Henry and Andrea Bonner, along with their children, this week were evicted from a house they obtained from a city of Fort Lauderdale housing program. The program demolished the Bonners’ own home in 2006, under a promise to rebuild the family a new one. The family was relocated to the temporary home until the construction on their new home was to be completed. Last year, the city’s attorneys determined the family did not meet the criteria for the program after all, more than a year after Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Gretsas’ administration had already demolished the old home. All the while, the family has been paying the mortgage on a home that no longer exists. Now, through no fault of their own, they will be out on the street because incompetent managers have callously stopped paying rent on their temporary home and will not rebuild the old house. This is a cotton-picking shame, and yet another example of the rampant incompetence permeating city hall under Gretsas.
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Julio Arce, 53, of Plantation, is a chaplain for VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, which is one of the largest care providers to terminally ill individuals. Last week, Arce was arrested at his home on sexual battery charges, and suspended by VITAS. He was allegedly caught engaging in sex acts with a non-responsive and incapacitated patient at Columbia University Hospital in Tamarac. The details are too sickening to print here, but according to the police report, a hospital employee walked into the woman’s room and caught Arce in the act. Arce denied the allegations, and told investigators he was only trying to make the woman comfortable. Arce is now out of jail on $7,500 bail, but maybe the judge should have ordered him to wear a monitoring device. Finally, just because someone is accused, does not mean that he is guilty, but DNA tests should resolve this issue fairly quickly. With that said, such stomach-churning allegations are shocking.
Miami-Dade County commissioners on Tuesday refused to reconsider the 50-cent fare increase for bus and metro-rail passengers they narrowly approved two weeks ago by a 6-5 margin. This means that starting Oct. 1, the base bus fare will rise from $1.50 to $2. In 2002, voters approved a half-cent sales tax to help shore up Miami-Dade County transit operations, but the agency is still hurting. If the increase had not been approved, transit officials were ready to cut 700 jobs and eliminate 15 routes while cutting out weekend service on a number of the remaining routes. Let’s hope they find some solutions, because people are hurting financially, and many riders simply can’t afford increases.
Several more people are emerging as contenders for the appointment to the Fort Lauderdale city commission, to complete the term of former District III Commissioner Carlton Moore. Walter “Mickey” Hinton, president of the Durrs Homeowners Association, has confirmed he will apply for the post, and businessman Corey Alston has been meeting with friends and supporters about applying as well. The vacancy was created when Moore resigned to run for a seat on the Broward County Commission, one he narrowly lost to incumbent County Commissioner John Rodstrom. Whoever gets the nod will serve until the March 2009 elections, but don’t say any final goodbyes to Moore just yet, because he may have a few options up his sleeve.
The Rev. Dr. O’Neal Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, has penned his first book. Touted as a faith-based guide to democracy, it is titled Who's On The Lord's Side Politically. I won’t give too much away, but it is now available at Amazon.com and bookstores nationwide. I won’t call any names, but there are some people who may want to get a copy, to see if they are in this book.
Lauderdale Lakes, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale and several other municipalities will hold local elections in March 2009. Due to term limits and other factors, the political landscape will change in Broward, and some of these contests will be bare-knuckle affairs, so stay tuned for some wild updates.
MORE MEDIA CUTS
After cutting 250 positions earlier this year, The Miami Herald has announced 80 additional people will be laid off, and another 40 vacant positions will also be cut. About 23 of those cuts will come in the newsroom.
Kenneth James O'Brien, 51, of Fort Lauderdale, is being held in the Alachua County Jail on one count of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child. He is being held on $50,000 bail after being arrested and charged with molesting an 11-year-old boy. O’Brien had been staying with family in the Gainesville area when the boy’s father walked in and caught him in the act, as he was naked in bed with the boy. Police were contacted, and when they arrived, O’Brien confessed to molesting the boy on three other occasions, as well. Police searched a wooded area near the home and also found a laptop computer O’Brien said he used to show pornographic materials to the boy. Book’em, Dano!
The Broward County School District is in financial straits. Yet teachers want pay raises, and no one can blame them. The outlook for next year appears to be worse, however, and I suspect many district employees, including teachers, will be happy just to have a job, but we’ll see.
BAD LUCK POTHOLES
Sharon Bourassa, an attorney with the Legal Aid Service of Broward County, Inc., has spent years in the fight over the toxic Wingate landfill site, which has been covered up and is now surrounded by a fence. During a recent visit to the area, Bourassa stepped into a hole left by crews doing work along Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., which borders the western side of the dump. She suffered injuries to her knees, elbow and ankles. Bourassa told Broward County officials that there are no signs or safety cones in the area, to warn motorists or pedestrians of the work going on there. County officials responded with a letter to the contractor, and assigned a claims adjuster to the case. This is good, but too late. This is how they do construction in the predominantly black neighborhoods, and this time it will cost them.
ELECTION DAY BLUES
Arthur Anderson runs the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office, and Broward County’s Supervisor of Elections Office is headed by Dr. Brenda Snipes. Both of them are black. The politicos are already meeting to craft a plan of action should problems arise on Election Day, Nov. 4. It’s their right to do so, but the prudent approach would be to focus on preparing for any possible issues that may surface on Election Day, instead of spending time on the response in the aftermath.