Goodman: ‘Ugh, 2016!’ … What do you want to punch out this year the most for?

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-10-33-18-am

Ask just about anybody, and they will say that 2016 has been a rough year.

Of course, if you are a Cleveland Cavaliers or Chicago Cubs fan you might not feel that way. But take a look at social media, and you will see posts like “Ugh, 2016!” or “2016 just keeps on sucking!”

Celebrity deaths. A mass shooting in Orlando. Police killing civilians, civilians killing police. An election that left half the electorate disconsolate, and almost everyone feeling battered.

Even yesterday’s news of tennis champion Serena Williams’ engagement wasn’t enough.

Lots of us can’t wait for this year to end.

What made you maddest at 2016?

Or, to steal a line from ESPN2’s “His and Hers” show, “What do you want to punch out 2016 the most for?”

You can leave your answer here, as a comment below.

Better yet, join us (Post Editorial Page Editor Rick Christie and Editorial Writer Howard Goodman) as we discuss the question on Facebook Live at 11 a.m. today. See it here.

Christie: Pushing ‘stop-and-frisk’ wrong answer to Riviera Beach gun violence

Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters speaks during a press conference at City Hall in Riviera Beach, FL on Tuesday. "If I had it my way I'd stop everything moving," he said in a news conference Monday. He warned youth, in particular, "You never know when you might be stopped and searched." (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters speaks during a press conference at City Hall in Riviera Beach, FL on Tuesday. “If I had it my way I’d stop everything moving,” he said in a news conference Monday. He warned youth, in particular, “You never know when you might be stopped and searched.” (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Desperate times?

That has to be what Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters is thinking as he rolls out proposals this week to curb gun violence in his city by the sea.

How else to explain proposing potentially violating someone’s civil rights to solve a long-running problem.

“If I had it my way, I’d stop everything moving,” he said in a news conference Monday. He warned youth, in particular, “You never know when you might be stopped and searched.”

Stop right there… it sounds like the mayor didn’t quite think things through. Because that sounds disturbingly like he’s advocating a “stop and frisk” policy, which would be a violation of Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. You know, the one that protects citizens against illegal search and seizure.

Taking Masters at his word, a “suspicious-looking” young man or woman walking down the street can be arbitrarily stopped by a law enforcement officer and searched. This is the same type of police action that civil rights advocates (like Masters?) have been fighting and railing against for decades when it comes to young black men.

At some point, this became apparent to Masters, as this morning he backpedaled on the proposed measure in the last five minutes of an an 18-minute Facebook Live event.

“I don’t want you to think there will be any stopping and frisking, that’s strictly unconstitutional, he said. “The rights of our young people must be protected; must be respected.”

Indeed. But the mayor’s frustration was still as palpable as it was at a Tuesday morning news conference calling for an “assault on gun violence.” For example, he still didn’t back off the idea of checkpoints for vehicles being driven into the city “for safety reasons.”

The mayor’s frustration is understandable — and shared by many Riviera Beach residents.

Masters, now serving his fifth term as mayor, has presided over a seemingly intractable problem with regard to gun-related homicides. Again, understandably frustrating.

And particularly frustrating has been the amount of gun violence involving young people in his city.

Riviera Beach, to be sure, is not the only city in Palm Beach County facing this issue. West Palm Beach, with which it shares a northern border, suffered through horrible rash of youth gun violence in the summer of 2015. And Boynton Beach has had similar issues.

But none has gone as far as Masters went this week when he proposed ramping up a slew of measures — checkpoints, curfew enforcement and a gun buyback program — at Tuesday’s news conference.

He was reacting to a recent spate of shootings that left a number of young people injured and dead. Last night came word from the Riviera Beach Police Department that the teenage victim of a Friday shooting died Tuesday evening, while the second victim was released.

The news was followed this morning by Masters’ Facebook Live to thank folks in the community who are working to solve this problem, and announce a “prayer chain” to ask people to pray at the top of the hour seven times a day beginning at 6 a.m.

