Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tonight

Young Ibis foraging for food and an interesting sky

Special Meeting tonight

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It was so "special" that no one from the public was there because not one person knew about it. There was a meeting on the city calendar with the CRA at Compass tonight? After just now checking, it was subsequently changed to City Hall with the following agenda.

One item was added to the Agenda--fireworks. We will have fireworks on July 4th.
The Ballot was set with the names of the four candidates previously reported with an election on June 28.

AGENDA
CITY COMMISSION SPECIAL MEETING
CITY HALL COMMISSION CHAMBER
TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2011 - 6:00 PM
1. ROLL CALL:
2. NEW BUSINESS:
A. Resolution No. 13-2011 - setting the ballot for the June 28, 2011, Special Election
3. ADJOURNMENT:
If a person decides to appeal any decision made by the board, agency or commission with
respect to any matter considered at such meeting or hearing, he or she will need a record of
the proceedings, and that, for such purpose, he or she may need to ensure that a verbatim
record of the proceedings is made, which record includes the testimony and evidence upon
which the appeal is to be based. (F.S. 286.0105)
NOTE:ONE OR MORE MEMBERS OF ANY BOARD, AUTHORITY OR
COMMISSION MAY ATTEND AND SPEAK AT ANY MEETING OF ANOTHER CITY
BOARD, AUTHORITY OR COMMISSION.

Four Qualified to run for Mayor Lake Worth

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Javier Del Sol
Lisa Maxwell
Tom Ramiccio
Rachel Waterman

Conservative Talk Radio

Conservative Talk radio.

Tune in at 2pm today to listen to Steve Rosenblum and Darria DiGiovanni on USA Talk Radio.

Memorial Day is for remembrance, not political trolling--Veteran Responds to Rep. Jeff Clemens

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Monday’s Memorial Day presented by American Legion Post 47 was an outstanding event. As in years past, our local Boy Scout troop placed crosses and flags the night before on veterans' graves and then presented a color display during the ceremony. Host Post 47 and other service groups such as the Lions Club, Scottish Rite and a DAR chapter presented wreaths; a Naval chaplain offered prayers; and Mayor Pro Tem Golden acknowledged the presence of other politicians and provided thought provoking comments on the meaning of Memorial Day. As we would say, back in the day, “Outstanding to off the page!”

Thank you, each and every one mentioned at the ceremony and a special thanks to the city’s men and women who will gather those crosses and flags for next year’s commemoration.

My interpretation of the intent and meaning of Memorial Day is that it was to commemorate the Civil War dead. As it happened, the first ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery honored both Union and Confederate dead. If so shortly after our nation’s most costly war, one that was fought to preserve the Union, why are some people still trying to divide us? And more to the point, why are some politicians pandering to this effort?

The tenor of the remarks by State Rep. Clemens, while honoring the ultimate sacrifice made by Lake Worth’s own LCpl Hernandez, were a slap in the face, an insult to AMERICAN veterans. I served two infantry combat tours in Viet Nam, one as a Sergeant and then as a First Lieutenant. At no time did I ever hear of nor require that a unit be made up of ETHNIC-AMERICANS --come to think of it, Americans are AMERICANS.

Mr. Clemens, why do you think it important to do so? Why must politicians always go off message?

Memorial Day is for remembrance, not political trolling! If you are ever asked to speak at any Memorial Day again, please stick to the subject. But be advised, if you are ever considered for Vogel-Lee’s presentation again, as a post member, I will work just as hard to deny you that honor as I’ve worked to put these personal opinions in writing.

After your divisive remarks marred the ceremony, I attended the refreshments offered by the Post. There I spoke with only 2 older veterans, one from Korea and the other a survivor of Normandy and the Bulge. The first stated that he wasn’t that upset with your remarks since, as he put it, “I don’t listen to politicians that much,” while the second, Bronze Star and Combat Infantry Badge wearer (know what they are awarded for?), “couldn’t understand what you were trying to get at.” Two for two in sync with me. After that, I figured it out that to stay upset with you only would ruin my feeling of respect for all veterans.

If the blog master chooses to print this, she most certainly can use my name and e-mail address.
Joe Matthews at matthewspeter@bellsouth.net

Lake Worth - On a Roll

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A City on a Roll.

Lake Worth Finance Department - YES

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On March 29, 2011, the CAFR was submitted to the City of Lake Worth. It was presented to the City Commission and to the public on May 26, 2011. This is an audit of financial statements done by an external auditor of the Fiscal Year ending September 30, 2010. It is required by State law to be concluded within 12 months of the close of each fiscal year.

In the past, audits have been notoriously late but still within the required legal time. As an example, the 2006 audit was reported on September 15 of 2007 and the 2008 Audit was reported on September 28, 2009. Those are the only two in my possession. Commissioner Maxwell complained about the submission time of this audit.

The report was prepared by the Finance Department staff, a staff that is now under the leadership of Steve Carr, a department that is efficient, organized and accurate. Steve has worked in governmental accounting for over 32 years, including the 23 years he worked for Alachua County as Finance Director. He holds a masters degree in accounting as well as a masters in public administration. He briefly retired, moved to Lake Worth where he once again, rolled up his sleeves and was hired by the City of Lake Worth, giving us decades of knowledge and experience. To check the financial accuracy of his department, TCBA Watson Rice LLP was hired, a firm with offices in major hubs all over the country and in existence for 36 years, to audit Lake Worth’s Financial Statement.

All year, City Commissioners have received a monthly financial from our Finance Department. This was a suggestion of Commissioner Scott Maxwell and it was fulfilled by the City Manager. If there were any accounting errors, commissioners had plenty of time to challenge any numbers on the financial statements. They never did until the day that the Audit was presented to the Commission to approve and one commissioner queried it all... Scott Maxwell voted it down.

The City of Lake Worth received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada, an entity established in 1906, for achieving the highest standards in government accounting and financial reporting. Steve Carr received that award for Alachua County for 23 years. Again, Commissioner Maxwell challenged the audit and disagreed.

The conclusion of the outside auditors is that the City of Lake Worth has presented accurate data in all material respects. In fact, in almost every recommendation of the past, the Finance Department has complied with the auditor's requests. TCBA Watson Price has stated that "no similar finding has been noted during the current year." Sloppy or incomplete procedures have been cleaned up and eliminated. There was one thing that stood out that needed improvement. The CRA, once again, did not submit its audited annual financial statements to the bank within the required time. It director is one of the few people in the city who received a raise.

It is time to end this lack of trust displayed over and over again by one commissioner who is the leader of the doom and gloom club. The i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. Let's move on. Learn another word, yes.

Memorial Celebration at Pinecrest

Monday, May 30, 2011

Street Painting Festival in Southend, England

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On July 16, Southend, England will have its first Street Painting Festival. International artists will be painting, even from the United States. This event was inspired by our very own Street Painting Festival here in Lake Worth and others around the globe.

Anna Heim is the International Projects Director of Cultural Exchange Group, Three-Way-Split, which sees Lake Worth, Sopot, Poland and Southend, England as a partnership for cultural exchange. After Vice Mayor Suzanne Mulvehill mentioned our festival, she came and visited Lake Worth to witness it first-hand, a painting festival that has been around for 17 years and known as the largest in the country.

