Wednesday, December 31, 2008
With the past few years being full of disasters and bad decisions leaving us to wonder how difficult it would be for any one human being to lead us out of this dark hole, we worked hard to make change. We made a start to turn it all around in the November election, not only nationally but locally as well.
We have the very strong probability of saving our beach/casino and reversing some of the horrendous decisions of the past as well as changing the ways of doing business, not only here but in the world at large. Now we have a new start with a new City Commission and a new President to lead us out of an illegal war and back to prosperity and national pride. We all feel as if there is new found hope for the future.
May our troops stay safe and may our government, Local, State and National, enact policies to keep our community and country healthy and may it always lead within the law. We look forward with optimism and what our new leadership will bring. Here’s to a prosperous 2009 and beyond! To all my friends and to my Brother, I give my profound and heartfelt thanks and love.
Officer Mahoney will be out on bike patrol tonight for New Year's Eve. Since the past Commission, along with a heavy push and clout from the Chamber of Commerce, decided that convenience stores selling alcohol should stay opened until 2am, Officer Mahoney might have a long night.
“Change has come to America." -- Barack Obama
“Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it has about 18 million cracks in it.”-- Sen. Hillary Clinton
“Can I explain to you what happened? First of all it happened during a period after she was in remission from cancer.”—John Edwards
“I made a mistake.”-- Alan Greenspan, Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve who preached deregulation
"If Jesus came back today, I think he'd throw up." -- Former Gov. Jesse Ventura on politics and organized religion
"Conservatives say if you don't give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they've lost all incentive because we've given them too much money."--John Carlin
“Good people sometimes make bad decisions. This is not just a bad decision. This is a crime.”-- US District Judge Kenneth Marra while sentencing PB County Commissioner, Warren Newell.
"Thank you all for coming," he told them, then paused to kiss his former law partner, Alan Ciklin, on the cheek. "I love you all."--William Boose after getting sentenced 2 years in Federal prison for corruption
"There's no intent, it was nothing willfully done. This was just a mistake."-- Commissioner Retha Lowe responding to the Florida Elections Commission on finding her guilty of knowingly filing false campaign reports.
“I'm so confused.”--Commissioner Retha Lowe on just about anything discussed on the dais.
“You mean all you have to do is turn on a switch?”-- Newly elected Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill after visiting the West Palm Beach Water connect and learning that we can get extra WPB water for nothing (no capital outlay) compared to PB County water costing us an estimated $21 million dollars.
“I'll never drink West Palm Beach Water.”--Mayor Jeff Clemens who then votes to spend $21 million of our money unnecessarily and votes to burn $14 million dollars we have already put into our own Reverse Osmosis System
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
My New year's resolution will be to visit our wonderful zoo more often.
This one really takes the cake. Apparently the State of Florida had a bet with Warren Buffet…well sort of. Florida was so petrified that it might have major damage from a hurricane this year that they gave Warren Buffet a deal—we give you $224 million and IF we get damage from a hurricane, you buy $4 million in bonds to finance the recovery. Guess what? We lost the bet…well sort of... no hurricanes but taxpayers are out $224 mil for this bet. Is this what you call creative financing?
Monday, December 29, 2008
Dr. Harold Levin, retired Dentist and former Director of the Lake Worth Democratic Club, conducted a public meeting requested by the Obama Transition Team in order to discuss our current health care system.
The meeting was held at the Masonic Lodge on North D Street and attended by 18 Lake Worth citizens and others from around our County. Not knowing much about our healthcare in the U.S. other than if you don’t have insurance or if you are not one of the Nation’s poorest or an illegal, you might just as well pack it up and die if you ever get sick or worse, I wanted to attend. Also, it is a fact that healthcare costs more in this country than in any other country on the planet. It is not too hard to guess the reason for that—doctors charge more and it is privatized. Doctors are sued more and their mal-practice insurance has gone out of sight. We are the only developed country that does not have universal healthcare.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000 ranked the U.S. health care system first in both responsiveness and expenditure, but 37th in overall performance and 72nd by overall level of health (among 191 member nations included in the study). I don’t know if we have improved. All those who can’t afford insurance in this country, an estimated 47 million, go untreated or they are charity cases with the costs absorbed by all tax payers in America. The other thing that is driving costs up for all of us is fraud. We used to look up to our doctors as if they were demi-Gods.
Many issues were discussed today…some of which were: Scrap the present system; educate the public on health thus cutting down health care costs; too much money going to our elected officials from insurance companies, etc. to fund their campaigns; We all need health care and we should all pay for it; Take the profit out of those companies that insure health care; Provide for a Single Payer System; Support H.R. 676; Stop bailing out companies and put this money into healthcare for all; Social Security and Medicare funds can NOT be used for any other purpose; Malpractice insurance is a tiny part of our entire health care system; We don’t need incrementalism, have just one plan.
We will be sending our recommendations on to the Obama Transition Team whose desire is to ensure health care to all Americans and to get feed-back from citizens throughout our country.
It is right smack in the heart of the Everglades restoration. Vulcan's attorney, Alan Ciklin (yes the very same Alan Ciklin with Boose, Casey Ciklin that the City of Lake Worth hires to fight its fights) says it is proceeding as if the State of Florida does not exist.
