Saturday, July 9, 2011

Click here for description of a "political machine"...

From Mark Parrilla:

Dear Wes,

I really hope you post my email so that all who read your blog can see that Rachel Waterman doesn’t seem to think our laws are worth respecting, even after receiving a phone call two weeks before our first election requesting my Mother’s property be removed from her door knocking list; she herself had violated the law by placing a door knocker on my Mother’s door with a hand written note saying “Sorry we missed you.  Call me if you have any questions”.  I specifically informed Waterman that neither herself nor anyone from her campaign were to come onto my Mother’s property.  She argued with me that my Mother had a right to be contacted by someone who may serve as her Mayor and I said that a No Trespass Affidavit is just that A NOT TRESPASS AFFADVIT which requires you, BY LAW, to have verbal or written consent to come onto the property the only exceptions being, law enforcement, fire rescue, LWU meter readers and/or code enforcement.  Mom’s house had already had Ramiccio signs stolen from her lawn.  EVERYONE! you hear that Rachel EVERYONE ELSE including YOU, needs to have permission to come onto a property with a No Trespass sign.  Several weeks before our first election I remember being out door knocking in the Genesis Neighborhood with Tom Ramiccio and I got out of his truck and went to go onto a property that was on my list but Tom called me back stating that if I was to volunteer on his campaign I had to do it by the book and not to go onto any property that had a No Trespass unless the occupant was outside and I could ask for permission.

I would like to know why, strike that, I know why I found what I found yesterday on my mother’s door when I brought her home from running errands.  Another one of Rachel Waterman’s door knockers.  I just got back from buying a small inexpensive security video cam that is on the window sill facing my Mother’s front porch with a perfect view of anyone who comes up her driveway and to her door.  If they dare come again my Mother will have evidence of the crime and she WILL press charges.

Is this the kind of person that anyone would consider having as the Mayor of their City leading a commission to follow our charter, rules, regulations and laws?  If you don’t respect all aspects of the law how much respect do you have for any of it?  I never saw much respect for the law from the Cara camp but then again that is like calling the sky blue.  Be very aware, those of you that are undecided falling for their attacks on Tom so that you make the mistake of voting for another one of their chameleons that will shed their meek little disguise right after they are sworn in just as Cara Jennings did.  Maybe she will stand in front of the flag with her hands by her side and her lips pursed in arrogant defiance and disrespect and not pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America just like her comrade at arms Cara Jennings did for TWO TERMS! 

I have attached two pictures so that your readers see the plain truth.  I hope that they are clear enough for you to post on your blog as well for all to see.

Best wishes,
Mark A. Parrilla

Letter from Sewell

Sewell's Hardware on N. Dixie Hwy. set to close...

Word on the street is that a long-standing business on Dixie Hwy. is closing - apparently a letter regarding the same was circulated around other businesses in the area this week.  I've asked for a scanned copy and will share it with you once I receive it.

There is a range of reasons for this local hardware store closing.  One is the rise of importance in big box hardware outlets that cater to large groups of people through big advertising budgets and large parking lots in suburban areas.  It is also reflective of the changing nature of the near-by neighborhoods - more renters, less code enforcement, less maintenance, lower incomes.  Another is due to the highest commercial electricity rates in the state of Florida - why keep a store open in Lake Worth if your utility costs are three to four times higher than other locations?  Personally, I have used this store infrequently, going there to get keys duplicated or other such small purchases.  It has been my impression that Sewell's served many local contractors, whose business is also off during these challenging economic times.

Look at what else is happening right outside the Lake Worth city limits.  There is a proposal for a Wal-Mart Marketplace - a smaller store specializing in grocery items - right across the C-51 canal at the south end of West Palm Beach.  That's the big vacant property next to the Winn-Dixie.  Forget about potential competition with the new Publix in downtown - think of what that store will do to Sedano's who has to pay higher rates for electricity just like every other business in Lake Worth.  I have it on good authority that they will not be renewing their lease just for that reason.  And this was before news of this mini Wal-Mart came to the fore.  Likewise, there is a Wal-Mart just being completed on 10th Avenue North - just west of the city limits of Lake Worth.  I am not sure if that store will be serviced by Lake Worth utilities or not.

