Palm Bay: Either We’re Confused Or Someone Else Wasn’t Truthful.

We saw this post in a Palm Bay related Facebook page on August 22, 2019 and took a screenshot of it on August 23, 2019.

Back on July 26, 2019, Rebman stood in front of the Palm Bay City Council and said, in part:

The following day, the 20 people – well, actually 18 – that are in that camp were told they must leave the camp because of that trash. That was the only code compliance complaint in the last 12 months. Now, we have had officer complaints in that camp. I’m aware of everyone of them because I work very closely with Officer Porter and Officer Rogers and we’re on top of it.

None of the three of us knew these people were being trespassed. It broke the trust the homeless people have with me and the people I brought out there. (emphasis ours)

Notice the past use of the past tense in Rebman’s words. According to him, when he made his comments in July, the people in the camp had already been trespassed.

We covered the meeting in which Rebman made his accusations and the response by City Manager Lisa Morrell and Police Chief Moya:

Mrs. Morrell advised that no one had been trespassed from the property. The owners were notified by the City as several complaints had been received from neighboring properties about the trash on the rights-of-way from the vacant property. There were no “No Trespass” signs on the property and no one had been trespassed from the property to date. However, it was the owners right to erect no trespass signs on their properties and it was the Police Department’s duty to enforce any related laws. Mrs. Morrell said it was the City’s goal to aid those in need.

Chief Moya advised that no one had been physically escorted or trespassed from the property, but the individuals were encouraged to relocate as it was believed that the property owner would be posting the property for trespassing. Information pamphlets had been given to residents of the camp.

Color us confused at the least.

Rebman claimed on July 26th that the people in the camp had been trespassed. The City disputed that claim at that time.

Now Rebman’s own post from August 22 shows he was wrong and the City was correct. By his own admission, the people in the camp had not been trespassed at the time he made the accusation that they had been.

We would have thought a “mea culpa,” a “my bad,” or “I was misinformed,” or something that takes responsibility for his comments to the City Council that were factually incorrect would be appropriate and a good step.

Instead, in his August 22nd post, Rebman came after the City of Palm Bay and the citizens by saying:

This is no solution. Palm Bay is better than this.

The City of Palm Bay is enforcing the law.

Trespassing laws require notice to people that they are trespassing before they can be removed and barred from the property. The requirement of notification for property that is not a building can be a verbal notice, signs or a fence.

810.09 Trespass on property other than structure or conveyance.—

(1)(a) A person who, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters upon or remains in any property other than a structure or conveyance:
1. As to which notice against entering or remaining is given, either by actual communication to the offender or by posting, fencing, or cultivation as described in s. 810.011; or

We don’t understand how Rebman thinks that the City following the law means Palm Bay is doing something wrong.

We don’t understand how the City of Palm Bay and the property owners themselves protecting property rights means Palm Bay is doing anything wrong.

We can see how someone who misrepresented an incident to the people of Palm Bay and the City Council can “do better,” but that is not on the rest of the people in the City. That’s on the individual.

We have to decide whether a solution is to help people move onto property they do not own and without the property owner’s permission. We have to decide whether “doing better” means actively attacking the property rights of people, placing people and the owners at risk of harm.

Finally, we all have to decide whether the issue of the homeless – or any issue – is best served and solved by those who make misrepresentations and then get offended when those misrepresentations are pointed out.

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