Naboth’s Peachtree Pine

October 26, 2011

I Kings 21:1-20 (New International Version from THE HEBREW BIBLE)

Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab King of Samaria. Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.”

But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.”
So Ahab went home sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat. His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, “Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?”

He answered her, “Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, ‘Sell me your vineyard ; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” Jezebel his wife said, “Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat. Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city with him. In those letters she wrote: “Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people. But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them testify that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.”

So the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city did as Jezebel directed in the letters she had written to them. They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a prominent place among the people. Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth before the people, saying, “Naboth has cursed both God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death. Then they sent word to Jezebel: “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.”

As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, “Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead.” When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went down to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard.

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: In the place of where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood – – yes, yours!”

Comment: The similarities between the conspiracy to steal Naboth’s vineyard and TEAM GOLIATH’S conspiracy to steal Peachtree Pine are myriad. Imagine a modern play with a cast chosen from the members of TEAM GOLIATH. Who from among those players would have the part of King Ahab? The Hebrew Bible describes him as “sullen” and “angry” and “sulken” and “refused to eat” when he couldn’t take what he wanted.

Who from the mighty Atlanta TEAM GOLIATH would play King Ahab, one of Israel’s most atrocious rulers? Who is the king of Atlanta’s TEAM GOLIATH? Could it be Jack Hardin, one of the chairs of United Way’s Regional Commission, who reports to have beds ready for all the men who will be leaving Peachtree Pine? Could King Ahab be played by Horace Sibley who ended “homelessness” in downtown Atlanta as we know “homelessness”? Where is Horace? Have they found him? Perhaps he is looking for his computer at Georgia Tech.

Where does A. J. Robinson fit in the TEAM GOLIATH hierarchy? Is he coaching the Mayor on how to handle Troy Davis Park. It’s difficult to guess who might play the part of King Ahab.

And what about Jezebel? Not so fast, do not answer the obvious. Debi Starnes might not be the only candidate for that part? Don’t forget Queen Shirley Franklin of the golden locks. Those tresses now do the bidding of privatizing everything for the Cousins Empire. And don’t forget the HUD darling, Dr. Renee Glover. Has she fallen out of favor with our Mayor? Can’t find Horace! Can’t find Debi! Can’t find Renee!

Several other women could play Jezebel. There’s the warm Peggy Denby. Or Roman Catholic Nun Jane Garety of Mercy Housing might do. Her e-mail to a fellow worker at the nun-run Mercy Housing, Inc. boasted that Cap and the City of Atlanta would be in the debt of the Nuns when they joined Manny Fialkow in foreclosing on The Pine. Don’t forget the congenial Amy Zaremba of Gateway fame. Any one of these beauties could dream schemes to steal a little vineyard.

The letter writers could be chosen from dozens of the GOLIATHITES. Those thousands of e-mail court documents qualify many as letter writers. Greg Pridgeon could play the letter writer. He signed the three annual letters that blocked City funding after Atlanta’s Grants Management Office had approved Task Force funding. King Ahab had a seal that Jezebel used on her letters falsely accusing Naboth. Mayor Franklin had a seal that Starnes used to murder Peachtree Pine.

Vince “in a godly manner” Smith certainly qualifies as a letter writer. One pleasant day months ago two Task Force board members, Carl Hartrampf and Chuck Steffen, led a tour of Peachtree Pine that included Rev. Vince “fortnight” Smith and an official from Atlanta United Way. Hours later Smith “in a godly manner” emailed his buddies of the deplorable conditions at Peachtree Pine. He mentioned something about his heart breaking for the men there. Then there is Rector “Super Bowl” Hoar who from his Episcopal aerie bore false witness of the “squalid” Peachtree Pine. That truth teller could write the letters to the Elders and Nobles and Scoundrels invited to the table, Naboth’s death table.

The biblical account of the murder of Naboth has only two “scoundrels” present at the table. TEAM GOLIATH beats that number by scores. Legions have lined up to falsely accuse The Pine and The Task Force for the Homeless. Just last weekend Dr. Chuck Steffen had to point out to AJC reporter Christian Boone that he had reported only HALF the truth concerning mishandling of funds. What Boone did was to quote his own article written years ago with reporter, Willoughby Mariano. Imagine a writer using himself as his source and the source being inaccurate all the while. Booth introduces the subject of mishandling money. But he fails to mention that a HUD investigation resulted in a HUD official saying that not one cent of millions of dollars had been mishandled. Right on AJC. And this is the investigative reporting the Narrow uses to advertise itself? Thank you Christian Boone. We have had reason to believe better of Boone. Oh, well! The list of people who could play the scoundrels in our play is endless.

Naboth was stoned to death. His property was given by King Ahab. That’s what Kings do. The elders and nobles concurred.

The powers and principalities of Atlanta will use a bottom feeding developer working hand in hand with nuns and doers of all good like United Way and makers of policy like The Chamber and lights in the community like Central Atlanta Progress to evict 700 predominantly Black homeless men from their home on sacred Peachtree. That’s what kings do as the elders and nobles give silent consent.

