So, I have fielded many questions from individuals trying to figure out why I exited the City Commission race as I did. To those people I say this, my job was done. My issues, which are D2 issues where brought to the surface and were addressed by many of the candidates that are running and therefore there was no longer a need for me to continue. Those politicians picked up on the message, focused on it and even a couple of them (Andre Samuels and Gloria Battle) actually came up with a plan to address the issues.
If you read my blog than you know that I have from the beginning been stressing the need to change the relationship between D2, the City, and BSO. Andre and Gloria, both respectively, have taken that concern and ran with it. Andre has suggested recruiting from within D2 and re-initiating the COP program, which is a very good idea. This would help because the people actually doing the policing will know the people and culture of the residents that they protecting and this will also help because in their interactions with other officers can help dispel the myths and pre-conceived notions about the residents of D2 in the minds of the other officers. Gloria has adopted the mantra of community policing with the residents working in conjunction with BSO helping to keep our own streets free of drugs, crime, etc… Both ideas are good and hopefully whoever wins will not only utilize these two ideas, but work with the other candidates as community leaders to help initiate them. I firmly believe that by changing the perception that BSO has of D2 residents and the perception that D2 residents have of BSO will help build a reciprocal respectful relationship between these two groups and with that new relationship BSO can do their jobs more effectively and our crime rate will go down, making our District safer which in theory should make this District more appealing to potential businesses that will be willing to locate here bringing with them jobs and employment opportunities for D2 and Deerfield Beach residents. So, on this issue I would have to vote for the only two candidates that have an actual plan to accomplish this goal and that’s Samuels and Battle. The other two (Preston and Davis) just have political rhetoric and platitudes.
Another issue that I have been stressing is the need for D2 community churches to actually become more involved in the community. Now when I say “the community” I mean beyond their respective congregations and neighborhoods and I mean with the community as a whole. Now Pastor Davis of Brotherly Love is a prime example and he also is running for Commissioner under the platform that he has been out in the community and has over 20 years of proven community experience. Well, like I have said to Davis “find me 25 people here in Deerfield Beach District 2 that have benefitted from your many programs”. I am still waiting for an answer to this, hell I am still waiting to bump into someone who knew that Davis and his church offered rent assistance, clothing, food vouchers, tutoring, etc… I have even walked through Stanley Terrace, which is part of the Deerfield Beach Housing Authority for low income individuals and inquired if anyone knew of these programs and the overwhelming response was “where is he located because I could use that”. Heck, I had never heard of him or his programs until I went searching for the Ministerial Alliance and was advised that he was its President. So with that said, this is why I am stressing that the churches, especially those who are getting funding to sponsor such programs to get out into the community and do a better job of advertising that these programs are available. This will accomplish for the most part that the people who these programs were meant to help would actually hear about them and be able to access them and benefit, instead of only a select few (as historically happens here in D2). Also, if people knew that these programs were available in their time of need, we may see a decline in crime because people are not as hard up to go out and take drastic measures by committing crimes just so they can put food on the table or other. Another added benefit is that it takes a bit of stress off knowing that there might be someone to lend a helping, un-judging hand and therefore the need for a chemical substance to relieve that stress may not be needed and drug use may decline also. Please note that I know that I know that I am reaching with these benefits but because all of these problems have a root, which has not been addressed maybe these are actual benefits of actually addressing this problem and creating a solution. In our community the best place to address concerns of juvenile delinquency, adult criminality, etc… is within the church. It has always been the base of our moral and spiritual education, but according to Eddie Glaude, a Professor of Religion and Chair of the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University, post in the Huffington Post entitled “The Black Church is Dead” www.huffingtonpost.com/eddie-glaude-jr-phd/the-black-church-is-dead_b_473815.html, he expounds upon the idea that the black church has lost its effectiveness as a politically galvanizing entity and that they have lost their place as the heart and mind of the black community that it used to have back during the Martin Luther King’s era. If you read my blog then you know that I agree with him and point out some of these points in my post http://myperspectiveis.blogspot.com/2011/06/is-black-church-dead-in-deerfield-beach.html. I must admit that I wish I had known about Glaude’s article and the whole national debate on the issue before I wrote my piece because I could’ve used some of his points to prove my own. But, anyway, the point is Andre Samuels has a plan to resurrect the black church as a foundation for social programs and civic awareness within the black community here in District 2. Gloria Battle has a relationship with the black churches and I am sure that she could utilize her connection to improve upon their standing and utilize them more effectively than they have been in the last 20 or so years here in Deerfield Beach. Pastor/Dr. Anthony Davis, well I can say that he has been part of the problem, maybe if he did win he could turn it around, but I know I sincerely doubt it. I have had my own run-ins with the road blocks for community involvement that Davis, himself, put up while we were trying to organize the Community Action Team and get the community involved in the civic effort and I approached him to disseminate information to his congregation and the congregations of the churches he was President over in the alliance and basically they did nothing. Heck, we will see tomorrow as to how many people turn out for this election…With so many “black churches” here in District 2 we should have a heck of turn out, especially with one of their own on the ballot, but if not then we know there is a problem here that needs to be addressed. I know we have a national problem, but maybe that means that Nationally the Black church is dead as stated in the post by Glaude. Davis and Church leaders like him are part of the National problem and until we as the black community are honest with ourselves we will remain in the same condition we are in now and our power as citizens and voters will remain diminished and in some cases non-existent, like here in District 2 Deerfield Beach. I will say this if you don’t believe me…ask yourself where did you hear about the 10% Utility Tax…at church, on the street, on the tv, in the news, or not at all. The only Pastor that showed up and publicly stated their opposition to the Utility Tax was Pastor Ford. Davis sat there in the back of the gallery giggling and laughing with the Adam’s and yet said nothing. In conversation you may even get the impression that he supports the tax, because he is a multiple property owner and this benefits him personally. Although it adversely affects many in his congregations, which is the body of his church and as the head he should be more concerned with the political, financial, spiritual, and moral health of his congregation than his personal gain. Well, at least you would think!!! This is indicative of the problem and why the position of the Church has to be improved, especially if we as a black community which to have to a voice and part in the democratic process in 2012 when Obama is up for re-election. Bush utilized our churches to defeat Kerry, will we allow ourselves to be utilized in the defeat Obama as well. Our churches have to be resurrected and soon, if our communities want to stand any chance of surviving and becoming better than they are now. So, for my vote on this issue I again would go with Samuels or Battle, but the choice is yours. Davis is part of the problem and Preston, well you’ve seen who is out supporting him on MLK and Hillsboro.
In conclusion, tomorrow when you go to the polls I hope that everyone has taken the time to find out about the candidates and what they stand for. I hope that everyone has looked at who is fighting for your best interest. I hope that everyone votes tomorrow for who will best represent us and be able to best address our concerns and issues and effectively fight for District 2.
Name recognition, religious affiliation, and family is not enough in this political climate to help “ALL” the residents of District 2 and the City. We need someone in the D2 seat that will fight for us and provide the DIAS with new, fresh ideas that benefit ALL residents and not just a few. We need someone who has a plan and not just platitudes and speeches. We need someone who cares not just about our kids, but someone who cares about the parents who are paying the bills and providing the security for those kids, as well. We need someone who is willing to look at all avenues of cost savings for the City and hold the City Manager accountable for his actions and decisions, not someone who blindly supports him and will side with him while they continue to utilize the General Employees as a Savings Account, while threatening layoffs every time they have over spent and need more funds.
We need someone who is for “US” and not just for “SELF” and will help to expand and improve upon D2’s position in the City of Deerfield Beach.