Saturday, September 6, 2008

Settlement reached in 2006 Lake Worth code enforcement raid

From the article:
City Attorney Larry Karns could not be reached for comment, despite an attempt by telephone. Though a settlement agreement was reached, the city did not make an admission of liability.
The settlement includes payment of the plaintiffs' attorney fees, which total $195,000.

See comment for fact correction.

Breathing easier - Ike's Path (updated automatically when new reports issued)

Friday, September 5, 2008

60 days to Say "NO" on 2

Sixty Day Countdown

Sixty days from today, millions of Florida voters will vote NO on Amendment 2.

Polling shows us that this amendment will be decided by a very slim margin. In the next 60 days, we must talk to 400,000 Florida undecided voters and make it clear that Amendment 2 will strip away essential domestic partner benefits and family protections.

When people understand the harm inflicted by Amendmet 2, they vote NO.

Will you help?

We know you will vote NO on 2 November 4th, but we need your help to reach 400,000 more voters who will vote NO.

There are two immediate ways you can help.

1) Phone Bank - Sign up to phone. If you like to talk - and we know you do - phone banking is a fun and effective way to educate voters.

2) Contribute - With your help, we'll use our enormous grassroots network to educate voters face-to face. We'll talk to voters on the phone and ask them to vote NO On 2. We'll mail tens of thousands of voters information on why Amendment 2 is bad for Florida. But we can only do it with your support.

We only have sixty days to ensure this mean-spirited amendment stays out of the Florida Constitution. Click here for links to volunteer!

We need you now!


Nadine Smith

Co-Chair, Fairness for All Families, Inc.

As received: "Hurricane Info for the City of"

All City Offices will be open regular hours on Monday, September 8, 2008. Review your personal plans and begin storm preparation now. Do not trim trees or place extra items at the curb.

For updated storm information please:

. Tune into AM 1690
. Visit or
. Call the Topics information line at 586-1791.

City Commission Action Memo - 9/4 - Budget Workshop Meeting

Mayor Jeff Clemens' Closest Advisors?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

News from Palm Beach County League of Cities re Save Our Neighborhood Lawsuit

Oral argument before the 4th DCA on September 10.  FYI.  This is regarding the Sunset property and the possibility of a referendum on the rezoning and land use designation - this is an appeal of the Circuit Court ruling.

South Grade Elementary Safety Patrols - Trip to Washington, D.C. - Plea for Donations

Dear Community Leaders,

Last spring, you may have received a letter asking for support of our Safety Patrols here at South Grade Elementary in Lake Worth, FL. 

I am writing again now that the school year has started and our safety patrols have gotten their belts and are hard at work to ask for your help.

Most of our students are economically disadvantaged, and simply cannot afford to pay to participate in the biggest field trip in the world (it's in the Guinness Book of World Records!) Our safety patrols are our best and most hard working students, and it broke my heart to tell them and their parents that I need $800 from each of them before November in order to participate.

This is an opportunity of a lifetime for my students. Most of my students live within 5 minutes of the beach, and many have never seen the ocean.... imagine what a trip to Washington DC would be like for them! This year I have a girl who lives in fear that her father will be let out of jail to try and kill her mother again. I have a student who's father just passed away two weeks ago whose family cannot afford to send her to Washington because they had to pay for her father's funeral in Guatemala. I have many students who go home every day to care for younger brothers and sisters while their parents work multiple minimum wage jobs picking fruit or cleaning houses. 

And these are just some of their stories. These students deserve to go to Washington and experience our nation's history, government, and political process first hand. 

Will you please consider sponsoring one child or donating whatever you are able to give a deserving child the opportunity to travel, learn, and experience things they've never dreamed of?

Please send any donations to:

South Grade Safety Patrols
C/O Erin Consuegra
716 S. "K" St. 
Lake Worth, FL 33460

Checks may be made payable to: South Grade Safety Patrols

Thank you in advance for your support!

