Friday, April 2, 2010

Well, now I guess you know that we can visualize "Whirled Peas"...

...but bringing it about and making it happen in real life is a different prospect.  I was surprised how many fell for my little April Fool's story.  But that means it wasn't thought to be that impossible and that it could actually happen one day.  The sticking point is that the actors involved are not known for their ability to compromise their extreme positions.  If someone compromises their position it ends up being a challenge on how they can take a more extreme position - away from coming together toward agreement.

Anyway, I hope you had a fun April Fool's Day. Carry on!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Boy, did I get a surprise today!

I happened to be sitting in my courtyard, taking some sun - which has been rare the past few months.  It must have been a little past 2 p.m. or so.  In the midst of reading and catching up opening mail and stuff, I look up and two people were heading towards me on their bicycles.  I greeted them warmly and asked them to sit down so that we can chat.  I went in the house and got a pitcher of lemonade out of the fridge, distributed ice-filled glasses and we settled in to talk.  Apparently that was their purpose for the visit.

They both started out by saying that they had seen the light and that they, up until now, misunderstood where I was coming from.  They said they had really come to respect my insight and that both of them get a lot out of reading the blog.  I sat there with my mouth open, half rubbing my eyes in disbelief.  They said that they wish they could have the last two elections that I was in back -- that they really understand what I would bring to the Commission.  The one with a basket on her bike said that she had come to respect my planning and historic preservation knowledge.  She also apologized for over-stepping her bounds about her Census duties.  The other one complimented me on pointing out all the hypocrisies and that, through me pointing them out, she  has become a better person and more consistent in her decision making.

I thanked them for all their compliments and I told them that we need to work together to make Lake Worth a better place to live - that we could do it if we get others to join with us.  There is so much that we have in common.

They stayed about 40 minutes.  The rest of the time we talked about our loves, life's passions, our favorite foods and Mars and Venus came out and we played with them too. At the end, we all hugged and sang some choruses of "Michael Row the Boat Ashore."  They then mounted their bikes, all of us wiping tears from our eyes and we waved and waved and waved until our arms hurt and we couldn't see each other anymore.

I went back in the house, shaking my head and immediately took a nap - as laying down of swords takes a lot out of a person.

Any guess who they were?

Historical Weather Information from Channel 5's Steve Weagle via FaceBook

"This was the coldest January-March in recorded history, with the records going back to 1888. We were 6.1F below normal in the last 3 months."

"This ended up being the second coldest March on record, with an average temp of 64.1F. The coldest March was almost a hundred years ago in 1915! We were 6.5 degrees below normal last month."

Early "Plat of Lake Worth Municipal Casino" - Beach area

Click title for link to city website for clear pdf of the image above.  It turns out that the city uploaded their plans of record for the beach and these are accessible by clicking here.  They are revealing in that they generally show very little detail - assuring that much of the building remains a mystery.  Also note the original eastern shoreline of the Lake Worth Lagoon - about where the loop road begins today.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

After this, I am sure to be accused of being divisive by pointing out divisiveness...

but that seems to be the way things work in the Hall of Mirrors that is Lake Worth politics.

As a previous post documented, we had the chair of the Complete Count Committee, Annabeth Karson send out an e-mail yesterday that called out an entire area of the city for what she thought was an apparently lower response than other parts of the city, or perhaps below the expected rate for that part of the city.  Ms. Karson sending notice to the press telling the area east of Federal Hwy. to "beef it up" - pardon the term vegans and vegetarians - demonstrates a certain view that, due to the characteristics of people that live in that area, the expectation is that they will perform their civic duty quickly and without prodding or oversight required of other areas of the city.  I will leave you to characterize that area of the city for yourselves and how it is different from other areas of the city.  What is clear is that this area's response rate is within the range of all other parts of the city - and it is still early in the collection process.  What is also clear is that Ms. Karson is responsible for the Complete Count of all Lake Worth residents no matter where they live in the city.

Then, around 11 last night, we were showered with another e-mail, this time sent from the e-mail address "lakeworthgetscounted" -  I have made jpegs of pertinent parts of the e-mails, but it seems that Blogger is having trouble with uploading images right now.

Here is what the e-mail included
Hello to Census Job Seekers:
If you did not get a job with the U.S. Census Bureau, here is another opportunity to get paid to work on the 2010 Census!
The application period ends this Friday, April 2nd.
Please call below, and note that only team leaders would need a car.
All inquiries should be made to Ben Gasper at 786-260-5167.
And then it is signed by both Annabeth Karson and Shauna Coolican.  They are identified as Chair and Assistant Chair of the City of Lake Worth Complete Count Committee, with associated e-mail addresses and phone numbers.

