Thursday, March 31, 2011

Allen West is Cutting Government Spending

Allen West has proposed Bill HR-1248 that would eliminate annual pay increases for employees who do not perform well in the Department of Defense.

"The Federal Government has a spending problem. While the Democrats continue to propose to add trillions of dollars in new spending and new taxes, I am keeping my promise to my constituents to responsibly cut government spending in order to get the American Fiscal House back in order," says West.

In addition, he is also submitting legislation to accomplish the following:

  • A House Resolution to reduce the printing and reproduction budget by 10%. Would generate $35.7 million in savings in FY12, reaching nearly $180 million in savings through FY16.
  • A House Resolution to reduce funding for Defense studies, analysis and evaluations by 10%. This would purportedly generate a savings of $24 million in FY12, returning up to $120 million to the treasury through FY16.


Submit your idea for spending cuts.

Quote of the Day - Allen West

"I never talk about Muslims; I talk about radical Muslim ideology…"

~Rep. Allen West

Muslims are hot right now. They are confronting Congressman West at every town meeting. They just refuse to get it.

"There is a radical element out there. When I was in Afghanistan and Iraq, we had many Muslims who were killed by the enemy. I went in the villages where people were throwing acid on little girls who were going to school. Now, if you don't want me to stand up against that kind of ideology, then, I tell you, I am not changing."

Who do they think blew up the Twin Towers?


Buy-Outs in Boynton

Because of budget shortfalls, reorganizing in Boynton Beach has caused Lay-offs and Buy-outs...Lake Worth employees next?

Cracking down on Ethics

Democratic State Sen. Gary Siplin offered what may be the lamest line I’ve heard in Florida politics in quite some time … and boy, is that saying something.

When speaking against ethics measures meant to crack down on corrupt politicians, Siplin first complained that such a proposal could cause problems, because … wait for it … it might increase the number of people in prison.

Read more of Scott Maxwell's column:

Siplin vs. Ethics - You can't make this stuff up

SB-672 Red-Light Camera ban

Last week, the phone lines to the Transportation Committee had to be shut down. People rallied behind the ban of the red-light camera scam. The Bill that passed in the Transportation Committee on a 4/2 vote is now in Community Affairs. Once it passes there, it will go to the Senate.

Follow SB 672.

Of course, one of my favorite groups, the Florida League of Cities was against the ban of red-light cameras.

Lake Worth parking impact fees

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According to Andy Amoroso, Vice Chair of the CRA Board and remembered for his demeaning question at a recent city commission meeting:

"The CRA has accomplished a lot in the last two years.
What has the city accomplished?"

said that "City parking impact fees are keeping businesses away from Lake Worth." He is blaming it all on the City. Has anyone bothered to look at the economy lately? Actually, we have a lot of businesses moving into the City.

Perhaps insulting the City gets you results. It certainly is an unorthodox approach when you are biting the hand that you want to bleed. Even if we cut the fee in half again resulting in less money to the City, it might attract businesses, but Landlords also need to lower the rents. The City (and the rest of the taxpayers who are not business owners) can't be the only ones giving something up.

If the CRA, without batting an eye, can easily hand over $500,000 to a multi-billion dollar corporation that didn't even ask for money and those on Andy's CRA Board continue to believe that they made a worthy decision by patting themselves on the back for Publix, then we can certainly lower parking impact fees. Perhaps Andy and the CRA can devise a scheme and pick up the cost for the loss to the City.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wind turbines at Lake Worth beach

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Finance Advisory Board Poses Questions

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For years, we have been asking some of these questions that the FAB asked last night. No one has ever been able to give us the answer as to cost of a kilowatt. In order to determine how much we can reduce our utility bill, a goal directed by the Commission to the FAB, they must have answers to the following:
  1. What is the average monthly kilowatt usage and water usage for both residential and commercial users?
  2. What is the price of 1000 kilowatts?
  3. How do the rates increase once that threshold is reached?
  4. What is the corresponding levels for water rates and usage?
  5. What is the average monthly residential and commercial bill, before and after taxes and surcharges?
Also the Finance Advisory Board asked about the effects of E-Verify if implemented by the State of Florida.

The E-Verify Bill brought forward by Gov. Scott has already been compromised by politics. Under the new version of the bill, sponsored by Miami Republican Sen. Anitere Flores, employers would be able to bypass e-Verify by requiring new hires to present identifying documents such as an unexpired U.S. passport or Florida driver’s license, which are not issued to undocumented workers. Read more about it at The Miami Herald. As of two weeks ago, Leadership in the Florida Legislature supports E-Verify.

FAB's question was, will the contractors hired by the City (custodial, grounds maintenance, streets maintenance) be subject to E-verify? If so, will it be limited to the owners of the business or to their employees as well?

Overall crime falls in Florida, not just in Lake Worth

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Although crime has been steadily going down across the State of Florida other than murders, the Sheriff's Department had a PR piece in today's Post claiming that under their protection, crime is down in Lake Worth. The suggestion was why then would Lake Worth even bother to look into another public safety option that was affordable? The fact of the matter is, crime is down in every city in our State.

The PBSO has a magnificent public relations department and knows exactly when to get out a PR piece. Sheriff Ric Bradshaw will not negotiate the cost increase on the Lake Worth Contract and says, "The only reason they've (Lake Worth) gotten a large reduction in crime is because of the number of deputies on the street."

We have to ask why a Commissioner would vote against a Study in order for the Commission to make an opinion on our public safety options. Do we not have a pending shortfall of $4.6 million? This has been a political and an emotional decision from the get go and every single commissioner should be open to ways of reducing costs particularly those for which we have no control and will continue to go up--sheriff protection. Just because the public is "in love" with the Sheriff, does not mean that we need the Cadillac of services.

Crime rate down in the state of Florida for 2010

Officials say crime is down

Overall Crime data 2010

FDLE, Crime in Florida stats

Blast from the Past

Now that the IBEW Collective Bargaining Agreement is on the Consent Agenda (if this is not pulled for discussion, it passes automatically) for April 5, here's a blast from the past--


October 5, 2004

B. (Reordered) Collective Bargaining agreement with the Lake Worth International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union.

Labor Attorney/Human Resources Director Allan Sirmans (remember him?...He's the guy that was caught with a loaded gun in his car) said the City had a long negotiated process that was good for both the employees and the City. Mike Morris, Union representative, said the IBEW Union was pleased with the agreement.

Action : Motion made by Commissioner Burns and seconded by Commissioner Lowe to approve the Collective Bargaining agreement with the Lake Worth International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union.