The point is, by having these new stores being built just outside the city limits of Lake Worth, we as a community have no "say" in how or what is built and we don't benefit from the increase in commercial property values that would help offset our record decreases in taxable property values throughout the city.  We also end up spending more of our incomes outside of the city limits and don't benefit from a more central location that would not require getting in the car to get there.  That would put more pressure on smaller stores, like Sewell's, and other smaller proprietors in keeping their doors open within Lake Worth. There are exceptions to that; it would be easy for me to walk to the mini Wal-Mart from my house.  But it still would be a trip that would not spend money inside of our city.

Perhaps these locations outside of Lake Worth were chosen due to the ambiguous nature of our zoning code (LDRs) and its relationship to our amended Comprehensive Plan.  Maybe height was an issue?  Or, perhaps it was just the availability of land at the right price - or a combination of all these.  Do you think that Wal-Mart knew that our local rabble-rousers would protest the building of a Wal-Mart within the borders of Lake Worth?  Do you think they wanted that added hassle?

So, instead, we get all the negative impacts of these new stores without having a say in the matter or the benefit of revenue from them.  We get the dirty end of the stick.

Friday, July 8, 2011

LOL - Someone else gets into the act...

Part of our history...what the Casino offered the community back in the day...

Hey Wes,
Thought you might be interested in the ads that Newman's Health Center used to run in the Palm Beach Post.  I'm a big history junkie - love this stuff.  There was a lady by the name of Mrs. Helen Newman who was appointed to the local board of massage in the early 1940's.  She's probably the masseuse referenced in the ads.
"Loyal Reader"

January 13, 1940 – ARE you over weight?  Are you under weight?  Is your circulation poor?  Do you need pep and energy? Swedish massage given by a graduate masseur and masseuse.  Gymnastic and posture classes – Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Newman’s Health Center.  Phone 9148, Lake Worth Casino.
February 11, 1941 – GYM CLASSES, ladies only.  Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 10 a.m.  50¢ per class.  Instructed by member of Mc-Fadden Corp.  Newman’s Health Centre, Lake Worth Casino.  Phone 68.
September 24, 1941 – Reduce and stay slender.  The scientific way without diet or drugs.  Modernize health course.  Let us explain this new easy way to health.  Gym classes.  Summer prices.  Newman’s Health Center, Lake Worth Casino. Phone 68.
October 22, 1941 – DO YOU want to lose weight and feel healthy?  Slenderize your figure the correct way.  See us today.  Gym classes for young and old only $5 per month.  NEWMAN’S HEALTH CENTER.  Lake Worth Casino.  Phone 68.
September 30, 1942 - CLOSING latter part of October.  Just time enough to take full course at greatly reduced rates. NEWMAN’S HEALTH CENTER, Lake Worth Casino, Phone 68
October 2, 1942 – CLOSING latter part of October.  Just time enough to take full course at greatly reduced rates.  NEWMAN’S HEALTH CENTER, Lake Worth Casino, Phone 68
October 7, 1942 – Newman’s Health Center is not closing permanently – only for a week’s vacation latter part of the month. NEWMAN’s HEALTH CENTER Lake Worth Casino  Phone 68
October 8, 1942 - Newman’s Health Center is not closing permanently – only for a week’s vacation latter part of the month. NEWMAN’s HEALTH CENTER Lake Worth Casino  Phone 68
November 28, 1942 – REDUCE the scientific way without starvation or drugs.  Modernized Health Course.  Let us explain the easy way to health and happiness.  Also Swedish Massage, cabinet baths, colon irrigation.  NEWMAN’S HEALTH CENTER, Lake Worth Casino.  Phone 68
January 8, 1943 – Are you suffering with rheumatic pains, jittery nerves, overweight?  Visit Newman’s Health Center.  Let us help you.  Nothing has ever taken the place of hand manipulation to the body when properly given.  Graduate Masseur and Masseuse in attendance.  Phone 68, Lake Worth Casino.
April 6, 1944 – Be sure to try Newman’s Health Center for better health.  Well known for the very best results from people far and near.  Located in Lake Worth Casino for past five years.  Recently installed Ovenland vapor cabinet baths.  Also Bian (?) foot massager.  Colon irrigations given.  Reducing and many other health treatments given.  Phone Lake Worth 68 for appointment.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Reading suggestion:

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson - I am currently reading it on my Kindle.  A true story about the U.S. Ambassador and his family living in 1933 Berlin.  Just getting into it and finding it hard to put down.  Here is the link to the book on Amazon.

