Thursday, September 30, 2010
motion made to re-advertise the position
Community Redevelopment Agency
Susan Stevens - 4 votes
Planning & Zoning
Alternate #1 - Erin Firzhugh -
Alternate #2 - David Niemi -
Sister City Board
and when 2 seats open up--Diane Jacques and Victoria Roxton
(not 100% positive of the above)
motion made to re-advertise the position
Letter: Hiaasen deserving of Legend's award
By Dorothy Wardell
Editor: Congratulations to Carl Hiaasen, who visited St Augustine and the Florida Heritage Book Festival last weekend to accept Florida's Literary Legend Award. This Florida hero well deserves it.
Hiaasen has for years pointed out the runaway development that plagues our state -- the result, he shows us, of the extreme corruption of politicians in league with developers. As he explains, he simply gets his material from newspapers: "You can't make this stuff up."
Calling Amendment 4 "a wonderful thing," he adds, "There's a huge constituency for saving what's left of Florida."
The audience roundly applauded his support for Amendment 4. A questioner mentioned that the developers are spending millions from federal stimulus funds - taxpayer bailout money - on deceptive ads against Amendment 4. Hiaasen laughed to uproarious applause, "They're using stimulus money? That's perfect, isn't it!"
Hiaasen likens the developers' frenzied Amendment-4 phobia to "worms squirming on a frying pan." And regarding politicians' opposition to the Amendment: "The idea of public involvement, trust me, is the last thing they want."
Thanks, Carl, for your 20-some novels, and 25 years of columns about a State that, as you've said, is "hard not to love."
You serve your home state well!
Ponte Vedra Beach
Read about it here.
The Obama administration may not support Israel, but Allen West does. He says, "strength is a deterrent" and Israel is the bright shining light in the Mid-East.
Prior to the meeting last night on the Second Reading of the Police Pension Plan Division 1, I had an opportunity to briefly chat with the attorney for the Pension Boards. I bluntly asked him “What are you all trying to achieve here?” I further went into the simple fact that Unions have been sucking cities and corporations dry all over the country…industry no longer can compete—corporations are off-shoring in order to turn a profit because of high wages and benefits that they no longer can afford and cities are near bankruptcy.
He said it was management’s problem, management's fault. They are the ones that caused this…it was not the Union members. I agree with that. We have allowed Unions to get away with everything that they ask for…have allowed them to have too much power...there is little negotiation if any. They are literally running our City; they have been pulling all of the strings. When it comes to government, management is playing with taxpayer money. It has been a cookie jar that always was filled. Now there are no more cookies and
Even Social Security has been changed. You have to pay into it longer. You have to work longer. There has been NO COLA for the past several years. When times are tough, tough actions must be taken. Seniors are a big voting block in this country and we understand. We also realize that it was "management" that got us into the mess we are in. We have had to bite the bullet and live on less because of horrendous management decisions.
And that is why the management of the City of
The Budget has already been approved. Not only was it approved by the Finance Advisory Board but also the City Commission. And what was approved then was a reduction of $370,000 in benefits to the Police Pension Plan and adopting a Defined Contribution Plan. This was to be in effect by October 1. That did not happen last night. In fact, that was not on the table. Management and the City Commission allowed themselves to be manipulated once again and approved an option saving $305,021 to the City, a shortfall of $65,000 and said there would still be “collaborative discussion” between them and the Union.
In spite of the moaning from some Deputies, one even saying that the City might have blood on its shoulders (for making them work 5 years longer) and another threatening that Sheriff deputies will leave Lake Worth if it makes adjustments to its Pension Plan, Mayor Varela handled the situation very well and was correct when he said that we have to live within the means that we have.
This Police Pension Plan was passed on a 4/1 vote with Commissioner Scott Maxwell dissenting. He hasn't approved of one thing in the Budget, which I might add is about the most responsible Budget in years. The Police Plan comes back to the Commission on November 8 and hopefully it will be in effect on December 1.
~Rep Kevin McCarthy, Rep, Calif
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
"Even if Amendment 4 is not a perfect solution, it does offer an alternative to the status quo, which obviously has not served Florida well. In August it had the fifth highest state unemployment in the U.S. at 11.7%, well above the national average. Nonsensical overbuilding is a failed approach for the state's economy, but as long as the local governments rubberstamp all developer requests, nothing will change."
You can read the entire article at The Atlantic website.
On Tuesday, The New York Times wrote on Amendment 4 with a long look at failed developments, overbuilt condos and how opponents to the right to vote on development exaggerate its effects on ballot sizes.
Late last week, a Fox News Channel story brought correspondent Douglas Kennedy to Connerton, north of Tampa, a barely built mega-development that was approved despite voters' complaints of sprawl and environmental damage.
(Deerfield Beach, FL) Over the past 48 hours, Republican Congressional candidate LTC(R) Allen West has received several advisories on his military email to "watch his six." Ron Klein and his cronies are trolling for former Soldiers under West's command willing to participate in attack ads against the 22-year Army Veteran.
Says West, "It is apparent that Ron Klein is planning a "Swift Boat" type assault against me at a critical juncture in this campaign. Considering Klein maliciously and intentionally released my Social Security number and my wife's employment identification number to tens of thousands of Florida voters, this is to be expected. We have seen this type of character assassination attack against Senators John Kerry and John McCain - both decorated war veterans. This type of tactic has no place in the arena of ideological debate and discourse - South Floridians deserve better."
"Klein is running one of the most dishonorable and characterless campaigns in America, and we believe he's about to stoop to an incredible new low," said Josh Grodin, West's Campaign Manager. He continued, "This so called 'man of the people' clearly disdains those he represents, and is willing to walk over anything or anyone that gets in his way, including a man who selflessly put his life on the line in the field of battle. The good people of Florida's 22nd Congressional District know a leader when they see one, and will not be deceived by politics as usual."
