Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy National Train Day - May 10th!

Today is National Train Day - celebrating completion of the transcontinental railroad's anniversary. Click here for a link to the site commemorating the day. Click on the images below for some quick facts on Amtrak. Amtrak has set passenger records in each of the past five years.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Vote "NO" on Amendment #2 this November

Click here to go to the Vote No on 2 website.

Six of the Scariest Real Estate Markets, according to NBC

Click here for link to story. I was born and grew up in the Lansing, Michigan area - one of the markets mentioned in the piece. Ft. Lauderdale is also one of the six mentioned.

Not an example to emulate...

If you haven't heard through the news, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (married) has had an on-going affair with his Chief of Staff for years that has been luridly documented in text messages between the two on government supplied cell phones. There are charges related to the use of City funds for trips, etc. It is quite the scandal and taking up a lot of press time in the State of Michigan.

In the meantime, the Mayor is clinging to his post. The following video clip is from a recent meeting where things got more than a little ugly. It is kind of hard to hear, but at one point the President Pro Tem of the Council refers to the President of the Council as "Shrek".

It's a shame when public discourse reaches this level. You can learn from poor examples.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A word or two on blog features...

The "Call Me" button offered by Grand Central is working fine. Someone just used it today from out of the state that had a question on Lake Worth. So, if you want to leave me a message, click on the button, enter a name - it can be yours or not - and then your phone number. Click "Call Me" in the lower right hand corner and your phone will ring. Once you answer your phone, you'll hear my recorded voice message and after a beep, you can leave me a message - just like voice mail.

Don't forget you can also reach me through my e-mail address:

Also, surprise, surprise! Just today the Blogger folks initiated a rating system for each individual post. If you are moved by a post, or not, you can now indicate so at the bottom of the white space below the main part of the message. Try it out and see. (NOTE: This morning - 5/8 - this feature disappeared, but it is probably one that we will be seeing soon.)

Visitor traffic has been steady and I am continually amazed at this blog's reach. It seems whenever I am out and about, someone comes up to me to comment about something they read or saw here. This really is turning out to be an interesting experience.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoy your time on the blog.

From 1964...

Petula Clark - Downtown. She gives some good advice!

By Joining Together, We Can Defeat Amendment #2


Hello there!

I'm waging my very own campaign to oppose Amendment #2, a
discriminatory and mean-spirited amendment that we'll be voting
on Election Day - Nov. 4th, 2008.

This amendment was intentionally written to be very vague.
Similar initiatives in other states resulted in stripping away
health care and other benefits and protections from unmarried
couples, gay and straight. Thousands of Florida's families
currently rely on such benefits and they need to be protected.

This link will
take you to my campaign I set up through Fairness for ALL
Families, that statewide coalition that's leading the effort.

I'd really like it if you took a look and let me know what you

I've agreed to gather support from friends and family and was
hoping you would be willing to pledge to oppose this awful
amendment. It only takes a couple of minutes and would mean a
lot to me. There's also a place to make a donation if you want
to be really supportive.

To take a look at my campaign, just go to this link now:

Thanks for your support!


Lost and Found Item:

This is something found in the pew where I was sitting last night in the Commission Chambers. It appears to be a dimensioned floor plan for the shuffleboard court building - target of the proposed Day Labor Center.

If anyone wants to claim the original, I have it in my possession. Feel free to use the .jpeg above.

Hurricane Seminar with Steve Weagle - 5/28

The City of Lake Worth is hosting a Hurricane Seminar on Wednesday, May 28, 2008, at 7:00 p.m. at the Shuffleboard Courts, located at 1121 Lucerne Avenue.

Steve Weagle, Meteorologist with WPTV Channel 5 News, will be a guest speaker. A Free Raffle Prize Drawing will also be held.

For more information, please call Kevin Addison at 585-5313.

Quick up-date from last night's Commission meeting...

After much discussion, with a group of many from South J Street attending who were concerned about the violent crime in their neighborhood, the City will continue discussions with the Sheriff's office on takeover of the police duties in the City.

The ordinance regarding restricting the sale of alcohol from package stores was voted down.

Wayne Marcinkoski was retained as a member of the CRA. Wayne represented himself well before the Commission and explained each absence that led to his initial removal. The Commission directed that the ordinance regarding automatic dismissal from an advisory board be changed. Instead of the threshold having absences in excess of 25% of meetings over the past twelve months, the percentage was lowerd to 20% for regular meetings (excluding special meetings). More on this later.

Items on the consent agenda were approved, including the item related to Snook Islands and access improvements related to the project.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Invitation - 5/19 - Highland Elementary

Food drop-off site for Haiti

The Lake Worth Fire Department is collecting food and medical supplies to be shipped to Haiti.

Acceptable items include:

Rice, cereal, bottled water, dry beans, flour, cooking oil and powered milk. The medical supplies can include Band-aids, hydrogen peroxide and anti-bacterial ointment.

Items may be dropped off at the Fire Department, located at 1020 Lucerne Avenue, through Sunday, May 11, 2008.

For more information, call 561-822-2222.

Sunset Lawsuit Appeal Ruling Today?

Remember, the City appealed Judge Fine's Circuit Court decision (unworkable in the real world, my opinion) that would have required a determination by the City Commission on how many parcels are affected by the land use plan change. If 6 or more are affected, then the issue could be subject to a referendum should enough signatures be gathered. Five parcels or less, it would not be eligible.

