Goodman: Serena’s meltdown was thievery, too

Serena Williams of the U.S. and Naomi Osaka of Japan at the trophy ceremony for the U.S. Open after Osaka defeated Williams in the final at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, Sept. 8, 2018. (Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)

Serena Williams put on a deeply disappointing display on Saturday. Her unconstrained anger over an umpire’s call ruined the U.S. Open women’s tennis singles final and completely deflated the stunning victory of a 20-year-old champion who has idolized the legendary 36-year-old icon all her life.

Yes, the chair umpire robbed Serena of a game, which basically put the uphill match out of reach for her. But Williams robbed the newcomer Naomi Osaka of something irreplaceable, the joy she should have had in winning her first Grand Slam and the clamor and attention that should now be washing over this rising star.

And yes, I know that double standards based on sexism exist in tennis, and that Palm Beach Gardens’ most famous resident could be absolutely right that umpire Carlos Ramos was excessively hard on her because of that. That’s the view of the incomparable Billie Jean King, who applauded Serena for standing up for women, and of the six-time U.S. Open champ, Boca Raton’s Chris Evert. That’s how it looked to my wife, watching TV with me as the incredible sequence of events unfolded on Saturday afternoon.

The hard-hitting Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins laid out that case with blunt authority:

Ramos took what began as a minor infraction and turned it into one of the nastiest and most emotional controversies in the history of tennis, all because he couldn’t take a woman speaking sharply to him.

My reaction was different. I was really stunned that Serena exploded — and then wouldn’t let go. Ramos did start things off by making a questionable call: that the struggling champ had been getting signals from her coach in the stands. Ramos penalized her with a warning.

But Serena immediately turned it into a judgment of her honor and character. “I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose,” she pleaded.

Never mind that the infraction was no indictment of her behavior, let alone her character. It was against the coach for gesturing. Ramos might have cooled things down right then if he had pointed that out to her.

Then, a little while later, Serena hit a backhand into the net, an unforced error, and smashed her racket in fury. Sorry, that’s not championship behavior. I hated it when John McEnroe did it, and I hated to see her do it. And she made it no more palatable by dressing it up as an act of sisterhood: Hey, women should have every right to be as obnoxious as the men!

It so happens that Martina Navritalova, no slouch as a warrior for women’s dignity, agrees with me, writing: “We cannot measure ourselves by what we think we should also be able to get away with. In fact, this is the sort of behavior that no one should be engaging in on the court.”

For throwing the racket, Ramos properly charged Williams with a penalty. This second infraction cost her a point.

The context: We were in the second set. Williams had lost the first set, soundly, 6-2. She was losing this one. She wasn’t moving around the court well. Her serve was failing her. And Osaka had nothing but poise. The young Japanese-American-Haitian who got her training in Fort Lauderdale, now on the Arthur Ashe Stadium stage before a worldwide audience, was firm, focused, fluid and hitting with accuracy.

But Williams couldn’t drop it. She approached the chair and demanded an apology — which, c’mon, was never going to happen. Referees don’t do that, no matter the sport.

Then she went completely off the rails with a rant about being a mother and raising her daughter to “stand for what’s right for her.” Serena now seemed to me like someone carrying too heavy a load, not just a tennis champ chasing records for all-time, but a very self-conscious role model out to show that she could bounce back from a maternity leave, be a standard bearer for a new-model kind of strong, black femininity and perform at the highest level of her sport, all at the same time.

Even after the match resumed, and Osaka won another game, to lead 4-3, Williams resumed the argument and called Ramos a “liar” and “a thief.”

That was it. Penalty number three. Which meant Serena lost a full game. Just like that, it was Osaka, 5-3, and needing to win just one more game for the championship trophy.

Was that fair? Not really. Ramos could, and should, have played it cooler. But the real problem was that Williams should have got hold of her emotions before that final outburst.

It seems to me that you can’t win at anything if you don’t put your emotions on hold and focus on the challenge at hand. (Sure, the anger worked for McEnroe, but he is that unusual psychological type, the person who blows up and then feels calm and rejuvenated, no matter how anyone else around them feels.) Most of us can’t function well at all when we’re clouded by rage.

