Saturday, January 7, 2012

Visual Ephemera: Is Shuffleboard Worth Preserving?

Blog article on preserving our shuffleboard history written by a Floridian interested in keeping the game alive. Yours truly is quoted in the article. Remember, there will be a charette on the 25th of January at the Shuffleboard Court building.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Michael Smith: Largo's first openly gay elected official

Click title for link to article on an openly gay commissioner in Largo, whence came Ms. Stanton. She gets a brief mention in the article.

One of this blog's many astute readers points out the following regarding the Community Relations Board (CRB):

"The CRB really has no power to do anything but blather. It has no subpoena power, so it cannot compel anyone to "testify" on any issue. There are no penalties for ignoring it.  Click here for actual powers of the CRB contained in the City's Code of Ordinances, Chapter 2, Article XVI.

Note also that the City Commission is supposed to "review and approve" an annual work program:

"The board shall develop a yearly work plan to be reviewed and approved by the city commission, which will articulate how the listed outcomes will be achieved. "

Has this been done?  I interpret this to mean that their activities have to be approved on an annual basis in advance by the City Commission. That should be the lead item on their first meeting of the new year. The ordinance does not give the Board the authority to set its own agenda (although the City Commission can let them run amok).

Also see the authority of the City Manager:

  "The city manager or appointed designee shall be the official medium of communication between the city commission and the board" (emphasis added).

This could be interpreted to mean that the Board cannot communicate to the Commission except through the City Manager.

The whole concept is absurd as presently structured. Does anyone ever read an ordinance in LW after it is adopted?"

TRNA | January Meeting

Happy Friday friends & neighbors. I hope you had a joyous holiday.

Just a reminder that on Monday, January 9th at 7pm at Compass, the Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Association will be holding it's monthly meeting. Two items of importance will be on the agenda, the election of new officers and a discussion on traffic calming in the neighborhood.

Nominees for Officers:

President - Bob Elliott

Vice-President - Steffanie Mayo

Secretary/Treasurer - Jessica Plotkin

All full members of the Association will be eligible to vote.

In addition, Jaime Brown, Acting Public Works Director will be joining us again for a discussion on proposed traffic calming in the TRNA district. Please join us and share your thoughts and suggestions as to what/where/why/how you think traffic calming is necessary in the neighborhood.

Finally, we would like to schedule a clean-up for later this month. As you are driving around this weekend, please note the alley/lots/etc you think we should tackle.

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you on Monday!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

CITY OF LAKE WORTH COMMUNITY RELATIONS BOARD Monday January 9, 2012 City Hall Conference Room

One of the city's advisory boards upcoming agendas.  Interestingly, the second page of the agenda is a large version of the city's un-copywrited logo - perhaps as a grab at some sort of legitimacy?  What other board does this? 

Looking at this particular excessively long agenda, do they expect the meeting to go longer than two days?  What is expected to be resolved by addressing so many holistic issues on one agenda?  What power does this board have in reality to enforce any of its decisions?  Does this just create a platform for people that will never be satisfied?  Mr. Tsolkas is chair.
Click here for link to city's website.  There is no additional back-up material.

Why I couldn't find the P&Z agenda for last night's meeting...

An e-mail from Sandi DuBose includes this:

Since late 2006, the meeting agendas have been loaded in two places to the website: one is the “Meetings and Events Calendar” and the other is the “Volunteer Board” location.  A link to the P&Z Agenda was in fact uploaded to both places.

As we change years, we have to create a new heading for the current year.   When I checked the website just now, the Agendas were in both places, but not visible in the Volunteer Board location.  There is on “on” “off” position: when the “on” is selected the item is visible; when the “off” is selected (as can happen during editing) the item is not visible.

That I know of, I am the only one who goes on our website and manages those items; apparently, I failed to notice that the Volunteer Board location in the “off” position. 

I didn't realize that the agendas were available in two locations.  FYI

Open Source Computing with No On-site Servers

The City of Pittsburgh announced yesterday that they have switched over to Google Apps, getting rid of all of their previous Microsoft programs - and attendant/recurring licensing fees.  This comes up every year during budget time about how Lake Worth should go to open source software.  If a city the size of Pittsburgh can do this one time transition for $400,000, I am sure Lake Worth's conversion would be much less.  Pittsburgh predicts that on a recurring basis, they will save 25% of what they used to pay for Microsoft products.

Most importantly, the city loses the need to have, maintain and upgrade its own servers.  Everything will be stored in the "cloud."

