Letter: Gonzalez: Let Groves Residents Vote On Campus

Writing this letter is probably one of the hardest things I have tried in my life, but I do feel the need to reach for the truth.

I want to clarify a couple of facts regarding Palm Beach State College and the referendum. People say that it is too late. Well, we did talk at the second reading and opposed it, but what did our councilmen do? They brought in over 78 comment cards in favor of the college from Wellington, Royal Palm, Belle Glade, Palm Beach island! Some of them were from residents of Loxahatchee Groves but not registered voters! Most in favor were from friends and family of the council and few were from “independent” registered voters from Loxahatchee Groves.

If you make the count as I did, there were more registered voters opposed to the college than in favor of it. Also, those were collected in one rainy day while the ones in favor were collected in about a week.

So the truth is the council set up a stage trying to show how many people supported the college. I guess they do know that the people from Loxahatchee Groves do not want it, and therefore the council opposes taking it to a vote. Is this the way we want to live, ruled by dictators? They are supposed to represent us. Let’s stop the abuse of power, the bullying and intimidation. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave! Vote! It is your right.

Don’t believe the lies. Our council did not want to hear us (even though [Councilman Ron] Jarriel said: “The residents’ voices were being heard; we just didn’t agree with them as a council.” According to our charter, we had to wait until the ordinances were in place to repeal them. This is the law. For those saying this process is illegal, they need to educate themselves on FS 163.3167(8) (Remember, our charter was in place back in 2006 and the word “any” means any.)

If it is “illegal,” why has the town’s attorney not stated its illegality and go along with the petition while trying to find technicalities to prevent it from happening?

About the college threatening to sue us claiming FS 70.001, the Bert J. Harris Jr. Private Property Rights Protection Act: The term “property owner” means the person who holds legal title to the real property at issue. The term does not include a governmental entity. On the letter, the attorney excluded the word “private” (“Palm Beach State College”).

Now the council is fighting us with our own money, ordering the attorney to write resolution 2012-22 expressing support for PBSC and opposing the initiative to repeal the ordinances. What for? All they accomplished by doing this was spend our money to pay the attorney for paperwork that has no legality whatsoever, especially Vice Mayor Jim Rockett. He was the most animated against people voting. His statement was, “I personally don’t even want to take a chance,” and Jarriel visited the members of the committee to persuade them from being on it. I am not exactly sure what tactics he used, but he got four of them to resign.

He also drove some of the committee members to the town’s office to resign. It seems that they are doing anything to stop the people from voting. Why is this college so important to them? Well, I know some of the answers: upside-down mortgage (personal reason), to put us on the map. “We are not going to be called a redneck town anymore; now we are going to be a college town.” Guess what? We are just going to be the rednecks with a college!

Again, apparently we have a council that is embarrassed to be a council in this town, so they want to convert us. Why don’t they go somewhere else? I moved here because I fell in love with Loxahatchee Groves. I like the country lifestyle with the privilege of having the city close by in case I want to take advantage of it. But I do not want the city in my country back yard.

I am a person who has always fought for justice and fairness. It breaks my heart to see all the manipulation, the anger, the greed and all this from people who are pretending to be good Christians, and all they do is badmouth their neighbor and make up stuff as an incentive to cause hate among neighbors.

Thais Gonzalez
Loxahatchee Groves