Erin Consuegra
5th Grade Dual Language
South Grade Elementary

Water to be drained from Lake Okeechobee as storms approach

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

City Commission Special Meeting - Budget - 9/4

Click title for link to staff back-up showing changes from recommended budget identified as proposed budget.

National Park(ing) Day

On Friday, September 19, 2008, the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and the City of Lake Worth Tree Board will be sponsoring National Park(ing) Day in Lake Worth. This annual event celebrates parks by creating temporary parks in public parking spaces. The goals are to celebrate parks and promote the need for more parks in America's cities. This year's event will take place at the parking lot located on the southeast corner of "J" Street and Lucerne Avenue and will run from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. We encourage all residents and visitors to come and participate in this exciting event in downtown Lake Worth. For more information visit:

Palm Beach County code enforcement to rule on homeless tent fines today

From the article:

Palm Beach County officials have argued that the church is running a shelter illegally in a residentially zoned neighborhood. Further, it has charged at various times that the facility is a fire hazard, unsafe for housing up to 100 nightly.

The church has gone to battle in court on the zoning matter and lost, but the decision is under appeal. As for the safety hazards, the church has managed to stay one step ahead of being shut down through donations and last-ditch repairs and upgrades.

Lake Worth day labor resource center approved

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Just got home...

...and put on the Commission stream on. They are on Public Hearings and hearing public comment on a total of 5 items. The time now is 11 p.m.

Tonight's City Commission meeting - AMENDED Agenda Add/Delete

Tropical Storm HANNAH

Tonight's City Commission meeting - Agenda Add/Delete

Up-date: Staff acknowledges the land use and zoning issues related to the shuffleboard court property and the proposed Day Labor Center; I am told it will be part of tonight's discussion.

More Correspondence to Mayor and Commissioners re 431 N. L. Street:

This from neighboring resident D. R.:
Hello, As some of you know my house was burgled last month. The thieves were (and are) staying at 431 N. L St. aided and abetted by a well known ringleader lowlife next door at 425 N. L St. I know this from neighbors, police and the prostitute who was acting as lookout while the guy robbed my house. The Swat team visited 425 L St. about three weeks ago, according the neighbor at 423 L who saw it happen. Wes Blackman has highlighted our plight, with the help of the neighbor at 423, on his website and I want to thank him for helping our neighborhood by showing the deplorable conditions of a city owned property that is holding our neighborhood hostage. Armand has been helpful as well. But the time has come to tear down those back shacks and broker a deal with Adopt-A-Family to rehab the historic property. Matt Constantine told me there is interest. Ditto for 503 N. K St. which had a fire set in it over the weekend by vagrants - a waste of expensive city services. Thank you in advance for your immediate action in this matter.

(Note: This was originally posted in early August. I'm bumping it up as a comment was left this morning.)

Up-date: I am told by city staff that it is best to contact the police department on their non-emergency number to report this sort of activity

Mary Lindsey Sounds Off on Labor Center

The editors of the Palm Beach Post published their endorsement of the proposed Day Labor Center on September 1st. This is my response which did not appear in the paper. The Commission will meet tonight, Sept. 2 at 6 pm to vote on the matter. Please attend and make your feelings about this important issue known.

Re: lead editorial, "Don't blame Lake Worth, Labor center is solution for immigrant workers"

Your editorial position - "that Lake Worth should do what Jupiter and Loxahatchee Groves have done: Provide a safe place for day laborers to meet people who want to hire them" overlooks the simple fact that the proposal before our Commission is vastly different than what was implemented by our neighbors to the north and west.

Neither of those cities proposed to vacate 65 percent of the only city-owned recreation facility available for more than 200 city blocks. Both of those cities worked hard to line up non-profit organizations with the interest and financing in place to operate their centers. Each of those cities made considerable effort to hear and answer neighboring residents concerns. And finally, the Residents of Jupiter and Loxahatchee Groves enjoy millage rates of 2.5 percent and 1.5 percent respectively, as opposed to Lake Worth tax payers who labor under a millage burden of 7.3 percent.

