Sustainability@wpb,org. Visit wpb.org/plasticfree to find a guide to the ordinance along with recommended and allowed alternatives.”

The city wants you to report violators. When I read that my mind went straight to a city employee named Jason McCarty, a city employee who was deputy chief of information technology and was fired in 2021 for smoking marijuana — even though he been authorized by his doctor to use it legally for medical reasons.

McCarty, a 50-year-old father of two was tested last month after two employees from the city’s risk management department thought he acted suspiciously as he walked past them during lunch, claimed to smell pot near his car and reported him.

McCarty denies smoking pot at work. He had held his job for five years and had a spotless record, but the city has a strict policy against marijuana use, even when used legally and outside working hours.

In 2019, the city revised page 13 of its 15-page employee drug-use policy to read, “The use of marijuana by city employees, including medical marijuana, with or without a prescription, is prohibited.” A prescription is not accepted as a valid explanation for an employee’s positive drug test result.
The policy also says any employee who reasonably suspects a co-worker of illegal drug use and doesn’t report it can be fired.

So the city wants me to report if McDonald or Wendy’s uses plastic straws when I order a soda, city employees who don’t report a co-workers can be fired. Wasn’t that a one time requirement in Nazi Germany?

Of course it’s about the $125 fine, along with doubling parking fees, raising fees for outside dining.

If you believe City employees, and I do, they are working under hostile working conditions and many employees endure the offensive conduct as it becomes a condition of keeping their job. People have difficulty trusting each other and work in an environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile or abusive.

If the city wants to keep plastic straws and bottles out of the environment go to Tallahassee and ask that plastic bottles in Fla, have a return policy. Simply done?
Buy a case of water with 24 bottles, and pay a one time deposit of $.05. 24X5 = $1.20. Return the bottle to the store and receive $1.20 in return.

You will not find anyone walking down the street or along the ocean tossing nickles around, especially in these times when administration is raising fees. Next will be a cover charge to attend City Commission Meetings.
Halloween coming, please remind children NOT to eat their treats until parents inspect the candy. Bad people out there. Keep kids safe. Read channel 5 story below
https://www.wptv.com/news/region-c-palm-beach-county/west-palm-beach/west-palm-beach-fires-employee-over-legal-medical-marijuana-use

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WPB Loses Two More Valuable Employees!

More fallout from the Sunset Lounge, this time the City has lost two valuable employees,WPB Procurement Official Paul Bassar, and Kathleen Walter, Communication Director.

Keith James was sworn in as Mayor in 2019 and Frank Hayden was the City Procurement Officer for many years until he was re-assigned to the Office of Economic Opportunity.

James & Johnson then hired Nathaniel Rubel and shortly after Paul Bassar. In three years the City has had three Procurement Officers, now looking for a forth. An employee who wishes to remain anonymous mentioned “they were pushing Paul to do something with those bids he didn’t want to do so he just resigned and from what I understand went back to work for the Federal Government.”

Who is Paul Bassar.? Obviously a man of integrity.

Education:
University of South Carolina Bachelor’s degree: Interdisciplinary Study.

Strayer University: Master’s Degree: Public Administration.

“Paul Bassar As a Senior Procurement Analyst my primary responsibility is to provide customer service in the area of contract administration (both pre-award and post-award) and day-to-day guidance, both written and oral, to a wide variety of senior leaders, managers, team leaders, and users throughout Consular Affairs.”

Aug. 3, 2022 A letter sent to Mr. Ben Bush, Co- Owner of Mad Room Hospitality, LLC from WPB Procurement Official Paul Bassar.

“It has been brought to my attention that Mad Room Hospitality, LLC, violated the terms and conditions of the RFP and the City Code of Ordinances by contact with the Mayor and a City Commissioner.”

The Mayor being Keith James, and Commissioner Peduzzi.

The story was written by Terry Parker, Investigative Reporter for channel 25 (WPBF) after Vita attorney Malcolm Cunningham obtained emails from Mad Room to James and Peduzzi, thanking them for their support; which Cunningham pointed out was also a violation of the city code prohibiting any contact until the contract was executed. Parker’s story can be read below, and if you are interested in reading the the emails between the parties which WPBF has included please click on the link “Read the letter here:”

https://www.wpbf.com/article/second-firm-sunset-lounge-bid-disqualified-lobbying-west-palm-beach-mayor/40863190#

 

Who is Kathleen Walter? In my opinion a woman who has been there, done that, and can’t do it and longer.