For more information or to schedule interviews with Allen West, please contact Valentina Weis at (561) 603-8188, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill says--
- Government should operate transparently and be responsive to citizens, not outside interests
- We should feel safe in our homes and in our community
- Protecting natural resources and marine eco-systems is vital to our local economy
- Good community planning, balances redevelopment with respect for our history
- Tourism and international relations are key to our city’s future
Saved the Casino from demolition and now proceeding with beach redevelopment and a new Casino.
Reversed the decision on the PB County Water Contract to proceed with our Reverse Osmosis System thus saving us $3.5 million dollars.
Ended the contract with Sun Recycling on our landfill.
Voted to end our expensive contract with FMPA, our power provider.
Highly respected and deeply appreciated, meet your Commissioner, who is on the move, in the right direction for you and for our City.
A new Harstad Research poll for the 22nd district in Florida has Democratic incumbent Ron Klein enjoying a five-point edge over Republican Allen West, according to the poll. The survey was taken after The Democratic Party and Klein released West's social security number in a mailer.
Maybe there should be a Republican Poll?
The city’s mayor resigned on September 22 after being arrested for corruption-- on charges of pocketing campaign contributions, including money from developers. Tesoro — former scrub brush — is now an eerie ghost town of mini-castles with fewer than 100 residents.
“This is bubble grandeur,” Ms. Blackner said, noting that Port St. Lucie’s taxpayers were left to pay for a new firehouse in the development.
“The commissioners were supposed to be protecting the community,” she said. “That’s their job, and they were asleep at the switch.” Source: NY Times
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Read about it here.
A few years ago a friend of mine said that she did not believe in global warming. I thought this incredulous and that is why I still remember the statement. Is there anything to it? Here is an article that says 31,000 scientists dispute the theory of global warming.
It was really quiet over there today...surf rough and sky overcast. The Navy Seals were training again and the shoe gang graffiti is still there. Saw some more shoes on wires down in the south section of our city the other day.
Here's another person bugged by shoes on a wire.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 6:00 PM
The purpose of this special Commission meeting is to discuss and take action on Ordinance No. 2010-20 re Police Pension Plan Division 1.
Maybe they will get this solved?
Read more about what a candidate for Manatee County Commissioner has to say about Amendment 4 and why she is running.
Read more of the article at --
The New York Times
Monday, September 27, 2010
REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS
Specification Title: Construction Manager at Risk Services for the
Lake Worth Casino Building Rehabilitation Project
Specification Number: RFQ-CW-09-10-808
Letters of Interest Will Be Received Until:
2:00 p.m., EST, October 13, 2010
Office of Management and Budget
7 North Dixie Highway
Lake Worth, FL 33460
Jan Brewer says, Stop by and join the Shame on SEIU Protest that continues today from 11am to 1pm & 4pm to 6pm located at SEIU Union Headquarters 3707 N. 7th Street, Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85014.
The SEIU Labor Union is promoting and encouraging a boycott of Arizona as a result of the tough new SB 1070 immigration law. While they are attempting to turn business and valuable dollars away from Arizona, they are simultaneously supporting Democratic Candidates across the state.
In the meantime, Kendrick Meek, running for the U.S. Senate, is on his "yellow brick road" and soliciting the help of the very same Unions like the SEIU that have helped cripple and bring down America and that are boycotting Arizona. And now you have Robert Wexler, the traitor of all time, supporting Charlie Crist who is really a Republican instead of Kendrick Meek.
Meek says he is "just like us" but no one is buying the message--that green jobs will turn around the economy or that a high speed rail to nowhere is something we really need other than to create jobs and spend billions of taxpayer dollars doing it. And Florida has its own share of the illegal immigration problem so we voters are sympathetic to Arizona and its problem with the SEIU.
The latest poll has Rubio at 40%, Crist at 28% and Meek with 23%. It's a mess this year, even for a nice guy like Kendrick Meek.
Are Unions completely over-run by radicals?
Today is the day that the Vote NO on Amendment 4 Group comes full speed ahead with all its lies and all its money...the Fat Cats. Don't get persuaded or fooled. For them, it is all about the money. They are the developers that were bailed out by the government...and all their misguided friends...it is all about money--YOUR money that they want in their pocket to defeat our right to vote so that they can develop what they want and where they want even if the land is not zoned appropriately. And, afterall, politicians are their best friends. We all deserve a vote when people such as these want to screw up our cities across Florida.
Read an article that just appeared in the Miami Herald by Attorney, Tom Connick, and why we all should vote YES on Amendment. It will finally give taxpayers the last word.
Palm Beach Post
September 27, 2010
Why not put voters in charge? It’s their money, after all.
Voting yes on Amendment 4 is the smartest thing taxpayers can do to save themselves money. Cities and counties in Florida spend millions to develop comprehensive plans and maintain planning departments. City and county commissions then approve projects that increase density, resulting in higher costs for new schools and new roads. Amendment 4 simply would permit taxpayers to have the final say on projects that will cost them more money.
Who opposes Amendment 4? Developers, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and planners who make big bucks from the current broken system. The argument that Amendment 4 opens the door to special interests is ridiculous. Special interests basically own the existing planning process. Try to think of a major development that has been turned down. Most developments get forced through, even when neighborhoods don’t want them. Further, we have a huge number of vacant houses and condos. How good is it for the economy to continue to build houses and condos while property values are plummeting?
Homeowners who want to protect the integrity of the neighborhoods are not special interests.
I am willing to trust the judgment of the voters. I say yes on Amendment 4.
Conservation Chairman, Sierra Club
The Club's President, Drew Martin, said there was lack of interest this year and few to help organize the event. Brogues started charging the Club rent to have their monthly meeting. It was said that Club members were not purchasing enough food. So, the club packed up and moved their meeting place to Pegasus. The Democrats are losing ground all across the country and Lake Worth is no exception. Of any year to have exposure for the Democrats, 2010 is it.
