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🪴 Housing for all
It's Election Day everywhere but here. For you today, housing’s racial divide; annexation question heats up; from hack to bankruptcy; our new neighbor; and an ode to the Miami Book Fair.
📍 In Palm Beach County, a housing failure in black and white
Decades of discrimination and skyrocketing housing costs are colliding to disproportionately slam Palm Beach County’s long-established communities of color and the area’s burgeoning Hispanic population, a study commissioned by the Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County released this month revealed.
“At every level, the housing crisis has hit minorities the hardest,” the study by Florida International University’s Jorge M. Perez Metropolitan Center found.
There’s plenty of housing pain to go around. The burden of keeping a roof over your head has not only made Palm Beach County one of the most unaffordable places to live in the United States, more than half of all local renters are cost-burdened, meaning that they pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing.
Worse, roughly one in three is shelling out more than half of their income on housing.
But the hardest-hit are in Palm Beach County’s historically minority communities, the study concluded.
One reason: Racial and ethnic gaps in local income.
On average, for every dollar earned by a white worker in Palm Beach County in 2020, a Black worker made 38 cents, according to census data cited in the study.
A local Hispanic or Latino worker made 45 cents.
Depressed incomes in predominantly minority communities haven’t translated to lower-cost housing. A 102-year-old wooden home in West Palm Beach’s historically Black Pleasant City neighborhood this year advertised a rental price of $2,300 — slightly higher than the rate advertised by an 11-year-old Palm Beach Gardens apartment complex with a swimming pool.
It isn’t only rentals that are out of reach, federal data cited by FIU shows.
By contrast, only about 27 percent of local white prospective homeowners were denied.
What’s next: The nonprofit Housing Leadership Council’s Housing for All initiative calls for building 20,000 affordable and workforce housing units in Palm Beach County by 2032.
For more: You can read the full housing equity study, here.
🏘️ Gardens annexation moves forward
To opponents who object to Palm Beach Gardens’ effort to annex 1,300 acres home to 8,300 residents, City Council members point out that they’ll have their say-so at the polls.
“It’s an invitation to come into the family,” Council member Carl Woods said at Thursday’s City Council meeting. “If you don’t want to come into the family, then don’t vote for it.”
Countered Sara Williamson, who lives on Ellison Wilson Road north of PGA Boulevard:
“Personally, I feel like the vibe that Palm Beach Gardens proposes to our neighborhood … doesn’t coincide with our values. … I ask you if my money is really worth it and if it benefits you enough that you feel that you should take it? … I feel passionately that I will lose.”
About 200 people attended Thursday’s meeting, in which the council voted to put the referendum on the March 19 ballot. Of the 20 public speakers, just one spoke in favor.
Most attendees left before the council discussed and voted. For more on that, see Joel’s account of the meeting here.
Both are moving to annex the same three neighborhoods: Hidden Key, north of Jack Nicklaus Drive and east of U.S. 1; an area west of Ellison Wilson Road south of the Ritz Carlton condos; and Pirate’s Cove, which is south of the Waterway Cafe restaurant.
Also, Juno Beach is asking Captain’s Key, 25 homes east of U.S. 1 that is also in Gardens’ annexation path, if they would voluntarily enter the town instead. That requires 100 percent agreement of all Captain’s Key property owners.
🥷 Now in bankruptcy court, struggling company warned investors of ransomware attack
Weeks after cash-strapped Akumin Inc.’s reported ransomware attack, the Broward County diagnostic imaging firm reports it is beginning to take appointments again, including at Palm Beach County locations.
Centers offering ultrasounds, PET scans, X-rays, MRIs and more were essentially shuttered by Akumin after the attack was discovered on Oct. 11. Even access to test results from prior years could be hit or miss.
It’s not clear how much money the ransomware hackers demanded.
But Akumen has little to spare. The firm claimed debts of between $1 billion and $10 billion when it filed for bankruptcy protection Oct. 22, 10 days after the attack was discovered.
Stock traded as low as 12 cents a share before NASDAQ halted trading in the company and the Toronto Stock Exchange temporarily suspended sales.
The company now says it is abandoning public markets and is going private as part of its bankruptcy plan.
Although the company told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel the breach had nothing to do with the bankruptcy, it has long known that a cyberattack could be ruinous.
Akumin acknowledged several “immaterial” security breaches months ago in its March annual report.
And, in what turned out to be a prescient warning, it stated “Cyber incidents, such as ransomware attacks … could have a significant impact on our operations.”
Akumin has not said if personal information of its reported 2 million patients was accessed by the cyberattack. As of Monday, the company’s media contact email was not working.
