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The Ocean Club (Who’s “property” is it?)
According to some on the Fort Lauderdale police force, taking pictures on Galt Ocean Mile is a criminal act, violating the “rights” of the unregulated property management companies, that are free to abuse Florida’s fragile environment, in their thoughtless effort to squeeze maximum profit out of the powerless condominium owners under their Trumpian thumbs.
My first (Leaf Blower) encounter with the police. You’ll notice that Claude, who I talked to (reasonably) after the encounter, is the one who called the police, thinking that it was illegal for me to be taking his picture … telling the dispatcher that he didn’t believe I had the “right” to take photographs of him and his crew, because I wasn’t a member of his family. Of course I usually (throughout my more than 40-year career) explain my purpose, but in this case, deep into trying to document the misery of having my life on Florida’s east coast destroyed, and shooting video rather than stills, I find it more telling to hear (and record), unfiltered, the subjects’ points of view. The points of view that they own the property on which they work and manage, and they have the right (often with the help of local law enforcement) to intimidate, assault and batter to keep a resident from documenting the killing (polluting) of the environment, and making their home uninhabitable.
Regarding Claude (above), I did feel sorry for him, and am sympathetic to his cause. You’ll see that as he and I wait for the arrival of the Fort Lauderdale officer (Sean Kelley) who he had called, he struggles to plead his case that he’s just “doing his job,” that he paid $5000 in taxes, and that it is people like he who move the country forward. When I approached him later that week, I explained that I agreed with him (politically), and it was not him, but his boss (LANDSCAPES BY DESIGN/QUIONA) who I thought was criminal.
The same thing I explained to officer Kelley, when I told him I didn’t want any action against Claude taken, knowing that he would have to take time away from his “job” to appear before a judge.
You’ll see Sean (a reasonable police officer) in the last clip, explaining the law to the board members in my building who are (once again) asking local law enforcement to take action against me. All this after his fellow (unreasonable/criminal) officer had coughed in my face (persistently) while suggesting he was infected with Covid-19, and was threatening to take me to jail for “causing a disturbance” (in my own building) and interfering with the work of the leaf blowers, the same as he had done the day before in the shopping plaza across Galt Ocean Drive … the street in Fort Lauderdale, on which I reside.
This incident is documented in the first police video (“Day 1”)
“You Have NO Right.”
I have many examples (including with Fort Lauderdale police, other than the criminal officer you’ll see here), but I thought this one most telling for now. What you’ll see, is my view from unit #308 at the Ocean Club (condominium), 8AM Saturday morning, from what the property management company’s call “LUXURY LIVING,” in the Sandals Resort-style sales literature they so “proudly” distribute.
You’ll also see Claude again, and understand that he had listened to officer Kelley, who had obviously, after asking how I wanted to proceed, told Claude that I did have the “right” to take pictures in my neighborhood, and that he did not have the “right” to assault me. It’s almost funny, when I point the camera at him, after one of his crew has again assaulted me with a leaf blower, strikes a pose and says “YOU CAN TAKE MY PICTURE.”
Funny, until a security guard out of the (Summit) building comes down to tell me I have NO “right” to take pictures of the leaf blowers doing their “job,” and then, when I say I’m doing my “job,” just like the offending police officer (below), tells me that I don’t have a job, and that my taking pictures is “TERRORIZING” the leaf blowers. She actually used the word “TERRORIZE.”
Sorry if I’m going on to long, but understand that I’m not exaggerating, when I tell you (without exaggeration) that I have endured this for four years, every day (8AM-5PM), time I’ve been unable to work in my house. The time new management in my building, authoritatively, hired the Castle Group management property management company to (“ensure residents follow the rules”) while the Ocean Club board of governors started its project to turn my (20-year) east coast Florida home, into a seasonal timeshare investment.
And then I have to listen to minimum-wage security guards, and local, power-tripping cops, tell me that I have NO “job,” and NO 1st Amendment “right” to take pictures in my own fucking neighborhood.
Do I sound angry? NO … I’d say I’m Fucking Livid.
This short clip, as an example of the irony of being told that it is “illegal” for me to take a picture, and when I do, the subject of a photograph invariably pull out their phone, takes a picture of me, and tells me they are going to “CALL THE COPS.”
To all four Castle Group managers who’ve worked at the Ocean Club in the past four years, I have told personally, within the first week of their installation, that I, as a journalist, have been, and would continue to document the construction on the premises, for which my wife and I (Unit #308) have been assessed $20,000, in addition to the $15,000 annual “maintenance” fee paid to the Castle Group management company.
As I say, the “story” I’ve been working on (journalistically) is how leaf blowers are destroying the Florida environment, ignoring global warming, and ruining the quality of coastal life, generally.
Specifically, tough these encounters relate to my going out (photographically) to “cover” how Covid-19 is impacting the Ocean Club, the Galt Ocean Mile neighborhood, Fort Lauderdale, and South Florida (Palm Beach to Miami.)
The beginning of “Encounter #1” begins with my walking across Galt Ocean Drive, directly in front of the Ocean Club, where I encounter two women who sitting on the curb, eating their McDonald’s breakfast, because (of course) McDonald’s is open, but only able to deliver take out. I do (off camera) answer the woman’s “why-are-you-taking-our-picture” question, but then return to documenting post-Covid-19 life on the Galt Ocean Mile. And (of course) that includes the “essential” business of blowing leaves on the dune.
So I trained my camera on the leaf blower who joins the women, enjoying their curbside meal. As usual, the leaf blower takes offense at having his picture taken, and feels compelled to blow the noxious machine in my face.
(Of course) I’m pissed off the same as so many (MANY) times before, but this is the FIRST TIME I have been the one to call the police. Please remember that this officer’s attitude toward me, is after I had called to report it was the leaf blower who turned his machine on me for my having taken a picture, an activity for which I believe I have a “right” to do.
Home Again, Naturally
I’ve included this clip of my being attacked (hardly the first time) by the contractors doing the “job” I’m paying to have done on the Ocean Club premises. The “job” that is now in its fourth (uninhabitable) year, two years past the original deadline, and two years for which they are not being penalized, but rather a “grace” period extension, for which I argue I (who can’t work at home) am being penalized.
As I say, I have let every Castle Group manager know that I (as a journalist) am documenting the work … how long it is taking, and how it impacts life in a building for which I PAY to live.
So let me say, as you will see, it is this type of assault (on me) that I report to the Castle Group manager, who responds by saying that I wouldn’t be subject to such attacks if I would stop taking pictures … to which I usually respond with a loud-enough-to-be-heard “FUCK YOU,” going on to explain that it is I who pays the Castle Group to “ensure the rules,” and I expect it to be a rule that I can take pictures on the Ocean Club premises, without being assaulted, or having outsiders take pictures (surveil) me, a GODDAMN resident of the building.
And what does the Castle Group do? (Of course) They side with the outside vendor, and call the police, claiming that it is I, without a “job,” harassing the workers whose “job” it seems is to make my Ocean Club investment, and uninhabitable home.
On this particular day, the day after “Day 1,” the same criminal cop arrives on behalf of the Castle Group and the Ocean Club, and again fails to “PROTECT OR SERVE” my tax-paying ass.
Did I say I’m angry?
Thanks for watching Mickey. You’re the only one whose seen it, and forgive me for any writing errors … what you see is off the top of my head, and I’m not going back to edit. (Of course) that can be done later, after a lawyer, such as yourself, might help direct my attention in a properly persuasive way.
Stay healthy, and I hope to hear back from you soon.