Monday, October 31, 2011

This is What it's all about, Folks

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This country is full of them.
I saw this on Judge Judy awhile back and it confirmed my worst fears--
Government hand-outs are detrimental to the health and
welfare of this great country and it gives these jokers
an excuse to blame everyone but themselves.
Users, abusers and deadbeats living off welfare or
anyone they can find.
1% beware.

It's all a Gray Area

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It has been said by many experts in the real estate field that we will never see this gravy train again with property owners yielding unbelievable profits that they enjoyed during the boom. They bought houses not only to provide a roof over their heads but also to reap rewards beyond imagination. Some bought just to flip and sell quickly to make small fortunes. For about a four year period, others took advantage of the unrealistic values in property going north and became wealthy through refinancing.

"Over the four-year period 2003-2006, annual construction spending rose to a level $150 billion above and then fell back to its long-run trend. Thus by the start of 2007, the United States was overbuilt: about $300 billion had been spent constructing buildings in excess of the long-run trend." Source: Pig Philosophy. The bubble burst and a lot of people got caught holding the bag.

We in the grassroots who fought hard for Amendment 4 could not fight the developer and special interest money. Our State was overbuilt but they still wanted to build more--still do. We changed our State leadership and Rick Scott gutted the DCA and other oversight. Now it will be up to the local municipalities to control bad development. Here in Lake Worth, that means 3 people sitting on the dais.

Bubbles always burst and when the housing bubble finally did, everyone was sitting with property they could not sell without taking big losses and property they could no longer afford. Banks created a big mess.

The Realtors Association has endorsed Triolo and Amoroso. The Realtors Association has one agenda--vote in candidates that will be the best for their members to make sales thus commissions. It is all politics and who they feel will be the best for their special interests.

But what the financial institutions also created was a refinancing mechanism for people to use during the boom times--refinancing and drawing thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars out of a property that was artificially inflated. This equity also was used for people that were going through difficult financial times. No question about it; because of refinancing, more people became part of the foreclosure crisis unable to make their payments when the bubble burst and property values took a death spiral. Others lucked out as they had already extracted the equity and walked away.

During the first candidate forum by Tropical Ridge Neighborhood Association held at Compass, we had to listen to Dustin Zacks berate and humiliate Rachel Waterman and her financial problems. He implied that she was the biggest deadbeat in the history of mortgage scams. She got into financial difficulties as so many millions of people did during those boom years. As an attorney specializing in foreclosures who has proved that the banks were the fault, he blamed it on the person, the candidate, Waterman. Zacks is still a mystery of this campaign.

All of the candidates sat silently by as Zacks took personal attacks at Waterman for a default on her mortgage and other loans. Ms. Triolo also told us that she was the only candidate who owned a house. She was lucky during the boom. As property values kept going up at an unheard of percentage, she took advantage of cash value by drawing the money out of her property at 2417 N. Federal Highway, Lake Worth through re-financing mechanisms, starting with a mortgage of $229,600 and ending up at $417,000. She admits to having her own personal financial and health issues during this time.

The difference in the two candidates is one was a victim of circumstances and used the system but lost everything, the other was able to capitalize from the same system by taking advantage of an opportunity and make money. Perhaps this is just smart business. Although certainly legal, it is curious why a candidate who also experienced difficult financial times and therefore understands it and what Waterman might have been going through at the time, would sit silently during the Zack attack on Waterman.

Housing is still in the doldrums especially in Florida as we here have a good part of the distressed housing inventory in our State. We will eventually recover but it will take us a lot longer than other parts of the country. Pam Triolo says, the only victim is the City of Lake Worth and she is, after all, meeting her financial obligations.

Happy Halloween

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Scary Stuff

Every day is Halloween

Happy Halloween


Please don't dress us up today.
We're fine the way we are.

Thanks, L, for sending this in.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Four Score and 150 Years ago

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Our Candidates' Forefathers ---Four Score & 150 Years Ago.
Candidates Carrying on the Tradition of their Forefathers...

click photo to view

"At one point during the debate, the crowd shouted down Rinaldi when his questions rambled on. Afterword, the president of the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County, which helped with the debate, said the League would participate in future Lake Worth debates only if they provide the moderator.

'The League has to be very careful to protect its nonpartisanship', League president Joan Karp said in an email. Our conclusion after the Lake Worth debate is that we will only participate if we have control (over rules of the debate) and furnish the moderator.'"

Invasive and dangerous Burmese Python

I don't like snakes nor am I a fan of anything creepy or crawly but Pythons?

There has been a lot of talk about Burmese Pythons. Just yesterday, the Sun Sentinel reported that an adult deer, weighting 76 pounds, was found intact inside a huge Burmese Python. Sounds incredible, doesn't it? This snake is a menace to wildlife in The Everglades. It can catch its prey in the light or at night eating the equivalent of its body weight in one year.

The Burmese Python is one of the giant snake species of the world and has almost four hundred sets of ribs. Because its spine is so flexible, it can twist along the ground allowing it to move without legs.

Photo by Lori Oberhofer, National Park Service.

Burmese Python Data

We have all sorts of invasive species in Florida from certain invertebrate, plants, trees and aquatic animals--from the Florida holly to the blue tilapias that challenge our ecosystem in the Everglades. The Burmese Python is, by far, the most dangerous. No one knows how they arrived here but it has been reported that there are thousands, perhaps 100,000 living in the water or the trees of Everglades National Park consisting of 1.5 million acres.

As most of us have an innate fear of any type of snake, Burmese Pythons are usually 8 to 13 feet long but it has been reported they can be 20 feet weighing up to 200 pounds. According to the Washington Post,
since 2000, 1,496 Burmese pythons have been "removed" -- i.e, destroyed or captured for field research -- in and around Everglades National Park, including 367 last year and 162 through May 9 of 2010.

Reverse Osmosis in Lake Worth

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When Laurence McNamara, Chair of Citizens Come first Political Action Committee, first presented his innovative idea of bottling a small percentage of our reverse osmosis water, branding it and selling it in order to make much needed revenue, 71% of the pollsters on this blog agreed that this was a good idea. He brought it up in front of the Commission and they remained silent. Someone must have thought the idea had some merit because yesterday the City was distributing bottled water from our Reverse Osmosis system at its plant tour. Everyone with whom I spoke agreed that it was a terrific idea. McNamara suggested taking 1% of our water from our new reverse osmosis system, bottling it for revenue thus putting our name on the map.

