Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Hour 2008 - 3/29 @ 8 p.m.

Click here for link to Earth Hour website.

Not for nothing, but wouldn't it have been a good idea to get the recommendations out from the Climate Control Task Force prior to this worldwide event? The City would get more of a bounce from the announcement by tying it to this event and it would draw more attention the Task Force's recommendations. Right now, Lake Worth is not an organized participant in the event. Everyone can still participate on an individual basis at 8 p.m. tomorrow night, but the impact would have been greater had it been a citywide event. More of the tie-in could have been made in the public announcement on the steps of City Hall last Tuesday.

Oh well.

"When not in use, turn off the juice"

The full report from the Climate Control Task Force is now available on the City's website. The item will be presented at the City Commission meeting next Tuesday night. You can find the full copy of the report under City Commission Agendas, 2008 meetings, April 1.

The following are additional suggestions on how to save energy, reduce green house gas emissions and save money.

Click here for the complete back-up.

Lake Avenue Closed for Pridefest Parade

Lake Avenue from Dixie Highway to the bridge will be closed for 3 hours beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 30 for the Pridefest Parade. The bridge (Eastbound only) will also be closed. Bridge traffic will need to detour to either Ocean Avenue in Lantana or Southern Boulevard in West Palm Beach.

Parking and vehicular traffic will be temporarily prohibited. The Police Department will be towing vehicles parked on the following streets:

Lake Avenue - between Dixie Highway and Golfview

J Street - from Lucerne Avenue to 1st Avenue South

Lucerne Avenue - between L Street to J Street.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Here are the Climate Control Task Force recommendations

The Mayor e-mailed these to me this afternoon. The title of the document and the mention in the e-mail refers to 15 recommendations. By my count, it seems more like 45 recommendations. The article in the Post referred to a 13 page document and there are four pages here. The Mayor would like to not post these on the City's website prior to the recommendations being presented to the City Commission next Tuesday.

What's the big secret? I don't understand the reluctance to share bona fide public information. It would be nice for the City to err on the side of being overly generous in determining what is for public consumption. Didn't we have a press conference on the steps of City Hall yesterday?

Anyway, here they are and you will likely not see them elsewhere until next Tuesday.

Let me know what you think of these. Remember, these are to be low or no cost options. Also, these are supposed to be recommendations for the City to implement, but there are many suggestions that may be carried out City-wide. For example, note the recommendation of a "Green" code enforcement officer.

Road Closure of Lake Avenue

There will be a full closure of Lake Avenue at the FEC Railway, just west of Dixie Highway, beginning 6:00 a.m., March 30 until 6:00 a.m., April 3. Variable message signs will be in place to notify motorists of detour routes. Delays are expected, please travel with caution. Florida Highway Patrol and flagmen will be on-site to assist motorists.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We need a little of this...

Where can you find the Climate Control Task Force recommendations?

Well, I wish that I could tell you what they are. The following announcement was sent out this week by the City:

Topics in the Tropics

Information Line:


03/24/08 – Lake Worth Mayor Jeff Clemens, joined by fellow Lake Worth City Commissioners and members of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Task Force, will make a major announcement from the steps of Lake Worth City Hall on Tuesday, March 25th at 10:00 a.m. For six months, the Mayors' Climate Protection Task Force has been meeting to develop recommendations to help the city meet the goals of the U.S. Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement. Tomorrow, Lake Worth will become the first city in Palm Beach County to announce its initiative to meet those goals, which call for the reduction of CO2 emissions by municipal governments.

Lake Worth City Hall is located at 7 North Dixie Highway. For more information, contact

Mayor Clemens at 561-215-0306.

Update: I drove by City Hall around 10 a.m. and saw a small group - maybe 15 to 20 or so - gathered on the front steps. There was a T.V. camera there. Those on the steps were holding a sign of some sort. Unfortunately, I was unable to stop and attend what was going on as I was on my way to an appointment.

Now, one would think and expect that if this was a formal announcement from the Task Force, which is making recommendations to the City Commission on ways the City can act to protect the climate, you would be able to easily find what those recommendations are on the City's website - on the day they were announced. Perhaps even on the homepage.

The homepage was last updated on March 3, 2008 - about three weeks ago. The Task Force recommendations are just not there. Am I missing something?

If you go to the Volunteer Board section, you have a set of minutes of the task force from February 26, 2008. There is some discussion about the communication they will be sending the Commission and how long the presentation will be, but nothing of the contents of their recommendations.

They met again last Thursday to sign what they were sending to the Commission, but there is no back up for that other than the one page agenda. No minutes from that meeting are posted.

I know that these will probably come out with the City Commission agenda sometime Friday, but why make the announcement now if the document is not available to the public.

Or, am I just being punished for having expectations that the City should provide timely information to its residents?

And I left a message at the number given above for the Mayor and asked where I could find the recommendations. I haven't heard back from him yet. I will let you when and if I do.

The Palm Beach Post has an article that will appear in tomorrow's paper. Interestingly, the article notes:

The task force's report recommends using recycled paper, printing on both sides of the sheet and, when possible, sending documents by e-mail to "do away with printing entirely."

