elgin_jones_web_13.jpgAMAZON IS HERE
Amazon.com CEO Jeffrey Bezos has released details of a new strategy in certain markets where customers will be delivered some items within a few hours after purchasing them.

It means a major distribution center will likely be located in South Florida. The plan is part of an agreement with several states, including Florida, by which the company will begin collecting sales taxes for the first time. Amazon is already investing more than $1 billion to open distribution centers in New Jersey, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee and California.

Palm Beach County

Delray Beach Vice Mayor Tom Carney and the other city officials have hired high-stakes lobbyists to push legislation in Tallahassee to help their efforts to regulate drug and alcohol rehabilitation homes. City officials have been trying to restrict where so-called “sober homes” can be located. Delray Beach has a number of such homes operating within the city limits and wants to stop them from operating in neighborhoods with single-family homes. The city refused to issue a
permit to the Caron Foundation, a Pennsylvania-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation organization, to open a facility in a mansion it owns on the beach. A federal judge has issued an injunction prohibiting the city from shutting down the facility.

Matthew Olson, 26, of Melbourne, has been arrested in the burglary of several cars in northwestern Boca Raton. Officers said after seeing him walking in the rain at 1 a.m. on Yamato Road, they noticed he appeared to be trying to hide a plastic bag as they passed by. They stopped him and during a search found a wallet and other personal items in the bag that had been reported stolen in vehicle burglaries earlier in the day, officers said.

Circuit Court Judge Lucy Chernow has ruled in favor of citizens who want
a ballot referendum on Archstone, a massive rental housing project planned for downtown Boca Raton. Mayor Susan Whelchel and city commissioners approved a land use plan for the project, which many residents oppose. A citizens group collected more than 1,000 signatures seeking to have the measure placed on the ballot but city officials rejected their petition. The group filed a lawsuit in hopes of forcing the city to approve the ballot measure. The people have won and unless the city appeals the issue will be decided by voters.

Broward County

Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti, a Republican, is in a heated race with his Democratic challenger Scott Israel but what some supporters did this week is a classic sneaky trick that backfired and angered some pastors. Lamberti campaign workers are accused of distributing fake palm cards purporting to come from President Barack Obama’s campaign with a recommendation to vote for candidates including a Republican.

His campaign also sent out an email urging his supporters to show up at get out the vote rallies that Rev. Al Sharpton held with Democratic supporters this past weekend. These were Democratic Party functions and for a Republican campaign to pull such a stunt is regrettable. Lamberti has refused to debate Israel, has not participated in candidate forums held in the black community and has yet to explain why.

Lamberti is running the same ads from the 2008 campaign that suggest Israel was found to have used excessive force against blacks when he was a member of the Fort Lauderdale police Northwest Raiders street crime unit. The ad also says the files are now missing, to make it appear as if Israel somehow had something to do with it. It’s a crafty and effective ad — if you are an uninformed voter. The fact of the matter is that every law enforcement officer gets complaints from citizens, including  Lamberti. Internal Affairs investigated and cleared Israel in each of those complaints.

All public agencies, including the Broward Sheriff’s Office, destroy certain records after a period of time. It’s the law. Anyone seeking information on those complaints can find it in Israel’s personnel files, where they will also find that he was never disciplined as a police officer and had a clean record. The five-member N.W. Raiders unit was formed in 1985 at the request of black residents whose northwest Fort Lauderdale neighborhoods were under seige by criminals involved in violence and crack cocaine. The unit has included black officers such as Eddie Robinson and Frank Adderley, who is now the Fort Lauderdale police chief.

Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley has implemented an intensive crime crackdown along the Sistrunk Boulevard corridor which is undergoing redevelopment. Dozens of drug, prostitution and other arrests have been made and the program has now been extended indefinitely. There also has been a crackdown on speeding in the area  but some of those citations could end up being thrown out. The speed limit in the area has been reduced to 25 miles per hour, down from the original 45 mph. Sistrunk is a county road and Broward County’s traffic engineering division has yet to install the new speed limit signs, which could end up jeopardizing numerous speeding tickets issued. Fort Lauderdale police have now set up temporary message boards that post the 25 mph speed limit.

Miami-Dade County

Hector Caraballo, 40, the fifth suspect accused in the 2002 kidnap, rape and murder of Ana Maria Angel, has pleaded guilty to the crime. He was the last suspect to be convicted in the case and will serve 50 -years in prison. It was a brutal crime against the teenager.

Two men died and one was injured in a drive-by shooting in Miami-Gardens. The attack occurred at a home in the area of Northwest 177th Street and 14th Avenue. An unknown number of suspects got out of an older model Pontiac Grand Prix and fired several shots then got back into the car and sped off. One of the victims died at the scene, another died at a hospital and the third is in critical condition. 

Shellie Baptiste, 17, who is said to have the mental capacity of a 10-year-old, is missing after running away from her Miami home last weekend, according to Miami-Dade police. She is described as an endangered runaway, 5-foot-7, 130 pounds and was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, black shorts and yellow sandals. Police are asking anyone with information to call 305-476-5423.