I will really miss this political event at the Democratic Club--one of the best! It seems that a lot of the neighborhood associations have to get into the act and hold their very own forum to bring a "service to our members" or just fill an agenda. Each one wants to exceed the other. This is a superfluous use of time. ROLOH is one of the few and perhaps the only neighborhood association that does not get involved in local or national politics.
Let's limit to the top two forums--Lake Worth Democratic Club and the President's Council. The rest are unnecessary.
Earth's only natural satellite
Now isn't this more fun than politics? NO?
Message from Jan Bergemann
Let's face it--Developers have fallen on hard times in Florida, caused by growth-mismanagement and overbuilding. Some have already spent future earnings -- and folded! Others try to avoid the inevitable by using the owners, who already had the bad luck to invest their life-savings in buying a home in one of their communities, as their cash cow to finance bills that would normally have to be paid by the developers.
Over the years provisions have been added to FS 720 to protect owners against developer abuse, but due to the lack of enforcement, developers play the deep-pocket game and sue owners for libel and/or slander who dare to complain against due-increases.
Developers know full well that many homeowners don't have the finances to successfully defend themselves -- and rather shut up in exchange for withdrawal of the lawsuit.
The number of complaints from owners against developers is growing and so is the number of lawsuits! Here is one example of a developer who thinks he got his feelings hurt when one of the owners compared him -- according to his interpretation -- to Adolf Hitler. I wonder what developers expect to be compared to? The Virgin Mary or the Holy Saints?
Equipped with absolute power -- so they think -- they are considered dictators by unhappy owners. And like it or not, the first people who come to mind when using the word dictator are Adolf Hitler and/or Joseph Stalin.
How do these developers think duped homeowners feel? Many of these homeowners lost a lot more than just their good name and reputation. The actions of the developer put them in a financial bind -- or even financial disaster.
On Friday, September 24, CCFJ (Cyber Citizens For Justice) held a town hall meeting in Lady Lake, an area where many homeowners struggle with financial abuses caused by actions of developers!
Info Town Hall Meeting
Sunday, September 26, 2010
“If you were an applicant, would you want to wait for a year to get a decision made on your application?” McDonald said. “I understand there are times when residents feel government is not responsive to them. But I think ultimately the decision should remain where it is.”
This is what the Mayor of Palm Beach just said regarding Amendment 4. He just doesn't get it!!!!! If a developer wants a local government to change its Comprehensive Plan for a land-use, that developer can pay for a special election if he's in such a hurry.
Read about the up-coming debate in Palm beach and why we need Amendment 4. Oh yes, Jack, why not just step down?
- A 22 year Veteran War hero who devoted his life to making America safe or someone who has voted to give away the farm and has driven us further and further into a debt for which we may never recover?
- Someone who has paid off his debts or someone who does a despicable act of releasing an opponents social security number?
- Someone who wants to restore dignity, integrity and honor back to Washington or someone who has stooped to the lowest of lows?
- Someone who believes in smaller government, constitutional values and principled leadership or that the government takes care of you from cradle to grave, citizen or not?
Katie McGiveron, Chair Save Our Neighborhood, Inc.
Candidate for Congress District 22, Col. Allen West
Congressman, I hope this gets some personal attention. I sent you the same message earlier through your web site but wanted to double up in hopes of getting through to you. Here goes:
Why Government Reform for the subject of this message? - because I hope you're done with any representations other than being an ambulance chaser starting next January. Wow! Your release of information on Candidate Allen West's lien problems from 2005 (and settled within 4 months of filing) ranks right down there with the lowest political dirtbag moves I've ever seen. And being from the Bronx, I've seen the worst, except maybe from your newfound Chicago cronies.
How can you release an opponent's SSN? Would you do that to me? To others? This was the final straw, boyo! Your insane vote on DADT for the military put me on the ropes and this has clinched it. Your answer on the DADT was filled with smoke and mirrors, a regular dog and pony show. How will you CYA this time? Need any help on military acronyms, ask some one from Colonel West's campaign.
I hope that if I ever meet you on the street, there will be no further reference to Congressman attached to your besmirched name. Thanks for nothing.
Capt. Peter J. Matthews, U.S.M.C. Retired
What about the other candidate, a former banker, who was affiliated with banks that contributed to the crash of America's economy?
If you are unsure, consider Michael E. Arth.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Per the City Manager, Susan Stanton, the Pioneer Plaque has been fully restored thanks to the handiwork of the Facilities Maintenance Staff. The plaque is hanging proudly back in the City Hall Conference Room. At 10:00am on October 14th the City will rededicate the Conference Room as the Pioneer Room to pay tribute to Lake Worth’s rich pioneer history.
See the City Manager's Report for the Week ending September 24 for details.
Exorbitant and outlandish Pension Plans throughout the country have hurt thousands of cities and just about all state governments. They all are looking for ways to reduce costs and balance their budgets. Even Miami has cut salaries, health-care and its city's contribution to retirement plans. I make no bones about it...Unions are out of control and the entitlement mentality has to stop.
There are some employees and friends of Unions that just don't get it. They feel that since they entered a Plan that was ridiculously and over-generously advantageous to them at the beginning of their employment, the Plan, therefore, should not change even if it were to bankrupt the city and they would be out of a job. They complain that top management does not have to take a cut but they do, the worker who actually does the hard work within the City.
We had a grounds worker last night, making $10.38 an hour, who was totally outraged even saying the word "shit" a few times. She would not have gotten away with that with Mayor Jeff Clemens. During his tenure, one of our residents from a Pioneer Family said the very same word and was tossed out of the Chamber, police nearby. He was forced to move from Lake Worth because of escalating costs...he could no longer afford to live here. Times have changed. What does her salary equate to when you consider health and retirement benefits, sick pay and personal time such as vacation? A few others spoke but generally the employees remained silent, supposedly "afraid" to speak. The Commission was hoping that more employees would come to the lectern giving them all the sympathy they could muster.
