Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lady Godiva Painting?

Does anyone know about a Lady Godiva painting that was/is publicly displayed in Lake Worth? Someone commented on the slide show of library art and asked about it. Apparently they lived here some time ago. If you know anything about the history of it, we would be interested!

Despite the ailing economy, home sales in South Florida were way up in September

Has the bottom of the market been found?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Message from my engineer friend in Iraq...




Hello all - some pics of my current project location and hopefully I'll be able to stay here for the remainder of my tour - it's an old British airbase circa 1930's-1950's in Habbaniyah (Happy New Year). Probably won't have a chance to visit the Michiganders during my upcoming R&R but if you're in SoFla, maybe you can buy me a beer!

Big River at Lake Worth Playhouse...

video

Absolutely have to see this. Major production at the Playhouse. My friend Kevin Kelly plays the King and Judge Thatcher. Saw this on friends and family night - play opens tomorrow. This scene is on the river...

Congrats to the whole cast and production crew!

Record numbers in Florida now receiving food stamps

"Like most professionals with good jobs, Sandra Kramer never thought it would happen to her. But when she lost her major client and used savings to pay down a pile of medical bills, she had no choice.

Kramer applied for food stamps."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reflections on Sunset

O.K., the decision is in and at least we can say it is over now. According to an attorney friend of mine, there is a possibility of an appeal of the appellate court decision to the State Supreme Court. But the grounds are limited and discretionary. There is probably 30 day time period to appeal. So, let's assume there is no appeal - what can we take from this experience and what does it mean as we go forward as a community.

I'm not going to review all of the facts in this matter. There is plenty on this blog. Just use the search function for various keywords and you can find out the background. But, I will remind people that I happened to be the chair of the Planning and Zoning Board when this went through the approval process. Regardless of what the litigants might say, we had multiple meetings at the advisory board level before we made a 5-2 decision - based upon a serious compromise from the original request - to annex, rezone and change the land use on the 4 acre property. Our recommendation limited any potential future development to 10 units to the acre. The City Commission went on to approve all of the above at a vote of 3-2.

There was public input at all levels of the decision-making process and many that were taken on by the applicant and the applicant's agent. The weakness in the process, in my opinion, was that the neighborhood was not integrated into the process before the application was made. Because of this, immediately at the first meeting at the Planning and Zoning Board, we had an adversarial relationship between some members of the neighborhood to the applicant and to the recommending body (P&Z).

Why? I would say that the number one contributing factor to the animosity and the feeling that the neighborhood was not being listened to (when in fact they were) was the composition of the board. This is something that the board itself really didn't have control over - that was the City Commission's responsibility when appointing members to serve on P&Z. At the time, all the members lived east of Dixie Hwy. This project came from the extreme southwest corner of the city and from an area that had been devoid of any development applications for a very long time.

It also came at a time when the development application volume was high at the time and the residential market was booming. More on this later...

So, the first lesson that we can take from this experience is that the make-up of the Planning and Zoning board is important and it should represent people from all four corners of the city. The same can be said for other advisory boards as well. I firmly believe that even if the recommendation and the vote had been the same, with a more balanced representation on the board the controversy would not be what it eventually came to be. Again, a theme emerges that has been talked about here before - the importance of the integrity of process. It also speaks to the need to nurture involvement in our civic activities and neighborhoods across the five mile by five mile square that is the City of Lake Worth.

The second lesson is the effect of political opportunism and the merging of other broader political movements with local ones. We must admit that we exist in a hostile political environment. Unfortunately, it is usually about a quest for power more so than the quest for what is best for the city. We saw this in operation with this process. Suddenly, the most vocal opponents of the project had a friend in the lawyer that was also behind the Hometown Democracy movement. Their goals aligned in that both were seeking to open the land use plan change and all amendments to the Comprehensive Plan to the vote of the people.

