Roundtable Discussion on the Homeless

2/21/2024 I attended the roundtable discussion on the homeless in WPB led by Mayor Keith James. The invited guests, with many years of experience between them, all spoke with passion, knowledge and commitment.

Jeff Demario, CEO of Vita Nova, focuses on mentoring youth, advocating for foster care issues and addressing youth homelessness.

Dr. James Green, Director of PBC Community Services Dept. who spearheaded efforts to address homelessness and poverty,

Dr. Tomara Graham Mays focuses on self-sufficiency, sustainability and breaking barriers for change, and her passionate for serving the vulnerable population.

Shannon Nazworth, is President and CEO of Ability Housing and is committed to equitable housing and she advocates for affordable housing rights.

Dana Stanley, CEO of the Lord’s Place who brings over 20 years’ experience serving the poor and homeless and is an active community leader in WPB.

Allie Severino, is the Social Services Supervisor for the City of WPB. She leads the Homeless Advocacy and response Team (HART).

The six named people above are all dedicated to helping the destitute, the homeless and the underprivileged among us. There is so much more to all of them, and I invite you to Google them and read about people who are passionate about helping others less fortunate.

The meeting took place in the City Library and the room was packed and unfortunately the city meeting wasn’t televised but Al Pefley, reporter for channel 12 was present with cameras rolling, and the story link can be found below.

Mayor James started the conversation by stating how many calls, text and emails complaining about the homeless he and commissioners have received and then states they receive as many stating the city isn’t doing enough to help the homeless among us. Whoever takes the time to notify elected officials, concerning the treatment of the homeless a sincere thank you.

“WPB mayor will look into opening emergency homeless shelter” James said it, but I’m not sure he means it.

One speaker, Shannon Nazworth addressed the money situation, and it was so simple I can’t understand why elected officials didn’t think of it, or maybe they did. Ms. Nazworth offered a solution, and it included developers. Her suggestion was if a developer request a Variance and want to exceed the building height by 10 stories and the city grants it then the developer must build 10 apartments/homes for the homeless. She also mentioned the city can Mandate the order.

Variance: “is a request to deviate from current zoning requirements (land use). If a variance is granted, it allows the owner or land buyer (residential, commercial or industrial) to use the land in a manner not otherwise permitted by the zoning ordinance. Variances are often needed to modify ordinance standards for setbacks, lot coverage, parking, building heights or similar standards.”

Mandate: “a mandate has the same effect as a law. A mandate is an official order.”

Soon after Ms. Nazworth made the above statement James mentioned the city couldn’t afford the construction costs, but he would look into receiving money from the county, state and federal money. Never mentioned contractors who are making millions off the city.
In my opinion construction in WPB is out of control and getting worse. Two developers Jeff Greene and Related have a firm hold on developing the city and are not wasting time changing the skyline of WPB.

Example: Jeff Greene

“One West Palm is a mixed-use complex consisting of two sister towers in West Palm Beach, Florida. The 30-story towers are 426-feet, reaching the tallest height in the city. One tower consists solely of 326 luxury units. Jeff Greene’s condo development requires zoning change from 15 stories to 40 stories” City wouldn’t grant 40 stories, but granted 30 stories instead. If the Mandate was on the books, Mr. Greene would build 30 Apt’s/ homes and possibly relocate the woman with 3 kids living out of her car, who never expected to be homeless until she lost her job or possibly could no longer afford her rent.

Example: Related Cos.

“Both towers, one 21 stories and one 23, will include office and retail space. The taller building, called the east tower, will include a parking garage. with waivers, at 550 South Rosemary Avenue within the CityPlace Commercial Planned Development.” Over the years Related could have solved WPB homeless situation with their request for changes in development.

Al Pefley Thu, February 22nd, 2024   (New story)

“West Palm Beach would need help with emergency homeless shelter, mayor says”

“If law enforcement wants to arrest someone for violating trespass or something, they can’t do it if there aren’t shelter beds available,” he continued. “At least the emergency shelter would be an option that might help us.”

When asked directly if he would pursue an emergency shelter, James indicated he planned to talk to partners across the county, citing The Lord’s Place, as an example.

“The City itself can’t do it,” he added. “But, certainly with the county, I believe they have the funding. Maybe, we can get some funding from the state. I’m happy to have conversations to explore,” Mayor James said.  How about the developers? Can you ask them for help? Ms. Nazworth seems to think so.

https://cbs12.com/news/local/mayor-wpb-keith-james-would-need-help-with-emergency-homeless-shelter-i-cant-wave-a-magic-wand-west-palm-beach-clematis-street-delray-beach-florida-news-february-22-2024#

“Well I’m not sure what they expect the city to do. We just can’t round people up and move them away in vans, okay? I can’t wave a magic wand and make all the homeless people go away. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way,” Mayor James explained. Poor choice of words from city mayor.

“It is a difficult problem. Even if I move them you know, I don’t know how I would, off of Clematis Street, it’s like whack-a-mole. You put ’em in another part of the city, then you’ve got the people in that part of the city complaining,” said Mayor James. Poor choice of words from city mayor, again.

What is the whack-a-mole method?
“Whack – a – Mole Management is a style of managing or leading others where a manager waits for something he or she believes to be wrong to happen, and “whacks” the behavior with words and/or actions.”

February 22nd, 2024, Al Pefley channel 12

https://cbs12.com/news/local/wpb-mayor-will-look-into-opening-an-emergency-homeless-shelter

Change of subject: Voting
When you get to the polls to vote you will be asked to change 2 sections of the City Charter.

