Saturday, March 22, 2014

Letter to the Deerfield Beach Commission (New comments beow letter)

From David Cohen, Deerfield Beach:
In a practical sense regarding interpersonal relations, our mother advised kindhearted diplomacy expressed with a Yiddish aphorism, "a vort iz vi a fail , beyde hobn groise ail."

"A word is like an arrow, both can be delivered with speedy aim."    “And,” she would caution in her own words, "once launched, neither can be withdrawn."

We do not take this to mean that we should not defend ourselves but rather to carefully choose the methods of defense when peaceful measures are fruitless.

So it must be with elected officials who assume powers —overstep their roles and make ill-founded judgments that affect us all and also with citizens who are imprudent in their conduct at civic gatherings.

City Commission meetings are formal assemblies to transact city business by the commission which interacts with citizens for that purpose.  To behave discourteously during the proceedings — including interruptions of speakers on or from the dais or highly audible ongoing side-conversations in the audience — is truly DISRESPECTFUL toward all in attendance.  It is apparently necessary that we urge commissioners to assist the mayor in maintaining decorum during meetings.

Recently, a grandfatherly figure graphically described a foul violent act without regard to the sensitivities of others present let alone for the children in the commission chamber.  By citing the crime which occurred in Massachusetts in 1984, he seemed to be making a point that bystanders who took no action were culpable.  But he, himself, shows  extreme lack of respect for the venue both while at the podium and when seated in the audience at commission meetings. 

Grandpa's  point seemed to be about what he perceived as a lack of respect for the woman who had paid his way to attend a civic affair.

RESPECT MUST BE EARNED.  It is NOT achieved by demands or self-aggrandizing bombast. It is certainly not gained by distortion of facts or outright departure from truth or by demeaning staff members who are far better educated and more qualified for their jobs than she. 

When one commissioner, Richard Rosenzweig, tried to curtail Grandpa’s vulgar diatribe, our mayor over-reached her authority by dismissing his objection.  Mayor Jean Robb encouraged the rant to continue.  Well, no surprise — while seated on the dais, the madam herself has been heard to make insulting responses to citizens’ sincere expressions of points of view. 

Oh yes Madam, you may deny your words as you often do.  But we all heard what you said when one lady closed her remarks with, “Money talks.”  Recall your vulgar riposte about what it is that walks?   These, like decades of your abrasive and contentious insults to fellows on the dais along with citizens and staff, are recorded.  Public record, they are painfully embarrassing to our city.

“Words are like arrows . . .”   Sometimes, an apology can begin to alleviate the sting — if it is a sincere apology supported by courtesy and veracity.   How about it Madam Mayor and Grandpa?

Mayor Robb’s answer to David Cohen’s letter, below is David’s answer to Robb:

From Robb: Your obvious bias toward me makes whatever you have to say not be taken seriously. You are too prejudiced to speak. Sorry your candidate lost the election. Mayor Robb

From David Cohen:


 "Kicking the mirror will not improve the image."     Common sense identifies Benefield's role in this issue.  It is a symptom; it is NOT the main concern.   In the mayor’s brief confrontation (above), she has addressed neither — only evasive pettiness on her level.

 In this case, there are many mirrors.   To kick any one of them is a tactic that does not exculpate Madam Mayor’s reprehensible acts and attitudes which must be indefensible in the eyes of any principled individual.  Not even if the kicker deems the messenger to be unacceptable, should the message be ignored for it exposes palplable FACTS — clearly.

There has been no pre-judgment or bias in these reflections.  These are no more than unvarnished actualities.

All the same, is name-calling in any way equal to the corrosive negative impact of Bonnaino-Robb’s grossly ill-informed pronouncements, her encouraging her running dogs to snap and snarl at civic meetings, and her attempts at assumption of powers that are clearly beyond the mandate of her office?

A crony or two of the mayor have also taken pains to shoot the messenger while evading consideration of the message.

 Who will be the next mirror to be attacked for illuminating plain facts?



We Agree

We Agree.  The following is a comment from Chaz Stevens that he left after my last post.  What he says is important so I am reposting it here:


For nearly 30 years, I have been a part of Amnesty International, helping to raise awareness to issue of violence directed against women and children.

One-in-three women worldwide will be physically, sexually or otherwise abused during her lifetime, with rates reaching 70 percent in some countries.

