Sunday, November 9, 2008

A $350,000 jewel of an item courtesy of Commissioner Cara Jennings...

Those of you that subscribe to the city's Tropic-mail service might have received this announcement last week:
The Grand Opening of the Lake Worth Resource Center, located at 1121 Lucerne Avenue, Lake Worth, Florida is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 8, 2008 and is expected to run through 1:00 p.m.

The Lake Worth Resource Center seeks to improve the quality of life for all Lake Worth by bridging and enhancing communication between the different ethnic, cultural and religious groups within the community.

A coalition formed by several agencies, community based organizations and churches (the City of Lake Worth, The Mentoring Center, Palm Beach Community College, Our Lutheran Savior, Cristo Es la Respuesta, Maya Ministry of Diocese of Palm Beach, PBC Environmental Coalition, Buena Fe Center, Maya Quetzal, Grupo Broadway, Lake Worth Global Justice, Organization of Mayan People In Exile, Adopt-A-Family, Interior Dimensions Group, Church of the Nazarene, Trinity Church International, and Society of Friends of the Quaker) have collaborated and joined efforts to find solutions to various social dilemmas and are committed to support the initiative by providing services such as educational programs, immigration orientation and public safety to name a few.

(You really need to check out the links in the above paragraph. Remember, this went out in a city press release.)

The partnership exemplifies what government, community organizations and citizens can do when they join efforts to find solutions to social dilemmas. "Education is the key to economic growth both in family and community and we are very excited about our role at The Lake Worth Resource Center" said Monica Delgado of the Dr. Kathryn W. Davis Global Education Center at PBCC.

The center allows registered workers to meet with registered employers and obtain work for wages. Occupational training, language and literacy instruction, counseling, health education, legal and other services are available to any Lake Worth resident registered with the center. Workers and employers will be educated about their rights and responsibilities while assuring workers are paid fair wages. Additionally, the center provides K-12th grade academic tutorial classes, adult education classes, public safety education programs, and computer education classes in the center's computer lab.

For more information, contact Lisa Wilson, Mentoring Center COO at 561-670-1147
I highlighted some of the above where I thought there were sweeping assumptions or pronouncements that have yet to be proven.

So, on the agenda tomorrow night is item buried again on the consent agenda relating to the $350,000 of un-budgeted city funded improvements to the building that are necessary in order to accommodate this new use in a city recreational facility. Seems that Commissioner Cara Jennings, Commissioner Golden and Mayor Clemens not only ignored the zoning issues involved with the establishment of the Day Labor Center - they also ignored the building code implications from the change of use category from assembly to business. See the following back up material on the item:

In contrast, Compass is leasing a city building and funding over $500,000 (and counting) of improvements including mold eradication and the installation of an elevator. This is coming from Compass' own resources. It should be noted that Commissioner Cara Jennings voted against that lease.

Once the city spends this $350,000 for the roof, windows, access issues and ADA modifications, we will have a facility that will be marginally improved. However, its life may be short due the prospect of a new city hall or other municipal facility on that land. In a sense, spending the money on this building encumbers it longer and makes it less attractive for another municipal use. The phrase "trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear" comes to mind.

Oh, and per the press release (one of the precious few issued by the city) it's open for business - lacking required improvements. This also exacerbates the feeling that the City doesn't have to comply with codes it enforces on everyone else. Talk to anyone currently enduring the certificate of use process or doing permitted work through the building department.

So Commissioner Jennings and your ardent supporters, there are more reasons to question the use of this building as a Day Labor Center other than racism. Playing that card - especially on election day - was inappropriate on many levels.