Saturday, January 31, 2009

Quiz: Count the number of times Mayor Clemens has given a State of the City address.

I'll wait for the answer. Look for a clue below:

More in the never-ending stream of information from the City of Punta Gorda

Friends and Neighbors,

Aside from the weekly report attachment I have also attached a schedule of road rejuvenation work beginning next Monday. Road rejuvenation if a stop gap method that is expected to add a few extra years to our streets before repaving is necessary.

The 2009 State of the City Report was presented by Larry Friedman this past Wednesday for members of the chamber of commerce; he will be presenting it several more times the schedule is in the weekly report and I urge you to attend.

The University of Florida released its “Florida Estimates of Population for 2008” this week and you may be interested to know That the estimated population for Charlotte County for 2008 was 165,781 of which 17,651 reside within the city. In 2000 the counties population was 141,627. Of the 67 counties Charlotte is the 28th most populated. Charlotte continues to have the distinction of having the highest percentage in the state of those over the age of 65 [34%] and the lowest percentage in the state of those under the age of 17 [15.1%]

Several of you have asked so here is the link to the schedule for our new event center

Friday, January 30, 2009

Important Correspondence re Public Safety at the Beach

What in the H-E-double toothpicks is going on? Here it is addressed in our own Code of Ordinances:

Sec. 7-3. Compliance with regulations posted at beach; obedience to lifeguards.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to swim in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean which lie east of the city, specifically the municipal ocean beach owned by the city, except and unless such person complies with the notices posted on such beach by the city.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to disobey any reasonable command of a duly employed lifeguard of the city that is designed to protect the public and/or public property in the use of the municipal ocean beach.
(Code 1956, § 7-1; Ord. No. 86-12, § 1, 3-17-86)

Sec. 7-4. Swimming at beach when no lifeguard on duty.
It shall be unlawful for any person to swim in the waters of the municipal beach when an official lifeguard of the city is not on duty at the beach.
(Code 1956, § 7-3)

Improvement Noticed in City Press Releases

Click the following links for examples of announcements from the city over the past few weeks. Both the frequency and quality have improved.

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

However, the last one leaves me wanting as it relates to subject matter. Here is an excerpt:

The Lake Worth Resource Center (LWRC) is pleased to announce the launch of “Hire One Worker For One Week”; an economic and employment relief initiative to help struggling families, while stimulating our local economy. The goal of this initiative is to match 500 registered jobseekers from the LWRC with local employers for one week during the month of February.

Registered workers are at the ready to perform such jobs as: cleaning the pool, yard or house; painting; packing or unpacking; moving; polishing; repairing patio screens, fences or sprinklers; pressure cleaning; foreclosure cleaning; landscaping; roofing; filing; stuffing envelopes; typing and companion and elderlycare!

“Our President has told us that it will take a bold, unprecedented approach and requires all of us to turn the economy around. This is our audacious plan! We are appealing to the good people of Palm Beach County to create a temporary job, fill it with a LWRC jobseeker and provide short-term relief to struggling friends and neighbors” said Wilson.

This is the press release many would like to see instead:

Lake Worth, Fl. - The Mayor of the City of Lake Worth announced the relocation of {Fill in name of high tech research or information technology or green product manufacturing company here}. The company selected a site within the City's Community Redevelopment Agency district and will employ 500 local people once fully staffed. Offices for the firm will be state-of-the-art and eligible for gold LEED certification - further establishing Lake Worth as the center for the "Green Revolution" in the United States. Ms. Amelia Longterm, the company's CEO, stated, "We really enjoy our relationship with the City of Lake Worth. They have been very helpful through the zoning and permiting of the project. It's great to feel like we are part of a team that knows where they are going and how to get there." The Mayor commented, "This will solidify Lake Worth as a place of economic re-birth and the model of redevelopment in the region."

By the way, how do the 1099s and income taxes in general work at the LWRC?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Interesting Planning Related Links

Created by Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Legislature in the 2008 Legislative session, the Florida Energy
& Climate Commission is housed within the Executive Office of the Governor and is the primary organization for state energy and climate change programs and policies. Comprised of nine members appointed by the Governor, Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Chief Financial Officer, the Commission holds a variety of responsibilities, including administering financial incentive programs; completing annual assessments of Florida's Energy and Climate Change Action Plan; and providing recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature. The Commission will also work cooperatively with other state entities, including the Florida Public Service Commission, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Department of Community Affairs, and the Florida Energy Systems Consortium, to develop state energy and climate change policies and programs. To date, the Commission has held two meetings in January. To follow its activities, go to

On December 19, 2008, the Department of Community Affairs filed a Notice of Change containing the proposed RLSA rule. The proposed rule has been challenged in a Petition filed by The Florida Land Council, The Farm Bureau, and The Florida Chamber of Commerce. Chapter 120, Florida Statutes, restricts the Department's ability to make changes in the proposed rule based on comments made for the first time in a rule challenge petition without conducting another public hearing. The Department has indicated that this challenge raises issues with most sections of the proposed rule, including several new issues not previously raised. Therefore the Department is withdrawing the previously noticed proposed rule for further revision and in the near future will notice the revised rule for another public hearing.