Violence against women and children is one of the most pervasive of human rights abuses.

James Benefield's remarks, which were sanctioned by Jean Robb, offend not just those in the audience, but our town as a whole.

Said Machiavelli, "The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him."

Under Robb's pilotage, I keep imaginging we've hit rock bottom, only to find a trap door opening up beneath us, revealing a subterrean basement. And from that fresh hell, the likes of Benefield are belched forth.

On this matter, you and I are in total agreement.

Chaz Stevens

Thursday, March 20, 2014


To the Deerfield Beach Commissioners and Mayor:

 You need to take action.  Stop sitting by when you see a wrong. 

Allowing James Benefield, during a commission meeting, to rant about a woman being gang raped on a pool table in a bar was deplorable.

in the public to speak section set the counter to 00:52:19)

When only one of you, Commissioner Rosenzweig tried to say Benefield should be stopped, the mayor shut him down; shame on him and the rest of you for not forcing a stop to Benefield’s ranting.

Shame on the Mayor for allowing this kind of garbage to be aired in a public meeting.  If she cannot use her gavel, it should be taken away from her and used by one of you who has some common sense.

This is not a freedom of speech issue it is a respect for a forum issue; a respect for the audience issue.  What is legal is not always right, and this was very much NOT RIGHT. 
For a man who claimed to be giving a lecture on respect, he was outrageously disrespectful to his audience and the commission. 

His graphic description in front of an audience with children and possibly people who might have been victims of sexual assault themselves, who would be forced to relive their attack in a public commission meeting, was beyond shameful, it was bordering on actionable. 

At the very least the public is owed an apology from James Benefield who should be banned from addressing the Commission ever again.  The Mayor should apologize for allowing his rant, and the rest of you should apologize for not standing up for your audience and shutting him down. 

Bett Willett

Thursday, March 6, 2014

You People Should Shut Up!

“I don’t like you people getting up to talk.” Is what Mayor Jean Robb said to me after the commission meeting of March 4, 2014.  She also accused me of saying nasty things about her. 

 I can’t let that go.

Nope, uh-uh, nothing nasty from me; true, I did disagree with her and gave her detailed reasons why the beach building codes should not be changed, but I never said anything nasty. 

View the last 2 commissions meetings, in the public to speak section, at which I spoke and see for yourself.  

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.  This Mayor accuses people who have a difference of opinion with her of being nasty. While you watch the videos of those meetings check out the way she treats the people who come up to speak, how she treats the other members of the Commission, and how often she interrupts other commissioners and makes off the cuff  “nasty” and snide remarks.  Check out her reaction to anyone who brings up something she doesn’t like to hear, her frequent “Oh, yeah, right” is obnoxious. Notice too her facial expressions, which clearly show her disrespect, dislike and disdain for those who are speaking.

Hypocrites such as Mayor Robb exhibit a lot of self-denial and quite a bit of immaturity, which for someone her age is unfortunate.

(Hypocrisy  : the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do : behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel.)

The Mayor is trying to force her addle-brained opinions on everyone regarding overturning the beach development referenda from 2002, which would, if she got her way, cost the city a lot of money and allow overdevelopment on our beach.

She seems to be doing these things to favor “her” special people who helped get her elected, and not for the best interests of the 99% of the rest of the residents.

For example she is in favor of having a lot of part time employees do the dangerous work of landscaping our medians, at a cost of more than a million dollars over the company hired to do the work.  The grounds department now has very few part time employees, which means the full time employees have full benefits; working part time is not good for the employee or the city.  An employer who cares about its people always prefers full time workers.

Change does not seem to be a part of Robb’s nature.  Passing a resolution to prevent her from interrupting the other commissioners, as her former commission did and this commission passing a resolution spelling out the way meetings should be run didn’t make much difference. 

She appears to be incapable of self-governance.  I hope that the commissioners who have to bear the brunt of her nonsense refuse to allow her to continue her antics.  I hope they start to insist that the meetings not veer off into lengthy harangues about items that if researched ahead of time would not need such long winded discussions. 

And most of all I hope that she QUITS trying to be the city manager; we have a professional manager and don’t need her to second guess his decisions.   I hope she soon realizes that her role is NOT to direct employees to do her bidding, in fact that is a Charter violation every time she does it.  Her role is to help the other commissioners set policy and allow the City Manager to do his job by carrying out the policies.