Billy Fox continues his assault on downtown and insults local Christians.

PANAMA CITY — The Panama City Rescue Mission is again urging the city to put off enforcement of the nuisance ordinance approved in March.

We are convinced that the motive behind this nuisance ordinance is to stop the Rescue Mission from fulfilling its God-given calling,” mission executive director the Rev. Billy Fox wrote on behalf of the organization’s board of directors in a letter dated April 27. Christians in our community should be outraged by Mr. Billy Fox and his attempts to hide behind the Christian label to defend any and all actions of the Rescue Mission. He has built a million dollar empire all on the backs of the vagrants and a naive community that do not hold him to task on the effects that the Rescue Mission have had on our community. Shame on you Mr. Fox.

The Panama City Police Department has not enforced the ordinance yet.

“It’s still at the clarification stage,” said Lt. Robert Luther, spokesman for the police department.

Mission officials have expressed concerns that when enforcement begins, the mission could be unfairly targeted and they may have to cut one of their services in response.

“If this nuisance ordinance is enforced, we will have no other option but to close the Day Center to outsiders,” Fox wrote. “This reduction in services will put 30 to 40 people, who come to it for services and a place to hang out during the day, back on the streets of Panama City.”

Fox, who was unavailable for comment Friday, wrote that calls to law enforcement are most often associated with problems at the Day Center.

He requested the nuisance ordinance be suspended until the city’s Community Resource Center Task Force gets its proposed facility up and running, “at which time there will be no need for our Day Center to continue to operate as it does today.”

That’s not likely to happen.

“The laws are on the books. … My intention is to have it enforced as soon as it is practical,” said Commissioner John Kady.

Mayor Greg Brudnicki agreed. He said there isn’t a definitive timeline for when the Community Resource Center could open because it is still in the planning stages.

“We don’t even have a site picked out or paid for,” he said.

Kady was tasked by the City Commission last year to lead the charge in developing ways to combat problems associated with homelessness using law enforcement. His work was supposed to be in parallel to work led by Brudnicki to address problems socially through a Community Resource Center.

Kady said waiting doesn’t seem like a good option.

“We have an immediate problem in downtown Panama City that we have to address, and I believe that the ordinance gives us a vehicle by which we can (reach) an abatement agreement” with property owners, he said.

He said he believes the city can reach a workable solution with the Rescue Mission.

The law

The chronic nuisance ordinance states property could be classified as a chronic nuisance if law enforcement is called to the premises five or more times within a 30-day period. It would not penalize property owners who report a nuisance created by a third-party to law enforcement, as long as the owner is not a participant.

Violators of the ordinance will go through the city’s current nuisance abatement process, which will include an appearance in front of a magistrate and the creation of an abatement plan.

When it was approved, Police Chief John Van Etten said his department wouldn’t be able to enforce it without first receiving clarification from the city attorney.

City Attorney Rowlett Bryant wrote to Van Etten on April 13 and said “the purpose of this ordinance is to send a message that certain types of activities are not going to be tolerated in our city and its neighborhoods. The ordinance is aimed at owners or lessees of property that invite gatherings which are associated with disturbances that could be controlled with adequate security.”

In his letter, Fox wrote that money is not available to hire professional security and asked whether it is the city’s intention “to shift the responsibility of policing to the citizens themselves and placing them in harm’s way?”

Brudnicki said other facilities he visited while gathering information for the Community Resource Center, security was considered a regular operating expense.

“They have chosen to do the job that they do and treat the people that they want to treat,” he said. “Part of doing that, part of the expense of doing that, is having security to deal with the element they deal with. That’s inherent in providing that community service or business. … Every place that I have visited has security to deal with those issues.”

Gambling, pot and bordellos

While Fox wrote they were concerned the mission would be the only organization to which the nuisance ordinance applies, Bryant also wrote that activities covered by the ordinance include “gambling, crack houses, pot parties, bars, bordellos, etc.”

Other conditions that would be covered, he wrote, include barking dogs, out-of-control parties, occupation of vacated structures by “vagrants or drunks that disturb the neighbors because of their lifestyles,” failure to properly care for animals and maintaining a business in a residential neighborhood.

Read more: http://www.newsherald.com/articles/nuisance-102506-city-panama.html#ixzz1u23Rmhsh

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