We had lunch yesterday with John Hartman at It’s All Greek on Clint Moore near 441. He is one of three candidates for Palm Beach County School Board. District 3 runs mostly north of Clint Moore and west of Military Trail. We previously interviewed candidate Dave Mech, and hope to meet with incumbent Karen Brill as well.
A teacher, Hartman sees a number of things wrong with the current school system and he demonstrated a clear understanding of it from the inside. He presents an interesting contrast to Mech, who seems motivated more by his pending lawsuit against the school district and less aware of practical concerns we’ve heard from many parents.
Hartman is particularly focused on Common Core, corruption in the school district, and charter school abuses. He recognizes that the Somerset Academy charter school near the Canyon developments is popular and does well, but feels the current charter system fails on accountability. We’re not sure the regular public schools are much better on that, but he is persuasive.
The real race seems to be between Hartman and incumbent Karen Brill. He notes two key distinctions. First, Hartman is an educator, while Brill is a real estate agent. He feels that having a background in education makes him more qualified to serve on the school board. We aren’t sure about that but he certainly seems qualified.
Second, Hartman is opposed to Common Core. He describes Brill as leading the charge for it and points to her involvement in the “Greater Florida Consortium of School Boards” as evidence of that. We hope to ask Brill to clarify, but the evidence is compelling:
The full pdf of that document is at bottom.
We would also note a third distinction – Hartman is clearly a political outsider. You can read more about Brill on her website
, but it appears she is well-connected within the establishment.
On the politics, this looks like a big climb for Hartman. While he does have a strong message, he doesn’t seem to have a clear plan for communicating that message to voters. We hope to meet with Brill next.
Update: FPL advises power was restored around 10 am, and confirms 99 homes were affected. There was a problem with a piece of equipment and it’s still under investigation.
A reader reports:
Heard a transformer blow at the transformer station on west Yamato by the entrance of south county park. My subdivision in the Lakes of Boca has no power. Is there any other communities affected?
We checked the FPL website and found a reported outage. They’re working on it now.
We also sent a message to our contact there to see if we can find out more.
The Sun-Sentinel has an interesting story about an arrest in one of the parking garages in Town Center. The salacious details are that the woman is supposedly wearing lingerie and sleeping in her car. When confronted by police she eventually tries to drive off and they accuse her of aggravated assault.
I looked at the facts as described in the article and have some questions and thoughts. Here’s some excerpts from the article:
Officers found Suzanne Morales, 45, sleeping in the car. They knocked on the car window …. Morales woke up and locked her car doors. Officers asked her to step outside the car, but she refused ….
Police also said they could smell alcohol and suspected she might be drunk ….
They told Morales if she continued to refuse, they would knock out her window.
As a defense lawyer it looks like the police violated her rights.
First of all, it is not illegal to sleep in your car.From the facts in the article, she had every right to lock herself in the car.
Second, they smelled alcohol from outside the car? With the windows closed? I’m sorry folks, but I’m a defense lawyer and that sounds like a routine police lie.
And even if it were true, it’s not illegal to be drunk in your car when you’re parked.
Third, they threatened to knock out her window? That sounds like excessive force and there’s a federal case on it – Deville v. Marcantel.
Officers may consider a suspect’s refusal to comply with instructions during a traffic stop in assessing whether physical force is needed to effectuate the suspect’s compliance. … However, officers must assess not only the need for force, but also “the relationship between the need and the amount of force used.” …
Taking the facts in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, a jury could reasonably find that the degree of force the officers used in this case was not justifiable under the circumstances. A reasonable jury could infer from Deville’s deposition testimony that Marcantel engaged in very little, if any, negotiation with her — and find that he instead quickly resorted to breaking her driver’s side window and dragging her out of the vehicle.
Morales is actually in a better position than Deville was. Deville had been stopped for a traffic violation. Morales had done nothing wrong – and note that she is not charged with any offense for what happened before the police threatened her.
In our opinion, based on the facts we’ve read, the case should be dismissed and Boca PD needs to take a look at how they handled this incident.
We followed up with Sun-Sentinel writer Kate Jacobson on Twitter. She wrote back to us:
KJ: She was on private property & manager complained. Surprised she didn’t get a trespass charge but owner just wanted her out.
WBN: Not trespassing if she wasn’t told to leave.
KJ: According to the [probable cause report] that’s what the cops were there to do. Then she tried to run one of them over, allegedly.
But that’s not what they did. They didn’t order her to leave the property, and it’s not clear that they would even have the authority to make such an order. It’s not their property. State law says they have authority only if they have written authorization from the right entity. That’s the requirement under Florida’s trespassing statute, § 810.08(3).
We are hearing thunder and seeing flashes of lightning here in far West Boca.
A neighbor sent us this picture:
And the weather map looks harsh too.