Westcliff, a superb of Southend that is situated on the northern bank of the Thames Estuary and about 34 miles east of London, anticipates "hordes of tourists" to visit its first event. All of us in Lake Worth wish you success.

Cary Sabol not running for Mayor

After further thought, I have decided to sit out the Special Election. I feel it is my responsibility to finish my term and fulfill my obligations to the CRA. It would be irresponsible for me to step down from the CRA at this moment in time.

Cary Sabol

Commissioner Jo-Ann Golden gives tribute to our fallen soldiers

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I am truly honored to speak on this Memorial Day in the presence of all of these fallen heroes. I am extremely proud to be in the presence of many of our residents who have served in the armed forces of our nation and are here today to pay their respects to those men and women who perished in the fulfillment of their duty.

During the Second World War my father worked in the shipyards in Brooklyn New York in service to our Country. My uncles served in the Army and Navy. My older cousins served in Korea. My Mom was an air raid warden and I hid under the kitchen table when there was talk of imminent bombings. As I got older I watched my friends go and come back from Vietnam. I worked for peace, and came to understand St Augustine’s 4th Century claim, that “the purpose of war is peace.” I was always hoping that all our wars would ultimately bring solutions and that peace would be the ultimate norm.

Today, as we honor those who served our Nation, we must remember that it is “we the people” who have asked them to fight our battles. The men and women of the armed forces do not get to choose the battles to fight. They serve because it is their duty. They serve because they are true patriots. For the 230 years of U.S. history we must think of all the brave men and women who have served during our many wars keeping us safe in this land of the free.

In 2007 the City of Lake Worth Commission passed a resolution asking our leaders in Washington to bring our troops home from Iraq. At that time over 160 Florida service men and women were killed in action and more than 130 were wounded. This past year one of our own Lake Worth High Graduates 19 year old Jose Hernandez was killed in Afghanistan. We asked in this resolution that our returning troops be ensured compensation and care including full mental and physical health, education, housing, employment, and disability and rehabilitation benefits.

Today there are more conflicts and the deaths continue to mount. Historian, Will Durant, estimated that in all of human history only 29 years could be described as free of war. And of all centuries, the one just past set records for deaths, and injuries. We must assure our service men and women that we do not falter in our support for them. We must assure our service men and women that we do not put them in harms way frivolously. We must reassure our service men and women that we will honor their bravery, and humility. This is our duty.

Thank you to the Boy Scouts, the American Legion, our City staff, and all of our residents and guests who have come out to honor those who have served our Nation.

Vice Mayor Pro-Tem
Jo-Ann Golden
Pinecrest Cemetery
May 30, 2011

And Don't Forget...

Remember

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lake Worth Commission

Rep. Allen West to be on Fox News Today

If you missed him this morning, Congressman Allen West will appear again today, Sunday, May 29 on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. Fox News Sunday is from 2pm to 6pm.

Memorial Day in Lake Worth

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Memorial Day

Monday, May 30 @ 10am at Pinecrest Cemetery, 1749 3rd Ave South

The program will start with the Court of Flags, the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance to our Flag. Followed by that, several will speak and prayers will be given. Our former mayor, Rene Varela is listed on the program to give the opening address. However, due to his abrupt resignation, Commissioner Jo-Ann Golden will speak.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dream Act advances in California

California, a state that is bankrupt, is absolutely NUTS!

Click here to view debt clock.

John Davidson at Atlantis

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Click on the link below. Then click on a button
in the graphic to hear John sing

John Davidson, (born December 13, 1941) is a singer, actor and game show host known for hosting "That's Incredible," Time Machine, and Hollywood Squares in the 1980s, and a revival of The $100,000 Pyramid in 1991.

He is appearing at Atlantis Country Club for two months on Sundays from 5 to 8pm starting May 29 through July 24. There is no charge other than your dinner purchase.

Palm Beach Zoo Tiger Cubs open eyes

An "awh" moment

Growth Management's Death

Twenty-five years of growth management, down the toilet. And all because legislators kept repeating the Big Lie.

In the waning hours of the session, the Florida Legislature planted a sloppy smooch on the lips of the developers: It virtually eliminated state control of growth and turned the tables on any homeowner who tries to challenge a cookie-cutter subdivision planned for next door.

Read more at the Orlando Sentinel and what Lauren Ritchie has to say --Blame the Big Lie on Growth Management's Death.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Susan Stanton might get July 4th Fireworks

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July 4th FireWorks Update

At the Special Meeting this past Thursday, the City Commission gave direction to City staff to explore the possibility of fireworks on the 4th of July. Zambelli Fireworks was able to accommodate the City of Lake Worth's request due to a last minute cancellation. Zambelli received verbal approval from the Coast Guard today and City staff will be working on the other permits. City staff will be updating the Commission and the public with more detail next week.

Gov Scott making things worse for Florida according to Poll

The state's new budget is unfair to people like them, voters tell the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll 54 - 29 percent. Gov. Scott and the State Legislature are equally responsible for the budget, 68 percent of voters say. The legislature's job approval rating is nearly identical to that of the governor, as voters disapprove 56 - 27 percent, compared to 47 - 35 percent disapproval in April.

Despite the new property insurance law signed by the governor, voters say securing insurance is getting harder and more expensive.

Read the Quinnipiac University Poll

The "NO" People

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Don't you just want to smack this screaming kid?

Lake Worth Mayor's Race

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There have been nine people who have picked up packets for the mayoral race. Only two, so far, have qualified: Lisa Maxwell and Tom Ramiccio.

We will have to wait until Noon on Tuesday to find out the final slate.

Lake Worth Building Blocks not SandCastles

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Why are some people so angry? They're not angry some of the time but all of the time. You never see them happy or smiling about anything. I used to think of this city as friendly but not so anymore. Why do some constantly complain? If it's not the high cost of electric and water, it is the casino, the beach, the golfcourse --wanting to get rid of it all in order to save PBSO, a service that is unaffordable, their latest rallying cause.

Electric rates are high because we have to keep this city operating. Yesterday we found out that the Utility Director will be lowering rates through a study that was done. The Unions have grabbed all the cash through contracts approved by former politicians and bad administrators. We pay the fire fighters $1.72 of payroll in benefits. That is absolutely ridiculous and unsustainable. Public Safety takes over one-half of our budget and the PBSO Contract was the worst contract ever written. Water rates are high because we have to pay for our water source whether it was developing our own Reverse Osmosis Plant allowing us to remain independent or buying water from Palm Beach County at $3.5 million dollars more. But these people aren't happy no matter what. Finding fault is their euphoric orgasim. They even hate studies.

Yesterday at the all day and night special meeting, Commissioner Maxwell voted "no" to the Annual Budget Amendment, voted "no" to the contract with Willdan Homeland Solutions for a study on our Fire Services, complained about the Audit and voted that down too. He dissed the Finance Department, the best and most efficient department we have had in years because they didn't cross a T somewhere. This City has never had the ability to do what it has done as far as generating reports and getting data delivered on time. Steve Carr is the best as is the entire department under him and Susan Stanton.