Under public comment at the last City Commission meeting, Greg Rice pointed out how obviously superior Lantana's, our smaller neighbor to the south, website is - noting that ours is hard to navigate and not regularly updated.  Think how many resources could be allocated toward an improved website and resident interface if we didn't have to dedicate personnel to maintaining our own servers and other programs citywide.  Rather than just talk about this and preen ourselves on the dais talking about "open source" software, lets take steps to actually do it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tonight's Planning and Zoning Board Meeting (1/4/12)

Click here for live stream.  I listened to a long presentation on the potential for urban agriculture - which included discussion about agriculture in the Park of Commerce - including egg production.  Mr. Waters pointed out that the city really didn't own land in the Park of Commerce, so it might be costly to assemble.  Bees were discussed and Commissioner Jennings commented that bees are regulated by the state and permitted through state inspections.  Any local legislation would require to mirror the state legislation.  She also said that the city should be careful not to stress curb appeal if urban agriculture is allowed - that it would provide a disincentive for people to do this.  She said that it still shouldn't look like a debris field.  She acknowledged that "some people, in some areas" are sensitive to this.  This study is on-going and Mr. Waters stressed that the first priority should be to get the LDRs complete - which are now four months behind.  In my mind, it is more like 7 years.

The other item on their agenda (I guess, see below) is related to a request from MV Transit for vehicle storage on a property off of Barnett Drive.  This is the third time the applicant has been back to the board and each time has not provided some needed information.  Listening to what is going on, it sounds like that lack mostly falls on the applicant themselves.  There are other nearby property owners that are concerned about increased traffic and the interaction with traffic already generated by the middle school.

I am still listening now (7:23 p.m.) and decided to check out the agenda on-line.  It isn't there.  Here are two screen grabs from the city's website:

I was interested in the selection of chair for this year.  Ms. Mahoney is running the meeting now.  I don't know if it has been dealt with yet or not, due to lack of an available agenda.  From various comments, I can imply that the former officers - not sure who is Vice-Chair - have been re-elected.

Transgender City Manager Ousted From Lake Worth for ‘Personal Reasons’ |

This article, dated January 3, 2012, is mentioned under one of the comments found at the post below. It's a long article which is short on conclusions. Why? Because Ms. Stanton was not fired for cause, which was completely allowed by her contract. To mention specific reasons for her dismissal could lead to legal challenges related to her firing - something that Commissioners McVoy and Mulvehill fail to understand or do not care if the city faces yet another legal action. In the article, we also learn that Commissioner McVoy is vacationing in Vermont and pleasantly allowed his house painting to be interrupted by the reporter. Ms. Anderson finds it necessary to comment three times at the end of the article.

And are those that stand shoulder-shoulder with Ms. Stanton aware that this past election may just have been a referendum on whether she stay as City Manager or not?

The article concludes, multiple times, that the firing was not due to her gender status. Can we please get on with the business of the city? Click title for link.

From the Internet: Where I have been and have not been

I have been in many places, but I've never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can't go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.  I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there. I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my friends, family and work.  I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I'm not too much on physical activity anymore. I have never been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there.  I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm. Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older. One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!    And more and more I think of the Here After. Several times a day, in fact, I enter a room and think “What am I here after?”   Sound familiar?????   Join the Club!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Click here for live link to City Commission meeting (1/3/12)

I am not in attendance, but am listening for a while. Initially the audio was fairly poor - it seems better now.  Lynn Anderson asked for a charter amendment to require a super-majority to fire a City Manager.  Teresa Miller asked for more detail on the legal fee item in the budget - to great applause.  Mark Parrilla reported about the Ed Fry item.

I was distracted last night due to company being here, so I didn't hear all the proceedings.  What sticks out to me is that, in response to Teresa Miller's request for basic but comprehensive details about the city's lawsuits, Commissioner Mulvehill said that the public can always submit a public information request and get that information.  Commissioner Mulvehill - this information hasn't even been available to the Commission!  The Mayor has asked for it.  The Commission discussed the need for this information last summer and we were told that an intern was working on it.  It is now January of 2012.  That response seemed like "let them eat cake", detached from the city's administrative realities and that this generally wasn't a problem.  I guess she doesn't think the information is important?

Under the revision of the distance waiver process for places serving alcoholic beverages, the conversation got bogged down over the status of Casa de Mara's license - which seemed to be colossally confusing.  We will hear more about this matter later.

Any other important updates, please share below under comments.

Florida Public Records Law is a Great Thing!

