Thursday, August 30, 2007

Selected P&Z Applications

I thought you might be interested in the back-up provided for the appointments to the Planning and Zoning Board. Below you will find the transmittal from the City Clerk's office, which contains the attendance record of standing Board members. I have included those that were appointed, plus Don Skowron. Don was a standing member that was not re-appointed. Remember, you can click on the images to bring them up larger in another window.

These are also available on the City's website under City Commission Agendas, August 28th.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New Planning, Zoning, Historic Resource Preservation, Nuisance Abatement Board Appointments:

I was unable to attend the Commission meeting tonight where the interviews took place for open seats on the Planning and Zoning Board. The following is my understanding of the appointments. Apparently, Don Skowron was not re-appointed. I am not sure about the distribution of City Commission votes. These will be confirmed tomorrow:

Monday, August 27, 2007

Catching up. City Commission Meeting of 8/21...

After Darrin's going away party last week, I made it to the City Commission meeting. I came in after the presentation regarding the final recommendations from the Affordable Housing Task Force. When I entered the chambers, Shannon Materio was making a presentation regarding a mural on the side wall of Victor's Produce. The issue there was the City having the responsibility to remove the mural should it become damaged or deteriorate over time. The Commission ended up approving the request.

The big news item of the night concerned the lawsuit initiated by the City against the We Love Lake Worth political action committee. This was an item added by Commissioner Jennings at the start of the meeting and had no back-up material. She expressed her concern over the City Attorney (Larry Karns) initiating a suit against our citizens when they were exercising their right to petition their government. She said that regardless of the subject matter, she thought that it should be a matter of course to inform the Commission in the form of a workshop or other meeting of legal actions being taken by the City. She thought that there was not an urgency to file the suit as the City had thirty days to act on the petitions and either reconsider the three ordinances (i.e., over turn them) or place them on the ballot.

In response, Attorney Karns responded that he has to uphold the law and he believes that State Law supersedes the City Charter since these ordinances relate to a land use and zoning decision that effects fewer than five parcels of land. (please refer to the back up in a previous post - it can be found under "Truth Matters - 8/12" - for the applicable sections of the City Charter and State Statutes). He went on to say that the Commission can chose to violate the law but he has to act according to it. There is case law from an issue in West Palm Beach where it was advisable that the City act in this way. Essentially the City is asking the Court for an interpretation of State Law and this is the best method to do so. He also responded that he has enlisted outside counsel, but will be presenting a formal item for approval by the City Commission at the 9/4 meeting - in order to make a more permanent arrangement as the cost is over the $15,000 which requires Commission approval.

Commissioner Jennings was not satisfied with the answer and put forward a motion to discontinue the lawsuit. That was seconded by Commissioner Golden. In her comments, Commissioner Golden echoed Commissioner Jennings' concerns. She also incorrectly stated that the petitioners gathered a total of 7,500 signatures, which is right out of the We Love Lake Worth propaganda book. Those 7,500 signatures are the total collected on ALL three ordinances - most of those signing executed all the petitions. So the 7,500 signatures represent about 2,500+- individual voters. Thus, we had a Commissioner overstate fact by a magnitude of 5,000 or so. That's too bad and a sad commentary on politics in Lake Worth.

The motion failed 2-2 (Mayor Clemens was not in attendance) and will be discussed again at the Commission's next meeting as it relates to contracting for outside legal services.

My take on it is that if the City did not act in this manner, the We Love Lake Worth group would sue the City if it didn't act to reconsider the ordinances or refused to put the item on the ballot. I also strongly believe that 30 days DOES create urgency to act - one month in a legal time frame is a blink of the eye. The City Attorney was correct in his action but the City should have had someone out front explaining the action and the urgency involved. I also think it would be a good idea for regular updates from the City Attorney's office which summarizes all legal matters before the City. So, unfortunately, the group is using the opportunity to play the victim and through that gain some degree of sympathy in the public eye.

Stay tuned. I understand that there will be other "juicy" items on the 9/4 Commission agenda. I'll keep you advised as the agenda materializes. You might want to put the meeting on your calendar now so that you can monitor and comment on the proceedings.

400 Visits from Around the World...

Since August 1st of this year, this blog has had 400 visits. You might have seen this map before, only when there were about 200 or so logged visits. Here is how it looked today. Nice to see people from around the state, country and world logging in. I'll keep you posted as time goes by. Again, thanks for visiting!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Quick Update...

In answer to the question, "Wes, how did you spend your weekend?" It was mostly in the parking lot of John I. Leonard High School. What I was doing there was taking a class on safe motorcycle riding. Jim Stafford and his father joined me in the adventure. A couple years ago now, I got this itch to learn how to ride a motorcycle with the interest in acquiring one at some point. After chatting with John Paxman, who is an avid rider, he suggested that I take a course like this. Small investment of time and money and if it turns out it wasn't right for me, then I am that much more knowledgeable. If I enjoyed it, then I would be well-schooled in how to do it in the safest way possible.

We all passed - everyone in our class. That means we can go directly to the Division of Drivers Licenses and do not need to pass a State test. As classes like this go, it was smaller than most, but due to that we were able to get a good dose of personal attention. We all racked up about 10 hours on bikes and performed numerous skills - including the dreaded figure eight in a "box". Not sure when I will be getting a bike, but am now officially on the hunt and will let you know when I find one.

By the way, the bikes that we were using were Susuki 250s. If you know anything about my stature, it wasn't the most comfortable choice (but there was no choice available). Right now, there are muscles I didn't know I had - pretty sore from being glued to the seat, but should recover nicely. It really was a great time and nice to learn something that you have wanted to do for a while.

One upsetting note, while we were waiting for our last run as part of our final evaluation, we heard this CRASH! Right behind us, on 10th Avenue, we saw an SUV flip over right before the Haverhill intersection - landing on its side. Scary stuff and it made us all realize the importance of safety and some of the more important items taught in the course - like never leaving the bike in neutral at an intersection. Always leave it in first so that you have a way to escape if anything like that happens.

The reason for all this rambling is that my usual over-the-weekend "posting time" on this blog has been limited due to the class. I also wasn't able to prepare for my "Truth Matters" show. Next week, I will be unavailable as well, so we will dig back into the show on September 9th. People have recently provided a bunch of information on the beach issue that dates from the 2002 referendum. We'll see what's in there and I will post any useful information over the coming weeks.

So, my apologies for any vacuum created here through a temporary lack of posting. I appreciate your visits to this site and hope that your carry away something meaningful after your visits.

See you later!