Saturday, January 9, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

Clever

Meeting set to discuss Sunshine Law bill

Regarding the law's applicability to economic development organizations that are partly funded by taxpayer monies. Click title for link to article.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lake Worth commissioners indefinitely delay decison to change election date

Lake Worth commissioners indefinitely delay decison to change election date

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Time for a walk down Memory Lane...

This slideshow is from a collection of old photographs and postcards of Lake Worth I have collected over the years - we need to know where we have been to understand where we are going.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Smelling another lawsuit with CBS Outdoor Advertising that we would lose.


They ended up accepting the agreement as proposed - unanimously. Crisis averted, but still a bad situation to begin with and made worse by city bungling over recent years. I'll get the CD so that you can hear the City Manager's comments.

Commissioner Golden just said that Elaine Humphreys did the research on the state statute regarding election time matter.



Thank you Mary Lindsey for the shout out :)

Here is the Add/Delete - not e-mailed out, but on City's website

Click here for a live stream to the City Commission meeting after 6 p.m.



Examples of Commissioner Mulvehill Campaigning from the Dais:

The following items are, in my opinion, blatant attempts to campaign from the dais on the part of Commissioner Mulvehill. Each of the following items on tonight's agenda are offered by her and will make tidy, sparkling bullet points on her upcoming campaign materials.

Resolution 01-2010 "to express the City's goal of striving to be a green city and to promote green foods"

Support of the Hand Across the Sand Event

Request consensus to schedule community meetings to gather input on the impact of retail plastic bags on the environment (this one even though state law currently prohibits the banning of plastic bags)

Direct staff to identify city-owned property for a dog park (this conflicts or should be combined with the other agenda item on CDBG funding for a $150,000 dog park - which seems high for a fenced in area with benches, grass and poopie bag dispenser.)

I am sure that, if asked, Commissioner Mulvehill is also in favor of motherhood and apple pie. Look for future resolutions proclaiming same.

And then we have the item regarding paying for her trip to Washington, D.C. for the National League of City's Congressional City Conference. I thought half of our elected official's pay was for the reimbursement of expenses? When did this change? Rumor has it that part of Commissioner Jennings' "Grand Work Plan" is to increase the salaries for our elected officials - watch for more on this soon!

March Elections?

One of the more interesting items on tonight's (1/5) City Commission agenda is found under "New Business - A" - ADOPT AN ORDINANCE CALLING FOR A REFERENDUM TO CHANGE THE ELECTION DATE FROM NOVEMBER TO MARCH. It is offered by Commissioner Golden. There is also a companion item on the consent agenda AGREEMENT WITH THE COUNTY SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS FOR EQUIPMENT USE AND ELECTION SERVICES.

You may recall that the City Commission placed a referendum item that appeared on the March 2007 regular election ballot to change Lake Worth municipal elections from March to November. To the surprise of many, the referendum passed. The thought behind moving the date is that a November election would bring more people out for the municipal election and, hopefully, engage more people in the local democratic process. However, in practice, that increased turn-out only occurs in years that our District #2 and #4 Commissioners are elected, due to our two year term cycle. Commissioners from Districts #1 , #3 and the Mayor continue to be elected by the usual percentage of super-voters that vote in every municipal election. Here is a run down of voter turn-out percentages for recent elections as put together by the City Clerk.

Now, I don't know the reason for the two percentages presenting a "range" of turn-out statistics, but the pattern is clear. This is one of the reasons that I was against this measure from the outset and why I voted no on the referendum item. Another reason that I was opposed to the measure is that there is a lot of political "noise" during November - with the coincident national, state and county campaign and rederenda. A March municipal election at least allows the electorate to better focus on the local issues, frees up time for volunteering on local campaigns and you might make the same argument about financial resources as well. We also have a seasonal component to our population and a March time frame traditionally reflects when everyone is "here." We cannot forget about potential weather related impacts due to hurricane season and the cooler temperatures that are more conducive to a door-to-door campaign. Finally, I have also discovered that Boynton Beach moved their municipal elections back to March after an experiment with November elections. All those are good reasons to go back to March elections - and Commissioner Golden mentions most of these in her back-up menu.

That being said, there are problems with what is specifically proposed by this agenda item. Commissioner Golden points out that there would be a cost for a special March 2010 election to change the date. That may be the case, but I have found out that we do not need to have an election to make the change. F.S. 100.3605 and F.S. 166.021 make allowances for the elected body to change to the universal municipal election date of March - by ordinance. A referendum is not required. So the budget allocation talked about in the transmittal memo is not needed. It may be a policy decision by the Commission to attempt a return to the March date through a referendum, but it is not a requirement. In fact, municipalities can flip back and forth between November and March election dates whenever the elected body votes to do so. This information comes from Trela White who is attorney for the Palm Beach County League of Cities - one of the organizations that helped craft the other Supervisor of Elections item that appears on the consent agenda. She was going to communicate this fact to our City Attorney today in time for tonight's meeting.

The problem that I have with moving the date at this point in time is that it extends the terms of those currently serving a total of four (4) months. We had a longer extension of terms when we switched to November elections that extended terms by a total of eight (8) months. Thus, if this passes, some Commissioners, like the one who put together this item, would benefit from a total of a one year extension of what would have been two, two-year terms. I have a problem with that. One of the hallmarks of a totalitarian regime is that you are not sure when the elections will be held or you are not given a regular opportunity to vote. It also calls into question the self-serving nature of this item.

If we are going back to March, it should be done after this next election in November or made effective after it. That way, people would know that they are voting for people that will have an extra four (4) months in office. Transparency is important in relation to elections.

Now, the other matter related to costs of elections needs a little more detail if we are going to have another November election. No provision is made for a reduction in cost due to the concurrence of other races going on in November. An election is being held and the Supervisor of Elections will have to count the votes anyway. They may still be work specifically needed for a municipal election, but likely to a lesser degree than a standard March municipal election. .An adjustment lowering the cost to Lake Worth should be part of the agreement.

FYI - this post has been e-mailed to City Commissioners, Mayor, City Manager and City Attorney.

January Meeting and Events Calendar Fixed

Fla. population shrinking or expanding? Not even movers or demographers agree on stats - Local - BradentonHerald.com

Fla. population shrinking or expanding? Not even movers or demographers agree on stats - Local - BradentonHerald.com

Monday, January 4, 2010

Confusing and Conflicting Calendars

Click here for link to "Meetings and Events" calendar on the City's website. I printed a "screen shot" of how it appears on my computer. Erroneously, it shows that the Street Painting Festival is to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, January 20th and 21st. The Festival, and signature event of Lake Worth, has been and is in February - this year on the 20th and 21st - a Saturday and Sunday.

And, as pointed out by Tom McGow, the calendar sent out through e-mail by the City Clerk this morning does not include the meeting at Compass tonight on CDBG funding.

City of Lake Worth Resolution for 2010: We will communicate information consistently and accurately to our residents in a timely basis. This would actually make a nice proclamation for the City Commission's next regular meeting.

Here's the other calendar for comparison:

President Obama Names Transgender Appointee to Commerce Department - Political Punch

President Obama Names Transgender Appointee to Commerce Department - Political Punch

Most up-to-date Calendar of Meetings for January 2010...

Many changes from previous edition.

Note:

Wes,

The calendar you posted does not include the meeting at 6:00 tonight at Compass to discuss the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).

Tom McGow

Thanks Tom!