We also found out that the Tax Appraiser predicts three years of flat values. Lake Worth had predicted a drop of 15% in property value and it will only be 4.8%. Watch the "no" people get all over the Finance Department for not projecting correctly instead of being happy about the news.

I get a kick out of Scott Maxwell. He is really having fun with his vote "no" on everything. He believes that he was elected to represent a handful of people out here, some whose goal is to bring down the city. He has one researcher who doesn't even live here. He must believe, that by being a bully on the pulpit, that he is displaying leadership...a citizen's watchdog, if you will. But a watchdog must have some teeth.

Taking one step at a time, Lake Worth is building cement blocks here in Lake Worth, not sandcastles. And we are rising again with all the blocks being placed in all the right places due to three on the commission along with superior staff.

Ethics questionable at Lake Worth CRA

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Who doesn't believe in ethics? Tony Masilotti? Warren Newell?

I listened to some of the CRA meeting Tuesday night regarding the Palm Beach County Ethics Policy. A couple of its members, Chair Cary Sabol and Vice Chair Andy Amoroso actually had trepidations regarding taking an ethics oath. This is the second time that they have met on Ethics and they plan on meeting again.

The voters voted it in by an over-whelming majority. The City of Lake Worth has adopted it. What is the problem with the CRA, a Board that nearly was taken over this year by the city commission due to a mistrust of how it has expended funds in the past and its waste of tax dollars as well as its lack of transparency. The CRA is in charge of $23.2 million in grant money. Any Board ( even if it doesn't have to by law) in charge of any tax dollars whether from a federal grant or city taxes, must take an ethics oath and adopt same. Anything else is out of the question.

Whoever heard of questioning an Ethics Policy? Sounds unethical to me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Another Blogger problem

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I have become aware of a Blogger problem on Firefox. IE works fine.

Lauderdale Lakes

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Lauderdale Lakes City Manager is Fall-Guy.

Lauderdale Lakes cannot afford the high cost of sheriff services or fire services and have not paid the Sheriff for months, owing around $5.8 million. According to state law, once a city falls more than three months behind on its payments for services, the state can intervene.

Same problem, same old story...unaffordable and escalating costs are bankrupting cities. "Sharply decreased property values combined with major revenue projection errors and a limited commercial base have left them short on funds," said fired city manager, Anita Taylor. Lauderdale Lakes is a city of 32,000, a little smaller than Lake Worth and Sheriff services takes 55% of its budget.

This is one thing that the Dirty Dozen refuses to grasp--decreased property values have happened everywhere. Put the blame where it belongs--crazy and unsustainable Union Benefit packages and the high cost of public safety.

Arizona wins one

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By a 5-3 vote, the court said Thursday that federal immigration law gives states the authority to impose sanctions on employers who hire unauthorized workers.

Read more at The Miami Herald.

Citizen Insurrection by a handful of Malcontents

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Yes, you really did have to be at the City Commission/Finance Advisory Board meeting last night held at Compass. The organizer of this meeting expected a bunch of people…didn’t happen. It was a meeting that never should have been called as it was done on bogus reasoning. It was nothing more than a political stunt of one angry political faction in this city to get its way again. ...average citizens who have been brainwashed by some who are offended by just about everything in this city. You name it, they just hate it.

These protesters who came to speak last night are part of a group that has been organized to protest as a way of publicly making their opinions heard in an attempt to influence public opinion against our city commission and city manager. It is not their love for the Sheriff that rises them to this rebellion. That is only a means to their end. They successfully use Commissioner Maxwell to bring their platform forward.

To even think about ruining negotiations with the PBSO is despicable. To say that it is their freedom of speech to jump up and call a Commissioner a liar is only utter contempt and horrible behavior that no one should be subjected to whether it is a member of the commission or the public. After the Vice Mayor asked one resident to leave, she refused; the meeting broke and the Sheriff was called in order to escort her out of the meeting.

When I spoke, I was heckled from the very same group. You see, no one can have a different opinion. You never see anyone I know heckling them when they speak. It is always the other way around and last night the Vice Mayor took action. It is about time and I commend her for her actions. This group has been steadily getting more belligerent at every meeting and their behavior last night was shocking.

It is indeed a strange and frightening place when you can have an organizer from College Park who has incited her friends to interrupt and try to take over a public meeting because a commission makes intelligent statements and disagrees with their point of view. And they complain about anarchists.

Any of you who are calm, sane and want this city to be the best it can be with sincere negotiations with our PBSO and have them cut their exorbitant cost of services, you really need to start to attend city commission meetings and see first-hand how a group of malcontents are trying, once again, to rape your city. Speak out and be heard.

Andy Amoroso - Candidate for Commissioner District 3

Amoroso has qualified to run for Commissioner District 3

The PB Post reported on April 4 that he is running for Commissioner Golden's seat. Tuesday night during the CRA meeting Andy Amoroso mentioned that he was running and the City Clerk has confirmed that he has qualified. He is already known as the "mayor of downtown Lake Worth" as he is the go-to person if you want to find out what's up or find out who's doing what to whom.

Just like your friendly barber or bartender, he will have some sort of "news" that will turn you on. Cordial and polite, he has the savvy to know what or what not to say when speaking to someone one-on-one. It doesn't matter what side of politics you support. He will make you feel comfortable talking with him on just about any subject. You just never really know what candidate he is supporting as he has an uncanny way of making you believe that he agrees with your candidate and your side of politics. One thing that is certain, he would prefer that you agree to the City making things easier on the pocketbooks of business owners. Businesses are a special priority in his mind as he is an owner and the head of the Downtown Cultural Alliance.

As a downtown businessman and essentially a one-man show, Andy says that business is bad, blaming the present Commission. He wants to be elected to office to change all of that he says. Other businesses have reported that they are doing well and many new ones are moving to town as the economy starts to pick up.

Some of our downtown businesses are one man operations as is Andy's and consequently this must be more difficult. Wearing several hats as a business owner is laborious. It is difficult to market, advertise, be the buyer and the technician and do everything alone. We give him a lot of credit as a small business owner in these difficult times. Even as a Commissioner, you have four others helping on the decision process and you have to make decisions for ALL the residents, not just the businesses.

His Platform:
  1. stronger code enforcement in neighborhoods
  2. an internal audit of the city and Lake Worth Utilities
  3. better follow-up work by city staff on matters such as parking meter enforcement
  4. elimination of parking impact fees
I approve of #1, 2. #3 supposedly has been fixed. #4--Well sure, I can understand why Andy wants to eliminate this charge. Downtown businesses are his priority.

We all know the problems. We need solutions. Parking impact fees are fair. If we don't have parking, no one will be here to buy from these stores or support our downtown. This money from parking impact fees should have been saved to purchase parking spaces and/or maintain what we have. The businesses attract people downtown thus wear and tear on our roads. And a little bit of trivia to add into the mix--this Commission can not help the fact that a past commission on a 3/2 sold the L Street parking lot to a favored friend for development. The vote to sell was Romano, Lowe, and McKinnon, When it came down to the vote, Nadine Burns changed her mind from yes to no as her election was coming up.

Andy, is a member of the "give-away the money" CRA and a Board that has a lot of questionable enterprises. They do not bring money into the City but spend millions on developing two road improvements to the tune of $15 million, deals to favored friends, and now buying properties well over market value as examples. Their Cookie Jar is not empty yet.

