Saturday, April 4, 2009

Gavin Newsom comes to SoFla

Click title for link to South Florida Blade article regarding Mayor Newsom's nationwide tour. Mayor Newsom is planning a bid for the California Governor's seat in 2010.

Today at Compass Community Center in lovely downtown Lake Worth...

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom stopped by Compass Community Center today and talked before a group of locals. Pictured above are Mayor Newsom (third from left) and a collection of elected officials and Compass' board of directors, with their CEO Tony Plakas. I am loading Mayor Newsom's talk onto YouTube. That will be up later today. Check back and you'll hear his refreshing stance on gay marriage and a range of LGBTQ issues.

Thank you Mayor Newsom for making Lake Worth a stop during your national travels!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Click here for Time magazine's pictorial essay on the fall of Detroit

Click here for video on the importance of Michigan State being in the Final Four to the state and the city of Detroit.

News for the "Movers" and Shakers in Lake Worth

From Article V of the City Charter:

Sec. 2. Candidacy.

(a) Any person who has been domiciled within the city for a period of not less than six (6) months immediately preceding the first day of the qualifying period shall be eligible to qualify for the office of mayor. Any person who has been domiciled within an election district for a period of not less than six (6) months immediately preceding the first day of the qualifying period shall be eligible to qualify for office of city commissioner from said district. For purposes of this subsection, a person shall be considered to be domiciled where he or she has established a fixed habitation or primary abode and intends to remain indefinitely.

(b) Candidates for the office of mayor or city commissioner shall qualify for such office by the filing of a written notice of candidacy with the city clerk at such time and in such manner as may be prescribed by law or ordinance.

Qualifying period begins in August.

Reef Rescue Video - re Outfall

Delray Beach Ocean Outfall Closed - Message from Palm Beach County Reef Rescue

We have not had time to update our website, but I wanted to share this new underwater video of the Delray Beach ocean outfall going offline with you. Captain Craig donated his time and dive boat Starfish to take us and reporters out in 8 foot seas to witness first hand the shutting down of the infamous sewer pipe.

We just posted the video on YouTube at:

On April 1, the Delray Beach ocean outfall stopped pumping inadequately treated sewage into the ocean from a pipe that has spewed millions of gallons a day of pollutants into the ocean for more than 40 years. Closing the valves on the plant that treats wastewater for Delray Beach and Boynton Beach ends years of wrangling among environmentalists, politicians and regulators over damage to nearby reefs.

The Delray Beach outfall is one of six in South Florida that pump more than 300 million gallons of minimally treated sewage offshore every day. The campaign to shut down the outfalls began in 2003, when Reef Rescue divers witnessed algae killing the reefs around the outfall.

Palm Beach Post Article:

Delray Beach to stop dumping wastewater in ocean

CBS news

Join us this Saturday, April 4 at the Sandoway House Environmental Center to celebrate.

Click here for information and directions.

Palm Beach County Reef Rescue

PO Box 207 * Boynton Beach, FL 33425

Lake Worth mayor Clemens will run for Brandenburg's state House seat

Click title for link to PB Post article. You'll find this paragraph interesting:

Former Mayor Tom Ramiccio, now the head of the Lake Worth Chamber of Commerce, said today that he plans to run for mayor in November. Wes Blackman, an urban planner who has been active in city affairs, is also planning to run.

Greg Rice, the 3-foot-tall television personality featured in Hulett Environmental Services ads, is another possible candidate.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Up-date on Tree Trimming item from Miss Hannah...

Commissioner – Joe has been looking into this with an intent to do in May and November – before and following hurricane season. This is another project that has been on the back-burner due to other priorities assigned staff – we’re juggling them the best we can! His (Joe’s) intent is to have amnesty days for not only vegetation, but tires, etc… Not there yet, but close!

Laura J. Hannah

Acting City Manager

City of Lake Worth

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

On tree trimming...

Channel 5 announced today that the City of West Palm Beach began their trimming "amnesty" program - first day of April. The city is encouraging people to do their heavy tree trimming prior to hurricane season (June 1.) They are waiving special pick up fees in order to encourage the practice. This is a commendable act on the part of a local government!

About this time last year, I had some major trimming done at my house. A crew came through and took care of what needed to be trimmed for about $600. The resulting debris/trimmings were piled up alongside Pennsylvania - the entire length of my property. This was done on a Monday - so I called for a special pick-up and the city came the next day. All the cuttings were removed. Nothing was discussed regarding a charge for the service or the amount. I did expect some sort of charge and knew that it would appear on a future utility bill.

Lo and behold, when that bill came, guess what the figure was for that "special pick-up?"

$850.00 Which, if you don't pay, they will shut off your electricity and water. I ended up talking with Joe Kroll and he ended up adjusting the figure, but it didn't seem to be based on anything other than the initial fee was too high. Again - no notice, no conversation about what the fee would be, etc.

That was more than what it cost to have the crew do the trimming! We should be encouraging private property owners to prepare for hurricane season and this is punishing them if they do. This could prevent greater injury and damage citywide if there is a major storm event later in the year. Especially in these economic times, Lake Worth needs to follow West Palm's lead and do the same for the benefit and safety of its residents.

Note: Commissioner Mulvehill responded this afternoon to the e-mail I sent to the Commission and said that she has asked that this item be put on a future agenda.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Now appearing at 7 North Dixie Hwy...

Not too different from the dialog that went on at today's workshop meeting.

FYI - Commissioner Jennings is attending the workshop meeting by phone tonight - AGAIN!

