Friday, January 4, 2008

Beach Visit - 1/04/08

I visited one of our long time commercial establishments at the beach this evening. Just got a hankering for a slice of pizza so I wandered into the New York Pizza Department. Excellent selection of slices and left satisfied after spending a little more than $5. It seemed like most of their business was coming from the island. How much business you ask? Well, I was the only one dining in the establishment - the rest was take out. There were no other stores open and there were a total of six cars (including mine) on the entire 19 acre property. Parking lots were empty as the ocean roared.

News Flash: We are not adequately using or promoting our beach front property. Let's hope the pool gets finished on time and that the project moves forward from there. If not, then we need to do a better job in promoting the asset that it is and the long time establishments that we have there.

Playful City USA - Grant Award Announcement - 1/08/08

Playful City USA Awards

You cast your come see which Playful City USA Communities received the 2007 Video Grants!

You don't have to wait for the Oscars! Visit on January 8th at 1PM (EST) to watch the Playful City USA Grant Awards Show!*

Find out who won the $25,000 grants to promote their agenda for play, see who won distinguished awards for their efforts and join our movement to bring play back into the lives of all of our children through Playful City USA!

Playful City USA street sign

But Don't Wait!
Start taking action for play today by becoming a Playmaker and find out how to help your community become a 2008 Playful City USA.

*The Playful City USA Grant Awards video will be viewable at any time after 1PM (EST) on January 8th.

Note: This is a follow-up post from one that encouraged you to vote for the Lake Worth grant. Voting is finished so I hope you got your vote in. Check back on the 8th and we'll see who won!

Crime Prevention Tips - Traveling Criminals

This is an e-mail sent out by Joel Morganstern of the City of Lake Worth Police Department. He is the C.O.P. administrator.

Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years. I just wanted to pass along another Crime Prevention Tip, as this is the season for it.

Be aware that this is the beginning of the season for our older population and traveling gypsy criminals and others seeking to scam older citizens out of their belongings. Please keep an eye out for “workers” or “contractor” types in or near where our elderly residents reside. These people seek out the elderly and put on their shows. Look for subjects doing paving, roofers, insect or weed control, or just out on foot scoping the area out. If the contractor is for real, they are required to be licensed and registered and have a permit do business within city limits. Look for signage or lack of, and out of state tags. These subjects are usually mistaken for Hispanics, but are largely Romanian travelers. Your first contact may be with a very well dressed individual. If you are suspicious of their activity in your area, i.e.; soliciting, knocking on doors, driving around repeatedly, please call the police. These “professionals” usually demand a large sum of money up front in order to start the job, and once paid (in cash) you will not see them again.


Usually working in teams of two or more, they will often distract the homeowner, while another enters or wanders through the house looking for valuables.

Often impersonating a pest control service doing business for a neighbor, they will accidentally spray the solution onto the hands of the victim and warn the victim to remove their jewelry to place in a milk solution to keep the jewelry from being damaged. When distracted, they will remove the jewelry from the milk solution.

Roof examiners will often spray a chemical onto your roof and try to convince the victim that they need roof repairs, usually costing thousands of dollars in upfront costs.

These “professionals” will often mark their territory by leaving a “dab of paint” along the curb. This sign will let their co-workers know that the resident is “ripe” or “vulnerable” for their home improvement scam.

Often impersonating a “potential buyer” for a home similar to your model. The elder man and woman will ask if they can see your home furnished, since the one they are interested in is empty. Once inside, they will split up or distract the homeowner. Usually, jewelry and cash will be found missing at a later time.

Be a good neighbor and if you have an elderly person living next door, ask them to contact you should they be made aware of the need for home improvements by a stranger.

Please feel free to pass this on to anyone you know.


Lake Worth Lagoon Listening Meeting

Two items of interest for supporters of the Lake Worth Lagoon:


A Lake Worth Lagoon "Listening Meeting" has been scheduled to receive verbal or written comments on the 2nd draft of the 2007 Lake Worth Lagoon Management Plan.