Attended by approximately 600 people, Lake Worth's Reverse Osmosis plant had its official dedication and public relations event on Saturday at the Water Plant. Some of our Commissioners, as well as utility personnel wearing new blue shirts with the city logo were out in force and all highly enthusiastic. It was just another great moment for Lake Worth. All citizens who came were able to tour the new plant and a "free" lunch was provided. On the shuttle, a lady with her kids was only coming for the free lunch. Her husband worked there, she said. Everyone loves the free lunch, not just Commissioners.

The RO system treats brackish water from the Floridan Aquifer. In reverse osmosis, high pressure is applied to the water being treated, forcing pure water through a semipermeable membrane and leaving behind the dissolved salts. Because the salinity of water in the Upper Floridan aquifer is considerably less than that of seawater, the expense of reverse osmosis treatment is also less. We drilled Floridan aquifer wells and installed associated wellhead pumps, piping, backup power sources and Floridan aquifer raw water transmission mains.

Our plant was completed in the early part of July 2011 and presently it is producing about 1.5 million gallons daily but can produce 4.5 million gallons. Looking to the future, the Commission agreed that our system needs to expand to accommodate growth. Our system can do just that, producing up to 9 million gallons a day. You are now drinking our new water.

This is a great achievement for Lake Worth and for Commissioner Golden who had been promoting our own RO for years. "This is the future," she said. City Manager Susan Stanton has said that she predicts the cost of our water will go down. With the cost of water going up 5.25% this year, this operating cost will be fully analyzed once a year to ensure Lake Worth customers the best price possible. Who knows--if we do go forward with bottling our own water, the generated revenue will drive down the overall operating costs. This would be a bureaucracy and a department that has lucrative possibilities and one that would get my support.

Reverse Osmosis Plant

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Boynton Beach CRA - just keeps on giving

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Havana Hideout owner, Chrissy Benoit, gets a good deal from Boynton Beach taxpayers.

The CRA believes in the economic benefits of this project so much they're offering her free rent for a year and are using $300,000 in public money to renovate the place for her new restaurant.

Read more about it here.

Two Opinions on Wall Street Protests

Meet & Greet


This morning, Betty Anderson and Ron Exline had a meet & greet for some of their friends in order to meet Andy Amoroso and Pam Triolo. Andy is running for Commissioner District 3 and has both endorsements from our local newspapers. Pam Triolo got the Lake Worth Herald endorsement. When speaking about endorsements, Pam said that the only endorsement she needs is from the citizens of Lake Worth.

Pam said, "We're at a time in our city when things need to change...get back to the basics...we need a real person to make positive change."

Andy said, "What goes on at City Hall is not acceptable." "We need to market our assets," he further said.

Theatrics Lake Avenue

Looking for that perfect Halloween Costume? Go to Theatrics and see Angel.

705 Lake Avenue
Lake Worth, FL 33460-3812
(561) 623-7026

Last evening, Marshall Pass of Lake Worth Live, Barbara Jean and I walked up Lake Avenue from the Cultural Plaza to the Lake Worth Playhouse to visit their House of Horrors. It was quite a production of "scary" scenes put on my local actors. The admission is $5 so if you want to be scared out of your wits and have someone with a chain saw running after you, go visit the playhouse.

Theatrics is located directly east of the Lake Worth Playhouse

The Earth will Move

9 more days!

On the Avenue

The CUTEST thing on Lake Avenue--Greg too!

We now have Evening on the Avenues back. All we have to do is locate the vendors who used to participate and get it buzzing again. Mark Parrilla was there helping to take orders for the Lake Worth High school Band for Christmas. Please get in touch with Mark and help out our local band that is fantastic. We were all having a great time until the rains came down.

Amoroso Gets Post Endorsement

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Palm Beach Post Endorses Amoroso

Friday, October 28, 2011

Waterman gets Post Endorsement

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Palm Beach Post Endorses Waterman

Mr. Nice Guy is not so nice

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I did a blog recently on smoke shops and kava shops. Yesterday, a smoke shop owner was arrested in West Palm Beach for selling illegal sythetic marijuana to an undercover agent. Read about it here.

I have been told that this product called Mr. Nice Guy is also being sold at one of our Lake Avenue stores. Some of the ingredients in these products such as "Spice," "k2" and "Mr. Nice Guy" were made illegal on March 1. Alert citizens have reported incidents to the FBI, PB County Sheriff as well as to a few city commissioners.

Home Dedication at 524 S 'E' Street Lake Worth

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It was a proud moment this morning when the very first NSP2 home dedication was held at 524 South E Street, Lake Worth. As I did not stay for the actual dedication, there were a lot of people there for this re-habilitation event: State Rep. Jeff Clemens, PB County Commissioner Shelley Vana, Commissioners Jo-Ann Golden and Scott Maxwell, Aide to Alcee Hastings, Dan Liftman, CRA employees Mike McManaman, Grant Program Administrator and Director Joan Olivia as well as Cary Sabol, Chair of the Community Redevelopment Agency Board.

As you all know, the CRA applied for a $23.2 million grant from HUD in January 2010. This funding is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, better known as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. In conjunction with Adopt-A-Family and Habitat of Humanity, 524 S. E Street was targeted for rehab and now sold to the Michael Phillips family.

Lake Worth's Reverse Osmosis Plant

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The beginning of our Reverse Osmosis Plant
May 2010

Thank you Commissioner Jo-ann Golden and Vice Mayor Suzanne Mulvehill. In my opinion, this is the greatest decision of any Commission, our own Reverse Osmosis Plant.

The above photo was the beginning, reversing a prior and horribly costly decision made in 2007 from the Clemens administration (Clemens, Vespo and Lowe) that took us out of the driver's seat of controlling the most precious resource on Planet Earth, that of water. The decision to buy water from Palm Beach County was reversed saving us $3.5 million by getting out of that contract in order to complete our own RO plant. Also the new commission saved the City $15 million that had already been invested in the RO project that Jeff Clemens wanted to burn. They voted to continue on with our own reverse osmosis plant that will supply 4.5 million gallons of water daily with the capability of producing double that capacity.

