Saturday, July 25, 2009
Troopers will conduct a checkpoint looking for unlicensed drivers and checking for cars with unsafe brakes, worn tires and defective lighting equipment, according to an FHP report. The checkpoint will be on Lake Worth Road under the Interstate 95 bridge Saturday.
Friday, July 24, 2009
YouTube description: This is what I am referring to as my anti-tyranny speech - in reaction to comments from fellow Community Redevelopment Agency Commissioner Ed Grimm regarding my positions and questions related to the Lake Worth Resource Center - operating out of a substandard city recreation building. The LWRC made an application for a grant before the CRA at this meeting and the request was approved on a vote of 4-2, with me casting one of the dissenting votes.
Commissioner Grimm suggested that it was somehow a conflict of interest by my attempt to register as a worker at the center - and I respond accordingly. In another related video, the CRA's attorney confirms that it was not a conflict.
At the time of the meeting, it looked like it might be the board's last as the City Commission was to meet the following Monday to discuss taking over the function of the CRA. It turns out that the CRA board will continue to exist for the near future and new applicants will be considered to fill the board's six vacancies. I have re-applied to continue on the CRA.
Thank you to Jim Stafford for his valuable assistance in putting together this video.
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In celebration of the County's Centennial.
Click title for details.
Link to article with complete listing.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Here we go again! Using the beach as a political football to further one's career, rather than really doing anything to improve access to, use, environmental function, or appearance of the beach. I can hardly wait to hear all the horror stories about the (straw)(boogie)men who are about to rape our glorious beach (that we have taken oh such good care of these many decades!). The threat of course will not include those concessionaires who have been engaged in systematic banditry -- with full City cooperation -- at the beach for years. There will be endless opportunity for self-righteous, self-congratulatory piety and chest pounding. Promoting a charter amendment is certainly a lot easier than actually doing anything useful at the beach. Not a single tree will be planted; instead, groves of trees must die to provide paper for political flyers and door hangers extolling the virtues of the Charter amendment's proponents and how much they truly "love" our City. Let's endlessly replay these stale political canards. Will we ever learn? It seems not...Unfortunately, I agree. And it recalls the last election cycle of Commissioner's Jennings' ethics ordinance that had little to do with ethics and was supposedly designed to end "pay to play" campaign contributions. But, since it wasn't passed, Commissioner Jennings' used it in her re-election campaign as a sledgehammer to hit competing candidates over the head with. Never mind that her candidate for the District #4 seat took massive campaign contributions from beach casino tenants - all of who's businesses had contracts with the city in the form of their leases. Those contributions would have been outlawed under her supposed "ethics ordinance." Expect this to be another "litmus test" for candidates. Think how "Beach Protection Charter Amendment" will sound uttered by the lips of Commissioner Jennings' political machine - can you say "Motherhood and Apple Pie?"
I'll be at City Hall tomorrow and will try to get more detail. Expect this to appear on the August 7th Commission agenda to put it officially on the ballot. The timing is tight - the amendment has to be to the Supervisor of Elections by 5 p.m. and requires two readings...hmmmm.
I would like to take this opportunity to inform you of an event taking place on August 1st at 7:00 PM at Downtown Dance, located at 811 Lake Avenue. The event is an open house at which the students and teachers will be performing modern, ballet, hip-hop and other pieces that they have been working on throughout the summer. Admission is free, however donations will go to the “Save the Space” fund, which was created to raise money for the purchase of the space to ensure that it can remain as a dance studio.
As a resident of the Lake Worth area, a member of a company that does work for the City of Lake Worth, and a strong supporter of the arts, I feel it is important that the downtown area preserves its unique character and variety by retaining businesses like Downtown Dance.
If you would like more information please go to http://www.downtown-dance.com/
"The real terror for residents has not been fear that power might go out. It's been opening utility bills that come in the mail. Lake Worth has been working to improve reliability and lower rates. And it appears that the security "breach" was, at worst, the result of overheated imaginations."
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I took the time today to go to an official source and put together a spreadsheet listing all 201 redevelopment agencies in the state of Florida and their composition. You can click the title for a link to the spreadsheet.
The results: 26% appointed; 66% elected officials; 9% a hybrid of the two.
While the numbers are still in favor of elected officials acting as CRAs, it is not as one-sided as reported during the meeting. The figure used last night also didn't consider hybrid boards, which is what it sounded like we were headed for if the motion to dissolve the CRA passed. For what it's worth, it is the least popular option of the three.
