Saturday, April 11, 2009

Public Performance Art in Belgium...


City Commission Meeting 4/13 @ 5:30 p.m. re Beach and Michael Singer Recommendation

It looks like more sneakiness on the part of the city. There is a workshop meeting to review the recommendations from Michael Singer Studios regarding the beach site plan. The Clerk's office sent out the agenda to whoever is on their list yesterday - but if you go to the City's website, the latest agenda is from April 7. I managed to get a copy of a site plan - there might be other versions as this one is labeled V06 (which one presumes means a sixth version.) There is no copy or other information available on the City's website. There is also nothing available at the Michael Singer website.

So, this says to me that the City Commission really does want to have the public either know what is going on or is discounting the input that the public may have on the recommendation. Why all the secrecy? (you can click on the image below for a zoomed in view)

My list of questions and concerns are these:
  • This cost the city $25,000 - did we get our money's worth? I don't think so.
  • This completely "punts" on the building placement issue - by showing the building in the same place as it is now leads one to believe that the building will be rehabbed as part of the project. Do we have an accurate estimate re the cost of doing either a new building or rehabbing the old? Oh, that's right - we have Straticon helping on the estimates - excuse the sarcasm, but that's not objective.
  • If the existing building is used - where is the loading space, dumpster etc.?
  • Look at the crazy traffic circle just north of the building - how would that work in real life?
  • It looks like the tenants have had their say in the creation of this plan - notice the employee parking is intact to the west of the building.
  • The designers still insist on calling the hill at the beach property the "dune" - which gives it inflated environmental importance that it shouldn't have. In actuality, it was the barrier island's western shoreline before the area west of the casino building was filled in after WWII. The barrier island was very narrow here before.
  • They got away without a parking garage by more efficiently laying out the parking area to preserve the amount of parking spaces required by the County - while opening up more green space. This is a worthwhile approach usually, but the angle parking makes me wonder how easy it will be to unload beach gear from vehicles parked next to each other. And then you got to hike.
  • The road nearest the beach has been moved further west and so has the parking area on the east side of the property. I am sure that some people will feel strongly that is a mistake.
  • What are all the miscellaneous buildings springing up between the road/parking area and the seawall? Remember Commissioner Jennings being so concerned about miscellaneous buildings at the beach? How soon some forget. These are all seaward of the Coastal Construction Control line - as is the existing casino building.
  • There is also no access in between the north and south property lines along A1A - why?
  • How are the engineering estimates coming along on drainage, water, sewer and electric? I hear there is a big dollar figure there that the city is firm on.
  • There is a small dotted line goes across the HILL and is labeled "accessible trail." Really? Does it really meet the grade and surface requirements for accessibility?
These are just my initial thoughts. I will e-mail this to the Commission, Mayor and staff. I have a meeting already scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m. If you can make it, I encourage you to attend.

Friday, April 10, 2009

From the City of Punta Gorda:

My friend who lives there sent me this message as issued by the Mayor's office. I thought you'd be interested in the e-mail transmittal as well as the content what they send out to residents:

In addition to the weekly report we send out from Councilmen Bill Albers, we thought we we send out another type of report the City Managers Information Sharing report, which are highlights from a weekly staff meeting. Please let us know what you think.

Attached, for your information, is the City Manager’s “Information Sharing” report, reflecting the highlights of this morning’s weekly staff meeting. As usual, please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or comments.

Information Sharing

Department Director Staff Meeting of Monday, April 6, 2009

For some years now, we have incorporated the organization’s shared values in the Annual Budget. They are:

  • Involvement and participation of citizens in city government

  • Delivery of efficient and effective quality services

  • A customer oriented approach to everything we do

  • Honest, respectful and ethical behavior by all city employees

  • Stewardship of responsibility for city resources

  • Accountability for performance and finances

In a recent article in the International City/County Management Association magazine, the topic of value-based leadership was discussed. Here are some practical steps to strengthen our ethics and shared values:

  • Know our values

  • Recognize behavior that is consistent with our shared values

  • Live the values

  • Coach others toward value acceptance

  • Admit mistakes and right wrongs to restore trust

Police Department conducted a testing process for the position of Police Officer. A total of forty-four (44) applicants participated in the process. Thirty-eight (38) candidates passed the first two testing hurdles (written examination and physical abilities test) and are taking part in the oral board process at the time of this writing.

Water Distribution - Cross Connection Control Program: Staff field inspected 29 existing commercial sites and added them to the City’s cross connection database. To date; 8,616 of the 12,136 locations throughout the city are now in that database. The meter technicians have turned in 20 reports of cross connections since being trained to recognize these potential hazards. Their reports consisted mostly of hose bibs installed directly to water meters on vacant lots, which are illegal, and without an approved backflow device. They are a great risk of contaminating the city’s water system.

