elginjones3web.gifEDUCATOR’S HOME GOING
Veta Mae Peterman, 90, the revered Dania Beach educator, community activist, and reluctant local historian, was laid to rest this week. Ms. Peterman relocated to Dania Beach from Alabama with her family in 1938. She opened Peterman School in 1947, which taught black children in pre-school and kindergarten during those years of segregation. The school closed a few years ago.

In an ever-increasing effort to serve the community, South Florida Times Executive Editor Brad Bennett announces the formation of the paper’s Investigative Help Team. As the lead reporter in this effort, which includes Joy-Ann Reid reporting in Miami-Dade, I can tell you the newspaper aims to undertake even more issues impacting our community.  Along with our radio partner, 103.5 The Beat, and the local chapter of the South Florida Black Journalists Association, we intend to begin holding forums that will show organizations and individuals how to submit press releases and increase the likelihood that their issues will be covered by media outlets. We will also be conducting more investigations, so if you have something you want looked into, or a story idea, call us with your tips at 954-356-9360.

Due to a record number of properties in foreclosure and plummeting real estate values, the amount of revenue generated from property taxes next year will be significantly lower. Then there is Amendment 5, which now has the support of Gov. Charlie Crist, which could reduce property taxes by an additional 40 percent, if approved by voters in November. Amendment 5 will shift the burden of funding education from property taxes to sales taxes. Since the majority of citizens do not own a home or real estate, those who do own property now pay for most governmental services like schools, police and fire protection. What it all means is that school districts and local governments should begin tightening their belts now, because there is sure to be less money next year.

After a marathon meeting on Monday, the Miami-Dade County School Board voted 5-4 not to fire Superintendent Rudy Crew. The effort to oust Crew was led by board member Renier Diaz de la Portilla and several other Hispanic board members. The move has resurrected tensions between Latinos and blacks in the county.  

Sharon Bourassa and other attorneys with Legal Aid Service of Broward County, Inc. are providing free legal representation to property owners who have been issued citations for code violations in the city of Fort Lauderdale. The non-profit organization settled a lawsuit against the city in 2006 over the city’s code enforcement practices, and a new lawsuit could be filed as early as next week. Bourassa says the city has reverted back to using the same processes to unfairly penalize property owners in predominantly black neighborhoods. For more information on the free legal help, contact Legal Aid at 954-736-2425.

Early voting will begin in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties on Aug. 11. The polls will also be open on two Sundays, Aug. 17 and Aug. 24. This is a unique opportunity for churches to marshal their members to the polls. Mathes Guice, an assistant pastor at Koinonia Worship Center in Hallandale Beach, has an interesting idea. He advocates that churches encourage their members to go to the polls during the early voting period, and use buses to take congregants to vote after church, on these Sunday dates. This is a great idea, but it will take some doing. If anyone can make it happen, though, Guice is that person.

Broward Sheriff’s Office investigators are looking for the person who is responsible for a triple shooting that left 21-year-old Larry Guerrier dead and Guerby Marcelus and Sandra Mehu suffering from non-life threatening gunshots wounds. The shooting took place in the 3000 block of N.E. 5th Ave. in Pompano Beach last week. Witnesses say a small group of people was gathered outside a residence when a gunman jumped out of a car and began firing. Then, BSO said, the man fled in a car driven by another person. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call BSO Homicide Det. Efrian Torres at 954-765-4321 or Broward Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-8477.

The Palm Beach County school district is in the process of implementing a system in which students will soon be able to use debit or credit cards to pay for school lunches, yearbooks, prom tickets and other items. The move is intended to reduce the amount of cash transactions due to years of money being unaccounted for, and thefts taking place at schools throughout the district. The online system will cost $522,247 in start-up costs, plus other fees, and is expected to generate millions in annual processing fees, which will be paid to Bank of America.

The judicial elections are as important as any other political races, but for some reason these contests rarely get much attention. This year’s race for the Broward County Group 34 circuit court seat, however, may be one to watch. Incumbent Judge Renee Goldenberg is facing challenger Kim T. Mollica, a Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer. Both have been campaigning feverishly, and Mollica has blanketed the county with campaign signs. Sitting judges rarely get defeated in Broward, which makes this interesting.

A bill intended to regulate homeowners associations and civic associations could end up hitting homeowners in the wallet. Among the proposals in the bill is a $4-per-lot fee that would be imposed on homes to pay for state oversight of the associations. A similar fee is currently charged to each unit in condominium associations, and it could now be in the works for single-family homeowners, but let’s hope not.

Broward County commissioners are considering a proposal that would force businesses to install round-the-clock surveillance video cameras. The measure is the brainchild of Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion. Considering how rabid criminals are preying on citizens, it’s a good idea. Be that as it may, such a costly undertaking could cripple many small businesses, particularly in today’s economic climate. A better approach would be for the county to encourage installation of the systems, instead of mandating it. Furthermore, county officials should install the systems at all county facilities first, to get a sense of the expenses involved, before requiring businesses to do so.

Riviera Beach police have arrested Melissa Lawrence, 38, on neglect charges after her 3-year-old son was found walking along Australian Avenue at 5 a.m. this past Sunday morning, Aug. 3. Passing motorists spotted the child and called police. Moore told police that when she checked on the child before turning in herself at 3 a.m., all was well, and she had no idea how he got out of the home. She never reported the child missing the entire next day. A relative recognized him from news reports. Moore has outstanding warrants for grand theft, and is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail without bond.

Most of Broward County’s 47 parks will be closed and have their gates locked for at least one day per week, beginning Oct. 1. The move is intended to save money and offset budget shortfalls.