Saturday, December 18, 2010

Click here for link to copy of PowerPoint presentation...

...that I gave at last Thursday's meeting of the Genesis Neighborhood Association.  I didn't include the script, but the whole presentation is about 20 minutes.  If you would be interested in having me make a live presentation to your neighborhood association or other group, let me know.

Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Association - January 2011 Officer Nominees

At December's TRNA meeting the Nomination Committee announced their nominations for 2011 TRNA Officers.  The association also opened up the floor to accept self nominations; none were made.  The nomination period for Association Officer candidates is now closed.  The slate of candidates for January's TRNA  Officers election will be as follows: 

President - Ryan Anderson
Vice President - Robert Elliot
Secretary/Treasurer - Jessica Plotkin

Robert Elliot will be resigning as a TRNA Director to fulfill the VP post.  The Nomination Committee nominated Carolyn Deli for Director.  The person elected to this Director position will serve until the end of Robert's term in June, 2011. 

The election of Officers will take place at the TRNA's January 3, 2011 meeting at 7pm in the Compass Community Center.

Friday, December 17, 2010

FYI - The preceding post was forwarded to the Mayor, City Commissioners, the City Manager and the Palm Beach Post.

Lake Worth taps new chief for planning and preservation

Click title for link to PBP article.

Living in Lake Worth and paying attention to things going on, one gets used to the unusual, the uncommon and the unprecedented.  Once in a while, something happens that is so blatantly questionable that what you have seen before seems insignificant.  This is one of those moments.

When I worked for the City of West Palm Beach as a planner (1989 to 1993), I had the pleasure of working with and getting to know William Waters.  At that time, he went by "Dale", his middle name, and I will forever think of him as "Dale", not William - but that's my problem and has nothing to do with the situation before us.  I have great respect for William as a fellow professional planner and was pleased to know that he would be working with REG on the Casino rehabilitation project.  William made the presentation at Tuesday's City Commission work session on the status of the project and reported that the application for site plan approval had been submitted to the city.  The item is to appear on the Planning and Zoning Board's agenda of January 5, 2011.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?  What is wrong is that we have a professional planner involved in the preparation of a site plan application that the same professional planner will be in the position of reviewing as one of the first orders of business.  One does not put oneself in a position where you review your own work product.  This is a blatant conflict of interest, in my opinion, as the city residents, who pay Mr.
Walters' salary, cannot be assured of total objectivity in review of the site plan.  To be marching forward under this cloud, brings into question the motivation of people responsible for making this decision.  That this question of integrity and apparent conflict of interest can even be raised is disturbing.  Here Lake Worth is with its most conspicuous project - the beach and in an age of heightened ethical awareness, supposedly, and the city has allowed a situation to evolve to a point that brings into question the integrity of that process.  I am surprised that the players here allowed this to happen and seem to be supremely comfortable with this decision.

Part of being a certified planner is adhering to a code of ethics. AICP Code of Ethics.  One of the "Aspirational Principles" is as follows:

A: Principles to Which We Aspire

2. Our Responsibility to Our Clients and Employers
We owe diligent, creative, and competent performance of the work we do in pursuit of our client or employer's interest. Such performance, however, shall always be consistent with our faithful service to the public interest.
a) We shall exercise independent professional judgment on behalf of our clients and employers.
b) We shall accept the decisions of our client or employer concerning the objectives and nature of the professional services we perform unless the course of action is illegal or plainly inconsistent with our primary obligation to the public interest.
c) We shall avoid a conflict of interest or even the appearance of a conflict of interest in accepting assignments from clients or employers.
This is transparency? Can we practice what we preach?  If we go forward, at least we need to bring someone else in who has the qualifications to review the application prepared by Mr. Waters.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Dear Family and Friends,
I hope that this email finds you all well and healthy and may this Holiday Season be one of the best ever!  I'm writing you for one Christmas Wish and that is to Vote for me at the link in this email.  Neighbors Helping Neighbors Project is in a contest to gain corporate sponsorship and we need your vote to win the sponsorship.
If you can find the time in your already very busy schedule we would greatly appreciate your votes!   Thank You and may God Bless!  Please forward to anyone that you think will also vote for us :-)

Robert E. Waples II

Turkey Challenge

Downtown Jewel is challenging all of Lake Worth to donate turkeys. The Resource Center is collecting frozen turkeys until 2pm on Friday. Lets see which neighborhood can donate the most turkeys. I know that some people do not like what the resource center is about. But they have a way to get turkeys to hungry citizens in LW. SO lets look past our dislike and see which neighborhood can purchase and deliver the most turkeys. Publix has turkeys on sale starting tomorrow. Please identify which neighborhood you are from when you drop them off. SO step up and donate a turkey.  

Resource Center at the shuffleboard court between Lake and Lucerne Ave.and F Street
Thank You

Barb Aubel

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Genesis Neighborhood Association Meeting - 12/16/10 @ 7 p.m.