Vote:
Voice vote showed : AYES : Mayor Romano ; Vice Mayor McKinnon ; and
Commissioners Lowe, Burns, and Egly. NAYS: None.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Florida Utilities Committee allows Utility companies to charge $1.5 billion more

The House's utilities committee on Tuesday approved a bill it drafted to allow utilities to charge customers up to $1.5 billion over four years to create or buy more renewable energy and also approved how utilities are regulated.

"There's nothing more free market than that," said Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth. This is “one way to provide it…one way that has worked in the state of New Jersey and other places."

Read more about it HERE.

Big Business wins over small businesses.

Lake Worth got more than it wished

Comment Up
The Dispute

Lake Worth, as well as all the customers in Lake Worth's sub-regional system involving the monies that they allegedly owe, all agreed to an audit. However, all parties failed to define the scope of work and the type of audit.

Lake Worth wanted only a Financial Audit relative to the financial issues of the payment dispute whereas the customers demanded an Operational Audit that would entail much more detail.

Financial Audit:
Provides reasonable assurance through an opinion (or disclaim an opinion) about whether the financial statements are presented fairly in all material respects with generally accepted accounting principles.

Operational Audit:
Evaluates management's performance in establishing and maintaining internal controls and administering assigned responsibilities in accordance with laws, rules, regulations, contracts, grant agreements, and other guidelines.

The Result
The Staff Analysis said the following: "The scope of the audit should be determined based on the request by the City of Lake Worth taking into consideration the concerns of the other entities involved." Staff further recommended that the Auditor General set the scope and type of audit. According to today's PB Post, the State will be conducting both a Financial Audit as well as an Operational Audit.

Banning of Red-Light Cameras to be voted on in Florida Senate

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UPDATE:
03/29/2011 Senate • Favorable by Transportation; YEAS 4 NAYS 2
..............
SB-672 hits the Senate floor today at 1:00 pm. This Bill bans red-light cameras in the State of Florida. On two occasions, Lake Worth said "no" to red-light cameras and they made the right decision. It's all about the money and even most of that goes to the red-light camera company and to the State, not to us.

The Finance Advisory Board's charge is to find ways to increase revenue and red-light cameras have been brought up again. They can throw this one back on the table tonight but it will not stick. Even this Board knows that it was going to cost Lake Worth right under $300,000 a year to rent the cameras on a 5 year contract with NO guarantees of enough revenue to pay for the lease. No sense in spinning wheels here. Hopefully SB-672 will be passed today by Committee and we can move on to a full Senate vote.

1. Red light cameras deny basic constitutional and due process protections such as the right to be presumed innocent, the right to a trial, the right to confront your accuser and proper notification.

2. Red light cameras cause more accidents, injuries and fatalities. They increase traffic congestion and change driving behavior.

3. Studies show that increasing amber time by 1 second can reduce violations by 60 percent or more in many cases.

4. Red light cameras raise revenue by punishing technical foul violations such as right turn on red violations and split second entries into the red light which rarely cause an accident.

5. Red light cameras are a menace to our constitutional rights, our pocketbooks and to public safety. They must be removed from our roads. Source: The Constitution Committee

6. The only one who makes out is the red-light camera company.

Quote of the Day - Susan Stanton

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In talking about the various cities and PB State College that owe the city of Lake Worth millions of dollars in the sub-regional sewer system and the State's order of an in-depth review--

The broad audit would put the city at a substantial disadvantage in collecting money that it is due.

~Susan Stanton


"The Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (of which Jeff Clemens serves), asked Auditor General David Martin to conduct an operational and financial audit of the city's sewer system, granting him broad leeway to look into the dispute between the city and its seven regional sewage partners in Palm Beach County."

Read more about it HERE.

Jeff Clemens says all this occurred before he became mayor of Lake worth.

Lois Frankel

Frankel still has no respect for City Charter.

It's always been a mystery to me why people keep voting for her after all the damage and big spending she did and showing no respect for the people...going around them to do what she wanted. Now she wants to run against Rep. Allen West.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Local Utilities thinking about raising water rates?

Local Utilities are thinking about raising water rates because of conservation. That's what we've been saying all along. We teach consumers how to conserve, spending over $1 million a year in that department, and then we come up with some brainstorm to increase revenue to make up for the loss.

Utilities officials in Boynton Beach and Lake Worth said their agencies hadn't decided whether to raise rates.

Walt Smyser, Lake Worth Utilities Water Systems water/sewer engineer, said rates increased by 11 percent last year to build a reverse-osmosis plant.

Lake worth had better not raise rates unless they want to see a riot.

Lake Worth Finance Advisory Board - pulling teeth

Comment Up

The Finance Advisory Board meets tomorrow to discuss the joint meeting it had with the City Commission on March 8 as to its goals and objectives. Although the joint meeting was cordial, the message from the Commission was clear to whomever cared to listen--Find new sources of revenue and lower Utility bills. Nothing was said about scrutinizing each line on the Budget, something we all thought would be the goal from the beginning.

Without an audit of the Utility, NO one knows what in the heck is going on there. NO one knows if we are paying too much for anything but we do know that through the years Commissions approve everything coming out of that Department. It is our biggest department; it generates the most expense and the most revenue. Laurel Decker has said for nearly a year now that the Utility would be her desired focus. It all has been one big stall from Staff and in my opinion, the FAB will never be allowed to get close to the Utility.

Chair Exline has said on several occasions that the FAB is there to do the will of the Commission but the Commission is still unsure as to what it wants from the FAB. If they come up with something that might stick, then great. They were even told not to pursue certain issues such as selling the Utility. This is a big mistake. All options should be on the table. When speaking with Exline, he agreed.

Without staff resources and data to complete its analysis in order for the FAB to give recommendations, nothing with the FAB will change. Now that it has its 3rd liaison, Ed Fry, who has learned the trick of feigning by claiming he is a "new employee," that status quo will be maintained. Teeth pulling will continue until the city manager gets a 100% "rubber stamped" Board that demands little.

Treated like a poor step-child from inception, the FAB has yet to get public notice of its meetings in the Palm Beach Post which bears no cost. Meetings are not publicly broadcast and Minutes are not on the Lake Worth web site.

Some on the Board want to meet every day it seems while the Chair wants to meet when they have some meat and potatoes. Goals should be discussed on Tuesday and agreed and assignments given or volunteered and the Board should set a time to come back when it has some results or ideas. They should make it clear that they want reasonable requests fulfilled by Staff with all requests coming from the Chair. This Board is becoming more and more like the Electric Utility Task Force...ineffective from no fault of their own.

All terms on the FAB expire with a July 31 date. So, why then will there be any discussion on elections. Someone went around the Chair to place election positions on the Agenda. The Board was formed in early April 2010. As three positions come up in just a few months with Decker's and Exline's terms expiring, it would be appropriate to have elections after new members have been appointed and let everyone complete his appointed term. Jennifer Marchal, who got a unanimous vote from the Commission when she was appointed, resigned from this Board a few months ago (because of no meat and potatoes) and the FAB has been in no hurry to replace her. The idea was to wait until new members were appointed in June.

