The reason I maintain this blog is to have a reliable and ready source of on-going information about events, issues and policies that apply to people living in and around Lake Worth. In my opinion, the function of this blog is made more important due to the lack of a regular stream of reliable information coming from City Hall. As many of us know, there is a wide variety of conflicting information that takes the form of rumor - both inside and outside the electronic universe - that can be used in a nefarious manner to influence decision making and public opinion. So, I hope that you find the information here useful and that it helps in fighting the spread of misinformation or disinformation in the city.
I originally started this blog two years ago. At the time, I was on the Planning and Zoning Board and anticipating that I would be running for office in the near future. I saw the blog as one way of introducing me to the public and sharing my views on the issues of the day. It turns out that I didn't realize just how much of a pioneer I was in doing this. Since then, there have been many articles written on the brave new world of planners, elected and appointed officials maintaining blogs as a means to distribute facts, expand upon the basis for making a particular decision, etc.
Of course, in Florida, we have the Sunshine Law and Public Records Law. Apparently, being as "public" as these new Internet media are, they can run afoul of those laws if one isn't careful. I encourage you to read the following opinion - remember to click on the image for a zoomed-in version. As many of you are aware, I was recently appointed to the CRA - which is subject to the above two laws. As such, according to this opinion, I can present completely factual information relating to an item coming or likely to come before the CRA without a problem in the eyes of the Florida Statutes. I can also safely express my opinion about an upcoming matter or a matter likely to come before the CRA. However, another member of the board cannot interact and offer a public comment on my opinion as expressed on the blog. On page 3 of the opinion, it states the following:
"The use of a website blog or message board to solicit comment from other members of the board or commission by their responses on matters that would come before board would trigger the requirements of the Sunshine Law. Such action would amount to a discussion of public business through the use of the electronic format without appropriate notice, public input, or statutorily required recording of the minutes of the meeting. While as noted above, the mere posting of a position does not implicate the Sunshine Law, it would appear that any subsequent postings by other commission members on the subject of the initial posting could be construed as a response which would be subject to the statute."So, as it applies to this blog, as long as I am a member of the CRA, I ask that other CRA board members do not respond by using the comment tool that appears below each post. While this would only apply to items related to current or potential business of the CRA - in the abundance of caution, I would advise not posting at all. You can read it all you want, it is when interaction takes place that the problem arises.
For my part, I will attempt to only portray factual information on items that will be appearing on a future CRA agenda - and then report the results of the meeting where the item appeared. This goes beyond the advisory opinion below and there may be times that I will waiver from this self-imposed restriction. There are many other non-CRA items on this blog where I will continue to opine away as usual.
Anyway, I hope that this is useful and it would be wise for this information to be presented on other blogs and message boards operating in our city.