I, on the other hand, was hoping that more Lake Worth taxpayers had shown an interest and had spoken or had even shown up, you know, the guy who pays the tab who was shown no sympathy. Ron Exline, Chair of the Finance Advisory Board, said there was no reason to attend as the Budget had been passed. Little did he know or expect that the Commission would choose a Plan that was not planned for in the Budget and will give us a shortfall. Mary Lindsey was just outraged about everything and talked about internal fear, intimidation, lay-offs, calling it all "unconscionable and unethical." Law suits were mentioned again, something everyone does when they are unhappy.
No doubt about it. The employee IS the lifeblood of any organization. No matter how significant and important an employee may be to any organization, there is always someone to replace him and that someone, if smart and willing to learn, can even be better than the employee who came before him. There are hundreds of thousands of people seeking work. Some have looked for over a year with no luck. Unemployment is 12.2% in Palm Beach County with 72,000 workers out of work. There are plenty of people looking for good jobs with benefits and retirement. So to that employee's wife, perhaps an employee herself, who said that the City will be losing several employees as soon as "you sign this Ordinance," statistics say otherwise--there will be plenty of workers that will love a job with great benefits.
The General Employee Retirement Plan that was chosen by the commission last night (Plan #22) will save city taxpayers $1,404,936. Two employees spoke favorably for this Plan and actually understood Lake Worth's dilemma, one of whom was Valerie Hurley who is a trustee on the Employee Pension Board. Benefits provided in the Current Plan are frozen for all members. The averaging period for calculation will be 5 years up from 2 years and the benefit multiplier will be at 2% instead of 3%. Retirement eligibility is replaced with age 55 with 30 years of service or 65 with 10 years.
The Police Pension Plan was postponed again because the City Manager, could not get together with the Actuary.
Below is the jist of it and to read the entire story, Click here:
Earlier this month, Wayne Garcia walked across a stalled housing development in Land O' Lakes, Florida just north of Tampa. "It's an outrage," he said as he strolled past dozens of empty home sites. "This should never have been approved. This should never have happened."
Five years ago, architects promised "Connerton" would become the largest city in Pasco County. Today it looks like a graveyard of unfinished and unoccupied homes. Read about the graveyard.
"There were supposed to be 15,000 homes here," Garcia explained as he stepped over the unhooked plumbing of one side street. "Today's there's 233." And Connerton isn't alone. Florida now has hundreds of stalled building sites. It also has a record 300,000 vacant homes.
"This is all because of unchecked development," said Garcia who represents Florida Hometown Democracy, Inc., an environmental group that's trying to control growth in Florida. "Amendment 4 will finally address the problem," he said.
"The problem," according to Garcia, has been the state's local community boards, which approve or deny large developments. He says these boards in the last ten years simply approved everything put before them, basically caving to the powerful construction interests. "It's because the public didn't have a vote and didn't have a say in the matter." Amendment 4, he says will give the public that say, mandating a local public vote for every proposed large development in the state.
Garcia calls it "Democracy." Developers call it a "nightmare."
Friday, September 24, 2010
Today it was announced that Kevin McCarty, State of Florida Insurance Commissioner, granted Citizens Insurance a 10.3% hike. Citizens only asked for a 9.7% increase. Palm Beach County has had about 50 sinkhole claims over the past two years so Kevin thought it only fair to give Citizens MORE money than what they sought.
Thanks for watching out for us, Kevin!
The Amendment 4 issue is being favorably covered on the Fox News Channel nationally today (Friday), set to air at 10:50 a.m. and 12:35 p.m.
says, "We are obligated to give her U.S. citizenship."
This November 2, think about changing this corrupt, entitlement system in Washington.
Bottom Row: Katie McGiveron, PB County Amendment 4, Lesley Blackner, Chair Florida Hometown Democracy, Janice Botsko, Terri Rizzio, Vice Chair PPB County Democratic Executive Committee
Prior to the meeting we enjoyed the ambiance on the waterfront that included this dinner cruise ship. Someone on the ship actually was wearing an Amendment 4 T-Shirt!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
-St. Petersburg Times, 9/22/10
Message from Jackie Lee:
It finally happened. Today, a group of highly motivated, self-interested politicians, lobbyists and special interest groups launched the long awaited "Nix on Amendments 5 and 6" campaign. As expected, these politicians want nothing more than to protect themselves and their own best interests. These politicians have shown us that they will do everything in their power to avoid any rules for redistricting.
First, they came out with their "poison pill" Amendment 7 - using millions of taxpayer dollars to confuse voters! Then they tried to get a second bite at the apple when they sued to get Amendments 5 & 6 off the ballot. Those efforts failed so now they have launched a $4 million campaign to preserve the power of those highly motivated, self-interested politicians, lobbyists and special interest groups.
We need your help today to fight back against their multi-million dollar media campaign.
We have come so far, overcome many odds, and we are 6 weeks away from creating rules for politicians to follow when they draw district lines. We are preparing television ads, mail pieces and radio ads to let every voter know that every major newspaper in the state supports the rules in Amendments 5 & 6. We need to let every voter know that well-respected and diverse groups like the AARP, NAACP, Democracia Ahora and the League of Women Voters are working to pass Amendments 5 & 6.
Will you help is fight back against our opposition?
My experience in politics has taught me to never underestimate a group of highly motivated and self-interested politicians.
Will you make a donation today to ensure that we can fight back?
And don't forget to Vote YES on Amendment 4!
On many occasions we get "great" news from City Hall. Last night's approval of the millage for 2011 is one of them. We will be paying $5.39 (up 9 cents) per $1,000 of taxable value on our property including debt service plus PB Fire/Rescue for an overall millage of 8.85. Commissioner Jennings was the sole dissenting vote because she wanted the increase higher??