🍇 The juice
Harbourside fountains were “leaking electrical voltage,” Jupiter town inspection finds. (WPTV)
🌆 Renderings of the 28-story South Flagler House twin towers planned in West Palm Beach are out. Prices range from $5 million to $72 million. Related paid the Frisbee Group $195 million in August for the property. (Robb Report/South Florida Business Journal)
🏟️ In-person sports betting to start Dec. 7 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood and the tribe’s two other South Florida gambling emporiums. (News Service of Florida via Miami Herald)
Speaking of betting, South Florida (and Pittsburgh) sports icon Patrick Rooney Sr., who ran the Palm Beach Kennel Club for many years and fathered a U.S. congressman and a Florida state House member, died Oct. 29 at 84. He was one of five sons of Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney. (The Palm Beach Post)
🚀 Quiz: A Florida man and his rockets
Sure, Jeff Bezos is relocating to Miami from Seattle to be closer to his parents and to revisit his high school roots and perhaps to escape that pesky Washington state estate tax, which, at between 10 percent and 20 percent of Bezos’ estimated $160 billion fortune would come out to, well, let’s refer to the precise accounting term: oodles.
But Bezos’ East Coast digs will also be closer to the Florida operations of his spacecraft concern, Blue Origin.
Count NASA among its fans. The space agency recently handed Blue Origin a $3.4 billion spacecraft contract. But for what?
🥳 561 insider: The most wonderful time of the year
Carolyn, here. If Stet had a contest for the best festival in Florida, and if I was the only judge, the Miami Book Fair would win in a walk, and here’s why:
Eight days of famous and niche authors
An outdoor fair that transforms the neighborhood around Miami-Dade College into a breezy, brainy paradise
The chance to rub elbows with book lovers from around the country
What’s happening: 2023 is the 40th anniversary of the fair, the nation’s oldest and largest literary gathering of readers and writers of all ages.
Things ramp up on Friday, Nov. 17, when the street fair welcomes everyone for free. There is an admission fee on Nov. 18-19.
Street fair weekend is a blur of book stalls, music, street performers and author talks and panels.
The author sessions are laid out in a grid to help you plan. You’ll feel like a college student going from class to class but with no exams.
💡 Stet’s top Book Fair hacks
Consider taking the Brightline. The Miami station is an easy walk from the book fair. Follow the crowd two blocks east and you’ll see the gate. (Pro tip: Book your train ticket as soon as you make your plans to manage Brightline’s dynamic pricing.)
There is a free shuttle, called Freebee, that will take you around downtown. Download the app here before you go.
If you drive, you can park for free all week at the MDC Parking Garage at 500 NE Second Ave.
You can find plenty of food on-site, but if you need a break, Bayside Marketplace’s multiple waterfront restaurants are two blocks east of the fair.
Choose a session with authors you don’t know. Their knowledge may spark interest in a topic you have yet to consider.
👩🏻💻 Authors with Palm Beach County ties to see at the fair
2 pm Sunday — Beth Raymer, who grew up in Loxahatchee (“Fireworks Every Night”) joins Mona Awad (Rouge”) and Melissa Broder (“Death Valley”).
3 pm Sunday — Former Palm Beach Post Book Editor Scott Eyman (“Charlie Chaplin vs. America,”) joins a panel with Madeleine Blais (“Queen of the Court”), Pablo Brescia (“Diego Maradona”) and Adrian Matejka (“Last On His Feet”).
5 pm Sunday — Former Palm Beach Post reporter John Lantigua (“In the War Zone of the Heart and Other Stories”) joins a panel with Larry Baker (“Harry and Sue: A Story of Love and Ghosts,”) and Brian Bandell (“The Rabbi and the Condemned”).
📺 Can’t get to Miami? Stream the fair at MiamiBookFairOnline.com.
👟 Thank you to the Stetters who supported and joined us Saturday at the 2023 NAMIWalks at John Prince Park. We raised $4,083, which put us in sixth place among more than 80 teams. The Palm Beach County walk organizers report raising $113,613. All of it will help our neighbors. And it’s not too late to donate to NAMI Palm Beach County, here.
🙈 Playing possum? The Miami Dolphins took themselves out of the talk radio Super Bowl conversation Sunday in Frankfurt, Germany, with yet another loss to a team with a winning record. That makes the Dolphins 6-3 for the season, with all three losses against good teams and all six victories against stragglers.
😀 Good news: The Dolphins remain in first place because Buffalo lost.
😀 😀 More good news: The Fins are off Sunday.
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