Friday, July 11, 2008

Beach Pictures from Today - 7/11





New Palm Tran Route - Coral Link

This route runs Wednesdays only and is $0.50 for a ride.  They can vary the route up to 3/4 of a mile away from the mapped route.  Check it out.  For more information, click here.




Letter from Ed Grimm, President of the Lake Worth CDC re CRA Grant Application and 2007 Financial Statements (un-Audited)

I thought this would be of interest.  This document was in the CRA packet distributed to board members for the June 24th meeting.  Only the agenda was available on line for that particular meeting and not the accompanying back-up material.  That situation has been fixed and all information distributed to CRA board members for meetings will be the same information available on the City's, and the link from the CRA's, website.

What this amounts to is a letter from Ed Grimm, President of the Lake Worth CDC.  This is the same Ed Grimm that is now a member of the CRA board.  In the letter, he reacts to the decision of the CRA to deny the request for a grant or forgivable loan for $300,000.  He also goes into some detail responding to the charges made by the former CRA chairperson Matt Thompkins offered during public comment when the grant or forgivable loan request was being considered by the board.  There is also reference to the prospect of a similar funding request to be made in the future.

Following the letter is a set of financial statements.  This document is important as it is not available on the Lake Worth CDC website.  It also accounts for the number of CDC owned properties, along with associated revenues and expenses.  These are un-audited financial statements, but still interesting information.









Registered Lake Worth Political Action Committee (PAC) Reports for 2nd Quarter


Where are their legal expenses?



Where are their legal expenses?

Friday Treat: The Power of Dreaming Big

Exhibit A: City Manager Baldwin's Remote Management Style

Joe Kroll, who almost single-handedly keeps the City running and responded in a timely fashion to the boat ramp lighting problem, included the City Manager in his original e-mail to me.  I "replied to all" to collectively thank the city and received the following message:

is is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

Delivery to the following recipients failed.

      rbaldwin@LakeWorth.org

Final-Recipient: rfc822;rbaldwin@LakeWorth.org
Action: failed
Status: 5.7.1
X-Display-Name: Robert Baldwin

Do you think that Joe doesn't know that the City Manager won't receive e-mails?   Or, does this message get sent only when someone outside the City network tries to e-mail him?  Let's hope this policy changes and doubly hope that at least the staff is able to communicate with the head administrator.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Response from City re Boat Ramp Lighting and Watering at Bryant Park

Mr. Blackman, Thank you for bringing to my attention the safety issue at the boat ramp.  The lights that were burned out have been replaced and should illuminate the ramp area nicely.  As for the sprinklers, I did check to see about that.  With areas of 5 acres or more we have the option to water either 4PM to midnight or 4AM to noon.  We choose to water at night time, less evaporation and activity.  Even though it has been raining and seems like it should be enough, the rain gauges still function as a control measure and allowed the system to operate.  Keep in mind, the rain we do get at this time of the year are in a down pour fashion and most of it runs off rather then absorbs.  I have forwarded your concerns to the grounds maintenance division and they will look into the system to make sure it is working properly.

 

Joseph S. Kroll

Public Services Director

City of Lake Worth

561-5861720

Next Tuesday's City Commission Meeting


Conservation • Activism • Research • Education 

Surfrider Foundation Palm Beach County Chapter 

ATTENTION      ATTENTION      ATTENTION 

WHAT: City Commissioners will be voting on whether or not to protect Lake Worth Public Beach & Pier from the Town of Palm Beach’s beach dredging project 

WHERE: City of Lake Worth Commission Chambers, City Hall 

WHEN: Tuesday, July 15th @ 6pm (Item is early in agenda) 

WHY: This is the City’s last chance to have a voice in the outcome of YOUR beach, pier, and diving reefs! 

YOU NEED TO BE THERE TO SHOW THE COMMISSIONERS & MAYOR YOU CARE & WILL HOLD THEM RESPONSIBLE IF THEY DON’T GET INVOLVED TO PROTECT YOUR BEACH!!!For more info contact palmbeach@surfrider.org or go to www.surfriderpbc.org 

Ericka D'Avanzo

Florida Regional Manager

Surfrider Foundation

2060 NE 23rd Terrace

Jensen Beach, FL 34957

772-225-3780

edavanzo@surfrider.org

Message from Tom Warnke...

If you have ever swam, snorkled, fished, surfed or otherwise enjoyed the area in the vicinity of the Lake Worth Municipal Beach and Pier, you have the opportunity to officially support Surfrider Foundation's efforts to save this area from serious harm.  Harm to the environment, and harm to the historic and treasured recreational resources there.

