Friday, October 14, 2011

What do San Francisco, Los Angeles and Lantana, Florida Have in Common? - MarketWatch

From the article, click title for link:

The Lantana-led GreenBiz Energy Collaborative Program, in partnership with the Greater Lake Worth and Greater Boynton Beach chambers of commerce, will leverage millions in private bank financing to fund the upfront costs of the building retrofits.

EcoCity Partners is designing and leading Lantana's program. The EcoCity Partners team will create the financing program along with a green business certification program that the participants can use to market the green goals they achieve. The team includes Renewable Funding, an energy-financing pioneer and industry leader in these types of programs, including the Los Angeles and San Francisco programs mentioned by the Clinton Climate Change Initiative. The team also includes the non-profit, global green chamber of commerce, EcoChamber.

Lantana will allow other governments to opt in, providing these benefits to their local businesses.

Note from an organizer of Monday's candidate forum...

This is the form we will be asking neighbors at the meeting to use to write their questions on. This is printed on the back of an 5x8" lined index card. Worth repeating that addresses are required only to determine if the question comes from someone in the Neighborhood Associations sponsoring the event and that Names will not be  disclosed when the questions are asked. Questions from Eden Place, Parrot Cove and College Park neighbors get first priority and questions from outside the three associations will only be asked as time allows.
Having the questions all come in at once, on the night of the event, from neighbors in attendance is part of how we try to make this relevant and fair. Questions are not formulated by the Neighborhood Association leadership, but three board members, (not the Presidents) will screen the questions submitted for duplicates and for appropriateness.
It was going to be a surprise, but I guess now is a good time to reveal that a card will be drawn at random from all those submitted on Monday night, and that lucky person will receive a really nice door prize donated by one of our local businesses. The question on the winning card will not be revealed for the drawing - just the person's name.
Hope to see you on Monday!

Candidate Forum Monday October 17th

A reminder that on Monday, October 17th, College Park, along with the Eden Place and Parrot Cove Neighborhood Associations will host a Candidate Forum.

Monday, October 17th
First Congregational Church
1415 North K Street
6:30 to 8:30 pm

Neighbors in attendance at the forum Monday night will have the opportunity to submit questions in writing for the candidates. Please do not reply to this email with your questions for the candidates. Bring your questions with you on Monday and submit them then.

All questions from the audience will be reviewed by a question selection panel made up of one board member from each of the three sponsoring neighborhood associations. The panel's job is to combine duplicate questions and screen for questions they deem inappropriate. This is exactly the format we followed for the candidate forum we co-sponsored with Eden Place in June. The only difference is that on Monday night, Parrot Cove joins us in sponsoring the forum.

John Paxman, our previous forum Moderator, has agreed to Moderate this forum too. He will determine the order of questions and at his discretion, will allow rebuttal or ask for clarification on any answer from any of the candidate participants.

College Park, Eden Place and Parrot Cove Neighborhood Associations are all non-profit Florida Corporations and as such, we take no position in support of or in opposition to any candidate. Our purpose for the forum is to provide an opportunity for Candidates and our Neighbors to hear from each other on what matters most to each.

Candidates who have agreed to participate are: (in alphabetical order)
Andy Amoroso, candidate for Commissioner, Dist.3
Jo-Ann Golden, candidate for Commissioner, Dist.3 (incumbent)
Scott Maxwell, candidate for Commissioner, Dist.1 (unopposed)
*note - Commissioner Maxwell will make opening and closing remarks and will not be included in the Q&A.
Pam Triolo, candidate for Mayor
Dustin Zachs, candidate for Mayor

As always, we encourage all candidates and all those in attendance to participate as neighbors, respectfully and with respect for all points of view that may be expressed. Candidates and their supporters are kindly asked to refrain from bringing campaign signs into the Fellowship Hall, but campaign literature or wearing campaign t-shirts is OK. We also ask that candidates be responsible for collecting any left over campaign literature when the event is over.