The fact is, bad calls happen. They even happen to great athletes. The job of the athlete is to compartmentalize it. Put it aside. Put yourself back in the match.

Then, after you’ve lost or won, complain and campaign all you want.

Is this hard to do? Hell, yes. I doubt that I could banish my anger from my mind if I thought my integrity had been impugned. I would be beside myself with rage. But I’m not a champion. She is. You only get to be a champion of Serena Williams’ caliber with very strong mental discipline – which she has had to employ for years, given the umpteen obstacles she was forced to overcome to dominate in such a white person’s sport.

Serena, the six-time U.S. Open champion, did not have that discipline on Saturday. In front of a crowd that really, really wanted to see her regain the crown for the first time since 2014.

All this said, I wonder why women’s tennis doesn’t insist on female umpiring. If pro-male bias is so insidious in this sport, then why not take the decision-making out of men’s hands altogether?

Facebook Live: Teens talk about Parkland shooting’s impact, gun violence

Call them Generation Parkland.

Though they were miles from the gunfire that killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School four months ago, they have been changed by it nonetheless.

“People are still devastated by these events,” said Donyea James, who just finished her junior year at American Heritage Boca/Delray High School. “It’s always on your mind: ‘What if it happens at my school? What if it would happen if I’m outside, or if I was the bathroom?'”

After the shootings, Keyiela Wilborn said she began checking on friends’ and classmates’ moods. The Palm Beach Lakes High school senior was looking for signs of possibly dangerous disquiet and encouraging them to talk if things are getting them down.

“It’s hard after these events to look at people the exact same way as you did before,” said Wendon Roberts of Spanish River High School. “But instead of thinking, ‘Oh, he’s being weird, I just better stay away from him,’ you have to think of it as, ‘Maybe this person really needs help.’ And that can stop a lot of these problems.”

Six teenagers, referred by the Urban League of Palm Beach County, talked with Rick Christie, editor of the Palm Beach Post Editorial Page, about the impact of gun violence in their communities and on their psyches. The Wednesday evening discussion was broadcast on Facebook Live.

The mass shooting at the Broward County high school spurred activism in the Palm Beach County students: they marched, held vigils, started organizations. “You want to do something not just to raise awareness, but to make a change,” James said.

Sterling Shipp and a friend had started a political science social group in the fall at Palm Beach Gardens High School. After Parkland, gun violence was the subject of every meeting. Attendance swelled. Even teachers came.

“It allowed us to have open dialogue,” Shipp said. “A lot of students came out, because they’re passionate about this.”

Gun violence hit close to home in other ways.

Wilborn said that, growing up in West Palm Beach and having relatives in Miami, “we hear about shootings all the time.” She knew a boy, “a wonderful kid, football player,” shot to death about a year and a half ago.

Roberts said that a classmate in 6th grade named Eduardo was killed along with his mother and brother in a domestic-violence shooting.

Christian Morales, just graduated from Suncoast High School, said a close friend and classmate named Brandon was shot and wounded in a drive-by while going for a walk with his brother.

Watch here:

Christie: Williams accident shines light on problem Northlake Blvd. intersection

Palm Beach Gardens resident and tennis player Venus Williams arrives for the grand opening of the Wellington Tennis Center June 09, 2015, in Wellington. Williams design company was involved in the design of the pro shop at the new facility. (Bill Ingram / Palm Beach Post)

The June 9 fatal accident involving tennis great Venus Williams has a lot of folks scratching their heads about who’s really at fault here.

RELATED: Cars in Venus Williams crash could be examined next week

The attorney for the family of Jerome Barson, the Acreage man who died from a fractured spine on June 22 as a result of the accident, believes Williams is at fault. The Barson family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams.

Linda and Jerome Barson were involved in a June 9, 2017, crash involving tennis star Venus Williams at Northlake Boulevard and BallenIsles Drive in Palm Beach Gardens. Jerome Barson died two weeks later. Photo Provided By Barson Family

But Williams’ attorney says she was in the intersection on Northlake Boulevard legally because she had a green light when she entered.