I believe the moral to the story here is that it really depends on the goals of the community and how open elected officials are to points of view that may be different than those of their own.
Note: The application was turned down by the CRA before I joined the board in August of last year.
Monday, July 20, 2009
The $800,000 "spent" on property located on 6th Avenue South was actually $152,160.68.
Demolition Costs CRA paid: $62,760.68 (CRA was responsible for ½ of the costs)
Option payments for property: $89,400.00
I am sure that Colonel Half-truth's figures being off by $647,839.32 can be attributed to rounding errors.
Click title of post for interactive map showing the CRA district boundaries.
Here is what one current mayoral candidate thinks about the CRA. This is taken from the June 8th City Commission meeting when the status of the CRA became an issue.
This is where it is important to separate money being "spent" and money being "invested." Money spent is generally not expected to have a return - money invested carries an expectation of a return. The expenditure of monies on the Gateway projects was in anticipation of the increased taxable value of those properties through their ultimate redevelopment. It is money that the city will see again, in addition to eliminating the blighting influence caused by the former run down condition of those streets.
Had we waited for the County to come along and upgrade/maintain those streets - we'd still be waiting.
The reason for the abrupt turn about stems from an issue related to the terms of CRA board members. State statute requires staggered terms for a CRA board so that the make-up of a board is not radically altered from one appointment cycle to another - something that promotes continuity and institutional memory - commodities that Lake Worth is usually short on. Had the City Commission gone ahead, it appeared that the new appointments would not have been staggered and the possibility existed that six (6) new people could have been appointed to the seven (7) member board at one time. This non-staggered term issue was a long standing one. Staff and the city attorney were asked to research how it came to be long before the June 8th meeting. True to form, information on the how and a little bit about the why came late in the week before the June 8th meeting.
Even though take-over of the CRA was never mentioned during two joint CRA/City Commission meetings earlier this year, Vice Mayor Golden, project manager of the Lake Worth CDC used this as an opportunity to grab control of CRA money and consolidate power. Here is an excerpt from the minutes of the June 8th meeting:
You may recall the Vice Mayor Golden's agency applied to the CRA for a $300,000 grant or forgivable loan after her previous failed attempt to take over the functions of the CRA. Regarding the reference to "turmoil" - I'm not sure what she meant about various members of the CRA being in turmoil. In the year that I have served on the CRA, I haven't experienced any turmoil. Our discussions have always been focused on the issue at hand and up until recently, communication with the City Commission has been better than in the past.
The Commission was about to take action right then and there, but then decided it would be best to give proper notice of such a takeover - thus we have the meeting tonight.
Here is how Commissioner Jennings saw this possibility - taken from the minutes:
I guess Commissioner Jennings sees this either as an opportunity to make political appointments - not based on whether or not an applicant has knowledge of redevelopment. It seems like some of the discussion tonight will revolve around the CRA becoming an advisory board - one that makes recommendations to the City Commission.
We'll see what happens tonight. Click title for link to complete back-up material.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
J. KING: We see there pictures, Bernie Shaw, Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw and Walter Cronkite on the screen. Sam Donaldson, my friend, is on the phone.
Sam, will we ever live in an age where people trust those of us giving the news on television? I have worked alongside you, I've competed with you, I've watched you as a colleague, nobody works harder than Sam Donaldson.
But will people ever trust us as they did in the days of Cronkite and of course, you've mentioned, of course, you know, your former colleague Peter as well?
DONALDSON: Well, I hope they will. I mean all we have to sell is our credibility. I mean certainly in my case you may be, I think you're an exception, we don't sell our handsomeness. We don't sell anything else. But when we say something we want people to understand that we think we're telling you what is actually there.
We may be wrong. We'll have to correct it tomorrow if we find out that we didn't have enough information. Or we didn't know how to process that information, but that is so important in the business.
The fear is, I believe in all flowers blooming, the Internet, the bloggers, let everyone have a say, but the fear is that if you watch or listen to people who don't care about the facts, they simply care about their opinions and their political agenda and you take that as factual, then we come on with something that sounds different, how are you going to make the distinction?
I think in the end, though, people will sort it out. They'll find the websites that really bring you information and not just opinion. They'll listen to people who have something to say and they may say it with very great passion, but it's based on factual material and not just opinion.
I think in the end it'll be alright. But at the moment, John, we're going through a transition period.
J. KING: Sam Donaldson, thank you for your thoughts and reflections tonight. Sam is a great friend. Walter Cronkite a great man we have lost as the age of 92.