Tomorrow you will be able to see the finished product of our $25 million Reverse Osmosis Plant. The City will provide free shuttling to the Utility beginning at 9:15, ending at 2pm originating from Lake Worth High School. The dedication itself starts at 10 am.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lake Worth Woman Assaults Boyfriend

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Assault with a flashlight. What a bright idea. Read about it here.

Lake Worth Band Holiday Fundraiser

This is a wonderful graphic, just not great for display on my blog. We now have a place to buy our Christmas tree and holiday pieces and contribute to a great cause--The Lake Worth Trojan High School Band.

The most important parts of this flier are:
1. Balsam Fir Christmas trees from $45 for a 5 foot tree to $110 for an 11 foot.
2. 20" Balsam wreath, $35
3. 15" centerpiece with 4 red candles, $40
4. 15' Balsam Garland, $30
5. 26" plain wreath, $25
To place your order before November 6 call Denise Hoss @ 561-324-5683 or Betty Borgess at 561-723-8788.

Click photo to enlarge

Lake Worth Assessments (Taxes)

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Street light on County Road in front of Lakeside Point Gardens

Going around the 10 mil cap is a big game to the City of Lake Worth. Right now, with this commission in place, the City is building up its cash reserves and winning the game by taxing you more by calling it an assessment. It's not a tax they say.

Did they really sit around that conference table and dream up ways to get you? They all congregated one morning while eating Danish from Publix, the very same corporation that we gave 1/2 million dollars to and say, "Ok, we will tell the dumb idiots that it is only an assessment, not a tax. We will tell them that everyone must pay their fair share for fire services I mean, afterall, if your apartment was burning down it would take the same amount of men or trucks to put out the flames in a 780 s.f place or a 7,000 s.f. place especially if you lived in a cement blocked building. The payers won't know that it's really for a pension. I am sick and tired, they say, that poor people aren't paying their "fair" share. You poor slobs--we have not solved the slum and blight, crime continues, foreclosures up the ying yang, unemployment is still high, so we are going to sock it to you folks"...Merry X'mas and the socialists on the commission say halellujah Mother.

Under most ethical and normal circumstances, tax revenue is generated by the value of your property. If a municipality has more expenses than revenues, they usually and normally will cut costs and tax more as a last resort. Not here. We are going to spend more. In Lake Worth, they threaten closing our library and even Commissioner Maxwell suggested that we outsource it to the County. The heck with our history. The heck with our local library. The mindset is to generate more money than we did last year and spend more to boot.

What's coming next?

Well, you can bet your booty that it is the very street light in front or near to your property. The City hired Government Services Group. A representative of Government Services Group has done her duty to God and country at every fire assessment meeting, there to convince the public that it is legal, nothing you can do about it and that the City can therefore screw you. The RFP for street lights said:

The services requested are for the development of a special assessment for street lights. The contract shall be effective for the period beginning with the date of the executed contract and continuing through the completion of work. The purpose of the project is to conduct a review and develop a legally defensible method of apportionment to all types of buildings, to include multiple apportionment options, for street light special assessment fees for the City of Lake Worth.

Staff has negotiated a three year contract with Government Services Group for special assessment development services in the amount of $32,541.00. The contract requires Government Services Group to develop a street light assessment program to be implemented in Fiscal Year 2011-2012 beginning October 1. Of course, it is too late for this year but be assured that the City will implement this tax next year that is estimated now at $30 a parcel, probably to go up. They have to go out and now count street lights I suppose because I doubt seriously if they have any idea how many there are and who benefits from one. How absurd if you think about it.

Streets lights are for everyone's safety, i.e. Joe blow driving on Dixie Highway from Lincoln, Nebraska. The tax that the City will impose on us is to probably be thrown into that Assessment Slush Fund.

New City Board Appointments in Lake Worth

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Knowing that City Board appointments are usually political (there are some exceptions such as Wes Blackman's appointment to the Historic Preservation Board and Chip Guthrie's appointment to the CRA), last night's board interviews were interesting in three respects:

1) When it came to the CRA, the Commission used its political clout once again. On a vote of 3 commissioners voting "for" (Waterman, Mulvehill and McVoy), it appointed Ozzie Ona to the Community Redevelopment Board. Ozzie has supported the majority commission to get elected and in so doing, the Commission appointed him to one of the most important and influential Boards in Lake Worth--the one with all the money and the one that has made some very bad decisions in the past and a Board that some feel needs closer oversight. Of course, supporters of the CRA would disagree with that. It was a good political move to help ensure that the CRA stays focused on slum and blight and spending tax dollars wisely. I just felt he was much more suited to the Community Relations Board. That would have been a perfect spot for him. My personal choice was Jessica Plotkin. I agreed with everything she had to say.

2) The Community Relations Board had an applicant who was on the defensive right from the getgo. When asked by Commissioner Maxwell, she became defiant and said that she did not have to fill out a Financial Disclosure form saying that she was not an elected official. However, the Palm Beach County Ethics Law says that all county, municipal and city advisory board members are subject to the ethics ordinances if they are selected by the Board of County Commissioners, municipal governing body, mayor or other chief executive officer of a municipality. This is a gift financial disclosure form. Perhaps that part of our form needs more explanation and/or research for accuracy.

Next, she referred to our PBSO as "dirty" police and wants to end police corruption and police crimes. She has been actively involved for ten years in cracking down on police enforcement and its policies. Her goal on the CRB is to "improve conditions of our over-run dirty police, solving crimes, re-organization of a broken system, and improving the current conditions of a dysfunctional government." She sounded like she came right out of the Pangioti playbook. She did not get chosen.

3) Former employee, Valerie Hurley, applied to two retirement pension boards: Employees and Firefighter's. It was concluded that since she is a recipient of a city retirement pension having been a former employee, that there could be the potential of a conflict of interest in serving on the Employee Retirement Board as a private citizen who would represent the taxpayer's interest. Scott Maxwell was the only Commissioner who voted for her. Also her daughter, an employee, serves on that Board.

