A judge Monday gave Riviera Beach five days to assign activist Fane Lozman street addresses for the five Singer Island lots of what the activist calls his “Renegade” complex.
Palm Beach County Judge Martin Colin’s order said “credible evidence belies the City’s position” that Lozman hadn’t exhausted his avenues to get the address, saying Lozman first contacted the city via email and written correspondence more than a year ago.
The death toll from Hurricane Matthew’s rampage across Haiti now stands at 1,000. Hundreds of thousands more are in need of assistance as the storm damaged the impoverished nation’s water supply, wrecked its already-feeble housing stock and cut off communities.
Officials from Palm Beach County are reaching out to help.
Delray Beach Commissioner Al Jacquet is already on the ground in Haiti assessing the need for volunteers and rescue efforts, according to a news release from Riviera Beach.
Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters, Port of Palm Beach Commissioners Wayne Richards and Jean Enright and a team of about 30 doctors will be joining Jacquet in Haiti in two weeks to deliver aid and medical supplies.
“The best way to receive a blessing is to be a blessing,” the mayor said in announcing the delegation’s travel plans.
Florida’s Haitian-American population is the largest in the nation, according to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. Port-au-Prince is 750 miles from Riviera Beach, and many Haitian-Americans have settled there and in other communities in south Florida.
Haitians are in particular need of antibiotics and medical supplies to treat open wounds.
A list of other medical supplies and needs, along with instructions for the packing of donations, can be found on the World Harvest Missions Outreach web site at http://www.newlife4kids.com.
Local residents can bring donations to containers at A/C Self Storage on Blue Heron Blvd. in Riviera Beach and to Trinity Church International at 7255 S. Military Trail in Lake Worth. Donations can also be brought to the fire stations at Riviera Beach’s municipal complex and on Singer Island.
Palm Beach County commissioners have given initial approval for an expanding Riviera Beach company to receive a $89,000 economic development grant if it follows through with plans to expand its operations and create 178 new jobs.
The company, whose identity has not been revealed, would receive the $89,000 over eight years. It plans to invest $11.9 million and create 178 new jobs over a five-year period with an average annual wage of $53,484. The company has also pledged to retain 255 existing jobs.
Such economic incentives have drawn some opposition from those who believe the county is paying companies to do what they would do anyway. Commissioners, however, have argued that the incentives help the county recruit and retain businesses that might otherwise leave or never locate their operations here in the first place.
The five-year estimated local economic impact of the Riviera Beach expansion is $342 million.
Fane Lozman, who fought the city of Riviera Beach all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, now is suing it over his address.
Lozman famously beat the city when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it wrongfully seized his two-story floating home, saying just because something floats doesn’t necessarily make it a boat. Now, in a suit filed Feb. 12 in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Lozman alleges the city is trying to punish hm for his victory.
The suit, which Lozman filed without an attorney, demands a judge order the city to assign street addresses for the five Singer Island lots of what he calls his “Renegade” complex. Without one, his suit says, his location can’t be entered into the city’s police and fire dispatch system. He said he called dispatchers once and spent several minutes trying to explain his location; “when seconds count, this needless delay could result in serious injury or death,” his suit says.
Lozman also demanded the city be stopped from abandoning a public road near his property, an act he said would remove his access to the beach and ocean, just 50 feet away. He said the property “has a vested right for the last ninety-two (92) years.”
The suit claimed city Building Official Peter Ringle and Community Development Director Mary McKinney both have told Lozman his properties never will be issued an address. It said the county’s property appraiser’s office wrote the city calling for the address designation, concurring that it’s mandatory for 911 service, and also saying the appraiser needs an address to mail its notice of proposed taxes. But, the suit said, the city has ignored the calls.
Neither Ringle, McKinney or Riviera Beach City Attorney Pamala Ryan could immediately be reached Tuesday.
Last week, besides the Riviera Beach suit, Lozman and another regular at Palm Beach County Commission meetings, Alex Larson, sued the city over time allotted for public comment on the commission’s “consent agenda.”