There was no reason to even have this on the Agenda unless, of course, someone is 1) playing politics 2) someone wants to vote someone off now because of misfeasance or malfeasance or 3) someone wants to resign now such as the Chair, Vice Chair or the Secretary.

From the City's web site: In June of each year, the City Commission shall conduct an interview meeting with prospective applicants to City Boards and shall select the board members at the meeting, based upon the Commission members ranking of the applicants.

Economic Terrorism by Socialists and former Union Exec

CAUGHT ON TAPE: Former SEIU Official Reveals Secret Plan To Destroy JP Morgan, Crash The Stock Market, and Redistribute Wealth In America

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Lake Worth CRA and Tiger Investment Group


Not only is the Lake Worth CRA doing business with ALL companies located out of Lake Worth regarding the $23 million HUD Grant but one bank profited nicely from property sales. Most of their acquired properties were bought right in the midst of the CRA receiving its Grant. It has to make you wonder. Many of the acquired property appraisals far exceed the market values according to the Property Appraiser's office.

Tiger Investment Group, formed in June 2008, is an agent for Florida Capital Bank of Jacksonville and has made right under $1 million dollars in Lake Worth from these CRA deals. Florida Capital is rated ZERO from Bauer Financials, Inc. which uses a five star rating system based on its analysis that banks and thrifts file with the FDIC. A zero rating is the same as if you equated it to your own personal credit score. See some of the sales.

Florida Capital was established in 2005 and has been in trouble for some time. The bank continues to suffer from the effects of unsafe or unsound practices, particularly in connection with its commercial real estate loan portfolio. But they made out like a pig in Lake Worth.

Again, it has to make you wonder why this City Commission did not support Commissioner Jo-Ann Golden regarding the CRA. Politics is a dangerous thing when it comes to lots of money.


Allen West - A Leader

Allen West said, 42 cents of every dollar is borrowed...the world is going to hell... Let me be the guy to be your man in the arena...I will put my bet on the heart, the soul, and the faith of the American people each and very day.

Farrakhan Opens his trecherous mouth again

Doncha just love Socialists? Free speech is a wonderful thing. Nation of Islam and former musician, Louis Farrakhan who has actually seen flying saucers, preaches hate against America and our President. He believes there is a conspiracy to destroy blacks and Muslims. Why doesn't he move somewhere else? Seriously.

HB 7155 - Florida Financial Matters

A bill relating to
State Financial Matters -- from the Government Operations Subcommittee:

Revises provisions which authorize SBA to invest specified funds pursuant to enrollment requirements of local government investment authority; authorizes SBA to invest specified funds in Local Government Surplus Funds Trust Fund without trust agreement upon completion of enrollment materials provided by board; provides that investments made by board under trust agreement are subject only to restrictions & limitations contained in trust agreement. Effective Date: July 1, 2011

There were three "no-shows" for the vote, one of whom was Jeff Clemens.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lake Worth Water Restrictions

Comment Up
Today is the date for the new water restrictions imposed by the South Florida Water Management District.

"Amid growing fears of shortages, previously selfish cities and counties began working together to plan billion-dollar water-treatment plants. Water-saving measures such as low-flow toilets and lawn-sprinkling bans became the norm. Water police took to midnight patrols in some suburbs." Read the complete article here.

Here in Lake Worth, the City Commission made a prudent decision to have its own Reverse Osmosis System. The South Florida Water Management District has imposed restricted irrigation for the past several years on Lake Worth and Hypoluxo to one time per week. In order to keep our grass looking good in my community, thus keeping up the value of our property to the best of our ability, we are spending a lot more money on bug control, fertilizer plans, weed control and re-sodding when necessary. Click here for Water Restriction Info.

Lake Worth formed a new government department, Energy Conservation, that upon request, will audit your usage and advise the homeowner where to conserve. This is a bureaucracy that was formed to retain jobs and a COSTLY expense in order for some to feel they are doing their part to help the environment. It started out with a $1 million dollar budget, half of which were salaries. Now it is up several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Most all cities in Palm Beach County can water at least 2 times per week. The yards all look greener than do the properties in Lake Worth, a city limited to one time per week. Watering is allowed 3-9 a.m. and 4-9 p.m. on Thursday.

Lake Worth has imposed a new Landscape Ordinance that tells us what we can plant and to ensure that its objective of conservation is complied.

Tom Ramiccio says he wants to be Mayor of Lake Worth

Comment Up
"I'll be a big contender."

~Tom Ramiccio

Tom Ramiccio told the PB Post that he will be running for Mayor of Lake Worth. "Ramiccio has written a five-part plan to revitalize the city that recommends hiring an internal auditor, creating new sources of revenue and stimulating economic development. Ramiccio said he wants to consider "all options" to reduce the city's electric rates, including selling the city's electric utility." Read about it HERE.

He told me weeks ago that he had a "lot of support."

After suing The Palm Beach Post and Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill, blaming her for his termination at the Chamber, he wants to set his record straight by running again and winning. One thing that we can conclude from observing him at city commission meetings and his public speaking is that Ramiccio holds the present government and city manager in low esteem.

At the end of all of this he might be uttering Rocky Balboa's words:
"I coulda been a contender.”

Impact fees and largest change in Growth Management Law


Impact fee legal standard may change

TALLAHASSEE — Local governments would have a tougher time defending impact fees charged on development projects if a new standard of review by the courts is reenacted into law. In identical House and Senate bills, for any action challenging an impact fee, the government would have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence — meaning a greater weight of the evidence — that the fee meets legal requirements. In the past, courts have held local governments to an easier-to-meet “fairly debatable” standard that the Florida Supreme Court rephrased as a “reasonableness test.” Business interests claim that this test makes it nearly impossible to prove that an impact fee is excessive.

House Bill 7021 is sponsored by Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, and the House Community and Military Affairs Committee. Senate Bill 410 is sponsored by Sen. President pro-tempore Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton. The bills reenact a law adopted in 2009 that was challenged last year by nine counties and three local government associations. The bills, which are headed to the respective House and Senate floors, aim to make the challenge moot in part by providing a legislative finding of an important state interest.

Committee passes growth management reform bill

TALLAHASSEE — A Florida House committee passed a 300-page rewrite of the state’s growth management laws March 17 that streamlines the development approval process by taking the state out of much of the comprehensive plan review process.

Former secretary of the department of community affairs, Linda Shelley, calls it “ … the largest change in the growth management law since we enacted it in 1985.”

The proposed committee bill, PCB 11-04, eliminates the controversial state concurrency requirements, giving local governments the option to retain the standards. Shelley says the Senate version doesn’t include that provision.