Kathleen Walter hired by Mayor Jeri Muoio in Dec. 2016 as the Cities Communication Director.

Below is an excerpt from the PB Post, and the entire story can be read below.

“West Palm Beach has named WPEC Channel 12 reporter Kathleen Walter as the city’s new communications director.

Walter, a Smith College graduate, also worked for WPTV, WPBF and News Max, and served as public relations director for Hospice of Palm Beach County and communications director for the Dori Saves Lives Foundation.

She earned a bachelor’s in English from Smith College, and graduated magna cum laude from Florida Atlantic University with a master’s in political science.

Walter’s bio on the WPEC website lists her as an investigative reporter, anchor and political analyst who has interviewed heads of state, including Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, as well as legislators and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney.”

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/2016/12/25/mayor-picks-tv-reporter-kathleen/6985542007/

I sincerely wish Mr. Bassar and Ms.Walter the best life has to offer in moving forward with their lives.

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Sunset Lounge Open House

The event was held on Saturday 10-8-2022 @ 11:00 AM and there were to be 2 showings.

A presentation by Dr. Alisha Winn on “Historical background” and she spoke on the “Styx” when people of color lived on the island of Palm Beach and what became of them. A story on the Styx can be found at the end of the story and draw your own conclusions as to which version is believable those of African Americans or the Palm Beach Historical Society’s version.

Looking around an elderly gentleman caught my attention by the name of Arthur L. Freemon, who walked with the aid of a walker, and he was on the dance floor swaying with music only he could hear and a serene smile on his lips. I made it a point to introduce myself and we spoke for a while. I asked if he attended the Lounge when it was opened and he shared a story with me and gave permission for me to share with readers. His story.
Mr. Freemon was in the service and on some type of training mission when the day was over some of his friends were planning a trip to the Sunset Lounge to unwind and invited him to go. He declined saying he was tired and just wanted to go home. His friends insisted, and he again declined the invitation and went home.
He was home for a short time when a knock on his door found his friends outside asking him to join them saying don’t make us come in and take you out by force. He relented and joined them for a trip to the Lounge. My next question was “did you have a good time?” He responded “it was the best night of my life, I met my future wife that night, and we danced the night away, and that was 47 years ago.” The Sunset lounge held good memories for Mr. Freemon and he was excited it was about to be reopened.

The picture above shows the 2nd. floor where diners ate while watching the dancers below them and the space under the 2 centered windows is where the band set up.

Happy residents at the Open House checking out the dance floor. Double click pictures to enlarge.

 

Jade Jarvis, Anchor/Reporter for Channel 25 (WPBF) has written a story concerning the City’s Open House for the Sunset Lounge and reads in part:
Saturday, community members in West Palm Beach got their first look at the renovations inside the historic Sunset Lounge since they started back in 2019.

The project is several years in the making and officials said there’s still a ways to go before it can open its doors officially.

“It’s been a long time in the making, but this is a location that wasn’t just a music venue. And it wasn’t just a lounge. It was really a place that meant so much to the community and was a place that gave people a sense of purpose and place,” Christy Fox, a West Palm Beach city commissioner, said.

The entire story is below and when you open the link you will find 2 more links and I encourage readers to take the time to read Previous Coverage on “Judge orders West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James to give deposition in Sunset Lounge lawsuit” and “Vita Lounge LLC files lawsuit against West Palm Beach for disqualifying it from running historic Sunset Lounge”
https://www.wpbf.com/article/community-members-invited-inside-sunset-lounge-for-sneak-peek/41565457

Below is a story on the Styx and includes quotes from former City Commissioner Richard Ryles, Everee Jimerson Clarke and Derrick McCray. Clark and McCray are decedents from folks who lived in the Styx.
https://cbs12.com/news/local/the-folklore-surrounding-the-styx-of-palm-beach

“Officials said construction project fees estimate to be $16 million.”

As hard as I tried I couldn’t see where 16 Million was spent and it’s reassuring to me that  the City’s Internal Auditor is continuing to audit the project.

The Sunset Lounge is extremely important to the African American community and the City needs to step up and do the right thing by finishing the project so older residents can stroll down memory lane as they did Saturday and the young  can began making their memories.
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Coffee With A Cop 10/5/2022

The event was held at the new Salento Coffee Shop (formerly Dunkin Donuts) in the City Hall Courtyard. I noticed colorful chairs and tables outside and hope they are there to stay.