The economy is picking up. The present Lake Worth Commission is working long hours for little pay and continues on the right track by re-doing our worn-out Casino building, a total beach redevelopment as well as building our own Reverse Osmosis system that will prove to be the best investment we have ever made, and to find ways to afford the PBSO, negotiate with the Unions and balance the Budget.

Andy, in an audaciously rude and disrespectful manner, and out of character from his usual public persona, asked the Commission, the very body that appointed him to the CRA, "What have you done for Lake Worth?" The Commission has done a lot, Andy, and as a candidate we would hope that you already know that.


Lepa was Leaping

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Bob Lepa is a public figure. He is a stock broker and an Associate Vice President of Wells Fargo Advisors a financial firm, a person guarding your investments. He is a member of the Lake Worth BOARD OF TRUSTEES EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM, serving a 3 year term. Why then would an educated man such as Mr. Lepa stoop so low at a public meeting to utter an audible obscenity towards someone taking his photograph? He is in the public arena and there really isn't any right to privacy in public places.

Joakim Noah, basketball player with the NBA Bulls, was just fined $50,000 for an homophobic slur. Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for the same. Professional sports have stringent civility rules. When residents serve on city boards, they should conduct themselves professionally especially towards the public and the commission they serve.

Mr. Lepa did not want to be photographed so I have X'd out his face with X's and O's. I have to send him lots of love because my cousin is a friend of his on Facebook.

P.S. What about some anger management classes?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Lucerne Board files Suit

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Greg Rice and his condo board at The Lucerne sue the developers for shoddy work. Read about it here.

Lake Worth Beach Merchants - An Era Gone

It really was an eye-watering moment yesterday as tenants at our beach, many of whom are long time friends, are moving out of the Casino. Some have been with us for over 35 years. They all have to be out by May 31. Some are gone already and a feeling of deep sadness came across me--a happy era now gone. It conjured up old memories when thinking about John G's, my grandfather's and Mother's favorite restaurant. They went there every week throughout their lives. I was told by a waitress that John G's will not be back--too expensive to move.


One of the tenants said that if the city does not start this project on time, he fears that it never will because of the volatile politics in this city. I couldn't agree more. Politicians have made so many dastardly decisions. We still have one fighting the Casino, a project that will put this city on the map and give it a vitality it has not experienced since 1922. And just think--it is a Casino that will be in total control by the people. This is our city, not the County's and certainly not a private corporation's. We should keep control of our city assets and not give any of them away.

Many of our tenants say that they will be back and are keeping their fingers crossed to the possibility of returning to the Lake Worth beach in a city that became a part of their DNA.

Navy Seals at the Lake Worth Beach

Yesterday we saw about 10 pairs of shoes on the beach, all lined up in a perfect row. This caught my attention immediately as most going to the beach are not that meticulous. Precision and marked attentiveness to detail are parts of SEAL training that makes them the creme de la creme.

U.S. Navy SEALS were running and training at the Lake Worth beach. This photo shows two doing push-ups. "From the time a prospective SEAL enters military service to the time he finishes his first pre-deployment training cycle, it can take as much as 30 months to completely train a Navy SEAL for his first deployment."

We see the Navy Seals from time to time on our beach--the elite--the best of the best. They have always used our pool for training in the past. Hopefully, our pool will re-open some day and we will have the resources to remain a full-service city. This will take all the skills of our city manager, the right manager for the times.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

PBSO goes Full Speed Ahead

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Today while driving down Lake Avenue, there were three deputies on Lake Avenue with a radar gun trying to catch anyone going over 25 miles per hour. That's an easy thing to do as 25mph is about the speed of a turtle in heat.

Sheriff cars were all over the place. As I was driving to go over the bridge, one was parked obscurely on the right side to catch anyone going over 25mph. As you cross the bridge from the East side, it is a speed trap when it falls rapidly from 35mph to 25mph, again, the speed of a turtle.

Be certain that we will see all sorts of sheriff vehicles all over the place now that the Contract is up for some serious talks.

Week ending May 24
Property Crime 6
Theft 7
Drugs 11
Disorder 11
Weapons Offense 2
Family Offense 10
Liquor 16
Robbery 4
Alarm 9
Other 31
Missing Person 1
Pedestrian Stop 14
Traffic 26
Assault 13

I'm just a Girl who Can't take NO

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I believe in repeating myself when it comes to opinions in which I feel passionately. Getting to the point, if it takes reciting the facts over and over again, is okay with me. I use this tactic all of the time. However, gang banging is not cool.

The Finance Advisory Board has discussed the idea of a Survey in order to get the ideas of the citizenry and what is important to them and what, if anything, they would want to cut in the Lake Worth Budget in order to help solve our shortfall of $4.5 million. Lofty. We already heard some of the ideas that came from the Compass meeting as well as City Hall just recently which clearly show that most of these people shouldn't even be working on their own personal budget, if they even have one, much less our multi-million City Budget.

The FAB Board said "no," not only once but twice to developing a survey and for all the obvious reasons some of which are--questions on the survey must be immediately clear, and they must be phrased in such a way not to lead and get a personal desired result. Surveys can be stacked and the results pre-determined. This idea of a survey, once again, is political and will be just as ineffective as the Jennings survey done by Michael Singer on the beach redevelopment...stacked deck.

The last time a member of the FAB brought the idea of developing a survey to the Board, the vote was 5 to 1 to reject. Instead of accepting this vote and moving on to the Boards' mission and the reason it was founded in the first place, the survey idea was obviously appealed to a higher authority--Commissioner Maxwell who gets turned on by screaming about everything these days.

Maxwell is up for re-election this November so surveys tickle his fancy. He has placed it on an agenda for discussion at a joint meeting that he has requested with the city commission and the FAB this Wednesday at 5:30pm at Compass with the idea that a survey will help balance the city budget to assure that the Palm Beach County Sheriff Office remains as our law enforcement arm. He has dragged the Vice Mayor, two commissioners and six members of the Finance Advisory Board to a workshop on a subject, developing a survey, that has nothing to do with the Budget. Just more political mumbo jumbo.

When is the word "no" really "no?"

Keep hitting us between the eyes.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tonight's Sunset

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Click to enlarge

It really was a purple sky tonight. Barbara Jean called me and told me to get out there and take the pic. Already beat her to it. Considering all the horrible natural disasters that have occurred lately, it's God's spectacular beauty that gets to me every time.

Full House and a Pair of Jacks


Earlier today someone e-mailed me and said that the PBSO is holding a "full house" and that City Manager Susan Stanton is holding a pair of "jacks"...she loses.

Actually, when you think about this, Stanton has a workable Plan for Lake Worth to have its own police department that will save us $3 million dollars. I believe that she is holding the winning hand.

San Francisco

Something else we would like
to get back in our city
San Francisco has limited Sheriff services as we used to have before we contracted with the Sheriff for full-time service.

The San Francisco Police Department provides general police service for the city and the Sheriff's Department handles judicial duties, staffs the jail, and provides security for city facilities such as San Francisco City Hall and San Francisco General Hospital. However, San Francisco Sheriff's deputies are still sworn peace officers and can back up the San Francisco Police as needed, as well as make arrests for any crimes they come across while performing their duties.