» RELATED: Venus Williams involved in fatal Palm Beach Gardens crash

Well, at least one Palm Beach Post letter writer has brought up a third party he believes may also have to answer questions about this tragic accident: the city of Palm Beach Gardens.

Gardens resident George Poncy says in a letter published in today’s editions of the Post that the intersection was always a fatality in waiting:

The newly released surveillance video of the Venus Williams crash confirms what any Steeplechase resident already suspected. Venus’ car was held up by a vehicle exiting BallenIsles that turned left in front of her, violating her right of way. Left-turning cars out of BallenIsles routinely cut off vehicles proceeding straight across the intersection. This is not the first fatality at that location — a few years ago, a young motorcyclist was killed, and there have been several other serious crashes at the same intersection.

The claim that the light turned green for east-west Northlake Boulevard traffic may be true, since the video appears to show three cars in all three eastbound lanes cross the intersection moments after the crash — indicating they likely had been stopped waiting for the light to change. Williams, having been cut off midway across Northlake, would have been unable to see the light, which at that point was directly overhead. The real party at fault here is the left-turning unidentified vehicle as well as Palm Beach Gardens, which has failed to correct a serious problem with the left-turning traffic out of BallenIsles. This situation has been a fatality waiting to happen, and now it has.

The location of the June 9, 2017, crash involving tennis star Venus Williams at Northlake Boulevard and BallenIsles Drive in Palm Beach Gardens on Thursday June 29, 2017. (Meghan McCarthy / The Palm Beach Post)

Why the police initially blamed Williams is problematic, and indicates they did not understand the hazard that existed (and still exists) at that intersection. The proposed examination of the vehicles involved is just a lawyers’ dance. Both vehicles might have avoided the accident with greater diligence, but neither created the problem.

A solution to the left-turning traffic out of BallenIsles routinely cutting off vehicles with the right of way moving in the opposite direction needs to be found, whether a left-turn arrow or some other means. As it stands, probably 100 tickets could be issued every day for this violation.

RELATED: Venus Williams crash: What caused ‘other traffic’ at intersection

It appears that regardless of what happens in the Barson family lawsuit against Williams, there’s a bigger issue here that deserves the attention of Gardens officials, and maybe even county transportation officials.

Post Endorsements: Litt, Klug, McCRay best picks in Tuesday’s runoffs

An election worker sets out signs at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church on Florida Mango Road. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Tuesday’s three municipal runoff elections have one thing in common: issues that come with the next phase of growth management.

For Boynton Beach, it’s reinvigorating and redeveloping a problem area that is the “heart” of the city. For Palm Beach Gardens, it is bringing proposed far-flung communities smoothly into the city. And for Jupiter, it’s finding a compromise for the future of a beloved waterfront.

Voters must go to the polls one more time to decide who will help lead them in finding answers to these issues, and more, in their respective cities.

With that in mind, the Post Editorial Board is reiterating our endorsements in Tuesday’s races.

PALM BEACH GARDENS: LITT

Rachelle Litt

For the Group 5 seat, the Post endorses Rachelle Litt, 61, a pharmacist at Jupiter Medical Center. Litt believes there is a need to actively seek a regional solution to traffic pressures. She places a heavier emphasis on preserving green space and improving recreation facilities than does her opponent. A 30-year resident, she and her physician husband raised three children in the city. We believe that her life experience — as well as her close knowledge of the healthcare sector, a growing part of the town’s economy — give her an edge.

JUPITER: KLUG

Ben Klug

Ben Klug, a 38-year-old custom metal fabricator, like Councilman Wayne Posner, brings a practical approach to managing growth and avoiding “over-development.” Like Posner, Klug is fine with a final Love Street plan that is smaller than the original and eliminates the troublesome land swap between the town and Modica. But it’s Klug’s desire to “represent everything Jupiter” that gives him an edge for the District 2 seat — from finding a way to improve critical police and fire-rescue radio communications on the beach to supporting the work at El Sol to helping businesses work with the town’s workforce housing ordinance.

