Albert R. McWhite Sr., a community leader who is the owner and operator of McWhite’s Funeral Home in Lauderhill, is recovering after Fort Lauderdale police arrested him at his home on Monday, Oct. 27. The incident happened after police followed a vehicle to McWhite’s home, where officers allege that his son, Albert Jr. who did not have a valid license, was driving the car. A dispute erupted after officers were told that the younger McWhite was not driving the car. The elder McWhite, his daughter, Elizabeth, and Albert Jr. were all taken into custody. In the process, the elder McWhite reportedly suffered unspecified injuries after police hit him with a baton. Fort Lauderdale police have not commented or released the police report, but we’ll keep on top of this.
GOODBYE, MR. PRESIDENT
We will soon have a new president and we now know who he is. He will have his work cut out for him because there is much work to do. However, we are now hearing misguided whispers about reconciliation and forgiveness by President George W. Bush of any crimes that may have been committed by members of his outgoing administration. Bush will soon begin issuing pardons. There is no telling what our new president and the new Congress will stumble upon in the rubble Bush is leaving behind. The proper thing to do is to bid Bush goodbye, and then begin to assess the damage he and his cohorts have caused to the nation, and the world. Only then, and after careful evaluation and exposure, should consequences be discussed. But in no way should this bunch be allowed to leave town with the billions in their pockets or without shackles on their feet. Book ’em, Dano!
SAFE & SOUND
Filson Milhomme, a 20-year-old man suffering from mental conditions, has been found safe and sound at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, which is miles away from his West Park home in southern Broward County. Milhomme had been relocated to a home with family members in West Park for only a few months when he came up missing on Oct. 22. He is unfamiliar with the area and has the mental capacity of a 10-year-old. There is no word on how he ended up in Miami, but thank goodness all is well.
Rupert A. Thompson, 32, and Kenron M. Thompson, 18, were arrested on felony child neglect charges after 10 children living in a Fort Pierce home they shared were found in despicable squalor. The conditions are too disgusting to detail here, but Rupert A. Thompson is the father of some of the kids, and Kenron is his nephew. This mess was discovered when authorities visited the home after a 12-year-old girl living there was reported missing. The child was found safe, but all of the children have now been placed in the care of foster families.
Dr. Marion Thorpe, who challenged incumbent U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings for his District 23 congressional seat, has filed a police report alleging Hastings threatened him over his campaign tactics. The incident reportedly occurred after the two engaged in a debate last Thursday in Boca Raton. Hastings denies the allegations and said it was a tactic by which Thorpe was seeking attention.
WHAT FREE SPEECH?
The Florida Supreme Court has upheld a decision by the Florida Bar to discipline and fine Fort Lauderdale attorney Sean Conway $1,250 for criticizing and insulting Broward Circuit Judge Cheryl Aleman on an Internet blog in 2006. In an unrelated incident, the city of Deerfield Beach is awaiting an arbitrator’s ruling in the case of employee Wayne Adams. Adams was suspended for a day after posting inflammatory comments on another blog. In these and other instances, the foot of Big Brother is being pressed on the necks of citizens who use the Internet to express their frustrations with the powers that be. Authorities are cracking down, and it’s gone too far. If Conway or Adams had made their remarks orally, at work or during a courtroom proceeding, this would be one thing. But engaging in activities on their own time to express themselves, except in the most extreme circumstances, should not be subject to government harassment or punishment.
We have elections coming up in March, and for the most part they are non-partisan municipal contests in which everyone, regardless of party affiliation, will be allowed to participate. Florida has some weird voting laws, undoubtedly designed to suppress the vote and intended to maintain the dominance of the two-party Democrat/Republican party system. During the past presidential primary season, we saw a number of states in which registered voters were allowed to cast ballots in any primary they chose, regardless of party registration. This is a good thing, and it is time for Florida to do the same. Gov. Charlie Crist can take the lead, or the people can push it by registering en masse as ‘no party affiliation’ voters.
If you live in Palm Beach County and your pet comes up missing, get down to the Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control facility as quickly as you can. The agency is euthanizing stray animals at a blistering pace, reportedly due to exploding populations, a lack of space, and strains on resources allotted to feed and care for the animals.
State Sen. Dave Aronberg, (D-Greenacres) of Palm Beach County, has introduced a bill that would delay, if not halt, the state from leasing Alligator Alley and other Florida infrastructures to foreign companies. The bill would prohibit the state from entering into leases with foreign-financed companies and create a two-year moratorium on any plans to turn over state roadways to private domestic companies. Six firms, four of them foreign owned, are on the short list of finalists to be awarded a 50- to 75-year lease on the 78-mile highway. It stretches from Broward County, across the Everglades and into Collier County on the west coast, and vice versa. If the lease agreement is awarded, the highway will be widened and become a privately operated toll road. Ouch!
CITY HALL COLLAPSE
When it comes to hiring city managers, Fort Lauderdale commissioners just can’t seem to get it right. Even though current City Manager George Gretsas earns more than any other person in that post in the city’s history, he has lost the confidence and respect of the employees. Even residents are complaining about his secretive, totalitarian administration, which would make Vice President Dick Cheney proud. Employees are complaining about being shouted at and demeaned by senior managers in meetings, and about intimidation. Then there are allegations that complaints filed with the city’s Office of Professional Standards (OPS) against managers are suppressed. One such case is that of police officer Nina Justice, who filed a complaint against Asst. City Manager David Hebert for yelling at her. Robert Bates, an attorney who heads the city’s OPS office, initially denied she had filed any complaint, but was able to locate it after the South Florida Times began investigating. Now, another police officer, Jack Lokiensky, who is also president of the Fraternal Order of Police union, is alleging a complaint he filed against Hebert in an unrelated matter has been quashed. At some point, city commissioners will have to evaluate the collapse in city hall, and begin to exact some oversight of the failed OPS office, and the Dick Cheney-type pressure being placed on employees who complain.