Saturday, June 2, 2018

A man ahead of his time: Former CBS12 reporter Jonathan Beaton.

Before news organizations such as The Palm Beach Post got around to tackling the issue of ‘sober homes’ that were tearing apart our communities and neighborhoods here in Palm Beach County there was a TV news reporter already on the story.

Jonathan Beaton* was a former radio personality in Orlando. He wanted to try and make his way into TV news. In doing so, unfortunately, he ended up inking a contract to work for one of the worst TV news stations in the United States: CBS12. That news station is terrible now. But imagine ten times more terrible. That was CBS12 three years ago.

But Mr. Beaton had no clue. He thought CBS12 was just your average TV news station. But through it all Mr. Beaton managed to get beyond the noise and the nonsense and make a huge impact. With little experience and left mostly on his own he listened to the public. He asked what was troubling people here in our City of Lake Worth. The answer was so-called ‘sober homes’ that were opening up all over town. People frightened about a sober home one block over were waking up the next day to find one right next door. Once a single family home with a For-Sale sign became a place with six, eight, or even ten ‘residents’. Crime went up. For-Sale signs went up. More sober homes opened up.

Mr. Beaton has gotten erased from CBS12. His stories got scrubbed. It is like he never worked there. But he did. Below is the proof. Although the link has been deleted here is an excerpt from one Beaton’s news segments from May 2015:

LAKE WORTH — A Palm Beach County town wants to drop the hammer on sober homes, demanding more oversight over the controversial halfway houses at the federal level.
     CBS 12 learned a Lake Worth commissioner recently made the trip up to Washington D.C., meeting with some of Florida’s most powerful lawmakers discussing how to finally get the problem under control.
     It’s an issue he has investigated for years, sober homes and their occupants moving into neighborhoods filled with families.
     “They are buying up property and renting property in and around neighborhood children,” said Andy Amoroso. [emphasis added]
     Commissioner Amoroso just met with several Florida lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Lois Frankel, presenting the problem and asking for solutions.
     His contention, the halfway houses often increase crimes of opportunity, disrupting neighborhoods where families and children should live in peace.

Meet Jonathan Beaton:
The good news is Mr. Beaton bounced back quickly after leaving CBS12. Click on this link to learn more about, “Whatever happened to that reporter who sounded like Orson Welles?”

Partly due to reporters like Beaton the issue of sober homes became a huge issue for our elected leaders at the County and State level. Also in May 2015 State Rep. Lori Berman, now State Senator Lori Berman, delivered a legislative update to the Lake Worth City Commission. At the 12:15 mark District 1 Commissioner Scott Maxwell and Berman have an interesting back-and-forth on the role of insurance companies in this important debate.

Remember. This video is from three years ago:

By the way. . .

In the video above are two former commissioners: Chris McVoy, PhD, and Ryan Maier. MeVoy was re-elected in March 2015. Maier was a political newcomer and he was elected in March 2015 as well. Both McVoy and Maier won because they opposed the Neighborhood Road Bond in August 2014. One of the major reasons given to voters to oppose the bond vote were concerns over sea level rise. That bond vote in 2014 failed by just 26 votes.

Imagine how far ahead our City would be right now had that bond vote passed? 

In March 2017 McVoy got booted out of office. He opposed the November 2016 bond too. Why? Once again sea level rise was given as a major reason to vote “No”. But sixty-nine percent of the electorate voted “Yes”. Maier opted not to run for re-election in District 4. Now Commissioner Omari Hardy represents District 2 and Commissioner Herman Robinson represents District 4. They were both elected because they stressed how important it was to fix our streets and sidewalks.

Yes. Sea level rise is an important topic.

But so is public safety.

*Johnathan Beaton is now the president of Inside Advantage PR: “Not all public relations firms are created equal. We’re a different kind of a media relations agency. One that is purely results driven and client orientated. Started by former journalists, with a knack for storytelling and branding, in every market.”