Today in “Stories From Florida” we have a Florida city so corrupt that state officials are trying to abolish it (I mean, the mayor was just recently arrested for selling oxycodone) and a proposed bill that would jail bullies for a year, but leave the George Zimmerman’s of the world free.
The Little Corrupt City That Could:
State officials are so unhappy with the city of Hampton, Fl., that they are not simply trying to reform it. They want it gone…forever.
The same city whose mayor was recently arrested for selling drugs, solely exists so that its police force can control a 1,260-foot stretch of highway that they’ve turned into a speed trap, reaping hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
Hampton cops were a fixture out on U.S. 301. They sat on lawn chairs, pointing radar guns at unsuspecting motorists. They hid behind recycling bins. As more and more money came in, they idled in slick SUVs, trolled the median strips in riot gear and toted state-of-the-art firepower. Locals gave one the nickname “Rambo” because he slung an AR-15 rifle across his chest.
But get this — the audit revealed that the city “failed” to track where the ticket revenue went. Sure. The audit also revealed that the city misused city credit cards — city employees charged more than $27,000 “with no public purpose” and racked up a $132,000 bill at a convenience store next to City Hall.
And what about all those official records that are supposed to be kept? City officials admitted they were “lost in a swamp.”
We can’t make this stuff up. Read about it here.
Jail The Bullies:
A proposed bill that would jail bullies for a year reveals that Florida has good intentions, but the wrong starting point.
How about jailing killers first?
According to Think Progress, the bill advanced in the Senate this week to make bullying a crime, including cyber-bullying online. The new offenses criminalize a range of “harassing” behavior, both in-person and on the Internet. And a second conviction would send perpetrators to jail for a year.
But what this really all means is another step towards criminalizing youth in Florida.
The proposal moves to criminalize more youth behavior, even as Florida has made efforts to move away from a trend of criminalizing school misbehavior and giving kids an early introduction to the criminal system in what is known as the “school-to-prison pipeline.” Saddling kids with arrests, suspensions, and particularly juvenile detention for misbehavior has found to only exacerbate later behavior, and increase the likelihood that they will later commit other crimes.
These “zero tolerance” school policies that impose harsh punishment for misbehavior mete out punishment disproportionately not just on racial minorities, but also on lesbian, gay, and bisexual students, who are over-represented in the juvenile justice system. A recent Center for American Progress report finds that these overly punitive disciplinary policies are as detrimental if not moreso to LGBT youth as the bullying itself.
Florida…you’re not slick. Read about it, here.
Late For School:
A north Florida teenager is in critical condition after his grandfather shot him in the back because he didn’t want to get up for school.
Yep, that happened.
According to the Miami Herald, Alachua County Sheriff’s deputies say 72-year-old Ulysses Hayes heard the 16-year-old arguing with his mother about getting out of bed and going to school. Hayes began arguing with the teen and pulled out a gun and shot him.
But get this — investigators questioned Hayes on Thursday and released him. The decision not to arrest the grandfather was based on mitigating circumstances investigators learned during the interviews.
The state attorney’s office will decided whether to file charges.
Read about it here.
PHOTO CREDIT: Screengrab