FDOT has created a new web page which focuses on the federal economic stimulus for transportation. Found at, the page provides easy access to federal executive branch information, U.S. Congressional information, and Florida specific information. As things are changing over time, be sure to check this site periodically for updated information.

The Florida Century Commission submitted its third Annual Report to the Governor and Legislature earlier this month. The report builds on earlier work and contains a number of recommendations including: following through on Florida's Water Congress; continue efforts to define and preserve Florida's most precious lands and waters; extend legislative term limits to twelve years; encourage regional visioning and support sustainable community design, and strengthen Florida's buildings. To read the details of these recommendations, go to

On behalf of the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO), National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) and National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), a series of federal policy recommendations were submitted to Congress for consideration. The proposed items focus on improving intergovernmental collaboration, fostering enhanced regional cooperation among local government officials and coordinating strategic investments of public resources, particularly in the areas of transportation, economic and community development, homeland security and environmental stewardship. The report can be read at .
The FDOT Office of Policy Planning issued this publication, which looks at transportation trends and conditions in Florida. This Pocket Guide to Florida Transportation Trends and Conditions is organized into four areas: the growing demand for transportation facilities and services; the current system or supply of transportation; the impacts of the transportation system on our society; and the resources, expenditures and costs associated with providing transportation. The guide can be accessed at

The Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has recently published "Visions of Smart Growth and Sustainability- A Florida Chapter ASLA Charrette to illustrate tools for better urban growth and environmental stewardship." Conducted as an adjunct to the "How Should We Grow" initiative in Central Florida, this post-charrette publication offers the public, leaders and planners a vision of what communities and countryside if future growth is approached with sensitivity to supporting core economic and environmental requirements. Topics covered include open space, natural environment, civic space, marketplace, neighborhoods, corridors, and infrastructure. Download this report at

Issued in November 2007 by the Oregon Department of Transportation, this reports summarizes the 6 year effort to study and test an alternative revenue collection system for roads and highways. The 2001 Oregon Legislature established the Road User Fee Task Force "to develop a design for revenue collection for Oregon's roads and highways that could replace the current system for revenue collection." After considering 28 different funding ideas, the task force recommended that the Oregon Department of Transportation conduct a pilot program to study two strategies, called the Oregon Mileage Fee Concept: (1) Study the feasibility of replacing the gas tax with a mileage-based fee based on miles driven in Oregon and collected at fueling stations; and (2) Study the feasibility of using this system to collect congestion charges. The final report concludes, among other things, that the concept is viable, paying at the pump works, the mileage fee can be phased in, and administrative costs are low. To learn more, go to .

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Revised February City Meeting Calendar

Note date for rescheduled joint City Commission/CRA meeting on 2/10.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Alligator bites off part of man's hand near Lake Worth

Paws on the Plaza


Paws on the Plaza will be held on Saturday, February 7, 2009, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Cultural Plaza.

For more information, visit the City's website at

Passive Park Groundbreaking


This Friday, January 30, 2009, a groundbreaking will be held at 9:30 a.m. to celebrate the creation of a passive park along an unused right-of-way along 5th Avenue South.

In December 2006, the City Commission unanimously approved a request made by the Lake Worth Rotary Club to create a passive park in the unused, existing 5th Avenue South right-of-way from South F Street to the alley. The Lake Worth Rotary Club has supported and promoted community projects in the community for over fifty years.

A first for the Lake Worth Rotary Club, the project encompassed the preparation of a site plan; securing approval from the Lake Worth Planning and Zoning Board; installing a water meter and entering into an agreement with the City of Lake Worth to maintain the property for a period of eighteen months. The concept included the installation of landscaping, walkways and benches for the passive park. Additionally, the Club has agreed to donate $1,000 to the City of Lake Worth Tree Board to support their efforts in creating a tree canopy throughout the City.

