Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thank you Joe Kroll, City of Lake Worth, et al...

Went on a nice boat trip tonight (more pics tomorrow) and we were greeted with
decent lighting upon our return. What a difference it made!

A glimpse at what the competition is doing...

Karaoke friends of mine Rod and Dave live and work in the Northwood Village area of West Palm Beach. Both are active in neighborhood activities and are big promoters of redevelopment in the area. The neighborhood is part of the West Palm Beach CRA and there have been many CRA dollars spent there for public improvements and promotions. The following flier is an example of one of their neighborhood promotions that was funded by the CRA. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to the wine tasting yesterday, but I thought you would be interested to see the type of event that Northwood Village is undertaking.

Click here to be taken to the Northwood Village website.

Favorite Duran Duran Vid - Old School MTV

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Special Announcement from the Jim Stafford Campaign:

It is with deep regret that I announce the curtailment of my campaign for Lake Worth District #2 City Commissioner. My professional commitments and family obligations have changed significantly since announcing my candidacy for office. The situation is such that I may have to relocate my residence sometime during my term if I was elected. I cannot in good conscience continue to run knowing that is a possibility. I appreciate the support shown to my campaign and will be refunding monies donated towards that effort. As long as I am a resident of Lake Worth, I will remain active in the community to the extent possible.

As of now, I offer my support to no one that is currently expected to run for the position nor for the incumbent. I'd like everyone to know that I have not exited the race for any other reason than those stated. My decision not to run is not due to anything that was said, or that would have been said, about me in any forum - in public or over the Internet.

Again, I really appreciate the support demonstrated for my campaign. I hope that Lake Worth can eventually attain that bright, safe and prosperous future that we all desire.


Jim Stafford
Former Candidate for District #2
July 23, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Slideshow: 431 N. L. Today - 7/23

These photos were taken by a concerned neighbor today and were forwarded on to me. It is good to see the city cleaning up its property. Click on the frame above so that you can read the captions better. There are still issues here - vagrants sleeping in the eastern alcove of the main building, questionable securing of the out-building, the need for the out-building to be torn down and, lastly and most importantly, the need to find an appropriate use and/or owner of the property that is kind to the neighborhood fabric.

By the way, have you noticed the setback distance from the two streets? Hmmm.

I have electronic copies of the 10th Avenue plans.

They are in .pdf form. Let me know if you would like a copy.

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Results from CRA meeting of 7/22

I thought you would like to know that the CRA approved the project design and contract amount for the 10th Avenue reconstruction project last night. The total amount of money budgeted for the project is $8.4 million and includes streetscape, landscaping, medians, lighting, under-ground electrical utilities and replacement/upgrade of water and sanitary sewer infrastructure. Physical work could begin as early as October of this year.

There was much discussion last night whether the design should or should not include provision for bike lanes. Given the width of the right-of-way, and the desire to have a shady/landscaped swale area between the 10th Avenue pavement and the adjacent sidewalk, the decision was made not to include the bike lanes. However, staff was directed in the same motion to come back with a proposed bicycle network for the City that would include access to areas around 10th Avenue. We also concluded that 10th Avenue would not be ideal from a safety perspective for bikes and the amount and type of landscaping would be less with the bike lanes. The vote was 4-2 on the design of the project and 5-1 regarding the financing. Chairman Mark Rickards was absent due to a family emergency. All other board members were present.

This happened to be Matt Constantine's last meeting as a CRA board member. He received well-wishes from the members that had the good fortune to work with him during the time he was a member of the board.

Margaret Thatcher...

Being prime minister is a lonely job... you cannot lead from the crowd.

Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.

I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.

I love argument, I love debate. I don't expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that's not their job.

If my critics saw me walking over the Thames they would say it was because I couldn't swim.

It pays to know the enemy - not least because at some time you may have the opportunity to turn him into a friend.

What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

E-mail from a new reader...

Received July 20th:
Mr. Blackman;
I came acroos your blog while searching for info on why my LWU bill has again jumped apprx. 50% in the last 2 months.
The only hits I found were about the last time this happened, was it 2006? Maybe, hopefully, you could shed some light on this? I and my family would certainly appreciate any thing you might tell us? We survive here on my wifes paycheck and my meager SSD, and the electric alone is eating-up my check1
Regards should be made aware that the "vagrants" have again forced-open the back door of the rear cottage on the property. The perps in this instance are often seen "partying" in the yard directly south, and as witnessed by myself when walking my four dog's, throw their trash right over the fence onto the 431 yard [faceing "L" St.].
I've been watching these ppl. for 12 yrs. now, and it seems no matter what the City does, the same ppl. remain, doing the same things..using the vacant property to sleep, do drugs [I've seen syringes in the alley & yard], and generally trash the property. You never see these ppl. on the street, they prefer walking the alley's, while scoping-out who and what to rip-off next.
Anything you can do to help remedy this would be great,
Thank You for what you've already done,
resident/prop. owner

My response July 20th:

First of all, thanks for dropping by and checking out my blog. Many people find it while looking for something else - such is the power of Internet search engines. I hope you come back and check to see what's going on in Lake Worth - at least my view of it - from time to time.

I wish I could be more encouraging about our electric/utility picture. If I recall correctly, there is/was a fuel adjustment charge increase planned for July. So, if that is the case, then the increases that you have experienced recently are probably more from the amount of electricity and water that you are using. One recent improvement the city started is allowing you to monitor your utility account on-through the city's website. You'll need your account and meter number (I think) which you can find on your utility bill. Besides the possibility of paying your bill on-line, you will also be able to see how much electricity and water you have used over the past year. If your usage is down, then maybe the unit price increase went into effect already. Here's the link to the city's website if your interested in checking that out.

As you know, reliability is a factor as well and much of the bond issue to support the re-do of our distribution system has gone for the ill-fated reverse osmosis water project. Let's hope that can get back on track without the need for another bond issue to fund it.

I'm sorry for what everyone living around 431 N. L street has had to endure - during it's existence under the previous owner and now as a vacant building owned by the City. From a historic point of view, the outbuilding can and should be torn down. The city treats plywood as if it were gold and hasn't protected the outbuilding like they did the main building. A little over a year ago, the city tore down the structure at 431 N K. Street. That property was taken by City through nuisance abatement action when I was on the Planning and Zoning Board. At least there is not a structure there to house "vagrants", but the city could do more with improving the lot that was left vacant after the demolition.

I'd like to see the N. L Street property return to private ownership and require that it be returned to the original four unit design. Proper and sensitive restoration, along with landscaping improvements, would really make it a stand-out property. I know some people that are interested in making that happen - now the city has to make the decision to get rid of the property for that purpose. If they don't make that decision, I am afraid that eventually the City will end up demolishing the larger structure too. That would be a loss.

Anyway, thanks again for reading my blog. I'd like the permission to use your original e-mail in a post on the blog.

Have a good rest of the weekend!

Wes Blackman

Received today:
thanks for the quick reply and links for info, they are of some help.
pls. feel free to use my E, no problem, though i would choose to remain anonymous to the neighborhood.
The cottage IS in fact well boarded-up, for now, though I'll be checking on a reguler basis, as it has a significant impact on our block.
We had another break-in last week...410/12 North K, just another in a series of small-item thefts', probably for drugs, and again, the traffic in the alley-ways far out-paces that of the streets' can the police NOT check these ppl. out?
Oh well, life in L.W.
thanks again,

Business Week: Welcome to the Frozen Economy

Excerpt from last paragraph of article:

As the economy ices over, the next President will confront a challenge that can be compared only to the one Franklin D. Roosevelt faced nearly 80 years ago. Discontinuous change will require a bold reexamination of our social contract and the rules of wealth creation in a global system. Thawing the frozen economy will entail reinvention of our public and private institutions, especially as they bear on health, education, finance, and energy.

Author: Shoshana Zuboff is the author of The Support Economy: Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism. She was the Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Slideshow: Lake Worth Playhouse Production of "Hair"

What a fun night it was! There are still a lot of chances to see "Hair" before its last performance on August 9. I'd highly recommend it.

Many thoughts ran through my head all night as I enjoyed the performance. One was: What an ambitious show to put on for a community theater and during the summer months, too! It is a longer play than most - about three hours with an intermission between Acts 1 and 2. Most of the play consists of the full ensemble doing what amounts to a marathon of singing and dancing - all of them seem to be on stage for most of the play. The youthful cast was delightfully up to the challenge.

Speaking of youth, the play reminded me of my own. I happened to be in second grade when the play first made it to Broadway. For its day, it was very cutting edge and broke down many barriers in terms of what a play could deal with as content and how it could be performed. The cast, towards the end of the first act, even gets the chance to "let it all hang out", if you know what I mean. It also reminded me of how far we have come in social reform and civil rights since that time, but also a reminder of how far we have to go, as well.

Please try to see it. For more information on performance times, click here.

Excerpt from "Aquarius"

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding.
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the minds true liberation.

Lighting of the Lake Worth Playhouse Marquee

Some of the sites and sounds from last night in front of one of Lake Worth's venerable institutions - the Lake Worth Playhouse. Quite a nice crowd assembled before the performance of the musical "Hair" on the sidewalk and street under the new marquee. Unfortunately, part of the marquee suffered damage from the night before and a line of neon on tubing was missing - but the show must go on. And it did!

The entire marquee replacement has been an involved process, including hassles with the contractor and the city - especially with the demolition of the original marquis. However, those problems have been resolved. The CRA gave the Lake Worth Playhouse a grant for the partial cost of the new facade through its commercial property improvement program. They were kind enough to invite all of the current CRA board to attend the performance last night. Also present were Mayor Clemens, Commissioner Vespo - who served on the theater's board for a while - and Commissioner Golden.

The Lake Worth Playhouse is undertaking a $100,000 fund raising effort to renovate the historic theater. For more information, click here for the Playhouse's website.

Here are a few more views of the gathering before the lighting and ribbon cutting.

One of my favorite songs from "Hair"

This is from the movie that was released in 1979.

Good morning starshine, the earth says hello
You twinkle above us, we twinkle below
Good morning starshine, you lead us along
My love and me
As we sing our
Early morning singing song

Gliddy glub gloopy nibby nabby noopy
La la la - lo lo
Sabba sibbi sabba nooby aba naba
Lee lee - lo lo
Tooby ooby wala
Nooby aba naba
Early morning singing song

Good morning . . .

Gliddy glub gloopy . . .

Singing a song, humming a song
Singing a song
Loving a song, laughing a song
Singing a song

Sing the song
Song the sing
Song song song sing
Sing sing sing song

Song song song sing
Sing sing sing song