Saturday, December 19, 2009

FYI - Oops!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Tom Ramiccio dismissed from Greater Lake Worth Chamber of Commerce.

For information on the piece by Grieg and the artwork used in the YouTube video, please refer to the liner notes contained on the YouTube website.

Benefit Dinner for Trevor Guevara

On Wednesday, January 13th, from 5:00pm to 8:00pm, at the Murray Hills Ballroom located at 3240 Cynthia Lane the Residents of Lake Osborne Heights (ROLOH) Neighborhood Association and Citizen Observer Patrol (COP) organization will be holding a benefit spaghetti dinner that will include a salad, non-alcoholic beverage and dessert. Tickets will be $7 in advance and $8 at the door. Proceeds will Benefit Lake Worth citizen and PBSO COP, Trevor Guevara. Trevor’s wife is in need of medical transport to bring her from the Northern United States to Lake Worth so she can be with her family.
If you are interested in buying tickets or assisting in the sale of tickets for this event, please email
ROLOH Neighborhood Association

Lake Worth commissioners OK $250,000 loan for gay, lesbian center Compass

Click title for link to PB Post article. I was able to hear most of the meeting over the Internet while working yesterday morning - missed a little bit of the end. It seems to be a reasonable solution to an unfortunate problem - having to do more improvements to the building than originally anticipated due to deferred or no maintenance by the City or the County - and triggering 2008 code compliance due to exceeding 33% of the building's value.

Much blame was heaped upon officials that are no longer with the City, so they couldn't defend themselves.

Overall, this represents a sound solution to a complex set of circumstances.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good News Department: Energy Audit Testimonial

From a resident: "I contacted the utility department at 586 1665 to setup an “Energy Audit” of my new house on Lakeside. The appointment was scheduled for 9am and the two gentlemen showed up exactly on time. They spent over two hours going through everything in my house. I was with them the entire time and they did a very thorough job. They were very patient answering all my questions. I was quite impressed. They were very knowledgeable and gave me several ideas to lower my electric and water usage. I would encourage everyone to take advantage of this free service. They even leave a kit with some energy efficient items and literature. They will also do a full report and come back to review it with me. It was a very positive experience and I wanted to share. This is a new program and I hope more people will take advantage of it."

Brendan Lynch

Another 10 a.m. City Commission meeting today - this time re Compass

Click title for back-up. Click here for live Internet stream during meeting.

Churchill's "Iron Curtain" Speech

Miami Herald asks online readers for donations

Click title for link to AP article.

Lake Worth's census coordinator resigns amid swirl of e-mails, politics

Click title for link to PB Post article.

"Much blood has been spilled at the altar of objectivity," Karson said in a letter read by Vice Mayor Jo-Ann Golden. "It's important to remember there are 30,000 residents who have not sent e-mails."


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Add/Delete for tonight's (12/15) City Commission meeting...

Notice item (F) under new business - a continuation of the Karson/Coolican caper concerning the Census Complete Count Committee. Commissioner Golden (see memo below) is asking the Commission to put this on the agenda to "give direction" to the City Manager regarding retaining Ms. Karson and Ms. Coolican in the city's employ. The way the City Manager/Commission form of government works is that the City Manager is the one that hires and fires staff - not the Commission. To even put this on the agenda is perverting one of the foundations of our city government - if "direction" is given and no action is taken before, who knows what will happen.

Film at 11.

Below is a "draft" memo from the City Manager regarding the matter. In it she says that she will be terminating Ms. Karson and asking that the Community Relations Board (CRB) take over the Complete Count task (a good idea!) This was read into the record last night at the CRB's meeting. Expect this to be a source of discussion if the above item makes it on the agenda.

A must read!

Christopher Morley

"Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Not in Lake Worth, but worth seeing...

Amazing Grace Techno - Computer Controlled Christmas Lights from Richard Holdman on Vimeo.

A handy term to know in Lake Worth:

  1. A smoked herring having a reddish color.
  2. Something that draws attention away from the central issue.

[From its use to distract hunting dogs from the trail.]

Community Relations Board

The Community Relations Board meeting time is 6 p.m. at City Hall on the second Monday of every month. Tonight, the Planning and Zoning Board met for a short meeting, recommending approval of the plat for the future Publix property. Their meeting was over around 6:15 p.m. and I was able to listen to it over the Internet stream. There is no audio stream for the Community Relations Board meeting. Click here for area under Volunteer Boards for a description of the board. The only link available is a log of the members of the board. There is no agenda available.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blog Users:

FYI - I have changed the settings for comments so you have go through an authentication step - just type the word that you see and that should be all you need to do. The blog was being hit by a lot of "bots" - hoping this cures the issue. Let me know if you experience a problem.

You'll notice that I added back the world map showing real time and historical blog hits. There was a bug that has been fixed and it seems to be working o.k. now.

Thanks for visiting!

Rare Commodity in Lake Worth - the Truth...