This augments the Commission's decision to not incorporate downtown parking pay stations that would have brought in revenue of approximately $246,000. This Commission considered the merchants as well as visitors to our downtown and made the right decision for Lake Worth. We can now market our City as a place to enjoy without the hassle of paying for parking..like it's been for years. There are major cuts in the Budget and the General Fund has been reduced by 13%.
As far as the Budget goes, Commissioner Scott Maxwell has been the biggest and most out-spoken opponent of the City Manager's aggressive and revolutionary Budget suggesting that it is full of "problems." It is no surprise, therefore, that he voted against it. He said it was full of "land-mines"...lots of places in which you need to be wary...but never giving a specific or offering any alternatives. In spite of his concerns, the Budget was passed on a 3/2 vote with Maxwell and Jennings voting Nay. Again, Jennings voted against it because she felt the millage should have been higher???
The Finance Advisory Board approved this Budget and Chair Exline, laughingly said, "He (Maxwell) wouldn't know a land-mine if he stepped on one."
On another note, Cara Jennings said that former Mayor Jeff Clemens was the worst and weakest Mayor we have ever had and that he was dead wrong regarding going with PBSO when he said that it would get rid of the Pension problem here in the City. Commissioner Jennings, if you recall, was one of the Commissioners who originally voted against PBSO.
Mayor Varela suggested that people have taken his "bankruptcy" statement out of context and said that we are not going bankrupt and we will never go bankrupt.
Amendment 4 is all about giving the voice back to the people when it comes to how we want our community to look. City governments across our State have and continue to make bad decisions when it comes to land-use changes. They do not listen to the people, the ones who end up paying for all the mess.
The residents of Riviera Beach have told its Commission that they don't want to give away their public land to Rybovich and gathered 5,600 signatures to put the question to the voters this November 2. So, what does Riviera Beach do? The City of Riviera Beach's council just voted to raise taxes and voted to lease the marina to Rybovich anyway at what the residents claim to be a ridiculously low rate that resulted from a non-compete bidding process and going around the will of the people to vote.
Angry and frustrated, residents will now attempt to recall the entire council by a formal filing of Recall today.
For some of you who continue to say "prove the corruption," I say just look around you. Look at what has happened all over the State and right here in Palm Beach County by Commissions that continually vote against the people because "they know better than you."
Vote YES on Amendment 4 and help alleviate some of the corruption behind land-use decisions in Florida. Even our local Planner should get this one.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
On one side, you have a career politician who believes that government is America's greatest asset. On the other side, a decorated combat veteran of over 22 years, Allen West, who believes that our country's greatness is the indomitable entrepreneurial American spirit that resides in its citizens.
"This morning between 0230 UT and 0600 UT, the northern hemisphere of the sun erupted in a tumult of activity. There was a solar flare, a coronal mass ejection, and at least two dark magnetic filaments lifting off the stellar surface. The event appears to be a smaller-scale version of the global blast in early August that sparked auroras over some US states. As before, NASA spacecraft recorded the action in detail."
Visit Space Weather for movies and updates.
I know that Lake Worth has the word "stupid" written all over its forehead. Last night was no exception when it came to the 2nd reading on the Employee and Police Pension Plans. One Commissioner was there to derail any purposeful dialogue. Maxwell said that it was "gross misrepresentation because details were not in the back-up." Oh, boo, hoo, hoo. Politics always gets in the way. In fact, I suggest that anyone taking a campaign contribution from any Union should have disclosed this fact before saying one word.
It is getting to be a joke here. Just utter the scary word "sue" and you have this City reduced to Depends. It happened with the billboard blight. These people came to town and said if you don't allow us to install obnoxious billboards we will sue. What did we do? Even though it was against our ordinances, we capitulated. The threat of a lawsuit happens all of the time when people do not get their way even if what they want is against our Comprehensive Plan, against our laws--even if they never perform like the flim flam man.
Last night the Chamber was packed with Union members, their friends like Mary Lindsey, a few that have been convinced by them that the City is doing them a gross injustice as well as the lawyer for the Employee and Police Pension Plans. If I heard the name correctly, we had our own outside lawyer with Lewis, Longman and Walker, Glenn Thomas. The lawyer for the Unions acted as if he was in a court of law and got to plead his case...we don't want any changes; we want it all...the wordage is ambiquous in your document and we'll have to go to Court so that someone can explain it.
We have $58 million in accrued UNFUNDED liability. Is that easy to understand Mr. Union Lawyer? The City Manager, Susan Stanton, said that it is more appropriate to reduce the cost of government today and reduce the long-term costs...the most responsible way to maintain city services.
Next year the City's contribution just to the Employee's Pension Fund is $4,056,252 which represents a 29% contribution. Is that one easy to understand Mr. Union Lawyer? The last company for which I worked which was a public company whose stock was traded on the NASDAQ, did not match one dime of my 401(k) contribution. There was NO retirement other than what I saved myself. Most corporations who have a 401(k) will match up to 3%. Our City employees believe in this out of whack entitlement just to show up and do their jobs and get an unbelievably high paycheck.
As indicated in the proposed budget, in FY 2011, the City’s total estimated contribution for employee pension contributions is $7.4 million and is projected to increase to $9.7 million by FY 2016. The total unfunded actuarial accrued liability of the General Employee’s Retirement Plan for FY 2010 is $30,644,940. Because of the benefit level offered to plan participants and the early age in which employees can retire, there are more general employees collecting City pensions than there are current employees contributing to the plan. Anyone can understand the problem here, even a Union attorney.
The Unions, after months of not answering e-mails, not communicating at all, are now talking. What they have suggested is that the City raise taxes and raise Utility bills so that they can maintain their cushy and out-of-line- benefits. Well, Mr. Union Lawyer, the taxpayers of this City can well understand the problem with this.
What I suggest is to hire non-union labor; eliminate those jobs of all those who are unwilling to work with the City during these difficult economic times and hire contract employees in a new job description. For the employee who threatened to not vote for anyone on the dais who was for amending these Plans, I want to remind you that this Commission is interested in 1) our city being financially sound 2) trying hard not to lay you off in the biggest unemployment for decades where it might take you years to find another job and 3) living within its means. If you can't comprehend that, then let's find someone for your job who will.
