DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Up and down Atlantic Avenue banners label the city a Village by the Sea.
Not far off the Ave, you can see why the New York Times labeled Delray the "Recovery Capital" in a 2007 article on the substance abuse treatment industry. White vans identify recovery residences. Drug treatment centers don't hide.
Attorney Jeffrey Lynne represents some owners of recovery residences. He wanted to create a council within the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce for leaders in that community to collaborate.
Lynne sent out invitations for Tuesday's inaugural meeting with the words "make Delray Beach the recovery capital once again."
"Implying not the relapse capital, not the overdose capital, not bad business capital, not the fraud capital," explained the partner at Beighley, Myrick, Udell & Lynne.
The jargon quickly caught the attention of city hall. Mayor Cary Glickstein said the label takes away from the work the city's done to clean out bad players in the recovery industry.
"Those same people would love the city to retain the label of recovery capital of the U.S. as well as their enablers, as well as all the money sloshing around to prop up this industry," Glickstein said.
The Delray Beach interim city manager fired an email to the chamber of commerce Monday which led to the cancelation the new Business Recovery Council's meeting.
Lynne argues the city's actions practically discriminate against an industry and those in treatment.
"Their email was unequivocal: we want nothing to do with you, we want nothing to do with your people, we want nothing to do with these people," Lynne said.
The mayor countered there is a bigger objective.
"This is not in any way directed to those suffering from addiction," he clarified. "What our efforts are directed toward are those profiting off that misery."
So reputation means a lot in the city of Delray Beach.