(1) INCREASE THE RESIDENCY PERIOD REQUIRED FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS TO RUN FOR OFFICE FROM SIX MONTHS TO TWELVE MONTHS The charter requires a candidate running for mayor to continuously reside in the City and candidates running for city commission to continuously reside in their respective district for the six-month period immediately prior to the date of election. Should the six-month period be increased to a twelve-month period?

(2) PROHIBITING MAYOR’S OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT AND LIMITING BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS
The charter requires the Mayor to devote full time to city duties but does not otherwise limit outside employment or business relationships. Should the charter be amended to prohibit the Mayor from having outside employment and limit holding a financial interest in any business entity to interests that will not impair the Mayor’s independent judgment or conflict with the performance of city duties?

The city is requesting both changes. I will not vote for either. Remember the city changing the charter from Single District Voting to City Wide Elections. The people in Ibis, District 4, choosing my commissioner in District 2. Why? Ibis votes, many in other districts of WPB can’t be bothered to go to the polls.

What are the underlying reasons motivating the mayor to urge citizens to change the city charter, and why hasn’t the mayor publicly disclosed his reasons for pushing for a change?

 

 

Who is Commissioner Lambert

2018. Lambert and James served together as City Commissioners, and I believe a bond was created.

April 2019. James sworn in as WPB Mayor and immediately made changes and raised fees across the board, and City Commissioner Lambert voted approval on every item, every time.

Lambert approved raising the Fire Fee from $50 to $100.00

Lambert voted approval of the new parking fees. “The City of West Palm Beach passed a sweeping parking rate increase, the largest in the history of our city at the commission meeting in March 2022. Despite the parking department showing an annual profit of 2.5 million dollars last year.”

Lambert voted approval for no-bid contract for PSC Security for $8.5 million contract.

Lambert voted approval for the new marina on Flagler where James received $45,000 in contributions made to James campaign ahead of West Palm Beach Marina vote.

Lambert voted for James choice of Mad Room Hospitality over Vita to manage the Sunset Lounge. City was sued, judge told the city negotiate with Vita in good faith. No movement in over a year. James defies Judge’s order. Read the story below.

Lambert voted approval for every new development requested by Related and other developers.

Who is Jeffrey Brophy?

Jeffrey Brophy, senior vice president of The Wantman Group (WGI) owns a home in Andros Isles and rented his home to then City Commissioner Keith James who voted approval of contracts that contained a WGI contract. When questioned, James commented he paid fair market rents, but never produced rent receipts.

Soon after Commissioner Lambert’s election, husband Monte Lambert, was hired as Senior Business Development Manager for WGI.

3/23/2020 City Commissioner Lambert voted to approve 2 items, one on the CRA and the companion item on the City Commission meeting after stating she was told the “City Ethics Officer advised her that there was no financial benefit on this matter to WGI, so she was permitted to vote on the item” No benefit to Monty Lambert. Seriously?
I filed a complaint with the PBC Office of the Inspector General (OIG). I had more faith in the OIG than the COE. Today I have trust in neither the COE nor the OIG both are appointed by the very people they are investigating.

Palm Beach County Commission On Ethics/ Memorandum of Inquiry. 4 Pages, reads in part: Can be found below.

“This matter came to the attention of the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics (COE) after staff received an email referral from the Palm Beach County Office of Inspector General on May 7th. 2020.” Why didn’t the OIG investigate my complaint? Why send it to the COE? Let’s look closer.

Who is on the board of the COE? Peter Cruise is one member. “He is Executive Director of the LeRoy Collins Public Ethics Academy and Affiliate Associate Professor at Florida Atlantic University. In March 2018, Dr. Cruise was appointed as a Palm Beach County Ethics Commissioner.” Does he know Commissioner Lambert? I would venture to say yes.

Commissioner Lambert on Peter Cruise lap.     Enjoying a bike ride together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite. Commissioner Lambert on Flagler with husband Monty. Note WGI auto.

Lambert on Flagler with hubby

PALM BEACH COUNTY COMMISSION ON ETHICS LEGAL SUFFICIENCY DETERMINATION: 1 Page
Conclusion
“Based on the facts and circumstances, there is NO LEGAL SUFFICIENCY for an investigation to be conducted into this inquiry. Therefore, this matter is closed, and no further action will be taken.”  read 5 pages below.

file:///C:/Users/sandy/Downloads/AN20-001%20MOI%20and%20LSD.pdf.crdownload

 

In closing Another excellent report from Florida Center for Government Accountability (FLCGA)

“Corrosive” Florida Senate bill will hide public corruption rather than expose it, ethics expert says A top Florida ethics expert is sounding the alarm about an ethics bill passed by the state Senate Thursday that would make it easier for corrupt officials to avoid investigation – and much harder for residents to hold them to account.” Read story below.

https://flcga.org/corrosive-florida-senate-bill-will-hide-public-corruption-rather-than-expose-it-ethics-expert-says/?fbclid=IwAR38obEN02N8nsokfgUXtD6ZJvrMpphNOI7mZxNAQ_9antuKQGhvyZkXbJ0

Basically, warning us public officials continue to circle the wagons in order to protect each other. Who do we turn to for help? How about each other?  There’s more of us than them. Let’s all get together and vote them out of office. If not us who?

PB Post story on the Sunset Lounge.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/local/westpb/2023/04/01/vita-lounge-wins-case-against-west-palm-in-bid-to-manage-sunset-lounge/70057339007/

The end

Who is Matthew Luciano?

I never heard of Matt Luciano until he announced his candidacy for City Commissioner in District 5 which Christina Lambert has held since April 5, 2018.

I met Matt for coffee and conversation and found him to be forthcoming and answered all questions I asked. Below is an introduction to Matt and he has an event coming up, and I invite you to meet with him, and talk about your concerns for the direction our city is moving in.