I'm sending this note to a few folks so they have a heads up on what will be happening this Tuesday evening, July 15th, at 6:00 P.M.  
I hope you can attend, and witness what I believe will be an historic decision by the City.  We will be sending more detailed information in the next few days, including some announcements that will make you proud to participate directly.

The City of Lake Worth Commissioners will be deciding Tuesday evening whether to join Surfrider Foundation and other groups and individuals who are challenging the Town of Palm Beach and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for intending to permit a very large dredge and fill project surrounding the L.W. Municipal Beach, using poor quality material.  Last month the City Commissioners of Lake Worth  voted 4 to 1 in favor of supporting us by joining us in this legal challenge, and we need your support to make sure the city finalizes that vote on second reading Tuesday!  Remember, the city is on record as of last month, supporting our cause.  We are very optimistic, but your in-person involvement and support would be appreciated.  Your only cost is your gas, and a few hours of your time on Tuesday to help protect this precious area.

So please mark your calendar for Tuesday, July 15th at 6:00 P.M.  If you cannot get there by six, that's O.K.  There are many people who will voice their opinion for the allotted three minutes.  I expect the Commission chambers will be full, and there will be a few announcements that you will want to witness.  After the meeting there will be a free, informal get-together in downtown Lake Worth and you are invited.  So watch for the detailed information, and plan on joining us.

For The Ocean,

Tom

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mary Lindsey (re-post from March)

There is a meeting today at the Sabal Palm House Bed and Breakfast Inn. It's been called to create a strategy for beating Cara Jennings this coming November in her attempt at re-election. Those hosting the meeting chose not to invite me. Their reason not to invite me will be made clear in a moment.

I greatly respect Mary Lindsey and her work - trying to make the city a better place to live. We have worked together on some projects and share similar passions. We communicated quite frequently, until recently.

I saw Mary at the City Commission retreat a few weeks ago. It was after that meeting that I suggested we go to lunch and chat, which we did. The conversation turned to her future involvement with the City. At one point she said that half of the people hate her in this city because she was for the beach and against the super-majority initiative. The other half, she said, hate her for continuing to run for Mayor and the unintended consequences that resulted. Others were told a similar story at other times and places; I was not the only one who heard this from Mary.

I agreed with her assessment, although "hate" was a bit strong of a characterization - but that was her choice of words.

I asked her why she still involves herself in meetings like the one we attended that day and she said, "For my own self interest". I responded that was too bad as I thought she had more of an altruistic interest by her involvement.

That was our lunch.

Now, this was also at a time when there was a lot of discussion regarding who were possible candidates interested and ready to make the commitment to run for the District #2 seat. Long thought of as a possible candidate for District #2, Mary did not in anyway seem interested in running for the seat. Time was wasting for someone to come forward and decisions had to be made.

So, that's when the wheels started turning. Soon Jim Stafford will be announcing his candidacy for the District #2 seat. I will be his campaign manager. We have already met with many in the community. We have universally received a positive and encouraging response. Jim brings a unique perspective. His background includes being a teacher, a small business owner, family man with two young boys and someone who has demonstrated his concern for this community in many ways. Not the least of which was starting a community Internet message board where people could discuss their views on a wide (sometimes very wide!) array of topics. And, on top of that, he happens to be bilingual in English and Spanish.

I wish Mary all the best in whatever she choses to do. But, the fact is, we have to come together if we want someone other than Cara Jennings sitting on the dais after November. I'm not sure how this strategy meeting being held today will help in accomplishing that goal.

Some may want to interpret that somehow I blame Mary for me not winning the District #3 seat last year and therefore I hold some sort of grudge. The theory being that had she not been in the Mayor's race, there would not have been a run-off and the full forces of the calvary could have been unleashed in support of my campaign.

Was that to blame for the outcome? No. Was it a factor? Yes. It was a factor along with a list of at least 99 other reasons. All 100 or so ingredients combined in a whirling stew that resulted in the final vote coming out the way it did. What happened happened for a reason and I do not hold a grudge.

Let's make a commitment not to model ourselves after the two Democratic presidential candidates currently tearing each other down while their Republican opponent builds his support for the November election.

National Community Planning Month - October 2008

Anti-redevelopment Post on LWM and my Response:

Everyone should be thanking all of those people who worked so hard to save this park from developers and the Commission that wanted this to occur. 

A quote from Laurence McNamara speaking on saving Old Bridge Park: 
Quote:
If we hadn't, the glut of unsold and foreclosed properties would be even greater. We met the head of condo assoc from Courtyards of Lake Worth. He told us there were 12-15 foreclosures there out of 51 townhomes and that the majority of occupied units were renters. 


That's the reality. Lets work diligently to clean up what we have, refurbish what we have--not build new townhouses and condos. TOD's are not the priority either. We need to get down to reality right now. This is serious. Forget about the dreams until we fix what we have. Spending another 6 million on 10th Avenue North should not be a top choice for any commissioner to focus on.