I mention this as San Francisco is the 12th or 13th largest city in the country and it has its own police department. Their police department just arrested a fugitive who used to live in Delray that had been booked into the Palm Beach County jail on several occasions since 2003 for all sorts of heinous acts.

There are millions of tales of how local police departments have arrested criminals. This is their job. They do it every day. This is just one tale from a city in budget constraints (although much larger than ours) along with thousands across America. San Francisco is faced with a budget deficit of $283.1 million for next fiscal year, and pension costs alone are expected to double to $800 million by 2014. Now some commissioners want residents to vote for over $248 million to repair city streets. All cities are facing run-away Union pension costs that are killing operating budgets.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner.

Politics, People and Punks

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Who will win this tug of war?

Politics, people and punks. Most cities are fighting the same wars and they are struggling just to pay what the Sheriff wants and continue to operate as a city. We have a lot of all three in Lake Worth but the punk element has been contained over the past year or so because of the gang task force. What we have now is a fight over precious resources--money. The Sheriff wants us to honor a contract signed three years ago and we no longer can meet his high cost for services. Until recently the Sheriff has refused to negotiate.

There are some who believe that the Sheriff is the only way no matter the cost, no matter whether this city goes bankrupt--safety in their minds is paramount above all else and they believe that the Sheriff is the only one who can provide it even though 99.999% of the people across the country do not have PBSO. Without the Sheriff they say, gangs and crime will escalate. And to bring up the Willdan Policing Study that was recently presented to Lake Worth showing us a plan to have our own police department once again and saving $3 million dollars, has caused an outcry from segments of the public who were organized and frozen in fear of even considering any alternative.

It reminds me of Jim Jones fanatacism.

There are residents who won't believe any report put in front of them unless they wrote it themselves. They are here to show the city who is boss; it is all politically motivated by friends of PBSO, the largest political entity in PB County. They actually have people, including one city commissioner, dedicated to tearing apart any and all information coming from City Hall. It is their new sport.

The truth of the matter is that the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office's Violent Crime Task Force (VCTF) was formed to assist Palm Beach County law enforcement agencies with major case violent crime investigations with an emphasis on gang related violent crime. You do not have to have contractual services with the PBSO in order to get these services as you pay for them on your County tax bill.

Prior to this task force, gangs seemed to be in control of some neighborhood blocks. Now gangs have been stopped and members are serving long prison sentences. Stopping the gangs was all due to the following: Detectives from Palm Beach County, State of Florida and Federal law enforcement agencies, FDLE, Florida Highway Patrol, PBSO (of which we are now a part), and those cities with their own police departments--Lantana PD, Boca Raton PD, Boynton Beach PD, Delray Beach PD, Greenacres PD, Jupiter PD, PBC School Board PD, Palm Beach Gardens PD, Palm Springs PD, Riviera Beach PD, and West Palm Beach PD.

Gang violence was getting out of hand and that is why Sheriff Ric Bradshaw started a gang task force back in 2007 because throughout the County we were experiencing a lot of murders with the majority of them drug related. Most of the crime was attributed to gangs that were engaged in organized crime. Bradshaw got the Feds involved and gang members eventually were rounded up and tried on RICO charges that got them stiff prison sentences. Local sentencing was most often a revolving door system and they would be right back on the streets doing the same thing all over again.

Many members of these gangs lived here renting houses from slum landlords where background checks were non-existent. Their crimes were committed elsewhere unless it was a drive-by where they were killing their own. There were many times that I walked "the hood" and gave out campaign literature. Many in Lake Worth felt our own police department was not doing the job and this was due to poor management, certainly not the cops on the streets. Thus the push to join the PBSO became huge. PBSO was getting a lot of great publicity for reducing crime and we wanted that in our own city. Unbeknown to most people, these services were provided for and paid for and were in your County taxes. It was the PBSO's job, in conjunction with local police departments, to halt the gang crime activity and it was our police chief's job to take advantage of the program's resources.

It was a management problem with our police department then, but politics dictated and demanded a costly change that was predicated on emotions and perception (helicopters, dogs, crime lab, community policing when needed, as examples) with no thought to the unsustainable cost that was predicted by Jennings and Golden. They were right, but by then people were just plain fed up and the political frenzy began. It all could have been different under good leadership and a different majority commission but Clemens, Vespo and Lowe voted for the PBSO. They were the three who wanted to erode our city independence by outsourcing certain functions in Lake Worth. Policing was just one of them, as crime was and still is a hot political potato, and politicians were beholding to the Unions. They had no faith in our City and that is the tune today--"we can't manage anything," some say. Of course, we know that this is a wrong assessment because today we have excellent management and a strong city manager.

Bradshaw's $500 million budget accounts for over half of the County’s total operating budget and public safety in Lake Worth is no different. Bradshaw has told the County that he won't cut road patrol deputies and essentially has told Lake Worth the same thing. The County and Lake Worth can't afford the Sheriff and both have asked him to reduce his budget.

So instead of those who spoke out in front of city hall telling the City to pay anything that is asked thus putting the city up to hostage for public safety, and to come up with the money even selling off our city to do it, is outrageous as well as politically and emotionally off the deep end.

The politics and people are still around--same group, nothing has changed. The same men who were on our police department now wear different uniforms and are with the PBSO. Many of the punks are looking through bars. And the City of Lake Worth, a poor one at that, wonders how to afford policing that has quickly become unaffordable...a contract with PBSO that is getting all of us one step closer to bankruptcy as we inch towards becoming the highest taxed city in Palm Beach County, another statistic of politicians who acted on the fear of the people and who were quick to sign on the bottom line.

How about telling the Sheriff to reduce his multi-million dollar over-inflated tab. It can start with staffing. While population has remained relatively flat, the Sheriff's staffing has gone up about 29%.

Wishful thinking of that I am sure but I expect our Commission to do the right thing by all the 37,000 people who live here and not cave into political threats by the Dirty Dozen who has riled up the public into believing that nothing else is possible and saving $3 million dollars doesn't matter. I will respect you. The citizens will respect you. The Dirty Dozen will never respect you no matter what you decide. It is all about the game, because if they really cared about the City, $3 million dollars would matter and we would be hearing about all their calls to the PBSO asking them to reduce their cost.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Michael Savage Expounds on Allen West

Michael Savage describes his political philosophy as "borders, language and culture." He is a conservative political icon, and believes that he is unearthing the truth about liberals.



Quote of the Day - Herman Cain

"One trillion dollars of spending to stimulate the economy and it didn't stimulate diddly."

~Herman Cain
Republican candidate for President

Yesterday, Cain announced his candidacy for President of the United States. He said that we are under attack from runaway debt, a stagnant economy, a muddled foreign policy and an influx of illegal immigrants. "It time to get 'real' folks," he further said.

The DRI Gang

The spirit of A4 lives!
Why not in other counties?
~Al Forman
DRI is short for Developments of Regional Impact. "It is the big-time developers, large corporate landowners and their planners, lawyers, Realtors, bankers and suppliers who support this kind of mammoth over-development.

For simplicity, I'll refer to them as the DRI Gang. Make no mistake; they are powerful. The DRI Gang exerts its power through campaign contributions, slick public relations and organized financial self-interest."