“12 years ago, I moved to a city I knew and loved. I am not enchanted with what is happening.
I attended Johns Hopkins University with the intent to be a doctor, went into finance instead.
Earned my MBA in Finance from Fordham University. I have been working for a Hedge Fund since 2017 and have held similar roles since 1995. Most known employer was Bank of America. I managed $400 mm of firm capital for them.

I also raised money for commercial real estate deals. I say this to let folks know that I am qualified to deal with the developers that ask the city for waivers and millions, and I would have the citizens’ interest at heart, and I would put the citizen’s concerns first, always.

I would not have voted for the Sunset Lounge to be managed by Miami-based Mad Room Hospitality, but would have voted for the local, Black-owned group, Vita Lounge LLC.

I would not have voted for any type of marina in the Intracoastal. I value free space, parks, and less congestion. I don’t like wasting city money, just because it is awash in it. I would rather find a way to rebate it back to residents. The Millage reductions should actually reduce people’s taxes.

Overdevelopment will further crowd our schools and degrade the quality of the education for our kids. I am for moderate and planned growth. I am an advocate for a limited amount of more condos (ownership), but not more rentals where the city can award a few folks a cheaper rent and let landlords’ control most of the housing stock.

I am a leader in trying to limit the massive development planned for the South End and I led the petition for over 800 signers to stop the 8111 So Dixie development, which appears the city will ignore. The incumbent was at a recent business event still touting the enlarged plan.

“The issues of housing, traffic and transparency are playing out in the south end, where the city purchased 8111 S. Dixie Highway a dozen years ago with the intention of redeveloping it to spark some economic vitality to that stretch of Dixie. Plans for a mixed-use project finally appear to be nearing fruition but the South End Neighborhood Association learned abruptly that the plan to which they had given their approval was changed dramatically afterward without their knowledge, going from including about 200 apartments to now, about 360. The association, after a vote of its members, has withdrawn its endorsement, though it is not directly opposing the project, hoping the city and developer will add features that mitigate the inevitable traffic congestion in that area.”

Yes, I appear to be against most things Commissioner Lambert and the mayor stand for.”

As of now Matt is working hard to get his name and message out while I remind readers who City Commissioner Lambert is and who she supports.

Please attend Matt’s meet and greet to be held at Howley’s Restaurant this coming Saturday (2/10/2024) 3:30 to 4:30 @ 4700 S Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach.

In closing I will remind readers we had a chance to replace two of the Cornerstones 5 City Commissioners, Ward and Lambert, when our choice for a new commissioner in District 1 was taken from us. I have included Joel Engelhardt, from Stet Media, story explaining how we lost the right to vote for a new Commissioner in District 1.

Stet media reports.  Excellent read!
Exclusive: “Why WPB commission candidate dropped bid”

“Martina Tate-Walker backed out of her campaign for West Palm commission in November after a job offer that she said required she give up her political ambitions.”

https://www.stetnews.org/p/wpb-commission-martina-tate-walker

Who is City Commissioner Christina Lambert? Coming Next

City Commission meeting 12/11/2023 Ord. 5078-23

Meeting ran for 2:44:12 Comments from the public start at 2:13:40

Item # 9.1 Public Hearing and Second Reading of Ordinance 5078-23.

Start 30:23. Ends 45:11. Fifteen minutes is all it took for the Mayor and City Commissioners to approve Ordinance 5078-23 which would punish FNB and their supporters if they fed the homeless population of WPB.

I spoke along with Lauren Griffith to oppose the Ordinance. Remainder of the time Commissioner Warren questioned if what I said was true that organizations were closed on the weekends and unavailable to feed.

Assistant City Administrator Fana says several churches feed on the weekends. Listen to Mayor Keith James quote numbers of how many the city has helped which in my opinion are totally fictitious numbers, then read what Mr. Fana wrote in his response to me. Listen as City attorney’s don’t know the answers to questions asked. James with his words of wisdom want the homeless to learn to fish so they can eat for a lifetime.

At the end of the meeting comes Public Comment which Started @ 2:13:34 I asked Mr. Fana for a PRR on who feed the homeless on the weekends. He gave me a “thumbs up” which I took as a sign it would be sent. It wasn’t. I placed a PRR in writing and received his response below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AytlZPLnts

Hello Ms. Matkivich,
I’ll start by pointing out that this is not a public records request because there are no specific records or services that the City offers regarding your request. Having said that through my previous experience with the homeless population and working with local organizations I am aware of several options for individuals to access donated food on weekends. The below agencies offer or have offered weekend food donations. Whether some or all of them still do I cannot confirm but it is likely that most still offer it.

St. Ann’s Catholic Church- Have provided Saturday food distributions off of 2nd St building.

True Fast Ministries- 638 6th St

Redemptive Life Fellowship- 561-429-3586

Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church (Sunday mornings)

There is a church group on N. Dixie near St. Ann’s Place that also does some food distribution on weekends.

There are likely more faith based organizations doing this type of work that I am not aware of as well. I also made the point that the ordinance restrictions are for large group feedings meant for 25 or more people. There is nothing that restricts you or anyone else from going to places and providing a handout to any individual or several individuals who may need assistance.
I would recommend that you contact local non-profits who are actively working with the unhoused population, such as the Lord’s Place, and see what types of volunteer opportunities exists. I can tell you from many years of experience that food is not lacking for the unhoused populations. What is lacking is supportive housing, substance abuse and mental health treatment and healthcare. While food is a basic need there are many organizations that are providing it and there are means to get it to people who need it. It is the easiest form of assistance to provide, thus why many individuals flock to provide it. Non-profits who work daily with the unhoused are in a better position to know what types of volunteer opportunities are the most effective to assist the unhoused.
Regards,
Armando Fana

How accurate is Mr. Fana’s response?