 This is Edwin Fry's employment application to the City of Port St. Lucie.  Click on the images to make them larger. If they are still difficult to read, click here and you will be directed to copies that you can zoom in to your liking.  Thank you to one of our intrepid roving reporters for snagging this document from the City of Port St. Lucie.  They would not fax or e-mail the document and required the intrepid reporter to physically go there and pick up a copy, including the payment of a small fee.
 Ed Fry was the City's Office of Management and Budget Manager and reported directly to Susan Stanton.  The week after former City Manager Stanton's dismissal, Mr. Fry announced his resignation and that he had accepted a job at the City of Port St. Lucie.  Supporters of Ms. Stanton immediately pointed to this as an example of the "brain drain" the city would suffer with the departure of Ms. Stanton.  To my knowledge, Mr. Fry did nothing to discourage that way of thinking, although I am willing to stand corrected if that is not the case.  Mr Fry is memorable to me for his work related to the Wildan Police Department feasibility study and his parroting the party line of the City Manager in how we can't afford PBSO, but that somehow we can afford our own Lake Worth Police Department - having it in place beginning January of 2012.
Two things immediately jump out at me.  Mr. Fry lives in Ft. Pierce, which is much closer to Port St. Lucie than Lake Worth is.  This alone could have been a consideration in accepting the job as the commuting distance would be significantly less.  The most important fact revealed by this document is that the application was made July 17th of 2011.  This shows that the hiring of professional personnel is a time-consuming process.  The decision to apply and then for the organization to hire that person takes time and contemplation on both sides.  The date of the application more closely aligns with the special election held last summer that brought us Mayor Waterman.  Could that be the reason that he submitted his application?  I suppose that only Mr. Fry and perhaps some of his close friends would know.

So, I am going out on a limb - not really - and saying that the dismissal of Susan Stanton and the announcement by Mr. Fry is more coincidental than reactionary.  Your thoughts.

Mango Groves Neighborhood Watch

Happy New Year!

Last month at the Mango Groves Neighborhood Association monthly meeting a number of residents expressed a desire to gather more information on starting a Neighborhood Watch in Mango Groves. Joel Morganstern of PBSO has volunteered to conduct an informational meeting on this topic. The meeting will be held on Monday, January 23rd, 7pm, at the Cottage on Lucerne Ave. We will be taking notes, so if you can not make it please check the website ( after the meeting to see what was discussed. Please pass this information on to anyone you think may be interested. Feel free to email us ( if you have any questions.

We hope to see many of you there!

Sincerely, Mango Groves Neighborhood Association Board of Directors

Michael Parenti

‎"The worst forms of tyranny, or certainly the most successful ones, are not those we rail against but those that so insinuate themselves into the imagery of our consciousness, and the fabric of our lives, as not to be perceived as tyranny."

Monday, January 2, 2012

More on Architect G. Sherman Childs...

Former Commissioner Vespo lives in G. Sherman Childs' son's house at 330 South Palmway.  He followed in his father's footsteps and became an architect.  According to Dave Vespo, his son lived in house until his death - the last 18 years of his life confined to a wheelchair due to a fall in an elevator shaft.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Archaeologist Dorothy Block says Jeaga people part of early island life

Dorothy Block is a member of the Lake Worth Historic Resource Preservation Board. Click title for link to Shiny Sheet article.

Pasco County Seeks Nude German Tourists |

A way to embrace tourism dollars? Click title for link.

Progress Report 431 North L. Street

These pictures (above) were taken in July of 2008.  These were the out buildings west of the main building at 431 North L. Street.  This is a city-owned property since nuisance abatement action was taken while I was still on the Planning and Zoning Board.  You can do a search of the blog - upper left hand corner - to get more information on the property and the trials/tribulations of trying to get the city to board up the building.  After numerous communications with many city officials - elected and others, it was Commissioner Vespo that took action to make sure the property was secured properly.  One of the loose ends was the city going ahead and demolition these structures.

Curious about the status of the building, I rode by it today while biking.  The main building is still secured and, lo and behold, the out buildings have been FRESHLY bulldozed, with the bulldozer still on the property as evidence.

The main building dates from the from the early 1920s and was one designed by noted architect G. Sherman Childs - architect of the current City Hall building, City Hall annex and the original 1922 Casino Building.  He worked in Addison Mizner's shop, had involvement in many projects in the Town of Palm Beach, but eventually opened an office here.  This building was originally designed as a four unit walk-up - rare in south Florida.  The current zoning allows for many more units, but with city ownership, it would be possible to sponsor a real RESTORATION and perhaps an adaptive re-use for this building.  The property is outside of the CRA boundaries, or else they might be able to provide some sort of assistance.  The next step would be to find an appropriate user for the building and restore it close to its original configuration.

These pictures (below) were taken today: