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A letter from Mayor Jeri Muoio on the recent city shootings

Note from aGuyonClematis: This was sent out on the City of West Palm Beach insider mailing list, I am reposting it here for your convenience.

You have no doubt heard about the recent rash of shootings taking place in our city’s north end. To say this violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated is the usual comment we public officials make at times like this. They are easy positions to take and make good material for sound bites. But it is not enough.

What they don’t do is cut to the heart of why these shootings are happening, or why our police department is facing significant challenges in arresting the shooters

Tragically our city does not have an exclusive on gun violence. It is a horrible reflection of our society that if you Google “movie theater shooting,” you now must specify which one you are seeking. I have long been focused on getting illegal weapons off our streets.

Last year we held a gun buy back program during which we collected over three hundred weapons. I am a member of Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns whose only focus is reducing the number of illegal weapons in our cities. But while getting the guns off our streets will help, the guns themselves are not the most significant obstacle facing our police department.

Our police have significantly increased patrols in the area. In many cases they know the young people involved. But our officers cannot arrest suspects and our prosecutors cannot convict criminals if no one is willing to come forward and help.

I understand the reluctance to come forward. It is based in fear. Fearful victims refuse to talk to officers about what happened and choose instead to seek revenge on their own terms. We have one case where a young teenage victim told his mother he knows who shot him but refuses to tell even her who it is.

And the refusal to cooperate extends beyond victims. Fear creates a situation where our detectives cannot find witnesses to these shootings. One shooting took place in front of a neighborhood party of over three dozen people, yet not a single witness has come forward.

This puts our police officers in the impossible position of trying to stop this wave of violence on their own.

Unfortunately our young people find it easier to reach for a gun than to reach for help.

On Wednesday of this past week we held a meeting with approximately two dozen clergy and community leaders. It is my hope that these men and women will do everything in their power to encourage our residents to join us in publicly standing up against violence.

In addition we decided to walk the community and reach out to those who live there. Together we must assure them we are there for them.

But there must be more. We need your help. If you see something or know something reach out to me or to your Pastor or to a community leader you trust.

Help us help you. Help us help our community.

It is easy for me to shout from the mountain top that this violence will not be tolerated. What we need is for all of us to stand together and work together to take back our city.

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30 things you can do to save water

As I was perusing the City of West Palm Beach’s Office of Sustainability (because that’s what I do at 6am on Saturday mornings), I stumbled onto this list of things that everyone can do to save water.

Since water plays a big role in our West Palm Beach lifestyle, I thought it was appropriate to share! Enjoy.

In the bathroom:

  • Shorten your shower. A one or two minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons of water each month. If possible take a shallow bath instead of a shower for even greater water savings.
  • Replace your showerhead with low-flow showerheads or install flow restrictors.
  • Put trash in the wastebasket – don’t flush! Each time you flush a small bit of trash you waste up to five to seven gallons of water.
  • Check for leaks in your toilets. Drop a dye tablet in your toilet tank or add a few drops of food coloring and let stand for at least three hours. If the color begins to appear in the bowl without flushing, your toilet has a leak and could be wasting thousands of gallons of water each year. Repair those leaks!
  • When brushing your teeth, wet your toothbrush, then, turn off the water.
  • Rinse your razor in a partially filled sink instead of under a running tap.
  • Check faucets and pipes for leaks. Replace worn washers. Small drips from worn washers can waster 20 or more gallons a day. Large leaks can waste hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water.
  • Put a plastic bottle in your toilet. Fill the bottle with water and a small amount of pebbles (to weigh it down) and place it in your tank, away from operating mechanisms. Your plastic bottle works like a displacement bag.
  • While waiting for your bath water to get warm, place a bucket under the faucet to catch the cold water and then use it to water your plants.
  • Building or remodeling your home? Ensure only ultra-low flush (U.L.F.) toilets and faucets are installed.

In the kitchen and laundry:

  • Keep a bottle of water in the refrigerator for drinking. Don’t run the tap waiting for cold water.
  • Rinse vegetables in a pan of water – not under a running tap.
  • Use your dishwasher and washing machine for full loads only.
  • Never leave the water running if you wash dishes by hand. Fill one sink with soapy water and one with clear water. If you have only one sink use a dish rack and rinse with hot water.
  • Use the smallest amount of detergent possible when washing dishes by hand. This reduces the amount of water needed.
  • Check your kitchen/bath pipes and faucets for leaks and replace worn washers immediately.
  • Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage can more often. Better yet, compost!
  • Defrost frozen foods in the microwave or refrigerator, instead of under running water.

Outdoors:

  • Water your lawn in the early morning based upon current water restrictions when there is less evaporation.
  • Plant drought-resistant native trees and plants. There are many beautiful plants and trees that thrive on small amounts of water.
  • Don’t let your children play with the hose and sprinklers.
  • Place a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Mulch slows evaporation of moisture and discourages weed growth.
  • Don’t water your lawn on a windy day to prevent excessive evaporation.
  • Set lawn mower blades on notch higher since longer grass means less evaporation.
  • If you have a pool, use a pool cover to cut down on evaporation.
  • Don’t water the sidewalk. Adjust sprinklers so they miss the sidewalks, driveway, and street.
  • Water only when your lawn really needs it. If the grass springs back after you step on it, there is no need to water it.
  • Check for leaks in hoses, faucets, pipes and couplings. Outside leaks can waste just as much as those inside.
  • Sweep sidewalks and driveways. Don’t hose them down.
  • Wash your car with a pail of soapy water, not a running hose. Use the hose for rinsing only.

Learn more at the City of West Palm Beach’s Sustainability Office site.

Living the life in Downtown West Palm Beach