It's ironic now that the same people who talk about the importance of referendums on local issues are seeming to ignore the local issues on the ballot during this election cycle. But that, in my opinion, is the danger of relying on referendums to decide these sorts of issues. If it got the attention it deserved all the time by those that the decision affects - great. Given the overwhelming flow of information in this day and age, the clutter can be difficult to wade through and just to find the time for anything is a challenge. I am afraid if we went down this route that only those with a vested and monetary interest would control the process.

What was also lost during this discussion is that there were other steps of project and site plan review that would have taken place before anything was built. This site plan review process could have involved the neighborhood and found additional ways to mitigate the impacts of the project on the surrounding neighborhood.

However, we didn't get the opportunity. Instead, we have years and opportunities wasted. The market has definitely passed (one of the weaknesses of zoning review is that it has a hard time dealing with market forces in metering decisions). We have a vacant, underutilized property in the middle of a single family neighborhood. Eventually, something different will be done there. But what? De-annexation is a possibility - returning the property to the unincorporated county - which would open a whole host of uses more incompatible than the one that was proposed. We'll see.

And we have a vocal group that is unhappy - period. Will they ever be happy? No one really knows. What we can do is start at the neighborhood level and plan for the best use of this property. As long as it is done with sincerity of purpose - on both sides of the table.

FLORIDA LAWYERS SUPPORT RETENTION OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, APPEALS JUDGES

Click title for link.

For the 4th District Court of Appeal, the results were:
-- 90 percent support retaining Judge Mark E. Polen

Time to Celebrate!

BREAKING NEWS: Sunset Property Lawsuit Decision - "Total Victory"



Major conclusion - a rezoning and a land use plan change only "affect" the subject property - not others adjacent or nearby it. This is also the argument being used by the beach petitioners - Commissioner Cara Jennings on Monday night said that the beach "affects" all parcels in the city. Maybe so, but not in the eyes of the Court or as it applies to whether or not a referendum on a land use decision is possible.

The Appeals Court is made up of three (3) judges.

Reminder - City of Lake Worth Ballot Questions for 11/4 Elections

1. 99-YEAR LEASE FOR MANAGING THE SNOOK ISLANDS NATURE AREA AS A NATURE PRESERVE
The present Charter provides that City-owned property shall not be leased for more than 20 years without the affirmative vote of the majority of the electors of the City. Through a lease agreement with the City, the County currently manages the Snook Islands Nature Area as a nature preserve. This referendum will extend the lease to allow the County to manage the site as a nature preserve for ninety-nine (99) years.

Shall the above described amendment be adopted?

2. 99-YEAR PROPERTY LEASE: BUILD AND OPERATE NEW YOUTH RECREATION CENTER 1718 SOUTH DOUGLAS STREET
Currently through a lease agreement with the City, the non-profit For The Children Inc. operates youth recreation, free/low cost afterschool and summer programs, academic enrichment, mentoring, employment, and arts services on City property located at 1718 South Douglas Street. For The Children Inc. requests a 99-year lease to secure funding to build a new larger center to continue services. A yes vote will extend the lease to 99 years.

Shall the above described amendment be adopted?

I'm surprised that the various candidate forums that I have attended have not addressed these ballot issues. Where do the candidates stand on these? Can anyone represent or explain these questions to the public at the forums?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Street Closings- E-mail from City

Underground construction work will begin on 10th Avenue North between the FEC Railway and Dixie Highway on Monday, October 27, 2008. During construction, portions of 'G' Street and 'H' Street will be closed to all traffic. Construction on this portion of roadway is expected to last for approximately three months. This work is part of the Community Redevelopment Agency's Gateway project. Once complete, the Gateway project will provide new utilities, brick pavers, landscaping and an enhanced roadway for the residents and businesses of Lake Worth.

Letter from Sheriff's Department re College Park Burglaries

Two uniformed sheriff deputies came by my house today and dropped off this letter. From what I could tell, they were going to every door in the neighborhood.

Fall Festival @ First Congregational Church - 10/26


Yesterday recorded the most visits ever - Thanks!!


New visits up 20% over last month!