Lake Worth Residents are facing severe cuts in sanitation services, drastic reductions in life saving operations at our beach, the elimination of 33% of our fire/rescue fleet and the further delay of necessary capital improvement projects in our electric, water and sewer systems. Unpaved city streets will remain unpaved yet another year. As Lake Worth approaches its' Centennial, even our City Museum is threatened with closure. Lake Worth just signed a contract with Palm Beach County Sheriff's office to provide police services primarily because of our inability to fund Police pension obligations and our inability to recruit or retain additional officers.

The pool of documented City of Lake Worth employees was diminished last year by 42 positions and faces even more lay-offs, terminations, and job eliminations this year, further reducing the services Lake Worth taxpayers will receive from our City. None of these hardworking, underpaid city employees enjoyed the benefit of new job placement or re-training to assist them and their families. Free services to assist and assimilate Lake Worth's undocumented non-citizens are currently provided in another city owned building right across the street from the proposed day labor/resource center. If any shared use should be considered, perhaps our officials should think about locating our Code Enforcement offices there in the heart of the city's blight and chronic code violations instead of paying market rent to house Code Enforcement off city property.

The only traffic hazard along Lake and Lucerne Avenue is the lack of vehicles coming to work or shop in our downtown and the harassment of those few who make the attempt. Forty-two percent of our retail space is vacant and no one is beating down the doors to our building department for permits or new business licenses. The number of free lance job seekers has diminished as our local landscape and construction industry struggles to survive. The number of thugs and thieves who prey on the undocumented has increased, attracting a new dangerous element of concern for the few home-owners left in surrounding neighborhoods.

The consortium of non-profits solicited by Commissioner Jennings to run the center has failed to materialize a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the specific responsibilities each will provide. Funding for operations of the center remains elusive and no financial statements from any of the proposed service providers has been forthcoming despite repeated requests. Furthermore, supporters of the proposal have dismissed legitimate questions about the center financing with charges of racism and "white middle class nativism, vigilantism and bigotry."

Lake Worth would do well to emulate the officials of Jupiter and Loxahatchee Groves by first addressing one of the highest millage rates in Palm Beach County, offering essential city services that measure up to that rate before they squander limited city resources on social services that benefit the minority at the considerable expense of the majority.

Mary Lindsey, Candidate for Commissioner District 2
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Mary Lindsey for Commissioner District 2

Blog Reminder - Comment Feature

I'd like to remind everyone who comes here that I encourage you to leave your comment(s) and react to what I post. This has been a feature of this blog since its inception. And in the two year plus history of the blog (one that has about 1,000 different posts), I only remember rejecting a total of two comments that readers have left due to objectionable content.

The way to do it is very simple. Click on the "comments" link at the bottom of any post. You will be given the option to be anonymous, leave your real name or comment through your Google account identity (if you have one). Then just type in the box provided. That is then sent to me for review and it is published shortly thereafter.

If you look among the various posts, you'll find some that have three or four comments after them. Many times I will weigh in again to clarify or react to something that might have been left in a previous comment.

So, if you are just itching to tell me and the world something, do not forget that you always have the ability to comment to a post. You can also e-mail your reaction to and let me know if you would like me to post your response on the blog itself.

Anyway, thanks for visiting and comment away! You'll be glad you did.

Monday, September 1, 2008

PB Post Editorial: Don't blame Lake Worth

They support the Day Labor Center (click title) - the editors identify the shuffleboard court building as only a "municipal" building. They also say that the "recreation" zoning might be an issue and that more than just undocumented people are looking for work on our streets. Such is the view from the cozy, paneled offices of the editorial board.