We are going to spend $1.3 billion to repair the Everglades and will have to work around a 7,000 acre rock mine if Ciklin gets his way. So much for the environment.
If you recall, back in March 2008, this extremely important decision of what to do with our waste water was placed under the City Manager’s Report. Therefore, no public input was allowed. FPL needed treated water for its new power plant and they wanted ours. And by golly, they were going to get it. Afterall, Lake Worth is known to roll over and give it all away. The City Commission HAD to make a decision right away that very night. In fact, Brian Shields, Palm Beach County, said that ECR needed a decision in one week. Lake Worth was the only hold-up for the East Central Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility (ECR).
Finance Director Mark Bates pushed for it and talked about the negative of having our own plant: it would take 5 to 10 years to build and it was estimated to cost us $1 million a mile for 14 miles. He said that it would be a “win, win” for all concerned if we gave our waste water to FPL on a 30 year lease. Samy Faried, Utilities Director at the time and our Rep to ECR, was on the hot seat earlier in the evening with his request for an extension on his residency requirement.
Of course, we know the outcome of this vote. 3 to 2 with Mayor Clemens stating that it would take capital to have our own plant. Retha went along with the ride and Vespo just said “yes” as he did to all major proposals affecting our city. It was the "get it off our plate" scenario for which this past Commission was famous.
It was just another drastic decision by these three Commissioners.
READ THE ARTICLE
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The highest non-recourse States are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.
The incentive to walk-away from a home mortgage is greater in these States as you can NOT go after the delinquent borrower's assets. It is impossible to even accept that millions of people taking out mortgages got fooled or worse. This is all about irresponsible and greedy lenders and irresponsible borrowers.
Candidate Commissioner District 4, Rene Varela, talked about this during the election and how it will affect the City of Lake Worth in 2009. Months ago, Sen. John McCain attacked the Federal Reserve for bailing out failed financial institutions and said that we should "get out of the business of bailouts." These bailouts had no strings. Talk about irresponsible.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE
Our city Commission is meeting on January 28th at 5:30 in order to discuss ethics reform. This is something sorely needed. Just because Commissioner Lowe only admits to a "mistake," the Florida Elections Commission says otherwise.
Several administrators in our County have gone to prison. Some have had to pay stiff fines. Some have gotten away with corruption for years and just have not been caught. Sometimes it starts innocently by accepting that free lunch. And it just gets easier the second time, then the third time, etc. Abuse of power comes in all degrees. It is often times very difficult to prove. This time is was proved without a doubt.
The citizens deserve better than a corrupt official. We already have a tough time believing in politicians and Ms. Lowe's actions certainly do not instill confidence in elected officials. Laws were broken here and it was proved. For us to put up with this is just plain stoooooooooooopid.
Sorry Ms. Lowe, but it's time to Go!
Friday, December 26, 2008
On December 18th, in a 4 to 3 ruling, the Florida Supreme Court consisting of Gov Charlie Crist's two new appointees, narrowly approved a proposed constitutional amendment for placement on the 2010 ballot that discriminates against the First Amendment rights of Florida active duty military and National Guard who are deployed out of state. The amendment also discriminates against disabled, housebound Florida voters. If approved by 60% of the electorate, the provision will become part of the Florida Constitution.
Florida Hometown Democracy plans on fighting this outrageous decision by filing a motion of rehearing.
READ WHAT BOYNTON BEACH IS DOING ABOUT IT
Ms. Lowe committed five counts of violating Chapter 106, Florida Statutes.
Commissioner Lowe has been a Lake Worth City Commissioner for years. In this last election she acted as her campaign treasurer but she wants us to buy her story, telling us that she did not try to cover-up the real source of these contributions.
The State of Florida says that she demonstrated a reckless disregard for the requirement to accurately report campaign contributions and it was “deliberate.” The State says that not only was it deliberate but she knowingly prepared and filed false reports. She didn’t fool all of us.
For the New Year, Retha Lowe really should go.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
While people are experiencing a cold Christmas Day up North, many people were enjoying our pool at Lake Worth Beach today. Read the article in the Post--
AT OUR POOL
“As we spend this Christmas season with our loved ones, we can celebrate the wonders of life, as seen in the miraculous birth of our Lord. This is a time when we enjoy the blessings of friends and family as we look back upon the previous year and prepare for the year ahead." Gov Crist
Our Governor's Christmas card for 2008 was designed by James Gibson, an original Highwayman. I met him at our local art gallery, Art Link International, just a few weeks ago while he was there over one weekend with MaryAnn Carroll, the only woman Highwayman. The gallery was celebrating their works as well as Ms. Carroll’s birthday.
Twenty-two of his paintings already hang in the Governor’s Mansion. This Christmas card went all over the world, depicting a palm tree on the bank of the Indian River. Everyone should try and own a little piece of Florida history if you can.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Alligator Alley runs 78 miles connecting the southwestern and southeastern coastal areas. I traveled on it when it was just a one way road in each direction, back when Florida was still “undiscovered, well almost. Many fatal accidents happened on it as there were no rest stops and nothing much to look at other than Florida sawgrass and scrub palms. Drivers, particularly truckers, got bored and fell asleep too many times. I never saw an alligator, not even once.