Lake Worth official travels overseas to promote local tourism

Three guesses who and the first two don't count. This from the article (click title for link):

The grand prize for the street painting festival in England is airfare and hotel accommodations in Lake Worth. City officials hope this relationship stays strong and even proves to be lucrative in the future.

The Silver Lions Motel is lovely, just north of 6th Avenue South on the east side of Dixie. Any other suggestions? How about the Canew? Have to book early there and election times are a problem.

Responses to questions received from Tom Ramiccio...

Does he support our governor's positions on refusing federal money as tainted?
No. I will accept federal money to improve Lake Worth. There are many opportunities to get federal grants and I would take advantage of any that would be available to us. Gov. Scott is very wrong on this issue.

Would he ask the CM to put back some of her salary in these times of financial trouble, as a sign of good faith?
The CM should reduce her salary an show good faith and leadership by example. Many of our city employees made sacrifices. Those sacrifices should be shared at the top as well.

What does he think about the Compass Center's lease: good idea or bad? 
I support Compass. In fact, I encouraged them to move here. I support their lease agreement with the city.

What does he think about destroying the shuffle courts? 
The shuffle board courts is a terrible shame. There is currently no plan and renovations are being made without a plan. I would not have closed them without careful debate and thought and a definitive plan in place for their future.

What amount of the admission fees to various festivals at Bryant Park should go to the city and what to the organizers?
Fees for Bryant Park are reasonable for the entertainment value they deliver. Depending on the event, I believe that fee agreements need to be fair and equitable to all involved.

Why specifically do you think FPL is interested in buying LW electric, names and dates of info.

FPL stated they would have this discussion as reported by the Palm Beach Post on June 16th, 2011.

I want to begin this conversation with FPL. If it is not a deal for the taxpayers, we will then restructure the current system for lower rates. I don’t agree with the assessment by some on the current commission who believe that the utility is the city’s “cash cow”. This is very unfair to our residents.

How much effort will you expend on getting rid of CM and why?

I will not fire the city manager without having worked with her for a minimum of three months. I will then evaluate her goals and objectives and make a careful decision then.

Do you think LW should be "marketed" to the gay and alternate gendered population? If yes, explain. If not explain.

I believe that Lake Worth is already a gay destination and I am very proud of that. We should expand that interest and market to that community. In addition, I believe we should market Lake Worth as a destination to all types of people, including the LGBT community.

Would you try to alter the CRA policies. How, if yes.

I will review the current CRA policies after I’m elected and then evaluate the plusses and minuses. I am very disappointed that contractors from Broward County were awarded the contract for the grant money. I want to work to keep those jobs to our local market and within our community. That is one factor I would like to see altered.

Why do you think selling LW utilities is the best solution to high prices, and how exactly would you go about selling it? Could the project be completed while you were mayor?
1. In order to sell FPL there would have to be a referendum. I will begin the conversation with them, and then after careful consideration and evaluation begin the process to lower our high rates. Young families will not move into Lake Worth neither will small businesses. It's an obstacle for redevelopment. We pay 33% higher rates than our FPL counterparts. FPL has already indicated they are interested to talking to us about the possibility.
You sent around a mailer vowing to free Lake Worth from "anarchy." Are you serious? If so, how so?
We must end the anarchy mentality. We will go bankrupt if we continue to destroy our code enforcement department, cancel contract after contract, be involved in multiple lawsuits and encourage chicken farming as viable option to encourage economic development.

Please explain your ethics violations.
It was politically motivated to hurt my re-election campaign in 1999 yet voters re-elected me overwhelmingly. I have always been honest and open about this issue. Many news organizations have investigated this ethics complaint and agreed with my assessment.

Why were you fired from the Chamber of Commerce?
Susan Mulvehill wanted me out of the chamber because of my pro-progress agenda for the business community. She put the board of directors in a tight spot and told them through a letter that if they didn’t fire me, the city would no longer support the events sponsored by the chamber. Pure rotten politics. Many of those same board members are supporting my election for mayor today.

