Thursday, January 10, 2019

“To this end, the proposed Ordinance simply acknowledges the State Legislature’s preemption of this area of the law.”

The quote above is from an executive brief provided to the Lake Worth City Commission and is explained in detail below.

Question: What is the likelihood or probability that the City government will be thrown off course, or rattled if you will, by a political or social crisis?

It’s inevitable. Only a matter of time. It could be for just a brief period of time or even weeks and months. It could be a political crisis that throws our City “off the rails”. It could be a tragedy. It could be public angst over any issue.

For example, just last December PEACE came to town and they nearly started a political war. We gave PEACE a chance but they screwed it up. Now PEACE is going back to West Palm Beach and Jupiter and see if PEACE has any luck in those municipalities.

But West Palm has its own crisis going on right now and maybe PEACE will have to take a break for a while. The big problem now in West Palm is the terrible problem of out-of-control homelessness as was evidenced by this recently published in The Palm Beach Post.

Getting back to the City of Lake Worth what could become the next issue that grabs everyone’s attention? It could be plastic.

Or it could even be something mundane as balloons at the Beach or a proposed ban on ‘plastic straws’ to get the public all riled up on both sides, pitting the business community against the enviros.

Or it could be bees. Yes. Bees. That actually happened in this City. Read more about that below.

The big question is how long it will take to get back on focus once again when reason and public confidence is restored.

An example given many times before was the Pulse Nightclub shootings. This City reacted very quickly in June 2016 to restore calm doing everything and anything they could. And it worked. Everyone, including all of the electeds, rallied together to show support for the victims and the city of Orlando.

On a local level, within municipal borders, it’s very important for a city’s elected leaders to voice concerns over any issue, especially one of great concern to the community or a neighborhood. But when trying to set policy — suggesting or leading the public to believe one can set policy — is when things can go very, very wrong. Specifically, what a local elected body can control and what they can’t.

And just as important about policy is educating the public about what a city can do and cannot do, e.g., what our Lake Worth City Commission can regulate and what they cannot regulate: overstep the authority of County, the State, and Federal governments. The rules were laid out in the United States Constitution.

One of the best examples of this is the problem with sober homes and the heroin/opioid epidemic. Local and County officials can do everything they can but if Federal laws, like the ADA, protect the ‘bad players’ in many cases there is nothing local governments can do. The good news is there have been many positive changes since 2015–2016 when our local, County, State, and elected officials in Washington, D.C. all got to work to put new policies in place.

This is important to understand because if our local officials, elected or otherwise, makes the mistake of overstepping their authority they could very well send the City of Lake Worth into court.

However, this “veering off course” can happen on a much smaller scale, confusing the public and potentially distracting the Commission off the issues and concerns that got them elected and the goals set forward at the beginning, leaving the public to think their elected officials have more power than they actually do.

Many of you will recall this classic example, what happened after smoke was spotted coming from a crematorium, a business on Dixie Hwy. here in the City of Lake Worth. Crematoriums are regulated by the State, not local governments.

Two more examples: Like when former Commissioner Ryan Maier suggested trying to regulate the volume of train horns. Those pitch and volume levels are set by the Federal government. Even the State of Florida cannot regulate the sound levels of train horns. But now we have Quiet Zones on the Florida East Coast railway. Problem solved.

Now to bees. Another example of what happened back in 2015.

If you didn’t know any better you would have thought back then the 6-square-mile City of Lake Worth took a major step forward in the protection of the honeybee colonies. Nothing of the sort happened. The first reading of Ordinance No. 2015-17, “to regulate, inspect, and permit managed honeybee colonies” is already regulated by state law and there’s nothing anyone in Lake Worth can do to supersede that.

This was city government looking like it was trying to do something, something that the City can’t do anything about at all. However, that doesn’t mean officials can’t look for help from other electeds in the County or State with more power to change things or fix a problem.

But “I’m protecting bees” does play well with certain constituents that can be confused or convinced into believing otherwise that one can do more to regulate an issue. I believe the item below (see image) was brought forward by then-District 2 Commissioner Ryan Maier.

The problem, once again, with taking on any issue of concern for the community is leaving constituents thinking you have some special powers you don’t have. In many ways, the little City of Lake Worth has very little control over what happens within our borders, but when they concentrate and focus on the things they can change, remarkable things can happen. But. . .

Click on image to enlarge:
“To this end, the proposed Ordinance simply acknowledges the State Legislature’s preemption of this area of the law.”

And lastly, how much staff time and taxpayer money was used
to “simply” acknowledge State law?