Later, DOT widened the road to four lanes paying for the project with a Revenue Bond of $17 mil in 1964. I believe that it was called Everglades Parkway back then. Later, in 1997, The Department of Transportation State of Florida sold $55.2 mil in Revenue Bonds for replacement of toll plazas and other improvements.
During the fiscal year 2007, approximately 8.3 million toll transactions on Alligator Alley produced approximately $23.5 million in revenues. Operations and maintenance costs for that same period were approximately $6.1 million.
Florida Department of Transportation officials said they are examining a 50 to 75-year lease for Alligator Alley. Right now, we have companies in Spain, Portugal, Australia, Brazil as well as global consortiums who will bid on leasing Alligator Alley.
Gary Eidson, chairman of the Collier Citizens Transportation Coalition, fears that any deal to lease the alley would come close to a give-away. “There’s too much documentation to show that these deals go together bad,” Eidson said. “They’re undervalued when they’re purchased, particularly when leased to a private entity. And (the leases) run too long.”
As an alternate means of raising revenue, with no defined purpose, by Gov Crist, the State is using the same argument that we heard from the City of Lake Worth on our beach. “At the end of the day, we will still own it.” They were supposed to bid on it on January 12 but now because of the global economic downturn the potential Lessees want to postpone the bidding until May 2009.
I say, let’s lease it to the State of Florida. Florida investing in Florida. Is that novel, or what?
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
He was heard singing, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.” When this is all over that’s about all he will have left, as well as his victims who live globally. He told the FBI that there was no innocent explanation.
The shot he fired was felt here in Palm Beach County as well as all over the world. May he rot.
Senator Bill Nelson
SH-716, United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Nelson,
I am appalled that you continue to vote for legislation that would import more foreign labor and disemploy Americans.
Why have you been consistently voting in favor of a policy of importing around 140,000 foreign workers every month while our state's unemployment rate has soared even above the national average?
Most foreign workers who are brought into this country are an incredible drain on taxpayers, especially on those who pay property and sales taxes to state and local governments. The Heritage Foundation discovered that the typical household headed by a low-educated foreign worker uses $20,000 more in public services than paid in taxes -- with most of the net cost on state and local governments.
Our state and our nation is hurting. Please look deep inside your soul and determine whether you can continue to vote for policies that keep your fellow Americans unemployed and deprive them of social services. Many of your constituents are counting on you -- please don't let us down!
Do you remember Amendment One in 2007 and the con that we all were going to save on taxes at the tune of about $280 per household? 64% of the voters said YES. As a result, every budget of every city had to look at drastic cuts and innovative ways to save money in order to operate.
Here in Lake Worth, a city with one of the highest millage rates in the County, the 3 to 2 Commission voted to give away our local police department and merge it into the Sheriff’s Department. Why? 1) Because the officers, now deputies, said that they would be making more money…they WANTED IT ALL and 2) the citizens fell for the con that they would be safer. They didn’t care if it was costing us more money like a million dollars more a year and that we were going to have to give over our entire fleet and assets worth millions, etc. to the Sheriff. The City only knew that it was one less thing to deal with...get it off our plate.
Now there is talk about doing the same thing with our fire department. It is strange that no one talks about the pension and retirement payments given to these employees. Is everyone just scared of the Unions? As it was mentioned at one City Commission meeting recently, 47 of the 91 police officers are STILL in Lake Worth’s Pension Plan. They have no intention of moving their plan to the Sheriff’s. We are still paying for these people! Union benefits and wages are killing this city. And our former police officers as well as some citizens, don’t care.
The Social Security system is increasing the retirement age. Civil service employees vest at a much higher figure than 20 years in Social Security. Just compare the two scenarios… a civil service worker at the same wage as a Social Security-invested worker and then compare his contributions and the payouts. In addition, the civil service worker has no additional deduction for medical, pills, dental care, etc., after retirement.
Pretty soon there will be more retirees than workers on Social Security. It could now be the same problem with civil service workers. Also, how many years does it take to be vested in Lake Worth, does anyone know?
We have seen first-hand how the passing of Amendment One has hurt every city throughout the State but especially all of those who voted for it thinking that the City would actually trim the waste. It didn’t work out that way and now we are paying for Storm Water on our tax bill at a higher rate than we paid when it was included in our budget. Now the City wants to do the same thing with fire rescue. The CRA wants to give away our money to people who want us to pay for impact windows and a/c systems because "that's what they do." We have an Employee of the Year who is coming up with higher fees for just about everything and the City believes he is some sort of guru. Once you tax, it never goes away. Once you increase fees, they seldom come down. We know that our budget will continue to grow and so will the millage.
You, the well intentioned citizen who voted for this Amendment is screwed. Did anyone save on their taxes this year? All any city has to do is raise the millage and your $280 savings is wiped out but our City found other ways. It was wiped out the minute that Amendment was passed.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Aside from Orchids, Roses are my most favorite of all flowers. They are perfect in very way and God was in a good mood the day he created them.
My friend Donna brought me some pink roses today for X’mas. She told me that she bought them from an illegal alien and wanted to know if that was ok? :) She makes me laugh, another reason why I like her so much. Thanks, Donna.