WHAT: Lake Worth Lagoon Listening Meeting

WHEN: January 23, 2008 ~ 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Vista Center

2300 No. Jog Rd. - 1st Floor Public Meeting Room

West Palm Beach

From 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., there will be an Open House. The public comment period will be from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

For DIRECTIONS to Vista Center, go to: To review the plan, go to: Written comments to the plan may be submitted via email to anytime after December 28, 2007 through February 8, 2008. For more information or questions about the management plan or the listening meetings, please contact Alessandra Medri at 561.233.2512 or

2) HOT OFF THE PRESS! Vol. 12(4) of ERM's newsletter Environmental Times has just been released. For an electronic version of the newsletter, go to:

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Palm Beach County's Planning Effort - Urban Redevelopment Area

It's always wise to know what is going on in the geographic area known as unincorporated Palm Beach County. In many ways, it is the three ton gorilla that may just roll over on you if you're not careful!

This meeting being annouced through the above flyer is part of a complete Urban Redevelopment Area plan for a 30 square mile area that skirts the western edges of the City of Lake Worth - it actually includes the majority of the Lake Worth Park of Commerce.

This is a particular troublesome area for any jurisdiction to address. It is made up of a low-density, automobile friendly (read: SPRAWL) development. Through the process, they want to encourage the redevelopment and intensification of properties along the Congress Avenue and Military Trail corridors. Some of the tools they will be using include the concept of mixed-uses (like our city's Gateway District) and "liner roads" that will provide parallel and joint access along each side of the corridor. Additional greenspace would be added along the edge of the roadways.

I personally refer to it skeptically as the "Champs Elysees Plan" as it represents a grand plan. But, as pioneer urban planner Daniel Burnham said, ""Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will not themselves be realized." (Moore-1921)

The County used Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council staff to assist in the development of the plan. How practical it will be to implement (with the amount of established uses along both corridors) and the large amount of relatively small properties, has yet to be seen. I know that it has already complicated the efforts of many property owners in blocking the redevelopment of their properties - many of which are eyesores or vacant.

And, let's not forget the "real" Champs Elysees - the wonder of city planning that it is:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Joel Burns Elected to Fort Worth, Texas City Council

(This was one of my classmates during the Victory Fund training in Houston in 2006. He won his race in a run-off against an opponent that made his sexuality an issue.
This is an e-mail announcing his swearing in. Congratulations Joel!)

It's official! This afternoon, I was sworn-in as the Fort Worth City Councilman for District 9 by Justice John Hill in a small ceremony at home surrounded by a small group of family and friends.

I can't think of a better way to start the New Year.

Since my special election run-off victory on December 18th, I have been meeting daily with constituents, city leaders and city staff in preparation to take office. When former Councilwoman Wendy Davis called me this morning to inform we that she is now working full time on her State Senate campaign, thus creating a vacancy for our district, I didn't want a day to go by that our district was not represented.

Though I officially took office today, my first Council meeting will be Tuesday, January 8th at 7 p.m., at which time a traditional ceremonial swearing-in will occur. I invite all of you join me in the City Council chambers for this occasion Tuesday.

As I look back on the amazing experience this campaign has been – from my announcement on August 10th through today's swearing-in – I want to once again thank the more than 130 of you who gave of your volunteer time, and the more than 500 people – from around the District and around the country – who made donations large and small; donations that allowed me to communicate with voters. We ran the strongest campaign of any first-time candidate in the recent memory in Fort Worth.

Thank you to everyone involved in our campaign victory and for helping to make history here in Fort Worth.

And to everyone in District 9, I say as I did as the results came in December 18th: Thank you for your trust in me. I promise to honor it. Thank you for commitment to me. I promise to return it.

I am honored and truly blessed to serve District 9 and am ready to get to work for our great city and the neighborhoods I represent.


Toronto's Smallest House is Up for Sale!


· You live alone or with one other person (or an extremely small dog!!!)

· You don't have much stuff (barely more than a homeless person!!)

· You miss that cute little apartment you lived in while teaching English in Japan

Front view of Toronto's smallest house.

Photo taken by Alexandra Samur, courtesy of Torontoist. Click the photo to see the Torontoist post.