Prayer is good. But we can all agree that at this point it’s going to take a lot more than prayer. As City Councilwoman Dawn Pardo said at Tuesday’s news conference: “The city of Riviera Beach is under siege.”

It’s good that the mayor came around and realized that violating someone’s constitutional protection against illegal search and seizure is not the answer.

Do you agree?

Christie: Does task force Grand Jury report give whole picture of county’s sober home problem?

Palm Beach County chief assistant state attorney Al Johnson, left, Congresswoman Lois Frankel, and State Attorney Dave Aronberg, right, announce that a grand jury has issued 15 recommendations to combat the opioid crisis in Palm Beach County earlier this month. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Palm Beach County chief assistant state attorney Al Johnson, left, Congresswoman Lois Frankel, and State Attorney Dave Aronberg, right, announce that a grand jury has issued 15 recommendations to combat the opioid crisis in Palm Beach County earlier this month. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

The Post Investigative Team has written exhaustively about Palm Beach County’s heroin crisis which has contributed to a record number of overdose deaths over the past two years.

It has also sparked a much-hyped and celebrated Grand Jury report on the proliferation of shady sober homes in the county.

Well, apparently not everyone is “celebrating” the release of the report, as evidenced in Monday’s Point of View op-ed from West Palm Beach attorney James K. Green. Green, who has litigated in federal court for people in recovery who were seeking fair housing and treatment providers seeking zoning approval to open treatment facilities, says the report is unbalanced and lacks any perspective from attorneys who’ve actually dealt with sober homes.

The Palm Beach Post’s Dec. 13 story, “Sober home report cites patient abuse,” accepted without question the grand jury’s “Report on the Proliferation of Fraud and Abuse in Florida’s Addiction Treatment Industry.”

I believe grand juries can and do perform important functions, but they need to be “fair and balanced”.

… Palm Beach County, and Florida as a whole need to expand substance use disorder treatment opportunities, not demonize the health providers. While some regulation is certainly necessary, the grand jury essentially recommends over-regulation, which will drive up the cost of treatment and reduce its availability to those who need it most.

Additionally, the grand jury claims to have heard testimony from “private and municipal attorneys who extensively litigated treatment and recovery housing issues over the past decade.” I don’t know a single private lawyer in Palm Beach County who has extensively litigated treatment and recovery housing issues on behalf of people in recovery over the past decade who was called to the grand jury.”

You can read the rest of the op-ed here.

Then, let us know what you think in the comments section. And take our poll …

Christie: Why can’t we say ‘Merry Christmas” anymore without offending people?

A satanic display went up in Boca Raton s Sanborn Square, a designated freedom of speech zone, near a Christmas tree and biblical Nativity scene. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)
A satanic display went up in Boca Raton s Sanborn Square, a designated freedom of speech zone, near a Christmas tree and biblical Nativity scene. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)

It’s just not the holiday season anymore without a controversy over religious displays.

For years, more and more Americans are feeling like their holiday celebrations — especially Christmas — are coming under attack by so-called proponents of religious freedom.

And increasingly from those who don’t practice a religion, and thus feel offended that their hard-earned tax dollars are going toward displays like Nativity scenes and menorahs. In recent years, folks have chosen every thing from Festivus poles (“It’s a Festivus for the rest of us!”) to the old stand-by Satanic display to prove their point.

I should that is their right. Period. Because we not only have freedom of religion in this country, but freedom of speech.

That doesn’t mean, however, that some folks are just getting downright tired of it all. I’ve recently had folks who, after recognizing me in my local Publix, launch into a tirade about feeling vilified just for saying “Merry Christmas!”

Well, that’s unfortunate. Especially since saying “Merry Christmas” to someone is supposed to be a friendly way of greeting them this time of year.