Commissioner Jennings is calling for us to "radically change" our water demand - she is saying that the responsibility is on the Commission to fundamentally reduce water use the in the city. She "implores" this Commission to devote a sizable sum of money to promote conservation. (I think we are going to the one shower a week program Commissioner Golden employs.) Mayor Clemens is NOW talking about re-negotiating the water contract, but not doing the RO plant, with conservation measures. Didn't the County already vote against (3-3) not to break the contract? What negotiating leverage do we have with the County? None. If we are going down the conservation path, you can do it by either carrot (rate structure, education) or stick (code enforcement)? Does this mean that we focus our code enforcement on water use? The city is suddenly going to become an educator on water use?

Attorney Karns says there is no way to get out of the contract other than spending a lot of money to the county (lawsuit) and not get the water in exchange.

Commissioner Golden keeps talking about the 3-3 vote at the county and thinks they will reconsider it. She says that there will be new commissioners now.

Commissioner Lowe is talking about "crying over spilled milk" and that the County will sue us if we get out of it. Commissioner Mulvehill is saying that if they act in unison as "amicably" breaking the contract - they are talking about getting on the county agenda as an item. This is somehow doing it different now than it was before. They want it formally placed on the County Commission's agenda - requested by a letter from our City Commission.

Commissioner Golden is talking about "tricking" the County Commission and talk about stimulus money for the RO plant and slip the contract in for re-negotiation at the same time. Commissioner Jennings doesn't think it's a trick. The Mayor isn't buying this strategy.

I think madness rules. Mr. Bates points out that bonding may be more expensive since the underwritters will be looking at the decision-making process and our lack of performance with previous bond issues (electric and RO Plant.)

Don't we have the small matter related to the $5 million for our beach? Do we think we operate in a vacuum?

Seminole Tribe of Florida Big Cypress Reservation Tour - 4/18

Yours truly during his formative urban planner years...

Tri-Rail Fund Or Fail!

A Call for Help from the Executive Director

We are in a battle for dedicated funding in the Florida Legislation. I do not use the term "battle" loosely, because we are truly in a fight for survival. I am calling on you to support us as we need you more than ever!

We are facing reduced funding from the counties and the state legislature!

The counties cannot be faulted for their decision to reduce funding; they are struggling just as we are. As I announced at last Friday's meeting of the Governing Board, if the counties reduce their funding assistance and the legislature provides no dedicated funding source, we will have no choice but to reduce service to potentially as few as 30 trains a day and suspend service on the weekends and holidays, as of October 5, 2009.

I know these service reductions will create tremendous hardship for those of you who have come to depend on Tri-Rail to get you to work, school, medical appointments or for leisure travel. Your Governor, State Representatives and Senators need to hear about what these hardships will mean to you and your families.

Last year, more than 7,100 of you responded to our request for help. I cannot urge you strongly enough to let your voice be heard again this year. To send a message of support for dedicated funding to your elected officials in Tallahassee, log onto

I thank you for your continued support at a time when it is so important.

Joe Giulietti
Executive Director
South Florida Regional Transportation Authority

Monday, March 30, 2009

Another City Commission workshop meeting tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.

This time on the Reverse Osmosis plant and the county water deal - how many times are we going to discuss this? I hope they throw out the 86% increase over five years on water rates - but they can't vote at this meeting. The "plus" to this meeting is that it's at 5:30 p.m. and not during the working hours of the day.

Lake Worth Pridefest has largest turnout, first protest

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Reinventing America’s Cities: The Time Is Now

Reinventing America’s Cities: The Time Is Now
Published: March 29, 2009
The changes that are needed to rebuild the country’s infrastructure may seem extravagant, but they are not impossible.

Click title for link to NY Times article.

Congratulations Michigan State Spartans!

A few thoughts...

First of all, I want to thank you all who come here to read the blog and various entries. It's now been almost three years since I began this adventure and it truly has become a passion. In some spare time yesterday, I paged through the various entries here. The amount of information here that accumulates over time astounds me. And, to some extent, I think it can be overwhelming. Please take advantage of the search function located in the upper left hand corner of the blog - enter a keyword and all related posts will be brought forward.

Second, I'd like to remind people why I do this. As we all know, the city does a very poor job at dispensing important information, giving adequate notice and back-up information prior to meetings and does little to report what actually goes on in city government. I hope that what is done here helps make up for that shortfall in someway. Another reason why I devote the time to this is to combat the amount of disinformation and misinformation that passes for fact in our city. This is partly the product of the poor job the city does with informing the public. It's also a product of people or groups of people that go to great lengths to create a mythology - the version of reality they would like others to believe - that sways other people not familiar with facts or real circumstances surrounding a decision or a topic. I guess in a shorthand way, you might call that rumor control.

Third, and this is an unfortunate role this blog plays, is the need to point out the hypocrisies of our elected leaders (primarily) and how the "do as I say, not as I do" rule seems to apply. As much as possible, I prefer to point out fact - like an internal city hall e-mail that is rightly part of the public record and subject to the Sunshine Law - and let it speak for itself without further elaboration on my part. In many ways, I expect that the people that visit this blog to make up their own decisions based on evidence that is presented. I hope you respect that. And, of course, your thoughts are always more than welcome to be posted as comments or e-mailed to me. You will notice that many times recently I have created entirely separate posts for comments that are made that otherwise may not be seen if buried under a comment after a post.

Finally, this is a blog - short for a "web blog" - and is just one of the ways people can interact over the Internet. There are other blogs in our community and I encourage you to visit those as well to gain perspective and to understand the contrast between how some people use these tools. There are also "discussion boards" in our community that serve a function as well. And I think many people use all of these outlets here from one time to another. Be careful of ones that identify individuals and belittle their efforts in bringing information out into the open. In the end, we all live in this town together and tearing one another down does little good, unless your end goal is to destroy and be negative. So choice your information outlets wisely.

Thanks for visiting and let's continue to strive for a better Lake Worth.