Saturday, May 9, 2009
Even on a local level, we have Wes Blackman, a CRA member and local blogger who says he wants to run for Mayor. He seems to relish in the thought or possibility of Save Our Neighborhood Inc. and the Lake Osborne Heights neighborhood losing on the Sunset property issue and disses Florida Hometown Democracy, every chance he gets, calling it a "radical proposal." The only thing radical is his statement.
Some people get perverse pleasure in just fighting the very people they live around and get turned on when thinking that their view is the only one that is correct, hoping the other guy goes down in defeat, thus proving that they were smarter all along. One thing for sure that can be admired, he is not hypocritical in his beliefs on these issues even if they are not very politically smart with a lot of the people. I like someone who stands up for what he believes but he just alienated one half of the city by a single statement.
Well, for those around here that surf the local blogs, you might already be aware of Ms. Anderson's. It is a unique breed. You can find it through a Google search if you're interested. In my opinion, its tone is decidedly negative and is laced with half-truths and misinformation. I defend her right to say whatever she wants, but it would be wise for her to look in the mirror of public opinion after she touches her computer keyboard. Can life be all that bad?
I don't "relish" the thought of anyone losing anything. I relish "win-win" decisions and the time when we can all co-exist peacefully, follow established process and laws and have the ability to look at the facts objectively. For many reasons, I see the Hometown Democracy movement as a dangerous precedent for the State of Florida. This conclusion comes after my years (26+) as a certified urban planner, most of which have been practiced in the State of Florida. My professional experience is predominantly one that is all about sensitive redevelopment of already existing urban areas and the promotion of historic preservation - it has not been about "greenfield" development.
Hometown Democracy is dangerous for the following reasons:
- It will over-politicize a process (amendment and adoption of Comprehensive Plans) that should be based on "data and analysis" - objective fact, rather than emotional hyperbole.
- It will draw big developer money into elections in order to "buy" the vote of an already weary electorate tired of big money media campaigns.
- It will push what development there will be to areas away from an established voter base - locally that means western portions of Palm Beach County and interior regions - many environmentally sensitive - in the state of Florida. This would ensure the "sprawl" type of development pattern that has been the bane of our existence since the advent of the automobile as a primary means of transportation.
- It will tax the voter in studying complex issues that are distilled into a minimum number of words to fit on a ballot. These may appear in groups of 10, 20, 30 more individual items on that ballot. The difficulty in interpreting what is actually being proposed will encourage over-simplification of these complex issues and lead to sound-bites contained in 15 second advertisements on your local news programs.
- It will lead to lawsuits from those people who may have their property rights (founded in the U.S. Constitution) taken away from them.
- It uses the romantic term "Hometown Democracy" to pull on the heart strings of petition signers and voters - dropping bread crumbs to follow toward disastrous land use decisions.
The property was also annexed by the city of Lake Worth. Oh, and the resulting change in land use and zoning amounts to four (4) additional units from the former County zoning designation. I have the documentation of that if you care to read it.
Does growth management and how we adopt and follow local comprehensive plans need to be overhauled in the state of Florida? Yes indeed! The fix to the current situation is not Hometown Democracy as currently proposed by its most ardent followers. And it's also not found in the gutting of the growth management laws produced during this last legislative session.
Locally, I have come around to believe that we should vote on anything - ANYTHING - that would involve changing or spending significant money at the city's beach property. And I think it's interesting that those that push for "let the people vote" are the ones that ignore a local Lake Worth referendum that allowed height of buildings to go up to 100 feet west of Dixie and 65 feet east of Dixie Hwy. Hmmmmmm.
Personally, I like Ms. Anderson and think we'd have a great time on the dance floor dancing to disco tunes. We just don't see eye to eye on issues related to redevelopment.
Anyway, hope to see you there!
Friday, May 8, 2009
Dear Fellow Floridian:
Over the past year, we have been sending you news on Hometown Democracy-related developments in the small Pinellas County town of St. Pete Beach. Since adopting Hometown Democracy-style rule in 2006, local residents have endured ongoing economic hardship and a seemingly endless string of lawsuits at taxpayer expense.
The St. Petersburg Times is now reporting that--after spending over half a million dollars on Hometown Democracy-related lawsuits--"the city has less than $500 left in its legal budget with five months remaining in the fiscal year."
Although it is hard to imagine the chaos that would ensue if Hometown Democracy were taken statewide, St. Pete Beach gives us a small glimpse into Florida's future under this radical proposal: An unending legal nightmare, tragic job loss and widespread frustration.
I encourage you to read the article above and share the story of St. Pete Beach with your friends and family. As we speak, Hometown Democracy's largest funders are bankrolling a major petitioning effort throughout Florida. We expect that they will pay for enough signatures to reach the ballot soon.
Unless we organize for victory now, every community in Florida will quickly learn the hard lessons of St. Pete Beach.