St. Ann’s Catholic Church- Have provided Saturday food distributions off of 2nd St building. (561) 832-3757.St Ann Place The food program is available Monday – Friday.

https://www.stannplaceoc.org/services

True Fast Ministries- 638 6th St Closed Sat. & Sun.

https://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/shelter/fl_true-fast-outreach-ministries

Redemptive Life Fellowship- 561-429-3586 Could not find info. if they fed or was even open on the weekends, but the name rang a bell and here it is.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/local/2015/06/08/lender-sues-west-palm-s/6788910007/

Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church ( Breakfast every Sunday mornings)

Fana says organizations feeding homeless on weekends I found to be false, but Commissioner Warren bought it.

“unhoused” Mr. Fana prefers unhoused to homeless.

Ft. Lauderdale was one of the first cities to stomp down on homelessness. It cost the taxpayers dearly. WPB will walk the same path because WPB City officials are no smarter than their counterparts. This too will cost taxpayers.

“Backlash over Fort Lauderdale commissioner’s ‘hideous’ proposal to cut homelessness budget”

“A Fort Lauderdale commissioner’s proposal to cut funding for homeless services after the city lost a long-running related lawsuit has sparked backlash from homeless advocates.
During a Dec. 19 commission meeting, District 2 Commissioner Steve Glassman lamented the almost $640,000 that the city has to pay in legal fees to Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs, a nonprofit group that provides food to people living without shelter in the city.”
https://www.wlrn.org/government-politics/2023-12-22/fort-lauderdale-homelessness-budget-lawsuit

I showed readers a picture of the electrical outlets in Centennial Park where James had the city place locks on the outlets to prevent volunteers from giving haircuts to the homeless population and prevent them from charging their cell phones. This week he’s had sleeves placed over Handicapped parking spaces on Clematis St. Why is this man allowed to act the way he does and why cant the 5 cowardly lions speak up?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The end.

 

 

Homeless Can’t Catch a Break With WPB Mayor.

As readers are aware Judge August Bonavita, ruled against the City of West Palm Beach’s law limiting food giveaways to the homeless, and the city has moved in a new direction since the court ruling.

Martina Tate Walker applied for a permit to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving Day. The permit was issued with a $50.00 fee. Since the ruling no permit or fee required. Ms. Walker can feed the homeless without fear of arrest.

I have attended the feeding for months on a Saturday afternoon to observe and police the area for any trash that may have been left behind. Here is what I noticed on Saturday Nov,11, 2023 on the Nancy M. Graham Centennial Square Park, also referred to as the Great Lawn.

Before FNB arrived a police officer and a PSC Security Guard appeared and questioned the homeless people who had arrived for a hot meal. Both left the area as they arrived–alone.

If you take the time to speak to a homeless person many will tell you the same thing, they don’t trust the police, and PSC security are worse. The homeless call them “bumble bees” because of their black and yellow uniforms. I am told by many they harass them, confiscate their few belongings never to be seen again.

 

At the great lawn there are many electric outlets where the homeless, and other residents, charge their cell phones. This Saturday I arrived to see locks on the outlets. In my opinion officials of WPB have lost their compassion, along with their souls. If the police want to aid the homeless do what Fort Lauderdale has done. Approach the homeless with a former homeless person, who actually has been helped. I understand they will listen to them before the police.

Repeat a lie enough times it becomes the truth.

People park on the tracks to commit suicide by Brightline trains doing 125MPH. Google says the most common way is firearms, hanging, or poisoning. No mention of trains.

At a recent SENA (South End Neighborhood Association) meeting a high-ranking police official told approximately 200 in attendance “the police dept. will have zero tolerance for the homeless” If that remark weren’t bad enough, the applause was deafening. I guess that means the homeless will not be served and protected.

Jennifer Ferriol, Director of Housing and Community Development for the City of West Palm Beach, told the crowd “Plans were in the works to change the Nancy M. Graham Centennial Square Park, from a public park to a private park. There was mention of a third party leasing the land and maybe build something for kids. In other words, feeding the homeless, or the homeless sit on a bench can be arrested for trespassing” A No Trespassing sign will be erected. City so anxious to keep the homeless away from City Hall chained the sign on a tree right outside the courtyard, near Salento coffee shop. No class.

 

At another meeting the same official told the crowd the homeless have banned together to form a “gang” B.S.

The same official who I rode with and was shown Curry Park where a few of the homeless call home. told me they walked the street all night because of the abuse they received at night. It is safer to sleep in the daytime when the sun is out and the cowards don’t have the darkness to hide behind.

WPB won’t learn from Fort Lauderdale

“The City of Fort Lauderdale has been sued over the treatment of homeless people. In June 2017, ten homeless individuals sued the City after it seized and destroyed property from a homeless encampment in a downtown park.”

https://www.aclufl.org/en/press-releases/aclu-florida-slc-finalize-settlement-city-fort-lauderdale-homeless-encampment-raid

“Fort Lauderdale first won its case at a lower court, then lost on appeal. Back at the lower court, Fort Lauderdale won again, then lost a second time on appeal when a three-judge panel ruled the city had violated the First Amendment rights of Food Not Bombs activists”

“After 7 Years, Anti-War Group That Fed the Hungry Wins Fight With Fort Lauderdale” Please take the time to read the story below and read the outcome of officials.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2022/01/05/after-7-years-anti-war-group-fed-hungry-wins-fight-fort-lauderdale

Stet Media Group

Stet Media Group, an independent news source, has written a story on WPB and Homeless. and can be read below. Stet Media Group is an independent source of news, who depend on donations. If possible, can you help?