Concurrency laws generally require developers to have roads, parks, utilities and other infrastructure in place by the time they obtain final permits.

Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, chairman of the House Community and Military Affairs Subcommittee, sponsored the legislation.

The bill passed 11-4 with support of four Gulf Coast legislators: Rep. Matthew Caldwell, R-Fort Myers, Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, Rep. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa.

“This bill reduces state regulation of local government comprehensive planning,” Workman told his committee. “Florida growth management laws have evolved into prescriptive, burdensome, and costly regulations on local governments and property owners.”

Source: Gulf Coast Business Review

Friday, March 25, 2011

Offended by a Kiss

Comment Up

Someone (allegedly) forcibly kissed this woman and she sued. Read about Lisa Bright, former Director of Boynton Beach's CRA, and how someone actually wanted to kiss her.

Deficits with and Without Iraq War

Comment Up
* Obama's stimulus, passed in his first month in office, will cost more than the entire Iraq War -- more than $100 billion (15%) more.

* Just the first two years of Obama's stimulus cost more than the entire cost of the Iraq War under President Bush, or six years of that war.

* Iraq War spending accounted for just 3.2% of all federal spending while it lasted.

* Iraq War spending was not even one quarter of what we spent on Medicare in the same time frame.

* Iraq War spending was not even 15% of the total deficit spending in that time frame. The cumulative deficit, 2003-2010, would have been four-point-something trillion dollars with or without the Iraq War.

* The Iraq War accounts for less than 8% of the federal debt held by the public at the end of 2010 ($9.031 trillion).

* During Bush's Iraq years, 2003-2008, the federal government spent more on education that it did on the Iraq War. (State and local governments spent about ten times more.)


Read more at The Washington Examiner

Florida Retirement Bill

Comment Up
Jeff Clemens votes NO --another Party line vote.

The bill, which backers say would put the state's retirement package more in line with public companies, was amended to make state employees pay 3 percent of their salaries toward their retirement funds. (That 3% will really break them).

Newly hired employees would be required to enter 401 (k)-type retirement plans instead of the traditional Florida Retirement System pension plan that guarantees specific payouts despite market fluctuations. Matching a Senate move, the House backed off an original 5 percent employee contribution level requested by Gov. Rick Scott.

826 Sunset Drive, Lake Worth

Comment Up


Yesterday I toured the Sunset property. This parcel consists of 4.02 acres and according to the Property Appraiser's Office, it is zoned MultiFamily 10. There is, however, a problem with this as it was never transferred to the DCA by the City of Lake Worth. Even if it had been transferred to the DCA, it is considered Contract Zoning and that is illegal. Consequently all the things that lead up to this has caused a law suit with the City of Lake Worth by the owners, Sunset Drive Holdings. They were lured into buying this property with the promise of a zoning change, by a previous commission, that never happened.

Between employee ineptitude and failure to transmit the illegal spot zoning to the Comp Plan to the DCA (and it is a good thing that this mistake was made or it would have initiated another lawsuit)-- to a Commission, spearheaded by Nadine Burns, that was looking for tax base and the hell with a neighborhood--to the change of a new city commission that reversed the zoning decision of a past commission-- this once pristine property has been allowed to deteriorate over the past 6 years as it was bought for development. The only value is now in the land. Every allegation by the owners and every amendment filed has been rejected. Pages 5 & 6 of the Recommended Order relate to La Sonna Hayes; her claims were rejected.

The owners want to sell this land and end their law suit with the City.

It was very quiet there and I saw no wildlife other than the report of one dead possum. The second photo is not on the Sunset property but on the Ciocci's right near the entrance to Sunset--it was too unusual with all the Spanish moss, not to include.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sunset Case

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Recommended Order cover letter identifying the hearing record referred to the Agency.

Recommended Order Case Closed

From Jean Middleton:

The property owners at Sunset Drive have 15 days to file exceptions (an appeal) to this Order. If they appeal, there will be

a hearing before the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and they will issue a Final Order either: approving the ALJ’s Order,

rejecting the ALJ’s Order or modifying the Order.

Once DCA issues a Final Order, either side can file an appeal to the 4th District Court of Appeals here in Palm Beach County.

If there is no appeal to the ALJ’s Final Order, the City’s comprehensive plan can be implemented.

Allen West to pick up the trash in Pompano Beach

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Allen West is going to get down and dirty on Saturday morning in Pompano Beach, meeting at the north side of the Pier. He will be participating in a Beach Clean-Up from 10 to Noon.

Take Atlantic Boulevard East to the beach. Parking on west side of A1A.

West is cleaning up the trash in Washington, so come on down and help him pick up the trash in Pompano.
Gov. Rick Scott has signed a bill that would put Florida teachers on merit pay while ending tenure for new hires.

Read about it HERE.

Déjà vu in Lake Worth

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1985.

The average national income was $22,100 and the cost of gasoline was $1.09. We had our own police department but they even griped about wages. Lake Worth still had its politics and its problems. Nothing much has changed. Thanks to the "me" generation, some homes are selling for $22,000 where the national average then was $89,000. Greed brought down our economy.

Even happenings in the world are similar--An earthquake in Columbia that killed 25,000; another earthquake in Mexico and 9,000 died; several hijackings and terrorists galore; people raising money for charity with a concert for Aids victims held in Philadelphia and London which raised $50 million. Each generation continues to live through hard times with people wanting more of the pie. Workers believe that they are non-expendable; they aren't.

We continue to live through the failed marriages, abusive working environments and more Bernie Madoff's with their Ponzi get rich schemes. Each generation gets more narcissistic and believes that they are entitled..."I love me." The city of Lake Worth is in a Financial Urgency but the Unions will not budge and the CRA continues to spend.

The difference in today's generation from 1985 is that very few people have any natural or general responsibility or obligation other than to themselves...a bigger house, a fancier car, the latest I-Pad. Helping a neighbor is not part of their lives. In most cases, people do not even know their neighbors. If someone is in need, then someone else can provide that, not them. We always witness the exceptions and we have two citizens who stand out in Lake Worth. Robert Waples is one.

Our government just keeps spending to the point of bankruptcy with over $14 trillion dollars in debt forgetting the very citizens that they represent and putting all of us in harm's way. Our local government, once again, will be implementing creative taxation in order to balance a budget and pay for the sins of the past. Even Ronald Reagan increased the national debt in 1985.

Technology is moving so fast and this "me" generation is moving just as fast and they cry out, "Get out of my way; let the other guy deal with it." Others say, " Let the government support me from cradle to grave."

Lake Worth Police Union Reject Salary offer

They were saying the same old things 26 years ago. Some things never change in Lake Worth.