In order to help ensure solvency of the City of Lake Worth going forward, amending Pension Plans across the Board is imperative and has been recommended by Staff as well as the Finance Advisory Board. Union Pension Plans have broken this City and it is now time to change the course of these events to a realistic and sustainable level.
Last night's delay until Friday at 7pm will result in nothing new. The newly printed back-up that Commissioner Maxwell needs so badly to render an opinion will not change anything. We must reduce the costs of employee services and remind the Unions that they do not run this city...the taxpayers do, and it is the Commission's job to remind them of that fact by passing all amendments to the Employee and Police Pension Plans by October 1.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Supporters of the DREAM Act failed to get enough votes. The Senate voted 56-43 to stop debate on the Defense Authorization Bill that included the DREAM Act. See the vote summary.
Lisa Maxwell saying that she has a different philosophy than the present commission and that neighborhoods need "to be treasured," outrageously accused Suzanne Mulvehill for "nearly stopping the Publix" deal because of plastic bags--a total fabrication; said the city was close to bankruptcy (another total distortion of the facts); she would cut the Office of Management and Budget (Read earlier Blog) even though Finance Director Steven Carr was in the audience and highly recommended this department by saying at a city commission, "we can not do without it." Now who knows better--our professional Finance Director or Lisa?
She further went on to utter a defamatory remark that she doesn't trust the architect at the beach casino project and hopes that we can salvage the plan and go forward. REG architects was voted the Firm of the Year by Palm Beach Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and is highly respected in the business. She does not believe that the Casino will come in on budget of $6 million and we agree; REG says that the cost will be $5.9 million dollars.
That wasn't all the doom and gloom as she mentioned the word "bankruptcy" again saying "listen to the Mayor." When we have $66 MILLION DOLLARS in Enterprise funds with one-half of that unencumbered, I don't believe that any reasonable person would believe that this City is close to bankruptcy. The fact of the matter is, 98.7% of our assets are NOT mortgaged and we could borrow a lot of money if needed. Even Commissioner Scott Maxwell made a statement at a city commission meeting that we had $44 million in the budget that is accessible. We do, however, need to keep our expenses under control.
On tonight's Commission meeting Agenda are the 2nd readings regarding amending the Union Pension Plans. This will be a tremendous step in controlling future union retirement expenses that have been on a run-away-train. These recommendations were also made by the Finance Advisory Board. Maxwell seems to have a problem with retirement funds being fair and equitable to all the taxpayers in this City who pay for these ridiculous benefits as she mentioned she received two Union endorsements thus far in her campaign. We have over $50 million in unfunded pension benefits that taxpayers must pay by law.
Lisa Maxwell brought up the number of Group Homes in the City. The State of Florida has argued that these people have a right to be integrated into communities. What steps did Lisa take to promote LESS group homes when she was on the Planning & Zoning Board and voted on the zoning that allowed them into our city? We have to tolerate these homes, not provide for them and they should not be located next to single family homes. On one hand, Maxwell complains about this aspect of our Code but on the other hand wants to protect "developers' rights." She clearly does not understand the Sunset issue. With a background in development, we recognize her mindset.
Maxwell mentioned our old generators at Lake Worth Utilities. Yes, they are old, but they are completely paid for and well maintained. We have budgeted funds to maintain our valuable equipment. We just rebuilt a boiler. We recently re-bladed the Westinghouse 251 generator and rebuilt the turbine. What was Maxwell's point by even saying this? The inference is because they are old that they are unreliable. This is NOT the case.
Overall, Candidate Lisa Maxwell articulately sounds off with her doom and gloom sound bites and wants to change the direction of the City and we ask "Why?" It is thanks to this Commission, as well as our City Manager, that we have turned around many of the bad decisions of the past and have a lot of great accomplishments that will be achieved and completed within the next few years.
Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill, upbeat and on point throughout the Forum, said that she was excited about the future of Lake Worth and believes in our City.
Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy (the "Vote No on 4" campaign) is the umbrella organization that leads opposition to Amendment 4 and headed by "Lyin" Ryan Houck. Everything about this Group is a lie, even its name.
Some of those directly responsible for Florida's economic predicament are:
National League of Cities former President, Clarence Anthony
Florida Chamber of Commerce President, Mark Wilson
AFL-CIO Executive Committee member, Frank Ortis.
Florida Tax Payer
Everyone must follow the money to understand why groups such as the Florida League of Cities, Associated Industries and the Florida Association of Realtors tell the lies and are spending $15 million to fool the general public. Some of these people are the ones to blame for the crash of Florida's economy. Look to see how long their pockets are. Taxpayers across the State are experiencing empty pockets and higher taxes because of land-use changes that have gone against common sense.
Hometown Democracy president Lesley Blackner issued this statement after recent media coverage about an “Industry Mobilization Plan” being undertaken by the powerful opponents to Amendment 4, or Hometown Democracy:
“It is bad enough that major Florida employers are squandering millions of dollars to oppose giving voters a seat at the table, money that could instead go into growing their businesses and hiring new employees. Now, they have devised a plan to have those same employers lean on their workers to join their pro-overbuilding campaign and even provide lists of employees names to the anti-Amendment 4 campaign team."
The Vote No group had a Regional Rally in Orlando on September 14 and the ONLY people who attended were members of the various above mentioned groups...speaking to their own greedy choir for the photo op.
In case you missed it the first time-
Monday, September 20, 2010
Lisa Maxwell said tonight that she is "pretty knowledgeable on the law" and developer's rights are very clear. Well, tell that to a real attorney that the City hired for advice on the Sunset parcel. Tell that to Richard Grosso, one of the most reknown land-use attorneys in the State of Florida who will disagree with her.