BOYNTON BEACH: MCCRAY

Mack McCray

Vice Mayor Mack McCray says he has momentum and the focus to continue tackling stubborn issues in the Heart of Boynton neighborhood, and the Post is endorsing him for another term in District 2 to do just that. The Riverwalk Plaza and 500 Ocean projects show that downtown Boynton Beach is starting to move, according to McCray, who adds that he is finally working with a cohesive commission whose members are not focused solely on their own agendas. “We all agree attracting business development to the Heart of Boynton is a frustration,” he said. The commission’s new control of the Community Redevelopment Agency, which many saw as a power grab, leaves them with little excuse to not make clear progress.

ELECTION COVERAGE

To see The Post Editorial Board’s endorsements, visit PalmBeachPost.com/endorsements.

Post endorsements: In Palm Beach Gardens, Marciano, Lane and Litt

In Tuesday’s election, three city council seats will be filled by newcomers because of term limits that voters overwhelmingly passed in 2014.

Most of the candidates point to the same major challenges facing the city: properly handling the 50 acres for economic development the city is getting from the Avenir project; dealing with mounting traffic, ensuring transparency in city government; and grappling with the negatives of the coming Brightline high-speed rail and sober homes.

Mark Marciano

Seeking the Group 1 seat are optometrist Mark Marciano and Michael Paolercio, co-founder of Michael Anthony Jewelers, who says his business experience would help draw big corporations and their white-collar jobs. Paolercio, 65, is a director on the property owner association board of Frenchmen’s Reserve, where he’s had a home since 2007, and of the Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens synagogue.

Marciano, 46, has deeper and wider civic experience. A resident for 17 years, he has served on the city’s budget oversight committee since 2012, for two years as its chair. His knowledge of the town is extensive, having lived on the east side as well as in PGA National and participating in the Youth Athletic Association,  local Chambers of Commerce and PGA Corridor Association.

Matthew Lane

In Group 3, attorney Matthew Lane is facing homemaker Kathryn Gettinger and Quicken Loans co-founder Ronald Berman. Berman, 60, who ran unsuccessfully for State Senate District 30 last year, seems to be pursuing the city council seat as his consolation prize. Gettinger, 45, is running a quixotic campaign, refusing to send postcards out of concern for the environment.

Lane, however, is going full-bore with a well-funded campaign and detailed proposals for a slew of city problems. At 61, the Emory and Northwestern-trained lawyer (Phi Beta Kappa, he quickly tells you) belongs to a host of civic organizations and has the support of former mayors. He says that with a city council full of rookies, “we need some some know-how from Day 1.” We agree.

Four candidates are vying for the Group 5 seat: Kevin Easton, 62, a Pratt and Whitney retiree who ran unsuccessfully for council in 2011, briefly ran in 2016, and co-founded the successful drive for term limits; George Wicker, 73, who spent 32 years in strategic planning, finance, law and executive management at Lockheed Martin before retiring; Joe Russo, 27, the son of the Gardens’ longtime mayor of the same name; and Rachelle Litt, 61, a pharmacist at Jupiter Medical Center.

Rachelle Litt

Of the four, Russo and Litt are the more impressive candidates. Despite his youth and boyish appearance, Russo has an encyclopedic knowledge of the issues and smart ideas to address them. He is the best-funded of the candidates, his contributors including Realtors, investment companies and Florida CFO Jeff Atwater. Russo started and runs @Palm Beach Tech Association to promote next-generation economic growth.

Russo and Litt largely agree on the big issues, such as the need to actively seek a regional solution to traffic pressures. But Litt places a heavier emphasis on preserving green space and improving recreation facilities. A 30-year resident, she and her physician husband raised three children in the city. We believe that her life experience — as well as her close knowledge of the healthcare sector, a growing part of the town’s economy — give her an edge.

For Palm Beach Gardens, we endorse Marciano, Lane and Litt.

Palm Beach Post endorsements for the March 14 municipal elections will be posted online throughout this week on a city by city basis. They will be published in total in the Sunday, March 12, print edition.

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…

Letter: Roomier seats? How about eating fewer snacks?

Via Wikimedia.
Via Wikimedia

I was a bit confused reading the article regarding theater renovations in Palm Beach Gardens (“Cobb Theatre in Gardens plans to add roomier seats,” May 14). Are the facts not evident? If roomier seats are needed, perhaps we should be asking, “Why?”