For further information, contact Dr. Albert Endruschat, Lake Worth Rotary Club at 561-385-4620.

Massive West Palm condo approved

Click title for link to PB Post article. Excerpts:
The city commission Monday overrode staff recommendations and neighbors' objections in approving a 299-foot-tall condo tower for 1515 S. Flagler Drive, nearly three times as massive as the hurricane-damaged building it would replace.

Opponents urged commissioners to deny the proposal, which envisioned a building that on some sides has setbacks of 34 feet where city zoning codes call for 142 feet.
Proof of a different world view. I am hoping that it is somehow tied to building enough value on the property in order to take the existing building down. Perhaps it will never be built, but perhaps it will. I refer to West Palm Beach as the Land of Dragons - something beyond our horizon. Remember, Lake Worth is the yin to West Palm's yang.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Record Day Today - Thanks for Visiting!!

A word about the Commission and CRA meetings on Tuesday - 1/27

There are two meetings scheduled for the about the same time in City Hall tomorrow. A joint City Commission/CRA workshop (that was on the books for quite a while) was to take place on January 27th. This in a continuing effort to foster communication between the two entities and to make sure that efforts are coordinated and fit within expectations of the community.

At the Commission meeting last week, the Commissioners and Mayor started on a long discussion of the beach redevelopment project. This discussion ended up in the creation of a workshop on the beach. The date chosen for this was the date of the pre-scheduled joint meeting with the City Commission and CRA.

The Chair of the CRA and executive director decided to hold a regular workshop meeting of the CRA in its place to discuss the possibility and details of an Economic Summit for the community and the Cultural Redevelopment program that is about to go forward.

So, the long and the short of it is that I will start my late afternoon/early evening activities with the Commission - since their beginning time is 5:30 p.m. The CRA's meeting will begin at 6 p.m. which I will attend. I am not sure how long the CRA meeting will go on, but I plan to attend what remains of the City Commission workshop on the beach at the conclusion of the CRA meeting. It looks as though the City Commission will be in the Chambers and the CRA will be in the conference room. If you can come to City Hall tomorrow night, it might be your two-for-one chance to see both groups in action - just not in the same room.

Important - Click here for link to complete back-up for Tuesday's City Commission Workshop re Beach

It includes a chronological summary of the casino building in its various forms and the historic designation report for the building as it is today. This report was done in 1998 when I was an alternate on the PZHRPB. At the time, the board elected not to pursue designation as the report covered the "international style" version (today's) and there was concern about the impact a designation may have to redevelopment of the property. We did talk about, and I think one idea that has some merit - but it is not common - is the designation of the entire property as a historical site. Or, create a specific historic district for the beach property.

As much as we don't like the current style of the building, it is historic in its own right. I am not advocating for that, but that is what many would think in the historic preservation community.

Thank you staff for putting this report together in a short amount of time.

Remember, as some still have a conceptual problem with this distinction:

Restoration (above)

Rehabilitation/Renovation/New Building (above)

Palm Beach County ERM E-News for January 23

Loggerhead Marinelife Center: Annual Sea Turtle Nesting Recap and Annual Meeting
Date: January 26, 2009

Time: 6:00 p.m.
The public is invited for this informative presentation as the 2008 sea turtle nesting counts are revealed. A wine and cheese reception is included, and the event is free. An RSVP is required by calling Ann at (561) 627-8280 ext. 101. For more information visit

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center Ecowatch Lecture Series
Guest Presentation: Sea Level Rise in Florida
Presenter: Dr. Harold Wanless, University of Miami
Date: January 27, 2009
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Light refreshments will be served.
Reservations recommended, not required.
Location: Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, 1801 N. Ocean Blvd. Boca Raton
For more information call 561.338-1473

Scripps Howard Institute on the Environment presents Environmental Writers
Guest Presentation: Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds
Presenter: Claire Hope Cummings
Date: January 28, 2009
Time: Lecture 7:00 pm, Reception, book signing and sales after the lecture

Location: Florida Atlantic University, Jupiter, Administration Building Auditorium, AD 119

This lecture is free and open to the public.
An RSVP is appreciated. Call 561‐799‐8462 or send an email to

Harbor Branch Ocean Science Lecture Series

Guest Presentation: Harmful Algal Blooms on Caribbean Coral Reefs

Presenter: Brian Lapointe

Date: January 28, 2009
Time: 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., followed by a meet-the-speaker reception.
Location: Auditorium of the Johnson Education Center on the Harbor Branch campus, 5600 U.S. 1 North, Fort Pierce.
There is no charge to attend.
For more information contact: (772) 465-2400, ext. 506, or email at

A Nugget of Wisdom from the Bhagavad-Gita

"If you want to see the brave, look at those who can forgive. If you want to see the heroic, look at those who can love in return for hatred."