Incidentally, friends in Europe as I write this are watching on YouTube Atlanta Police (part of the 99%) arrest demonstrators on the night of October 25, 2011. Join me in being a proud Atlantan. And as Reverend Joseph Lowery says, “And the beat goes on.” Do I hear dogs barking?

James Wilson Beaty7
Jeremiah 22:16
October 26, 2011

The translators of the 1611 King James Bible give pause often to the modern reader. For example, twice in the Book of Acts (Acts 9:5 and Acts 26:15) those translators have Our Lord saying to Paul on the road to Damascus, “…it is hard for you to kick against the PRICKS.” The Greek word translated there “pricks” probably refers to the goads or metal spikes on a carriage behind the running horses that would help govern their speed. The allusion that Jesus uses helps convert Saul the killer of believers to Paul the maker of believers

Part of the glory of our inimitable language is how it changes down the years. I cannot find in the Oxford English Dictionary an instance before 1611 where the word PRICK describes a man as a contemptible, offensive person. That definition comes later.

Any third grader in our Atlanta school system knows what one means when that person refers to the powers in control as PRICKS. If I should say, and I never would, that there are PRICKS on Atlanta City Council or that United Way is run by PRICKS or that such and such is a PRICK, everyone, even the most sheltered among us, like me, knows what is intended.

Note that the King James Translation in these instances is not incorrect. It is not talking of kicking against people who are PRICKS. That’s where I came in. I kick against the PRICKS who press their heels against the throats of the voiceless. Some of Atlanta’s leadership for decades has had its collective heel on the poor of Atlanta, especially excessively poor African American men. Seven hundreds of those destitute people OCCUPY Atlanta at the Community called Peachtree Pine. The City of Atlanta is their Wall Street. Emory Health Care, Inc. is their Wall Street. Central Atlanta Progress is their Wall Street.

The verse, Luke 19:13, is speaking in a parable to ten servants who are being instructed to spend their money wisely. This became my least favorite parable when I heard an Episcopal Betty give this as an argument that we poor people should invest in WORLD COM, to mention yet another PRICK.

“Occupy til I come” brings to mind people at Peachtree Pine who have said that they will OCCUPY, PERIOD. The Court has given free rein to Manny Fialkow to empty The Peachtree Pine Community on or after October 27, 2011. That angry Order will be appealed, but no one knows what might happen. My mind’s eye can see several possibilities. Imagine with me Jack Hardin dragging Anita Beaty by her heels out the front door at 475 Peachtree Street into the Police Van. Imagine Manny Fialkow dragging African American men across sacred Peachtree over to Al Blackwelder’s frogpond at Emory Hospital. Imagine The Reverend Vince “fortnight” Smith carrying on his strong shoulders “in a godly manner” a woman and her baby to Gateway’s Dumpster. Imagine “don’t give em water” Ratchet Rob Hunter coming out of retirement to insure that no water fountains work or that no toilets flush at The Pine. Imagine Phil Hunter, the pride of United Way, who began at The Pine, dragging by Black men from their home to his non-existent United Way STREET to HOME and SHELTER to HOME Programs.

I get hate e-mail in response to my little blogs: liar, thief, fake, fraud, etc., etc. Sometimes, it is a little hard to kick against the PRICKS. However, in all my years, I have never come upon a more courageous, inspired and caring group of human beings than many of the 700 men gathered tonight at The Pine. When the downtown princes and the Sanhedrin come for them in the dark of night with sirens and whistles and tire tools and sticks, those invaders may get more that they wanted. If Rector Hoar comes to clean the deplorable physical conditions, he may bring a spunge. He will not see violence. There will be no violence from the weak. Only the strong will bring violence. What these ravisher will see is the gentlest and kindest men they have ever seen Many TV cameras, flash bulbs, world press. It really is hard to kick against the PRICKS. Occupy til I come. Good night, Jack. Good night, all the ships at sea. Goodnight, trainwreck. Good night, Horace.

A brilliant and experienced attorney once told me that if you want to see justice, do not look for it in a courthouse. If you want to see justice, go to the bank. You will find justice there; people are treated fairly, if they have lots of money.

James Wilson Beaty
Jeremiah 22:16
October 19, 2011

“Sovereign Immunity” means “You can’t sue the King.” The King can lie and cheat and steal and rape and murder, but he can’t be sued. He’s the King. That was true of Henry VIII of England. He died of natural causes in his bed, never tried by any court. He did what kings do. However, Charles I of England was tried and beheaded near St. James’s Palace in London on a a brutal January morning in 1649. The nearby River Thames lay frozen. An observer watching the King’s head roll said that his beheading was “the saddest sight that England had ever seen.” Sovereign Immunity protected Henry VIII, not Charles I. Some kings cannot hide under Sovereign Immunity.

