Saturday, March 27, 2010

PrideFest at Bryant Park - All afternoon today and tomorrow!

Come by the dunk tank tomorrow - Sunday at 3 p.m. and try to get me wet!  
Proceeds go to the Sunshine Softball League.

Amnesty “No Fines” Week at the Lake Worth Public Library April 11th-17th National Library Week

 Look under the bed, check your bookshelves, in the closet, in the car, kids’ rooms -- go retrieve those long-forgotten library books, DVDs, CDs, and the ones you let your best friend borrow. Here is your chance to return those items to the Lake Worth Public Library and erase your fines, no questions asked! This is a one-time only offer for borrowers during National Library Week, April 11th through 17th.

Fines will be removed regardless of how overdue the materials are. Materials must be returned to the library before fines will be forgiven. Borrowers who have returned material in the past, but have outstanding charges, will also have their fines forgiven if they visit the library’s circulation desk this wee. Lost library cards will also be replaced free of charge.

Library Services Manager Vickie Joslin wants the community to know that library fines are intended to encourage the prompt return of materials. “Sometimes the 'encouragement' can become a real financial problem for borrowers and, instead of paying the fine, they may give up their library privileges. And often the longer they are overdue, the harder it is for someone to return them as they may be either embarrassed about it, or are unable or unwilling to pay their fine. What we are saying to people by introducing this amnesty on fines is, we understand, come back, bring the books back so that others can borrow them, and let’s turn over a new leaf. We want our materials back, and we also want our borrowers back! If you're shy about coming face to face with library staff, you can return items in the book drop and the fines will be forgiven for all late materials” said Vickie.

What makes these losses especially difficult for the library is their effect on other borrowers. Imagine the frustration of a library customer who desperately needs a particular volume to complete a project or some research but finds, week after week, that the necessary book is, according to library records, checked out. Since the library has a very limited budget do to the decline in the economy, replacing a lost or missing item can often be far more than the original purchase price.

It is hoped that by offering this respite, the library will be able to replenish its book and materials stock and maybe encourage lapsed users to get back into the habit of visiting their local library in the knowledge that they have no fines hanging over them.

For more information on the amnesty, library hours, or location please call the Lake Worth Public Library at 561-533-7354.

Vickie Joslin
Library Services Manager
Lake Worth Public Library

Click here for link to Earth Hour 2010 website.

Kkss21 submitted another comment...

...which will be one of the handful of comments that I refuse to post.  I will not provide a platform for an anonymous sniper - other than the one already posted as an example of the type of character assassination that somehow qualifies for public discourse in our city.  The new comment amounts to another anger-filled rant which tries to spin more myths and fairy tales about me, Sunset and whatever else was laying around the house.  Publishing it would escalate a situation that is definitely not in need of further escalation.
And, to the person who left the comment, I did respond to your "questions" as a comment to your original rant.  You might want to check those out.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Click here for Part 4: Palm Beach County as it was: The wide-open coastline by Bill McGoun

More remembrances of how things were here in the 40s and 50s - this entry deals with the beach front of central Palm Beach County.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

O.K., first we have no information coming from the City of Lake Worth...

Now we are getting press releases that could be penned by the Information Ministry of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.  Click on video for appropriate music to accompany your reading.  Highlighted parts are, in my opinion, over-the-top.

FROM: Office of the City Manager
CONTACT: Rachel Smithson, Assistant to the City Manager 561-533-7394
DATE: March 24, 2010
RE: City Initiates Plans to Reopen Municipal Pool

The Lake Worth Municipal Pool was temporarily closed on February 16th due to several mechanical issues in the pool’s operating system and pump house. At that time, the Public Services Department announced that they would further investigate the costs associated with making the repairs, and estimated the total repair cost would be approximately $150,000. After further investigation the Public Services Department determined that repairs could be completed less expensively by utilizing City Staff to complete a majority of the repairs.

Thanks to the City of Lake Worth’s proactive efforts in attracting new, highly qualified staff the City now has the in-house expertise necessary to repair the pool and transform it in to a revenue generating enterprise. Staff estimates that the repairs can be made for $57,700; this estimate includes materials and engineering costs. Approval for this expenditure is scheduled for the April 6th City Commission Meeting. Should the City Commission approve the $57,700 in repair costs, staff estimates an 8-10 week completion time for all repairs; meaning the pool could potentially be opened by May for use throughout the summer season.

Many of the proposed repairs will reduce the operating costs of the pool. Due to antiquated pumping technology the City’s existing pump has to operate 24 hours a day, the proposed high efficiency dual pump system will reduce electricity and chemical consumption by shutting off when the pool is not in use. Through new technology, innovative marketing, and improving the accessibility of the pool by adjusting the pool’s hours the Lake Worth Municipal Pool has the potential to once again become a regional destination. 