Read Al Forman's Op Ed piece in TC Palm, Save Martin County from Unwanted Developments of Regional Impact

FHD T-shirt worn by a supporter on Friday. The spirit still lives!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Allen West on Fox tomorrow morning

Congressman Allen West will appear Sunday, May 22 around 7:10 to 7:30am ET on Fox & Friends. This show is from 6am to 9am. Try and tune in.

Quotes of the Day - 1967 Israeli borders

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Reactions to Obama's stand on Israel:

The President's reference to Israel's 1967 borders marks a step back in the peace process, as the U.S. must not predetermine the outcome of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
~ U.S Senator Marco Rubio (Republican)

Today's endorsement by President Barack Obama of the creation of a Hamas-led Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders signals the most egregious foreign policy decision his administration has made to date.
~U.S. Congressman Allen West (Republican)

Israel cannot be expected to make any territorial concessions that do not acknowledge the reality on the ground. The 1967 borders are indefensible.
~U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch (Democrat)

I don't think Obama's plan was a big hit with the Jewish community. I had some calls and they are not favorable.
~State Rep. Irv Slosberg (Democrat)

While Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines.
~Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

Did a million Jews turn Republican today?
~Stony Brook political scientist Matthew Lebo

And what President Obama said:
We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed "swaps" of land.
~President Barack Obama


Read what The American Thinker has to say.

Love and Hate in Palm Beach County

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Go to BizPac Review and read the article.

I know, unequivocally, that the Democratic Executive Committee has encouraged Democrats to hound Allen West at his town hall meetings by sending out e-mails before each and everyone of them and encouraging members of the Democratic Party to attend and incite.

Yes, everyone is entitled to freedom of speech but when the mission is only to be rude and disrupt the proceedings by screaming sound bites of erroneous questions, the Democrats have really taken freedom of speech to a whole new level.

Rachel Waterman for Mayor Meet & Greet

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Last night I got to meet Rachel Waterman and her husband Yuri (not the least bit sure on the spelling) who I was told is an artist here. He is very supportive of Rachel. This was the first time I have ever met her. She was extremely friendly, articulate and had a good sense of humor. She knows the challenges that confront us.

She has 19 years experience leading urban development and major infrastructure projects and bringing new investment into Palm Beach County. She supports the work that the PBSO is doing in our city. She holds a Master's degree in Community Economic Development, graduating Summa Cum Laude and she has a Bachelors degree in International Studies.

Regarding the folks attending and their feelings on the PBSO, it was mixed. I had one woman say that we had to have the PBSO at any cost and who was unconcerned about where to get that money to another who was very concerned about the millions more that it is costing us and wondered why Lake Worth can't run the city like a business instead of caving into emotions. People attending knew the issues, something I have always wondered about as you never see them at commission meetings or involved in any way. 99% of those attending were Lake Worth residents, many of whom are homeowners, and all concerned about the welfare of our city. As one group left, another group would arrive to meet Rachel.

This is the first Meet & Greet to which I have been invited and I was amazed that it was not the same people that I see everywhere. I only knew perhaps 10% of the people there, if that. The Meet and Greet was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Grimm. Ed is a member of the Lake Worth CRA.

Rachel says, "As an economic development professional with a career in public service, I know how to attract new investment in Lake Worth. I'm raising my children here because I believe in our city. With my experience, leadership and commitment, we can build a great city together." And after listening to her, you could not help but believe in her sincerity.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Graham putting Pressure on Scott

"Former Governor Bob Graham says Florida is already ranked third in the nation as a business friendly state. He says that ranking takes quality of life into account--an attribute he says could be at stake in the (newly gutted Growth Management) plan. Graham is recommending the governor appoint a citizens commission to oversee land and water management."

Read more at WFSU Newsroom.

Help make Lake Worth Best of the Road

Check out the link and pass around to help us win this contest!

Best of the Road, a contest sponsored by USA today and Rand McNally.

Vote for Lake Worth. Help put us on the map as a great place to be.

Cleaning up the Sins of the Past

Although in an approved location and part of the contract,
this advertisement was against city ordinance.

Seven years ago, the City of Lake Worth signed a ten year professional services agreement with City Solutions, Inc. that provided for the placement and maintenance of modular news racks to be placed in the modular news rack district per Ordinance 2003-47. This scheme, with no compensation to the City of Lake Worth, was approved by the Romano commission. You have to scratch your head in amazement...not one dime to the city for all of this billboard blight?

The company agreed to maintain the racks and a schedule of locations was part of the agreement. This agreement was signed during Paul Boyer’s employment as City Manager of Lake Worth. Larry Karns was the city attorney at that time.

The locations in question are racks at Lucerne Avenue and G Street; at Lake Avenue and G Street; at Dixie Highway at North Eighth Street; and at Dixie Highway and North Seventh Street. These locations were not part of the original contract that provided for 20 locations throughout our city. It appears that City Solutions, now called Street Outdoor, LLC, has installed racks on City property without City permission.

On top of the insult, this company has never had to pay the City one dime for this blight thanks to a former commission. The contract was signed under terms dictated by the sign company, not the City of Lake Worth’s Ordinance that forbids political advertisement on public property, some of which has been highly controversial over the past few elections. It was just another, among many, badly written contracts involving the City of Lake Worth and where a city attorney did not look out for our interests.

Our present city commission as well as our city manger, Susan Stanton, continues to right the wrongs of the past, cleaning up bad contracts that have been one-sided, costly and unfavorable to our city. This company has now sued our city because the city removed 4 racks that were unauthorized and installed on our right of ways.

Once the Contract expires in 2014, it should not be renewed.

Where is Rene Varela?

Town Hall Meeting in Towson, Maryland

Talk about old--it seems like most cities are older than Lake Worth, a city that will be celebrating its 100th birthday in 2 more years. We pride ourselves on preserving our history even though during Varela's term, he closed the Museum.

We thought that Rene respected history, at least he told us that. He made some history here after being the first public official in the history of Lake Worth to stick us with a $25,000 bill forcing us into a special election after he resigned 5 days early and an election amount that I now have been told will cost us double. Rene Varela skipped out on Lake Worth and is working in Towson, Maryland, a sister city to where I used to live.

Towson's history began in 1659 and there are many historic buildings throughout the City along with beautiful homes. The population was 51,793 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Baltimore County and the second-most populated unincorporated county seat in the United States. It is a college town so there is a lot of energy. Great weather in which to campaign and a town where I met Johnny Unitas years ago when he was at the height of his career.

People who live in Towson have much more disposable income than Lake Worthians and probably don't have to worry about the city going bankrupt because of expensive Sheriff contracts and special elections and all: The median income for a household in the CDP was $53,775, and the median income for a family was $75,832 (these figures had risen to $64,313 and $98,744 respectively as of a 2007 estimate.

In spite of his obvious lack of esteem towards some Staff and elected officials, I came to the conclusion that Rene Varela could have become one of our best mayors. Then he pulled his political trick. His sudden resignation and how he did it got in the way of doing the right thing. His intellectualism was used as his justification for his lack of common sense. He gave our city a black eye because of his hypocritical pretense of having democratic values and therefore he has left his memory forever damaged.

