The city of Fort Lauderdale has filed a counter lawsuit against Henry and Andrea Bonner, the displaced family that has been left homeless by a city housing program. The city demolished their dilapidated home, under a promise to build them a new one, but nearly 18 months later said they did not meet the qualifications for the program. The Bonners have a lawsuit pending to get their house rebuilt. Last month, they were evicted from the temporary home after the city cut off rent payments, which is heartless.
Voter turnout in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward County has been brisk, and a record number of people are expected to cast votes during this period. The Nov. 4 Election Day will be a mess, with long lines, so I intend to vote during the Early Voting period, which everyone else can also do until Sunday, Nov. 2.
DUMB & DANGEROUS
Twenty-six-year-old Katrina Cle-mente of Port St. Lucie has been charged with aggravated battery on a pregnant woman and simple battery after hitting a teenager who is eight months pregnant in the stomach. The incident occurred after Clemente kissed a man who was sleeping in his van at the home where the teen lives. The man resisted, and an argument ensued. The teen and another woman came outside after hearing the argument, and that’s when Clemente assaulted her, according to the police report. Paramedics checked the teen and determined she was not harmed. Clemente is being held in the St. Lucie County jail on $10,500 bail.
RIGHTS FIGHTER DIES
Almost 11 months after he was beaten into a coma by Miami Beach Police, civil rights crusader Bernard “Bernie” Dyer, 75, has passed away. On Nov. 23, 2007, he was having an emotional event at home, when paramedics were called after a neighbor heard a commotion inside the house, where he lived alone. After arriving, paramedics called police after Dyer refused to answer the door. Although he was not harming anyone, the area was evacuated and SWAT units arrived. A quiet standoff lasted for hours before officers eventually fired tear gas canisters and burst into his home. When they emerged from inside the home, Dyer was beaten and bloodied. At the hospital, it was learned that he had major damage to his eye socket, and to his head, and that he had suffered brain trauma. An investigation is underway. Dyer, a Korean War veteran, relocated from New York to Miami in 1966, and was known for his successful and effective activism in Miami’s Liberty City area. He led an effort to improve the impoverished community, and for redevelopment in the aftermath of riots in the 1980s. He passed away in a Kentucky hospital where his daughter, Ethelda Dyer-Major, lives. The family intends to sue the Miami Beach Police Department over the beating and his death.
RIGHTS BOARD ELECTIONS
Employment and civil rights attorney Randy A. Fleischer has served on the Broward County Human Rights Board for years. He has also been chairman four times, and this week was elected for a fifth time to the board chairman’s post. The Human Rights Board oversees discrimination claims and enforces Broward County’s Human Rights ordinances.
No less than 10 times over the past several decades, Miami-Dade voters have made it clear they do not want county commissioners to get a raise that would increase their $6,000 annual salaries. Nonetheless, a referendum on the Nov. 4 ballot asks voters to approve an $86,000 raise, which would increase their salaries to $92,000.
The Broward County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s Adolescent Health Conference Committee will host the organization’s 29th annual Adolescent Health and Sexuality Conference. The event will focus on youth-related health issues for those between the ages of 11 to 17. It is free, open to the public, and food and refreshments will be served. Church and community organizations are encouraged to pre-register those who will attend. The event will be held at Dillard High School, located at 2501 NW 11th St., Fort Lauderdale, on Saturday, Nov. 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be workshops on HIV/AIDs prevention, teenage pregnancy, and sessions on Internet predators and provocative websites. To pre-register, or for more information, contact Dawn Thurston, co-chairperson of the Adolescent Health Conference Committee, at 954-522-2840, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Palm Beach Daily News, The Palm Beach Post and the Spanish language La Palma newspapers will now be printed at the Sun Sentinel's plant in Deerfield Beach, starting as early as December. The newspapers are all owned and published by Palm Beach Newspapers Inc., which will do away with 300 positions at the company’s plant in West Palm Beach.
WILTON MANORS FALLOUT
More than a month after the city of Wilton Manors reached a $52,000 settlement of a racial discrimination complaint filed by former employee Lisa Wiggins, the fallout is not over. Wiggins was the only black employee in the city’s Community Services Department. She alleged that she endured insults and other mistreatment. Supervisors ignored her complaints, which exacerbated the situation. City Manager Joseph Gallegos suspended and demoted her immediate supervisor, Asst. Community Services Director Ann Barnes, who has now reached a retirement deal. Now, Wayne Thies, the department’s director, has been suspended for three days for his role in the situation, and more is on the way.
OBAMA IN LAUDERDALE
Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama was in Fort Lauderdale, on Sistrunk Boulevard of all places, this week. It’s the first time any nominee of a presidential party has ever visited the area, and hopefully we can get Republican Party nominee Sen. John McCain to come as well, but I doubt it.
CLERK’S SCREW UP
Fort Lauderdale city commissioners held interviews for residents who submitted applications to be considered for the appointment to fill, and complete the term of retiring District III Commissioner Carlton Moore. A number of people who said they would have applied are complaining, alleging City Clerk Jonda Joseph told them if they did submit applications for the appointment, they would not be allowed to run for the seat permanently during the March 2009 elections, when the term expires. Joseph denies the allegations, but if she did give out such information, it is patently untrue, outrageous, and not to mention unfair. Joseph knows, or certainly gets paid enough, to have known better. Only the city charter sets criteria for seeking public office, not an ill-informed city clerk. Commissioners should re-open and extend the period for citizens to apply for the appointment, and then determine what led Joseph to give out such ridiculous information.
Even though attorney George Allen successfully sued Harvey L. “Rick” Riley over an alleged $12,200 in misappropriated funds, the Zeta Alpha Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity – of which Riley is the former president – has won the state contest to be named the organization’s statewide Chapter of the Year. The group, primarily based in Broward, will now move on to compete in a regional contest involving numerous states.
Elgin Jones • EJones@SFLTimes.com