Sunday, September 18, 2011

As data shows more Americans in poverty, Belle Glade looks for ideas from eastern Palm Beach County

As we digest the fact that the nation's poverty rate is around 18% based upon the 2010 census and that it is at the highest level since those data have been available, this article talks about the vast economic differences between the eastern and western geographic halves of Palm Beach County. This shift - nationally and locally - has come at the expense of the middle class and the most wealthy are protected for any number of reasons - their numbers are stable or slightly growing. While the divide is evident in Palm Beach County, it is magnified due to the relatively small 5 square mile size of Lake Worth. People have talked about the County taking over Lake Worth and dissolving us as a city - or, at the worst, having the state of Florida take over in the aftermath of some sort of financial crisis.

I don't see the County having the same sort of meeting about Lake Worth that they are having to talk about issues related to the western communities in question on October 25st - at least for the foreseeable future. We are going to be left to ourselves to solve our own problems - the many that we have already identified and new challenges that lie ahead. I do see the County turning into the enforcer and increasingly asking us to live up to our obligations and agreements with them, as well as with other municipalities. What we have to get over is ourselves and our own divides - economically, socially and philosophically. And there is hope for that - you better sit down for this revelation, but I find myself agreeing with more of the "other blogger's" opinions than I ever have before. This makes me question my own views and the basis for them - which might be a healthy exercise for all of us to do more often. Stand-offs, as we have seen play out on the national level, leave nothing but scorched earth if a conclusion is ever indeed reached. Compromise is not a dirty word.

There are county departments - fire rescue and PBSO - that have economies of scale from which we can benefit - that does not amount to a creeping takeover by the county - those decisions just make good sense to the residents who pay taxes.

This is how we can help ourselves - thinking that the County will be our white knight is a foolish notion. We also have to realize that there are many basic needs that are not being met and experienced by a large number of people living in Palm Beach County. Click title for link to the PBP article.