Word has it that the ruling may be issued today. Look back here and I will let you know if so.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Tri-Rail seeking money to move on

What's going on at the City Commission meeting? - 5/6

Here is the agenda for tomorrow night's meeting. I have highlighted the items that are of special interest to me. There may be others that interest you. If so, click here and it will take you directly to the agenda posted on the City's website. You can click on any item there and the back-up will load into your Adobe Reader.

Item D on the consent agenda is finalization of the interlocal agreement with Palm Beach County related to the Snook Islands project - demolition of the old bridge (west side of Intracoastal), boat parking and one-way southbound transition for North Golfview Road and applying for the Florida Inland Navigation District grant funds for the project. This is the item that County Commissioner Kanjian wrote his letter about that was featured earlier in this blog. I guess someone picked up the phone and communicated with the County what the City's intentions were. One hopes, at least. Anyway, we are finally doing the right thing here, not pointing fingers and getting on with a worthwhile project. It will help open up the Lake Worth Lagoon as more of an active recreation area which is something the City should embrace. And the County is agreeing to take down the old bridge at their cost - no small benefit.

Item G on the consent agenda (not highlighted above) authorizes the spending of nearly $50,000 for engineering related services for the Latona Streetscape project. I won't offer editorial comment here, other than directing you to a previous post that has a slideshow of the street and the conditions there. This happens to be about a block away from the Lake Worth Community Development Corporation offices.

Item H on the consent agenda is a contract for Matrix Services for management consulting services related to our utility department for about $50,000. Matrix Services was discussed recently during a non-Lake Worth meeting that I attended recently. It seems that this firm is also engaged, or about to be engaged, in doing a similar study/recommendations for the City of West Palm Beach related to their Building Department. Nothing positive or negative about the firm or their work, but they are tackling another local government department that has more than its share of customer service issues and problems. Sometime I will tell you about my experience with the hurricanes and re-establishing my electric service. Suffice to say, there were inefficiencies.

Item O on the consent agenda relates to a pilot project for Wi-Fi internet transmissions from our public safety communications tower. The Palm Beach County Education Commission is attempting to bridge the technology divide and teach computer/Internet skills to the Guatemalan community. It's important to train and provide access to the Internet for many groups in the City - I would hope that there are other efforts that could be coupled with this to address the needs of other communities. And, what is the prospect for this happening in other areas of the city for the general population - perhaps we will learn more about that under the presentation concerning Wi-Fi, earlier in the agenda.

Item T concerns an item that came up during the City Commission retreat. They felt that it was important to have a City newsletter come out twice a year with needed information for City residents. The cost for this is $50,000. I think they are missing the point here. If we are concerned about waste generation and scarcity of resources, then we should be concerned about how this is going to contribute to the waste stream. This will be mailed, as well, which adds a significant portion to the overall cost. Instead of this, which will be redundant with the City Bits newsletter that already comes in utility bills (or does it? My latest bill didn't have one.) I say we use that money to insure we have timely and accurate press releases that deal with current items. These could be put on the City's website and posted in all City buildings. Every now and then, there will be local news organization that is hungry for news that will pick up on a story. Key staff people would be identified that could answer questions on the material. This is standard operating procedure of nearly any municipality of any size around the nation - why is it such a difficult concept to grasp here? Open government is a good thing.

And before we leave this part of the agenda (consent), it's another opportunity to talk about how the Commission is handling public comment in this part of the meeting - it's wrong! Right now, if something is pulled off of the consent agenda, you can offer your comments about that topic. But if you want to say something or have objections about an item on the consent agenda that is not pulled by one of the Commissioners, then you can't comment on it. That is just plain not fair. But our Mayor doesn't see the value in public comment, has made all of his decisions ahead of time and is not interested in what the public has to say. Remember that come election time.

The Public Hearing item is about an ordinance to limit sales of alcoholic beverages for those establishments that sell off-premises (not bars) to stop at 10 p.m. instead of 2 a.m. This is being pushed, supposedly, by the Police Department (however, the word on the street is that it is being pushed by no other than Commissioner Jennings). There are a lot of responsible businesses that would be hurt by this ordinance and what would the public benefit be? If we do have a severe problem with public drunkenness, then enforce the existing laws already on the books. And if the problem is so severe that we think this measure is appropriate, then try it out for testing period - some limited period of time - and see if it makes a difference. And don't cut things off during this period at 10 p.m. How about 12 a.m. as a compromise? That would seem reasonable. The ordinance as written is not reasonable.

Next up, we will be getting an update on the negotiations with the PBC Sheriff's Department regarding the take-over of our police department. Let's hope that we have provided the information and have a basis upon which we can make a decision. I would hate to see our municipal police to disappear and become an extension of County government, but the reality may be such that there is no option. That's why it is important to have the best information possible in order to make an informed decision.

Then under item D under New Business (which is really Old Business) is the continuing saga of the dismissal of Wayne Marcinkoski from the CRA Board. Expect a full showing by the cabal on this one, as he is one of their own. I predict a 3-2 vote.

And, under the City Manager's report we have a proposal to have a grand opening for the pool, now that it is renovated. What can I say, we should celebrate all of our successes as a community.

I will probably arrive late to the meeting as I have a professional engagement at Jog and Okeechobee around 5:30 p.m., but should be able to take in most of the later part of the meeting.

Building Green in the Public Sector - 6/2

Planning Challenges of the Twenty-first Century Seminar

My Little Town

"My Little Town" appeared on Paul Simon's album "Still Crazy After All These Years". Here is the title song from that album: