Thursday, October 18, 2018

PBC Green Party Activist Samson Kpadenou Running for FL House of Representatives

The Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition urges you to get active in the District 87 race


See a map of District 87 below

Samson LeBeau Kpadenou is running as a Green candidate for the Florida House, representing District 87. Learn more at Samson2018.com.  

It's rare that an authentic grassroots community activist steps forward to engage in an electoral system dominated by corporate interests. This campaign represents one of these rare moments.

Samson (who many of us know as LeBeau) has been involved with the PBC Environmental Coalition and other environmental/social justice efforts for several years, attending meetings, hearings and demonstrations. He is the co-chair of the county and state Green Party, which had been one of the most active organizations in the PBCEC, offering support for local efforts to challenge over-development for the past two decades. On top of that, District 87 includes the northwest portion of Lake Worth, a long-time stronghold of environmental activists in South Florida.

In his own words:
As American discontent and deep political corruption and ineptitude in both of the major parties spilled onto our front pages and news feeds, I realized that almost across the board our political system had been corrupted to serve the wealthy few over the working many. I discovered that we have few honest actors in our government. I observed that our political class with their ivy league and business school degrees are no smarter than us, just better connected. I suddenly knew that if the people did not come together, hold government accountable and take our government back, things could only get worse for average Americans.
 
When I became civically engaged I found it to be my passion. I joined organizations that were fighting to make the political process answer to the people, or founded them where necessary. I began attending city and county commission and school board meetings and speaking out to them about issues that most impact our communities, like immigrant protections, environmental racism and gentrification. I took several trips to Tallahassee to argue for union rights, fracking bans, protections from wage and tip theft, public school funding and more.

I currently serve as co-chair to the Green Party of Florida and the Palm Beach County Green Party. I am the founder of Black Lives Matter Palm Beach County and the treasurer of the Palm Beach County Democratic Socialists of America. I am also an active member of the Palm Beach Tenants’ Union and the League of Women Voters.
Check out a great interview with him from CBS Ch 12


Here is a map of District 87. Please reach out to any friends and family who can vote and are residents in these neighborhoods. Contact his campaign to volunteer.
FL House of Representatives, District 87

Monday, February 27, 2017

March 1st: Defeat the Racist Riviera Beach Bleach Plant Plan

On February 9th, residents of Riviera Beach and environmental justice activists across the county were successful in compelling the Planning and Zoning Board to make a recommendation that would stop the Odyssey proposal and to encourage the City Counsel to deny any future plans to locate in the City of Riviera Beach.

Odyssey bleach plant in Tampa, FL
This Wednesday, March 1st, 6pm at Riviera Beach City Hall, the City Counsel meeting will take a final vote on the matter. But residents are concerned that the Counsel will pass this proposal in spite of the Planning and Zoning Board's conclusion.

The proposed site is zoned General Industrial with a "special exception" requirement which means that the plan can only be approved if it can show that it will do no harm to the community.

The site is adjacent to a large apartment complex, surrounded by low-income, African American residential areas, schools, churches, and a large food company. All of these are within the 1/2 mile evacuation zone required by the US Emergency Responder guidelines for facilities handling liquid bleach, which is a code 1791 product. This requires an evacuation plan and a hazmat plan. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Feb 9th Meeting on Massive Bleach Storage Facility Next to Residents of Riviera Beach

From the Environmental Assessment by ERMI
The Riviera Beach Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) will be voting on approval for a massive bleach storage and distribution center this week, Thursday, Feb 9, 6:30 p.m. at the Council Chambers in Municipal Complex at 600 West Blue Heron Boulevard, 33404
 
News of the proposed facility, which seeks to store and 40,000 gallons of bleach and transport tankers during all hours of the day, only surfaced in December, and has received minimal coverage aside from a single story last month from CBS 12.

The conditions for approval (which can be viewed in the P&Z packet) say the plan must show that it will not harm the public interest, but the Environmental Assessment report conducted by a consulting firm, Environmental Risk Management, Inc (ERMI), lacks a cumulative impact assessment which shows all the other industrial facilities surrounding Riviera, all of which individually swear they are doing no harm, but collectively pose an environmental justice nightmare where racism is undeniable.