The Firefighter's Pension Board is in a legal suit with the City and a few commissioners did not believe that they should appoint any citizen to that Board at this time. Mrs. Hurley was turned down on a 3/2 vote with Waterman and McVoy voting for Mrs. Hurley.

Results:
Community Redevlopment Board: Oswaldo Ona
Historic Resources Preservation Board: Juan Contin (great choice), Suvi Morales
Planning & Zoning: Kate Sheffield (great choice)
Community Relations Board: Henry Ponciano (great choice), Judith Just

Costume Contests in Lake Worth

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Wear your spookiest costume Friday night on the Avenues. Several Lake Worth restaurants are hosting Halloween costume contests for people not your 4 legged friends. A doggy contest would have been fun.

8 pm...Brogue's Down Under & Aussie Boomerang Bar
9 pm...Fiorentina's
9:30 pm...Hookah House
10 pm...Igot's Martiki Bar and Havana Hideout
11 pm...The Cottage
midnight at South Shore Tavern.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

US County lets illegals use Mexican ID's

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To slash deportations and arrests for traffic offenses or lacking identification, law enforcement agencies in a major U.S. county are accepting Mexican consular cards—determined by the FBI to be unreliable and highly susceptible to fraud—as valid ID.

The move comes just a few days after an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) union official told Congress that agents have been ordered not to arrest illegal aliens who don’t have criminal convictions, even when they’ve been deported by a judge. Chris Crane, president of a union that represents ICE officers, revealed the mandate while testifying before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration last week, according to a news report.

The outrageous federal decree is clearly part of President Obama’s stealth amnesty plan that’s already spared thousands of illegal immigrants from removal and will surely allow many more to remain in the U.S. To further the cause, California’s Sonoma County is officially accepting the fraud-prone Mexican card known as matriculár consular ID to shield illegal aliens from federal authorities.

Read the rest of the story at The Moral Liberal (sounds like an oxymoron).

Michael Moore - Phony Baloney

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Moore, estimated to be worth about $50 million, says he is NOT part of the 1%. He is a phony schmuck just like the rest of the occupiers.

Lake Worth Interviews Applicants for City Boards

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The City Commission's meetings used to be twice a month. This hasn't been the case in several years now. Not only does each commissioner meet for two hours every week with the City Manager to be up to snuff on what she's doing (so technically they should be informed on every aspect and everything happening within our city, right?) but there are multiple monthly meetings--10 in August, 8 in September and 8 so far this month. I am one of the few out here who believes that they should be making a decent stipend for all that they do, not less than minimum wage we are paying them now.

Tonight the Commission meets beginning at 6:30 to interview applicants for a few City boards that have vacancies:
  • Community Redevelopment Agency--1 vacancy--7 applicants. (Where there's money, there's fire)
  • Historic Resources Preservation Board--2 vacancies--3 applicants
  • Planing & Zoning--1 vacancy--2 applicants
  • Community Relations Board-1 vacancy--3 applicants--you know, the Board that has been controversial from inception and dissed Zacks for Panagioti.
  • Board of Trustees Employee's Retirement Board--1 vacancy--1 applicant--Valerie Hurley a retired city employee.
  • Board of trustees Firefighter's Pension Board--1 vacancy and 1 applicant, Valerie Hurley again

Johnny Longboats

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Katie and I went to Singer Island yesterday to check out Johnny Longboats and have lunch. It has been years since I have been to Singer Island and the changes are astounding. In some respects, Dan Catalfumo has done a great job at the beach. Longboats is no longer situated in a stand-alone building but located in one of the pastel painted attached stores on the southern tip of the shopping area right next to where Palm Beach Shores begins.

The food was good and priced fairly. The service was good. The decor was fun and appropriate for a beach restaurant. The windows opened to give an open air effect. The restaurant had many customers but it was not crowded as John G's always was but it was, afterall, a Tuesday. One advantage of the beach experience at Singer Island is the free parking. The shopping is set off a ways from the beach itself. Longboats closes at 1am.

The tennis courts that had been located at the south end of Singer Island beach and there for decades were no longer there. When we left the beach, we noticed that they had moved them to the north end of the beach property.

Where Riviera Beach and Catalfumo failed is that you can no longer see the ocean on the drive-by, one of the disappointments of this beach redevelopment. This soon will be the same situation at the Lake Worth beach once it is done thanks to an insensitive commission of Cara Jennings and Rene Varela. People like to go to the beach to see the sea as they cruise by in their cars. It is a crime how a few people who had the power voted to destroy our beach in the name of "green" or progress and subsequent commissions have done nothing to rectify this. I was told by the head leader that it was too late; it is in progress. Nothing is too late, Mayor. No one has dug one hole of dirt yet.

And speaking of power, city staff wants Johnny Longboats, no matter what--a few thoughts on what I would like to see happen--

1. Allow them to take the lower level if they still choose and no loud music.

2. Rent the upper level to a different restaurant. It is smart to diversify and not give any one store so much control over our Casino should the tenant default. An anchor tenant is needed but not over 60% of the leasable space to an unknown. If this doesn't work out, find a national chain restaurant. Who cares as long as it stays within our vision and our rules and not the other way around. Build to accommodate that upper level tenant--outside elevators.

3. Have Longboats pay a big security deposit and submit 5 years of financials. Have them give the City a copy of their tax return every year throughout the lease. We need to know about their financial health.

4. Commissioner Maxwell wants a personal guarantee. Get it if you can. I doubt it.

5. Close the beach no later than 11pm and that is generous and later than I would like. This is first and foremost a park. There are other considerations here such as cost of utilities and public safety that the taxpayer will be paying at the beach to accommodate Johnny Longboats with their extended closing time. What are the estimated costs of these? Are the turtles in harm's way, etc. Contact scientists and government agencies and get opinions. Make a resolution now and change the BAC zoning to include a definite closing time so that no tenant can dictate its hours on our property.

6. Ensure that the City's lighting is in compliance.

7. Have them pay more per s.f. and increase the rent escalation clauses. This is a business and we hold the cards here.

8. Have them apply for financing immediately once a lease is negotiated and executed and give them a deadline to produce. We don't want a repeat of Greater Bay shenanigans. Don't produce, immediately find new tenant. In fact, find one now.