There are a lot of good bands but this one is exceptionally good as is the group, Cricklewood. It’s just my taste in music, I guess. It is not only the bands that make this event special. It is the camaraderie; all of our residents in one place enjoying themselves and everyone getting along…no one thinking about politics.
I have to give kudos where they belong so I thank the Chamber and the CRA for Evening on the Avenues.
Wayne Marcinkoski of the CRA raised a legitimate question regarding the administrative fee in order to put on these events. Tom Ramiccio says it costs $700 per event for Evening on the Avenues and that money I understand goes to him and his staff. Mr. Ramiccio requires his staff to be at the Cultural Plaza from 5pm until 6pm on those two nights a month. Wayne asked for a breakdown of that money—who gets what amount. We can’t expect people to work for nothing but the question is fair when it is taxpayer money being doled out. When the Chamber keeps upping the ante in the amount it wants from the CRA, any question is fair.
While Commissioner Jennings was having her Winter Solstice Party on Saturday Night, celebrating all good things on the longest darkest night of the year, there was another party one street away on N. D where a person was shot and another stabbed.
The celebration of the Winter Solstice, with an origin of “holy days,” is described as the way human beings mark the sacred times in the yearly cycle of life. The difference in the gatherings is one group attended by many pacifists was talking and thinking about the value of all lives, new beginnings with hope for the future while the other showed that life is not sacred to them at any time of the year.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
As far as Ed Grimm, another CRA Board member, and if true, stating that he should have stepped on Lynch for using the word Locust to describe some renters and apologizing for Lynch’s statement--who is anyone to “step on” another Board member or for that matter to apologize for someone else. If you are going to go after someone in politics, you go after his voting record, not for something as silly as this.
I remember when Brendan Lynch did that in front of the PB County Commission—apologizing for all of us who were there to speak on our beach. I was ticked off for years…still am. And who cares? There are right ways to do things. We are not Brendan’s parents. We are not Brendan’s school teachers. Brendan is entitled to his ideas just like anyone else. Brendan gave his explanation. And there is nothing further he needs to say.
There are always people who will be offended. So what? Right now they are giving Obama hell for his choice of Rev. Rick Warren, a conservative theologian, to give the invocation at the President’s inauguration. Obama received over 63 million of the popular vote but now the gays and lesbians are offended. Warren is a minister who has personally given and has been directly involved in the eradication of HIV. People never want to see beyond their own agenda and what could be construed as a narrow personal view.
What do cannibals make out of politicians?
Tourism and then Development.
In millions, PB County only produces 4,366 (millions) boxes of citrus yearly with
rural Polk County producing the most, 36,250 boxes.
Also, FHD released the following statement:
Hometown Democracy to ask for rehearing on Florida Chamber of Commerce sponsored, “Vote on Nothing” petition.
In a close, 4-3 ruling this week, the Florida Supreme Court narrowly upheld the constitutional amendment proposed by “Floridians for Smarter Growth.” That Chamber-backed petition was created to foil Florida Hometown Democracy, the people’s reform constitutional amendment that would allow local voters to approve or reject comprehensive growth plan amendments approved by their local elected officials.
In contrast, the “Vote on Nothing” proposal allows a referendum on a growth plan amendment only if 10% of the electorate travel to the office of the supervisor of elections to sign a petition within 60 days of the date of the first signature on the petition. The Hometown Democracy sponsors predict that, because of those impossible logistical hurdles to clear, a referendum occurring under those circumstances would be highly unlikely, which, they assert, is the Chamber’s plan in the first place.
Florida Hometown Democracy will seek rehearing.
It just goes to show you how important FHD is when you have to fight the Chamber of Commerce, builders associations and Judges. Does anyone see how ridiculous this is--requiring 10% of the voters to physically go into the Supervisor of Elections office to sign a petition when the average person can't get off the couch from watching Days of our Lives? This is a joke.
The full opinion is available at this link: CLICK HERE
Today's letter to the Post: CLICK HERE
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Can we get our WASTE WATER back? That was another brilliant decision of the past Commission of Clemens, Vespo and Lowe. Back on March 18th, those Commissioners with ZERO vision, spent too much time discussing whether Wayne Marcinkoski should be kicked off the CRA Board and should have spent more time on this serious 30 year commitment to FPL. As usual, it was a rush deal and we just had to make a decision that night.
Please, Commissioners--don't fall for this bull again.
The Commission voted 5 to 0 to hire another consultant probably because of the tired lame excuse that city employees either can't do it, won't do it or are too over-worked to do it. Even the Mayor thinks that our HR Director just doesn't have the time to do his job. Recruiting and hiring are two of the top functions of a normal Human Resource Director.
Last time we got a City Manager who did not want us. We kept saying, "but we want you and we will pay you more than any previous City Manager, so pretty please come to Lake Worth and work for us." He did.
What exactly is one of the "good" citizens? Is this just a citizen who goes along with any decision that comes out of City Hall? Is it a citizen that never questions, is a doormat to politics and the agenda of the majority in power? I would have been bothered by that remark as well. Thank God there are Sunshine Laws that help protect the citizenry. It’s just one small protection we have and we don’t have much.
