Pahokee recall argument: Racism or not racism?

Posted 11/19/20

Mayor Keith W. Babb Jr. posted a public response last week, after the recall petitions for three commissioners including himself...

You must be a member to read this story.

Join our family of readers for as little as $5 per month and support local, unbiased journalism.

Already have an account? Log in to continue. Otherwise, follow the link below to join.

Please log in to continue

Log in
I am anchor

Pahokee recall argument: Racism or not racism?


PAHOKEE — Mayor Keith W. Babb Jr. posted a public response last week, after the recall petitions for three commissioners including himself arrived at city hall, on his personal Facebook page — then later deleted it.

Recall committee member Catherine Marvez retorted to his response on Friday, Nov. 13, shortly after it was put out on social media.

Babb on the recall:
Mayor Babb’s original post read, verbatim: “I won my two elections for Mayor of the City of Pahokee, twice fair and square by a landslide. Now the majority, (3) of the Pahokee’s elected African Americans Commissioners are being falsely accused of being incompetent by a small group of racist (whites) disgruntled individual attempting to remove us from office by petitioning for a recall vote. In essence, they are saying that Pahokee’s current black elected officials are incompetent to lead. However, I and many others, strongly disagree with their assessment. I am widely considered by many to be one of Pahokee’s most effective and best Mayor, ever.

“For the record, I am the longest serving elected City Office, serving (27 years) in the history of the Glades Region.

“I was selected by Pahokee Chamber of Commerce as the 2017-2018 Citizen of the Year.

“I was Voted by Legacy Magazine, South Florida as one of South Florida’s Most Powerful and Influential Black Professionals in Business and Industry for 2017.

“I served for over 38 years as Supervisor for Palm Beach County Division of Senior Services.

“I served for more than 15 years on the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County.

“I was a honor graduate of Pahokee High School, as well as a Magnum Cum Laude honor graduate of Texas College, HBCU.

“Attempting to remove any of our elected officials in this manner is purely racist at best and hypocritical at worst.

“Citizen of Pahokee, don’t be deceived and fooled by their lies. I ask you to firmly standby your duly elected city officials and support our efforts of rebuilding Pahokee Better for all people, not just a selected few.

“Yours In Public Service,
“Mayor Keith W. Babb, Jr.”

Committee speaker’s take
Marvez said, quoted verbatim: “The following is my response to a now deleted post from our Mayor who is currently under a Recall Petition under Fla Statue 100.361. We received an overwhelming response. ...

“For at least two years (minimum) citizens have been calling him and two other commissioners out for Poor Job Performance especially in dealing with our current City Manager who is now under the shadow of several IG reports on financial mismanagement and possible pending criminal investigations yet to be determined mind you. They continue to support him unquestioningly against citizens written wishes.

“I feel this post is simply an attempt to incite local racial division where there is none and to deflect from the recall itself.

“More importantly to me...there are a lot of ‘I, Me, My’ in this rebuttal. Nothing about his own job performance. Nothing about why LaBelle, Indiantown, South Bay, Belle Glade and Clewiston have all burst out with growth, investors and infrastructure revitalization over the past 5 years. Pahokee has a marina, a park and a $1,000,000 debt for artificial turf field THAT NO ONE CAN USE. In the neighborhoods sidewalks and roads are flooding and unsafe to walk on to name a few.

“Regarding the issue of the three Commissioners under recall being black...there is only one White Commissioner and she is doing her best to ensure that this city is run to the best it can be...for everyone.

“The citizens are tired of being held hostage by fear of retaliation, harassment etc....
“Mayor Keith Babb’s post ... in my shows just who is most important to him... Pahokee deserved better.

“To the three under recall: Please, stop asking “Why” these petitions were signed by citizens...if you don’t are really out of touch with those you are supposed to serve and should use the resignation option immediately!”

mayor, pahokee, recall