“Judge strikes down West Palm food-sharing rules”

https://stetmediagroup.substack.com/p/west-palm-beach-food-sharing-law?utm_campaign=email-post&r=2528hc&utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

Apparently Stet Media contacted the city for a response “A city spokesperson told Stet that the city does not comment on pending litigation.”

So, it’s not over. The city will appeal, and back to court to continue to punish the homeless and the people who try to help. It’s only taxpayer money being wasted, no problem for city leaders. 

The end–for now.

Judge Rules Amendment Unconstitutional

CITY OF WEST PALM BEACH vs. NICHOLAS CUBIDES, CARLY TAYLOR PRINZO, JACOB ROBBINS, MADELINE MATKIVICH.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS AS TO ALL DEFENDANTS
(Cancels 11.13.23 Trial)
County Court Judge AUGUST A. BONAVITA ruled on Nov.6, 2023.

The first 3 names Cubides, Prinzo and Robbins are all members of FNB (Food Not Bombs) and have feed the homeless at the Centennial Fountain at Nancy M. Graham Centennial Square on the 100 block of N. Clematis Street every Saturday afternoon for the past 16 years, without a problem until Keith James was elected Mayor, and in my opinion declared war on the homeless. He could not accomplish this without the aid of the 5 City Commissioners who voted for the Amendment.

Public Defenders:

I was represented by Attorney’s Taylor Overman and Julie Finston from the Public Defender’s office.

I first met Taylor Overman and she is the one that kept me sane throughout the ordeal, assuring me she would do her best to have the charges dismissed. Before the hearing we met and she asked questions and I responded with answers on why I attended the feedings when I was not a member of FNB.

I explained my reasons, and at the hearing she asked the questions, and I gave my answers. Judge Bonavita listened, and asked questions of the attorneys. Taylor Overman is a woman who keeps her word. She also mentioned another attorney Julie Finston, who would assist with my defense.

Julie Finston did the oral argument portion of the motion to dismiss the case, and she cited case law and explained how they applied to my situation. She spoke with passion and did an outstanding job. How did I get so lucky to draw these two women?

New West Palm Beach Law Says Homeless Can’t Disturb City’s “Aesthetic Beauty”

https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/west-palm-beach-passes-anti-homeless-panhandling-ban-11787350

What is the true meaning of compassion?

Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.

Why I love dogs.
Dogs are non- judgmental. They don’t care about Aesthetic Beauty. They care about us and enjoy our company, especially when they know they are loved in return. A dog doesn’t care if your homeless and living on the streets, they will lie beside you in the heat and cold and will share you’re hunger. They know even if your different you deserved to be loved, and their loyalty and devotion prove the fact. Please notice the bowls. If the homeless man eats, his beloved companion eats, then they rest together.

 

Martina Tate Walker

Ms. Walker, an Ordained Minister, who has aided the homeless over the years has applied to the City of WPB for permits to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. The city has approved her permit for Thanksgiving Day, the others are pending. 

If you recognize her name, you are aware she ran for City Commission seat in District I, now held by Commissioner Cathleen Ward. She is running again in 2024 to challenge Ward for her seat on the dais. Here’s what I know about her.

She has no money to hire a Political Consultant. Ms. Ward is one of the Rick Asnani, Cornerstone 5 so money for yard signs, political fliers and annoying robocalls asking us to choose Ward over Walker won’t be a problem.

I don’t know what kind of Commissioner Walker would make, but I know what kind of Commissioner we have in Ward, and I’m looking for change. If you are also looking for change, please send a contribution to Martina Tate Walker at 3209 N. Australian Ave. WPB Fl. 33407.  I would like to see yard signs with Walker’s name on it. Make checks payable to Martina Tate Walker Campaign Fund.

PS Mayor Keith James. Now that the court has ruled your Amendment as Unconstitutional, did the city charge Ms. Walker the $50.00 permit fee?

In closing I want to thank my two attorneys Taylor Overman and Julie Finston along with Judge Bonavita. Most importantly Thank God, who gave me the strength and will to see this through with the outcome He wanted. If you fight God, you will always lose.  For some reason I kept going back to the Judges name, not knowing why. Then I noticed the last four letters in his name. vita. How’s negotiations going with Vita Lounge to manage the Sunset Lounge? 

Judge’s ruling below.  Page’s 6 and 7 contain FNB and my testimony why we do what we do.

Judge rules unconstitutional against WPB

The end!

City Commissioners Please Repeal Ordinance 4836-19

Found on the City website.

“On February 25, 2019, we introduced Ordinance 4836-19 to the City Commission to prohibit the distribution, sale or use of plastic straws and plastic stirrers.

During the second reading on March 11, 2019, the ordinance unanimously passed and will go into effect on October 1, 2019.”

“give kudos to a local business for complying with the ordinance or report a violation. Our goal is not to collect fines, but to keep plastics out of the environment.”

“Businesses with reported violations will receive a personal visit first to provide details about the ordinance and offer assistance finding a good alternative for compliance. If businesses do not comply within a timely manner, violations may incur $125 per occurrence.”

I made a request to the City that they provide “Recycle bins” on Clematis St; so I could separate the plastic bottles and Plastic utensils from the trash. The city has not responded, and I don’t expect them too. Everything goes into the barrels which I find are mostly full by the time FNB feed the homeless on Saturday night. How serious is the city when they state, “to keep plastics out of the environment?” 

https://www.wpb.org/government/sustainability/city-initiatives/single-use-plastics

FRIDAY, Aug. 25, 2023 (HealthDay News) — “Paper straws, meant to be an eco-friendly alternative to plastic, may not be better for the environment, a new study concludes, warning that they also contain “forever chemicals” that can harm human health.”

https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2023-08-25/eco-friendly-paper-straws-contain-harmful-pfas-chemicals

If the City of WPB wanted to help the environment, why don’t they lead the charge to Tallahassee and request they pass a law and allow deposit on plastic bottles? Buy a case of water, 24 bottles with a $.05 deposit will cost a buyer $1.20 extra. Return the bottles and receive $1.20 refund. Win-win for all. You will not see people walking down the street throwing nickels on the ground.