Bottom line: If we are going to do it, we need to do it right. Doing it right is not ignoring the land use and zoning issue - we need to go through the established process which will encourage public input and help insulate the city from a lawsuit. Doing it right is not using one of the few buildings that offer indoor recreation and room for the community to meet. Doing it right means vetting the Mentoring Center.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lake Worth Election History - Total Number of Votes Received - 2003-2007

This is an interesting look at the results from the elections from the past four years in Lake Worth. If anyone can supply me with the results from the Mayor and District #1 race in 2003, that would make the analysis more complete.

I do this since one candidate claimed that she won in a "landslide" in a recent re-election campaign video. That got me to thinking that one way to look at one's results in an election - beyond whether someone won or lost against a given candidate - is the total number of votes that a candidate received. This gives a sense of the actual number of people that voted for any one candidate - period. Of course, the total number of votes received is in actuality compared with the number of votes received by an opponent - which ultimately determines who won or who lost. But, with a larger voter turn-out expected this year due to the moving of the municipal elections to November (a national election) from their traditional March date, the numbers here are interesting to look at.

Here are the total votes received by all candidates in a general (first) election. Those highlighted eventually won their respective races.

Here are the total votes received by all candidates involved in run-off elections. Those highlighted won their respective races.

Beach and Gustav

As videographed by Jim Stafford

From Commissioner Jennings Re-Election Campaign "Literature"

An example of some of the upside-down logic of the current District #2 Commissioner:

The above is one of the points featured in literature distributed by her followers. She doesn't tell you that this ordinance wasn't adopted. Perhaps if this Commissioner could work in a more cooperative spirit with others on the dais, she might have more to show for her accomplishments - through a record of adopted ordinances.

What she also doesn't tell you is that after this item appeared on the Commission agenda it was rightly sent for an advisory Attorney General opinion on the Constitutionality of such an ordinance.

Political contributions have long been interpreted by the Courts as a protected form of free speech - First Amendment protection. In practice, if found legal, this ordinance would preclude those who currently have contracts with the city - or with those that might have business with the city in the future (something impossible to gauge during the campaign process) - from contributing to campaigns. This assumes that a Commissioner's vote can be bought with a $500 campaign contribution, which is an exaggerated probability.

It's time for Commissioner Jennings to fess-up and tell us the real reason for her proposed ordinance. She was quoted as saying this will prevent "conflicts of interest".

News Flash: There is much more to whether or not a conflict of interest exists than who contributed to your campaign!

What's she hiding from? Do not be fooled. It is meant to enhance the chances of more candidates just like her getting into office under the guise of an ethics ordinance.

By the way, the city does need an ethics review - but much more comprehensive in scope than this self-serving measure. Why isn't she calling for the formation of an ethics panel to make recommendations to the Commission on reform measures?

And to think I supported her and voted for her the first time! Let's all learn from our mistakes - me included.

More information from my friend in Iraq:

This e-mail came in last night. A little more background - he moved to Florida sometime last year from Michigan after accepting a job with a civil engineering firm that had a lot of business with water management districts around the state. This is what he said about what led up to his stay in Iraq:
Wes - well, things got slow in WPB and ther didn't seem to be too much on the horizon. I was here in early May for a short (10 days) assignment, took that one pretty much for the adventure and to say I'd been here, but was approached at that time about a coming back for a more extended stay. The money is great, hours are long, safety/security hasn't been an issue but there's always the chance, so here I am - I've just completed the 1st two months of a one-year tour. Probably a good thing I volunteered as well, because the guys back in WPB have been on shortened hours for over a month and there may be layoffs soon if there's no FL work.

Work is mostly construction inspection and contract administration, stuff I know a lot about, just the culture/attitude towards business is quite different. Example, with only a slight exagerration:

The pipe is supposed to be steel, and the contractor is trying to use plastic - I point his out, saying they can't use it, and they tell me "No, no, is steel" - I say that if it were steel, a magnet would stick to it but they insist, "is steel, is steel", all with a straight face and I'm wondering how they can lie like this - only later does it occur to me that they weren't lying and what they were saying was "is steal, is steal" and they want to bury it before the rightful owner shows up!

Anyway, hope you are well and having fun - take care.