When I took over the chamber in 2002, they were $50,000 in debt, had no visible office space and was near bankruptcy. In just 6 months I recruited more than 100 new corporations, began a capital campaign to build a welcome center in downtown and in 2006 was recognized as the number one chamber in the state.

Do you still think gays are "very clean people?" If so, do you agree with Rachel Waterman that Lake Worth could market itself as a gay tourist destination?
I believe that Lake Worth is already a gay destination and I am very proud of that. We should expand that interest and market to that community. In addition, I believe we should market Lake Worth as a destination to all types of people, including the LGBT community.

Other than selling the utility, what other projects, specifically, would you take on as mayor, and how, specifically, would you implement them? Please name at least three.
 1) I would aggressively pursue code enforcement violators and get our neighborhoods cleaned up. This would increase our property values and would encourage people to move here. We have lost an enormous amount of property tax revenue with abandoned and foreclosed homes. We have many occupied homes that are run down and not kept up which also hurts our property values.

2) Now that we have Publix in our city, I want to expand on that and encourage more businesses to move into the downtown and the Dixie Highway corridor. I also want to see our dream of a park of commerce become a reality. This would bring revenue to the city, sales to our local businesses and much needed local jobs.

3) I want to ensure we keep the contracts with both PBSO and PBC fire rescue. For us to reconstitute those departments would be an enormous expense to us and foolhardy. Ensuring our safety must be our highest priority.

Response from Rachel Waterman re the Beach Issue..."I can not take responsibility for the actions of others..."

"How to tell the Voting Public What they Want to Hear in Order to Get Elected" by Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill...

A response to the "other blogger" from the "other blogger..."

The "other blogger" cites the following from RFQ for the Casino Rehabilitation project:

"The successful firm will demonstrate a clear understanding of the cultural and historical importance of the siteas well as an understanding of the importance of the site to Lake Worth Residents. The selected team will develop an innovative design that captures the renewed spirit of Lake Worth that is truly unique in the Palm Beach area."

That was from the RFQ that went out on our Casino rehabilitation.

In the RFQ it states: Debate regarding the preservation of the Casino Building versus the redevelopment of the site by commercial developers has been controversial and divisive in the community, and has been a major factor contributing to the building’s current state of disrepair. After many years of debate and dialog, the City has decided to redesign and rehabilitate the current structure.

Let's talk about what "rehabilitation" of a structure really means. Click here for a link to the Secretary of Interior Standards for Rehabilitation.  This is how "rehabilitation" is defined:

"Rehabilitation" is defined as "the process of returning a property to a state of utility, through repair or alteration, which makes possible an efficient contemporary use while preserving those portions and features of the property which are significant to its historic, architectural, and cultural values."


As stated in the definition, the treatment "rehabilitation" assumes that at least some repair or alteration of the historic building will be needed in order to provide for an efficient contemporary use; however, these repairs and alterations must not damage or destroy materials, features or finishes that are important in defining the building's historic character. For example, certain treatments--if improperly applied--may cause or accelerate physical deterioration of the historic building. This can include using improper repointing or exterior masonry cleaning techniques, or introducing insulation that damages historic fabric. In almost all of these situations, use of these materials and treatments will result in a project that does not meet the Standards. Similarly, exterior additions that duplicate the form, material, and detailing of the structure to the extent that they compromise the historic character of the structure will fail to meet the Standards.
ca 1922 column formerly part of west facade which consumed hours of Commission mtg. time.
We already know that the building has been deemed structurally unsound and that the demolition taking place now is designed to remove those deficient parts, that in the judgement of a building official, do not meet current code standards.  That, as we have seen from the demolition plans, amounts to 90 percent of the former building. BY DOING THAT WE ARE LOSING THOSE PORTIONS AND FEATURES OF THE BUILDING WHICH ARE SIGNIFICANT TO ITS HISTORIC, ARCHITECTURAL AND CULTURAL VALUES.  There is nothing of historical, architectural or cultural value that is being saved - an unadorned section of a wall is just what it is - it has no historic value.  The building that was there before the demolition started did have historic, architectural and cultural value.  What the city is getting is a NEW building which will have a vague resemblance to that which has gone before !

Thus, we are going against the stated purpose of the RFQ without any recognition of this change from our elected officials or city administration, or for that matter, the "other blogger."