This event is open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend. Questions will be received from neighbors in the College Park, Eden Place and Parrot Cove neighbors first. Also, priority seating will be made available for neighbors from the sponsoring associations in the front half of the room.

Please feel free to share this information with your friends and neighbors who may not be on our email distribution list. We look forward to a lively and informative forum and we Thank all the candidates for stepping up to serve our City.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Palm Beach County Health Department issues dengue fever advisory

And in case we didn't have enough to worry about, click title for link to article.

Make a Difference Day Cleanup! October 22nd!

Short-circuiting residents

Rubbing my eyes in disbelief, the PBP may actually be seeing the light, err darkness, that surrounds us. Click title for link to editorial.

Timely and on point...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Charter and Form Government Question 10/10 LW Candidate Forum

Oops...forgot one from Monday night...

And more stuff too...Jo Ann goes on at the end about (2:38) the city's finances and how Lake Worth compares with other cities.  She is using a different side of her mouth this time.

Lake Worth discusses possibility of lengthening commission terms

I listened to most of the meeting yesterday morning. It should be noted that Mayor Waterman was not in attendance during the part of the meeting when charter changes were discussed. Reading Stanton's quote about instability and then the references to breaking the Greater Bay contract and the Palm Beach County water agreement, are we admitting that those were bad decisions? Or ones that the city was wrong in reversing? Perhaps we need to elect people who understand the importance of commitments made by previous Commissions? Both issues were used heavily by the forces who presently make up the majority of the City Commission in getting their candidates elected in the first place. I am for a holistic examination of the charter by a committee, but I am concerned who would end up on it and what their agendas would be. Instead of lengthening terms, as I have said before, we should look at adding two more commission seats - having four positions elected from their district only, with three commissioners elected citywide, including the Mayor. Whether this charter tinkering goes anywhere will be interesting to watch. Click title for link to article.

Lake Worth seeking artists to paint murals at beach sea wall

"Earned media" prior to the election. Can we test the strength of the seawall as required to ensure that it is sufficient to protect our NEW casino building? Click title for link.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TRNA Candidate Forum a "screamfest" - Mayor Waterman

This was on the back of the press release that has been distributed around town and what generated the article in the PBP.  It was being passed out at the door last night.  I don't remember last week's candidate forum being a "screamfest."  And we are supposed to join Mayor Waterman "in the middle?"  Does she represent "the middle?"

State must act decisively on Lauderdale Lakes' fiscal SOS

Click title for link to article. Here is something that sounds eerily familiar contained in the article:

"Just recently, the Lauderdale Lakes commission raised both property taxes and assessments, but those increases don't come close to wiping away the red ink. Plus, Lauderdale Lakes has little commercial and industrial property generating revenue for its tax base. The city's predominantly working class and low-income residents make up the bulk of the city's taxpayers, who like many in communities across Florida have seen their property values shrink. Their ability to sustain the city's cost structure has been overwhelmed, and a path to sustainability must take this into account."

Impressions from last night's Bryant Park and South Palm Park candidate forum...

Just a couple of notes from last night's meeting.  I hope that you enjoy the videos.  I tried to get more of the question and answer session than the previous candidate forum.  But, since I just have a 4 gig card, that came at the expense of closing statements and much of the other discussion.  I'll look into getting a  bigger card.

On my way into the clubhouse, the various campaign volunteers were out in front passing out literature. One of Jo Ann Golden's team was trying to convince me to vote for her.  It was nearly 6:30 p.m. and I didn't want to take too much time to engage her, but I said "There's a lot of fiction on those fliers. Let's go down the list."  She said, "O.K. - Casino Building Opening in 2012."  To which I responded "See, it's 2011 now, come see me in a year and we'll see if that's the case."  At that point I went into the building.

Does anyone notice how cold they keep the clubhouse?  Many people commented on it after the meeting.  I noticed that when we were in there for three hours during our joint Planning and Zoning, Historic Resource Preservation Board.  For a city that should be aware of electric usage and proclaims its "sustainability" emphasis, it just seems odd that the city would keep a large room cold enough to hang meat in.  An observation...

