Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vice Mayor Ben Preston's Letter to the Editor in the Deerfield Beach Observer

FYI, I understand that the Observer editor had to do a lot of taming down of the mayor's letter before it could be published. - Bett
 
 
RE: Deerfield politics: Are you serious?
 
Dear Editor:
 
The Observer newspaper edition for April 17, 2014 included a Letter to the Editor by our Mayor.
 
In that letter, she referenced me, the District 2 Commissioner. She starts her letter: “…I am fair game [for any comments about bigotry] but my late husband, Dr. Robb, is not…” by implying that I made some kind of bigoted statements about her late husband in regard to separate waiting rooms for blacks and whites, which were a part of their operating policy.
 
“…Where was the commissioner in 1958, when we purchased the practice from Dr. Schmidt and were told that there had to be a white and black waiting room? We were from Philadelphia and were stunned at the requirement…”
 
For the record, I have never made any statements about her or her husband as it relates to their past practices.
 
I didn’t go through the community, leading some sort of a charge against the Robb practice for what was policy in the ‘50s and ‘60s — though, I personally abhor the thought and implementation of such policies.
 
I have my personal feeling about those practices and only in private conversations did I express my point of view.
 
I purposely tried to stay out of this conversation and focus on the future, and, as difficult as it was, close the door to the past, but you [the Mayor] chose to open up this can of worms.
Since it is your desire to have this conversation in the open and since you went to the newspaper about me, then let’s talk.
 
You certainly have picked the right person to engage. I didn’t go out trying to provoke hatred or open old wounds about the humiliation and denigration of black people who had to suffer the indignity of being served at the BACK DOOR by your medical practice.
Where was I, Mayor, in 1958?
 
To answer your question I was a little boy in the great USA enduring racist practices similar to what was happening in Deerfield Beach.
 
The Mayor states that at the purchase of the practice, they were told that there had to be separate waiting rooms. Purchase, when used as a noun, means – the acquisition of something for payment.
 
You owned the practice, what followed from there was your own heart, your morals and personal preferences. Don’t blame Dr. Schmidt for this policy.
 
The Mayor says that they were stunned. Not stunned enough NOT to establish a practice built on racism. In what direction was your moral compass pointing Mayor? Obviously in the opposite direction of Dr. King and the locals in Deerfield Beach who believe, as did Dr. King, that all of God’s children should be treated with dignity and respect.
 
Why didn’t you just say, “We will not build a practice that doesn’t honor all human beings equally?” You could have made that choice but, instead, you chose what was popular in 1958. In making that decision, you chose protocol that was tremendously painful and shameful to a people, to a community and to God who loves all. And all are equal in his sight.
 
Mayor, after the 3rd or 4th year of the policy implementation, were you still blaming Dr. Schmidt? Your support of this unjust policy will be remembered forever.
The Mayor furthers states: “The Afro- American community that the commissioner is supposed to serve would testify that Dr. Robb took loving care OF THEM.” Mayor please tell me, who are “THEM?
 
I serve my district and proudly, but not to be compared to how you served The African-American community in the 1950s and ‘60s.
 
Are you serious? In your statements, you rewarded your policies and practices on the neck of those who were harnessed with the yoke of oppression; a punishment and constant reminder that blacks were not the same as everyone else.
 
The African American Community at that time had no other choice but to endure.
Don’t ever mistake that because the black community came to you for medical treatment, it was a ringing endorsement of this humiliating policy.
 
Wounds of the past carry with it scar tissue. Scar tissue is a reminder of a past injury, whether it is physical, emotional or spiritual. Scratch the wound of our past and it will surely again bleed injustice.
 
Many whites during that era did not embrace the policies of exclusion and instead fought injustice and intolerance. I’m sorry, Mayor, that you were not one of those people. You cannot EVER justify racism.
 
Mayor, simply apologize to the African-American community and the city for what you did and the practice you supported. Unless, you believe you did nothing wrong, so therefore no apology is needed. To simply say, “I’m sorry,” would go a long way in alleviating pain, it’s not a leviathan. I am saddened by your recent letter, but it could not go unanswered.
Now that we both have had our say, I will pray that we can move forward and work together for the good of this community.
 
Mayor, we are obligated to do the business of the people in an open and positive atmosphere.
 
It is time for us to get busy and to get some things done on behalf of the residents. I am willing, Mayor, are you?
 
Lastly Mayor, we are not referred to as The Afro -American Community, we are the African -American Community. What a great day it will be in the United States when the reference will just be American.
 
Vice Mayor Ben Preston

21 comments:

  1. Congratulations Ben Preston for finally finding your voice. Where have you been these last 18 months?

    That aside, as with you, I simply abhor the rationale of denying medical care solely basded on skin color.