``If you want to make the city of Lake Worth a slum, the beach a masterpiece, and have no law and order in the city, because there will be no police to serve you, then don`t change the present commission or mayor

Same stuff at the beach--

``I`m very, very upset that we have to close our beach and parks because of a couple of young people in this city,`` said Commissioner George Harrs, who joined the unanimous vote to close the park earlier

Same old stuff on Budget Cuts--

Salary negotiations at an impasse

Can anyone make up their minds? Same old stuff. If your incumbent was behind a favorable budget and did not raise taxes, November might be advantageous. It's all politics with politicians not caring about the cost to the taxpayer.

Lake Worth recommends Fall elections

Cyber Citizens For Justice Speaks Out on Bill H-5005

Dear Florida Homeowners and Condo Owners:

For a change -- some great News: The new version of H5005 to be approved at today's committee meeting -- as posted on the website of the House Committee on Economic Affairs -- shows that all provisions regarding the removal of license requirements for community association managers (CAMs) and all wording regarding dissolving the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes and the Condo Ombudsman's Office have been removed.

Thanks to all the many folks who contacted our legislators in opposition of the bill, who helped our legislators see the light at the end of the tunnel and doing the right thing: Stop these ill-advised parts of this bill that would have been detrimental for millions of people living in Florida's community associations.

It was a great teamwork from all organizations and groups that really care for the welfare of our community associations and owners. Thank you all who helped to stop the ill-advised provisions in this bill. And a big Thank you to all legislators who were willing to stand up trying to help Florida's community association members and all honest CAMs.

The debate on this bill helped in another way: It showed who the folks are who always claim that they are so concerned about the welfare of associations/owners, but are favoring bills that do exactly the opposite. How can somebody, who states in an e-mail: "My initial thought is to agree with the deregulation of managers and elimination of arbitration," claim that he is concerned about the welfare of the owners in our community associations?

When will our legislators finally understand that people like Gary Poliakoff and Peter Dunbar are not lobbying for betterment of community association law, but for more billing hours? Nothing else is contained in the totally ill-advised bill S530, pushed by these same folks. They dismantled Senator Ring's owner-friendly bill S1516, took a few provisions to make their horrendous bill look a little better to cover up the many shortcomings and took out the requirements that would have helped associations/owners deal with our economic crisis. Who in his/her right mind can oppose a provision that would require insurance companies to inform all owners if a property insurance policy is cancelled for non-payment? We had two cases recently where the owners lost all their life-savings because boards took it upon themselves to stop paying the premium.

If our legislators, who have seen the concern of many Floridians who helped to defeat the bad provisions in H5005, want to really do something for associations/owners they would KILL S530 and REVIVE S1516 in its original version. When will our legislators finally stop listening to the folks who sure don't have the best interest of millions of Floridians in mind -- people who are only interested in their own profits?

Thanks again to all citizens and legislators who helped with removing ill-advised provisions from H 5005!

NEVER FORGET: UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL!

Warm Regards,

Jan Bergemann, President
Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Man attacks ex wife

Quentin Givens was arrested for attacking his ex-wife. The Post says he is a Lake Worth man when in actuality he lives in West Palm Beach.

Can the media stop crediting Lake worth for all the punks in and around our city? Someone might blame that on Cara Jennings too.

Insurance - The Big Florida Rip Off

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Brendan Lynch of Lake Worth and former member of our CRA is the CFO of Plastidge Insurance Agency. His company is in the middle of a law suit with Century Village, Ventnor's B Building in Deerfield Beach. CFO's are in charge of the money and most don't want to part with a penny.

A fire started in a condo unit 5.5 years ago and to this day, all those units that were affected, are still considered unsafe and uninhabitable. 192 people filed a class action suit. These folks feel that it is because they are elderly that the system is throwing them down the tubes.

When you are dealing with insurance and you have a claim, you are just screwed. It is nothing personal against Brendan and this is not just about Plastidge but all insurance companies and agencies. Brendan's company just happens to be involved in this claim. You learn quickly that most everything that lead up to filing an insurance claim is not covered. Not only that, you can't even get the coverage.

Insurance companies have expert after expert writing policies to make damn sure that you are not covered and any possible claim will be in their favor. Some even have an unwritten policy to deny as much of a claim as possible. Have you ever tried reading a commercial policy? It would take 10 lawyers to figure it out, maybe. Basically, after spending thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on your insurance premium, you are self-insured. CLICK HERE. The insurance company is the only winner.

Insurance companies have the big bucks to lobby politicians to get favorable legislation. Now Rick Scott wants the insurance industry to be deregulated. Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Fort Lauderdale, sits on the House banking and insurance committee and worries about releasing the insurance industry to market forces. I don't blame him there. It will be a free for all. There is a property insurance Bill that Rick Scott supports that will make it harder for property owners to get claims paid.

“That’s what it’s about this year is turning the reins of government over to big business,” Jenne said. “I don’t think people really understand what complete deregulation or massive deregulation will do to them as consumers. They’ll pay less to their government at the end of the day, but they’ll be paying even more to the insurance companies.”

This, if it happens, will cause nightmares for everyone in the State of Florida. Bring your wallet if you want to live here. Retirees who used to be welcomed residents, who paid their bills and added to the economy as well as all those on fixed incomes, forget it. You are forever screwed. Move to Arizona.

Quote of the Day - Sen. Garrett Richter, R-FL

"Anybody who thinks they can live in Florida and not have significant (insurance) premiums thinks they can live in Rochester, New York and not shovel snow."

~Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples
Author of SB 408


Seems to me that Richter is giving us a little snow.

When Rick Scott ran for office, he said that he was going to overhaul the insurance industry in the State of Florida. Most of us thought he meant making insurance more fair and equitable for the consumer. We were wrong. We are paying more and getting less.

Commissioner Mulvehill gives update on Firefighter's Contract Supplement

Palm Beach County Commission rejected renegotiation of the supplemental payment.

On March 1, 2011, I went before the Palm Beach County Commission to request their approval to renegotiate the fire contract. The County rejected our request to renegotiate the surplus payment (Lake Worth is the only municipality that pays a supplement).

I also requested that we renegotiate fire fighter pensions which are costing Lake Worth 152% of payroll, or $1.7 million this year. This amount will continue to rise and we have no control over it since we contracted with the County. I will keep you updated on this matter.

Suzanne Mulvehill
Vice-Mayor

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lake Worth Earth First member arrested.

Everglades Earth First members ARRESTED for sitting in trees, protesting a plan to build a Scripps Research Institute biotech center, offices, and houses on 680 acres of vacant land.

Confused or unhappy at Lake Worth City Hall

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A few residents spoke last night. Confused or unhappy, Lake Worth had them all. We mentioned an unhappy one this morning. The confused one, Jason Bailey who is also an employee, gave public commentary.