Lake Worth candidates debate undocumented workers

From the PB Post, a review of last night's candidate forum.

Pics from Eden Place Neighborhood Association Candidate Forum




Here are some views from the audience last night. I think all six candidates did very well. We should all appreciate the sacrifice it takes just to run for office, let alone serve if elected. There was a question on the beach that made it sound like the judge has ruled that the item should be placed on the ballot. That is not the case - the judge denied the City's request that the lawsuit be dismissed regarding the length of the lease. I do not know of a ruling or action related to the lawsuit brought by the city about the land use and zoning issue going to referendum.

Commissioner Jennings said that the referendum provision in the city's charter was very important. Mary Lindsey rightly pointed out that if it is so important, why did she vote for the day labor center at the shuffleboard court in violation of the zoning? Why didn't she push for that on the issue to be placed on the ballot? All good points. At the end, Cara seemed to not like being "critiqued" (her word). Then she told people to look at her voting record - where can one find that Commissioner Jennings? Do you have that on your website? Or should we call the clerk's office and ask her to compile all the votes from the previous two and a half years? If only it were that easy.

And a suggestion for forum organizers - please have a sign made that shows which district is which and place that in front or behind the three candidates in each race. I could follow who is runing for which seat, but I am not the typical Lake Worth resident. I think most people would wonder who is running against who - which is not helped by Jennings and Mulvehill not putting their district on their yard signs and perhaps other materials. In fact Commissioner Jennings door hanger passed out by Annbeth Karson last night mentions nothing about District #2 - not even in the disclaimer.

Here is a map of the commission districts in the city:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lake Worth code crackdown cleaning up town, but causing few smiles

And we wonder why half of downtown is vacant and people do work without permits? Where is the "new culture?"

Apparently Commissioner Golden has something in her eye - from the article: "In Commissioner Jo-Ann Golden's view, the answer should be a combined effort to tackle the city's social ills, combing efforts by code enforcers, police, banks, Realtors and redevelopment staffers."

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...Let me know when you're setting this up Commissioner.

Obama to be in Lake Worth Tuesday

Click title for details. Must have tickets to attend.

Lake Worth Crime ALERT - Authorities seek help finding armed man targeting women

One of the abductions happened at 18th Avenue North and Dixie Hwy. On the right is a sketch of the suspected perpetrator. Previous incidents the suspect has used a white van with dark tinted windows.

PBCHRC ENDORSEMENTS

The Palm Beach County
Human Rights Council
has endorsed the following candidates in the

November 4 General Election
(Not all candidates appear on your ballot)

President and Vice President
Barak Obama and Joseph Biden (Dem.)
U.S. Congressman, District 19
Robert Wexler (Dem.)
U.S. Congressman, District 22
Ron Klein (Dem.)
U.S. Congressman, District 23
Alcee L. Hastings (Dem.)
State Attorney
Michael McAuliffe (Dem.)
State Senator, District 25
Jeffrey Atwater (Rep.)
State Senator, District 27
Dave Aronberg (Dem.)
State Senator, District 29
Chris Smith (Dem.)
State Representative, District 82
Catherine Hilton (Dem.)
State Representative, District 83
Bryan Miller (Dem.)
State Representative, District 85
Joseph Abruzzo (Dem.)
State Representative, District 86
Maria Sachs (Dem.)
State Representative, District 87
Rob Ostrov (Dem.)
State Representative, District 89
Mary Brandenburg (Dem.)
State Representative, District 91
Christian Chiari (Dem.)
Supervisor of Elections
Susan Bucher
County Commission, District 3
Shelley Vana (Dem.)
County Commission, District 7
Elizabeth "Liz" Wade (Rep.)
School Board, District 5
Mark Hansen
Port of Palm Beach, Group 1
Thomas McCracken (Rep.)
Lake Worth City Commission, District 4
Dave Vespo
AMENDMENT 2 - TO BAN GAY MARRIAGE
NO
To locate your polling place,
call (561) 656-6200
This paid political advertisement, which is independent of any candidate or committee, is produced, sponsored and paid for by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.
The endorsements have approved individually by each of the listed candidates.
Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Inc.
Post Office Box 267, West Palm Beach, Florida 33402
(561) 845-6545

Early Voting Begins

To encourage greater participation in elections and to meet the needs of people who want more options than just voting on a single day at a specified location, Florida law permits voters to cast the ballots during the two weeks prior to each election.