The city passed Ordinance 4836-19 in March 2019, and took effect in October 2019. We have been made aware of the test results on paper straws which was released in 2023 with multiply stories on the dangers of “forever chemicals” Now what will Mayor James and the City Commission do about it now that they have been made aware of the situation, how important is the health of their residents and visitors to WPB?

The end

 

Cornerstone Solutions and PBC Supervisor of Elections

The Miami Independent: Published September 21, 2023

“A Highly Partisan Democrat Political Consulting Firm Is Deeply Embedded In The Palm Beach County Supervisor Of Elections”

“On February 4, 2022, a Palm Beach County grass roots group submitted an email request for an update to a public records request via the general email inbox of the Palm Beach County (PBC) Supervisor of Elections (SOE), [email protected].

Upon submitting the request, the group was surprised to have received an ‘Out of Office’ response from a consulting firm, Cornerstone Solutions (Rick Asnani-President and Jonathan Cooper-Vice President) (Exhibit 1).”

“To appreciate the client representation of Cornerstone Solutions, you must first investigate their clientele. The following list, taken from their website, is not an all-inclusive list but is telling by the high volume of Democrat clients:”

When you read the story by the Miami Independent, and I spent an hour reading the story, and had to read it twice, because I couldn’t believe what I was reading. If you take the time, you will see the list of people Cornerstone represents, and what it takes to win an election.

“Mayor Keith James, Commissioners Peduzzi and Lambert.” Not mentioned are Commissioners Ward, Warren and Fox, all three Commissioners are represented by Cornerstone, Rick Asnani also. WPB residents know the commissioners as the Cornerstone 5, or Cornerstone 6 if you are counting James.

Exhibit 1: Email sent to the Supervisor of Elections general inbox and ‘Out of Office’ response sent from Cornerstone Solutions – Why is Cornerstone Solutions monitoring our Supervisor of Elections inbox?”

Exhibit 2: Cornerstone Represents Primarily Democrat Candidates. Of note, excluded from the list is Wendy Link” Wendy Link is the Supervisor of Elections who was put in place by Governor Ron DeSantis after terminating Susan Boucher, a Democrat from the position of SOE

Exhibit 3: “Rick Asnani PACs, other contributing PACs, and Cornerstone Solution Payments”

Question 1:  Why are our tax dollars going to pay a political consulting firm to monitor a public records request email inbox when the Supervisor of Elections could be paying an employee at $15-20/hour?”

Question 2: Is this democrat political consulting firm monitoring the content of public records requests or more importantly who is submitting requests? Given Rick Asnani’s court case regarding paying off and the intimidation of political opposition, this is quite disturbing (Article 1).”

Article 1: Judge denies motion to drop interference case against Seminole Tribe’s organizers alleging Asnani’s firm paid off petition signature collectors to stop getting signatures and hired individuals to intimidate petition signature collectors. Essentially, Rick Asnani and his firm were on trial for intimidating political opposition.”

Exhibit 4: Cornerstone Solutions gets Wendy Link elected and she received more votes than ANY OTHER candidate!”

Exhibit 5: Hundreds of Thousands of email exchanges between Cornerstone Solutions and the PBC SOE?”

There are a total of 17 Exhibit’s, I presented 4; leaving the most shocking, well documented 13 for readers to ingest.

“Regarding the emails received, it is very important to address what the emails revealed. Shortly after Cornerstone Solutions got Wendy Link elected as the Supervisor of Elections in August of 2020, the Supervisor of Elections was in communication and working with Cornerstone Solutions to obtain a CTCL grant/Zuckerbucks in the amount of $6,808,977.94. The grant was submitted on September 29th and approved on September 30th. Wendy Link sends a celebratory ‘Woo hoo!!! Let the work begin!!!!’ to Cornerstone Solutions, clearly ‘in the know’ (Exhibit 6,7,8, 9, 10, 11, and 12).”

https://miamiindependent.com/a-highly-partisan-democrat-political-consulting-firm-is-deeply-embedded-in-the-palm-beach-county-supervisor-of-elections/

In closing, I look back on the City Commission race between City Commissioner Shanon Materio, and Christine Lambert. Are you aware that Shanon Materio lost by 183 votes? Still believe your vote isn’t important? After reading the story by The Miami Independent, and the word “Independent” is most paramount, I have decided Materio didn’t lose the race, it was stolen.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/local/2019/11/05/new-court-denies-political-consultants-move-to-kill-shanon-materio-suit-over-campaign-flyer/236174000

A sincere thank you to the Miami Independent for a well-researched and documented article. I totally agree with them, an investigation is warranted, now, not years from now.

The end

 

 

Mayor Frankel, James and Homeless Population

This story calls for a walk down memory lane. How much do we remember from the good old days? What got us to where we are today? Remember Pay to Play, Corruption County?

Mayor Lois Frankel March 27, 2003 — March 31, 2011

“Lois ‘Pay to play’ Frankel and Digital Domain.”

“In 2006, a grand jury looked into alleged acts of “pay to play” by West Palm Beach city officials, most notably then-Mayor Lois Frankel. Recent events centering on the now defunct Digital Domain suggest that the jury panel disbanded far too soon — more work was coming down the pike.”