Sue? Just go pound sand

PB Post editorial re Greater Bay potential for lawsuit. One of our leaders speaks:
Mayor Jeff Clemens says he doubts that Greater Bay could get financing now anyway. Besides, the city was unhappy with Greater Bay's renovation of the beachfront pool. The city, Mayor Clemens says, was left with a punch list of unfinished work. "If they couldn't finish a $450,000 pool project," he asks, "how could they build a (multimillion-dollar) project?"

Good question. Here's another. If a jury will give you $40 million for a project that didn't get built, why go to all the trouble of building something?

Well, the PB Post sounds as frustrated as most of Lake Worth residents. The point here is that people want something better on our flagship oceanfront property. We are in a public/private partnership with Greater Bay. Public/private partnerships do not manage themselves and can be unwieldy. The Mayor, after joining the Commission in April of 2007, should have acted as if the beach was Job #1. He needed to direct staff to maintain that relationship in a legal and satisfactory manner - he won his office as a "pro beach redevelopment" candidate. In my opinion, he did very little in directing the relationship appropriately. He should have made sure everyone was talking to each other and that deadlines were being met. Instead, his "hands off" attitude let the stronger members of the Commission lead the relationship.

Personally, I think the city's case is weak - best of luck in the courts. $40 million is about the size of our annual general fund budget. Greater Bay, on their part, could and should have done a lot more in terms of public information and nurturing support of the project at a grass roots level. They didn't - which caused an information vacuum that was soon filled by the detractors of the arrangement.

The re-zoning and land use plan change has always been a red herring served up by the opposition. It simply brought the zoning and land use up-to-date with the uses present there. In fact, given the increased square footage of the Straticon et al proposal, the project would have kicked in the need for the same process. It needs the Beach and Casino zoning district to go forward anyway.

Regardless, we are now trying to slap something together by April so that we don't lose the $5 million of county money. We may be in the unenviable position to be fighting a war on two fronts - protecting our backside from Greater Bay's claims and moving forward with something "new." Add a third front if you include maintaining our relationship with the County so that we keep their $5 million.

Didn't someone's campaign slogan say, "Experience...Leadership"...?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Ethics" Ordinance - Subject of 1/28 City Commission Workshop


This is the version of Commissioner Jennings' "Pay to Play" Ordinance - used interchangeably with "Ethics" Ordinance during the campaign. In September, at the beginning of the campaign season, she rolled this out on to a City Commission agenda. It was defeated on a vote of 2-3, with Mayor Clemens, Vice-Mayor Lowe and Commissioner Vespo casting the dissenting votes. The reason for turning it down was a combination of the need for a panel to review ethical standards in all of city operations and actions and potential unintended consequences of this piecemeal ordinance. Really it wasn't turned down specifically, rather staff was directed to put the item on a future workshop agenda. That will be taking place Wednesday of this week at 5:30 p.m., City Hall Conference room

It should be noted that during the recent campaign, Commissioner Cara Jennings seemed never to fail bringing up that then Commissioner Vespo voted down an ethics ordinance. This exaggeration played well for Commissioner Jennings on the campaign trail - even though she wasn't running against then Commissioner Vespo. It helped seal the fate so that Commissioner Jennings' chosen candidate would gather the laurels of office after a run-off election. We can discuss the ethics of this if you wish, but for now let's look at this ordinance is a little more detail.

By the way, it was the September 16th meeting when this item was last discussed. See Commissioner Jennings' press release on her campaign website dated September 15th. And this wasn't a political act?

You know, legally speaking, leases are contracts. And while Commissioner Jennings' talks about preventing big business from influencing campaigns and decisions by candidates that receive their large (read $500 bundled contributions), a "professional business entity" as defined here would also include local businesses and individuals - including any owner having more than a 10 percent share in that business. Now I could very easily pull up the itemized special interest contributions for both Commissioners Jennings and Mulvehill campaigns here. But they are easy enough to access through the link at the top, right hand side of the blog. Suffice to say, Mulvehill's campaign received many contributions from tenants at the beach. Both campaigns received siginificant donations from Charles Celi - individual who is appealing the Gulfstream decisions. But, I guess lawsuits aren't necessarily contracts.

Paradise - Twilight on Columbia Drive - from last night