She was a member of the Planning & Zoning Board at the time the Sunset parcel was annexed into Lake Worth and approved the annexation and upzoning of a single family neighborhood for two land speculators. As she said that she did not read blogs--that they were "arcane"--I can assure her that I have no secret knowledge on Sunset or any other matter within this City. We have spent years trying to protect this neighborhood and everything is documented.
In order that Ms. Maxwell can refresh her memory (someone pass it on), ON THE FACTS, CLICK HERE.
Earth and Jupiter converge for their closest encounter in decades, so says Space Weather. The giant planet will soar across the sky at midnight, outshining everything except the Moon itself.
Jupiter, the 5th Planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System, will remain close to Earth for weeks to come. Tonight is the closest it will be. On September 21, Earth will pass between Jupiter and the Sun. As you can guess, these events – Jupiter near the moon, Jupiter closest to Earth, Earth passing between Jupiter and theSsun – are all related, so says Earth Sky.
Jupiter is closer to Earth than it has been since 1963. Jupiter, at 368 million miles away, won't be this close again for twelve more years.
If you're up at Midnight, look up.
The Vote NO crowd says we should not be able to vote on land-use changes and that we are the ones that will stop growth in Florida. Their argument is bogus just like they.
GTIS Partners Acquires 1800 Residential lots in Tampa...
Real estate investment firm GTIS Partners has acquired Grimsley Ranch, a 580-acre, partially-entitled residential land parcel on the Pasco/Hillsborough County border in Tampa, Florida.
The property is zoned for 1,800 residential lots, and is located in New Tampa, considered one of the premier residential sub-markets in the greater Tampa region. Total improvement costs are expected to exceed USD29.6m.
The property had been foreclosed on by a bank and was purchased directly from the lender.
I would imagine that our candidates will be getting a little more coverage than typical this election year as we are about the only city around that has local elections in November. All of them are feeling the misery of the hottest summer on record according to the National Weather Service as they canvass neighborhoods, knocking on doors and politicking.
Thanks to former Commissioner Nadine Burns who spearheaded it and Dave Vespo and Retha Lowe (a former "top worst" commission), who pushed this several years ago. They put it on the ballot knowing full well that the month of November, in the eyes of the average voter, would make sense because that is when everyone votes for President. The average guy just doesn't want to take 10 minutes out of his day to go vote and once a year is sufficient in his mind. Politicians count on these kind of statistics to push forth an agenda. That particular Commission had one and it was keeping Jeff Clemens in office for 8 additional months.
In today’s Local section, page 3, of the PB Post, there is a synopsis of the Lake Worth candidates and their priorities. The candidates running in their prospective districts are as different as night and day in their understanding of the issues and why they want to serve for the measly sum of $7,200 in salary and the same amount in expenses.
Comments below are basically on the PB Post article and no where near or close to the full picture of where these candidates stand on the issues-- their knowledge or lack of understanding. Although all may comprehend every vote and every reason for decisions made over the past few years, none other than Suzanne Mulvehill ever attended commission meetings or Board meetings with any regularity, if ever. They, of course, could have been listening over the Internet :). Even Lisa Maxwell was forced off the Planning & Zoning Board for lack of attendance.
Carla Blockson--candidate District 2: Supports lowering commercial electric rates. This is a subject that is too comprehensive to go into in this blog. Not only does she believe that we should eliminate the Conservation Program but we should return all the money to the taxpayers. Good luck on that one, Carla. The Conservation has been in effect for the past year. It had a million dollar budget with one-half going toward salaries. In the upcoming budget, the department is now at $1,454,624. That's what happens when you create bureaucracies. Departments NEVER get smaller. Teaching people to be more energy efficient can be done through a flier inserted with their utility bill. This program targets the poorer residents within our city who do not even have the money to buy more energy efficient appliances and air conditioning units. It is a revenue producing department, providing a service to some Lake Worth residents, that allowed former code officers to keep their jobs. Protecting our employees is something for which I thought Ms. Blockson approved.
Next, Carla wants fast-track permitting to encourage businesses to Lake Worth. We have that already, something Suzanne Mulvehill helped implement. Blockson wants to strengthen Code enforcement. We have a new Program that will do just that without increasing the number of code enforcement officers. I have always been FOR more code officers, not less. However, Wayne Bergman spoke at the Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Association about the new Code Enforcement Program and set me straight. Carla was at that meeting and listened to his presentation. At the same meeting she said that she would not do "favors" for her friends. We agree that all elected officials should adhere to high ethical standards and integrity. Blockson was a member of the Community Relations Board of Lake Worth and resigned to run for office. Carla works for the Social Security Administration.
Lisa Maxwell, candidate District 4: Supports reducing the size of the City budget which are her top 3 priorities--the budget, the budget and the budget. The City and the Commission, of which Suzanne Mulvehill is a part, just reduced the Budget for year 2010-2011. See Chart 11 of the City Budget that shows a reduction of 16.4% in the operating budget. She also wants to eliminate the Conservation program and return the money to rate payers but provides no viable plan to do so in a City that is in dire need of revenue. She is in favor of using the CDBG funds for roads and sidewalks, a recommendation made by the Finance Advisory Board. She has said that she might want to sell the Utility. This is not her decision; it would be the voters of Lake Worth. Ms. Maxwell was a Director of Redevelopment with Lennar Homes and is now a consultant who is forming an alternative energy company. She was a former member of our Planning & Zoning board.
Suzanne Mulvehill, incumbent and candidate District 4: One of the few elected officials that has ever fulfilled a campaign promise--she did just that when she saved the Casino from demolition and the vote to re-build it. She has a clear understanding of the importance of completing the Casino project and marketing our great city to get those tourist dollars spent here in Lake Worth. She understands the importance of being a provider (Reverse Osmosis System) of water rather than dependent upon anyone else for this precious resource. She was one of the Commissioners that reversed the bad decision of the Jeff Clemens administration that stopped our RO after spending $14 million and then going with PB County on a contract to buy water. Through her vote to reverse this bad decision, she saved taxpayers $3.5 million dollars. She supports a feed-in-tariff to stimulate solar power generation as well as lowering electric rates. Suzanne Mulvehill is our Commissioner District 4.