For the moment, the City of Atlanta basks in “a stay of execution” as it was granted a motion for Summary Judgement. The actionless HAG and the suspect Atlanta United Way and the corrupt Central Atlanta Progress and the questionable Manny Fialkow and the now unprotected Emory Health Care, Inc. all await the closing of the doors of Peachtree Pine. The Rev. Vince “fortnight” Smith of Union Mission/Gateway/HAG fame said at The HAG’s October 11, 2011, meeting at the opulent North Avenue Presbyterian Church that the doors of Peachtree Pine could close within “a fortnight.” In his kindness the fulsome cleric explained to the unwashed of us present that “fortnight” means “two weeks.” Rev. Smith was there to present to The HAG a plan to move after their eviction the 700 to 1000 residents of Peachtree Pine. This “disaster relief” plan (an expert in the audience called it “disaster relief” and likened it to Hurricane Katrina” must be ready momentarily. Smith also stated that the removal of these 700 to 1000 men would be done “in a godly manner.” That comment brings to my mind the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar taking away in chains the King of Judah, his associates and most of the citizens of Jerusalem to prison. I wonder if the King assured the captives that their transformation by His United Way is being done “in a godly manner.” Imagine the words “in a godly manner” being associated with names like Debi Starnes, Horace Sibley, A. J. Robinson and Manny Fialkow.

Eight of the men in the Transitional Program at Peachtree Pine attended with me that October 11, 2011, gathering of the HAGites. We had been alerted by a deep throat that a plan to move the 700 to 1000 men would be unveiled. We were NOT invited to that or any other of their planning sessions. We never have been invited. Especially, when conspirators traveled in a CAP van to speak with Dan Cathy about Peachtree Pine, we were not invited. We learned of that tortious interference and collusion only through subpoened documents gathered from those who now stand accused.

At The HAG meeting Rev. Smith presented a pie chart that summed up the plan to move the men off Peachtree Street. I don’t believe Smith knew that during that very morning of October 11, 2011, Emory University and Emory Health Care, Inc. had been sued as another racketeering party in yet another separate law suit. This suit was filed against Emory in the Superior Court of Dekalb County.

Moreover, all the glee around downtown and in other dark places like The HAG hideout may be rejoicing a bit early. The little battle over suing the King was lost, but the WAR with that particular group of exclusionists is far from over The Fat Lady has not sung. The Judge who ruled in favor of The City has been requested by Baker Donelson lawyers to reconsider his ruling. Should that not happen an appeal of that decision to a higher court is possible. Suppose for discussion purposes that The City of Atlanta enjoys a permanent “stay” and will not be exposed before a jury, many other defendants and POTENTIAL defendants hover in the wings. Those already facing trial at this point are Central Atlanta Progress, Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, Developer Manny Fialkow, Emory University and Emory Health Care, Inc. These defendants do not come under Sovereign Immunity. There is not a king in the gang. I admit that I was brought up to believe that Coca Cola, its outpost, Emory, and God, Himself, were beyond scrutiny whenever they broke the law. I was wrong on one of the three in that holy trinity.

Smith’s plan presented to the HAGites is priceless. It’s a pie chart headed by the title, “Helping Men Experiencing Homelessness.” There are seven pieces of the pie. The seventh piece features only a question mark (?). That one represents discussion, input from the audience. The next piece of the pie names the places where 700 to 1000 men will be placed somewhere whenever they leave Peachtree Street. Smith’s first piece reads “Emergency Shelter: Atlanta Union Mission-100, GWC-150 (Gateway?)”, “Salvation Army-130” and “Jefferson House – 75.” That’s 455. That’s good but the Union Mission exits a large number of men every morning to Peachtree Pine. That’s good. The model Gateway sends people to Peachtree Pine daily when it is full. That piece of the pie carries an odor no longer redolent. That promise is as old and as empty as Thw HAG itself. Like Lazarus it “stinketh” already, and I’m afraid it won’t keep until Saturday.

The last four pieces of the pie read: “Staging and Triage (Stan Dawson)”: Next, “Transportation (Ed Powers)”: Next:”Health (Tom Andrews):” Next: “Case Management:” and finally “Transitional Housing and Programs. There’s your “Helping Pie.” It has to be noted that everything mentioned in this chart TAKES PLACE EVERY DAY at the Peachtree Pine Community. All eight men with me at The HAG work with broken, desperate folks daily. We have been stripped of all funding. Not one of our staff is paid. And United Way and Jack Hardin in legal documents report to a judge that ALL the men at Peachtree Pine will be placed as soon as the City and the Courts shut the doors. The Reverend Dr. Vince “fortnight” Smith promises that this eviction will be done “in a godly manner.”

Godly means “conforming to the laws and wishes of God; devout, pious: coming from God, divine”

When an Englishman in London on a freezing morning in January of 1649 saw his king murdered, he exclaimed, “This is the saddest sight that England ever saw. An American observes on a sad day in 2011 that if the atrocities against the poor committed by some of our City’s leaders go unanswered in courts of law, “Atlanta has seen one of its saddest days.”

James Wilson Beaty
Jeremiah 22:16
October 17, 2011