The organizers of the meeting, and I thought that the people running the forum did a good job, made a point how the candidates were all going to be seated to accommodate Commissioner Golden who has a broken knee.  That was a worthy accommodation, but Commissioner Golden herself stood every time that she answered a question - which made me wonder about if that request came from her or not.  If it came from her, and she stood most of the time, did this give her an advantage?  I have always been told it is better to stand in that sort of situation where you are trying to persuade the group you are talking to.  Call me a skeptic.

And then, after proclaiming that she was for the millage rate increase, voted for it and "knew the budget", Commissioner Golden told everyone that the city's budget is $5.8 million.  That is the amount of the ad valorem tax generated by millage on property values - NOT the entire $170 plus million budget including utilities or the general fund for regular government activities of around $31 million.  And she has been a Commissioner here for four and a half years?  You would think that she would like to explain what makes up the budget for the benefit of the public - if she had an opportunity.  To be so off really is astounding.  The other candidates took a pass and defaulted to her representation, but that turned out to be a missed opportunity to point out either the gross over-simplification or gross misrepresentation of reality, whatever it was.

The moderator mentioned that a question from the audience came up four times and kept being taken back - and then he went ahead and asked it.  It was essentially, do you candidates think that the Mayor should be allowed to participate at the Playhouse debate if she declines to participate in the ones leading up to it?  After the question was read and the candidates were preparing to answer, there were two or three voices in the audience that shouted out "Provocative, provocative."  It was like Mayor Waterman's attorney was in the audience objecting to the "court" that the question was out of line.  The question was then withdrawn and went unanswered.  I am sorry, that was a legitimate question and I think Mayor Waterman gave up any representation at the meeting through her non-attendance.  And, on top of that, her absence and her press release being distributed at the door was "provocative."  I enjoyed not having her there since I didn't have to endure her arrogant attitude.

Another gaff, especially since she has been on the Commission for four and half years, made by Commissioner Golden was only being able to mention the name one person that also represents Lake Worth on another level.  The question was can you name who represents Lake Worth on the state and federal level and how would you work with them?  Commissioner Golden could come up with Shelley Vana - a county commissioner, but couldn't remember the other county commissioner that also represents Lake Worth, Priscilla Taylor.  And she didn't even mention Jeff Clemens, the city's state representative, that sat next to her on the dais for two and a half years.  A head-scratching moment to be sure.

Mayor Waterman's absence did more to confirm that she has thin skin than anything else.  It also made me question the real reason for her lack of participation in these forums.

City Commission Work Session 10/11

Click here for link to live audio, from 9 a.m. on.
Right now (9:45 a.m.) they are talking about length of Commission meetings.  Vice Mayor Mulvehill is running the meeting...where is Rachel?

Click here for spreadsheet with length of meetings - good summary.

They are on the Charter item right now.  I think there should be a committee formed to review the entire charter - scared about who would be on it, but it needs to be looked at holistically.  I would really like to explore a seven (7) member Commission - four Commission seats would be elected ONLY by the district they represent, and there would be three at-large seats.  Those three would be elected from the entire city and one of those positions would be Mayor.  They haven't mentioned it, but I think it is a good idea.

I am starting to wonder about our Mayor's absence at today's meeting and wonder if she is around or not period - maybe she wasn't around town last night either?  Maybe this is the real reason for her public announcement cancelling her attendance at candidate forums.  Perhaps the excuse she is offering is a convenient "strategic" reason, but the real reason may be that she can't make them due to a schedule conflict of some sort.  I note the communication to the College Park neighborhood association from her campaign that she wouldn't attend their forum on 10/17 A DAY BEFORE the candidate forum where she was subject to "vicious personal attacks."

They are taking a break now and are supposed to return at 11 to discuss the Guatemalan Maya Center.