City Commissioners made an appearance along side the Police Officers and talked to residents who voiced concerns, and thanked them for their service. They were there to listen and listen they did. The event was a success with approximately 100 residents coming and going.

 

The highlight for me was meeting an old friend “Moose”

Moose, a Bloodhound, was donated to the WPB Police Dept. when he was 3 months old and I remember thinking at the time will he ever grow into his large ears, nose and feet? He did! Moose and his “mom” Officer Jen Hardiman entertained many visitors who wanted to pat him and ask questions. Moose goes home every evening with Jen and helps locate kids and senior citizens who wander away from home, and there have been success stories. Moose got thirsty and bent down to get a drink of water when I noticed his ears floating in the water and started laughing when Mom Jen pulled out a towel and started wiping his ears and face. They make great partners and Jen keeps in shape walking him. Moose showed me his best side (profile) and my apologies for chopping off Jen’s head. I should not be allowed to use a camera—–ever. Double click to enlarge pictures.

I met some nice residents and one woman by the name of Shannon Hunihan was introduced to me and she is the Chief Marketing Officer for Mint ECO Car Wash and the company washes the Police Cars for free. No charge, obviously a supporter of our first responders. We had a conversation and she told me the great deal offered to all with a dirty car. I will take advantage of a good deal and will share with readers they have 3 locations listed below along with monthly deals.

Southern Blvd & Dixie HWY   316 Southern Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL.
Okeechobee & FL-Turnpike West     1950 Golden Lakes Blvd, West Palm Beach,
Indiantown & I-95     220 Maplewood Drive, Jupiter, FL.

I included their website for convenience and there are great values to be had, such as:
Shine Package Plus $35.00/month   unlimited trips to the car wash.
Shine Package $30.00/month           unlimited trips to the car wash.
Clean $20.00/month                           unlimited trips to the car wash.
If you bring your car in 10 times a month, they will wash it, no additional charge.
https://www.mintecocarwash.com/

Speaking of cars, my only disappointment with the event was being able to park on Clematis street near the event. The City has removed many metered and handicapped parking spaces and what is left is hard to come by. There was a Police car and a WPB city van parked in metered spaces along with undercover police cars. I complained so lets see what happens.

 

 

 

 

 

If you have been following the stories on the Sunset Lounge the City is having an open house.

Historic Northwest Community Meeting & Sunset Lounge Open House

Historic Northwest Community Meeting & Sunset Lounge Open House
Date: 10/08/2022   11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: Sunset Lounge
609 8th Street West Palm Beach, Florida 33401

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Mayor Keith James Court Ordered To Give Depositio

Two TV stations WPBF 25 and WPTV 5 News have recently reported stories on the problem the City is having finding a company to run the newly refurbished Sunset Lounge, and both stories are included. Below you will find excerpts from both 25 & 5 news stations. My comments in italic.

WPBF 25 News Terri Parker Investigative Reporter

Judge orders West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James to give deposition in Sunset Lounge lawsuit.

The city filed a protective order motion saying James had no direct knowledge of firm’s disqualification to run the venue.

A judge has ordered Mayor Keith James to give a deposition in the lawsuit filed by Vita Lounge, LLC over its disqualification to run the Sunset Lounge, saying the company is entitled to discover what role James played in pushing them out.

As Vita Lounge LLC goes forward with its lawsuit against West Palm Beach for disqualifying the company from running the historic Sunset Lounge, lawyers tried to shield James from testifying by filing a motion for a protective order.

James voted in June for the Miami company Mad Room Hospitality to run the newly renovated, $16 million Sunset Lounge, saying he thought Mad Room was better equipped to take on the big job than local contender, Vita Lounge LLC.

But Vita won the vote. Two days after Vita secured the bid to begin negotiations, James sent an email to the city attorney questioning whether Vita had violated the “cone of silence” by giving an interview about the Lounge to WPBF 25 News.

And now that Vita is suing, the city didn’t want James to explain what made him question Vita’s actions — questions that led to their disqualification.

When Vita filed to take James’ deposition last month, city lawyers filed a protective order, including a signed affidavit from James, saying in part:    Please read the entire story below.

But Judge John Kastranakes questioned that – saying, according to a court transcript:

“One could legitimately question the veracity of that statement given the emails. Why shouldn’t the Plaintiff be able to depose the mayor as to what caused him to send that? How did he get wind of that?”

Vita’s lawyers are implying James was searching for a pretext to disqualify Vita so his choice, Mad Room, could take over, which is what happened.

