Friday, December 28, 2018

The Greenacres PD and merge with PBSO: Very worthy public policy news but not in The Palm Beach Post?

After several years of being snubbed — the elected leadership, administration and staff, the fine City of Greenacres was recently news in the Post — but sadly no updates about PBSO and District 16 coming up on their three year anniversary:

“We want to know from residents what they think Greenacres should look like and what our strong points are,” Greenacres City Manager Andrea McCue said. “We want to use that information … to come up with a strategic plan for the city we’re hoping turns into an economic development plan for us.”

It’s worth noting that Lake Worth beat reporter Kevin Thompson at the Post used to be the beat reporter in the City of Greenacres just like former Post reporter Willy Howard used to cover the same two-city beat. Covering these two municipalities is not unusual. But three years ago the editor(s) at the Post pulled Thompson off the Greenacres beat to focus entirely on the City of Lake Worth.

And yes, because another Monday is coming up, it will be another Lake Worth Very Very Special Monday Cursory Print Edition (LWVVSMCPE). Repetitive.

Three years later and still the very same six Special Cities each and every week.


However, since GateHouse Media has taken over there have been some very welcome changes to the LWVVSMCPE. For example, that ridiculous list of phone numbers published every Monday has finally gone away. Really now, how many times did the Post need to publish the phone number of the Sewer Dept.?

“Honey, the sewer is backing up!”

“Sorry, Mabel. You’ll have to wait til Monday when the paper comes out.”

But really now, isn’t it about time for a special news feature in The Palm Beach Post about this very important public policy and law enforcement policy that goes back to almost three years in a neighboring municipality here in Central Palm Beach County?

Maybe the public in other municipalities would like to have that debate as well about merging their law enforcement with PBSO?

Note that two weeks ago in the Post was a story about “[A]n increase in ADA lawsuits related to [municipal] website accessibility.” This was a collaborative effort by photographer Damon Higgins and beat reporter Kevin Thompson and staff and reporters Charles Elmore, Hannah Morse, Sarah Peters, Alexandra Seltzer and Chelsea Todaro too.

How much trouble would it be for the editor(s) to do a feature story on PBSO in Greenacres?

What is happening in Greenacres is truly amazing. And just like in Lake Worth the turnaround can be traced directly to merging the local PD with PBSO. District 14 was formed ten years ago in this City. District 16 covers Greenacres.

And whilst on the issue of crime the editor(s) at The Palm Beach Post also praised PBSO Sheriff Ric Bradshaw last year who “smartly requested $1.8 million to hire 15 entry-level deputies” applying for a highly coveted federal grant for COPS: Community Oriented Policing Services.

To learn more click on this link for the many ways to volunteer for PBSO. For example, volunteers are needed for the media unit, Citizen Observer Patrol (COP), Volunteer Emergency Response Team (VERT), honor guard, mounted unit, and bike patrol.

Want to share your thoughts with the editor(s) at the Post on this very important topic? Then take a few minutes today and write a Letter to the Editor (LTE). If you get one submitted early enough it could make tomorrow’s print edition. It only takes 5–10 minutes to write and submit a LTE. Click on this link for instructions which include contact information and very helpful tips.

The editor(s) finally acknowledged on March 10th, 2018 in the endorsement for Greenacres Councilwoman Judy Dugo, noted briefly about PBSO and the coming merge with the City of Greenacres PD back in 2015 that,

“The dust appears to have settled on the discord that marked many of the council’s meetings in recent years. Through it all, Councilwoman Judy Dugo, ■, has maintained a singular focus on making the city safer. With that, she was a key voice for the city’s 51-member police force merging with PBSO. . . . [T]here is no debate about the result. Overall crime is down, and available law-enforcement resources are far better.” [emphasis added]

How long has it been since any updates have been published in the Post about merge with PBSO and improved law enforcement in Greenacres?

Surprisingly, the last time we had any news at all about this important topic was when beat reporter Thompson used to cover news in Greenacres back in November 2015.

Back then, the editor at the Post thought it was in the public interest to report news about public policy and about law enforcement and to have a beat reporter from the newspaper in the fine City of Greenacres. But after PBSO took over law enforcement duties in that city the editor pulled their beat reporter to focus entirely on the City of Lake Worth. You know, that’s when the (LWVVSMCPE first began.

In 2015 our City of Lake Worth became special every single Monday in the print edition. Every Monday the LWVVSMCPE. It was back then when Greenacres became an afterthought.

Which prompted this oft-repeated observation
on this blog:

It’s been over two years [now nearly three] since the merge and little if any news in the Post about this very important issue here in Central Palm Beach County. Isn’t it about time for a feature story in the local ‘B’ section? Maybe even the Monday paper with a leader over the banner on the front page?

Interestingly, the Post in early 2016 used to cover the topic of code enforcement in Greenacres too!

I know. It’s hard to believe but it’s true:

     “District I Councilwoman Lisa Rivera [now former Councilwoman Rivera] led the wide-ranging meeting, which covered everything from trash inside newspaper vending machines to unsightly medians along Lake Worth Road to pitch black streets on Haverhill Road. [emphasis added]
     Several city department heads and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputies were on hand to answer questions from Rivera on why her district looks the way it looks.”

and. . .

     “Rivera is also concerned that many of the businesses in her district, which runs from the L-10 Canal south to the L-15 Canal, and from Military Trail west to South 57th Avenue, look like they should be in a flea market, with their garish colors and tacky banner signs.
     ‘It looks horrid,’ Rivera said.”

In conclusion. Please scroll up and click on the link to learn how to write a Letter to the Editor (LTE) and let the editor(s) know what you think.

Have you ever thought of becoming a volunteer for PBSO in District 16 (Greenacres) or District 14 in the smaller, little City of Lake Worth? Click on this link to learn how.