Friday, December 4, 2009

Emily Dickinson

"Hope" is the thing with feathers --
That perches in the soul --
And sings the tune without the words --
And never stops -- at all --

And sweetest -- in the Gale -- is heard --
And sore must be the storm --
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm --

I've heard it in the chillest land --
And on the strangest Sea --
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb -- of Me.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pedal-powered Christmas tree lights Copenhagen

Click title for link to article on Copenhagen climate conference.

Left under post re utility billing:

Anonymous said:

A day late & A dollar short they cut me 2 day (includes an additional $300.00 water deposit.)Because of a water leak that wasted over $350.00 in water (re; new block billing)Didn't matter that $740.00 was paid on my account last month and I wasn't 30 days late on Dec. payment of approx. $350.00.

They have cut me many times in the past (including my water) knowing, I have children on breathing equiptment. I had provided doctor letters in the past and they just made me give them another one last week (noterized) and still cut me.

Oh yeah what happened to the $11.00 late charge now mine ranges from $15.00 to $40.00

So, much for single parents...

Thank God Mr. Maxwell is addressing this issue!!!

IMPORTANT: I shared this message with Commissioner Maxwell and he would like whoever left it to contact him immediately.
His e-mail is:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Unbelievable! Received Add/Delete for tonight's City Commission meeting at 5:35 p.m. today...

And look what is on the agenda: The Revised Beach Site Plan and the Casino and Decal Parking issues. How can the City get away with such short notice on such important topics that have generated so much public interest? These were presented by the City Clerk and a motion was made to add these to the agenda. No one objected. Listening right now.

This is the last that I have read about the beach project - from the November 20th City Manager's Report:

Notice that the last line talks about having a workshop and then a meeting for the City Commission execute the new Interlocal Agreement. When did that workshop happen?

Here is the site plan referred to in the City Manager's report.

Yeah for Mayor Varela for bringing up the importance of having information available for the public well in advance of a City Commission meeting. It's supposed to be heard for a vote after the workshop scheduled for next Tuesday. There are two options - I'll get more information - but it's a choice between 50 or 90+ decal parking options. The County is more agreeable to the 50 space decal plan and would cost the City much less than the 90 decal space option due to having to include design costs that wouldn't be reimbursed by the County money.

They set a "time certain" of 7 p.m. next Tuesday the 8th to take final action on the agreement. The Casino building was not discussed at this meeting tonight.

Mayor Varela has moved public comment to immediately after a motion and a second - before Commission discussion, staff comments or reports and then Commission discussion. This is how it was during the early part of Mayor Clemens' term. Public comment should come before the vote and after discussion by the Commission - it was working fine before.

This is a great idea put forward by Commissioner Maxwell for tonight's (12/1) meeting...

The last item under new business at tonight's City Commission meeting would potentially bring an end to the imposition of additional deposits when late on utility bills. The money doesn't figure into the revenue for the utility anyway and is a tremendous burden on people who already may be suffering financial hardships. There has to be a more compassionate way to handle this situation for people who are having bona-fide difficulty in making ends meet. The City is all too quick to turn off electric and water for late or non-payment. According to Commissioner Maxwell, it is against public health laws to turn off water into homes due to sanitation reasons and a basic human need for fresh water. Perhaps this will be discussed as well.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Featured Artists Reception this Friday Dec 4th & 2010 Artists Uncovered Calendar

Click title for CLAY GLASS METAL STONE Cooperative Gallery Blog.

Florida drops to #43 on the States of Equality Scorecard

Although Florida ranks in the top 10 states for contributions to national, state and local
GLBT organizations, our state ranks #43
(out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia) when it comes to GLBT equality.

Only Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee
rank lower than Florida!

This following information was received from eQualityGiving, whose
mission is to grow and support an online community of donors by providing free services and strategic advice to achieve legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans.

For more information on eQualityGiving, click here.

As you can see by clicking here, the table shows that out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Florida ranks #43 on the States of Equality Scorecard -- with only 2.0 out of a possible 6 points.
  • There is no statewide law prohibiting discrimination based either "sexual orientation" or "gender identity or expression."
  • There is a statewide law prohibiting gay men and lesbians from adopting children.
  • Both the Florida Constitution and state statutes prohibit gay men and lesbians from marrying their partners.
  • While the Jeffrey Johnston Stand up for All Students Act specifically prohibits "sexual, religious, or racial harassment", the law makes no reference to either "sexual orientation" or "gender identity or expression."
Here is the information from the eQuality Giving web page.