Water Treatment Plant - Kathleen Saurez, one of our operator trainees completed her 2080 hours of on the job training allowing her to become a licensed operator. She had completed course work and passed the state exam prior to being employed by the City. Congratulations Kathleen!

It is that time again; in the coming month, the Assistant City Manager will begin putting together the Spring/Summer 2009 edition The CITYHALLways. Please submit your article ideas to your Department Director.

Reminder….Coconut Craze Day is this Saturday, April 11th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Laishley Park. For more information, please visit

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Click here for Link to Art Calendar magazine

It will take you to a page where they rank U.S. cities as great towns for working artists. Paducah, KY is listed as #7 - that's where "Hands On" consulting set up shop and put things in motion. The CRA recently contracted with them to do something similar here within the CRA district.

7. Paducah, Kentucky

What makes it special: Think about artist towns, and one of the first ones that cometo mind is Paducah. With more than 50 artists living, working and selling their creations, this small town features a fantastic cost of living, mixed-use properties, lots of art events, a performing arts theater, an art center, a community theater and the charm of the south. It’s not just about the business, but the camraderie of Paducah, with its pot luck dinners, study groups and artsy atmosphere, that makes it a special
place to live.

What it offers: Besides a central location and the support of other professional artists, Paducah offers a $2,500 reimbursement for any design or renovation costs involved with the purchase of one of their charming properties, plus 100 percent financing for the purchase and rehabilitation of an existing structure or the building of a new structure. If you’re building, there are even free lots available for new construction.


Contact: City of Paducah Planning Department, 270-444-8690,

Channel 5 piece on Susan Stanton's Appointment

You may find this interesting...

This is taken from the first section of a group of ordinances related to the formation of the Architectural Review Commission (ARCOM) in the Town of Palm Beach. I came across it while doing some code analysis and comparison for a client. I think it communicates a vision for a community in an interesting way. It also shows that you can't maintain or improve a community without commitment at a very deep level. Here is the section of their Code of Ordinances:

Sec. 18-146. Statement of findings and purpose.

(a) The town council has found that Palm Beach is internationally known and has become a worldwide synonym for beauty, quality and value.

(b) In recognition of the fact that beautiful communities can be created only through a deliberate search for beauty on the part of the community leadership, architects, planners, realtors and the building industry, backed by an appreciation of the visual world by the people, the town council has created the architectural commission.

(c) Public action for improving community appearance, as embodied in the architectural commission, will provide the ultimate designers of individual structures with the larger contexts in which their particular works will be viewed. Since the beauty of a community involves the aesthetic quality of all one sees in moving about, it goes far beyond the design of individual architectural facades.

(d) Zoning is the single most powerful legal enforcement of an overall urban concept, but alone it does not create beauty, aesthetic order, or amenity. The task of the architectural commission is therefore to preserve various elements of urban beauty and require that new projects enhance the existing elements.

(e) The essential foundation of beauty in communities is harmony. The plan for achieving beauty must grow out of special local characteristics of site, aesthetic tradition and development potential. Some local areas of natural beauty are the beaches, ocean and intracoastal waterway. The vistas and visual delight of these should be allowed only to be enhanced. It is the intent of this article to achieve a pleasant and comprehensive cohesiveness in community development.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Susan Stanton picked as new Lake Worth city manager

Click title for link to PB Post article. I would hope that the reporter knows more people to talk to in Lake Worth other than those quoted in the article.

In other business last night, the Commission on a vote of 3-2, with Lowe and Clemens dissenting, sent JCD packing. They were the firm that was stepping into run operations at the golf course. They had successfully turned around the West Palm Beach golf course and this was meant to piggy-back on the contract. The three in favor of the status quo supported the existing employees. Apparently JCD did a lot of work in advance of their relationship being formalized in order to help the city better the operations there. Another opportunity lost.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Did I mention that Commissioner Cara Jennings voted "no" on the lease to Compass?

In honor of Ms. Stanton's City Manager Appoinment by the Lake Worth City Commission

Lake Worth City Commission Selects Susan Stanton as City Manager

Click title for link to Wikipedia article on Ms. Stanton. Commissioner Lowe voted against the appointment. The action occurred at the 5 p.m. Special Meeting of the City Commission prior to the regular meeting.

I think she is a great choice and am very optimistic about the selection.

Residential Real Estate Sales - Last 30 Days - 33460 Zip Code

Click title for link. A 2/1 with in-wall A/C in College Park (my street) just sold for $65,000.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A word or two about the LW Mayoral race...

