Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thinking and thanking...

I'd like to share a couple of thoughts and things that are floating around in my mind over this holiday weekend. More than anything, this great American holiday is a time to recollect, honor traditions and find those things that we may overlook as "givens" and offer our thanks for their existence. One of those things is the intangible of health. Right now, there are some people that I know having some health challenges that seemed to come upon them suddenly. For them, this time is about waiting for test results, praying for the easing of pain and healing. Life is unpredictable and the "not knowing" part makes things more difficult to understand and to adapt to new realities. These are the people I think most about now and realize "but for the grace of God" go the rest of us that enjoy good health.

It's also a time that when I think about tradition, I also think about history and what has come before. On Thursday, for our Thanksgiving feast, I joined a group of long time Lake Worth people. One of the guests brought a collection of early and mid 20th Century postcards which were almost all about our city of Lake Worth. With his permission, I took the time to scan them to add to my digital collection. You will be seeing evidence of that coming in future posts.

Going through the images and some of the messages contained on the cards made me realize how history can be a surreal experience. The reality represented in these cards was one of Lake Worth being a tourist-oriented destination, one that took advantage of the weather and proximity to the ocean/beach to create wealth and sustain a way of life for the people who lived here. These people are the same people that lived in our homes, drove on our streets, walked on our sidewalks and voted for people to govern them just as we do today. But even though we share the same geographic space, our physical and social reality has changed on many levels. The seeds and saplings of what are today came from that time and place represented in those images and messages from the past. They represent a part of our trajectory as a city and part of our fingerprint, but it is not who or what we are today. How much different our present reality is from our past reality creates the degree of surreality that I mentioned before. I hope to be able to explore that notion as I blend this new collection into what is contained here. For those "old timers" that visit here, I welcome your input and anecdotes about the time that preceded our current reality.

What is revealed to me is that you cannot stop change; it's going to happen anyway. What you can do is act and plan so that you can adapt positively to the changed circumstances. If you aren't able to do that, then you place yourself in a position to be the victim of change.

On Monday, we will have a rare experience available to us right here in Lake Worth. Compass has been selected once again by the NAMES Project to display the largest selection of AIDS Memorial Quilts in the state on December 1 for World AIDS Day. This year, Compass will display 10 more panels than last year.

The 240 panels, sewn into 30 panels of 12 by 12 sq. ft. blocks, will be shown at the Calvary United Methodist Church in Downtown Lake Worth from 12pm to 6pm. In addition, a candlelight vigil will take place at 7pm, along with calling of names, induction ceremonies and a special musical performance by Jessica Alvarez from Javi Productions.

For more info click here, call Compass at (561) 533-7510 or visit

The event sponsored by Calvary United Methodist Church, The Names Project, Javi Productions, Walgreens and The Home Depot.

I hope to see you there.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ground-breaking 10th Avenue North Ceremony - 12/5

Gay advocacy group finds new headquarters in Lake Worth

Friends of mine in the news...

Click title for link to TV clip.

I have known Mike since second grade and have known Curt since they met in 1979. Austin is a very smart 9 year old. They are encouraged by the judge's ruling as it applies to their situation. The news came on the same day that I was treated to view the movie MILK . SEE THE MOVIE - Sean Penn has got to pull down an award or two or three for his performance.

This item appeared in the Sun Sentinel:

Miami judge rules against Florida gay adoption ban

By Tonya Alanez
November 25, 2008

MIAMI - A Miami Dade Circuit judge ruled today that a gay man and his partner should be able to adopt the two foster children they have raised for four years.

Circuit Judge Cindy S. Lederman "these children are thriving. These words we don't often hear within these walls. That's uncontroverted," said Circuit Judge Cindy S. Lederman.

"They're a good family. They're a family in every way except in the eyes of the law. These children have a right to permanancy," the judge said. "The only real permanancy is adoption in the home where they are thriving.

"There is no rational basis to preclude homosexuals from adopting," Lederman continued.

When he heard those words, Frank Martin Gill patted his eyes with a folded white tissue.

In 2004, the state encouraged Gill and his unidenfitied male partner to provide a foster home for two boys. Gill wants to become their adopted father.

"Today I've cried my first tears of joy in my life," said Gill, 47, a flight attendant who lives in North Miami. "We are elated." Gill added: "I wasn't here to make history. I was here to do the best thing for a 4- and an 8-year-old."

A lawyer from the Attorney General's Office, who is representing the state Department of Children and Families, said the case would be appealed.

Some states, such as Mississippi and Utah, prevent gays from adopting by using laws that prohibit unmarried couples from adopting. But Florida expressly targeted gays with its 1977 law, enacted during Miss America runner-up Anita Bryant's anti-homosexual crusade.

Florida Statute 63.042 states: "No person eligible to adopt under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual." They can be state-appointed foster parents. They can be named permanent guardians. But adoption is not allowed.

Gill's attorney, Robert Rosenwald of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said an appeals court and the possibly the Florida Supreme Court would be asked to address the ban on gay adoption.

Have to share this...

This is from one of my loyal correspondents. It's worth a look based on my video calling for more cow bell. LOL - maybe instead of the gavel??