The task force report itself is 13 pages and is printed — single-sided — on recycled paper.

One would think that having an electronic copy available on the City's website would be a working example of implementing the recommendations.

Oh well.

Update to the update. The Mayor did call me back and will e-mail me a copy tomorrow. I urged him to put a copy on the website, which he thought was a good idea.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Palm Beach County - Wetlands Day - 3/29

On Saturday, March 29, a collection of local nature center experts, wetland birds and animals, environmental volunteers, naturalists and photographers will gather to celebrate Wetlands Day 2008. Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department sponsors this free event to promote awareness of water conservation and environmental issues.

At 10 a.m. Karen Milstein and Arlene Spagna, nationally-published nature photographers, will give a photo critique and lecture on nature photography, followed by a presentation from the South Florida Water Management District on the role of man-made wetlands in Everglades restoration at 11 a.m. At noon, Busch wildlife will give a presentation on the animals of the wetlands featuring baby alligators and birds of prey. The day will conclude with a rehabilitated wildlife release.

Palm Beach County Environmental Resource Management will hand out native saplings and information on reforestation. Nature Center volunteers will give boardwalk tours and provide story telling at the chickee hut every hour on the half hour.

The Green Cay and Wakodahatchee Wetlands were built by the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department as an important component in its Reclaimed Water Program. In addition to providing valuable wildlife habitat to more than 150 bird species, turtles, fish, bobcats, foxes and otters, the wetlands also receive and help clean treated wastewater that is piped underground from the nearby Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility. This wastewater treatment plant also supplies the surrounding community with reclaimed water, a cost savings for consumers while conserving fresh drinking water that would otherwise be used to quench thirsty South Florida lawns and golf courses.

The Green Cay Wetlands are located at 12800 Hagen Ranch Road in Boynton Beach.

The Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department is a department of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners, serving approximately 500,000 residents with drinking water, reclaimed water and wastewater services.

It’s an opportunity to learn about the ecology of South Florida and understand the importance of conservation,” said Donald Campbell, manager of the Green Cay Nature Center which is the doorway to the Green Cay Wetlands.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Good-Bye "La La"


I was out at the Mad Hatter on Friday night when we started to receive word of what happened in Michael Brown's apartment earlier that day. Word was that the long time owner/manager of H.G. Rooster's had been murdered.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the Gay community, bars are a part of its social fabric. There are many reasons for that. It was not so long ago that the only places where you felt comfortable to express yourself as a gay person was in a gay bar. In many ways, gay bars hold sort of a sanctuary status in the community. They represent a place that you can escape from the predominant heterosexual culture and experience an accepting social environment. They are also good places to meet friends or more without the fear of being rejected for being attracted to someone of your same sex.

The historic roots of the role of bars as institutions in the gay community go way back. In fact, many point to the beginnings of the gay rights movement and it's origins at Stonewall - a gay bar in the Greenwich Village area of New York City. PrideFests are held in most communities during June in commemoration of the Stonewall riots. Our PrideFest will be next weekend in our own Bryant Park. There are sure to be many memorials in Micheal's honor during the entire weekend.

And, in many ways, the bar "family" becomes a surrogate for one's real family. Many gay people have complicated relationships with their family, some have been ostracized by them or have rocky relationships with siblings and many are far away from family geographically as well. If you read the article from today's Palm Beach Post, you can see this sentiment reflected in the last line.

Tim Carey: "It wasn't about a moneymaking venue; it was about making sure that gay people had a place to go and feel comfortable."

and from Tony Plakas:

"He was the person who made everyone feel like they were related."
And so it was. When I first moved here in 1989, Rooster's was one of the first places that I went when I arrived in West Palm Beach. I remember a trip here that's purpose was prospecting for housing. Only here for a short weekend and knowing that I had to secure shelter in that time period, I had made the mistake of relying on a real estate agent to take me around to show me places - all too expensive and too marginal to be a viable option. But, she had me hostage so I couldn't look at any other places. I went out to Rooster's on the one night that I was here, met someone who had recently moved here from Salt Lake City and had extra room is his apartment. He said that his apartment complex was full, but he offered me the opportunity to use his guest room until a vacancy opened up in the complex. It worked out well, solved a pressing problem for me and didn't involve sex. It was part of the social "capital" that gay bars represent to the community.

I had gotten away from going to Rooster's recently, but it has a special place in my heart. And, so too, does Michael Brown. He was a common point of contact for many in the community. Regardless of how long it had been since you had seen him, he would always remember your name and treat you as a friend or a member of a large extended family. He was always generous in his support of charitable causes and supporter of gay issues and candidates. He was helpful to me in my campaign for office last year.

We will miss Michael, his friendly, affable style and his kind heart. These are a few pictures assembled by friend Charlie Fredrickson from the candlelight vigil last night at Rooster's and other pictures of Michael.

In Memoriam - Michael "LaLa" Brown

To sign the guest book for Michael on the Palm Beach Post website, click here.