To participate in early voting, all you need to do is show up with your current photo and signature identification between now and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 2, and cast your ballot. Voting hours and locations are listed below:

Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. to - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Please keep in mind that once you have voted by early voting, your vote is cast and final.

Early Voting Sites

JUPITER BRANCH LIBRARY
705 MILITARY TRAIL
JUPITER

SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS NORTH COUNTY OFFICE
3188 PGA BLVD., ROOM 2401
PALM BEACH GARDENS
RIVIERA BEACH CITY HALL
600 WEST BLUE HERON BOULEVARD
RIVIERA BEACH
BELLE GLADE CITY HALL
110 DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. BLVD., WEST
BELLE GLADE

WELLINGTON VILLAGE HALL
14000 GREENBRIAR BLVD.
WELLINGTON

SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS MAIN OFFICE
240 S. MILITARY TRAIL
WEST PALM BEACH
BOYNTON BEACH CITY LIBRARY
209 SOUTH SEACREST BOULEVARD
BOYNTON BEACH
WEST BOYNTON BRANCH LIBRARY
9451 JOG ROAD
BOYNTON BEACH

HAGEN RANCH ROAD LIBRARY
14350 HAGEN RANCH ROAD
DELRAY BEACH
BOCA RATON CITY HALL
201 WEST PALMETTO PARK ROAD
BOCA RATON
SOUTHWEST COUNTY REGIONAL LIBRARY
20701 95TH AVENUE SOUTH
BOCA RATON

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pictures from the Beach Today


I decided to have some pizza tonight and I like the one with spinach, tomatoes and mozzarella that NYPD has at the beach. So, with scarcely anyone else around, I enjoyed my piece of pizza with an ocean view. With camera at the ready, I took these pictures. You might want to click on the frame and adjust the speed of the slideshow so you can read the captions easier.

Promises, Promises - in tune with the political season...



From the description on You Tube:
Dionne's Promises Promises was a big international hit released in October 1968 prior to the December opening of the Neil Simon/Burt Bacharach/Hal David Broadway smash Promises, Promises in December 1968. Bacharach wanted to generate as much buzz for the musical and Dionne's Promises, Promises was released about two months prior to the opening of the show. The strategy paid off and in addition gave Dionne six chart hits in 1968 alone, peaking at #19 on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Chart, #15 on the CashBox Top 100 Singles Chart, #17 on the Record World Top 40, and #8 on the Canadian Top 10. Promises, Promises turned out to be the show's most difficult number to sing,according to Serene Dominic, as its rapid fire melody left many singers short of breath. To Dionne, the tune was a piece of cake. It was her recording of the tune that proved the ideal vocal guide for the show's male lead, the late, great Jerry Orbach (a heck of a Broadway singer, he also portrayed Det. Lennie Briscoe on TV's Law and Order). Orbach attended Dionne's recording session at A&R Studios in Manhattan in September 1968 and reportedly asked Dionne, "How the hell do you sing this?" He took an acetate of Dionne's session to help him navigate the tune. The flip side of Dionne's Promises Promises single released by Scepter was also from the show. "Whoever You Are I Love You", a showstopper and one of the most hauntingly beautiful tunes in the show, but the subject matter (the female lead attempts suicide after her lover abandons her), alluded to in the tune's piano coda, which rendered Dionne's superlative recording of the song a little too desolate to make the Promises, Promises single a double sided hit. This was one of many, many tunes recorded at A & R Studios in Manhattan and engineered by the legendary Phil Ramone (producer of Billy Joel, etc.)

Colin Powell endorses Obama