Palm Bay: More On Rebman And The Homeless.

After our post the other day on homeless “advocate” Tom Rebman’s comments to the City Council, a screenshot of a Facebook post Rebman had made about the alleged incident was put up in a Palm Bay forum. (See below for the post.)

Clearly something is amiss here.

In the post, Rebman claims that a Code Enforcement officer told the people in the camp they had to leave the property. Rebman claims the Code Enforcement officer was accompanied by a police officer.

On July 26, in response to Rebman’s remarks on the alleged incident, both City Manager Lise Morrell and Chief of Police Moya said no one was told they had to leave the property by any officer or person from the City. One can take this as a “he said / they said” type situation. Neither Rebman, Morrell nor Moya was at the camp when the the residents were supposedly told they had to leave. Moya and Morrell are relying on the statements of City employees while Rebman is relying on information from the camp’s inhabitants.

Who to believe?

The problem in believing Rebman is that the Code Enforcement officer cannot demand or remove people from the property. That would be a function of a complaint to the property owner, who it appears was unaware of the camp on his property. We find it difficult to believe that a Code Enforcement officer was doing anything other than inspecting the property after other residents had complained.

(It is also interesting to note that Code Enforcement generally doesn’t get a police escort unless there may be problems or concerns for the safety of the Code Enforcement officer. Rebman admits in his comments on July 26th that the police had been called to the site multiple times in the past for various reasons. It seems obvious that the police escort was to protect the safety of the Code Enforcement official. That alone should bother people.)

The actions of the City doesn’t match up with Rebman’s narrative. Whether Rebman was given bad information or whatever doesn’t matter. The narrative is false and the City should not be acting on false narratives.

However, Rebman’s post after the incident presents new problems.

We will deal with the rhetorical question of “what was accomplished?” first.

Arguably, much was accomplished. People left a property that was not theirs and to which they were contributing to the general malaise of that property and the area. If the people were eventually removed, the owner had removed a liability from his property. However, notice the different language of the post and Rebman’s comments from July 26.

In the post, Rebman claims that the owner will have to clean up the property or face fines. In his remarks on the 26th, Rebman claims that the people in the camp and “volunteers” cleaned the property and put “three claw trucks” worth of waste and trash out in the street. How is the owner for the property going to have to clean it up if, as Rebman claims, the property was cleaned already? What would the property owner be removing if, as Rebman claims, there was no longer anything on the property and the current “residents” (trespassers) were not contributing to the waste / trash problem at all?

Rebman is spinning the narrative to make himself and the “residents” (trespassers) look good.

Rebman took State Representative Randy Fine and Deputy Mayor out to the property to show the living conditions of the people there. Instead of maintaining the property, the residents had allowed it to go down the tubes, and Rebman wanted to use that image – the image the “residents” (trespassers) helped create as a call for action; action that Rebman himself would lead.

Rebman then stood in front of the City Council and says “look what we did in removing all the junk” in order to make himself look good. At the same time, in order to garner sympathy and deny someone their property rights, in his Facebook post, Rebman claims the property owner would have 30 days to clean up the property – the very property that Rebman would claim on the 26th was clean and cleared.

Our second issue based on the Facebook post is when Rebman writes:

I have now relocated the majority of the residents to another location. The stragglers will be out soon or face trespass warnings.

In regards to trespassing onto property, the Florida Statutes say:

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

It appears that in Florida the property owner must post a notice, fence in the area or tell people to stay off the property.

This statute throws more light on the (lack of) truthfulness in Rebman’s comments and posts on the people being told they had to leave the property. City Manager Morrell and Chief Moya both acknowledged on the 26th that the property did not have trespassing signs on it and that the property owner was looking at putting up signs but had not done so yet on the 26th of July.

If the police had gone out there and told the people they had to leave the property without direction or a complaint from the property owner, the police would have been acting contrary to the law.

The more you dig into Rebman’s comments and narrative, the more they fall apart.

Yet when Rebman proclaims that he helped relocate people from the camp, he may be committing a crime.

Trespassing under FS 810.09 is a first degree misdemeanor the first time it happens.