The Environmental Assessment also gives minimal information about impacts from a large accident in transportation, both on public health and on the waterways which drain into a sensitive and already overburdened coastal ecosystem.

The bleach plant would sit adjacent to a residential community, including home day care facilities.

PBCEC supports residents of Riviera Beach in asking the P&Z Board to conduct a series of public meetings to fully inform the community of this proposal.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Mass Civil Disobedience to Stop the Sabal Trail Pipeline from crossing the Suwannee River

The following is a call to action from Sabal Trail Resistance in North Florida:

Join us in putting a wrench into the gears of the pipeline machine. This will be a mass sit-in to stop the Sabal Trail fracked gas pipeline construction from drilling under the Suwannee River in Live Oak, FL.

Schedule:

Friday, Jan 13th, 4 - 6pm, we will hold a direct action and know your rights training for all participants (not just people risking arrest), at Water is Life Camp. For location see: www.facebook.com/WaterIsLifeCamp/ (Please do not bring dogs.)

Saturday, Jan 14th, 11am, we will gather at the Suwannee River State Park parking lot. Please plan to carpool as there is a $5 fee per car to park here. We will march on the drill site at 1pm sharp.

Sunday, Jan 15th, 8am till release, solidarity rally at jail and/or courthouse which may be holding water protectors. [Locations TBA]

Additional Details:


There are several options for camping in the area, including two free encampments and additional public and private campgrounds in the area.

Not everyone who attends needs to risk arrest, but we ask all to consider their role in making this a successful event. It will be a "power in numbers" moment.

There will be clear zones for higher risk and lower risk participants.

We will plan to avoid the risk of felony charges for the mass action, and anticipate any arrested will be released by the following morning. If you plan to participate in civil disobedience, please consider having funds available for bail/bond (or having your network assist in fundraising.)

If arrests occur, we believe that a "necessity defense" exists, which explains that "the degree of harm actually caused [will be] a reasonably proportionate response to the degree of harm threatened."
 
This legal defense strategy explains that laws can and should be broken when there is a real, imminent risk occurring... For example, peircing an aquifer that millions rely on for drinking water to transport a hazardous substance for private profit.

We encourage all who participate to request a public defender, retain their right to speedy trial and demand a trial by jury to present their defense.

More details on Sabal Trail Resistance can be found here.

  A list of other STR supporters can be found here.



Note: This is one action in a series of many to occur before and after. This one action is aimed at building broader support and creating a higher level of pressure on the system to stop this pipeline. If you can only make it out for one weekend this month, make it this one.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Reflections on Beating Back Biotech in the Northeast Everglades

An inside look at how Earth First! has helped keep a burgeoning biotech economy at bay for more than ten years in the venture capitalist mecca of Palm Beach County

by Panagioti Tsolkas / Earth First! Newswire

“…I guess it’s sort of an anti-technology backlash, anti-globalization. I don’t think that’s a prevalent attitude in this county.”  –Bevin Beaudet, Scripps Program Manager for Palm Beach County, USA Today, January 2005

Twelve years ago, when I joined the effort to stop the planned biotech city in the county where I lived, I didn’t anticipate that we could outlast—in some cases even outlive—our opponents. But that may be the case for our rag-tag group of grassroots activists in a decade-plus fight against the industry’s plans in South Florida.

In 2004, then-Governor Jeb Bush called biotech an “unstoppable train” while unveiling his plans to plow through 6,000 acres of swamp, forest and farm for a biotech city. Two years, several lawsuits and a couple dozen headline-making protests later, his plan lay near-dead in the swamp water of the Northeast Everglades. Scripps, the primary company associated with the plan, did finally drag itself up and open the doors on “Phase I” of their laboratories on a local university campus with a mere 10, 000 square feet of lab space; a minuscule fraction of their initial plan.

Within the last several years, Scripps, the state’s model for the speculated biotech boom, has shown deep internal cracks in its bureaucratic operations and financial stability. With the operation in disarray and opposition still on the move, the next few years could spell the end for what I viewed over ten years ago as a biocentrist’s wildest nightmare...