The City Commission has made so many awful decisions. A lot of those votes were made as a direct result of information given to them by Staff. After all, who should you trust…a stranger or your paid employees?
Perception is reality. The present CM was supposed to have moved here. His car is rarely spotted in his assigned space at City Hall. One must really live here in order to make fair and objective decisions that affect all the people of Lake Worth and in fact, that is a job requirement. He never moved here. That is a reality.
Friday, December 19, 2008
In November, Palm Beach County's jobless rate rose to 7.6% from 7.5 percent in October and 4.6 percent in November 2007.
St. Lucie County unemployment rose to 10.4 percent from 10.2 percent last month and 6.4 percent a year ago.
Ya'll come on down to Lake Worth. We have an illegal labor hiring hall that says it helps American citizens too!
This entire mess started when Rodney Romano was Mayor. That is when maintenance stopped on the casino. This is when it was jack-hammered to “prove” that there was so much decay that the building just had to be demolished. This was so all the developer friends of Lake Worth could come in and do the dirty. No money after that was ever put in the CIP to take care of our beach property. Maintenance was so minimal that it was nearly non-existent and in fact, there were many years were no money was budgeted for maintenance. This, in my opinion, was a “criminal” act. Instead of a citizen lawsuit against the City for an outrageous beach lease with and outrageous company, Greater Bay, perhaps it should have been for gross neglect of citizens’ assets.
Obviously, there are still some citizens out here who have their own ideas on what should happen to the beach. Our beach has been designed this way since inception in 1922 after engineering studies concluded that the Casino needed to be erected right where it is today. There have never been any complaints about this and in fact anyone ever asked about the parking wants our upper level access.
Just when we all agree that refurbishing the casino and using the County money to improve the parking, boardwalk etc., is the way to go, we have a CRA member who suggested last year that the casino was dangerous and should be demolished for safety, now coming forward with some "visionary" idea about busing people across the bridge to our beach…no personal cars. His idea-- “encourage trolley, walking or biking to the beach.” He wants the parking for the beach to be downtown Lake Worth. Who wants going to the beach to be inconvenient or an all day hassle? Just imagine Mr. Smith going to the beach with his cooler and his four kids with that idea in place. Sorry, what ever have you been smoking? :)
If there is anyone else out there who just does not understand what the majority of people want for their beach, ask Dave Vespo. I believe that he finally gets it.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Everyone has been very quite when it comes to the Chamber of Commerce and the Tom Ramiccio incident. Oh, there's been a lot of rumbling but no action. It was reprehensible but if the merchants who are members can’t give their own sanctions or demonstrate in protest of his action, then why should the rest of us get involved?
Everyone has been mighty quiet on the Retha Lowe elections violations. Why is that? Is everyone really that scared to ask her to step down? Javier, a citizen with whom I rarely agree, stood up for principle at the City Commission meeting and spoke out chastising Commissioner Lowe. He was right. All the rest of us were wrong for being silent.
Both the above actions were wrong. Ms. Lowe’s was more serious.
At the Commission meeting the other night, CM Bob Baldwin said that we should hire someone with City Management experience and that we should hire a headhunter to find that person.
I would like to see us hire the best city administrator in the country. I don’t care the price. We are in serious need of someone who can manage. However, how do you really know who the right person is? Resumes and references are one thing but I have always said that you don’t know what someone is truly about until you sign on the dotted line. Not all caterpillars transform into butterflies just as not all city managers are effective or meet our expectations. There are always surprises and things occur that we never expected, not in a million years.
I don’t necessarily believe that the next city manager we hire has to have city management experience. He should, however, live in this city. We hired Paul Boyer, right? We hired Bob Baldwin who has never really wanted to be our city manager. Perhaps we should consider thinking out of the box.
There are many effective people right here living in our City who could handle this job. I say look closer to home. Give a one year contract with the right not to renew or give out an exorbitant severance package. Listen to the citizens in what they want as a City Manager. You did not do that last time.
What this is about is the beginning of handing over our city to every needy group in the universe. Next we will have the entire country of Haiti invited to live here. Who in the heck gave us the right to turn over city buildings or city property to any group because we have commissioners who are bleeding hearts? Who? Oh, you say it is a greater power that our commissioners answer to. They answer to us, the taxpayer.
What this is about is Socialism. Socialism has been a dismal failure throughout the world and those who seem to believe in its doctrine are a lot of intellectuals, the educated, and the social planners who want to tell us what is best for us. They want to take my chips. They want to take what you have worked hard to get and give it to someone who doesn’t want to work and just wants a handout. They feel guilty that they have a pot to pee in and the other person doesn’t. They have told me that I should come back as a Guatemalan in my next life implying that I just don’t understand their plight. My response was, I would come to the U.S. legally.
What this is also about are Commissioners losing focus as to what they are elected to do in this city. One of our Socialistic Commissioners stated the reason she voted for a management company at the golf course was because we have more important issues to deal with in our City. This is what we elect our officials to do—make the tough decisions that are in the best interest of our citizens, maintain our property, be fiscally responsible and not make decisions that are adversarial to the welfare of our taxpayers. The golf course is one of our most important assets--200 acres of pristine waterfront property. It is very important that we make the right decision here. This company wants a four year contract. Did anyone have a copy of it? Were there any other companies bidding on this management deal?