Does anyone miss our former mayor?

Well if you are the oddball out, he can be reached at Banfield, the Pet Hospital in Towson. Rene will be right at home with heated town hall meetings as shown above. But he, as a die-hard Obama supporter, never had to deal with a protest against "The Anointed One" while he resided in, and was mayor of, our poor little city by the sea that he single handedly made that much poorer. We will be keeping our eye on you from time to time, Rene.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Memorial Service on Saturday - Gordon Williamson

May 18, 2011
It was a privilege to call this humanitarian giant a friend. He never stopped encouraging and thanking us in our struggles to improve the world. Physical problems did not stop him from passionately fighting for Florida Hometown Democracy at every opportunity. He was a voice for wildlife and his compassion was boundless. I only wish he could have completed his memoir of his fascinating pioneering broadcasting career. We will not see his like again.

The truth regarding liberal Nicole Sandler's BS

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Allen West's Town Hall Meetings are constantly invaded by organized liberal Democrats who heckle, shout, interrupt and who are just plain obnoxious. I wonder if any of our Lake Worth activists have attended?

Perception IS Truth

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Click on title


The residents were given a script before the meeting began by PBSO advocates who want the Sheriff at any cost. To make up the $4.5 million shortfall was not a concern. A few over the past several days even have scoffed at the suggestion to give the City viable ideas to cut costs saying "that's your problem." Others signed a sheet that was passed around on Tuesday night. One resident's idea was to "sell our golf course," the most outrageous idea of all. Some compared the Sheriff to our former LWPD, suggesting having our own police department would once again, be inefficient and crime would escalate and gangs would reappear. It was a fantasy and most fell into the trap.

Those who objected so strongly the night before were not around last night to listen to the Police Study Report. That was not their interest. In their minds, the Sheriff is our savior and the only law enforcement professionals who can give us any feeling of safety. No other law enforcement entity can do it. The "perception" of safety is their only truth.

Chip Guthrie, local businessman, suggested that now the commission was "back-peddling" in saying that it liked the Sheriff and a man behind me thought that was a brilliant remark. Unfortunately most residents could not see through the strategy of our city manager...present a report where we could have our own Lake Worth Police Department for millions less so that the Sheriff would have more incentive to negotiate. Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has indicated that he will look at his budget.

Commissioner Maxwell came out with guns blazing in order to tear apart The Willdan Report. In the end, he had no ammunition as The Willdan Police Study was comprehensive. All of Commissioner Maxwell's concerns were answered even the one where Maxwell asked about no line item for the cost of bullets.

Joe De Ladurantey of Willdan did say that the City would save millions by having its own police department, admitted that the Sheriff has done a great job but in the final analysis, it was the political will of the people that would determine the outcome.

Be prepared to pay more taxes and have negotiation headaches every year.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Message from the Vice Mayor

From the Desk of Vice Mayor Suzanne Mulvehill

May 18, 2011

The Palm Beach Sheriff's Office is doing an outstanding job serving our city. We all want the same thing - to keep the Sheriff in our city. We simply need the Sheriff's help in negotiating a contract we can afford.

Tonight we will be discussing the results of the Willdan Police Study. It will be requested that public comment be directed to questions or comments regarding the study or ideas for increasing revenue and cutting services as they relate to the Sheriff's contract.

When the Sheriff's contract was approved in 2008, it was publicly known and discussed that the PBSO contract was not financially sustainable. We could not afford it then and that was before the economic downturn and the city's declaration of financial urgency.

Providing law enforcement and public safety is the first responsibility of your government. This commission takes that responsibility very seriously and it is our #1 priority. I welcome your input and suggestions on this issue.

Please contact the Sheriff to let him know how much you want to keep his service and to help us negotiate a contract we can afford.

Sincerely,

Vice Mayor Suzanne Mulvehill
smulvehill@lakeworth.org
561-586-1734

Contract with PBSO or our own Police Department

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A lot of craziness has taken place lately regarding the PBSO and retention of them as our policing force. Tempers are flaring and people are standing on street corners (even someone who does not live here) giving out fliers and working against the city management telling everyone that the City is essentially wrong for even having a policing study--they want the PBSO no matter what...that they want to kick out our commissioners and our city manager. They are still angry about losing the last election.

These questions and facts below should have been addressed before we signed the political contract for PBSO services that were decided on a 3/2 decision by Clemens, Vespo and Lowe and certainly should be discussed before we continue on.
  • We can't spend money we don't have.
  • 80 percent of the LW police are now PBSO Deputies which shows that our problem in the past was not the department or the people ..but the management, as I have been telling you for years. So, now, the question is, can we afford to spend $3 million dollars for a management fee to have other people manage our employees.
  • Even if we stay with the PBSO, we need to fix the contract and not pay for services that we already get when we pay our County tax. We are paying for services twice.
  • City Manager Stanton asked them to reduce cost in 2009 and they said it was not possible. But, it was possible in 2010. We are paying more then any other contract city and the "department" is closed after 5:00 pm. Have a problem on the weekend? -- don't go downtown--call Gun Club Road facility.
  • While we layoff employees and we debate closing the library and not having life guards, PBSO continues to give it's employees step salary increases and more money and benefits.
  • With our own police force, we will be able to choose what sort of benefit plan we offer thus reducing costs.
  • Paying Deputies money to drive our former police cars out of the city to their homes encourages people to not invest in LW.
  • With good management and controls, we can and will be able to manage our own department. As an example, we were told over and over that we could not construct our own Reverse Osmosis Plant-- well, we have and we did because of a Plan and employees who can manage.
  • With our own police department, the City is in total control of costs.
  • In order to pay for this expensive policing service provided by the PBSO, will we have to close the library--close the beach--raise taxes and raise our electric and water rates? Close all recreation facilities? We just raised the parking at the beach to $2 an hour to pay for lifeguards and everyone is screaming bloody murder. Per the report of the meeting at Compass, no one there mentioned reducing services or costs. How does anyone expect the City to pay for them?
We all have been happy with the quality of service provided by the PBSO and we like all of the Deputies. And why wouldn't we. Most of them we have known for years and we can count on them. Cpt. Silva, the District Commander, is revered by all.

However, we no longer have to ask the question as to whether we can afford the PBSO or not. I like a good filet mignon too but my budget dictates hamburgers that are just as healthy and just as nourishing.

I want to see this Commission weigh all the pros and cons, be fiscally conservative and responsible without being intimidated by PBSO and Union supporters who have their blinders on ready to cause a riot. These people do a disservice to the City that is trying to negotiate a contract that will hopefully end with one that we can financially manage. If it doesn't, then we will have to take the advice of Willdan.

No Free Lunch

I want to thank Vice Mayor Suzanne Mulvehill for being totally fiscally responsible last night when she voted down the motion to approve spending $500 for a table of 10 for The League of Cities Luncheon. Its Director is leaving after 12 years or so on the job. It would have been much cheaper to send him a goodbye card.