    How could any caring person look into the eyes of the sick and infirmed and say, "No soup for you, you Afro-American individual, now go home and rub some dirt into it."

    It's easy to see why Jean Robb gets wadded up over Bill Ganz's trips down memory lane -- as this bit of history, in particular, must be very uncomfortable for her. I bet she never imagined, many decades later, having to deal with the fallout of their bullshit.

    ***

    You will also recall Robb's long-standing denial. Finally, the truth is starting to percolate to the surface.

    ***

    How Sylvia Poitier, supposedly a champion of the "Community", gives her a racist mulligan is beyond me.

    ***

    Given these new facts about Leo's practice of racism --- we should rekindle Moses Cody's petition to change the name of the Westside Gym.

    Let me suggest the following:

    1. Add an asterik after Leo's name, with the disclaimer "Racist Piece of Shit."
    2. Add "Leo's Westside Gym, sponsored by the KKK."
    3. Include new slogan -- "Dr. Leo Robb, wouldn't take ObamaCare back then, or now."

    Or my favorite.

    4. Leo Robb really hates black people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah... Seems Preston has joined the others in stocking up on lipstick: to kiss the megalomaniac's ass by joining the "take down the mayor" campaign!

      SCUM!!!!! oh wait, sorry, that was the last shrieker that was mayor.

      Delete
    2. Actually, I'm pretty much leading the Down With Robb campaign... A totally different concept, mind you, then Robb Goes Down. Though, I imagine, Freddy wouldn't mind (and would his wife watch)?

      And, unless you've been out tooling around in another galaxy, our elected officials aren't motivated to be on my team.

      Delete
    3. I don't take issue with your Down with Robb fight/campaign; that's your prerogative, and I stand behind what I've said: no one else takes a hard stand.

      And these so-called commissioners Love you when you're hitting their opposition of the moment, and Hate you when your focus hits them. In other words: politicians; Half-assed ones at that.

      Delete
    4. I don't really worry about what Manny, Moe, and Joe think about me... They have their job to do, as do I.

      I bust balls... They meander.

      What's somewhat fascinating to me is Robb's complete inability to adapt to the changing times.

      Robb has zero consensus-building ability. Then and now.

      Like the early 90's, she continues to believe "brow beating" is the way to get things done. Do you really believe those Commissioners back in the day really wanted to name a building after Leo Robb the Racist? They probably "tapped out", having been gnawed down by Jean the Terrible.

      If she was to get anything done, it would have been during the 100-day honeymoon. But that ship's long sailed.

      It's only going to get worse from this point forward. Any hope of reconciliation is long gone.

      The blogger heart beating in my chest soars at the possibilities.

      Delete
    5. You have no argument from me whatsoever with your points above - It's like watching a train wreck. She needs coaching on how to respond; She takes the bait Every.Single.Time.

      Still though, I can't stand "MMJ" - they need to go, and take the shrieker with them.

      Delete
    6. With my just filed FDLE complaint, the couple of OIG complaints, and a raft of calls/emails/faxes to the SAO, just how long do you think The Wailing Wench can go on before she either pops a gasket or is sent to the cooler?

      Speaking of her train wreck, then I think of her Army of Nipping Poodle, I am reminded of this quote.

      “She's about as subtle as a fucking train wreck. On a boat.”

      Delete
    7. PS Do you really think Robb was prepared for the serious blowback she's encountered? How many 80 year old folks do you know who are "social media savvy?"

      This isn't 1990, where all the elected officials had to do was weather the three minute barrages at the Commission meeting, the occasional letter to the editor, and such.

      Here in 2014, sites like MAOS dominate the Court of Public Opinion. We can't be shut down, ignored, or removed the meeting room.

      Along with MAOS, Bett's blog, the newspapers, and folks around town are talking. Emailing. Commenting.

      But wait, there's more.

      Folks with powers to arrest, like the SAO, are reading the blogs. They are staying up to date. And not only that, they are also aware that blogs have a following.

      It's asymmetrical warfare, in a sense.

      Robb has a vote, the gavel, and a decent budget to wage combat (legal, BSO, city staff).

      And we have is a computer, our wits, a pair of brass balls as big as Tampa, and the knowledge that what we are doing is right, is just, is correct.

      She's fucked ... this I have no doubt. I only wonder, does her heart give out before she does a perp walk.

      Delete
    8. I admit that since I'm not "political" involved my perspective has been very superficial. I didn't like the last mayor, I can't stand the majority of the commissioners, and I thought that if someone could shake them up, maybe they'd get things done - like Kingfisher Canal.