Are you a second class citizen in your own state? Review state by state comparisons of the score on equality and gay rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans.

The score indicates the number of Equality Goals that have been reached in that state. Each "YES" gives 1 point. Half a point is given for partial achievement of an Equality Goal. One of the seven Equality Goals (repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell") is mostly a federal level goal. Therefore, at the state level, the maximum score is 6.

To access the state by state chart,

(50 states + District of Columbia)
  • No state provides full equality to the LGBTQ population (i.e. a score of 6).
  • Four states: California, New Jersey, Iowa, and Vermont, achieve a rating of 5.5 out of 6. California and New Jersey can achieve the perfect score of 6 by converting civil unions (New Jersey) or domestic partnerships (California) to civil marriage. Iowa can reach a score of 6 by ensuring full parenting rights in all cases. Vermont can achieve a score of 6 by protecting the transgender population more (in particular: do not show "amended" birth certificates when changing gender).
  • One other state (Connecticut) score 5 out 6.
  • However, half of the states satisfy none or just one of the 6 Equality Goals that are required to ensure that LGBTQ people have the same legal protections as everyone else.
  • Massachusetts scores only 4.5 despite that if offers marriage equality. This is because it falls short in transgender protections in hate crimes, non discrimination, anti-bullying, and providing new birth certificates.
  • Passing federal legislation on an Equality Goal would increase every state score by 1.

  • On October 28, 2009 President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
  • On November 4, 2008 voters placed a constitutional ban on marriages in Arizona, California, and Florida. Arizona and Florida already had laws prohibiting same-sex marriages. But, in California same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry; this right was taken away by voters.
  • On October 10, 2008 the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the civil unions that the legislature approved for the state violated the Connecticut constitution and the state had to provide marriage to same-sex couples. But the federal government still does not recognize those marriages and does not allow to serve openly in the military. On November 4, 2008 voters rejected a call to have a Constitutional Convention in Connecticut. Therefore, the right to marry is secure in Connecticut (like in Massachusetts).
  • In May 2008, the Florida legislature passed anti-bullying legislation (but it does not enumerate protected classes).
  • In May 2008, Maryland became the 7th state with anti-bullying legislation that specifically protects youth because of their sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.


San Francisco Bay Area residents spend an average of 59 percent of their income on combined housing and transportation costs, with parts of the nine-county Northern California region averaging in excess of 70 percent, a new study from the Urban Land Institute's Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing reports. Bay Area Burden: Examining the Costs and Impacts of Housing and Transportation on Bay Area Residents, Their Neighborhoods, and the Environment provides a comprehensive analysis of the "cost of place" in the region and highlights the importance of location efficiency - the proximity of housing to transportation hubs, employment, and retail centers "as a driver of both affordability and environmental sustainability." . The study is the product of the ULI in conjunction with the Center for Housing Policy and the Center for Neighborhood Technology. The report's sponsors hope to bring to the fore the discussion of transportation's impact on household costs and how paying attention to transportation can help create sustainable, affordable cities that reduce our overall environmental impact.

My Take: This is one of the major issues we have in Lake Worth - retail and employment opportunities require travel to other cities on a regular basis. Restricting height for Transit Oriented Development projects to three stories will do nothing to promote the concept and may jeopardize the city's ability to secure a passenger stop on the FEC (east tracks) once a commuter rail service is established there.

A long time resident...

and neighbor is attempting to finish an improvement project in their historic College Park home. There are two impact windows that have yet to be replaced after the first part of the project was finished a couple of years ago. After a go-around with staff about the type of windows (after the approval had already been given by the Historic Resource Preservation Board - these two windows were the same as the ones already installed a few years ago), they hired a contractor who is ready to start work today. However, the City just sent out a letter that since a $35 check bounced, they are unable to issue a permit and therefore the work cannot commence.

The only problem is: The contractor paid the $35 in CASH. If a check wasn't written, it couldn't have bounced.

How is that audit coming?

U.S. Supreme Court digs into Florida beach case

Interesting case here to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court. Many issues at play related to property rights, public access to the water and the future of beach re-nourishment projects. Click title for story.