Local Clergyman Robby Entrekin’s comments irresponsible

In the November 25th Panama City News Herald , local clergyman Robby Entrekin posted a letter to the editor entitled “Responsibility and accountability”. In his letter he makes comments that are quite irresponsible from someone who professes to be a professional  clergyman.

“Quoting from the Nov. 16 News Herald: “Commissioner John Kady, who attended the task force meeting but is not a member, said an ordinance would likely make sure everyone who uses public facilities must meet the same requirements of providing adequate services, policing and traffic control, and those who use private property do not encumber public space, including prohibiting the flow of traffic on city streets.”That’s right, get ready for the rules and regulations to say who you can and cannot feed in your own home, with your own money and on your own time.”

One can only assume the good reverend is commenting on the the proposal to ban local feeding sessions to vagrants in our public parks downtown. The events are conducted in PUBLIC parks which are maintained with TAX PAYER dollars. Mr. Entrekin is wrong in his conclusion that anyone has advocated or even implied that anyone should be restricted to feeding in someones own home with their own money. I would add however, that there are laws and regulations that allow for food safety that would prevent Mr. Entrekin from feeding on a large, commercial scale as is being done at McKenzie park. There are health department regulations that cover a whole host of food safety issues that every restaurant, commissary and outdoor food vendor must adhere to. Inspections and permits are in place by this regulating body to allow those standards to be upheld. Zoning regulations would prevent Mr. Entrekin from opening a commercial business anywhere he pleased and any major change in traffic impact would require analysis and planning by the department of transportation so as to create positive traffic patterns. What Mr. Entrekin has seem to forgotten is that we live in a world that requires “responsibility and accountability” to use his words. Without basic rules and laws that prevent encroachment by one individual on another would create a world of chaos filled with unChristian-like behavior.

Mr. Entrekin then goes further to imply that anyone that  feels that helping those locals who are truly in need while still maintaining the safety, rights and integrity of the community at large is somehow being unChristian.

But I would like to share with the Homeless Task Force that there are already rules in place. They were written long ago and are still just as true and binding today and they cannot be overturned. Christ said, “Just as you do to the least of these, you do to me.”Panama City is doing all it can to ensure Christ is not allowed in its city, and Bay County is not far behind. The homeless are Jesus in disguise, hungry, cold and thirsty.

These comments are inaccurate and inappropriate. It is shameful that a local professional clergyman is unable to do the critical analysis of a community problem  and separate what is “helping those who need help” from what in a larger scale is a public nuisance problem which has created additional crime, lowering of property values and decline in business downtown. Many of us who have complained about the severity of the vagrancy problem to local public officials and police entities are the same ones that have gone out of our way to give a helping hand to those truly in need. The problem Mr. Entrekin has is that he paints the entire situation with the same brush and is unable to distinguish when his actions are helping someone who needs and deserves the attention or is fact contributing to and escalating the problem by hurting his downtown neighbors. But one has to keep in mind the lack of forethought offered by Mr. Entrekin. He was the one in a comment forum on an article about the homeless that advocated “boycotting any and all downtown businesses that supported any actions against the rescue mission”. This position is quite easy for someone to take when they live and work outside the downtown community and does not have business interest downtown that provides food and clothing for him, his family and a number of his employees.

It is interesting that Mayor Brudnicki is not relocating the bars. I guess if you drink and have a car you are welcome downtown versus drinking and having nothing. Mayor Brudnicki said. “You have to have regimentation, you have to have responsibility, you have to have accountability.”

Mr. Entrekin further shows his inaccurate statements. If ANY business, organization or facility were to require the amount of police actions as has taken place at the rescue mission, they would have been sued by neighboring businesses and property owners and closed down by local police. Panama City Police Officers responded to 504 calls at the Panama City Rescue Mission, making 72 arrests. They responded to the nearby grocery outlet 287 times making 62 arrests. These are not nice families that have run into problems and are looking for someone to offer them some guidance and a helping hand back to being contributing members of society, these are criminals that are taking advantage of our community. The irony of Mr. Entrekin’s misguided perception is that if he and other were able to filter in their minds the difference between the vagrants and someone just looking for a helping hand,   there would be an overwhelming amount of resources for the people in need, allowing them to get back on their feet sooner.

So. Mr. Entrikin, I challenge you as a professional clergyman with a voice in our community to do the right thing and treat the vagrancy problem with a sense of “responsibility and accountability”. Our community deserves better from you.
Read more: http://www.newsherald.com/articles/traffic-98646-christ-public.html#ixzz1esLrEMiy

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2 Comments

  1. Rebecca

     /  October 30, 2012

    seems to me that no one is aloowed to help anyone these days. Here is a man that is trying to make sure everyone is fed, but yet is wrong in doing so . But the people who open bars and strip clubs are not wrong??? Just one person has highered the crime rate?? he highered it how ?? by feeding the homeless, clothing the homeless?? The crime was already high in dowtown from the bars, the prositutes, the crackheads, not from one man feeding the homeless.. this article is a disgrace

    Reply
    • Silly,

      Thank you for taking time to visit our blog and read apparently just one article.If you had taken the time to read a larger sampling of our articles you would find that our stance is quite similar to yours. We agree that our community has a responsibility to help those truly in need that are just looking for a helping hand to becoming contributing members of society. But the “facts” that you state in your comments are completely off base. Lets start with the point that a man is trying to make sure everyone is fed. BUZZZZ…wrong. I am assuming you are talking about “Robby” in your comments. When was the last time you saw a human carcass lying beside the road from someone who has starved to death? A call to the panama city police departments community information officer will confirm that there has NEVER been someone die from starvation in Panama City since the beginning of records being kept. So “everyone being fed” is not really what is happening. As far as the bars and strip clubs, I actually would agree that these institutions are not the best for any community but at the end of the day they operate a legal business and pay taxes. Crime rate? there again, call the police department and ask about crime around the rescue mission or even easier…scroll down through our articles as there are several that document actual escalated crime rates. The crime rate was not “higher” before the rescue mission. Funny thing…you can have your own opinion but you cant have your own facts. There is TONS of data that shows the FACTS of the detrimental impact of the rescue mission and your fine buddy has been the most abrasive to those who look for nothing more than solutions that serve our community the best way. Your bubba Robby was the one who advocated that everyone “boycott downtown businesses” when we have begged for our official to lessen the impact of the the vagrants, transients, panhandlers, drug users, sexual offenders….all of which are at the rescue mission…. So…get off your high horse, learn the facts and take all these drunkards into your home because downtown is tired of having them choke the life out of our community

      Reply

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