Saturday, November 14, 2009

This e-mail was sent Thursday to our five elected officials...

It is a public document.

Subject: Re: Lake Worth City Commission to discuss ethics ordinance tonight

As a business owner in Lake Worth, I have to express my personal disgust with what has occurred during the most recent campaigns for mayor and commissioner positions. The taunting and threats to local business owners is unethical and counter-intuitive. People who bring commerce to Lake Worth by opening businesses do nothing but help the city and contribute taxes that make your positions possible. The intention and hope of people like me, is to add to the uniqueness of Lake Worth, and ultimately to help create jobs for residents of this city. The privilege of becoming an elected official is to represent the desires of your community, and absolutely not to further your own personal agendas. If I ever receive a direct threat from any of the city's elected officials (or any of your fanatical supporters), I will prosecute to the full extent of the law. This power struggle between the city commission, and what the citizens of Lake Worth actually want has done nothing over the years except hold Lake Worth back from realizing it's true potential. Lake Worth can become a profitable city while maintaining its eclectic and artistic culture unless you continue to put your own agendas before what is best for the community. The result of continuing on the present course will be nothing but empty store fronts, which will only further contribute to the destitution and crime of many of the residential areas surrounding the downtown. I sincerely hope this email does not fall on deaf ears.

Jennifer Dickson
Dream Some Jewelry Boutique
413 Lake Avenue
Lake Worth, FL 33460

I've been talking to more people...

...who seem to think that the City - employees, elected officials, Sheriff's Dept., etc. - is in the habit of making doing business in Lake Worth difficult for them for political or reasons other than through the normal course of business. This is in addition to the well-documented incident at Nature's Way with Commissioner Jennings, et al.

After hearing of the various incidents, I am usually asked, "What should we do?" There seems to be no where to turn for people and businesses that appear to be targets for city ire. Many have already met with the City Manager, representatives of the Sheriff and/or talked and met with a Commissioner or two. Generally, this generates a series of mixed results and usually ends up reverting to the same antagonistic behavior.

My suggestion is to document EVERYTHING. Every discussion, every letter or e-mail (instant way to document something), every incident that you think is suspicious or fits into a pattern of harassment. If you have a meeting with a city representative of any stripe, be sure you take someone with you so that they may corroborate what was said or what was agreed upon.

By gathering evidence and facts from enough incidents, we can start to show that there is a pattern of harassment. This will help later in proving that this is actually occurring - the media can then be alerted and become involved and other avenues can be pursued so that justice can eventually prevail.

Friday, November 13, 2009

St. Augustine:

"Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are."

A little end of week pick-me-up...

Links offered below for current Palm Beach County Draft Ethics Ordinances

10 21 09 Version PBC Draft Code of Ethics Ordinance

10 21 09 Version PBC Draft Ethics Commission Ordinance

10 21 09 Version PBC Inspector General Ordinance

I thought it might be helpful to see the County's approach in addressing the ethics issue. They are currently working on three ordinances that would all work in concert to create a firmer regulatory environment for government officials - elected, appointed and employed. I would hope that the City Attorney is aware of this effort. There may be things that Lake Worth could use in whatever ordinance or ethics code we eventually come up with.

Jennings crossed the line

Click title for link to PB Post article. Key point made in editorial:

"Commissioner Jennings is all for free expression, but she apparently has a problem if others exercise their First Amendment rights."

And this Commissioner is helping put together the city's proposed ethics "code." Sheesh!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Click here for link to 11/10 City Commission Work Session back-up on Casino Building RFQ

This is part of what was discussed at the workshop meeting yesterday. It's no news that the Commission is charging down the road of rebuilding the existing Casino building at the beach. Hiring an architectural firm - as indicated in this draft RFQ - would be the first step. I wonder how many we are going to get to bite at this Request for Qualifications and Letter of Interest request. A total project cost of "several million dollars" is predicted and the associated design fees are estimated at 10 percent of that number.

Particularly telling is the language included in the transmittal letter to the Commission, which is also repeated in the RFQ.

Somehow, they want the "new" building to reflect all the various styles of the building that preceded the current one - including the design that is currently there.

The Commission could not act on this yesterday due to the workshop format. It should be appearing on a future regular meeting agenda.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Click here for Staff Report on Publix

This is what has some people concerned - included in the conditions of the ordinance:

Reading through the ordinance, there is no mention of a grocery store or its square footage. Is this even the right ordinance?

E-mail from concerned citizen re Publix:

Mr. Holihan,

Thank you for all you have been doing to bring Publix to our downtown Lake Worth. I have been in Florida since the 1960’s and have always shopped at Publix. I have consistently found Publix to be competitive, have customer service at the forefront of their platform and have appreciated the extra effort all the employees and stores make during hurricanes.

As an Energy Code Compliance Specialist and a state certified Energy Rater, I am particularly impressed with the company’s commitment to GREEN. Therefore I am extremely distressed to hear that some of our Lake Worth City Commission is attempting to stop this project by demanding a LEED Certification for this project and other minor issues. These objections are just another example of tactics to keep good things from good people by a few of our elected officials.

It saddens me to think that some of the commission is considering turning away a company that is rated as one of the best employers in the State of Florida; a company that is a leader in environmental concerns and that would provide a substantial tax base and a large number of job opportunities to our city.

Our Lake Worth commissioners are supposed to represent the opinion of the citizens of Lake Worth and I can tell you that the citizens want Publix in our downtown. We want a place to shop and a place for our friends and family to work close to home.

I sincerely hope that our commissioners will put their personal feelings aside tonight when the vote comes before them. I want them to see all of us citizens who want to eliminate blight, have our town be prosperous; and our downtown and commercial corridors filled with successful businesses.

Again, a very sincere Thank You for all of your efforts and hard work. I hope you are not deterred by the vote this evening. We appreciate your consideration of a partnership with our City and the CRA.

Respectfully Yours,

Karri Casper

Bring Publix to Lake Worth

Click title for link to PB Post editorial. I'm not sure about their conclusion that the results of last Tuesday's election show that the electorate in Lake Worth is tired of dealing with "fringe" issues. Commissioner Golden's re-election was not about whether Publix should discontinue plastic bags - the endorsement editorial stated that she wouldn't hold up the project but still thought they could deal with it after-the-fact - which still would be unsettling for Publix. It would just be another variable they would have to consider. We'll see what the Commission does tonight and whether the act of being re-elected will allow Commissioner Golden more freedom in what she asks from Publix. That would send a terrible message.