9. And for heaven's sake, if Mr. Banting and Mr. Snitkin still believe that they can NOT rent the upper space, find another brokerage with the proper attitude. If you don't believe you can do something, you won't, and we need someone who believes in the success of this Casino.

Shooting in Lake Worth

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This time it was the Sheriff who shot a Lake Worth man on Federal Highway after he lunged at them with knife. Read about it here

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Use and Occupancy Program

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The City Commission is meeting now on the Use and Occupancy Program. Staff says, upon further reflection with the City Manager and utilizing the past experience and expertise of the City’s new Code Compliance Manager, Raquel Diaz, and is proposing an alternative method to implement the new Use and Occupancy Program. The implementation process would be as follows:
  • 1. Cross reference the City’s own database of addresses for existing Business Tax Receipts that are either active or inactive with property information including owner and address as documented in the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s database. Field staff would then confirm the existing situation at these properties and notify the current property owners of the requirements of the Use and Occupancy program. The notification would be unique for this category.
  • 2. Cross reference list of Business Tax Receipts both active and inactive with the list of commercial/business/industrial properties as maintained by the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. Those properties that were not identified in round one would be contacted.
  • 3. Cross reference list of County Business Licenses with the City’s in-progress database of Business Tax Receipts to determine whether or not additional property owners would need to be contacted. The notification would be unique for this category.
  • 4. Cross reference properties in the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s database showing either multi-family zoning or multiply residential dwelling units with our current Business Tax Receipts (Residential Rentals). Field staff then would confirm the status of all properties identified that do not have a receipt and all would be notified of the new requirements of the use and Occupancy program. The notification would be unique for this category.
  • 5. Cross reference properties where the utility record is different than the property owner, which is one avenue to ascertain homesteaded properties that are being leased. Field staff would verify the situation. Property owners in this category would be notified with a letter unique to this situation.
  • 6. Cross reference residential homesteaded properties where the property address and the owner’s address differ. Field staff would verify the situation. Property owners in this category would be notified with a letter unique to this situation.
  • 7. Any properties that were not determined to be homesteaded and did not fall into one of these six (6) categories would be field verified to ascertain existing/current conditions

Allen West Blasts Obama's troop removal from Iraq and other important issues

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Last night I was "accosted" by two Lake Worth Democrats, one a former President of the Lake Worth Democratic Club and special friend of Waterman's campaign manager, Tricia Fitzpatrick (she will always be Tricia to me) and the other, Waterman's campaign Treasurer and former treasurer for Rene Varela. "I understand that you support Allen West." It was like, ooh, ugh, how could you. I was than asked why in the world--sort of like, have you lost your ever lovin mind? I let them know my change in politics is directly attributable to Obama.

This is the problem, as I see it, with liberal progressives. They don't believe that anyone should have an opposing point of view. They believe: Conservatives are evil. The top 1% are evil. Corporations are evil, and so on and so forth. As far as I can tell, this present Obama administration has really screwed up the works. Allen West agrees that we need leadership across the board.

Neighborhood Associations

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I have always said that, for the most part, neighborhood associations are political. Some are more involved and more political than others. Last night, the Neighborhood Council achieved its goal. It was the only real winner and its politics was obvious.

The Council is always trying to tell us that they are not political and even went so far as to print this on their program handout:

The NAPC and all the LW Neighborhood Associations are incorporated in the State of Florida as non-profit organizations. As such, we take no position in support of or in opposition to any candidate.

The NA leaders can feed questions to the moderator and challenge Mayor Waterman on her honesty and other policy coming out of City Hall but the Council has been less than forthright on this issue of claiming non-political status or involvement. I am not sure that they met one of their objectives last night of "enhancing good will." They certainly didn't do that with the incumbents or their supporters.

Last Night's Candidate Forum

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As I was walking to the Playhouse to hear the debate, I noticed Amoroso/Triolo signs on vehicles parked all along the south side of Lake Avenue that were in close proximity to and in front of the theater. They must have been parked there from early morning in order to get the strategic location for their campaign. No one got marked tires. This was a special event.


Across the street Ozzie Ona with another supporter, was installing a banner on a car for Waterman. This was the exact same banner, hand painted by Susan Ona, that was stolen during the special election only a few months ago and that was eventually recovered.

"Truth is on the march; nothing can stop it now," said Dustin Zacks, a quote of EMILE ZOLA, manifesto, Le Figaro. Le Figaro is a conservative newspaper in France and has been around since 1826 going through various owners. The newspaper, inspite of the Socialism in France, still adheres to the belief that "newspapers must promulgate healthy ideas", and that "left-wing ideas are not healthy ideas."

I did not feel there was any candidate who stood out over any other last night. I have always said that if Zacks, a young lawyer from Detroit, had gone into this race with the plan to give it his best shot, to win rather than taking the occasional pot shot, he could have had a chance. I am still confused as to why he is here. He said that it was to bring forth his ideas. There were two central themes with Zacks--Waterman not the one for the mayoral spot and last night he posed the question, "Is the mayor telling the truth?" And the other was our land use regulations. There are some who will agree with him on both counts. Being a city that is 6 square miles with the most density in Palm Beach County, we don't want to follow in Detroit's footsteps and build too high to destroy our small town charm and feel but re-building on the Dixie Corridor and eventually the Park of Commerce is a must.

John Rinaldi, owner of Sabal Palm Bed & Breakfast, was the moderator, chosen to replace John Bachman who had a personal conflict and had to cancel. Rinaldi asked the questions provided by the Neighborhood Council that were slanted with a definite point of view and were at times, not particularly fair and balanced. There were a few occasions when he was jeered by the audience.

However, the questions were chosen by the Council and therefore we are to assume that they represented the feelings and concerns of its membership that is city-wide. The people who packed the theater that holds 300, do not feel that they have been taken seriously and the neighborhood association members know that they can and have accomplished much within their communities whereas the city falls short more times than not

The very same candidates asking for change want to be a part of that very establishment as they believe that they "have the answers." Nothing could be more sweet than to have an election right after a Budget has been set to raise taxes and special assessments. This is an incumbents' nightmare but the Commission could have changed the election to March--it didn't seize the opportunity nor did it see the value. The Commission did not have to vote for the fire special assessment. It did not have to go against the will of the people.