As Constitution Day was on September 17, the Constitution Committee of the U.S. held its first annual picnic on Sunday at John Prince Park filled with educational family fun. All the "founding fathers" were there: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Samuel Adams, George Washington, Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross.
The Constitution Committee says: We are
The Constitution is not neutral.
It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.
~William Orville Douglas
Candidate Congress District 19
"I promise to serve you the only way I know how--
with the honor and integrity that every American deserves."
Joe is running against Ted Deutch
on history and Amendment 4
An estimated 9,000 candidates will become citizens (they did it legally) at 63 special ceremonies held across the country and around the world from Sept. 13-24.
How would you feel if you arrived home after work only to hear your two teenage daughters describe the mailing your family received, publicly disclosing your Social Security number? And imagine your disgust when you discover the same mailing had just been sent to thousands of homes across Broward and Palm Beach Counties?
Well, that just happened to me on Friday evening.
Incumbent Ron Klein has just sunk to an unprecedented new low in American politics. Klein has sent my social security number to voters all across Florida's 22nd Congressional District.
I understand politics is a tough business. I expect to be challenged about my ideas, my beliefs.
But Ron Klein has clearly crossed a line. Our lawyers are reviewing what legal action is available to my family.
I'm not yet sure the potential damage that might come to my wife and me.
And it makes me sick to think of what could happen to my daughters.
South Florida has the highest number of incidents of identity theft in the country - my entire family is now at risk of having our identities stolen. So we now have to start the long, complicated, drawn-out process of requesting new Social Security numbers, and all the troubles that come with that.
His type of politics must end now. If Ron Klein and his Liberal cronies will do this to me and my family, what will they do to each of you?
This is a despicable act by a desperate politician who is in danger of losing his job.
I have longed believed that the liberals would do anything just to stay in power. But never in my wildest dreams did I believe they would stoop this low.
Klein has once again aroused my competitive spirit. I am more determined than ever to spread the word of our cause to restore character, honor and integrity to Congress.
Will you redouble your efforts as well? Let's show Ron Klein his below the belt political smears have no place in America.
Help deliver our message of limited government, lower taxes and a strong national defense by donating to our cause. If you can afford $22, $50, $100, or even $250, we can get our message across to the voters that Ron Klein's career must end.
I'm ready to fight. Join with us to ensure integrity is returned to politics in America.
LTC(R) Allen B. West
Paid for by Allen West for Congress
Note: The flier was sent out by the Florida Democratic Party and its spokesman, Eric Jotkoff, said it would pay for Identity Theft Protection for the next two years all the while saying West was paranoid. What a guy.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
One of the commenters puts down Dr. McVoy and calls environmentalists "kooks." I guess he needs to read McVoy's priorities as well as his educational background and achievements.
Yes on 4 supporters protested with signs. The Yes on 4 "table" and the Amendment 4 truck were outside City Hall before the vote. Click HERE to read more about it.
Read more: The Politics of character assassination.
Not only have we had the negative attacks against Col. Allen West, but also against several candidates who won their primaries who do not fit into the progressive left-wing mold. Soon we will be hammered with the lies of the Vote NO on amendment 4 special interest groups that have all the money.
Expect to see more of it here in Lake Worth against a few of our local candidates. It's all about reclaiming the power, not about who will be best for Lake Worth.
Debunking the "No on 4" crowd’s lies
ADAPTED FROM JOE MCCLASH, A MANATEE COUNTY COMMISSIONER WHO FAVORS AMENDMENT 4:
Lie Number One: Voters must “Vote on everything.”
NOT TRUE! Only Comprehensive land use Plan amendments will need to be voted on. There is no requirement to vote on items that are zoning issues. The opponents’ use of this lie has people believing that if they want to build a house or add a room, it would have to be voted on in a referendum. Just not true!
Lie Number Two: “Will drive jobless rates higher.”
Florida has the ability to more than triple its population without one more Comp Plan change, so this is just not true! And wasn’t it the “run wild development” that caused this great recession we are in now – speculation and over-development which created the worst crisis since the great depression?
Lie Number Three: “Would mean higher property taxes.”
If anything will drive taxes higher, it would be more development. Several studies show new residential development costs 40% to 50% more in taxes than we receive, which leaves existing taxpayers to subsidize developers.
Lie Number Four: “Local government will be required to hold expensive referendums. More elections require more tax dollars.”
The fact is, no expensive referendums are required. Every two years we have a primary and general election. There is even a Presidential primary “Super Tuesday” in March every four years. Amendment 4 would allow citizens to give their stamp of approval as part of the existing elections. The process allows that if a developer is in such a rush to change our community’s comp plan, they can request a special election – at their cost.
Lie Number Five: “Ultimately Amendment 4 would force local and state governments to raise taxes or cut services.”
This is already happening under our current economy with the devaluation of property values caused primarily from over-development. Amendment 4 will allow a process for citizens to give their stamp of approval on only those comprehensive land use changes that have the initial approval of their elected officials. There would be no reason to believe all these changes would be voted against. However, some could be voted down if citizens like their current plan over the developers' proposed change.
Source: The Bradenton Times
Lie Number Six: "Election ballots the size of small phone books on changes to Comp Plans"
The average community might have 2 to 4 land-use changes per year, if that. The voters know what or what not they want in their community. That is why they have spent over $1 mil to have a comprehensive plan and resent politicians changing the direction of their communities. There is no need for long explanations or confusing ballot language. Amendment 4 will stop the unnecessary land-use changes and city commissions changing Comprehensive Plans for developers against the wants of the residents who pay the taxes for the infrastructure, schools, etc.
Read Randy Schultz's column today in the Palm Beach Post. He still does not quite get it.