If the residents (trespassers) were moved to another property where there were trespass notices that are being ignored, that’s called a “conspiracy to commit a crime.”

Under Florida Statute 777.04

777.04 Attempts, solicitation, and conspiracy.

(f) Except as otherwise provided in s. 104.091(2), if the offense attempted, solicited, or conspired to is a misdemeanor of the first or second degree, the offense of criminal attempt, criminal solicitation, or criminal conspiracy is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(Note: 104.091(2) deals with election fraud and is obviously not applicable in this case.)

Neither the City of Palm Bay nor its residents should support a “solution” to the homeless that requires the trampling of people rights, including property rights.

Moving people from being on one property without permission to another property without permission does nothing to address the homeless issue. All it does is say “we are above the law.”

Think about it for a moment….

Does anyone in Palm Bay really want to see property everywhere that has “NO TRESPASSING” signs or fences to keep people out? Does Palm Bay really want to tell people that unless you tell people to get off of your property (and endure the “wrath” and false narrative of someone like Rebman in the process,) someone can come onto the property, create a nuisance, create health issues, create trash and waste issues, and affect those around the property? Does anyone really want to support the idea of or the person who advocates “you may not be able to stay here on this property, so let’s send you to somewhere else on some other unsuspecting property owner?”

Much of the homeless narrative is that people don’t “respect” the homeless. That is something that we have heard from Rebman before. Of course, people do respect the homeless which is why they donate money, goods, services and time to the homeless.

In return, a homeless advocate doesn’t respect the rights of everyone else who is not homeless.

Palm Bay, like most communities, has a homeless problem. Not being truthful and creating other issues is no way to deal with the problem.

9 Responses to “Palm Bay: More On Rebman And The Homeless.”

  1. Rick Teresi says:

    I do not have an issue with no trespassing signs. I have an issue with people living illegally on private property. Post the signs and force the squatters to move on. If Rebman follows them to a new city … two problems solved.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Rick Teresi,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Our issue with the signs is that it makes neighbors and therefore neighborhood appear “unfriendly.”

      We don’t have an issue with people putting them up, but the message and appearance is not something that reflects the strong sense of neighbors in Palm Bay. It is a shame that property owners are being forced into this position.

      We certainly agree with the idea that people living illegally on others property is an issue.

      It is not something that the City, or someone claiming to be a “liaison” should be advocating.

      A. Afterwit.

      • Rick Teresi says:

        We agree that no trespassing signs aren’t pretty and they convey a non-welcoming attitude. So how does a property owner evict illegal squatters without putting up signs? How about “Private Property” signs? Not quite as unfriendly. Something needs to be done. These camps are illegal and unwanted. Period!

        • AAfterwit says:

          Rick Teresi,

          Thank you for your comment.

          Perhaps were aren’t stating our concern correctly. The law requires that notices – posted or verbal – be given in order for someone to be trespassed from a property. We aren’t arguing about the signs per se, but the need for the signs because some people – led by some “advocates” – feel that the rights of other people are subservient to their wants and desires.

          The City should not listen to anyone who proposes people trespassing on private property as a solution. It it not a solution – it is another problem that will need to be addressed.

          A. Afterwit.

          • Rick Teresi says:

            Thank you for the clarification. A “verbal” notice to vacate private property was the option I was looking for. The balance of your article is well understood and we whole-heartedly agree that no one should advocate occupying someone else’s property.

  2. Tom Rebman says:

    Many thing you are writing are not factual and completely incorrect. If you want facts, feel free to ask. My number is (phone number redacted by Raised on Hoecakes). I will happily provide any documentation about anything you need.

    Here is the REAL story. I took State Representative Fine and Deputy Mayor Anderson to the camp to prove the residents were not receiving help. During that visit the residents requested assistance with removing trash from previous and housed residents (see attached video).

    The City Manager herself, accompanied by a Police Officer, went to the camp and told them they were notifying the owner and must leave or they will be trespassed. Four days later the owner was notified (attached).

    The City Manager then notified the Brevard Homeless Coalition almost 2 weeks later (attached).

    Need more details or proof? Just ask.

    P.S. I AM a certified Florida Teacher, just ask if you need that proof. My students beat every school in Palm Bay and were in the Top 13% of the State.