Case in point: The situation surrounding the hiring of Annabeth Karson and Shauna Coolican as chair and assistant to the 2010 Census Complete Count Committee.

Let me say at the outset that I am completely for promotion of the Census effort and looking for ways of identifying groups that have been traditionally under-counted in the Census. In fact, there is a lot of evidence that Lake Worth has experienced under-counting in past Censuses and we have all experienced the effect of that. It amounts to under-representation in the state and national legislative fields and under-funding in potential Federal and other programs that base need on Census data. Indeed, many of the bases of the planning profession are founded on the compilation of sound Census data. Its main purpose being to get a sense of the real and TRUE picture of community populations throughout our country.

So, there is reason for organization and oversight of the Census count process on the City of Lake Worth level.

But, then it comes down to how the city goes about it. The suggestion to utilize Annabeth Karson came from none other than Commissioner Golden, who obviously was impressed with Ms. Karson's organizational abilities and voter identification efforts in her recent campaign and the campaign of Laurence McNamara - Commissioner Golden's choice for Mayor. What better way to reward the efforts of a tireless campaign worker than to put her in the public eye in an attempt to build some legitimacy and get her out amongst the "people" - most of which probably know her on a first name basis anyway from her frequent campaign appearances at residents' front doors. Being an official representative of the City would surely help in future campaign efforts. I have cited a good working definition of political patronage in a previous post and our local example could be found in a textbook on the subject.

For the record, I was also one of the "crooked candidates" identified in a flier - along with former Commissioner Lowe and former Mayor Clemens - circulated throughout the city by Ms. Karson in the 2007 election cycle.

It turns out that Ms. Karson required payment for her services in this effort and an assistant. This is where City Manager Stanton stepped in and "advertised" the positions. Depending on who you talk to, Ms. Karson was the only applicant or up to one of eight applicants. I know two people personally who applied for the position but were not called for an "interview." Neither of the two that I know of worked on recent campaigns to a great degree. Public information requests made by a concerned citizen yielded incomplete information - this avoided shedding light on the truth.

At a Commission workshop, Commissioner Jennings - in response to e-mails she received against the hiring, added this matter to the agenda for discussion and direction to the city manager on keeping Ms. Karson in this position. The split was of the 3-2 variety, with the expected elected officials falling in line with expectations. It was then left to City Manager Stanton to "handle" the problem.

Additional e-mails against the hire were sent to City Manager Stanton. By this time, word had gotten to Ms. Karson and her assistant who, thinking their jobs were in peril, sent out e-mails soliciting support for them to remain in these posts. These e-mails were probably to the same people they communicated consistently with through the campaigns. City Manager Stanton in her weekly report dated December 11, 2009 includes nearly 44 e-mails that she received regarding the issue. Only five (5) urge that she reverse her decision on the hire. She said that this was all and that they were listed chronologically. However, she deleted the usual date and time sent on the e-mails, along with the names of the people that sent the e-mails in this report. Other e-mails were sent against the hire do not appear on the list. There is also no indication of the action she will take or not take regarding the situation.

Today, we are left with an incomplete picture of the public record regarding this important matter. In public service at the local government level, staff is expected to relay factual and complete information to residents, elected officials and employees. Slanting that information one way or another not consistent with the facts is tantamount to lying. Publishing these e-mails without the entire information and not publishing others is being dishonest to the community our City Manager serves. We have left an anonymous attack and defense of the already made decision - something that is corrosive when employed by a local government in an official way.

Regardless of what you think about the matter - the fact that we are having this discussion at all should serve notice to those who think that it is o.k. to hire a political operative in a position that requires neutrality and even-handedness - not "slight of the hand."

Can we have the whole truth, please?

City Commission Agenda 12/15 Meeting - Click here for complete back-up

Fairly light agenda...most likely due to holiday period.

From the NY Times: Houston Is Largest City to Elect Openly Gay Mayor

Houston Is Largest City to Elect Openly Gay Mayor
Published: December 13, 2009
The city controller, Annise Parker, who avoided making an issue of her sexual orientation, won a run-off election.

Click title for link to full article. Click here for link to her website where she thanks Houstonians for her victory.

A good day at the beach as Lake Worth puts conflicts aside

A good day at the beach as Lake Worth puts conflicts aside

The Palm Beach Post editorial board once again proves that there is insufficient fresh air delivery within their paneled corner offices. What we have, for 30 years, is a new County parking lot(s) at our beach, some landscaping and infrastructure improvements that we will never see and have a more difficult time appreciating. And, the whole project and point is most likely moot now due to the foibles of the City Commission in exiting the contract unilaterally with Greater Bay. Good luck City in the defense of the indefensible.

The rehabilitation of the Casino building is nothing but a fool's errand and I am sure that the potential respondents to the architectural RFQ will soon, if they haven't already, come to the same conclusion. The residents and the future of Lake Worth take another couple of hits.