The Coastal Star

Delray Beach: Caron seeks residents’ communications on sober house protest

Letter delivered to Seaspray neighbors: Green_Letter%282%29.pdf

(Note: To protect privacy, the name and address has been removed by The Coastal Star)

By Tim Pallesen

                  The Caron Foundation has notified neighbors near its Seaspray Avenue sober house that their communications will be sought as evidence in its lawsuit against Delray Beach.
                  “We intend to examine all of your records, yard signs, notes, surveillance tapes, telephone and cell phone records, letters, emails, documents and writings concerning the Caron Foundation and its attempts to provide community housing to people in recovery,” Caron attorney Jim Green wrote in a letter that was hand-delivered to neighbors and subsequently made available to The Coastal Star.
                  According to neighbors, the drug and alcohol treatment provider moved its first three clients into its house at 1232 Seaspray Ave. under the watchful eyes of security guards one day after distributing the letter.
                  “The letter’s timing a day before Caron moved people into the Seaspray home was suspect and the manner in which it was delivered — by bouncer-type goons trespassing over people’s private property — was repugnant,” neighbor Cary Glickstein said. “Residents are furious.”
                  Caron wants seven recovering alcoholics and drug addicts in the house. City law currently allows three unrelated people in a single-family home.
                  Caron sued Delray Beach on Feb. 23 after the city denied its request for seven clients by saying Caron hadn’t provided sufficient justification for the request. A federal judge on May 4 ordered the city to continue processing Caron’s request without violating federal laws that prohibit discrimination against recovering alcoholics and drug addicts.
                  The judge also granted Caron a temporary injunction to stop the city from enforcing a transient housing ordinance that makes it difficult for treatment providers to operate.
                  Green is seeking the communications among residents as he prepares for a trial on both matters.
                  “We consider all of this information to be important evidence that should be preserved,” he wrote the neighbors. “Therefore, please do not destroy, erase or over-write any writings or documents.”
                  Residents called Green’s letter an attempt to intimidate them.
                  “It’s a frightening letter. What he’s done is bizarre,” said Mindy Farber, an attorney who lives in the neighborhood but did not receive the letter, “I don’t think what he’s asking for is anything they have. I would just ignore him.”
                  Glickstein, who chairs the city’s planning and zoning board, said Green’s intent in sending the letter has backfired.
                  “Residents now are more galvanized than ever to continue this fight,” he said.

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Comment by Jeremy on August 9, 2012 at 8:14pm

I am actually in recovery and have witnessed the behaviors of many alcoholics addicts in addiction and in recovery. I think all of you need to look at the site to completely understand the truth about AA. I have for the most part seen very immature behavior from recovering addicts. I have known a few women who have even been raped by members of alcoholics anonymous only to be told that they were lying! Most of the people in recovery down here are young people. Most of them relapse and when they do we deal with the brunt of it. I have been in a halfway house. My manage owned about 6 halfway houses and was in real estate driving a brand new lexus with T.V.s in it. It is all about money. Building a sober house for the wealthy and giving them celebrity treatment goes against everything Caron believes in. They are hypocrites and have turned from a company that supposedly cared to a company that pampers its patients. Same goes for Wellness Resource Center and those alike. I will say that people in recovery are attempting to get sober but honestly no one really knows how. I personally use therapy and other proven, researched techniques to achieve sobriety and am now almost 5 year sober. As an Addict and alcoholic ( addiction is not a disease by the way, I've done my research) I believe that you Delray Beach residents should continue the fight and not allow these people into your neighborhood. They aren't going to stay sober anyway. This is like a vacation for them. It's pathetic.

Comment by Leigh Allen on May 26, 2012 at 6:41am

You sound like a Caron spokesperson!

Comment by Caron Alumnus on May 25, 2012 at 3:18pm

I totally agree that there are many, many unscrupulous sober house operators out there. Basically slumlords. And the town needs to crack down on them. They don't do anything for people trying to recover - they usually just concentrate people in active addiction in a shoddy house in the ghetto and it quickly devolves into a drug den. That is a legitimate problem. Addiction goes unchecked, crime spikes, people's bad for everyone except the slumlord. But that's not what Caron is proposing. They run a tight ship and have zero tolerance for using/relapse.

Comment by Kelly Barrette on May 25, 2012 at 3:08pm

I think you should talk to people who actually live next door to a sober house before you wholeheartedly endorse one

in your neighborhood.  And consult the police log - you need a better understanding of the reality of the situation.  