      Burgess Hanson and crew are great at giving people the run around when asked where things stand in addressing problems/issues we want taken care of. I'm talking things that should've been allowed to "go bad" in the first place.

      But with the reporting you've done, and the mess(es) she's gotten herself into, it appears the road of excuses has run out.

      So, Thank You, Chaz and Bett for the enlightenment. I really didn't realize how bad, bad was.

      Sincerely,
      JP

      Delete
  2. After this last round of smouldering crap, I thank the Gods for the tranquility found in my White Russian(s) - I should add here, considering the context, that it is what the drink is called, and not a reference to any racial bias, preference and/or prejudice :D

    In the 1950s, the US was still prominently prejudiced against people of color. It was the "norm." Hell, back then they were prejudiced against women; and Italians; and of course the Latin Americans. It doesn't make it right that it was the norm, we all agree. But this is still labeled a free country and people do have a right to racial/gender/ethnicity emotional bias (key word "emotional" as in, they can't act out on their prejudices, but can think prejudice thoughts all they want).

    As far as I'm concerned, this is just another round of distraction from the ineptitude of their service: OMG - an 80+ year old talked about how her husband's medical office was segregated! How could she SAY that?? - Her response should be: back in the 1950s, there were segregated hospitals which REFUSED to provide medical attention to "blacks."

    But hey, the commissioner turds are trying to take down the mayor - because each one of them wants the job. NOT because they want to get the work of the city done, noooo, they want "power." - HA! of the city they are responsible for contributing to the "shithole" image.

    That's all for now. Back to my White Russians.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 40% of Americans today believe the Sun orbits the Earth. A great majority of folks alive today don't have indoor plumbing. Steve Gonot was elected twice.

      The point being, what is considered "norm" doesn't make it right.

      Your point of deflection is based on moral relativism. But let's run with that for a moment.

      If racism was "the norm" back then, it certainly isn't the "norm" today. And given this, why hasn't Jean Robb apologized?

      If you consider some pedestrian remarks "oh, we bought it that way" as her apology, then she needs to be dragged behind the woodshed.

      Robb has the choice to be segregated or not. As you say, we live in a free country. She chose to remain segregated. That's the point you've intentionally glossed over.

      Finally, your point about wanting to take Robb down ... it's apparent you've sucked on her purple punch tit, believing it's all a power play. The thought of good responsible governance would never occur to her, and then by proxy, you.

      Delete
    2. LOL... no need to make it personal with teets and all. My point was missed, so I'll make it as clear as possible: THE MORONS ARE TOO BUSY BITCHING AND MOANING INSTEAD OF DOING THE DAMN JOB. There's four of them and one of her. If they disagree with the nonsense she's suggesting, then vote no, and move on instead of wasting time whining about this and that, and most importantly: drawing attention to her craziness. That's YOUR job - not these idiot commissioners' jobs.

      Is she ignorant about the delicate lines everyone needs to walk? Oh, absolutely. Does she cross the line? Almost all the time. Is she a racist? Meaning: does she HATE and WISH HARM to all people of a different skin color? No.

      Facts are Facts: in the 1950s segregated waiting rooms were considered as support for the coming civil rights movement BECAUSE the majority of white doctors and white hospitals down right REFUSED to provide any medical care at all to people of color.



      Delete
    3. When Robb accused Scott Israel of being a liar, not once, but twice now mind you. When Robb accuses Ben Preston of saying things that I've said. When Robb allows Benefield to speak, long after he should have been given the gong ... she deserves to be held accountable.

      Seems to me, Robb needs to get her own actions in check. She's causing the ruckus. Don't blame me for not wanting to go on her bad acid trip.

      Racism takes many forms ... not limited to those you state. But if we are to take the Moses Cody newspaper article as fact, and there's no reason why we shouldn't, then Robb denied medical care to black folks. Is that not wishing harm? Along with Cody, I've spoken to someone who worked with the Robb back then, and they confirmed Robb's behavior.

      What's more telling to me isn't what happened in the 1950s ... rather it's what's happening, or not in this case, decades later.

      1. Robb's not apologized to the black community, only offering insulting commentary as an excuse.

      2. Robb's recollection of what happened back then seems to "improve" with the unearthing of information.

      Do you really think Jean Robb would have been discussing her racist ways had I not brought forth that newspaper article? I remind you, up until very recently, she denied the "two door arrangement."

      Now, given her greatly advanced age, I'd be more than willing to cut her a break (forgetfulness), but have no doubt, Jean's memory here is selective.

      Delete
    4. There's no denying the shame of what happened in our country - it's really inconceivable to imagine anyone discriminating against another, for whatever reason, and for the difference of skin color is just ridiculous - and hard to picture a time when it was what peopled then called (and believed) "normal." And the sad part of it is that there's still a long way to go in making people let go of this stupid way of thinking.