Mayor Waterman is there now at 11 a.m.  They are talking about downtown maintenance.

Question on Commission Compensation 10/10 Candidate Forum

Question on Qualifications of Board Members 10/10 Candidate Forum

Lightning Round Question on National Chains 10/10 Candidate Forum

Dustin Zack's Opening Statement 10/10 Candidate Forum

Pam Triolo's Opening Statement 10/10 Candidate Forum

Andy Amoroso's Opening Statement 10/10 Candidate Forum

Commissioner Jo Ann Golden's Opening Statement 10/10 Candidate Forum

Scott Maxwell's Opening - 10/10 Candidate Forum

Monday, October 10, 2011

Candidate Forum Tonight 10/10 - 6:30 p.m. at the LW Golf Course Clubhouse

Deadline for Board Appointment Applications is next Monday October 17th

Click here for applicants to be considered, so far.

Click here for city application form.

As long as we are talking about what is TRUE...

Truth be told...

Of the many meaningful and thoughtful questions asked at last Monday's TRNA Candidate Forum, one concerned the plight of a series of eight properties in the neighborhood where the person asking this particular question lived.  The resident had sent an e-mail to the city -  to all elected officials and the city manager - asking for an explanation of the status of these problem properties back in late August.

That resident happened to be Mark Parrilla.  That is the same Mark Parrilla that was ejected from the City Commission chambers by the Mayor the next night for mouthing words to Lynn Anderson.

During the candidate froum, when asking his question, Mr. Parrilla pointed out that the Mayor did not respond to the e-mail he sent.  Mayor Waterman retorted, "Mark, you know I responded to that e-mail."

Well, it turns out that she didn't.  Mr. Parrilla filed a public information request for any e-mail correspondence from Rachel Waterman's city e-mail address to any of Mr. Parrilla's addresses.  The following shows that the Mayor did not, in fact, respond to the e-mail - but left the crowd in attendance last Monday with the impression that she did and that Mr. Parrilla was wrong or lying.
This explains the public information request.
This was the original e-mail talking about the problem properties.
This is the only e-mail from Mayor Waterman's city e-mail account to one of Mr. Parrilla's e-mail addreses.

This is Mr. Parrilla's request to local bloggers.

Lake Worth's Guatemalan-Maya Center may be required to move in March

Meanwhile the Lake Worth Community Development Corporation has no lease with the city and hasn't since Commissioner Golden has been in office. That space could be used either by city employees or another non-profit that actually does something to serve the community. Commissioner Jo Ann Golden's convenient in-one-day-out-the-other relationship with the agency has kept them from public scrutiny, with ample cover provided by the city manager. In the meantime, other non-profits in Lake Worth were shown the door - kicked out of city buildings and Commissioner Golden made the motion to do it! Click title for link to article.

This is also timed to "rally the troops" and provide another polarizing issue prior to the election.

Having trouble believing the REAL story about Jo Ann?  Click here for some of her record.  Please be patient as there is over 200 pages of back-up material.  I have provided an index that summarizes the various actions.

Dalai Lama

"Spirituality concerns our own motivation, while secular activity implies working in the world. Because motivation pervades all action, it is important that we have a positive motivation. Whatever we are involved in, whether it's politics, education, medicine, law, engineering, science, business or industry, the nature of our motivation determines the character of our work."

Interesting spatial comparison between different modes of transportation...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Our Public Comment is much more stimulating and to the point...

I don't know all of the details...

But Ms. Stanton and then Mayor Waterman both visited the MadHatter - curiously timed after the latest post about the second trip on the part of a city crew that painted a yellow curb sixty feet plus from Dixie Hwy.  I do not know what was said or promised during the visit by our city officials, but afterwards a city crew came out and painted all but 20 or 25 feet from Dixie Hwy with gray paint - to cover the yellow paint that had been placed there days before.  Ms. Stanton did give the owners permission to paint over the previously painted cross-hatching in the road that was painted white and then painted black.  The no parking sign was also removed.