The bottom half of the e-mail, which originated from Lynne Purvis, and included Commissioner Cara Jennings as a recipient, contained text from Palm Beach County Coalition for Immigrant Rights.  The group is hiring its own set of workers for the "Florida New Majority" (FNM) - people hired would knock on doors.  Please click on the above link for the entire contents of the website, but my eyes nearly fell out of my head when I read the following under "Requirements."
Commitment to values of economic and racial justice and participatory democracy.
Ability to carry out FNM black and brown unity message.
Wear FNM T-Shirt uniform.
and under "Team Leader" Requirements:
Demonstrate a high level of volunteer recruiting to FLIC/Palm Beach County Coalition membership.
Now, I understand the need to mount a special effort to count historically under-counted populations around the nation, state and individual localities like the city of Lake Worth.  I also understand that filling out a Census form can be used by those who are here without citizenship status and may be used in the future to document the fact that they are here at a certain point in time.  This would be helpful if an immigration amnesty program is ever implemented.  Those are all givens.

However, what I do not agree with is an individual(s) who are employed by a contract with the City of Lake Worth, paid for by Lake Worth taxpayer dollars, being encouraged to apply for a paying job that has a "belief" litmus test on carrying out the Florida New Majority black and brown unity message as part of that employment.  And, this alternative is being offered in lieu of  employment with the U.S. Census.

I have done a "Google" and other searches for the FNM black and brown unity message, but no link has appeared in the search results other than the website referenced earlier.  I can guess that it relates to the well documented fact that the population of white people here in south Florida and across the nation will soon lose their traditional "majority" status - if not already.  And I really don't have a problem with this fact, but what I have a problem with is being offered an opportunity for a paying job where I have to subscribe to an unknown "black and brown" unity message that leaves other groups, based upon skin color, out of this "unity message."  Who is not included here?

Shouldn't we be sending a message out that encourages unity amongst all groups?

Here is what the City of Lake Worth Civil Rights Act says:
Sec. 20-1.  Purpose.
The city commission of the City of Lake Worth desires to secure for its citizens freedom from discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status and thereby to protect their interest in personal dignity; to make available to the city their full productive capacities; to secure the city against domestic strife and unrest; to preserve the public safety, health and general welfare; and to promote the interests, rights and privileges of individuals within the city. The city commission also desires to adopt an ordinance which is consistent with state law and which affords its citizens a clear channel of access to a state-mandated remedy in the case of alleged discrimination, to wit the Florida Commission on Human Relations.
(Ord. No. 94-23, § 1, 11-1-94)

Anyone else have a problem with this?

Lake Worth commission gives mixed review to new city manager

Click title for link to PB Post article.  It was indeed a "mixed" review as Mayor Varela and Commissioner Maxwell gave significantly lower scores than the other three Commissioners.  We can now get on with other things and let's hope that Ms. Stanton uses this as an opportunity for self-introspection and improvement.  Perhaps catering to the needs. wants and desires of more than three Commissioners would be a good starting point.

It's also interesting to note that Ms. Stanton assessment of her performance was pretty close to the average of all the scores given by the City Commission and Mayor.  This may indicate that she realizes her failings in adequately addressing all points of view.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Annabeth Karson, chair of Complete Count Committee, calls out area east of Federal..."needs to beef it up!"

Click title for link to interactive Census 2010 website.

This statement even though the response rates to-date are relatively uniform throughout the city.  Here are some snippets from the Census 2010 website including map of Lake Worth, color coded key for map, and print-outs of the various areas which include City of Lake Worth addresses.  Those two areas west of I-95 include areas outside of the city, as well.  Tell Annabeth what you think:

A few pics from PrideFest 2010 - Bryant Park - 3/28

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hey, Complete Count Committee...

Click title for link to interactive database showing the response rates from any community in the US and the difference between 2000 and 2010 response rates.  This is the result for Lake Worth, Florida as of this morning (3/29) - It might be good to save this as a bookmark/favorite and check back from time to time.

My status:  Although the Total Count Committee says the Census is in need of temporary Census workers from the 33460 zip code, I have not heard from anyone at the Census.  Frequent visitors to the blog will remember that I have passed both the enumerator and the supervisory exams.