Mad Room said it is no longer interested in the job, and the trial with Vita will be tentatively scheduled for late October.  
The Sunset Lounge remains empty, costing taxpayers an estimated $30,000 a month according to city staff.
https://www.wpbf.com/article/judge-orders-west-palm-beach-mayor-keith-james-to-give-deposition-in-sunset-lounge-lawsuit/41253470

 

WPTV 5 News Michael Buczyner   The Channel 5 stories mention three people interviewed for their story, Robbie Littles, a former City Commissioner, Rodney Mayo, Local business owner and Lia Gaines, a staunch advocate for African Americans.

Ballooning costs, inability to find operator hamper West Palm Beach’s efforts to revive historic Sunset Lounge.

The city of West Palm Beach and its community redevelopment agency are creating a new African American cultural tourism destination.

The publicly-funded redevelopment of the Sunset Lounge in the city’s historic Northwest neighborhood hopes to “pay homage to the rich jazz and Black history of the area.

“This was the entertainment hub,” Robbie Littles said. “It was the only place the good top-shelf Black entertainers could perform.”

Littles recalls musical memories he made at the Sunset Lounge as a young man.
“We sat out on a hood of cars at night when the big entertainers were here and listened to it,” he said. “At that point in time, for Black folks, this was the only place for us to go.”

Mayor Keith James and CRA Director Christopher Roog declined multiple requests for an interview to answer WPTV’s questions about the project, including the cost.

Local business owner Rodney Mayo told Contact 5 that he recently toured the Sunset Lounge.

“I was concerned where all the money went but once you walk in, you’re like, ‘This is where it all went,'” Mayo said. “They really didn’t skimp on anything. It’s really all first-class finishing.”

The city wouldn’t allow our cameras inside the renovated venue to see how the dollars were spent, despite multiple requests.  Why was Mr. Mayo allowed to tour the Sunset Lounge and Channel 5 was not?

When pressed why and a spokesperson told Contact 5 that the city is planning an “open house for the community” once they receive a certificate of completion from the building department.” I would find it hard to believe Channel 5 bought the reason. Hopefully they verified a certificate of completion has not been issued.

Mayo said he considered applying to operate the Sunset Lounge but doesn’t think it’s viable.

“Dinner theaters are kind of done. They don’t exist anymore for a reason because it’s a bygone era,” Mayo said. “You cannot bring back the past or recreate the glory, sometimes you have to adapt to what the current market is and the current market is not what they are building.”  I respectfully disagree with Mr Mayo’s statement. At the end of the story please read about 30 Dinner Theaters in Florida.

Mayo believes for the Sunset Lounge to shine, the CRA should go back to the drawing board and develop a new plan.”  OMG seriously?

That has people like Lia Gaines concerned about what it could mean for the future of the historic Northwest neighborhood as cranes pierce the horizon and development creeps closer.

“They have no place else to expand to, so they have to come north,” Gaines said.

“It’s still the area closest to downtown,” Littles added. “It’s still the area closest to the water.”

And as Littles looks on to the future, he’s hopeful for new musical memories at the Sunset Lounge and the historic Northwest neighborhood he knows so well.

Entertainers like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong graced the Sunset Lounge dating back to the 1940s and 1950s, making it a “premier African American entertainment” venue at a time of racial segregation.”

At the time it’s all the African Americans could claim as “theirs” and should be returned to them, and Vita Lounge, LLC, a black owned, local business should be allowed to operate the lounge. Just common sense.

The CRA recently estimated operating costs for the Sunset Lounge at around $26,000 a month to maintain the building.    Staff gave a figure of $30,000.00 to WPBF 25 news, and $26,000 to WPTV 5.  Staff should have a meeting and agree on a figure. I’m going to use $26K and if correct James has cost the taxpayers since June a total of $104,000.00.

A spokesperson told Contact 5 that the city is expected to issue a new solicitation for the operation of the Sunset Lounge in the near future.

https://www.wptv.com/news/local-news/investigations/ballooning-costs-inability-to-find-operator-hamper-west-palm-beachs-efforts-to-revive-historic-sunset-lounge#:~:text=Ballooning%20costs%2C%20inability%20to%20find%20operator%20hamper%20West,for%20the%20publicly-funded%20renovation%20now%20tops%20%2416.4%20million

30 Dinner Theaters in Florida
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g28930-Activities-c58-t117-Florida.html

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