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Impact Fees and Affordable Housing

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently released "Impact Fees and Affordable Housing - A Guidebook for Practitioners". The purpose of this guidebook is to help practitioners design fees that more equitably reflect actual proportionate share and therefore have less of a negative impact on housing affordability. It includes information on the history of impact fees; discusses alternative financing models to ensure the most appropriate financing tools are at least considered; summarizes state legislation which can influence the design of local impact fee programs; and addresses how to design impact fees to be more progressive. Case studies of local government impact fee programs that are sensitive to affordable housing are also included. Click title for link.

Green Building Impact Report available:

The Green Building Impact Report, issued by, is an integrated assessment of the land, water, energy, material and indoor environmental impacts of the LEED for New Construction (LEED NC), Core & Shell (LEED CS) and Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED EBOM) standards. The report attempts to answer whether commercial green buildings live up to their name -- that is, that they are engendering demonstrable environmental improvement. According to the authors, LEED buildings are making a major impact in reducing the overall environmental footprint of individual structures. However, significant additional progress is possible and indeed necessary on both the individual building level and in terms of market penetration if LEED is to contribute in a meaningful way to reducing the environmental footprint of buildings in the U.S. and worldwide. Click title for link.

Florida Fish and Wildlife: 2060 Report:

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently released a report focusing on the impact of future development on Florida's fish and wildlife resources and our enjoyment of those resources. Entitled Wildlife 2060: What's at stake for Florida, this report suggests that the best strategies to give large animals and sensitive species a chance include: acquiring and protecting large parcels; promoting compatible agricultural activities; utilizing alternative protection techniques such as conservation easements and tax incentives; and ensuring that thoughtful, large-scale land-use planning, development design and meaningful mitigation agreements are put in place. There are also a number of ideas for ways that individuals can take action. Click title for link.

Developing Green Affordable Housing

A new report, titled "Sustainable, Affordable, Doable", features the stories of eight Green Communities projects as told by the community leaders who developed them. The free report adds to the body of literature on green affordable housing by describing the realities of developing green affordable homes for low-income people, tracing the major stages in the development process. Click title for report. For more about green affordable housing, check out the October issue of Green Communities News.

I got it! Lake Worth needs more Cow Bell!

More Cowbell - video powered by Metacafe

Every Thursday Night in Downtown Lake Worth!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

For some reason, I am being asked about...

...the provision in the City Charter regarding what happens upon a Commissioner/Mayor vacancy during an elected term. The question comes from many people not necessarily associated with one another. This is what the Charter says:
Sec. 5. Vacancies; forfeiture of office; filling of vacancies.
(a) Vacancies. The office of the mayor or of a commissioner shall become vacant upon the death, resignation, removal from office in any manner authorized by law, or forfeiture of such office by a member; such vacancy to be declared by the remaining members of the commission.
(b) Forfeiture of office or candidacy. The mayor or a commissioner shall forfeit such office or candidacy if lacking at any time during a term of office or candidacy any qualification for the office prescribed by this charter or by law.
(c) Filling of vacancies. A vacancy of the city commission shall be filled in one of the following ways:
(1) If there are less than six (6) months remaining in the unexpired term or if there are less than six (6) months before the next regular city election, the city commission by a majority vote of the remaining members shall choose and appoint a successor to serve until a newly elected commissioner or mayor is qualified.
(2) If there are more than six (6) months remaining in the unexpired term and no general city election is scheduled within six (6) months, the city commission shall fill the vacancy by a special election to be held no more than sixty (60) days following the occurrence of the vacancy. If a run-off election is necessary, it shall be scheduled two (2) weeks after the special election.
(d) Extraordinary vacancies. In the event that three (3) or more members of the city commission are removed by death, disability, the law, or forfeiture of office, the governor shall appoint an interim commission that shall call a special election as provided in (c)(2) above and such election shall be held in the same manner as the first election under this charter.

Lake Worth man seriously injured after near-by explosion

Election aftermath...

Much talk already about potential candidates in future Lake Worth elections. Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. entered this as his status this morning on Facebook: "I will run for Lake Worth City District Commissioner 4." He attended Dave Vespo's gathering at the Cottage last Tuesday night and was disappointed with the results.

I understand that Tom Ramiccio announced that he was running for Mayor against Cara Jennings next year at the Awards Luncheon on Friday. Cara Jennings is rumored to be considering a run for Mayor. Apparently there is a lot of back and forth between Jo Ann Golden and Cara about that - Jo Ann thinking that she might run. I have heard that Cara thinks she is doing just fine where she is. Jo Ann Golden is the current District #3 commissioner who at Commissioner Mulvehill's swearing in meeting talked about a unanimous City Commission. Jeff Clemens is apparently talking with his people (are there any left?) and isn't sure if he will run again.

If Cara runs for Mayor, that leaves the District #2 seat open. If that happens, then four seats may be up next November. Who would she find to run for the empty seat?

In District #1, Retha Lowe has said she is not interested in running again, but sometimes says that she likes it and may attempt to stay on. Dan Winkel has expressed interest in running and there are others active that live in the district that would put up a challenge.

And then we have the question about what I will do - District #3, Mayor, apply to stay on the CRA or...?

What other names qualify as "persons of interest" in your book? Feel free to comment.