We are becoming more and more of a welfare state. Just because you were born does not give you the right to have it all. Here in this country you are given all the rights under our Constitution. Everyone is given the tools to become successful just by being citizens here. There is nothing in our Constitution that says we need to take it all from those who worked hard and were productive and give it all to the poor. That was Robin Hood.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
It appears that Respondent prepared and filed false reports for the purpose of preventing the public from finding out the actual source of the contributions discussed herein prior to the election.CLICK HERE FOR REPORT
What started out as a political decision may end the same way because the decision rendered today by the Appellate Court is not quite the end. As Tammy would say, "It ain't over til it's over."
This is why we need Florida Hometown Democracy.
Commissioner Jennings rode her bike during the Holiday parade with a sign on it that said something like “War is not the answer.” Neither is constant protest. One of our citizens spoke out last night against her decision stating that it was a “holiday” parade and protests such as hers should not be a part of the parade. The right of free speech is noble but in this instance the signage could have been left at home replaced by “Happy Holidays.” It would have been the more responsible and appropriate thing to do.
War is justified if there is direct or indirect aggression against the United States. It has to be morally correct, a realistic threat and we must be convinced that severe harm could come to our country. There are many times that war IS the answer. War is declared by Congress, but it is apparent that President Bush, when waging war against Iraq, believed his statement on renewing the US Patriot Act, that the Constitution “was just a damn piece of paper.”
Commissioner Jennings defended her bike sign with her protest message stating that if the local high school’s Junior ROTC members marched in the parade, she was justified in getting her anti-war message out there. I don’t think that she understands the purpose of being a member of this group.
The Junior ROTC is a group of kids that focuses on leadership development, problem solving, strategic planning, and professional ethics. There is no commitment to military service at this stage but its purpose is to produce people who can make responsible and informed decisions. The more you learn in this program, the more likely you are to be able to function effectively in a career in the community and in family life.
They are taught to respect their peers, superiors, and subordinates. Respect was not reciprocated by Commissioner Jennings last night when she made that statement.
I would do a complete background check of this Group that is only given 2 stars before committing any property that is owned by the City. 2 stars means the charity meets or nearly meets industry standards but underperforms most charities in its Cause. In other words, it's not up to snuff...needs improvement.
God helps those who help themselves. In this case, the Rev. has done well. I would bet that Steven Spielberg wished he had done a little checking before he had invested millions with Bernie Madoff.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
He said that first he needs to secure a building and next, zoning issues must be solved. The Reverend said that he was here to check out his future partners, Lake Worth. Commissioner Jennings asked the City Manager to check out our surplus properties and check on their zoning.
Almost forgot--he needs funding--all of this just before Christmas. Good timing, Rev. Everyone is much more charitable around this time of year.
if Lake Worth has anything to say about it.
Well, why not. We have every other group alive, living and breathing in our friendly little family oriented city of
I have a soft spot for the homeless as I have always said that the majority of us are only a heartbeat away from being in that state. Who knows? The nicest of people lose jobs, lose their homes, and some end up on the streets but it is usually a temporary situation. But the majority of the homeless are chronic--alcoholics and drug users who need professional help for addiction.
These are the people hanging out in
Tonight we have a presentation on the HOMELESS. Can't wait. Watch. This will be the next liberal cause we take on in the City of Lake Worth, (like we can afford another one) and I would bet that it will be right down in the heart of our city, like the illegal labor center, allowing them a city park or building for this. After all, they have the rights. We don’t have enough problems here; we need more.
I left before the meeting was over but the message was clear—get out NOW. Being in the ARP (All Requirements Project) is costing us a whole lot of do re me—anywhere from $10 to 14 million dollars in year 2014 (it takes 5 years to exit our contract) or close to $4 million depending on what decision we make going forward.
The President of Energy Advantage Consulting, Sue Hersey, suggested several courses of action and admitted that “there’s a problem” with FMPA. She said that you really need people who can manage fuel risks. Right now we are 22.5% higher than FPL.
During Ron Exline’s term, he voted to purchase a share of the Nuclear Power Plant in Port St. Lucie. This has turned out to be a great investment for us and nuclear is cheaper. It provides 30% of our capacity with FMPA providing the rest.
We also own part of the Stanton Plant in Orlando which is coal producing. Coal plants now make about half of the electricity generated in the United States.
Volatile fuel prices and a weakened Florida economy as well as credit concerns could place pressure on the financial performance of the members of FMPA of which there are 14. Vero Beach exited with FMPA in 2005 and now in one more year it can sell its power and profit from what they produce. Right now, we must sell all of our power we generate to FMPA at a price they determine, not necessarily market rates.
We own our asset and Ms. Hersey said that all was in good condition because it has been maintained. The best plan of action is to maintain local generation for reliability, exit FMPA, run our transmission studies, do an RFP for long-term capacity and energy purchases, and highly consider a Stand Alone operation with the LM6000.
The overall message of last night was to give FMPA notice—NOW—before January 1 or we will have to wait another year and that will cost us possibly $14 million dollars to wait.
