Thursday, June 21, 2012

What’s Taking Soooooooo Long?

There are still a lot of outside storage bins in Deerfield Beach; clothing deposit bins, most of them from for-profit outfits, illegally placed in parking lots and other places in spite of an ordinance against them. 
 So what?  Well fair is fair.  Look back at my post of January 4th, “Charity Begins at Home. Help the Salvation Army. Allow the Bins”. If the for-profit bins are allowed, how about the not-for-profit bins?

Shortly after my post there was a flurry of activity with some property owners receiving warnings about the bins, and some bins being removed.  This has died down and I still see the offending bins.  Someone is making money off of used clothing most people think is going to charity.

This bin just showed up by the Armstrong Fitness gym on Country Club road.  There is nothing on the bin showing who owns it.

I was told that when some bins were removed by the property owners, the bad bin people replaced them right away.  That time the city helped get rid of them.  But there are still a bunch out there.  This after 6 months of city promises. How about assessing fines? How about getting John Scott, the scrap metal guy, to haul them away, that would be a help to the owners and money in John’s pocket.

It was after the volunteer from the Salvation Army asked the city’s permission to place their collection bins, and after he was refused permission, that I wrote that post.  It is not right that for-profit companies should get away with having bins, and a legitimate charity, who takes the legal route of asking permission, should not. 

The Deerfield Beach Commission refused to allow all collection bins, in effect legalizing what is now done.  The reasons were that there would be a mess if outside storage was allowed, hmmm, don't we have ordinances against messes?  However, they did agree to work on an ordinance that would allow charity bins to be placed on the property of not for profit organizations, and they agreed to enforce the ordinance against the placement of the bogus bins. Let’s see how that has worked out.

The city is still winking at the Kiwanis shoe collection bins, if they are OK, then why not wink at the Salvation Army bins?  It seems to me that they should just go ahead and plop the bins down anywhere they can get a property owner to say OK, and start raking in the donations.  Oops, the Salvation Army has integrity and operates within the law, unlike the Kiwanis, who when they found out they were in code violation, did NOTHING, wink, wink. 

It has been 6 months, and no ordinance.  Many other issues have come up and ordinances have been written and passed in those 6 months.  But, the Salvation Army is still waiting, politely, hopefully, and one would think prayerfully. 

It is time for code enforcement to get serious:  Do Your Job, if it is a law, ENFORCE IT.  And it is time for the City Commission to insist that the clothing bin ordinance be written, and passed. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Robert Wechsler Review

On Robert Wechslers’ CITY ETHICS.ORG site he reviews “The Faces of Injustice” by Judith Shklars, below is an excerpt from his post.  Please click on the link to read the rest of the article, well worth reading from start to finish. 

When I read the article I was reminded of the culture of “do nothing, see nothing” that permeates our organizations and, yes, our entire society.  Only when people speak out about injustice and keep speaking out even in the face of intimidation and ridicule will this culture change.
http://www.cityethics.org/content/summer-reading-judith-shklars-faces-injustice

 "…passive injustice, "the refusal of both officials and private citizens to prevent acts of wrongdoing when they could and should do so. ... By passive injustice I do not mean our habitual indifference to the misery of others, but a far more limited and specifically civic failure to stop private and public acts of injustice. … when we do not report crimes, when we look the other way when we see cheating and minor thefts, when we tolerate political corruption, and when we silently accept the lies that we regard as unjust, unwise, or cruel. Public servants are even more likely to be passively unjust, being by training unwilling to step outside the rules and routines of their offices and peers, afraid to antagonize their superiors were they to make themselves unduly conspicuous. The resulting injustice is [due to] many hands in general, who need to be reminded constantly of the possible consequences of their inaction.”

Passive injustice allows ethical misconduct to occur. The existence of unwritten rules, the intimidation and fear, the misplaced loyalties of an organization lead to silence and acceptance of misconduct. Shklar believed that even citizens have an obligation not to be passively unjust. 'Passive injustice is a strictly civic notion. It does not need the support of any particular moral philosophy … Passive injustice refers to our public roles and their political context — citizenship in a constitutional democracy.' "

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Reader Response

I took this from the comments section and posted it here as I think Esther Carter has an important message and it should be front and center. 

FROM ESTHER: You said it all and very well. The Historical Society is a great asset to the city of Deerfield and should be treated as such by it's organizations and city hall.

I personally know how many hours and how hard Carolyn Morris, (Director), has spent trying to keep this organization going. She has also engaged her family in many hours of volunteered service.

It is a shame that all members of the Chamber, Kiwanis, city hall and all other organizations are not members of this Historical Society to support them. That is the least they could do. And at such a little cost.

It will be an embarrassment to the City of Deerfield if they allow it to close. What does this say about the city's leaders? It shows they are lazy, uncommitted, and not having the best interest for the city's growth and preservation of important history.

I know that Carolyn Morris has been so dedicated and proud of the way the Historical Society has been able to reach out to the Schools, the community, tourists, little children's programs, etc. to educate them on the history of Deerfield. She is more concerned about losing this service of the community than she is about herself becoming unemployed.

The city of Deerfield should do something about this, or hang thier heads in embarrassment. Shame on you Deerfield!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Historical Society May Soon be History.

Deerfield Beach has an historical society.  The Deerfield Beach Historical Society is based at Butler House.  It is broke. 

Up to a few years ago the city funded some of the expenses, if I remember correctly they kicked in about $50,000 a year.  Then the crunch came and the commission decided not to fund things like the society and Founders’ Day and the kids’ football.  Without city funding it didn’t take long for the Historical Society to run out of money. 

This is an embarrassment to a city in which so many well-to-do people live.  Everyone in Deerfield Beach benefits from having a place to go for information on the past. We have thousands of residents who can afford a yearly membership of $40.  The society should have thousands of members.   They might even find out that they like the monthly programs. 

How many members of the Rotary, or Kiwanis or the Chamber of Commerce are members, it should be ALL. 

I am sure no one hesitates, when their student needs a source for a school paper, to go to the Butler house and enlist Carolyn Morris’s help finding pictures and information, free help for an A+ paper.  Do those parents join the society?  Do they give a donation?  Do they care that Carolyn, an excellent historian, has lost her job?  Do they appreciate that she is now an unpaid volunteer?  (I might be tempted to tell an ungrateful city to go shove it, but Carolyn is a nicer person than I.)

We have thousands of residents who can afford $30 for a dinner and an interesting program for a society fundraiser; I wonder how many will be there tomorrow evening. 

Why haven’t the Observer and the Forum and the Sun Sentinel run outraged editorials about the lack of support from the residents and the city commission for the history of their city?  

Does anyone give a damn?