The first thing you see when entering a movie theater is food. Not just food — but calorie-laden, preservative-packed foods. Do people really need to eat while watching movies? No.

Americans are becoming larger because of the unhealthy options that are constantly in front of them. We are a country addicted to “instant gratification,” and most people will act on their impulses. Not only will the price of admission be increasing as a result of the renovations but, indirectly, so will health care costs.

BEVERLEE MILLER RAYMOND, PALM BEACH

Letter: There’s no need to raise taxes in Palm Beach Gardens

www.public-domain-image.com (public domain image)
http://www.public-domain-image.com (public domain image)

I request there be no property-tax rate nor sales-tax rate increases in Palm Beach Gardens. Consider:

  1. The Post in the April 29 issue reported a growth in property values of 7.2 percent for the City of Palm Beach Gardens from 2015 to 2016. Property taxes are projected to generate $60 million of the General Fund budget in 2016. The 7.2 percent growth in property values would add approximately $4.32 million.
  2. It has been reported that sales of commodities covered by the sales tax grew by 7.4 percent in this area. The PBG General Fund budget for 2016 includes approximately $3.8 million from the half-cent sales tax. The 7.4 percent growth in commodities sold covered by the sales tax would add approximately $280,000.
  3. PBG would receive approximately $4.6 million from the combination of 1 and 2 above. The PGA General Fund budget for 2016 is approximately $75 million, and $4.6 million is 6 percent more revenue, with no increase in the property-tax rate or the sales-tax rate.

Therefore, no addition to the property-tax rate or the sales-tax rate is necessary, because their natural growth will produce substantial additional revenue.

RICHARD DUNN, PALM BEACH GARDENS

Palm Beach Gardens runoff decision could bring more election drama yet

Kevin Easton, David Levy and Carl Woods
Kevin Easton, David Levy and Carl Woods

By reversing an election result in Palm Beach Gardens, has a judge opened a can of worms for future contests?

That election for a city council seat had seemed settled on March 15, but now, a full two months later, we learn that it’s going for a replay.

Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Martin Colin ruled on Wednesday that incumbent David J. Levy, who had been certified the winner and sworn in for another term, must face his challenger Carl Woods in a runoff. The date for that is yet to be determined.

Colin ruled that the votes for a third candidate, Kevin Easton, were “improperly discounted.” As a result, the vote total should have read: Levy 6,642; Woods 6,256; Easton 1,103. That means that no one got a majority of the the 15,970 votes cast, Colin determined. And the town’s ordinances say that  “the candidate receiving the majority of the votes cast” shall be declared winner of any municipal election.

Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher earlier had said that Easton’s votes were stricken because he had ended his candidacy. “Mr. Easton withdrew from the race in writing on 2/6/16,” she said in an email to the Post Editorial Board. This is unlike situations in which a candidate suspends the campaign, as in the Florida presidential primary. There, votes for sidelined candidates like Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee were counted.

Richard Giorgio, a campaign consult for Levy, said Wednesday that Colin’s ruling “would have dramatic implications, not only for Palm Beach County, but possibly for the whole state of Florida.”

We’ll have to see if more drama ensues from this. As if this never-ending election cycle didn’t already have twists and turns already.

Woods and his attorney Brian W. Smith had also asserted that Levy was ineligible to run in the first place, because he violated the city’s term-limits rule. But Colin turned that argument aside.

 

 

 

 

 

Letter: State Prosecutor in no-win situation with Corey Jones case

Corey Jones
Corey Jones

Whilst I sympathize deeply with the family of Corey Jones on the tragic death of their love one, this case has drawn international attention, and after very careful consideration, the state attorney, Dave Aronberg, decided to hand the case over to the grand jury.

He has since been subjected to a barrage of criticism, and one wonders what the reaction would have been had he decided not to bring charges against the officer. To say that his action was politically motivated is ludicrous.

Aronberg has strong bipartisan support. Any challenge to him (on this issue) would be an exercise in futility. I say to those criticizing him, let your criticism be constructive; and to Dave, keep up the good work.

KARL WITTER, ROYAL PALM BEACH