"I would also like to say thank you to the lifeguards who are here tonight, who have watched over my family when my family has enjoyed the beach. Thank you," said Jason Bailey, a Lake Worth resident. It is noble to protect your fellow employee from the hatchet. Jason also blamed our present state of condition on the city commission for ending the water contract with Palm Beach County implying they wasted millions. Who has he been talking to?

Jason, the City saved $3.5 million including the fine by ending that Contract and building our own Reverse Osmosis. Please read up on the facts.

Water restrictions in PB County


Water restrictions begin this Saturday to two days a week for irrigation as this is the driest season in 8 years. It seems like they say that every year. As Lake Worth has been on one day watering for several years now, does that mean we cut back to zero? Anything is possible in LW.

Everyone will feel the Pain in Lake Worth

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Channel 12 was there with Al Pefley going up to the lectern to adjust the microphone--3 or 4 cameras were in the back--the Chamber was packed with unhappy people who maintained their composure. I only spent about 3.5 hours at the meeting last night. There was so much to cover and below are just a few of my impressions and highlights.

Staff spent 80 hours compiling the figures to last night's clear message of cutting costs--everyone in this city will feel the pain. This includes every single property owner, from the poorest of the poor right on up to the few extremely wealthy. Our employees are no exception. Thanks to the Unions that are inflexible and all those who believe that we need the premium of services from the PBSO (Police Study out in 2 weeks) whose contract will continue on its course of non-affordability, tough measures were discussed for implementation.

There will be substantial reductions in adopted service levels, city positions, employment benefits and special service contracts. Each taxpayer will pay much more on their non ad-valorem part of their tax bills if the Commission adopts Stanton's Plan.

In order to balance the Budget for year 2011/2012, The City wants to--
lay off 44 full-time employees (not sure if I heard correctly as the Post has it at 79...am waiting for confirmation...will edit later) and 5 part-time employees in the Public Service Division. The position filled by Valerie Hurley of Deputy City Clerk is on the chopping block. She is a Trustee of the Employee's Retirement Board.

The key to even having a chance of job retainage was to have advocates there speaking out. There was some discussion on the Library reductions and lifeguards, the two groups represented and/or had friends in the Chamber. Guarding the north section of the Pier and leaving the south section as "swimming at your own risk" was a possible solution.

I got the clear impression that the City Manager is hoping that the PB County Fire/Rescue will give Lake Worth the axe for non-payment of the supplement that is purposely being withheld. Fire Chief, Steve Jerauld, spoke and he says that the County is treating the late payment as any other late payment. Stanton smiled. He also said that the Supplement payment owed to PB County for Fire, which is $1,425,000 for 2011/2012 Budget and according to the Contract is $1.3 million for every subsequent year, can be shifted to the non-advalorem part of our tax bill, something the City is contemplating. The City has always thought that it was screwed when the County incorporated this supplement over and above the amount we pay them. We were. If the City shifts this non negotiated supplemental payment to the taxpayer, then we definitely are screwed. With pension payments of 152% of payroll, this too is non-affordable.

Susan Stanton, city manager, wants to contract out our street maintenance as well as our grounds maintenance that will include the cemetery. The cemetery now looks like hell and we owe it to all those buried there to keep this looking nice...it was part of their contract. Dead people don't complain though. The City Manager said that she expects a reduced level of service because they just don't have the money. Our city is already blighted. Now it will become even more so.

The Mayor as well as Maxwell and McVoy think it a great idea to shift some of the costs on to the non-advalorem part of our tax bill where everyone who owns property in the City will pay the same fee. That includes little Granny making $5,000 a year struggling to stay alive paying the same as someone making $5,000 bi-weekly. For some reason the Mayor thinks every cost possible should be shifted to our non-advalorem part of our tax bill, his solution. Commissioner Maxwell assured me out in the hallway that no one would lose their house over this proposal-- that it was mentioned in the back-up documents. A former staff and commission failed to negotiate for the taxpayers of Lake Worth, a common trait.

Maxwell also stated that the entire Commission should relinquish its entire salary as the City was laying-off employees. He got a resounding applause from constituents and employees. He is running for office this year, isn't he? Very few employees live here, however.

Because property values are so depressed and expected to be even lower in the next several years, we could see more fees on our tax bill such as an assessment for the Supplement payment to PB County Fire or a new fire department and an assessment for parks. If a neighborhood wants a park, it pays for it, not the City or any other neighborhood.

What can we expect from all of this? More potholes, more blight, increased taxes (and it is a tax no matter what the Commission says about non-advalorem fees), less efficiency, a workforce reduced by 79 positions, possible drownings, increased parking fees at the beach to pay for lifeguards, early departure plans, the possibility of downtown parking pay stations, an idea already rejected by the Commission.

The ineptness of the past as well as the sins of greed have caught up to us. We are getting closer every single day to de-annexing and going with the County. By no fault of this Commission or this City Manager on conditions that got us to this financial urgency, we could become, overnight, the highest taxed city in the State of Florida. You never know.

The 11:00 news on Channel 12 showed the Chamber and Mary Lindsey speaking. There are some in this City who still blame Cara Jennings on everything that has happened and why we are in the state we are in today. Blame is easy. Facts are harder to accept.

This is an earlier video regarding the meeting

Allen West on Lybia

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Allen West on speaking of Lybia: "Well first of all I can’t tell you what the mission is; I don’t think anyone knows what the mission is. When we say were going to go in and protect civilians, that’s going to be very hard to do from thirty thousand feet."

Money over Environment

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It happened in the State of Florida and it happened with the defeat of Amendment 4. Those with money wanted more and those without, blamed their lack of it on environmentalists who were placing obstacles in the path of development by watching over our natural resources. Even my favorite politician is taking the Republican stand against the EPA. Mother Earth is not as important as money.

Following is an article and a Graph produced by Gallup:

The Great Recession appears to have had a big – and negative - impact on Americans’ sympathy for Mother Earth.

A Gallup poll released last week found that Americans are prioritizing economic growth over the environment by the widest margin in nearly three decades.

The poll found that 54 percent of Americans think economic growth should be given priority over environmental protection, while 36 percent thought the environment should be given the top priority.

For decades, the chart was reversed, with the majority of Americans saying that environmental protection should be the top concern. But things began to change when the economy entered its sharp decline in 2008, only reversing course again briefly following the Gulf Oil spill.

It’s unclear if the nuclear disaster in Japan will cause people to rethink those priorities. The survey of around 1,000 adults was conducted March 3 through 6, before Japan was rocked by a massive earthquake and tsunami, which has killed thousands of people and left a hobbled nuclear plant leaking radiation.