Perhaps we now have a Commission that will vote on the right course of action for The City of Lake Worth. One question that comes to my mind is, should we really be in the power producing business at all? With the right employees in place as well as Staff along with future Commissions that will read and understand Contracts, we have an excellent shot at being independent and lowering costs to all residents.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Today it is reported that General Mills is making money--up 11%
Years ago when I had my first job in Bristol, Tennessee, I believed in Unions 100%. No one back then made any money unless you were with a Union. People usually worked for a company until retirement. In that area, the Teamsters Union was predominate. People were poor but didn't dwell on it, but they were happy. Strangers invited you in for mac and cheese or October beans and corn bread. You always had a lot of good, home cooking on the table. Your social life revolved around Church and family outings. Everyone sat down at the dinner table together—at the same time. Black Friday was still prevalent in the minds of the older folks as was World War II. The majority of workers were blue color. Many in that area had never recovered from the past; it was the hills of Tennessee.
As the last piece of the New Deal, the G.I. Bill, caught on, more and more service people were getting zero interest loans allowing them to move from the crowded cities and their rental apartments to suburbia and becoming homeowners. Later came the low interest educational loans with the government pouring billions into that program, one of our first welfare programs in America. Everyone taking advantage of this wanted to be more successful than their parents and live the American dream; two cars, two kids and one TV.
I can’t pin-point when the greed factor took over. I would bet that the information technology explosion had everything to do with it. It’s sort of like the beginning of the boom of Florida growth caused by air conditioning. When I lived near Silicon Valley, everyone had money. I lived in San Jose and I have never met so many interesting people in one place. This was the early 70’s and that industry was booming, producing over-night millionaires. Everyone wanted on the band wagon. Loyalty to working for one company now was non-existent. Everyone job hopped to make more money. We had all become white color workers thanks to education and thousands of us receiving zero to low interest loans from the government.
Today, we are in the crisis we are in due to greed and the unwillingness of anyone to correct this run away train and taxpayer bailout. Unions in Detroit refuse to negotiate wages until 2011. All of the greed started at the top by corporate executives making millions a year as our financial institutions went south and those behind the mortgage industry wrote bad loans only to make commissions.
Locally, the City of Lake Worth is engaged in some creative financing, throwing more and more costs on to the taxpayer, shuffling the costs off to Palm Beach County to appear on our tax bill although we will still be paying for the service in City taxes. Did anyone’s taxes go down? Sacrifices should be made by all of us, not just the few. And this is why I believe there must be a moratorium on wages and benefits across the country with the Unions being a part of the solution.
Everyone needs to look at themselves and ask if they are part of the “pampered plutocrats” and then government needs to get tough. Saying NO would be a start. Let's start right here in Lake Worth.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The entire point of the Ramiccio story is not that someone downtown didn’t have a business license and was turned in by Mr. Ramiccio because a law was broken. It was the way in which he went about correcting the "problem" of the code violation by one of his members of the Chamber of Commerce.
The appropriate and sensible way to have handled this, if it was bothering Mr. Ramiccio that much and after so many years of that establishment operating not up to code, was to go to the owner and ask her to immediately obtain a business license and correct all possible code violations, not call Code Enforcement and have her subjected to a big spectacle with the fire department there too and shutting down her food business.
If he was not being vindictive, (the incident occurring the very next day after the CRA meeting) then that would have been the correct, friendly and businesslike approach by the head of the Chamber. I would be interested in hearing Mr. Ramiccio's reasoning behind his action.
Back in 1985, the Florida Growth Management Act became law and mandated comprehensive planning. Why? It became law in order to protect Floridians from over-development. Its intent was that future amendments be few and far between. (It is supposed to be hard to amend a comp plan!)
Through the years the public interest was discarded by politicians in bed with greedy developers and those in that industry. The well being of the community, the citizens' quality of life, our beautiful environment, everything that makes our communities a desirable place to live has been sacrificed at the alter of the growth machine. Politicians got in the way of sensible growth.
All the shady politics and money under the table deals will come to a screeching halt when FHD gets passed. Developers will now have to work within the law. The people will now have the say as to what happens in their community and how they want it to look, not corrupt politicians. This will NOT stop building. What it means with Florida Hometown Democracy is that the voter decides on how he wants his community to look, not just a couple of politicians influenced by builders. If the majority of the voters want the change, then it will happen. If the majority says they don’t like the change, then it won’t. Simple.
We have now made a lot of progress in Lake Worth by over-turning the 3 to 2 vote. We will no longer see a high-rise across from Benny’s, as an example. I would like to see the zoning at the beach remain as it was, Public Recreation and Open Space, and refurbish the building we have in place. Hopefully, this will go forward and the proposed change to our Comprehensive Plan to BAC will sit on the shelf in Tallahassee.
We look to have Florida Hometown Democracy on the ballot in year 2010 and we will be asking for your help.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
"Principals, assistant principals and all other school-based administrators have agreed to a salary freeze, officials announced Friday. Other employees, including directors, specialists and technicians, also will not seek raises."