Click title for link to agenda.  The location will be the Peniel Haitian Baptist Church, 1110 South A Street. Commissioner Maxwell will be giving an update on city utilities.  Translators will be available for Haitian Creole and Spanish interpretations.  Residents are encouraged to bring a copy of their utility bill if they feel it is unjustly high, residential and commercial customers alike.  It is my understanding a petition related to utilities will be circulated.  The petitions, copies of the bills and any notes/letters residents want to give to the City Commission will be presented by a Genesis representative to be chosen at tomorrow's meeting.  This will likely be done at a January City Commission meeting.

Yours truly will be giving a PowerPoint presentation on the history of planning in Lake Worth.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mark Foley not running for mayor of West Palm

Click title for link.

Unions sue Lake Worth over city's use of financial woes to trim pay, benefits

Click title for link to PBP article. Susan Stanton is quoted as follows:

"The unions have continued to assert that the city is in a strong financial position," Stanton said in an e-mail. "That is contradicted by the assessed valuation of the community tax base, a $3.2 million projected operating deficit in fiscal year 2012, $58 million in unfunded accrued pension liability and the high cost of operating and reinvesting in the community."

The taxable value of Lake Worth property has dropped dramatically in recent years, from a building-boom peak of $2.1 billion in 2007 to $1.1 billion this year.

Strange how little of this we heard during this past campaign season. The city keeps telling those that it aggrieves: Join the long, gray line.

Your City Commission at Work...

Who knew that the City Commission was the Audit Committee?  This is regarding the city's independent auditor - which is distinct from the city's Internal Auditor.  The City Commission believes that it is not required to have an Internal Auditor - even though the Charter says else wise.  Click here for back-up material.
I'll be attending the meeting starting at 9:15 a.m. Click here for back-up material.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Letter I sent to the Palm Beach Post - we'll see if they print it.

Dear Editor:

In response to Vice Mayor Suzanne Mulvehill's letter to the editor "Lake Worth Strives to be City that Conserves," I'd like to offer these observations as a long term Lake Worth resident.  While the city of Lake Worth does have the most strict watering restrictions, it is due to the imposition of those by the South Florida Water Management District and not through action by the city commission itself.  We are just now experiencing the second year of a five-year series of water rate hikes in order to finance and support our new reverse osmosis plant.  By the way, reverse osmosis plants are known to be large consumers of electricity - something else of which the city may be in short supply when we exit our current electricity contract.

Residents are being forced to conserve, not for the sake of conservation, but for the sake of self-preservation - especially given the precarious state of our economy.  The city's conservation program and audits are not free - they are paid for by line items on every customers' utility bill.  Consider Lake Worth Towers - filled with retirees on fixed incomes - the conservation program is unavailable to any of their residents but as a group pay a large amount to fund this program.

Conservation is a worthy goal, but the city commission continues to gouge Lake Worth residents in an attempt to achieve that goal.  The results are specious at best.

Click here for link to slideshow from LW Holiday Parade

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Frank Sinatra's Birthday...12/12

PBP Letter to the Editor from our Vice Mayor:

Lake Worth strives to be city that conserves
The Palm Beach Post is correct in stating that the smartest long-term policy for South Florida and the rest of the state regarding water begins with using less of it. That is why the city of Lake Worth made a decision to leave water restrictions in place. (We have no choice in the matter - South Florida Water Management requires it due to possible salinization of our wells) We are creating conservation policies in our city (by making sure we have the highest water rates anywhere - especially after three more future annual rate increases to fund our electricity-hungry reverse osmosis plant) and our residents are responding by using rain barrels (a manufacturer of which contributed to the Mulvehill campaign) and drought-resistant landscaping (residents with green St. Augustine lawns benefit from the city's lack of enforcement of the watering restrictions.)
Lake Worth makes conservation a priority. We are focused on (or is it forced to?) becoming a city of conservation vs. consumption (this is why we discourage any commercial operation that sells things to come to our city.) We are a member of Local Governments for Sustainability Organization and work with other cities (by having them sue the city of Lake Worth over disagreements in billing) to develop policies that build awareness and support for conservation. Our conservation program is being recognized as one of the best in the state (proof?).
Residents can have a free energy audit ( for  which everyone pays in advance, even if you can't benefit from the program yourself, through a line item charge on your utility bill), evaluate their water and electric usage, apply for energy efficiency grants and rebates. One of the programs is a rain-barrel (see campaign contributor) rebate program to help residents capture rainwater for watering yards and gardens. We will be looking into a cistern (into a hole that represents our ever-deepening budget crisis) rebate program in the coming year and continually work with residents to identify programs that support the sustainability of our city.
Lake Worth
Editor's note: Suzanne Mulvehill is vice mayor of Lake Worth. (Editor's note:  The Palm Beach Post is the publicity arm of the forces that act to bring the city of Lake Worth to its knees.)
(comments of my own)

The "Cat in the Hat" getting ready to read - Cultural Plaza - 12/11

Yours truly - really?  Mars bringing up the rear.
Reading to the children, others at the Cultural Plaza.