“In January 2007, the grand jury concluded, “There was a perception of pay-to-play in which developers needed to pay to get projects moved forward.”

“Frankel, in my opinion, dodged the bullet on that one. The jury panel found that developers, even those from out-state, seeking city contracts contributed heavily to Frankel’s political campaign.”

“Three days after Digital Domain declared itself insolvent, Frankel announced that she would be turning over to charity $20,000 in cash contributions that Digital Domain made to her campaign.”

https://www.bizpacreview.com/2012/10/16/lois-pay-to-play-frankel-and-digital-domain-2680/

2007 The two groups, Art and Compassion and Food Not Bombs, took some digs at Mayor Lois Frankel, who was recently cleared by a grand jury of “pay to play” allegations. Frankel supported the ordinance banning food giveaways.

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/2007/12/28/Lawsuit-challenges-ban-on-feeding-homeless/91891198818860/

Excerpts from Z story. Link below.

“Food Not Bombs Battles City Government – and Wins”

“In September 2007 the city commission of West Palm Beach, Florida passed an ordinance prohibiting the distribution of free food in Centennial Park.”

“Like other ordinances and laws targeting homeless advocates across the nation, business owners and affluent residents want the homeless out of sight, even if that means banning public feedings in public places. The city’s motivation for the ordinance is evident from Mayor Lois Frankel’s recent statement that the groups “decided it’s their right to destroy West Palm Beach’s downtown commerce.”

Food Not Bombs and Art and Compassion sued the city in December 2007, claiming the ordinance violated their constitutional right of freedom of speech and assembly. The city decided not to enforce the law until the lawsuit was over so feedings continued.

Finally, on December 3, 2008, an attorney told a federal judge that the city commission had decided to repeal the ordinance and settle with the groups, agreeing to pay them $100,000 in legal fees.”

https://znetwork.org/zmagazine/food-not-bombs-battles-city-government-and-wins-by-gonzalo-vizcardo/

Keith James served as the district 4 City Commissioner from 2011 – 2019. The story below, hopefully, will give commissioners something to think about.

“The panel and McKenna haven’t always gotten along. In April, the commission, having on occasion second-guessed her opinions, took the dramatic step of hiring Charles Schoech as its own attorney, for second opinions.” Commissioner James led the charge to hire Schoech.

City Attorney Claudia McKenna will retire in April 2014 after 18 years. McKenna retired under Mayor Geri Muoio time in office and advised the city on legalities.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/politics/2014/02/04/west-palm-beach-city-attorney/6786663007/

“Mayor James was the former Chair of the West Palm Beach Citizens’ Ethics Task Force, a position to which he was appointed by then-Mayor Lois Frankel.” Info. on City website and speaks volumes to me.

THAT’S THE WAY IT WAS, BELOW IS THE WAY IT IS.

Mayor James 2019 — 2027

Why did I begin the story with past history and stories on Lois Frankel? At James swearing in as mayor in 2019 he thanked Lois Frankel, his friend and mentor, and soon after declared war on the homeless.

George Santayana: “Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.”

July 2019 “Officials in West Palm Beach, Florida is trying a new method of driving homeless people away from a city-owned rental facility: children’s music. The wildly popular and extremely repetitive children’s songs, Baby Shark and Raining Tacos, play on an endless loop through the night. Mayor Keith James told the BBC it is a temporary measure to keep the homeless from the city’s waterfront space. The particular songs were chosen, he notes, “because they’re pretty aggravating if you hear them over and over.”

Below is an email sent to Mayor James and City Commissioners Fox, Lambert, Peduzzi, Shoaf and Warren. I encourage readers to read the 4-page report. It’s an easy and heart breaking read.

“The Sleeping/Camping Ban Runs Afoul of Established Case Law”

June 17, 2021 “We write on behalf of Southern Legal Counsel, the ACLU of Florida, and the National Homelessness Law Center (“Law Center”) regarding Ordinance 4934-21, which amends Chapter 54 Sections 146 and 147 of the West Palm Beach Code of Ordinances to prohibit sleeping and camping in all public areas (“Sleeping/Camping Ban”)

“The Court found that these ordinances were unconstitutional under Martin, because “it is not enough under the Eighth Amendment to simply allow sleeping in public spaces; the Eighth Amendment also prohibits a City from punishing homeless people for taking necessary minimal measures to keep themselves warm and dry while sleeping when there are no alternative forms of shelter available.”

“Finally, in Pottinger v. City of Miami, a class of homeless plaintiffs challenged Miami’s policy of arresting homeless people for conduct such as sleeping, eating, and congregating in public, and of confiscating and destroying homeless people’s belongings.

I have been told by numerous homeless people the WPB Police Dept; with the aid of PSC Security have taken their belongings, never to be seen again. My opinion, the police officers need training in how to deal with the homeless population, what is legal and what can get them into trouble.

https://homelesslaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/West-Palm-Beach-Sleeping-and-Camping-Ban-6-17-21-2.pdf

Dec. 2020 “In an effort to preserve its “aesthetic beauty,” the City of West Palm Beach passed a panhandling ban.”

“During the meeting, Mayor Keith James said the ordinance was not meant to target homeless people but merely meant to regulate behavior that harms businesses in downtown and Northwood. And he claimed the ordinance was perfectly legal because the regulation is limited to two areas of the city, allowing homeless individuals to move to other areas.”

“Another commissioner who challenged the ordinance, Cory Neering, said he has a family member who experienced homelessness in West Palm Beach and was unable to find space in any shelters in the city. Neering was concerned that people who couldn’t find shelter space would wind up getting arrested or fined because they had no choice other than to sleep outside.”