In Andy Amoroso's summation, he called for change. In two weeks, we might just have it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Marriage Vows

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Jaime and Tony got Married.

Campaign abuses

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Corner of Detroit and Lake Worth Road
Frye property

In every election, without exception, there is one abuse after another. It's either in the number of political signs on a property or the candidate himself not filling out his T-Report correctly. The above signs need a mention because 1) I published illegal waterman signs and 2) no one is an exception over anyone else. I even gave a heads up to one of the candidates two weeks ago who said they would take care of the above illegal signs. This is what to expect from politicians. Also, have you noticed all of the lack of information on the T-Reports with some of the candidates such as--

  • not using a complete name but initials of the contributor
  • not using a street address
  • not using a city or state
  • Using a PO Box instead of the physical location

If we get sloppy work and lack of detail such as this, what else can we expect?

Campaign accounts can stay open for years, or even decades. Ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), infamous for the inappropriate online exchanges he had with House pages, still has more than $1.2 million in his federal campaign account, nearly five years after he resigned. Read more at The Hill.

It's nice to have friends in "high" places and supporters who are enthusiastic. Mark Foley even gave Andy Amoroso $500 for his campaign. So did Vicky Frye give to him and to Triolo.

James Oatway dies tragically while bicycling

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Lake Worth High School graduate, class of 1969, James Alfred Oatway, died yesterday while bicycling when he tumbled over a guardrail on Hypoluxo Road and fell 35 feet, landing near the exit ramp of Interstate 95.

Read about it here.

Lake Worth Candidate Forum Tonight

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Palm Beach Post got day wrong--it is TONIGHT
Lake Worth Playhouse
October 24 at 7pm

Tonight's the night. The question everyone is asking, "Will Mayor Waterman be well received after dissing the last two neighborhood association forums?" As this is the major candidate forum put on by the Neighborhood Council, what will we expect? Will the crowd be worked up? Will there be any excitement in the air? Will Waterman hold her own? She is prepared for battle and to answer the tough questions such as, voting for it before she voted against it.

Expect John Backman of channel 12, WPEC to be the moderator.
Expect Waterman to be made of porcelain and not to be bothered by a slaughterman
Expect Dusty to be just a wee bit crusty.
Expect Pam to not be a ham but to throw in a ka bam.
Expect Golden not to fold 'em.
Expect Andy to be dandy and maybe even pass out a few peanuts to the gallery.

Pollworker Guidelines

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Because of Commissioner Maxwell's allegations as well as possible pollworker violations, this is the Guide from the PB County Supervisor of Elections:

Poll Worker Guidelines
READ THIS BEFORE FILLING OUT THE ONLINE POLL WORKER APPLICATION
  1. It is your responsibility to read and comply with Florida Election Laws.
  2. COURTESY TO THE VOTER IS OF PRIMARY IMPORTANCE.
  3. Work begins at 6:00 AM and continues until all work is completed after the polls close at 7:00 PM.
  4. Poll workers must be able to lift 30 - 50 lbs. and be prepared to stay at the polling place all day. It is necessary to have good eyesight and hearing and the ability to endure the long hours. Bring with you all the things you will need for the day, such as food, medication, etc.
  5. According to Florida law, a poll worker MUST attend a training class before each election in order to serve as a poll worker in that election.
  6. The clerk in charge of your precinct or the election office will contact you about working at the polls. If you do not receive notification from the clerk or the elections office prior to the election you will not be working in that election. It is possible you will be called for a future election.
  7. Comfortable dress, as for a business day is suggested. Do not wear anything that will promote a party affiliation, a candidate or an issue. Discussion of candidates or issues is STRICTLY PROHIBITED.
  8. Smoking is not allowed in the polling place, by (Florida law)
  9. Poll workers are paid for training class attendance and working on Election Day a lump sum in the range of $134.00 - $225.00 (depending on the position held).
  10. Poll workers salaries are subject to taxes (only after earning $600.00), such as FICA, FICA/Mandatory, and Withholding.
  11. We try to place poll workers in their residence precinct to work. In some instances, we have more poll workers than necessary in a precinct and not enough in others, so please indicate on your application if you would work outside your precinct.
  12. You cannot serve as a poll worker if you are an immediate family member of a candidate.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dustin Zacks Speaks to the Foreclosure Fraud

Dustin Zacks speaks to the foreclosure crisis and robo-signers. Zacks served as an Associate Editor of The Michigan Review and the Michigan Journal of International Affairs. He worked as a Judicial Intern under a judge of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit. Dustin is licensed to practice in all Florida state courts and in the federal court for the Southern District of Florida.

A few Losers migrated north

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"We're going to try and spend the night here," said Occupy Lake Worth member Cody Burkett. "We're occupying places that are symbols of all the things that are wrong with this country and if you look across the water you see million dollar boats and mansions."

Socialists move to West Palm Beach.

The Ides of March and Ryan Gosling

When I first saw Ryan Gosling, he appeared in a movie, Murder by Numbers, about two high school seniors who believe they can commit the perfect murder. He was an actor that you wanted to give your full attention; he was sexy and scary. Gosling's acting was focused and convincing in that film as it was in The Ides Of March, a really fascinating film that seemed all too real about politics and campaigns.

He is an actor that makes his point without fooling around and definitely makes an impression that is unforgettable. Now that we have an election in just a few weeks, it was really poignant regarding ethics, special interests and the entire corrupt and often cutthroat nature of politics today. We get a small feel for this in our own local elections.

The plot surrounds the quick-paced, often-brutal decisions made by both campaigns. The Morris camp needs to decide how far they are willing to bend their ethics to win the hearts and minds of the voters. On the surface, Governor Morris, played by George Clooney (who also directed this film and was one of the screen writers), is an ethical guy who will not cave into special interests or politicians asking for favors. However, along the way he makes a personal mistake and all the things he believed in become compromised in order to win the Presidency of the United States. Gosling, a smart campaign staffer, takes advantage of the Governor's weakness to protect his own self interests. The film showed the cutthroat nature of American politics--that it's all about who is the most clever and who can win the game.