Gallup, By Allison Linn, senior business writer

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jack Simons has an Opinion

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----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2011 11:13 AM
Subject: Re: ???

Lynn:

In talking with multiple Commissioners and mayors in various municipalities in Fl., my lawyers have made me sensitive to being classified as a "Conduit" with respect to the stated intentions of the elected officials with whom I am talking on various matters that will come before them to vote upon. I have been advised that I am in violation of the Fl. Sunshine Law if I transmit the intended vote from one elected official to another. I have been further advised to not transmit intended votes from a Volunteer Board member to an elected official if there is any chance that the elected official will vote in the future on the matter.

With respect to your post: I asked the CA to opine because I feared your post might be construed as such a violation of the "Conduit" classification and thereby "taint" any votes taken tonight. My thought was that if there was a problem, Elaine could address or at least mitigate it.

Elaine called me this morning and told me that she did not think there was a problem with your post as it was just an opinion and not a relating of a vote count. I went over my interpretation of the Sunshine law and my interpretation of your statement as not being construed as an opinion, but rather as a relating of a vote count. Elaine listened to everything I had to say and then reiterated her original opinion that the matter was not a problem.

While I take some satisfaction in Elaine's opinion that this is not a problem, you may want to get a copy of Tolces' research for the CRA on Blogs and the Sunshine Law. If we have learned nothing else, we know that a judge on any particular day will opine given his experiences and prejudices.

With respect to my to date unlisted post, you have attacked and ridiculed me on your public blog and I have answered by restricting myself to personal experiences and my understanding of current situations. If you are not familiar with Dennis' conduct and actions, I suggest you go over my unpublished post with him as you will not believe any explanation I give you anyway.

May your constructive efforts in the City be realized,

Jack

Note: This was not a privileged or confidential e-mail. This e-mail is worthy of review.

The Lake Worth Library - It Grew from the People

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Our current library, located at 15 N 'M' Street, is a beautiful building filled with 70 years of history.

The City plans on lowering costs at our Library by $191,513 by reducing hours of operation (40 to 30 hours a week) as well as staff. Instead of 7 full-time employees, the proposal is to have 1 employee with 4 volunteers. We started out as a volunteer library nearly 100 years ago and built our library at its present location in 1941.

Susan Stanton says, "It is my absolute belief and hope that not only will the Lake Worth Community respond to the staffing needs of the library but this effort will be the first step in energizing the community to begin thinking about a capital fund raising campaign for a new library which can truly meet the needs of the community." I think she means the elimination of staffing needs of the library and possibly the demolition and/or Annihilation of our facility and its history.

This has been the plan brewing in the background well before Stanton arrived to town. That is why the Lucerne has no windows on the East. Someone(s) wants that property for development. The City manager is an advocate of building/construction. That is how she grew Largo's tax base.

The other plan that has been tossed around is to eliminate our library altogether and force our residents to use the County facility on Summit Boulevard in West Palm Beach. This is just more dismantling of our City to the County, an inconvenience and insult to our residents, while our taxes go up. We are either going to remain a City or we are not.

There is so much history behind our library where books were read by candlelight, oil, and gasoline lamps for the first two years. Not one penny was given in any Grant from the federal government; the Pioneers raised the money themselves, not only for the books but for the building. Those who are a part of the Pioneer families are still proud of what their ancestors achieved and we all know and believe that our history is what sets us apart.

The City has dismantled our Museum and now wants to do the same with our public library. It says that our library is too small for the populous, demographics have changed, and has implied that our history is not worth preserving. The truth of the matter is that the Internet has changed the way in which people use the library--they are neglecting the traditional methods of research, using a public library, as most have home computers. Schools today also have libraries for research. However, people still want to read hard-copy books and want their own city library. The population has grown in 70 years but the uses of our library have changed to counter-act the population growth.

My Mother visited our local library every day for 40 years until she got too sick. She was a voracious reader and a former librarian. Everyone knew her and those who worked there became friends. I always remember her telling me how much she loved the Lake Worth Library.

We, who have been a part of the history of Lake Worth and who have lived here for many years, as well as thousands of newcomers, see the value in preserving our library that grew from the people. We do not want to lose a part of ourselves, part of history. We all cherish it as did my Mom. We want it in its present location and used as a library, nothing more and nothing less.

Quote of the Day - Charles Gusmano

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On answering the question, what is the most important trait you look for when hiring at your companies--

"I look first to the person; their morals, integrity, honesty."

~Charles Gusmano, co-founder of Southern Waste Systems

Read the entire article HERE.

Mafia with a Heart

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Even Japan's infamous cold blooded criminals who would blow you away in a heartbeat, have heart. Mafia groups are helping out with the relief efforts and showing compassion and civic duty.

The day after the earthquake the Inagawa-kai (the third largest organized crime group in Japan which was founded in 1948) sent twenty-five four-ton trucks filled with paper diapers, instant ramen, batteries, flashlights, drinks, and the essentials of daily life to the Tohoku region.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Meet with Allen West

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Congressman West Hosts Town Hall Meeting

Join Allen West in Palm Beach on Wednesday for a Town Hall Meeting. Come hear from your Congressman on the important issues in Washington and be prepared to voice your concerns, issues and suggestions.

Wednesday, March 23
Temple Emanu-El of Palm Beach
190 North County Road
Palm Beach, FL

Quote of the Day


Speaking on the Governor's plans to reduce Pension costs, Jeff Clemens said, "The cost to each taxpayer to fund the retirement of all 655,000 current employees and 304,000 retirees is $138 per year. That is a pittance."

Read more at the Miami Herald: Pension Battle Overlooks the Deeper Numbers

A Spoof - Steve Bridges and President Obama

The Fun part of Blogging

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The Central Florida Coalition for Growth and Prosperity


Another feel good name for a group hellbent on identifying economic and regulatory barriers to its objectives--making tons of money and paving over Florida. This organization is even using the same colors as it did in the Vote NO on Amendment 4 campaign, the ominous red and black. It says that it will also use the exact same tactics to get its way.

It sure does not want any Florida government agencies giving them a hard time and they are happy that Scott has dismantled the DCA. The word "democracy" is not in its vocabulary if it interferes in the right of its members to make BIG $$$ at the expense of our great State. It pretends to support jobs but all along it is about labor bringing more money to line their pockets.

This is how you take over an entire State: CLICK HERE.

Remove Barriers to Growth

First a designated region in Florida-- next the entire State, then the Country. Fat Cats, The Chamber and Ryan Houck--a deadly cancer that is out to ruin the health of Florida.

Super Moon, the Day After

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Above is the moon as it was setting early Sunday morning, March 20.

Everyone saw the Super Moon last night. All the reports that it would be coming up on the horizon by 7:28 to 7:45 must have been written when it was still Standard Time. I got 6 calls last night from "Where is the damn moon?" to "It's coming up right now over the ocean; don't miss it."