Salary freezes are occurring all over the country. Lake Worth is always unique.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Runway expansion out of touch with county's reality
The proposed expansion of the PBIA runways is unnecessary, unwise and unreasonably expensive. As the author of the "Population not growing; why should runway?" letter so effectively stated, any expansion of our airport's capacity is out of step with the realities of Palm Beach County. We also need to rise above the broken thinking of the past, that of unsustainable growth for its own sake, and instead apply our efforts and financial resources on the challenges of the future.
Let's all hope that our political leaders seize the opportunity to start a new Florida tradition of adopting only necessary, wise and financially feasible projects that benefit all of their constituents. This tradition begins with stopping the currently proposed PBIA expansion plan.
DR. RENÉ A. VARELA
From a citizen on Wright Drive
"On December 3rd "last week", when I arrived home from work around 5:30 pm, I noticed my dead bolt lock on my front door was severely damaged to the point where I could not enter my home through the front door. My next door neighbor assisted me in removing the damaged lock and replacing it the same evening. Whoever it was trying to get into my home was somehow spooked and fortunately did not get access to my home.
That same evening, (December 3rd 2008) from 6:30 until nearly past midnight, I sat outside with my neighbor, and we did a mini-experiment to see how often the police drove down our street 'Wright drive', and in a 6 1/2 hour period...NOT ONE SINGLE GIVEN TIME DID WE SEE A POLICE CAR OR AN EMERGENCY VEHICLE, OR ANY OF THE SORT DRIVE PAST OUR HOME."
Katie McGiveron has talked to Deputy Mahoney and he has assured her that patrols will happen. As you recall, her home was broken into as well. Has anyone seen a C.O.P. car since the Sheriff took over? Has anyone seen a Sheriff's car other than the occasional one cruising Lake Avenue?
Friday, December 12, 2008
These are the same people who have been helping the City of Lake Worth fight its citizens on the beach. Legal costs on the beach, according to the CIP, in 2006 paid by the City were $21,871.01. In 2007 we paid $75,127.59. The request under the Freedom of Information Act for the 2008 legal expenses on the beach have been withheld by the City. The total legal costs are estimated anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000 paid by the City on the beach and two law suits, not the $50,000 Karns likes to tell us.
Last night the Lake Worth Democratic Club had its election of officers. I decided not to attend. What’s the use? To put in my protest votes?
Two months before our last local election, one of the former presidents of the Club who was supporting a Republican as well as the then President of the Club, told Rene Varela that he could be the next President of the LW Democratic Club, not commissioner. Some of these newly elected officers who have been voted back in were out on election day holding Dave Vespo (Republican) signs.
Rene is now the new President and will be working in 2009 with some of the very same officers who campaigned against him during this past election. Those people should have done the right thing and stepped down as they were advised. Because they didn’t, this Club is impotent. Can you even imagine working with people who have no loyalty to fellow Democrats even when told by the new Chair of the Democratic Executive Committee that what they were doing was against the By-Laws and they needed to resign? Can you even imagine building up a Club with the very same people who rejected you so arrogantly and so publicly?
Good luck, Rene. You will surely need it. Perhaps this year instead of ending up with the bone you will end up with a nice juicy steak and turn this Club’s loyalty around. It’s a big challenge.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
NOV 18 2008 • 511 Lucerne Ave, Unit: 402: $250,000
This unit was purchased in June 06 for $375,793
NOV 13 2008 • 511 Lucerne Ave, Unit: 314: $107,000
This unit was purchased in June 06 for $164,640
OCT 16 2008 • 511 Lucerne Ave, Unit: 308: $115,000
OCT 06 2008 • 511 Lucerne Ave, Unit: 310: $119,900
SEP 25 2008 • 511 Lucerne Ave, Unit: 514: $158,000
FEB 29 2008 • 511 Lucerne Ave, Unit: 613: $250,000
In the meantime, a downtown merchant who wants to remain anonymous says, "It is war," speaking about the Code Enforcement raid at the Havana Hideout.
Is crime any less since the Sheriff took over?
It’s almost Christmas; I’m making a list
If you would kindly consider the following suggestions and pass them on to our City Commission so that they can act on them, I would be forever grateful and it would be the best X'mas present ever:
Christmas Wish List
Santa, I hope Rudolph doesn’t get his radar screwed up or get blinded when he looks at that neon billboard blight when flying towards my apartment.
A citizen with re-found hope whose fingers are crossed
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
In The City of Lake Worth, Notes to Financial Statements it states:
Blended Component Unit
The CRA was established under the authority of Florida Statute Chapter 163, Part III in 1993 to promote and guide the physical and economic redevelopment of targeted areas within the city. The CRA is a legally separate entity governed by a board comprised of seven citizens of the City appointed by the City Commission. Because of the CRA’s separate legal status, the ability of the City to impose its will on the CRA through budget approval, and the composition of its governing board, the CRA is reported as a blended component unit as a special revenue fund.This stands out to me for a few important reasons:
- seven citizens OF the City. Does this mean someone who resides here or can it be someone who just has a business here when it uses the words-- OF the city. Perhaps a homeless guy who lives under the 6th Ave Overpass?
- budget must be approved by the Commission. When Commissioner Jennings asked for a workshop before making a decision on the Cultural Redevelopment hire, it seems that the CRA should have been wise and prudent and complied with her request and engage the Commission instead of blowing her off.