      Truth is, I can't say much in defense as you have done a ton of research in the matter - and are only reporting what you have learned. Since I don't know all the information you have unearthed, I'll provide the "general population" view of the above:

      Benefield was talking about the movie "the accused" which starred Jodi Foster. This movie has been shown on public television. His manner in delivering the comparative was inappropriate and offensive to many; however, the movie was on public television. As you know, everyone was up in arms over what he said. But I find that old crone that points her finger at the mayor and says that "you'll rue the day" and other threats more offensive than a 1980s movie comparison.

      Should the mayor apologize for her husband's behavior, and his lack of vision that ONE DAY things would change and instead of worrying about the scorn he was facing for having a segregated waiting room at all, decades later after he died, he'd be happy he made a stand against this practice? Well, if did, he would've been forgotten, as are many of the white equality fighters of that time.

      But yes, she should apologize: For him, for herself, and the racist sentiment of an entire nation. Yes. In fact, her delaying an apology is just creating more drama. She should apologize even if she doesn't mean it. Because it's the right thing to do, and because she is a mayor.

      Delete
    5. I read the above ramble, grumbling a bit here and there, to the end where it said:

      "...But yes, she should apologize: For him, for herself, and the racist sentiment of an entire nation. Yes. In fact, her delaying an apology is just creating more drama. She should apologize even if she doesn't mean it. Because it's the right thing to do and because she is a mayor."

      I am thoroughly DISGUSTED by the mindset of this particular "anonymous". One of several MAJOR character flaws manifested by the stridently self-proclaimed mayorESS is naked insincerity!

      It is apparent why this condoner of duplicity chooses to be anonymous. I challenge him/her to come out of the shadows.

      Delete
    6. Mr. Cohen.

      You seem a reasonable fellow.

      Let me ask you, if you had to chose just one ... Robb's naked insincerity or Robb's naked nakednesss.

      The mind reels.

      Delete
  3. David, I read your rambling complaint of what you called my Ramble. If you must know, I don't condone duplicity as you have accused. I could get pissy, as you did, and say: Two words for you: PISS OFF - that is if you can find it. But then again, why bother? Your disgust disgusts me. Because if you could read AND comprehend, you'd see that what I'm saying is what she thinks or feels is irrelevant - she should apologize because she represents a city in which she has offended people. Whether she meant to or not, doesn't matter - when you care about someone and you hurt them, you apologize. It's that simple.

    Now, as for your "challenge" - PISS OFF.

    signed,
    ANONYMOUS.

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    Replies
    1. Apparently, you've not been paying attention.

      Robb doesn't represent the city... She represents those who voted for her ... and if you voted for someone else (Peggy Noland, Justin Bieber, Satan), you're pretty much shit out of luck.

      That being said, considering the only reason Robb won was because a convicted felon vote mule gathered up a shit load of votes, in a predominately black peoples section of town, then I'd opine, Robb should get down on her rickety arthritic knees and blow them.

      Delete
    2. Just in case: "Represent" was meant in a general sense, as in, she's a city official.

      Is there anyone in this city that could do the job, and do it well? Or have they all moved away?

      Delete
    3. When you think about what it takes to be a politician, you really narrow down the scope of qualified.

      I've thought about running ... I've come to the conclusion I'd have been an extraordinary elected or a terrible one... No middle ground, and I can see both possibilities.

      It takes a certain temperament (which I lack), an ability to play nice (which I sometimes lack), and a great moral compass (which I have).

      Take Joe Miller ... like his predecessor Pam Militello, I'm at a lost to think about naming anything Miller's put forward. He's asleep at the wheel.

      Though, well, I've been told Robb's really irritated the hell out of him and I don't expect him to sit idly by anymore when Robb goes off on a rant.

      Say what you will, but when Poitier was thrown from office, the dais seemed to operate at a higher level (all things relative of course). Robb's continued castigation of her colleagues, her verbal rebuke of anyone with a counter argument, and the support of an ever-dwindling cast of characters belched forth from the depths of sheer lunacy pretty much guarantee what we see is what we will be getting.

      You will recall, Robb proudly asserted she was going to bring "a new way of doing business to city hall." If, that is, you believe recirculating policies and procedures from 1983 is anything new, different, or better.

      Personally, I'd go with moldy.

      Like Lauderdale Lakes (if you follow my efforts), I opine the "Robb solution" won't be with the supposed Nov. 2014 recall. Nor do I see her being elected to a 2nd term. I believe the best hope, if you are leaning my way, will be for her to be removed via the handcuff route.

      That'd be fucking glorious.

      Delete
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