Floridians for Smarter Growth
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Click title for more...actually a fair article - but notice that these are "registered organic gardeners" and the operation is part of a community "co-op" - a little more structured and regulated to a greater degree than what was proposed here. And, how well does the city do at regulation? My point entirely.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
A construction progress update in provided for your viewing below. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Construction on north half of the road :
· Installation of band curbs at corner features
Construction on south half of the road:
· Installation of street light poles to follow sidewalk completion
· Installation of band curbs at corner features
· Water main tie-ins
· Installation of signal pole foundations at “D” and “A”
· Installation of conduits for franchise utilities
Redesign of handicapped ramp at “B” and 10th and discussions with property owner
Discussions with FDOT regarding requirements for pavers vs. concrete at 10th and Dixie – information from FDOT expected late May
Discussions with the County for a change in timing/ light fixture at the intersection of “A” and 10th
Saturday, May 9th at the Lake Worth Municipal Beach.
Ribbon Cutting at 10:00 a.m.,
Activities Throughout the Day
- Fishing Tournament With Prizes - 8:00 am start ; Registration Begins at 6:30 am
- Free Admission to the Pier and Parking
- Free Food and Drink
- Free Giveaways
- Free T-shirts to First 300 Guests
Click title for link to story on Channel 5.
We don't have lifeguards at our beach again on Tuesdays and Wednesdays - this after we had a drowning no less than a month ago. I provide here again the ocean rescue statistics from 2007 and 2008 on our beach.
TRAGEDY does not obey the calendar - this is a basic public safety function - what more is there to say?
Below is a letter from the United States Lifesaving Association - written in January of this year - begging for lifeguard coverage at our beach.
Have we hit bottom yet?
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
They decided not to pay the $6 million to the County. They are going forward with the Conflict Resolution Process with the County. Much talk about conservation of water related to our Emergency Order from the South Florida Water Management District.
Annabeth Carson called green lawns a luxury for the rich if they are not producing food. A lot of talk about rain barrels and catching what rain we get from the sky. Commissioner Jennings wants big signs at the entrance to the city proclaiming water crisis. They also want increased enforcement measures by the Sheriff for violators of watering restrictions (a good idea.) They also talked about going to a modified "Phase 4" (most critical) water restrictions. Commissioner Jennings brought up an idea they implemented in Australia about the length of showers, turning off fountains, etc. And they still talk about hooking up to West Palm Beach water, which is operating under a court order regarding their system.
There is also no guarantee that the city will get a permit for deep well injection. There is no guarantee that we can hook up to West Palm Beach or the County (they even asked if the County would let the city connect to the new line on an "emergency basis")
No one either would or could come up with the complaint that the city has with the County agreement - they'll let staff come up with the reasons. Commissioner Golden said there were lots of complaints.
And we are approaching the County, having not honored our obligation, and expect them to go along with our Conflict Resolution process and at the same time we are going to them to negotiate an extension of our $5 million grant for the beach redevelopment.
Any guesses what will happen next?
E-mail communication between Commissioner Jennings and Rachel Bach - prior to last Monday's meeting on Comp Plan...FYI
Click image to make larger. Rachel Bach's responses in blue. Commissioner Jennings' use of a term like "new or re-developed tracts" makes me wonder if this isn't meant for a larger audience...one outside of Lake Worth.
That is the trouble with the thinking of people who complain about vacant units in townhouses. First of all, these buildings are on the tax rolls and property taxes have to be paid whether vacant or not. Second, as noted above, it is a temporary situation that will resolve itself with the market. Third, the townhouses built in Lake Worth during this national and international BOOM in housing are a relatively small number compared to other local municipalities. Fourth, in many cases, these buildings took care of some blighting influences that couldn't be eradicated in other ways...6th Avenue South and Federal Hwy. come to mind. Fifth, for every unit built in Lake Worth - one less is built in environmentally sensitive or sprawl-prone areas.
Commissioner Jennings talks a lot about the FPL plant at "the headwaters of the Everglades" - she even lent her negotiating talents between protesters and law enforcement -and frequently references how that power plant represents the beating heart of development.
Question: If we wall off the already urbanized area (which Lake Worth is in the middle of) from redevelopment, then where will that go? The only place left will be interior regions of Palm Beach County and the rest of the state of Florida. All of which will be aided if Hometown Democracy makes it on the ballot in 2010 and becomes law.
One last hope for Tri-Rail's 14,700 weekday passengers: Mangonia Park to Miami service faces shutdown
Monday, May 4, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
These same people would not like you to know the amount of public input and protections put into the regulatory actions as it relates to this property. They point to the zoning allowing 80 units - when the project would be restricted to 40 units through an annexation agreement designed to protect surrounding residents. They would also like you to ignore the fact that the property is surrounded on three sides by one of the more dense residential developments in the city of Lake Worth - Murry Hills.