Today, Palm Beach Post letter writer Larry Wingate of Jupiter went off on the issue of local Nativity scenes, or lack thereof:

“How many Nativity scenes have you seen this Christmas season? Is Jesus in the decorations and lights or are they only commercial settings? Jesus is the reason for Christmas. We have been conditioned to change this to “Happy Holidays” and winter festivals so as not to offend anyone.”

Does he have a point?

And the Post staff writer Lulu Ramadan has been extensively about the controversy surrounding a Satanic tribute erected at Sanborn Square park in Boca Raton.

On Tuesday, Ramadan reported that more than 50 members of Church of All Nations in Boca Raton church marched, prayed and chanted that afternoon for the removal of the display, which was placed last week between a Christmas tree and Biblical Nativity scene at the public park.

“Tear this thing down,”  Rev. Mark Boykin shouted into a megaphone, met with cheers from the crowd. Preston Smith, a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, secured permits before placing the aluminum pentagram at the park.

Above the pentagram, a sign reads: “In Satan we trust. One nation under Antichrist.”

City leaders are in a tough spot. The only thing saving them so far is that no formal complaint has been filed against the group.

But what should they do if a complaint is filed? Take our quickie poll and tell us here…

Trump voters tell Post they look forward to change — and why

“Maverick.” “Change.” “Doer.” “Different.” “Smart.” “Enterprise.” “Doesn’t Owe Anybody.” “America.”

Those were some of the words used by 10 local people to describe Donald J. Trump, the unconventional candidate they helped elect to the presidency.

Republicans, Independents and one Democrat, they came to The Palm Beach Post last night to explain why they helped put the brash billionaire, builder, brand name and reality-TV star into the White House.

We had put out an appeal to Trump voters to speak to us. More than 200 replied. Though we didn’t get the racial or ethnic diversity we would have liked, we narrowed the group to a manageable size to hear from voters who said that they had been largely ignored during the long presidential campaign.

Rick Christie and Howard Goodman of The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board talk with ten area voters who cast their ballot for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election during a Facebook Live event, on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 in The Palm Beach Post auditorium. (Joseph Forzano / The Palm Beach Post)
Rick Christie and Howard Goodman of The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board talk with ten area voters who cast their ballot for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election during a Facebook Live event, on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 in The Palm Beach Post auditorium. (Joseph Forzano / The Palm Beach Post)

“During the campaign I found that the mainstream media was so one-sided that I just couldn’t believe it,” said Michael Harvey, 66, of Boynton Beach. “I thought this would be an opportunity educate you as to why people don’t listen to you anymore.”

Alan Huber, 59, of Boynton Beach, said he was tired of the mainstream media portraying “anybody who was against Barack Obama’s policies is a racist, or Donald Trump is a racist.”

“We don’t have horns. We’re not racists. We’re actually among the most informed people there are,” Huber said.

They expressed deep concerns about jobs leaving America, illegal immigration and Obamacare. And they said they had great confidence that Trump would make inroads in these areas, and others, where other political leaders have failed.

They said they weren’t disturbed that Trump is shifting on some of his campaign promises — the border wall that’s now perhaps a fence, the 11 million deportations that might not occur, the reluctance to prosecute “crooked Hillary.” They view Trump as a master negotiator and his boldest campaign statements as opening gambits: he’ll attain his goals, even if it takes some modifications from his initial positions to get there.

“He’s the fastest learner I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Lee Roggenburg, 58, a financial adviser from Boca Raton.

“Donald Trump is going to run the country the way we need to run our businesses or our households,” said Patrice Boyland, 54, a self-described stay-at-home mom from Palm Beach Gardens. “In government, when something fails, they put more money towards it. He’s looking at things differently, on how to fix it — and it’s not always adding more money to the problem.”

It’s clear from these supporters that Trump will be entering the White House with a great deal of political strength — a big chunk of the American public that’s eager for him to shake things up and trusts that whatever surprises he springs on the political and media establishment, they’ll be for the better.

Take a look, then take our poll here…