Thanks to everyone that has talked, called or e-mailed me after the articles appeared in the Palm Beach Post last week and again today. You expressions of support mean a lot to me and I'll be calling on you soon to help make our vision of Lake Worth a reality after November '09.

The PB Post made it seem like I announced, when in fact that's not what happened. I told George Bennett that I am planning on running for Mayor. Slightly different than announcing, but it's more about timing. I haven't opened a campaign account. I am still actively serving on the CRA and do not have to resign until qualifying period ends in August - assuming I follow through on my plans to run.

Keep checking back here for further announcements. For now, if you're curious about who I am and what I stand for, this blog gives you over 1,500 opportunities to find out more about me. If you like what you see here, tell your friends and neighbors about me - ask them to check out the blog. You can leave a message via the "Grand Central" button on the right-hand side of the blog or e-mail me at That's a way to arrange a face-to-face meeting. If you are part of a group of people, I'd love to arrange an opportunity to chat with you all in the near future.

Let's all get involved so that Lake Worth is known for being responsive to its residents' needs and is first when it comes to communicating with its residents. We have a long way to go.

City Manager Candidates

I heard the interviews this morning - the stream seemed to kick on at 8:45 a.m. for some reason - not sure what was going on before that. From what I heard, we have a strong group of candidates. Thomas Hoover hails from the mid-west and he spoke the language of someone who understood the dynamics of a community in need of reinvestment - but restrained so not to lose the city's character. Susan Stanton was strong - especially the way she explained how to deal with sometimes conflicting priorities - didn't hear all of the interview. Same with Stanley Hawthorne - although I did hear him say that in evaluating delivery of services in challenging economic times, sometimes less is more. I'd like to hear more about that concept and flush out some examples. Pam Brangaccio - she has a lot of county and city experience in Florida. We even worked for the city of West Palm Beach at the same time way back when. I got the sense that she would be a keen negotiator - something we clearly need.

Tomorrow they plan to make the decision - at 5 p.m. prior to the regular Commission meeting. I'll check the city's website later today and see if they have the meeting audio available so you can listen to it yourself if you have time.

Again, an 8:30 a.m. meeting on such a big decision is not advisable, as far as I am concerned and the Commission is not leaving a lot of time to think things over before they act. Another rushed decision?

I am really impressed with the strength of the candidates. Fingers crossed!

More mention of potential Lake Worth candidates in George Bennett's column

Click title for link to article.

Here is the excerpt regarding Lake Worth:

With Lake Worth Mayor Jeff Clemens not seeking reelection in November so he can pursue a 2010 state House bid, voters could see a broad spectrum of potential replacements.

Chamber of Commerce prez and former Mayor Tom Ramiccio, blogging urban planner Wes Blackman and longtime activist Javier Del Sol say they're in. Maybes include TV personality Greg Rice and veterinarian/Democratic activist Rene Varela.

Question: What makes an "activist" in the eyes of the media?

Click Here for Live Link to City Manager Interviews

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Click here for direct link to back-up information on City Manager candidates.

And then again, right before the regular City Commission meeting on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

This is when they plan to make the actual selection of the new City Manager - not a lot of time to mull things over...

City Commission Meeting 4/6 at 8:30 a.m. - City Manager Candidate Interviews

This should be streaming over the Internet. I'll make a point to listen tomorrow.

San Francisco Mayor Newsom speaks at Compass yesterday morning...

About 30 or so people attended a talk given by the visiting Mayor of San Francisco. The remarks in the video surround issues related to gay marriage and the importance of the courts in propelling the movement. After this, he took some questions and one was about the various "green" initiatives led by San Fransisco, increasingly followed by other communities. One of them is making possible urban wind generation such as this installation:

Check out this link to San Francisco's Department of the Environment for more detail on the many city -sponsored programs designed to address environmental and, many times, social justice issues.

Representing Lake Worth were Mayor Clemens, Vice-Mayor Golden and Commissioner Mulvehill. Commissioner Muio from West Palm Beach also attended the talk. Afterward, Lake Worth resident Drew Martin mentioned to me that he wants to see Lake Worth pass a ban on plastic grocery bags. I told him to work through the three commissioners that he supports and wished him luck.

Please join the City Commission to meet and greet the City Manager candidates.

Sunday April 5th

4pm - 6pm

LW Golf Course Clubhouse (take 7th Avenue North all the way east, dead ends at the golf course)

The City Manager is a very important position in our city as they carry out many responsibilities: ensuring that all city departments run smoothly, over-seeing all major city projects, balancing the budget and hiring/firing department heads. Most importantly, the City Manager is responsible to carry out the policy and directions given by the City Commission.

The City Commission will be interviewing the City Manager candidates next week. Your input on the best person for the job is vital! Please attend the meet and greet. Copies of the candidate resumes are available at City Hall, or online.