Gosling is heading for an Academy Award one of these days. Perhaps it will be this film. That's how much I liked it.

Stealth Radar in Lake Worth

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Because of frequent complaints to the City Manager, Susan Stanton, she decided that the purchase of a stealth radar recorder used to conduct unbiased speed surveys was a good idea.

This device focuses on the areas where the complaints are received and can be generated in just a matter of minutes to confirm whether or not a reported problem is real or perceived. Now the City Manager can tell that Lake Worth complainer whether or not he knows what he's talking about because the data will confirm or deny..........Joe Blow, you are wrong.....or right, whichever the case may be!

Not only did the Commission vote for the free lunch for Vice Mayor Mulvehill to fly to Vancouver on sustainability, but on a 5/0 vote of the City Commission on October 18, it voted to approve the purchase of one of these devices to be used in LW. This is not a red-light camera but an instrument that will determine if the Sheriff needs more manpower at a certain area of the city to catch speeders and get revenue. This will be paid from The Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF), operated by Police Services which are accounts for State and Federal confiscated merchandise and forfeiture funds received by the City and expended for Law Enforcement purposes. Cost: 4,427.

The PBSO is trying to accommodate Lake Worth and their deputies should be used where there is a real problem. This device will help in that determination. This was a good vote.

Pumpkins For Sale

Calvary United Methodist Church

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cost of Lake Worth June/July Special Election

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Please send Rene Varela the bill for $40,729.

Costs associated with the June and July Municipal Elections

On May 3, 2011, Vice Mayor Mulvehill announced that at 4:00 PM that day, Mayor René A. Varela had resigned from the Office of Mayor. In accordance with Article III, Section 5 of the City Charter, a special election to fill the unexpired term was held on June 28th and run-off election held on July 12, 2011. Since then, there had been much speculation and curiosity as to the costs associated with both elections. The City Clerk's Office advised that, since the June 28th election coincided with the Town of Lake Park's special elections, the costs associated with the County Supervisor of Elections Office services were shared. The following information was provided:

June 28th special election resulted in a total voter turnout of 2,507 or 16.24% for a total cost of $22,345:

Total cost for advertisement - $2,463
Voter equipment delivery - $883
Supervisor of Elections service - $6,058
Ballot printing - $1,920
Polling location rental - $1,550
Pollworkers including mandatory training - $9,321


July 12th run-off election resulted in a total voter turnout of 2,727 or 17.62% for a total cost of $18,384:

Total cost for advertisement - $741
Voter equipment delivery - $883
Supervisor of Elections service - $7,014
Ballot printing - $1,180
Polling location rental - $1,550
Pollworkers - $6,966
Translation services - $50

Fire assessment

From the City Manager's Report dated October 21, 2011:

On October 18, 2011 the City Commission approved an assessment for fire rescue services. Bills will be sent to all property owners in November. Proceeds of the fire assessment will be used to pay the City's direct costs of fire services, primarily the City's fire fighters pension costs. The annual cost of the assessment will be $60 for residential units, 13 cents per square foot for commercial property, 9 cents per square foot for institutional property and 2 cents per square foot for industrial property.

This is just a reminder which will be constant and on-going. You would think that the city manager wants this majority on the dais to turn around, wouldn't you?

John Davidson back at Atlantis Country Club

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From Atlantis Country Club:

Founded in the early 70s, three generations of the Kintz family have personally tended and nurtured the growth and development of the Atlantis Country Club.

The kind and generous spirit of service that the founders, Paul A. Kintz and his wife, Dolores “Dode” Kintz, brought with them from Ohio in 1958, is just as evident today in the management and staff of our full-service resort, which includes The Restaurant at Atlantis Country Club — well-known throughout South Florida for fine dining and exceptional on-premise catering and private parties; and The Café at Atlantis Country Club, a popular snack bar open daily for breakfast and lunch; and The Golf Course at Atlantis Country Club — an 18-hole, par-72 championship layout with a fully-stocked professional golf shop and PGA Professional Staff."

When I talked to Paul Kintz several weeks ago I said, have some great food. And he did. Everyone in my party raved about it from the Veal Marsala to the Filet Mignon to the dessert. Two of our gals even liked the coffee saying it was the best. Last night's dinner was superb and the service was excellent. Paul also followed up on my table that was situated right smack in front of the stage. And what about those 6 kisses from John Davidson. I heard Paul was responsible for that! The restaurant was packed and reservations sold out weeks ago for another wonderful John Davidson show.

John Davidson, son of a preacher man and now a resident of Atlantis, Florida, is extremely likable, extremely handsome, very personable and lives in Atlantis close to his daughter and grandchildren. People there call him by his first name like he's someone they have known personally for a lifetime. That's how he makes you feel and he is genuine.

He has added a pianist to his show who was terrific too. Great fun had by all. The only disappointment was I couldn't buy one of his CD's. Maybe next time?

Lake Worth High loses to Royal Palm Beach

Inspite of Lake Worth's super quarterback, Evan Moore, who ran for 294 yards and two touchdowns, Lake Worth got clobbered by Royal Palm's senior running back, Tremane McCullough. This guy was unbeatable and unstoppable with 5 touchdowns and 334 yards. Lake Worth lost 27 to 40.