Moon over Lake Osborne

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March to Target Florida Unions

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Lake Worth is not alone when it comes to reducing benefits of union workers in order to stay afloat. Four out of our five elected officials have supported the City Manager's goal to reduce union benefits by supporting her Budget.

Only days into this year’s session, House and Senate lawmakers have taken up three bills that would weaken the teacher’s labor organization, restrict the political clout of all public unions, and reduce the benefits of all state workers.

Read about it here.

Susan Stanton's Recommendations for Lake Worth

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The City Administration recommends approval of the following recommendation as soon as possible:

1. Approve the proposed Work Force Reduction Plan and the May 10, 2011 implementation date

2. Approve the proposed operating hours for the Library and the use of volunteer’s staff

3. Approve the proposed Life Guard service reductions and beach staffing plan

4. Approve the solicitation of bids for contracting out the recommended public services operations

5. Approve the proposed Contract Service Implementation Time Line

6. Approve the proposed Voluntary Separation Plan

7. Approval staff efforts to request reductions in the FY 2012 PBSO law enforcement contract

8. Approve staff efforts to identify qualified firms to implement and establish special assessments for fire, street lights and possible parking operations

9. Approve the Feasibility Study to analyzing the reconstitution of a City fire department

10. Approve not paying the FY 2011 and FY 2012 Fire supplemental payments pending additional negotiation with Palm Beach County concerning the Fire Merger Agreement

11. Approve the proposed reduction in the FY 2012 electric utility transfer payment to the General Fund

12. Approve the proposed reduction in FY 2012 electric rates pending final discussions with the City’s rate consultant.

Solutions by City Manager Susan Stanton to Lake Worth's Budgetary problems


City Manager Susan Stanton wants to solve the shortfall in our Budget. The Unions are not cooperating. She has introduced the following proposals:
  • Lay-off 70 workers
  • Reduce services with the PBSO
  • Special assessment for fire rescue where every household would pay the same fee (tax)
  • Special assessment for street lights
  • Reestablishing our own fire department

Good News:
Reduce the cost of electricity by 5%

With some of the above cuts and taxes, (they are taxes no matter how you slice the cake), the shortfall can be reduced from an estimated $4.6 million to $800,000 according to the City Manager.

There will be a Special City Commission Meeting on Monday, March 21 at 5pm at City Hall.

Florida's environment under attack from GOP

PB Post
March 18, 2011
Letters to the Editor

Gov. Scott, the Legislature and House Republicans in Washington are taking direct aim at Florida's environment.

The Sierra Club and other groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce the Clean Water Act in Florida. This lawsuit resulted in the establishment of numeric standards ­­- a verifiable standard that can be monitored and met to improve and maintain water quality.

The governor and the U.S. House are moving in the opposite direction. The House, through an amendment proposed by Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, would end funding for the EPA's establishment of the nutrient standards. The Legislature seeks to repeal requirements to verify that septic tanks work properly, to repeal the law to abolish ocean outfalls and to reduce environmental planning by cutting funding for the Department of Community Affairs. It plans to reduce impact fees that prevent taxpayers from being charged for the costs of development, such as new roads. Further, the Legislature would do away with regulations that protect us from over-development.

Florida does not have too little development; it has too much. Last year, more land was approved for development than the size of Everglades National Park, even though Florida still has 80,000 vacant houses due to foreclosure. The best way to improve property values is to reduce development and to rehab vacant houses. This would increase employment and improve the real estate market. Let's get the governor to move in the right direction. Protect the environment and create jobs.

DREW MARTIN

Lake Worth

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tonight's Moon


The average distance between the Earth and the moon is about 238,000 miles. While looking at the Moon, it seems like you could almost touch it.

If you think tonight's Moon is spectacular, tomorrow night will be even better, brighter and orange.

Sarah Watson, of PressOfAtlanticCity.com writes, If you're out along the Boardwalk, or anywhere else along the coast, at 7:28 p.m. Saturday, the rising full moon may seem like it's been polished a little brighter and grown a bit.

That's because the moon will be closer to the Earth than it typically is during a full moon. It's an unusual lunar event in which the moon is full just as it comes closest to the Earth in its orbit.

Public Corruption Case in Palm Beach County

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Public corruption in Palm Beach County nets thirteen in a case called "Dirty Water."

"Operation "Dirty Water" found that an engineering contractor supplied municipal and county employees with Caribbean cruises, hunting trips to Michigan, expensive jewelry and $500 Home Depot gift cards, among other things, in exchange for water and sewer contracts."

One of the 13 mentioned is Danny Derringer. The article describes him as a former employee of West Palm Beach. As I understand it, he was fired from WPB for taking bribes. After that, the investigation started. He is a graduate of Lake Worth High School, class of 1979, and I have been told that he receives a pension from the City of Lake Worth after 20 years of employment here.

Read more.

Greater Lake Worth Chamber of Commerce


At Tuesday's meeting, the question was asked--"What is our relationship with the Chamber?" No one quite knew how to answer it. We know that they are political and I personally object that they get any tax dollars or services derived from tax dollars from the City of Lake Worth. We also know that both the Chamber and the City have a common interest in attracting businesses here.

The Chamber, however, must think that they have a cozy relationship and are in bed with us. It seems that the Chamber is in arrears and owes the City unpaid invoices of approximately $4,000. They want the City to settle with them for $1,000... 25 cents on the $1.00! It will come back at a regularly scheduled Agenda item for discussion and a vote.

If it is determined at a meeting that our relationship is at arm's length and that we have no intimate relationship and that the City is not a charity, and that people who engage us to provide a service must pay for that service, then there is no option for the city commission but to demand payment. Did Beth Johnston take lessons from her predecessor? The City is a pushover and all you need to do is ask and you will receive?

Only in California

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I used to love California. I lived there at one time. It was progressive and exciting. Now it has nothing but problems and illegals are free to cross over its borders and thanks to the liberals, they enjoy the same privileges as citizens.

The politicians ruined this beautiful State. It thought they needed the illegals to do all the farm labor (something Florida's new Agriculture Commissioner, Adam H. Putnam, believes too) and consequently looked the other way. Look what has happened. California has been run over and it is bankrupt and it's no wonder. Now its Higher Education Committee approved two bills on Tuesday allowing college students who are in the state illegally to receive financial aid.

Even though Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Republican Governor, had vetoed the Dream Act three times, the politicians and the college students, most of whom have never held a job, know better I guess. There was even on-line voting and they went wild.

Dubbed the California Dream Act, AB130 , it allows illegal immigrants to receive privately funded college scholarships. AB131 allows them to receive taxpayer-funded financial aid such as Cal Grants. Read about it here.