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.
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 RivieraBeach 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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.