Casino Demolition Movies and Pics from today...

I have forwarded your questions for Tom Ramiccio...

to his campaign manager.  I have talked with her previously and they know they were coming.  I will publish a response to them once it is received.

It's time to remember a few things...

In her two times running for City Commissioner, Cara Jennings never ran as a radical.  Sure, her background as a radical cheerleader was used in negative campaigns by her opponents, but she presented herself as someone who could be considered part of mainstream society.  Her message was simple, her pictures full of smiles with hair perfectly in place.  She was packaged as pleasing to someone who, if they lived on North Lakeside Drive, would be comfortable voting for Cara Jennings.  Never mind that she detested the presumed consumer-oriented lifestyle of that voter.  It was all about getting through the the fifty percent plus one test offered by the electoral process and securing that Commission seat.  Once there, she and her supporters were on their own, which granted her a large berth.  The exception is those times where we have an issue like PBSO that immediately galvanizes the community for or against a certain issue.

The bottom-line, it is all about getting into the seat of power - not being true to the actual message that gets you elected.  Look at the promises about the casino building, about John G's, etc.  All of those promises pandered to public opinion to get elected, but the reality has turned into something completely different. Note too that Ms. Waterman denies knowing Ms. Jennings, except for having some of the same friends.

That is the danger that we have in this run-off election.  Click here for a link to a document that contains wording from the Waterman campaign.  This is what is being sent out to probable absentee voters.  Reading through the message, you would have a difficult time distinguishing that from the messages from the Ramiccio camp, including  the possibility of selling the electric utility to FPL.

The exception to what is included in this message is what is said about PBSO.  "We must work with the Sheriff to ensure a long-term, win-win contract for the safety and prosperity of our city."  Well, didn't we just do that?  I think it leaves the door more open to "changes" in our law enforcement contract beyond what we already have made - and this is consistent with the mutterings from the other members of the dais that happen to fully support Waterman.  Not to mention the city manager who continues to lament about her lack of control over a law enforcement department.

But that would not necessarily be apparent to the casual observer/voter.  What this message represents is what both campaigns think is the "winning" message - it's essentially the same one!  Then you have to ask, what then we are basing our decision upon when electing someone to this office of Mayor for three and a half months?  Remember, your past record is the best predictor of future performance.  Do we really want another clone from the Cara Jennings' camp to continue the cozy relationship between the city administration and love of the status quo, or do we want someone in there that knows how the system used to work and bring a different point of view to the center seat?  We need someone there that is not afraid of asking the hard questions.  Is that Waterman or Ramiccio?  We need a set of experienced eyes and ears up there.  That person is Tom Ramiccio.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

E-mailed Partisan Rallying Cry for the Waterman Campaign - THIS IS A NON-PARTISAN RACE!

Let's Get Rachel Elected!
As you know, the Lake Worth Mayoral Run-Off Election will be held next Tuesday, July 12, between Democrat Rachel Waterman and her Republican opponent.  Your help is needed.
The Republicans are going all out to support their candidate & try to stop the momentum of recent Democratic mayoral wins in Florida.  We can't let this happen in Palm Beach County!!!  Electing a Democrat is important both for good government for the City of Lake Worth, and for the state of Florida and the nation, to keep our Democratic momentum going and show that our organized party activity and commitment to Democratic ideals trumps money.  
All hands are needed on board, to knock doors and make GOTV calls for Rachel.  The doorknocking schedule for this weekend is below -- can you help for at least one shift?  RSVP information is below.
P.S.  Please come early for the DEC meeting on Thursday to help make GOTV calls, starting at 5:30!   We'll have the lists -- bring your cellphone and join us to make calls before the DEC meeting!! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tonight, in front of the Canew...

Note: The Canew is the self-named boarding house that Ms. Jennings operates in a single family zoning district.

Still no questions for Tom Ramiccio have been e-mailed to me...

I am extending the deadline until Wednesday at 9 p.m.  Use the e-mail address found in the righthand column.

Outside of the Canew, 2021

Sunday, July 3, 2011

If you would like to pose questions for Tom Ramiccio...

Please e-mail me (do not use the comment feature of the blog)  and I will forward the questions on to his campaign.  Try to get them to me by Tuesday noon - thanks.  I will publish the results.

Overheard at Starbucks...