Are the police racist? Do they disproportionately shoot African-Americans? Are incidents in places like Ferguson and Baltimore evidence of systemic discrimination? Heather Mac Donald, a scholar at the Manhattan Institute, explains.
Frankly, this is one of those discussions that is always troubling because of human nature.
Do we think that the police are racists? No.
Do we think there are cops (blacks, white, Hispanics, etc.,) that are racists as individuals? Absolutely.
Yet it is human nature to lump all people of a certain category in with people who don’t act “properly.”
For example, here in Florida, how many times have you heard people say “old people can’t drive,” even though the elderly are scooting around everywhere. But get into an situation where one elderly person isn’t driving the way you want, and suddenly “all elderly people can’t drive.”
It seems that it is human nature to take the actions of one and apply it to a group.
After the Cocoa Beach City Commission passage of the text amendment for the Ocean Dunes Condo project last Thursday, we promised that we would come back and address Mayor Tumulty’s comments and reasoning on the issue.
We are keeping our promise.
To set up the context of his remarks, prior to Tumulty speaking Commissioner Skip Williams gave a long (perhaps too long) presentation and commentary on the history and the precedence set by past actions of citizens through referendums on Charter Amendments as well as the actions of previous Commissions who acted on the advice of the City Attorney and City Staff that a 5-0 vote would be required to pass a text amendment to the Comp Plan. For those of you who did not attend the meeting or did not watch the meeting, we have uploaded the comments here and you can download them if you so desire. They are in a .pdf format which means most people should be able to read them. In addition, Williams also read a 2002 article from the Associated Press entitled “Cocoa Beach is Vanguard of Slow Growth Movement.”
We have uploaded that in .pdf format as well for your reading pleasure and edification.
After Williams finished speaking, Tumulty began his remarks. They start at roughly the 1:29:50 mark of the meeting’s video.
MAYOR TUMULTY: Alright, that was quite a bit of information I can basically summarize it into this – just a few sentences actually.
And I will read – I will read – just one section, it’s section 6.07 Comprehensive Plan Adoption Requirements. That’s all we need to talk about tonight is that particular requirement and how we got here to this point of the process of the text amendment.
So it reads, section 6.07 Comprehensive Plan Adoption Requirements. I believe we have a couple of lawyers out here today, I would ask you to listen to me intently and explicitly to what I am saying and I’ll probably say it a couple of times to make sure my message is presented.
Any adoption or amendment to the City of Cocoa Beach Comprehensive Plan, with the exception of issues increasing permissible – permissible – building and structure height or allowable development density and/or intensity, shall require an affirmative vote by four city commissioners.
So, any adoption adoption or amendment to the City of Cocoa Beach Comp Plan with the exception of issues increasing permissible building and structure height or allowable development density or intensity, shall require an affirmative vote by four city commissioners.
(cross talk from audience)
COMMISSIONER SKIP WILLIAMS: Are you going to finish the paragraph? (more…)
A lot of our staff has been working at their main jobs and for some reason this week the talk has been the fact that whether it is paperwork, different tasks, checking code or following up with things, we all seem to have been doing the same things over and over this past week in our jobs.
This is an interesting take on laughter in a marriage. It is important to realize that what is being said is not that laughter makes a good marriage, but the absence of laughter is an indication of other issues.
And there is even science to back this up!
How do you know if your relationship is going in the right direction? Is there a way to tell if you’re in love? Well, yes, and studies confirm that the measuring stick is how much laughter there is in your relationship. Comedian Yakov Smirnoff, host of PBS comedy special “Happily Ever Laughter”, explains.
Ever since we read the stories of Jaelyn Young and Sherrod Whittington we have been touched of the “what could have beens” and the tragic difference in the outcome of their lives. As far as we can tell, the two never met and we wouldn’t be writing about them except for the fact their stories were online on the same day.
Jaelyn Young was a chemistry major at Mississippi State University. The daughter of a school administrator and a police officer who had served in the Navy Reserves, Young wanted to be a doctor.
In high school, she was popular, a member of the Homecoming Court, a cheerleader and an honors student.
It is fair to say that when it came to Ms. Young, the world was at her fingertips.
Sherrod Whittington, on the other hand, seems to have been a normal guy. At 34, the Fort Meyers man had a wife of two years and shared a deep, abiding love for each other.
When comparing the two, it seems rather clear to us that Young was the show-stopper with beauty and brains. Whittington, was the type of person many of us would pass by on the street and not give a second thought to.
As we write this, Young is looking at serving 20 years in jail.
The Cocoa Beach City Commission will meet tonight starting at 7:00 PM for a regular meeting. The agenda for the meeting can be found here.
The second reading and ultimately the approval of the Ocean Dunes Condos project is on the agenda.
We understand that there is a group of citizens who have retained a lawyer and are looking to file a complaint and ultimately a lawsuit against the City for the way this whole mess was handled. That’s the good news. The bad news is, of course, that the City will use taxpayer funds to pay for the defense of the lawsuit. That’s money that never should have to be spent because of the City’s failure to act in a legal and ethical manner. There will be members of the Commission who will seek to label the lawsuit as people not wanting the City to move forward, or to increase the tax base and a host of other mud slinging.
We have said and will maintain that it is one thing to look at something and come to a different conclusion. It is another thing for people to have to accept the staff and the Commission working outside of the law to bring something about. That is our objection and always will be.
The ordinance to have term limits on the ballot for Commissioners is up for its second reading. We believe that there are term limits in place. It is called the ballot box. If you think a person has served too long or has outlived their usefulness, don’t vote for them. If you think a person is doing a good job representing you and the interests of the community, why should they not be allowed to serve based on some arbitrary standard?
We can see and understand term limits for professional politicians – those who seek to retain a job forever and ever. A City Commissioner is not like that. It is hard to argue that the men and women who are elected to the City Commission are getting rich because they serve on the Commission. A better case can be made that those who serve on the Commission are making far less than minimum wage when it comes to the actual time they spend doing Commission related activities.
There is no logic in saying “we want to increase public participation” and then say “you can’t participate any more.”
The littering ordinance is back for a second reading as well. (more…)
Tonight at 7:00 PM the Satellite Beach City Council will hold a regular meeting.
There are, as always, a couple of interesting things to talk about.
City Manager Barker is asking for approval of a letter to Ferrara Fire Apparatus for the purchase of a new fire truck. The letter seeks to place a “hold” on an in-stock truck until financing can be arranged. We are sure the truck costs something, but it is not in the letter or in the documentation within the agenda packet.
The other interesting idea is that the City Council will look at participating in the PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program. The program allows a property owner to apply for a loan through the PACE agency for improvements related to energy efficiency, hardening to weather, etc. The variable interest rate loan is then paid back to the PACE program through a non-ad valorem assessment to the tax bill for the property. The assessment stays with the property (not the individual) until it is paid off. That means people taking part in the program can leave the next owner of the property with the bill.
Interestingly, any tax credits or rebates will go to the property owner but any carbon credits will go to PACE to help pay for costs.
There are a couple of other odd things in the program as well. (more…)