This house, located near the intersection of Dufferin Street and Rogers Road is believed to be Toronto's smallest house. Occupying what used to be a driveway, it's a one-bedroom, one-bathroom house that sits on a parcel of land 7.25 feet (2.2 metres) wide and 113.67 feet (34.6 metres) long and has an interior area of just under 300 square feet (under 28 square metres). The asking price is $179,900.!!!!

Here's another look at the front:

Another front view of Toronto's smallest house.

Here's the living room, looking towards the front of the house:

Living room of Toronto's smallest house, looking towards the front.

Here's the living room again, looking towards the back…

Living room of Toronto's smallest house, looking towards the back.

Here's the kitchen. Note that despite the small space, they've managed to fit a washer and dryer into the place:

Kitchen of Toronto's smallest house.

Here's the bedroom. It comes with a Murphy bed , which is a necessity in such a space. This is what it looks like with the Murphy bed down:

Bedroom of Toronto's smallest house, with the Murphy bed down.

…and here's the bedroom with the Murphy bed retracted:

Bedroom to Toronto's smallest house, with the Murphy bed retracted.

You also get some patio space out back. Here it is, looking towards the front of the house…

Patio of Toronto's smallest house, looking towards the front.

…and here it is looking towards the back:

Patio of Toronto's smallest house, looking towards the back.

Here are the house's listed features:

· "Completely Re-Done Top-To-Bottom, Front-To-Back!"

· Tumbled stone entrance walk

· Renovated Bath

· Renovated kitchen with newer stove, new cabinets and new stacked washer/dryer

· Bedroom with Murphy bed + "Built-Ins" — doubles as den!

· Walk-out to fenced patio

· 100-amp service

· 2 satellite dishes and receiver

· "Window A/C Available"

By the way, I am showing you this for the novelty of it and not as anything I am promoting.
The links work if you want to check out the actual listing.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!

This was taken by me at the bowl game's halftime festivities.
For some reason, it's easier to upload as a YouTube video than use the Blogger upload.

Good-Bye 2007 - Hello 2008!! Enjoy!

Auld Lang Syne:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup !
And surely I’ll buy mine !
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.


Downtown Ft. Myers

Haven't been in town for the past few days. Last Friday I trekked to Orlando and attended the Champs Sports Bowl that featured Michigan State and Boston College. Even though Michigan State lost by three points 24-21, it was great to be around long time friends and experience the thrills college football has to offer. While I didn't attend MSU, both my parents worked there and we always had season tickets for football. It's just something that is in my veins.

Then, we caravaned to my good friends' place. They live in Punta Gorda and I spent the night there. In the evening, we happened meet up with some folks in downtown Fort Myers. I had my camera handy so I thought I would share some pictures of their downtown here. There are many public realm improvement projects going on there - streetscape, lighting, pedestrian amenities, etc. They are also opening up their waterfront for greater access and linkages to the central part of the downtown.

The strange thing was that on a Saturday night, there were very few people on the street. There are some residential units that have been renovated and some spaces have been converted to live/work lofts. There are many destination employers downtown - courthouse, Lee County offices, City offices, law firms etc - so the streets are probably more alive during the weekday.

But I came away impressed with their historic architecture and generally good looking buildings. They seem to have done some selective demolition as well. It appears that most of the non-contributing buildings just are not there anymore.

It's good to get away since it usually leads to a greater perspective and appreciation of the potential we have in our own community.

This is the inside of the "French Connection Cafe" where we ate. Good food at reasonable prices, but the only things that were French on the menu were the French dip and French fries.

This is a night view of the Edison Hotel which has been converted to residential condominiums.

Part of an improved courtyard/alley system decked out for the holidays - notice the lack of people.

One of the more attractive larger buildings in the downtown. There were quite a few restaurants/bars with sidewalk tables. The French Connection Cafe is at the corner of this building.

This building has a very distinctive corner piece above the door and appeared to be very well restored.

The original marquee of the Arcade Theater. I am not sure what the theater is used for now. The marquee was not lighted at the time.

This is the old courthouse building done in coquina stone.

Another view of an improved streetscape. This one leads down to the waterfront.