Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Pals: Dee, Jim and Annabeth
Dee and Jim
Atlantean Dennis and Golfviewian JimEx-Mayor Ron Exline and Loser in 2007 District #1 race
Denni$ Dor$sey (Atlantis Resident) has a laugh at the expense of Lake Worth taxpayers.
Main Entry: 1ca·bal
Pronunciation: k&-'bäl, -'bal
Etymology: French cabale cabala, intrigue, cabal, from Medieval Latin cabbala cabala, from Late Hebrew qabbAlAh, literally, received (lore)
1 : the artifices and intrigues of a group of persons secretly united in a plot (as to overturn a government); also : a group engaged in such artifices and intrigues
2 : CLUB, GROUP cabal of artists>
synonym see PLOT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 14, 2007
CONTACT: JANE WEST (561)748-8478
LAKE WORTH CITIZENS DEPRIVED OF VOTE ON BEACH REDEVELOPMENT
Lake Worth, FL – Two citizens of Lake Worth filed suit today against
the City for violating their due process rights. The citizens, James
McCauley and Laurence McNamara, assert that the City of Lake Worth
deprived them of their right to vote on the beach redevelopment
project as required by the referendum that was overwhelmingly approved
by Lake Worth voters in 2004.
“Our problem is not with the development so much as is it is with
the process” remarked McCauley, a long time Lake Worth resident.
“We have a strong interest in how our City is developed, that is why
the beach referendum was approved in the first place. Now the City
has by-passed the requirements of that referendum by entering into
this agreement with the developer and that is wrong.”
The referendum requires that the “City owned property east of the
A1A roadway shall not be ….leased, except for a lease of less than
20 years, without the affirmative vote of a majority of the electors
of the City of Lake Worth at a properly noticed and scheduled
“The overriding purpose and intent of this amendment was to give the
residents of Lake Worth a clear and unequivocal voice in how their
valuable publicly owned beach asset would be developed for generations
to come,” observed McNamara. “But then the City entered into a
lease for the unusual term of 19 years, 11 months and 29 days in an
attempt to circumvent the referendum, except when you examine it
closely, it just doesn’t pass muster.”
That failure to pass muster is the crux of the litigation filed with
Palm Beach County. The complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive
relief. The Plaintiffs have hired the law firms of Collins & West,
P.A. and Lewis, Longman & Walker, P.A.
Pass Muster Etymology: based on the military use of the phrase pass muster (= to gather soldiers in a group to show officers they are acceptably dressed and equipped)
Jane West, Esq.
Collins & West, P.A.
10152 W. Indiantown Road, Suite 157
Jupiter, FL 33478
500 E. Kennedy Blvd. Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33602
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The following letter to Gov. Crist from the Florida Association of Counties provides a good understanding of the challenges facing the legislature which is currently in special session discussing tax reform.
Dear Governor Crist, President Pruitt and Speaker Rubio:
The Florida Association of Counties shares your concern regarding inequities in Florida's current property tax system. While homesteaders receive major tax savings under Save Our Homes, non-homestead properties and businesses that don't benefit from SOH bear the brunt of the tax shift.
Unfortunately, the proposed constitutional amendment released June 8 does not fix these inequities, but actually exacerbates them. Homestead property owners will receive an initial savings that will decrease over time and non-homestead and business property owners are still left paying the tab.While the proposed statutory cuts will be painful for most counties - and devastating for others - your inclusion of an override option allows local governments to make the decision that is best for their community. We appreciate your nod to home rule and thenotion that local tax and spending decisions should be made by local elected officials, not by Tallahassee.
However, the proposed constitutional changes perpetuate the inequities in Florida's property tax system and will come at great expense to the Florida that our citizens have come to know and love.
We have heard and read the oft-repeated accusation that local governments are using "scare tactics" by warning citizens about the true impacts of dramatic cuts. Please know that your analysis shows the statewide average cut to each county as a result of the proposed rollback and constitutional amendment will be 22.4%.
Of course, Florida's counties will try to hold public safety harmless while imposing revenue reductions this large. But understand the legislation will force many counties to make drastic cuts to quality of life programs - on average at least 60% - or to spread these drastic cuts across all county departments, affecting essential services and public safety.
Perhaps a 60% cut in quality of life programs is acceptable to state leadership but we can assure you that it is not to the communities and people these programs serve.These cuts impact more than "dog parks", but to many parks around the state. Parks are the fabric of our communities for playgrounds, birthday parties, church picnics and little league.
- For example, Leon County's national award winning park service would be decimated.
- Enterprise Florida, Florida's economic development engine, would lose county partners high salaried companies to come to Florida.
- Public transit systems would be virtually eliminated, crippling our working class and the hospitality industry. Critical roadways - vital to quality of life and better economic development - will likely be delayed or eliminated.
- Some Health and Human Services are 'non-essential' as well and so the many children, women and elderly helped through preventive programs and social services would be left to fend for themselves or find aid elsewhere. And,
- Libraries would curtail their hours or close and their literacy programs be eradicated.
Yes, it is conceivable a county could make all of these cuts, but is this what our citizens had in mind when they urged tax relief? We don't think so, and recent polls support our view that Florida residents want property taxes lowered, but not by taking away programs and services they use.
Will the state then shoulder the burden - historically passed onto local governments - and help those who no longer can count on local programs?Some counties have special districts for fire services, emergency medical personnel and many other things. These districts are funded entirely through ad valorum taxes. With more than 80% of their expenses going to personnel costs, it would be impossible for these special districts to absorb the impacts from this plan without cutting critical emergency personnel.
In addition, if the state promises to hold public schools harmless, how then will the state make up the $1.6 billion loss to school funding? This year alone, the Legislature voted to raise local property taxes for public schools, by $550 million, increasing the Required Local Effort. Will the Legislature address this possible $1.6 billion problem by shifting costs to local governments? Local governments cannot and should not be forced to continue to take on the state's responsibilities.
To put these proposed cuts in perspective, it would be interesting to apply similar cuts to the state. A 22.4 percent cut on the state level would equate to a reduction of $6 billion from the state general revenue fund. Can the state of Florida and the essential services it must provide take this big a hit? We dare say the answer is no, otherwise the state would not continually look to local governments to pick up the state's tab, while bearing the brunt of the state's tax plan.
This plan will create a new Florida, not one for the better but one that erodes our quality of life and public safety while passing on larger savings to property taxpayers who have benefited for years while property values rose. Meanwhile, the property taxpayers paying the most - those who came out to town hall meetings to make impassioned pleas - will continue to bear the brunt of the tax shift.While we appreciate and agree with the need for comprehensive tax reform, this plan will erode our quality of life, cut essential services and strain public safety - clouding Florida's future economic and social prosperity.
Commissioner Susan Latvala, President
Commissioner Teresa Jacobs, President-Elect