Thursday, July 7, 2011

Responses to questions received from Tom Ramiccio...

Does he support our governor's positions on refusing federal money as tainted?
No. I will accept federal money to improve Lake Worth. There are many opportunities to get federal grants and I would take advantage of any that would be available to us. Gov. Scott is very wrong on this issue.

Would he ask the CM to put back some of her salary in these times of financial trouble, as a sign of good faith?
The CM should reduce her salary an show good faith and leadership by example. Many of our city employees made sacrifices. Those sacrifices should be shared at the top as well.

What does he think about the Compass Center's lease: good idea or bad? 
I support Compass. In fact, I encouraged them to move here. I support their lease agreement with the city.

What does he think about destroying the shuffle courts? 
The shuffle board courts is a terrible shame. There is currently no plan and renovations are being made without a plan. I would not have closed them without careful debate and thought and a definitive plan in place for their future.

What amount of the admission fees to various festivals at Bryant Park should go to the city and what to the organizers?
Fees for Bryant Park are reasonable for the entertainment value they deliver. Depending on the event, I believe that fee agreements need to be fair and equitable to all involved.

Why specifically do you think FPL is interested in buying LW electric, names and dates of info.

FPL stated they would have this discussion as reported by the Palm Beach Post on June 16th, 2011.

I want to begin this conversation with FPL. If it is not a deal for the taxpayers, we will then restructure the current system for lower rates. I don’t agree with the assessment by some on the current commission who believe that the utility is the city’s “cash cow”. This is very unfair to our residents.

How much effort will you expend on getting rid of CM and why?

I will not fire the city manager without having worked with her for a minimum of three months. I will then evaluate her goals and objectives and make a careful decision then.

Do you think LW should be "marketed" to the gay and alternate gendered population? If yes, explain. If not explain.

I believe that Lake Worth is already a gay destination and I am very proud of that. We should expand that interest and market to that community. In addition, I believe we should market Lake Worth as a destination to all types of people, including the LGBT community.

Would you try to alter the CRA policies. How, if yes.

I will review the current CRA policies after I’m elected and then evaluate the plusses and minuses. I am very disappointed that contractors from Broward County were awarded the contract for the grant money. I want to work to keep those jobs to our local market and within our community. That is one factor I would like to see altered.

Why do you think selling LW utilities is the best solution to high prices, and how exactly would you go about selling it? Could the project be completed while you were mayor?
1. In order to sell FPL there would have to be a referendum. I will begin the conversation with them, and then after careful consideration and evaluation begin the process to lower our high rates. Young families will not move into Lake Worth neither will small businesses. It's an obstacle for redevelopment. We pay 33% higher rates than our FPL counterparts. FPL has already indicated they are interested to talking to us about the possibility.
You sent around a mailer vowing to free Lake Worth from "anarchy." Are you serious? If so, how so?
We must end the anarchy mentality. We will go bankrupt if we continue to destroy our code enforcement department, cancel contract after contract, be involved in multiple lawsuits and encourage chicken farming as viable option to encourage economic development.

Please explain your ethics violations.
It was politically motivated to hurt my re-election campaign in 1999 yet voters re-elected me overwhelmingly. I have always been honest and open about this issue. Many news organizations have investigated this ethics complaint and agreed with my assessment.

Why were you fired from the Chamber of Commerce?
Susan Mulvehill wanted me out of the chamber because of my pro-progress agenda for the business community. She put the board of directors in a tight spot and told them through a letter that if they didn’t fire me, the city would no longer support the events sponsored by the chamber. Pure rotten politics. Many of those same board members are supporting my election for mayor today.

When I took over the chamber in 2002, they were $50,000 in debt, had no visible office space and was near bankruptcy. In just 6 months I recruited more than 100 new corporations, began a capital campaign to build a welcome center in downtown and in 2006 was recognized as the number one chamber in the state.

Do you still think gays are "very clean people?" If so, do you agree with Rachel Waterman that Lake Worth could market itself as a gay tourist destination?
I believe that Lake Worth is already a gay destination and I am very proud of that. We should expand that interest and market to that community. In addition, I believe we should market Lake Worth as a destination to all types of people, including the LGBT community.

Other than selling the utility, what other projects, specifically, would you take on as mayor, and how, specifically, would you implement them? Please name at least three.
 1) I would aggressively pursue code enforcement violators and get our neighborhoods cleaned up. This would increase our property values and would encourage people to move here. We have lost an enormous amount of property tax revenue with abandoned and foreclosed homes. We have many occupied homes that are run down and not kept up which also hurts our property values.

2) Now that we have Publix in our city, I want to expand on that and encourage more businesses to move into the downtown and the Dixie Highway corridor. I also want to see our dream of a park of commerce become a reality. This would bring revenue to the city, sales to our local businesses and much needed local jobs.

3) I want to ensure we keep the contracts with both PBSO and PBC fire rescue. For us to reconstitute those departments would be an enormous expense to us and foolhardy. Ensuring our safety must be our highest priority.