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

 

 

 

Sandy’s second Court Date.

September 26, 2023, is a day that I will remember for a long time. That’s the day I appeared in Criminal Court along with three members from FNB, all arrested and charged with feeding a large group of 25+.

Of course, the 25+ were the homeless just looking for a meal, many their first and only meal of the day.

All the preparations that were needed. A friend to fill in the amount of my utility bills, somebody to maintain my lawn, and my biggest worry was my beloved KC who stood by me for 8 years. She would never understand my going out one morning and not coming home for 60 days. What would she think? I left her, I abandoned her, I didn’t love her anymore.  Thankfully I have a very good friend who was willing to move into my home and care of her.  My biggest worry taken away.

I arrived early and had no idea what to expect and the process went smoothly and quickly as I was directed to courtroom # two and was told that an attorney from the city of WPB who was prosecuting the cases would be in to speak to me.

When I looked across the courtroom and saw the three members from FNB speaking to a woman who I assumed was the attorney from WPB. It was, and my turn was next. Photo of 3 members of FNB who Mayor James and Commissioners considers criminals.

The city attorney approached me and started to explain the situation. She told me the fine could go from zero to $500. The city was willing to fine me $100 which I had 60 days to pay, or I could do community service and my case dismissed.

The city was offering me a good deal, I wasn’t going to jail that day. I told the city attorney that I was being offered a very good deal, but I had to turn it down because I was going to plead not guilty to the charge.

I attend the feedings on Saturday afternoon for two reasons, as I’ve written before, one to observe and two when the feeding was over police the area and picked up any trash that might have been left behind. I don’t want the Mayor, City Commissioners or residents that visit the area to have anything to complain about.
It was brought to my attention that picking up trash in the park, I was actually doing community service. I never thought of it that way. I don’t pick up trash because I was ordered to, I do it because I choose too.

So, what’s next?

October 2, 2023 @ 8:30 AM I am ordered to appear in Criminal Court, before a judge who will decide my “case dispositions.”

Help from Tallahassee?

170 — Local Ordinances “The bill pertains to the passage and challenging of local ordinances. It adds to the process for local governments passing ordinances and gives certain additional rights to those challenging local ordinances.”
Additionally, the bill imposes certain conditions on lawsuits brought by any party to challenge the legal validity of local ordinances as preempted by state law, arbitrary, or unreasonable. In these cases, the bill:”
“Requires the local government to suspend enforcement of an ordinance of such legal challenge, under certain circumstances.
Requires the court to give those cases in which enforcement of the ordinance is suspended priority over other pending cases and render a preliminary or final decision as expeditiously as possible.
Provides that a court may award up to $50,000 in attorney fees to a prevailing plaintiff who successfully challenges an ordinance as arbitrary or unreasonable.”

https://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/BillSummaries/2023/html/2933

Sandy’s requested PRR not received. 

Thu, Sep 7, 2023.        1st. PRR requested a copy of my police arrest report. 

Sun, Sep 10, 2023.       Received my arrest report, in 3 days.

Shocked by the report I placed another PRR

Sept.11, 2023.    2nd. PRR requested.  Quotation marks wording in police report. Request bold, 

“I made contact and received a Sworn Statement from the original caller Jessica Kelly (Event Coordinator”   Please supply me with a copy of Ms. Kelly’s Sworn Statement.

“I contacted WPB STIC in order to review city cameras, and Det Skotzke located the subjects on scene for more than an hour serving food in the city owned property. This video was submitted to Evidence”      Please provide me with a copy video that was submitted as evidence.

Sept.29, 2023  18 days later, and 3 days before my next court date, the city has not supplied me with my PRR.

The saying above I found on Facebook and wanted to share. I believe that is what I am doing, and I know I am not standing alone.

Far from over.

 

 

 

 

Sandy’s Arrest

KELLY, JESSICA  A (Event Coordinator) for City of WPB.

Below is a copy of my police report and excerpts from the report.

Sandy Police Report

“I made contact and received a Sworn Statement from the original caller Jessica Kelly (Event Coordinator). She advised that at approximately 1600hrs she observed a vehicle parked on the sidewalk unloading food items, she approached to request for the vehicle to be removed.

As Kelly approached, she observed food plates and people eating around a table approximately 30 or more. Kelly asked Matkivich if she was part of the Ukraine Relief event, which had food and beverages on sale and was a permitted event, and she replied no.

Kelly then asked for the “Food not bombs” table and food items to be removed from the area. When Matkivich became aggressive and confrontation towards Kelly, Kelly walked away and contacted WPBPD.

It should be noted that Matkivich was very argumentative and did not want to provide identification to police, and at one point giving an alias of “Sandy”.

“I contacted WPB STIC in order to review city cameras, and Det Skotzke located the subjects on scene for more than an hour serving food in the city owned property. This video was submitted to Evidence. All four of the above subjects were cited under West Palm Beach Ordinance 5037-23 for Feeding Over 25 people with a court date of September 26, 2023, at 0800. All subjects signed for their Notice to Appear.”

My side of the report. I requested a PRR (Public Records Request) on September 07, 2023

“On 8/26/2023 I was arrested for the charge of feeding large group 25+. I am requesting a copy of the police report and accompanying police video.”