Can we find a way to move the dial more towards the middle?

French restaurant L'Anjou shuts its doors in Lake Worth after 33 years; bank filed foreclosure action in 2009

Click title for link to PB Post article.  It's time to wake up to reality people!

A big thank you goes out to the person who left an envelope full of City e-mails dating from 2005 on my porch this morning.

Vali Dakhni

"As long as the earth and the sky last, Smile like a flower in the garden of the world."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

From a TV appearance, January 14, 1964. Mrs. Kennedy acknowledges sympathy letters.

My Response to Kkss21

I am reading a fascinating book right now.  It's called "Letters to Jackie" and consists of a select compilation of the millions of condolence letters sent to Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of President John F. Kennedy, after his assassination.  The out-pouring of emotion that the letters represent is tremendous. I find that I can only read so many in one sitting.  The sympathies started coming in right after the tragic events in Dallas and continued well into 1965, some two years later.  Millions of letters were received.  So many in fact the First Lady's staff was quickly overwhelmed and many went directly to storage. When they finally stopped coming in, the collection totaled over 1.5 million letters.  In 1963, prior to e-mail, the boxed letters, if lined end-to-end, would stretch about a quarter of a mile.

Of all the horror that happened that day, and those following, certain symbols and images lingered:  the riderless horse, John-John saluting his father in his funeral procession, the muffled drums and, from that terrible day itself, the image of Jackie wearing the same pink dress late into the night which still carried the gore from her husband.  Many people encouraged her to change to another dress - and she had one available.  But, she told them no, that she wanted them to see what happened to her husband in a visceral way.

Well, Kkss21, that's is why I chose to post your comment today and why I wanted to leave it up all day long on the top of the blog so that everyone had a chance to see it.  The example from 1963 dealt with the cowardly assassination of a President; your comment tells everyone about a cowardly assassination of character which has been a consistent drumbeat since August 20005 - when the annexation of the Sunset property came up on the Planning and Zoning Board agenda.

Like those events in 1963,  the Sunset property has turned into a perennial garden of myths and conspiracy theories.  I have covered the facts here in this blog as I experienced them.  If anyone is interested in the "facts" - about how we listened to hours of testimony from residents, after having three meetings on the topic, after making sure that most people were content with the compromises that we made in coming to our recommendation to the City Commission, please use the search box for the blog and type the word "Sunset."

The string of myths, half-truths, lies and insinuations were put together in a compelling song that was sung at most every doorstep in Lake Worth during the two elections in which I ran for a Commission seat.  Not surprisingly, I gathered the least votes from your portion of the City.  Your comment continues the tradition and spreads most of the juicier, wild and far-fetched accusations.

As with any compromise, there were those that were not satisfied and, Kkss21, you fall squarely in that group.  We will never see eye-to-eye on this issue because by being a volunteer on a Planning and Zoning Board, one is supposed to deal in facts and evidence.  Yours is an emotional argument that will never be satisfied by facts and apparently is fed by the flames of anger that I hope never to experience.  I sincerely hope that you are able to find joy and happiness in other areas of your life.

A few things we know: There has been nothing built on that property, the issue has stretched a span of five years and counting and now, it seems, the City may have to pay out money to purchase the property - which was never presented as an option during my short firsthand involvement in the review of the project.

What do we really need to be concerned about?  There is a pattern emerging through the actions of this Commission - it is something that I call "Checkbook Zoning" - an expensive proposition for a city in such dire financial straits as ours.

Thanks for visiting.

Angry and Malicious Comment - Will Respond Later

"From DCA's point of view, news of the original land use plan change for the property never happened. That is because for some reason, the signed and sealed ordinance indicating a second reading had taken place, never made it up for DCA review. Strange how things like that happen"
From DCA's point of view? The fact is,whether you like it or not,the original land use plan change for the land use NEVER HAPPENED. Get over it.Sharon Jackson was fired and immediately escorted from the property. Sometimes good things DO happen to bad people.You and the other growth whores on the P&Z were not looking out for the taxpayers when you tried to destroy a stable single family neighborhood so that a couple of out of town land flippers/speculators could profit.And speaking of profit, WHY IN THE HELL DO YOU CARE ABOUT THIS PROPERTY ?!? Were you promised money on this deal? Did you lose money on this deal? It doesn't affect YOUR property values or YOUR neighborhood's way of life.Why did you and the other board members treat a Mr. Thomas Gaines (a member of Lantana's P& Z at the time )like a rock star, while preventing people from the affected neighborhood from even speaking in front of the board ? What did Mr. Gaines have to do with Sunset? The height restrictions are what the majority of Lake Worth citizens WANTED. I read all of the comments made at the Master Plan sessions,and they were OVERWHELMINGLY for these limits.Mark Drautz asked a question that was never answered by P&Z at the time. How did a MAXIMUM of 3 to 4 stories requested by the taxpayers get to ten or more stories after it came through YOUR board? The restrictions in height are not as restrictive as a lot of very SUCCESSFUL Florida communities. You know that,but you continue to whine about Lake Worth.Stop trying to blow smoke with Bert J Harris. It doesn't apply in this case.As the planning professional you like to portray yourself as ( I prefer growth whore), you SHOULD know this. Destroying neighborhoods usually comes back to bite people in the a##. (How did those runs for office go )? Amendment 4 will become a reality because of the unbridled greed pushed by people like you.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Commission Work Session (3/23) at 6 p.m.

Well, this meeting starts again at 6 p.m.  Tonight's agenda includes the following items:  Comprehensive Sustainability Program Overview, Update on Golf Course Fund Financials and Future Plans and City Pool Update on Repairs (Click on previous items for related back-up material)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Usually, DCA finding the city's Comprehensive Plan in compliance would be good news...

...but these are not usual times.  Notice that the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) dismissed the Sunset property owners' petition, which challenged the change of land use designation back to the Palm Beach County one it had before being annexed into the city. This is not entirely surprising. From DCA's point of view, news of the original land use plan change for the property never happened.  That is because for some reason, the signed and sealed ordinance indicating a second reading had taken place, never made it up for DCA review.  Strange how things like that happen.

It is my understanding that the Bert J. Harris act claim on taking of the property's use and value is still on-going.  This even though the city commission believed and received certain assurances that the Bert J. Harris act claim would be unsuccessful.  At the retreat held recently by the City Commission, I understand Commissioner Jennings indicated that the city might need to find some money to buy the property from the current owners.  Quite a revelation this is.  As I have said before, one of the primary purposes of a planning and zoning board is to be cognizant of the legal and regulatory environment in which it operates.  Any decision or recommendation made by the Planning and Zoning Board carries multi-million dollar consequences.  It is interesting that if those on the Planning and Zoning Board, including me, had known that we had access to the city's checkbook, then our recommendation may have been different.  But we knew that was not an option and that we were there to protect the taxpaying residents and property owners of this city from shocking legal claims.

It seems that this Commission has not made protection of the taxpayers from shocking legal claims a priority since it is also considering paying the owner of the "Champion Tree" property. It prevented them from even applying to enter a process that would have allowed a reasonable use of the property.  I remember being at the City Commission meeting when they made their appeal.  After the City Commission denied the appeal, the attorney and property owner nearly skipped out of the chambers, bounding down the stairs of City Hall and giving each other high fives.  They knew then that the City had just guaranteed them a big payday.

But back to the Comprehensive Plan - this version that was found in compliance with DCA is the one that radically reduced the allowable height limitation in the city to two and three stories - 25 to 35 feet.  This draconian measure was billed as insuring Lake Worth remaining a "low rise city."  Timed right before an election, this was meant to be a wedge issue to identify pro versus no development types.  In reality, what the regulations amount to is a moratorium on redevelopment in the city of Lake Worth.

For those that feel aggrieved by this action, there is an opportunity to petition the DCA about their finding of compliance.  But, and I am waiting for confirmation on this, it has to be done within 21 days of the notice.  So time is of the essence if you want to assert your rights in this matter.

Otherwise, you will have to wait to the November election and choose candidates that understand the potential of their actions and the ramifications those decisions have for the future of the city and the betterment of its built environment.  Remember, many of our budget woes stem from a declining property tax base value.

You also must remember to vote "NO" on Amendment 4 so that we can retain the ability to change our Comprehensive Plans in the state of Florida based upon data and analysis and not by pandering to the emotional reactions of voters to what the big, bad developer "boogie man" will do if a change to a Comprehensive Plan is made.
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Another tax hike likely, Lake Worth mayor warns in first monthly meeting with residents

Click title for link to Palm Beach Post article.  The next "Coffee with the Mayor" is scheduled for April 5th at Benny's at the Beach.

"This is what change looks like..."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Click here for link to City's website where you can see your past three years' utility usage. Mine is below:

Requires Internet Explorer to work.  You also need your utility account number found on your utility bill.  If you haven't done so already, you will also need to create a password for access.