    I AM a retired Naval Officer, again just ask. 2 Time Sailor of the Year, 3 Navy Commendation Medals and 7 Navy Achievement Medals. I was also selected for the Presidential Honor Guard and served under President Bush in 1991-1992. My first 14 years were enlisted and I received a Commission without a degree under the LDO program (meritoriously).

    I am proud of my life and who I am. I am proud of my work with the homeless. Need info on anything, you have my number. I am an open book and will answer any question. I have nothing to hide.


    Thomas F. Rebman
    7th Grade Civics, Odyssey Charter School
    ME Reading, Stetson University
    LT, USN Retired
    (phone number redacted by Raised on Hoecakes)

    • AAfterwit says:

      (Mr. Rebman sent this identical comment to our email account along with some documentation.)

      Tom Rebman,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Many thing you are writing are not factual and completely incorrect.

      We think are on solid ground.

      The interesting thing is that the documentation you sent seems to indicate that our posts are correct.

      For example, in your comment here, you said the City Manager and a Police Officer went to the camp and told the trespassers they had to leave. Initially, you said that a Code Enforcement officer had gone to the camp with an officer. Morrell is not a Code Enforcement officer. If you want to claim that both Morrell and a Code Enforcement officer went to the camp at different times and told the trespassers they had to leave, that would be the first time you have said City officials visited the camp twice.

      Secondly, in the documentation you sent, Morrell contacts a representative of the Brevard Homeless Coalition in order to inquire about whether the “Brevard Homeless Coalition and partner services could be of assistance.” That email is dated July 17th. The email also states The property owners have been contacted as neighboring residents have concerns and have the option to post no trespassing signs where ultimately these folks will be displaced.” (emphasis ours)

      Morrell and Police Chief Moya made statements on July 26th that no one had told the trespassers they had to leave. The documentation you provided to hopefully support you narrative show the exact opposite of what you stated on Facebook and on the 26th of July. Contrary to your statements and post, as of July 26th, no one from the City had told the trespassers they had to leave the camp.

      (We also find it interesting that the City reached out to the Brevard Homeless Coalition rather than you, who would appear to be closer to the situation. Could it be the City wanted people who actually help?)

      You also mention your teaching credentials. In another correspondence, you say that you brought that up because of a records request we have made. As we said in our response to you, that request was made before your statements and posts on the homeless issue. The request and the homeless issue are not related.

      We also did not question your military service. We have no idea why you felt the need to send us an image of the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. It has been our experience that true “warriors” will state their service, rank and years in the military when asked, but leave medals and awards out of it. They don’t need to pump themselves up. They certainly don’t need to say “I was awarded this” in a discussion that doesn’t have anything to do with their service or awards.

      Also, people should know that in another email, you accused us of being someone we are not. You also claimed we were “mentally deficient individuals.” Is that how you treat your students? Berate them unless they agree with your statements? Even when you are caught in misrepresentations, you make ad hominem attacks on kids? Hate to tell you this, but we are not 7th graders. Furthermore, you have no authority over us. We let your own statements expose the problems in your narrative.

      Finally, your signature block tells people all they need to know about you.

      It all about you.

      Thanks again for the comment. It was fun.

      A. Afterwit.

  3. Phil Istine says:

    I would like to see proof that Mr. Rebman is a certified teacher. Is a three year, temporary, non-renewable teaching certificate considered “Florida certified”? Or is Mr. Rebman just certifiable?

    • AAfterwit says:

      Phil Istine,

      Thanks for the comment.

      I would like to see proof that Mr. Rebman is a certified teacher. Is a three year, temporary, non-renewable teaching certificate considered “Florida certified”?

      According to the Florida Department of Education, the answer is “yes – a three year, temporary, non-renewable teaching certificate is considered ‘Florida certified.'”

      The temporary certificate is generally used by people with a BA while they work and continue their education to meet the requirements of the permanent certificate.

      Phil Istine, we also ask that people give a real email address so if there is a problem with the post, we can contact the poster. We don’t care what name you post under, but please use a real email address. The address is not seen by anyone other than the staff here.

      Thanks again.

      A. Afterwit.