September 10, 2023. I received the police report, but no police video, in 3 days. After reading the police report I submitted another PRR on September 11, 2023

“After reading the report, I have another request. The report states. “I made contact and received a Sworn Statement from the original caller Jessica Kelly (Event Coordinator)”

PRR     Please supply me with a copy of Ms. Kelly’s Sworn Statement.

“I contacted WPB STIC in order to review city cameras, and Det Skotzke located the subjects on scene for more than an hour serving food in the city owned property. This video was submitted to Evidence.”

PRR    Please provide me with a copy video that was submitted as evidence.

September 24, 2023.  The police dept. has not supplied me with Kelly’s statement, or the video submitted as evidence. 14 days and counting.

Police report also states “It should be noted that Matkivich was very argumentative and did not want to provide identification to police, and at one point giving an alias of “Sandy”.

This is definitely overkill. I never refused to provide ID to the police. I told the officer my ID was in my car which was parked 2 blocks away. I was not asked to retrieve it. They asked me my name and date of birth.

I told them Sandy Matkivich and gave my date of birth. He ran a DAVID report on me and my name didn’t come up. I told him that either Chief Adderley or Deputy Chief Morris could identify me.

I assume he called one of them because he came back to me and asked if my name was Madeline. Damn, I realized my mistake. Anyone who knows me I am Sandy. Was Sandy from the womb and will be Sandy to my tomb. I did not intentionally give the police false information.

I have questions.

Does Jessica Kelly ((Event Coordinator) have the authority to “request for the vehicle to be removed” and for the “Food not bombs” table and food items to be removed from the area”?

Why did I request the sworn statement from Kelly? I don’t recall ever meeting or talking to her. I wanted to read her entire report which was not included with the police report.

Why did I request a copy of the city video placed into evidence? The city states ” Det Skotzke located the subjects on scene for more than an hour serving food” I want to see me on camera being “aggressive and confrontation” Why wont the police dept. honor my PRR?

Response to readers who asked why I wasn’t at the DNA event on Sept 20, 2023, 6-8pm. I did receive an invitation, and notice Dear Sandy, not Madeline.

Dear Sandy,
You’re invited to a special DNA event next week:
NEIGHBORS UNITE: BUILDING SOLUTIONS FOR DOWNTOWN HOMELESSNESS – A WELCOME RECEPTION & PANEL DISCUSSION. The DNA provided food and drinks (wine).

Three weeks before the DNA invite, with the same date and time, I was invited to a farewell party for Jose Tagle, a city employee, who was instrumental to the Hispanic community of WPB for over 21 years. I accepted the invitation.

Jose is so loved and respected by all who knew him with the exception of Mayor Keith James who called Jose Tagle (Neighborhood Services Coordinator) and Tiffany David (Neighborhood First) into his office and stated, ” I’m going to cut to the chase, both of your jobs have been eliminated, effective immediately.”

There it is and I’m not buying it. Something is in the wind. Time will tell, we’re looking.

Jose party was a success with many people coming in to wish him good luck. I was in good company which included former Mayor Jeri Muoio, and former City Commissioner Kelly Shoaf along with many others. Jose Tagle will be sorely missed by former and newer employees of the city along with the Hispanic Community.

At the DNA meeting Jennifer Ferriol, (Housing & Community Development) made a statement verified by 2 people, and people in the audience had their phones out and videoed the meeting, that the city had difficulty removing the homeless, and FNB, the organization that offers a much-needed meal from city owned property. FNB feed the homeless on Saturday afternoon at the Nancy M. Graham Centennial Square and Fountain Park, also known as the Great Lawn. This is the spot the city has placed 1st; removable barriers and replaced them with a chain link fence.

Ferriol commented the mayor has formed a committee to look into making the park private. If this is successful it means the police can arrest the homeless and people feeding them. Making it private the city will lease the land to someone to do God knows what with the land. Hope it’s not Related.

Terri Parker, Investigative Reporter for WPBF (25) has written a story and can be read below.

“West Palm Beach erects fence around downtown park pavilion ahead of League of Cities meeting City says it’s not to keep homeless away but for overdue maintenance.”

https://www.wpbf.com/article/west-palm-beach-florida-erects-fence-around-downtown-pavillion-ahead-of-league-of-cities-meeting/45270560

The park has a Men’s & Women’s Room which the homeless no longer have access too. What are they supposed to use?

My silly analogy, and more question’s for Google. “How many bullets can a 38 revolver hold? Answer 5.”

“Does a 38 revolver eject cartridges after firing? In many top-break revolvers, the action of breaking open also pushes an extractor lever upward, which ejects all the cartridges or empty cases or moves them far enough out of the cylinder that they can be pulled out easily.” In other words, the spent cartridge stays in the gun’s chamber until removed.

Mayor James demanded wanted the Amendment to punish people who feed the homeless to be as severe as possible. $500.00 fine and / or 60 day’s in jail and needed the vote of the City Commissioners to make it happen. Three of the 5 would accomplish that, one commissioner for each chamber.

James brought the gun, loaded it up with 5 City Commissioners who voted unanimously to approve the Amendment. Not one question asked about the homeless population dying of starvation. I don’t recognize my own country, and it’s getting worse.

It’s still painful to think about James refusing to renew Henrietta Farms contract. The farm in the poorest section of the city that people of color depended on for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Why does James have a problem with feeding the poor and homeless?  I have no answer, but I do know he feels no shame–ever–he told us.

The end—for now.

 

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