MY RESPONSE:

For a very long time, the northeast corner of Columbia Drive and N. Dixie Hwy was an abandoned car dealership, acres of asphalt, no landscaping - what was were weeds-, dark buildings which housed all sorts of criminal and unsavory activity. The property butts up against the Spillway Park and Maryland Drive, consisting of single family zoning. 

If you hadn't noticed, the building boom that we experienced over the past 5 years was a national and international phenomenon (google Spain Housing Market). 

What is there now contributes much more to the tax base (actually the CRA TIF capture) than what was there. The unsavory and criminal activity is gone and not affecting the adjacent neighborhood. I happen to live a block away from the Courtyards and it is a good neighbor. 

Prior to it being redeveloped, the developer presented the plans before the neighborhood association and they agreed with the concept and suggested changes which were incorporated into the plan. 

Foreclosures are another national trend and especially so in the South Florida area. There is nothing unique about the Courtyards that would make it more prone to foreclosures, other than people not having enough income to cover their mortgage. As for renters in townhouses, it is a fact of life. Townhouses are governed by a HOA that takes care of outside maintenance so the impact of renters "not being proud of their homes" is not as much of an issue as it is in single family neighborhoods. 

So, while not perfect, the property is much better now that it otherwise would have been had not the Courtyards been developed. We were able to capitalize on the market at the time and improve the area.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Athenian Oath

This oath was taken by the young citizens of ancient Athens when they reached the age of seventeen.

We will never bring disgrace on this our City by an act of dishonesty or
cowardice.

We will fight for the ideals and Sacred Things of the City both alone
and with many.

We will revere and obey the City's laws, and will do our best to incite
a like reverence and respect in those above us who are prone to annul them or
set them at naught.

We will strive increasingly to quicken the public's sense of civic
duty.

Thus in all these ways we will transmit this City, not only not
less,but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.

More information on the lights at the boat ramp...


I just found out that the City has known about this outage since at least MARCH of this year.  Let's sincerely hope that we do not have multiple liability lawsuits due to the 3 to 4 month delay in getting things working there again.  The condition might have been in existence much longer too, who is to say?

WHERE IS THE CULTURE CHANGE?

Way back when, during the last Lake Worth election, one of the buzz phrases was the need for sweeping cultural change affecting how the City of Lake Worth does business.  Hope sprang eternal with the prospect of a new City Manager, a new Mayor, a new attitude, etc.  

Here we are approaching a new election cycle, delayed 8 months due to the change in election time from March to November, and what has changed?  We might be more on our way to financial accountability and reporting, but no one really knows since any new audit either isn't ready or hasn't been released to the public.  Fortress Lake Worth still stands with doors closed, drawbridge up protecting the secrets deep inside that really aren't supposed to be secret anyhow - it's public information!  

We have a City Manager that was supposed to represent the beginnings of institutional stability, who is currently on a month to month contract since he really didn't want to be here anyway.  We have his "word" that he will not leave us during the budget cycle.  But, why did the Commission (Golden) negotiate a contract that would expire during the budget cycle?  Ever try to reach the City Manager?  Good luck.  He does not accept e-mail, calls are questionable and as far as I am aware, he is a casual visitor at City Hall.  A detached, drive-thru management style is not what we need in this City.  Some say he hires good people.  Marc LaFerrier, according to Mr. Baldwin, was the "best in the state".  Well, he didn't last long and now we are again in a state of flux in that department.  

Mr. Baldwin - the state is much larger than Broward County and Florida is part of the United States.

The reason I am my soapbox is that we don't see improvement in follow-through, proactiveness and trouble-shooting.  Why would anyone have to run around in response to the fact that we do not have operational lighting at the boat ramp?  Just a small example of the simple, mundane everyday municipal chores that are not being accomplished - sometimes to the financial detriment of the city through unfavorable liability judgements against Lake Worth.  The nightmares present in the building department continue to pile up.

Just a rant  - an expression of frustration.

WHERE IS THE INSTITUTIONAL REFORM?

E-Mail to Commissioners re: Boat Ramp Lighting and Bryant Park Watering

Mayor and Commissioners:

This is an excerpt from my blog about a fishing outing I took last night using the Lake Worth boat ramp. Please direct someone to address the non-working streetlights at the boat ramp. Also, Bryant Park was being thoroughly watered upon our return around 10:15 to 10:30 p.m. last night. Is that the approved time for watering? And, can we manually over-ride the system since we have had plenty of rain recently anyway?

Thanks for your attention to these matters.

