Commissioner Omari Hardy referred during Tuesday’s meeting to a slur made about him by State Rep. Al Jacquet.
Here are three items from Tuesday’s Lake Worth Beach City Commission meeting:
1. HARDY REFERS TO STATE REP’S SLUR: During Tuesday’s 45-minute city meeting at city hall, Commissioner Omari Hardy referred to derogatory comments made about him last month by State Rep. Al Jacquet. In a video on his Facebook page, Jacquet referred to Hardy as a”batty boy” — a derogatory term used in the Caribbean to describe a homosexual person. Jacquet was born in St. Maartens, a Caribbean island. Jacquet later apologized, but Hardy, who is running for Jacquet’s House seat, said he wasn’t buying it. Mentioning that Black History Month was in February and that Lake Worth Beach hoisted a rainbow flag on Tuesday to recognize LGBTQ Pride Month, Hardy said that the two causes “are not unrelated.” Said Hardy: “ I’m an African American man. I care a great deal about the advancement of African American people because historically we’ve had issues. Because of that struggle, I care also a great deal about LGBTQ Americans and the advancement of their rights. What I hope is that all of us that are in different groups....all of us have some part of our identity for which we have a reason to hope for a little more advancement in our society and we would do better to link up and link our struggles with the other person’s struggle rather than use our struggle to put down other people or to justify or excuse the putting down of other people.
2. STUDENT BODY BOOMING AT LAKE WORTH MIDDLE: Mike Williams, principal at Lake Worth Middle School, said the school’s student population has exploded since he took over the job five years ago, rising from 820 students to around 1,300 this year. Williams said he has put in a request with the school district for portable classrooms because “things are getting tight.” The reason for the sharp increase? Williams isn’t certain but said some kids are returning after enrolling in charter schools and added that “people are just continually moving to Lake Worth Beach.” Either way, his school is “bursting at the seems....but we’re managing.” Williams’ comments came during the “presentations” portion of Tuesday’s commission meeting. Local principals are afforded the opportunity to update the commission on their schools at each commission meeting.
3. THE DEAL ON NEW TOWN SEAL: The city is about a month away from adopting a new seal to reflect Lake Worth Beach’s name change approved in a referendum in March 2019. Town seals are used on official documents and should not be confused with the splashier, more colorful town logo. Unauthorized use of the town seal can be prosecuted as a second-degree misdemeanor. Before the new seal is adopted, it must go through a second reading and public hearing on April 7.