It really is expenses such as this that drive me up a wall. Although in the scheme of things particularly when we are talking about multi-millions in policing options, $500 sounds like a ridiculous amount about which to complain. But these costs continue to show up on our consent agenda: $500 here, $2,500 there, membership fees for the utility Director of $33,000, travel to Washington, D.C. for Commissioner Maxwell. And then there was Rene Varela's trip to the Mayor Conference in Washington, D.C...money badly and unwisely spent in the scheme of things. The City is planning a sit down dinner for City Board members at the Golf Course next month. Can we get anyone responsible in this city when it comes to themselves? The Finance Advisory Board should take the reins and say "no" to this expense...not now, perhaps in the future.

If we are really serious about our financial urgency with a $4.5 million shortfall predicted for this Budget year, then every single commissioner sitting on that dais had better get serious about our spending. I think they deserve a free lunch every day of the week but this is the wrong message at the wrong time.

Last night Commissioner Maxwell said earlier in the evening that we must stop all unnecessary spending. When it came to this item, he ended up saying that he would pay for his own ticket although he voted for the motion to approve. Let's hold him up to that offer. The free lunches must end.

The PBSO Phenomenon

PBSO supporters were encouraged to come to city hall last night and speak to the PBSO issue during Public Commentary. Everyone who spoke said the same thing--keep the PBSO. One from College Park, while sitting in her pew, said that the city manager was no good. People are very passionate about this "spread the word" philosophy and when that happens, it can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness. Another commenter said that if the "three of you get rid of the PBSO, I will start a recall process." Good luck. These commissioners are taking the common sense approach to our financial crisis.

Why is everyone so passionate about the PBSO when it virtually consists of the same people we had before? Perception is the reality. The PBSO has never given us a comparison on crime stats from when they took over to now. Crime is down across the State so it is impossible to factor in that stat. PBSO, as is every other policing agency, is reactive. They do not prevent crime.

I think Seniors understand expenses much more than any demographic group. Most of us end up downsizing as we are now living on fixed incomes. Some are lucky, like former Commissioner Honey Duncan, who just up-sized, moved from Lake Worth, and now lives in Atlantis. Probably Lake Worth taxes were getting too much. :) During this recession, incomes have gone down and the City of Lake Worth is in the same boat as we are and has been trying to operate our city with less revenue as property values continue to plunge. When our income is reduced, we cut our expenses so that we can pay all of our fixed costs and items to sustain ourselves like rent, mortgage, electric, water, food. We don't have the ability to raise more income unless we take a 2nd or 3rd job.

What has happened to get us into this state of affairs? Yes, past city administrations made some bad mistakes that cost us plenty but the bigger picture dictates that is was the banking industry that brought us all to our knees. We have employed a strong city manager who was hired under impossible conditions to make the decisions that will help us be healthy once again. The Unions have not cooperated. The PBSO says that it might.

If everyone knew the circumstances of our dilemma, I wonder what the other 35,000 people in this city would think when they know that services will be cut, we might have to close the library afterall, close the beach and all recreation, etc. We have already closed our pool. What would they think if they knew that certain services we receive from the PBSO already were received when we had our own police department. What would they think if they knew that PBSO costs are unaffordable and escalating year on year while our City income is going down? Would they tell the City to keep spending tax dollars on something we can not afford?

We know that the City is now looking to shift some costs onto all of us on our tax bill because some of us don't pay taxes (our properties are assessed under $50,000 and then there are the homesteads to deal with. Poor people tend to live in affordable housing as do most Seniors). Their argument is that we all should be paying the same for certain services when in actuality, the City can't afford to pay for the cost of that service because of badly negotiated contracts of the past. In tough times you make tough choices. When you spend 50% of your budget on public safety, it is at the absurd. It would be like comparing it to you spending one-half of your monthly income on housing. You would have the common sense to move to something affordable. The City, on the other hand, must raise fees to pay for your desire to keep the PBSO whose cost is unsustainable.

Commissioner Maxwell was right last night when he said that this was political. I couldn't agree more. When you see three commissioners on the dais who have not been the least bit political on this issue get slammed by one who is, and the constant lobbying from irrational people in the community whose only desire is to fire the city manager, doing the right thing by the people becomes much more challenging.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Crime Stats for Lake Worth

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Week ending May 16 for 33460
Yeah, tell me about it. Without the Sheriff the crime would be double, right?

Property Crime 11
Theft 16
Drugs 17
Disorder 8
Family Offense 9
Liquor 11
Robbery 4
Alarm 14
Other 28
Missing Person 3
Pedestrian Stop 10
Traffic 24
Assault 12

Allen West Town Hall Meeting in Riviera Beach


Uploaded to YouTube by CopyRight Photos
Bad lighting (could not see any of his graphs) but excellent audio

Allen West's Quote of the Day: "We have been played by a very bad fiddle by Pakistan."

Rep. West touched on energy independence, small businesses, gas prices, Navy Seals, deficit spending, social security and Medicare, and said that 47% of foreign countries own our $14.3 trillion debt that affects national security .

He was interrupted by the "normal" hecklers near the end of his excellent and informative town hall meeting.




On the News - City of Lake Worth Policing



Mary Lindsey's argument holds no water when she praises the PBSO for crime reduction. Crime is down in every city in the State of Florida and many have their own police department and certainly are not part of the PB County Sheriff's Department for services. It is ALL a matter of money. Our former police officers want to stay with the PBSO because they make MORE money. The City of Lake Worth pays MORE money for its services. Ric Bradshaw does not want to lose $13 million dollars from his budget. Something must be done...$3 million is not hay.

Finance Advisory Board Supports the City Manager

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Over three hours later, the Finance Advisory Board made a motion:

The Finance Advisory Board supports and approves Staff efforts to request the reduction in the current PBSO Contract.

The motion passed on a 5/1 vote with Jessica Plotkin dissenting.

Well, that's a start. And if we want to retain the Sheriff, that is what will have to occur--reduce the cost of services. The only problem with this theory is the simple fact that we will always have no control over PBSO costs and it will continue to be a battle going forward.

Whether they implemented their 7% raise or not should not be the question. The Sheriff had the right to go forward with that 7%. Because of our City Manager, Susan Stanton, they negotiated it down last year by reducing the number of men.

The Impact to the City of even having the Sheriff was and continues to be substantial:
  • Cost to operate District 14 (The City of Lake Worth pays for all maintenance, water, sewer, electric and janitorial services at our police facility. We also are responsible for all fixtures, furnishings, equipment and costs related to operate the District office).
  • Excess Sick, Annual, Compensatory or Holiday Leave. (Amount of employee leave is paid by Lake Worth)
  • Cancellation costs relating to the existing Leases we had before we merged. (Remember the Motorola contract?)
  • Impact on City's I.T. Internal Service Fund
  • Impact on City's Health Insurance Quotation (Our carrier raised the premium due to Police merger)
  • Impact to the City for continued funding of the existing Police Pension Fund. (Conservative estimates reflected an annual cost of over $1.1 million over a 7 year period to adequately fund the Police Pension Plan). With Karri Casper taking a leading role in demonstrating and speaking out for the PBSO against the City, there seems to be a conflict of interest. She was appointed by the Commission to represent the City's interests on the Police Pension Board.
Bill Thrasher was nominated and elected to the position of FAB Secretary. Next month, there are three seats coming up for appointments to this Board. These appointees will begin their term on August 1, 2011 for one year. They better re-write their Ordinance. There will always be a problem with it.