“But James resisted requests from commissioners to table the ordinance for further review, saying he wanted a vote on it right away. After a long period of discussion, the ordinance finally passed without the language prohibiting sleeping outdoors; the prohibitions on public urination and defecation and on panhandling remain intact.”

https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/west-palm-beach-passes-anti-homeless-panhandling-ban-11787350

March 2023 “The city of West Palm Beach enacted an ordinance in March 2023 that requires individuals or organizations to obtain a permit 30 days in advance of hosting a special event during which food is shared by 25 or more people. The permit fee is $50, and those who violate the ordinance can be fined $500 or jailed for 60 days.”

Three members of FNB (Food Not Bombs) along with myself have been arrested, and due to appear in court on 11/13/2023 to answer charges.

Sept. 2023 DNA (Downtown Neighborhood Association) meeting. Jennifer Ferriol, Housing & Community Development, led the meeting.

At the end Ms. Ferriol mentioned the city was looking into privatizing the Centennial Park in an attempt to keep the homeless out. I was told by 2 people the statement was correct and one person added “unfortunately I think there was a round of applause for that! Most folks there wanted the homeless gone no matter what, most didn’t care where they went.” Nuff said.

Oct. 7, 2023, I attended the FNB feeding the homeless on the 100 block of Clematis St; and happy to say the chain link fence was removed for the Green Market which was held from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM. The feeding took place in Centennial Park, no police presence, and the area was policed to ensure no trash was left behind.

I saw a group of 12-15 boys playing touch football in the park, just a bunch of kids having fun. So, if the city privatizes the park where will these young men go to get together and play ball, keep them busy and keep them off the streets and out of trouble? Double click picture to enlarge.

 

 

One more issue I will bring to people’s attention. When James raised the parking rates, he also eliminated many “Handicapped Parking” spots, and had the signs turned facing the street. If you are driving down a city street, looking for the Handicap sign, you won’t see them until you are next to them. No time to signal your intention. Traffic is backed up on your bumper, try to park and that will start the drivers honking their horn. I have mentioned this to Assistant City Administrator who said people were complaining about it. So why isn’t something done? Double click to enlarge.

Oct. 2023 Public media reports 3 unidentified men found dead in WPB. Could they be members of the homeless community?

In answer to a reader’s question:  The new marina failed to pass will James have to return the $45,000 several marine companies donated to his campaign manager? 

I honestly don’t know. He may be able to give it to charity as Lois Frankel previously has done.

The end

WPB Watch CC Meeting 10/2/2023

Consent Calendar: “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 has been used when politicians try to slip something thru without calling attention to the item.

On the Consent Calendar item # 7.8 “Resolution No. 260-23 waiving a potential conflict of interest related to hiring Akerman LLP as outside counsel.”

“Background Information: The City of West Palm Beach has requested Akerman LLP (the “firm”) as Outside Counsel to handle a fee dispute involving F. Malcolm Cunningham, P.A.”

F. Malcolm Cunningham, why did the name ring a bell? Two days later I remember the lawsuit filed against the city over the Sunset Lounge and who would manage the lounge.

Vita Lounge was the winning bidder to manage the Sunset Lounge. Mayor James wanted Mad Room Hospitality to manage the club and he put in motion a plan to ensure Vita was disqualified.

As expected, Vita sued the city and won the lawsuit with F. Malcom Cunningham Jr. Esquire and Amy L. Fischer, Attorney at Law defending Vita Lounge. James stated the operating costs for the Sunset Lounge at around $26,000 a month to maintain the building.

On Mar 24, 2023, the court ruled Vita would manage the Sunset Lounge. Six months later @ $26,000/ month James is costing the taxpayers an additional $156,000.00, not to mention what it cost for outside attorneys to defend the City’s position, and now we have more attorneys to challenge law fees while the lounge remains closed.

7.9. “Resolution No. 243-23 authorizing the submittal of an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation for a Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grant Program in the amount of $1,500,000 for development of a technology-driven railway assessment for community and key safety.”

Time-lapse video of Brightline train crossing Avenue A in Fort Pierce while arms are up in this time-lapse video. Sept. 19, 2023. If God wasn’t with the people in the cars, I believe there would have been many more “suicides” on the track or people trying to beat the train, or not paying attention. Always the fault of people, never the train. Speed kills.

https://www.tcpalm.com/videos/news/2023/09/19/time-lapse-video-brightline-train-crossing-fort-pierce/8416065001/?

The three Ordinances can be read in its entirety below. 9.1 & 9.2 the City to include the question on the March 19, 2024, ballot along with our vote for three City Commissioners, Lambert, Ward and Fox. 

9.1 “Public Hearing and Second Reading of Ordinance No. 5066-23 proposing a ballot question, which if passed, amends Section 2.01 of the City Charter increasing a candidate’s residency requirement from six (6) months to twelve (12) months.”

9.2. “Public Hearing and Second Reading of Ordinance No. 5067-23 proposing a ballot question to amend Section 3.01 of the City Charter to prohibit the Mayor’s potential outside employment and limit business relationships.”

9.3. “Public Hearing and Second Reading of Ordinance No. 5068-23 amending the City’s Elections Code to require submission of documentation evidencing a candidate’s proof of residency at the time of qualifying for office.”

I included 9.1, 9.2 and 9.3 to test WPB Watch readers how well we observe what we see and read. Did readers notice that Rodney Mayo’s name is not mentioned. If you didn’t notice, that’s OK, you’re probably new to WPB. Welcome

Agenda for CC meeting

City Commission – Oct 02 2023 – Agenda – Pdf

A date has been set for my trial for feeding the homeless. I appear on 11/13/2023.

The end

 

 

 

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