DRIVING WHILE ELECTED
Hallandale Beach City Commissioner Anthony Sanders was pulled over by city police on Sunday, Sept. 5, while driving through the northwest section of the city. He had his two teenage sons and their friends in the vehicle at the time and they were returning from a football game. Police were looking for an SUV similar to the one Sanders was driving that reportedly had armed men inside. Sanders said he put his hands out of the window as the officers demanded. The officers then responded by yelling profanities, with guns drawn on him and the kids, Sanders said. Sanders told them he was a city commissioner. According to Sanders, when the issue was finally cleared up after an hour, he reached out to shake one of the officers’ hand before they parted ways. But the other officer grabbed his partner’s hand and pulled it away, preventing the gesture of reconciliation. Hallandale Beach Police Chief Thomas Magill said his officers acted properly in a dangerous situation. If he believes that, then it may be time for someone else to lead this department. Is Magill saying that it is OK to cuss out citizens? For years, black residents in the northwest area of the city have complained of a lack of respect and the insulting manner in which police treat residents there. Chief Magill’s response is lacking and it sends the wrong message to officers but, more importantly, to black citizens already distrustful of the department he leads.
State Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Parkland, may sponsor legislation that would make judges appointed and then subject to retention by voters, instead of being elected. The procedure would be similar to that used to select Florida Supreme Court Justices. The idea is gaining support after a record number of judges in Broward County faced challengers during the 2010 primary elections. Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Plantation, who has run for judge in the past, expressed support. However, there is no talk about term limits for judges, which is what the public really needs.
Palm Beach County
CRA DIRECTOR INVESTIGATED
Boynton Beach’s Community Redevelopment Agency director Lisa Bright is under investigation for allegedly accepting perks from a company doing business with her agency, to whom she also awarded contracts. While she denied the allegation in the past, a private investigation firm hired by the city has determined Bright lived in an apartment owned by Joseph Ferrer, president of Sunset Entertainment. Bright is also under criminal investigation by the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office over the issue.
Miky Sinaise, 29, of West Palm Beach, faces aggravated child abuse and neglect charges after the Department of Children and Families determined he disciplined children with the flat side of a machete. Five of the children were his own and a sixth was left in his care. The children range in age from 8 months to 8 years and DCF officials say they found bruises on their backs and chests. The children have been temporarily placed with family members.
Despite the record rates of unemployment and increasing numbers of home foreclosures, Delray Beach officials are opposing a Wal-Mart Supercenter in their city. The store would be located at the site of the former Ralph Buick car dealership on Federal Highway south of Linton Boulevard. A final decision on the 24-hour store will come next month but the city's Planning and Zoning Board has unanimously voted against it. Supporters say the store would bring much-needed tax revenue and as many as 1,100 jobs at the now vacant site. Go figure.
Vernon Johnson, 42, of Riviera Beach, has been missing for nearly two weeks. Police say he was last seen in the 500 block of West Sixth Street in Riviera Beach around 3 p.m. Aug. 30. He had been in a fight earlier that day and had said he was going to the hospital to get treatment for his injuries. He takes medication for mental illness. Foul play is suspected. Riviera Beach police are asking anyone with information about Johnson’s whereabouts to call 561-845-4123.
FORMER TEACHER HELD
Former teacher Miguel Leonardo Cala, 37, of Coral Springs, was arrested in Virginia and is being held on child molestation allegations in Broward County. Cala is a former music teacher at St. Andrew’s Catholic School in Coral Springs. He resigned in May. He is accused of molesting a protégé he was tutoring in August but not at the school. He reportedly admitted to the accusations but went missing and fled before he could be formally charged and arrested.
Four people were arrested Tuesday, Sept. 7, for allegedly operating a prostitution ring. Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents and Boca Raton police arrested David Naftaly, 42, of Parkland; Rachelle Pelletier, 44, of Pompano Beach; Elizabeth Smodey, 27, of Wilton Manors; and Mike Mitchell, 49, of Wilton Manors. The ring was allegedly run out of Pompano Beach and the company is accused of advertising adult entertainment services but actually providing sex for money. As many as 15 women worked each shift and charged $160 per hour. Book’em, Dano!
CITY HALL MESS
The subpoenas are still landing on the desks of Homestead city officials and staff. Prosecutors are requesting documents related to a grand jury investigation surrounding the business dealings and contracts awarded by its Community Redevelopment Agency. The grand jury has widened its probe to include other alleged corruption in city hall, and there should be concern.
KNIFING SUSPECT ARRESTED
Julio Brigido Chapotin, 41, has been arrested by Miami Beach police as the man responsible for stabbing Matthew Goltzman to death on Saturday, Sept. 4. The two men argued in the 800 block of NE 81st St. in Miami Beach and Chapotin grabbed a knife from the kitchen, police said. Chapotin fled but was later arrested. He is charged with murder and is being held without bail.
Elgin Jones may be reached at EJones@sfltimes.com.