Why did this whole episode happen in the first place?  How much did these three trips by city crews cost and what were they taken away from to perform these tasks?  If this wasn't election season, would the results have been different?

A nameless, faceless dream, however...

Last night, I had a dream that I was called by a city manager of a medium size community to come look at at a project they had underway.  The city manager was very excited about it, wanted to show it off so it seemed.  It had some historic qualities to it - apparently it consisted of an old theater building and two larger historic residences were being added to both sides of the theater and would be linked in some fashion.  The city manager said that the newly configured older buildings would make up the city's new city hall.  The manager wanted my general advice on the project as it was nearly done and they might be running into some issues.  In my real waking life, this call would not be out-of-the-ordinary.

I arrive in this city a few days later and pull up to where the city manager said the project was going on.  It was right in the middle of a single family neighborhood, which I thought a bit strange.  Clearly, there was construction going on, as there were trade trucks around the site and scaffolding was up around the three buildings - which were now one.  The city manager greeted me and started showing me around.  The first thing that I noticed was that there were what looked like many city employees in the building - "working" while the construction was going on.  And when I say construction was going on, I mean electricians putting in wiring, hanging lights - carpenters wheeling saws - plumbers were digging trenches for drains - there were areas where large holes were in the floor.  The City Manager seemed especially adept and jumping over and avoiding these holes in the floor - I commented on this talent and the City Manager answered that it's due to years of practice.

The noise was intense so I immediately asked, "Why do you have people working here before the work is done?"  The answer my tour guide gave was that the employees had no where else to go since they demolished the old city hall, so they moved them in before the work started.  The City Manager said that over time, they just got used to it since it was gradual.  The City Manager predicted that the project would be ready for a grand opening in three weeks - one that had already been widely publicized and a parade would go through town, ending up at the new City Hall.

Looking around, I couldn't see how that deadline could be met.  During the walk through, the City Manager kept pointing out the expensive light fixtures that had been chosen.  I asked why they would be installed already when so much heavy construction activity was going on?  The answer was, "Because I like them."

The City Manager said that I was called to go over the various documents related to the construction to see if there is anything that needed attention before the Grand Opening.  I immediately said that it is a little bit late to be asking that question three weeks out from opening and that I was not a building official, but that I had been around historic renovation projects and knew things to look for, but that essentially the City Manager had called the wrong person too late.  The City Manager said that others didn't need to be involved - that it was just important to identify anything major that was wrong with the project and that anything I report would be only to the City Manager.

I was led to a small storage room with a table piled with tons of paper and bound notebooks.  In one corner there were these canvas bags with dollar signs on them.  I asked what was in them and was told "That is how we are funding the project."

I was left alone in the room.  I couldn't take my eyes off of those canvas bags.  One, under the pile, had a small hole in it so I went to peek and see if I could see if there was real cash money in the bags. Lo and behold, I saw a "$40" in the corner on one of the bills on the top of the stack.  My mouth dropped open.  Curiosity led me to open another bag and it was full of stacks of $40 dollar bills.

I won't go into all the details of searching through the documents, but suffice to say that no one had thought about the need for a sprinkler system in a wood building with a theater that could sit 500 people (the old theater), the zoning was wrong and the project shouldn't have been in that place to begin with, there was no parking, no elevator planned for a three story building, etc., etc., etc....

This is where it gets fuzzy.  I think I reported back to the City Manager about what I found out - most importantly that funding the project with $40 bills wouldn't work.  The City Manager didn't want to hear what I had found out and instead insisted that everything was right with the project - regardless of what I said.  I asked the City Manager why I was brought in and was told, "I don't know, but it's always good to have a consultant on a project."

Any similarities to characters or persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Kahlil Gibran

"Say not, I have found the truth, but rather, I have found a truth. Say not I have found the path of the soul. Say rather, I have met the soul walking upon my path. For the soul walks upon all paths. The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed. The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals."