Friday, August 8, 2008

Feh - so the City has to answer in 20 days - big whoop.

This means that the City now has to respond to the original complaint. Apparently, the City responded with only a request that the court dismiss the lawsuit. Now it has to answer the items identified as problems in the lease that the plaintiff believes violate the limitation on the length of the lease and other details in the development agreement between the city and Greater Bay. One hopes that this is already done and the city can easily meet the deadline. What this says is that Judge Fine did not want to dismiss the suit on its face and wants to examine the various arguments.

Public Forum on the Marriage Amendment

Public Forum on the Marriage Amendment
Aug 21, 7pm
Public Forum on the Proposed Florida Marriage Amendment
Join the Treasure Coast Unitarian Universalist Church as they host a public forum on the proposed marriage amendment.
The presentation involves a discussion of the implications of the proposed Marriage Amendment to the Florida Constitution, such as the loss of existing protections and family benefits for unmarried couples in civil unions and domestic partnership, both heterosexual and gay.
This amendment would have an impact on Florida's large senior population, many of whom form domestic partnerships rather than remarry after they are widowed in order not to risk losing essential benefits. There will be a question and answer period after the presentation.

Treasure Coast Unitarian Universalist Church, 21 SE Central Parkway - Stuart, FL 34994
For more info call 772-223-5020 or email

Express Gay News - Florida Gov. announces support of Amendment 2

Amendment to state constitution would ban gay marriage, domestic partnerships

August 6, 2008

Governor Charlie Crist's "live and let live" policy regarding the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Florida is now a thing of the past.

A Crist spokesman confirmed that the governor is undeniably supporting Amendment 2. On Monday, Crist made a statement during an impromptu barbershop Q & A with reporters. When asked his position on Amendment 2, Crist's reply was surprisingly clear.

"I support it," he said.

The question, lobbed by AP reporter Brendan Farrington, may have caught the governor off guard. Reporters had been asking him about the state economy, offshore drilling, and a controversial 'tax-swap' measure that will also be on the November ballot.

Miami Herald reporter Marc Caputo, one of the reporters at the barbershop, said that Crist did not know what Amendment 2 was at first, and asked the reporters to explain what it was about. After reporters defined the measure, Crist expressed his support.

On Tuesday, an unidentified Crist staffer told Express editor Dan Renzi that the governor's statement had been a misprint. But on Wednesday, after several calls from the Express, Crist spokesman Sterling Ivey said he was not aware of the denial.

"Yes, he is supportive of it," Ivey said.

Crist's pro-Amendment 2 stance brings an end to the relative ambiguity he's had regarding the issue.

In 2006, he signed a petition supporting placing the measure on the ballot, but he later spoke out against the state Republican party for contributing $300,000 to, the political action committee that supports the measure.

Since then, Crist has avoided talking in-depth on the issue, only to say he has a "live and let live" attitude about it.

Crist's brief remarks Monday were enough to set the conservative blogosphere ablaze as they embraced his supportive stance.

Blogs picked up New York Times reporter Joe Follick's story. Follick, the only reporter to publish Crist's remarks about Amendment 2, did not quote Crist directly. Instead he paraphrased the governor in the last paragraph of his story about a proposed "tax swap" amendment., chief proponents of the amendment, were quick to cast Crist's statement out to the public.

"Governor Crist joins dozens of other federal and state elected officials who support the common sense of having people and not judges define marriage in Florida," the website stated.

To many organizers working to defeat the amendment, Crist's newfound clarity on the issue comes as no surprise.

Many view Crist's statement as part of a new tactic to veer away from his moderate stance to appease more conservative factions of the Republican party.

"His 'live and let live' attitude has been an awkward position," said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida.

Crist has been making several moves to promote a more conservative image. He reversed his position to about off-shore drilling in Florida to mirror Republican presidential candidate John McCain's position. And he's recently announced that he is going to marry - a woman - in the midst of the persistent rumors about his sexuality.

"He's giving himself a nice, conservative image,' said Michael Albetta, president of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus. "He's jockeying himself for vice president."

Derek Newton, campaign manager of, the PAC that is working to defeat the measure, said Crist's position is not a priority.

"We're not focused on that at all," Newton said. "His position and his feelings are his feelings, and it's not something we're focused on."

In order for the amendment to pass, the measure must net 60 percent of the vote. Recent polls have shown that the proponents are just a few percentage points away from their goal.

At Monday's barbershop press conference, Crist was asked whether he thought his supportive stance would be enough to lure additional pro-Amendment 2 votes?

"I don't know," Crist said, sitting in a chair at the Lake Ella barbershop. "What level of fervor there is for that, there's only one way to find out, I guess - wait until November fourth."

President Carter - February 1977 - Talk on Energy Policy

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Historic Dixie Highway - Interesting Web-finds

DHClick map for more detail.

Click here for link to article:
The Historic Context of the Dixie Highway
Pam S. Ecker

Past, Present, and Future of the Dixie Highway
[From The Dixie Highway 1917, vol. 3, pp. 1-7, orig. page numbers indicated in the text link above. This article discusses the early advances of the Dixie Highway and argues that highway development is necessary to the war effort and national development.]

Link to Historic Florida road maps.

Links should work now

Lake Worth (33460) Home Sales within past 30 days

Click title for link.

This is how the Town of Palm Beach announces a closed-door meeting...

This just came in an e-mail blast from the Town of Palm Beach regarding a closed door meeting to take place next Thursday. Note the information given on the notice itself compared to little or no notice given for recent closed door Lake Worth City Commission meetings.

Gas Prices May Revive Cities - Urban planners finally see a way to curb sprawl

Click title for article in US News and World Report about the affect of gas prices on land use patterns.

From Charleston, S.C.

Click title for link to Charleston, S.C. newspaper article on urbanizing suburban shopping centers. We - in Lake Worth - have much more to work with than they do and don't have to reinvent the wheel as much. This is similar to what unincorporated Palm Beach County is trying to do - which I covered in a post a while ago. Look under the "Planning" topic on the right for more information.

Click here for some of the land uses and locations they are dealing with. Click here for a link to the City of Charleston website.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

4th Annual Multi-Cultural Festival - 8/9

Wine and Pasta Extravaganza - 8/17

Lake Worth - Let's save paper!

Click title for more information.

It has come to my attention that a certain Commissioner from District #3 routinely requests copies of documents from city files and archives. These are produced on regular city copy paper. Per standard operating procedure, all requested copies are then distributed to the four Commissioners and Mayor - and I suppose the City Manager would get a copy too and perhaps others in the administration. These amount to reams and reams of paper over time.

One of the drawbacks to paper documents is the need to painstakingly search for information. Paper is more time consuming to review and takes more effort to identify items that may be of particular interest. You can search electronic documents for keywords, etc.

Now, I am aware the city has a scanner and it should be one that is like a copier that can scan multiple sheets at a time. As such, 150 document pages can be reduced to one .pdf file and stored on a flash drive such as the ones below - I chose the "sushi" design as an example since I am a sushi fanatic. I currently carry a flash drive on my key chain so that when I am out and about I am able to carry many documents to and from with little inconvenience and little environmental impact.

Can we change the procedure so that these documents are provided in a digital - non-hard copy format? Please? I would think that Commissioner Golden would think this was a good idea and she should spearhead the effort.

This was sent to the Mayor, Commissioners, Laura Hannah and Pam Lopez.

Or, for those that like literal interpretations, I present a real "thumb" drive.
For those interested, this is what my actual flashdrive looks like:

Spring deadline likely for businesses to vacate Lake Worth casino

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

From Google Maps - Street View - East Lansing, Michigan

This is the house that I owned in the late 1980s prior to moving to Florida. It's still there.

And this is down the street in downtown East Lansing, within walking distance of my house. If you can see the sign above the building in the center "El Azteco" - that was my favorite Mexican restaurant. If you are ever there, order the cheese dip and the Topopo Salad. They have the best hot sauce!

Assessment of Last Night's Commission Meeting re Sheriff Merger

As reported, the vote was 3-2 to go with the Sheriff (PBSO). This was a good thing for many reasons. And, the Commission will have the time - about two weeks - to have a special meeting to address the concerns raised by Mr. Karns and others regarding the contract. However, we again need to talk about process, the power of city staff over the will of the Commission and the need to get information out in a timely manner. The last point being the most important - we need to engage the citizens as a solution to the city's problems. Not all answers lie in City Hall.

More on that topic later, but here are my observations from the meeting. I was concerned that people would not be able to find the location and therefore attendance would be limited. While I am sure some people might have been confused about it, I was delightfully surprised that many people showed up. The number would not have fit in the City Commission chambers at 7 N. Dixie Hwy. More reason to think about returning City Hall back into the auditorium it once was so that more people can regularly come and participate in the city's public meetings - especially for big issues such as this.

The meeting started with Mr. Baldwin taking the lead and summarizing what had happened to date. This is something that I thought the Mayor should have done, but alas. Mr. Bates, our Administrative Service Director, got up and painted quite a gloomy scenario and wanted to link the pension situation with the choice of going with the PBSO. Commissioner Vespo did an excellent job at correcting that train of thought and rightly indicated that the city would be facing the pension situation with either choice. He also pointed out the prospect of amortizing the pension liability over a period of 20 years instead of 7 years as presented by Bates - which even Commissioner Jennings later acknowledged as a "brilliant idea."

Public comment was extensive and the great majority thought now was the time to go with PBSO. Many acknowledged the increased crime and the perception that creates in relation to the City's image. This leads to decisions not to invest in the City etc. We learned from Laurence McNamara that there may be a hang up in the City Charter regarding the PBSO switch and it came across as a not-so-veiled threat of a lawsuit that could block the will of the people. He is going to law school now - I guess in an effort to save future legal fees. One of Mr. Karns tasks over the next two weeks is to determine if that is the case and whether or not a ballot measure needs to be put in place to amend the Charter. More on this later.

During Commissioner Jennings and Golden's comments, I hearkened back to both their speeches on the Greater Bay beach matter. Commissioner Jennings' speech would be the same for beach, just switch out "Sheriff" and replace with Greater Bay.

Overall, one was left with the impression that the staff is leading the Commission and Mayor - not the other way around. Which really is the proper dynamic. There is no reason that what was an issue when I campaigned a year and a half ago would have its first public airing now. And it could have been entirely possible that it completely pass last night. At least this two week period gives time for more public input and possible changes to the contract that would be more favorable and protect the City better than the current version.

Chief Smith continued to be vague regarding how many patrols are out at any one time, shift structure, etc. He was obviously a reluctant participant. Not so the rank and file, as they ponied up and gave away part of their compensation to make it happen. As was pointed out, they would likely more than make it up under the PBSO system, but it seemed to be a smart decision for them to do so.


THAT HAS TO CHANGE. It just does.

From the Strange-but-True File: Annabeth Karson Advocates for Police Checkpoints

I have now seen and heard it all.

City Commission Votes 3-2 to Merge with Sheriff Department - Future Meeting to Work Out Details

Monday, August 4, 2008

Mayor Clemens Calls Press Conference at 4 p.m. Today on the Steps of City Hall

I hope it was to announce that PBSO is giving us more time to review and make changes to the document. If not, it's either a little early or a little late for a press conference, depending on the outcome of tonight's meeting.

Are we punting away the opportunity? Is this sabotage by staff and Chief? Why are there so many loose ends? Is anyone watching the store? Where has the Mayor been for the past year and a half?

Memo dated 8/1/08 from City Attorney Karns to Administrative Service Director Bates re PBSO Agreement.

Mr. Karns raises many of the same concerns that I have regarding the draft agreement. How has it gotten this far without this critical analysis? Where have the Mayor, Commissioners and staff been? This document, along with the draft contract, is only now available on the City's website - a little late in my opinion.

How firm is Mr. Bradshaw's deadline?

REMINDER: Special City Commission Meeting re Palm Beach County Sheriff Contract

Note location!
It is not at City Hall.

It will be at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center
at 6:30 p.m.
See map below:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Click here for access to draft Palm Beach County Sheriff contract

Commissioner Vespo wanted to make sure a copy of the draft agreement between the city and the PBSO was available to the public. Clicking the above will take you to the document. If you would like me to forward a copy to you directly, e-mail me and I will include it as an attachment. My e-mail can be found on the right hand column of the blog. You can copy and paste it in the "To:" line of your e-mail program.

Thank you to Commissioner Vespo.

One killed, another injured in Lake Worth shooting

Strapped cities torn on hiring sheriff

A future New York City?

Click title for movie.

Click here for interesting "Terreform" website.

Local Biota Living t Structure