Mayor Matti Bower has yet to respond to two former presidents of the Miami Beach Police Athletic League who have requested both a meeting with her and an apology for a remark she made disparaging the organization.
In a Dec. 21 email to the mayor, Kenneth Stowe and former Circuit Court judge Howard Gross called the mayor’s remark – “PAL never did a program in their life to help anybody” – “ill advised” and “disturbing.” Bower made the remark during a Dec. 14 City Commission discussion about alleged financial wrongdoing at the police-sponsored organization that serves local youth.
In their message to Bower, Stowe and Gross gave her until Jan. 6 but did not say what action they would then pursue if she failed to reply.
Stowe supplied photos this week to the SunPost showing the mayor attending an April 2008 press conference with PAL officials at which the DNA LifePrint Biometric Fingerprinting program was launched. The program provides parents with tools and information for helping police find a missing child.
In one photo, a smiling Bower poses with a group of North Beach Elementary students and their principal, then-Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega, a county School Board member, and then-PAL leaders, including Stowe.
“At that particular event,” Stowe told the SunPost on Monday, “she left with several DNA kits after asking if it was possible to extend the scope of recipients. In other words, she actually wanted to add additional schools to the existing program.” He described her as “very excited and supportive” of PAL’s DNA LifePrint project.
In its own research of the PAL website, the SunPost discovered additional photos of Bower’s pride for PAL. In one, posted in March 2009, Bower, city commissioners, and PAL leaders pose outside police headquarters with a group of youngsters. Bower and the other adults are displaying an oversize $2,500 donation check from Dunkin’ Donuts to PAL’s Youth Director’s Council.
In another picture, taken in the City Commission chamber and posted on PAL’s website in May 2009, Chief Noriega and PAL leaders are shown appearing before Bower and commissioners and being honored by the mayor and commission for the DNA Lifeprint program.