The Real Deal National

Cruel and unusual: West Palm Beach plays “Baby Shark” to force out homeless people

The city-owned waterfront pavilion generates about $24,000 of annual income from event fees
July 20, 2019 12:00PM

The Baby Shark crew and West Palm Beach Lake Pavilion (Credit: Google Maps, Nickelodeon)

The Baby Shark crew and West Palm Beach Lake Pavilion (Credit: Google Maps, Nickelodeon)

Apparently inspired by the interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the government of West Palm Beach is repeatedly playing the song “Baby Shark” on a public address system to discourage homeless people from sleeping at a city-owned waterfront pavilion.

The city also is blaring other irritating children’s songs to keep the homeless away from its Waterfront Lake Pavilion, which generates about $24,000 of annual income from event fees, mainly in connection with weddings.

Leah Rockwell, the municipal parks and recreation director in West Palm Beach, told Vice.com that the city wants to ensure that “people paying this money had a facility that was clean and open, and continue to use it in the future.”

Nearly 1,400 people are homeless in Palm Beach County, and West Palm Beach has the county’s largest homeless population.

A lack of affordable housing has added to the homeless population in West Palm Beach and the rest of tri-county South Florida, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

According to the Miami Urban Future Initiative, the scarcity of affordable housing is more acute in South Florida than in New York City. [Vice.com]Mike Seemuth