Wes Blackman

Slideshow: Fishing Fun - 7/7




We had a great time last night out on the Lake Worth lagoon. Jim Stafford prepared his boat and we were off with two other friends for a night of fishing. Leaving around 6 p.m. from theLake Worth boat ramp, we enjoyed our time out in the fresh night air until returning around 10:30 p.m. We used squid as bait first and I had the most luck initially with a lot of Lane and Mutton Snapper. Some of the Lane were just large enough to keep, but all were thrown back in for another day. It was quiet on the water with little boat traffic. What there was turned out to be a lot of young adults, if you can call them that, that liked high speed and loud music. We did have what were two close calls by boats that came too near our anchored craft, which was clearly outside the channel and well lighted. So, if you do go out, be prepared for people that either don't know what they are doing or are doing so impaired.

I must show you these pictures, which I will share with the Mayor, Commissioners and City administration. We got back to the boat ramp around 10:15 p.m. Ladies and gentlemen, it's dark at that time of night. If you have ever put in or taken out a boat at the Lake Worth boat ramp, you know that it takes many delicate maneuvers to make it in safely - both you and the boat. We had an in-coming tide and a moderate breeze from the south that helped guide us in initially. Once roped off, we were in the DARK. There were two overhead "cobra" light fixtures that were both out. Any light you see in these pictures is due to the camera flash. Is it too much to ask that a boat ramp open to the public all hours of the day and night be equipped with adequate lighting?

Then, as we headed for our vehicles, we noticed that all of Bryant Park was being watered and, by judging the puddle size, it had been on for a while. I think we have had enough rain recently.
One of the inoperative "cobra head" light fixtures - this one is over the north ramp.

You can faintly see the inoperative street light here on the south side.

Darkness at the dock.

One of the sprinkler heads at Bryant Park - on around 10:15 p.m. Monday night.

Ditto.

Anyway, all in all a great guys' night out and we will do it again soon. Thank you Jim!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Picnic and Tour of Marine Life Center


Let me know if you are interested in going as my guest.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Bio Write-up for CRA website

Wes Blackman has lived in Lake Worth since 1992.  During that time, he has lived in three distinct locations in the city and now resides in the historic College Park neighborhood.  A native of Michigan, Wes is a certified urban planner and runs his own planning and zoning consulting firm.  He is currently treasurer of the Palm Beach County Planning Congress and served as president of that organization on two separate occasions. Besides his planning background, Wes has extensive experience in historic preservation - working for ten years on the restoration of the Mar-a-Lago estate and its conversion into a private club.  Wes received an award from the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation for his efforts.  When living and working in Michigan, Wes specialized in economic development and downtown revitalization.  Most recently, in terms of city service, Wes served on the Lake Worth Planning, Zoning and Historic Resources Preservation Board for eight years, the last five as its chairman.  He is also a Citizens Observer Patrol volunteer and a member of the local Lake Worth Kiwanis chapter.

Residential Closings within last 30 Days in Lake Worth (33460 zip code)

Click title for link.

David Webber Performs at the Cottage on 4/24



Oh gee, I forgot I still had this clip in my camera. I have two digital cameras and this is from the one that I use mostly for work. Emptying out the memory card, I found a couple of these snippets of David Webber performing on the Cottage's patio one evening this past April. Here he sings a bit of the Beetles.

By the way, David's dad Bruce is hobbling around from a freak accident which happened about a month ago. If you are in the area of the Art Shop downtown, stick your head in the door and wish him well. You'll be happy to know that he is on the mend. In the video below, Bruce joins David on stage for fun during an Elvis song.

Press Release: Jim Stafford Campaign for District #2 Commissioner

Date: 7.5.2007

Num: 3

Response to Commissioner Jennings quotes in the Palm Beach Post


"I think we should be fostering a positive relationship between code enforcement and residents so there will be more compliance," said Commissioner Jennings. "Coming to people's homes after dark will only foster a negative relationship."

Once again, the District 2 commissioner is trying to stop the in enforcement of laws in our community. As the son of a legal immigrant, I personally understand why people come to our great country. Allowing an Illegal population to thrive and grow in Lake Worth presents a clear and present danger to the sustainability of our community. We cannot allow what were once single family homes to be over-occupied or allow the unsafe conditions that result to continue. Lake Worth needs to actively pursue the enforcement of our codes and yes, sometimes at night when people are home. I'm sure drug dealers and other criminals would prefer day time visits. 

I support increased enforcement of our code and an expansion of the department to attack this problem head on! Lake Worth cannot continue to be Palm Beach County's discard pile for unwanted populations. It's time to move this city forward and code enforcement is one of the keys to doing so. Acting far ahead, before a crisis unfolds, is the best way to accomplish this goal through consistent and fair code enforcement.

Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by Jim Stafford for Lake Worth Commissioner District 2

Homeowners facing new headaches on old construction