Your individual experience was a positive one, but there are many unscrupulous sober house operators in the city

that toss people out on the streets everyday with their addictions still intact.  This often leads to trouble and the

kind of behavior that you don't want to be associated with but it's clearly a safety issue for residents and addiction

clients.  All sober houses need to be be more tightly regulated and subjected to strict code adherence. 

I think the Caron Foundation could have found a nice location  in Boca, near the treatment center, for their Ocean Drive

program.  It's not their right or the law (?) to exploit single family neighborhoods to fill their coffers for any reason.  

And, FYI, I've seen the swanky cars their executives drive - all that money is not going to charity.   I refused to be

inconvenienced by a very profitable business that has tried to circumvent the city's zoning laws and permitting process.

Comment by Caron Alumnus on May 25, 2012 at 11:58am're just going to completely disregard my response to your comment then? I'll repeat it for you. Try to focus. "I'm not here to comment on the tactics of some lawyer I've never met." And, yes. I do believe that the law is right. No contest there. As to point #2, no - it's not my neighborhood. I live a lot farther north on the island. ;) But I wouldn't object to a sober living home in my neighborhood if someone proposed it. I'd be out with  bells on supporting it.

Comment by Leigh Allen on May 25, 2012 at 11:48am

Ok, so my takeaway from that last message: 1) You believe the end justifies the means (including I assume the hooligan tactics) 2) you are happy to appoint yourself as the arbiter of priorities, even though it's not your neighborhood and the negative consequences won't affect you, and 3) you believe that by asserting "the law states" and "its the law" enough times, that makes you right.  Any disagreement with any of these three points? 

Comment by Caron Alumnus on May 25, 2012 at 11:23am

You make valid points and I'm sympathetic - I understand it's a quiet part of town and there's a high concentration of older, retired people that fear nuisance. However, the law states - and Boca tried to contest this and failed - that people in recovery are a protected class, and their right to live together is protected by the FHA. People in recovery do better when they're amongst others struggling with similar issues. The law applies to all parts of town. I do sympathize but I really object to the hysterics and everyone smearing people in recovery as a group and talking about "addict houses" and all this silly, pejorative language. It's disingenous. I can't speak for the Caron organization nationally but the staff at Caron Renaissance in Boca - the facility in question - give tremendously of themselves to help people in need. If this Ocean Drive venture will fill their coffers and allow them to provide free care to poor people, I am all for me, your possible inconvenience is worth it if it saves lives. That's a trade I'd make all day. And the law agrees.

Comment by Kelly Barrette on May 25, 2012 at 11:04am

Caron Alumnus -

I think you need to ask yourself - what kind of "charitable institution" allows their lawyer to bully  neighbors

with a threatening letter hand delivered by a couple of intimidating  men?  Our neighborhood is full of retirees and

families!  Poor taste doesn't begin to cover it!    The "charitable institution" is a national rehab organization and

they are using hardcore corporate tactics to operate their business in our single family neighborhood.   The Seaspray

house has already increased traffic flow to our street and has the potential to markedly  increase the transient population

in our neighborhood.   There's not enough parking space at the house - vehicles are often parked on the front lawn.  Our

street is not that wide and the houses are close together - it is not zoned for commercial use.  There are many other

parts of the city that would have been better suited to Caron's upscale sober house, but they are not across the

street from the beach.  I'm glad their program was able to help you, but this venture is all about MONEY.

Comment by Caron Alumnus on May 25, 2012 at 9:08am

Dear Leigh Allen,

I'm an addict in recovery and an active member of Alcoholics ANONYMOUS. As evidenced by all these shenanigans going on down in Delray, there's clearly still quite a bit of stigma around addiction. Some of your cohorts for "the cause" refer to "junkies" and talk about "trash with prison tattoos at starbucks." While I don't fit either description, I'd prefer not to jeopardize my career or social standing here in the area by disclosing my name or the nature of my past...because there's still so much misunderstanding and prejudice around the disease of addiction. Because of people like you, presumably.

As for the letter: Sure, I'll concede it was aggressive and in poor taste...and maybe, legally speaking, a totally empty "threat." I'm not here to comment on the tactics of some lawyer I've never met. I'm here to speak up for a charitable institution that gave me another chance at life...and that's being bashed by a group of self congratulatory, self righteous people who are propagating a message of intolerance...your FB page, your nasty comments on all of these one has spoken up for the right side. So I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring. Thanks for your time!  


Comment by Leigh Allen on May 24, 2012 at 8:04am

Dear notably unidentified "Caron Alumnus" (could be anybody, by the way - we have no way of validating any agenda you might have) -- You haven't commented on the letter or the intimidation tactics proffered by Caron.  Have you read the letter? How would you feel if you got a letter like that?

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