Scott Maxwell Alludes to Dirty Tricks in Lake Worth Elections - Wants to overthrow the present Majority

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Click blog title to make comment
Update:
Libertarian Party of PB County watching for Voter Fraud in Lake Worth

To All from David Wood:
We are in desperate need of help in Lake Worth. Our election process has been hijacked by an element that is bent on bankrupting Lake Worth. We need poll watchers. Please see what Scott Maxwell has discovered about a recent Lake Worth special election for Mayor. (see exhibit 1) Then read his appeal in exhibit 2. Please call me if you can even donate a little time. (561-582-6099) Keep in mind this is probably not isolated to our community. If we stop it in our next election it will send a message to these corrupters. David Wood

Exhibit 1
  • Voting in free and fair elections is at the foundation of what America was built
  • Unfortunately, Palm Beach County has developed a reputation as being “corruption county”
  • It is understandable that our city clerk is placed in the middle of this and asked to make a decision that lies within her responsibility as the soe for a standalone municipal election
  • Although an investigation may be warranted to validate one way or another the validity of the concerns expressed, time is of the essence and the correct short term action to prevent the potential for additional issues is to employ only workers who have not been employed in the city of lake worth elections during any of the past 6 years through and including 2005
  • Would like to solicit help from Pam Lopez on how if at all to craft a press release to let folks know that the city of lake worth is determined to ensure that its elections are free of real or perceived irregularities
  • Never too late to do the right thing
  • By ensuring all new workers the city prevents potential perception issues and or clears all workers for past issues if in fact there are no real issues uncovered after careful examination

Some facts to consider:
  • Special election of July 2011 drew roughly 2500 voters
  • The runoff election of two weeks later actually drew about 2700 voters, nearly 200 more than the initial election day which is extremely abnormal in terms of historical runoff election turnout
  • Of the 2700 voters in the runoff election, 699 voters in fact did not vote in the initial election of two weeks prior, again an extreme anomaly
  • In addition, 448 voters who voted the first election, in fact, did not vote in the runoff election creating a spread of 1147 votes or roughly 45.63% of the original 2500 votes cast in the first election, again extremely unheard of.

EXHIBIT 2-- SCOTT MAXWELL'S LETTER

I would like to once again thank you for your continued support in my past attempts to gain and retain a seat on the Lake Worth City Commission. I am pleased to announce that I will be unopposed in my re-election bid this year, however I continue to be humbled and honored in the faith you have placed in me and want you to know that I will work hard to continue to earn that faith.

As you may be aware, the City of Lake Worth is holding an election on Tuesday, November 8th to choose a Commissioner and a Mayor…the two seats I desperately need to wrest back control of city hall.

You may also be aware that Lake Worth has a history of real or perceived “irregularities” at the polling places, as evidenced in our recent special election runoff of just three months ago where 700 voters, that did not vote in the initial election, in fact voted in the runoff round to create a greater turn out than the original election itself!

Those results are highly suspect and worthy of further investigation, but for now it is important that a repeat of this potential irregularity does not occur, and I am asking for your help to prevent it.

There are quality candidates running in Lake Worth this year that share many of the values and principles that you and I share, and I really need their help and support on the commission to help move Lake Worth in a much better direction , so...

I am asking you to pledge as much of your day on Tuesday, November 8th to once again serve as a poll watcher to assure the residents of Lake Worth an election free of perceived irregularities.

I anticipate the need for 28 to 36 poll watchers for deployment throughout the day within our 8 or so polling locations, and of course breaks, meals etc are certainly part of the plan.

Your efforts this day will serve as great and valuable experience as you and I prepare for bigger victories in November 2012!

Please email or contact me by phone (561.502.1714) for more information. In the event you email me or need to leave a voice mail message, you will be contacted within 24 hours to firm up your commitment. Please note: The process for “signing up” poll watchers has changed and become much more simplified and easy, so at this time I simply need your initial or tentative commitment so that the proper forms may be completed on my end and submitted by next Tuesday, the 25th.

As a special way of thanking you in advance for your help, I do anticipate having a poll watcher pre election day "rally -type" event for briefing and scheduling purposes on Saturday November 5th (voluntary of course) at a centrally located venue and TBD with food and beverages served!

On behalf of the residents of Lake Worth, I thank you in advance for your continued support and service.

Scott Maxwell
Lake Worth City Commissioner

Editor's Note: Talk about shoddy government in action, to use Commissioner Maxwell's words. It proves that any politician will stoop to the lowest of lows to win. Anyone can charge anyone with anything in this country and get away with it. But we expect much more from elected officials. In fact, we demand it. This is HOGWASH, Commissioner Maxwell.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wells Fargo SNAFU

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Wells Fargo says the snafu is a "security breach" of some sort because customers got other's bank statements.

I'm not so sure that this is totally true as last month Wells Fargo lost one of my business accounts. When I called them about it, they couldn't even find me in their system, not my social security number or anything about me. I have a total of 5 accounts there that I write on. It took 4 business days going into the bank to finally get it straightened out. I had to prove I was who I said I was and that I ever had an account, not the other way around.

I personally believe it started with the conversion of moving Wachovia accounts over to Wells Fargo but we'll never really find out.

What Allen West Said

Agenda - Grinding America Down

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We have the far left and now the far right with messages. Each believe that our government needs change. Dean Taffel of the Constitution Committee says that Agenda 21 is an active, aggressive threat to life, liberty and property. What he says:

Agenda 21 is the "dirty feel good" plan to surreptitiously implement global tyranny at the local level, one city, one town at a time. This is happening here in South Florida RIGHT NOW. We have nightmare stories of people being mercilessly driven off their land and out of business. This all amounts to the fulfillment of the ten points of Karl Marx Communist Manifesto. No one can consider themselves an advocate for freedom and liberty unless they know big picture plan and the basic details of the United Nations Agenda 21 program which was voted for and signed by the President of the United States AT the Rio Climate Summit in 1992.

If you want to learn more about Agenda 21:
Learn Why Agenda 21 Is An Active, Aggressive Threat to Life, Liberty & Property by attending the meeting from 8am until 3pm tomorrow:

Saturday, October 22, 2011
8:00 AM Pompano Beach Civic Center
1801 Northeast 6th Street
Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Another unhappy group:
Palm Beach Socialists

Gaddafi - A Brutal end to a Brutal Dictator

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Muammar Gaddafi’s Ukrainian nurse tells The Daily Beast’s Anna Nemtsova she’s devastated by the ex-Libyan dictator's death and considers him a “brave hero.” The nurse, Oksana Balinskaya, went to work for Gaddafi at the age of 21 and cared for him until last February, when she returned to Ukraine. Balinskaya says she has “only warm feelings for him” and is sad “nobody was next to him on his last day.”

It is estimated that the U.S. has spent up to at least $1 billion to take Gaddafi out. Global Public Square says: The exact amount the U.S. has spent in Libya to-date has not been released. Yet, according to the Pentagon, the cost through July 31 was $896 million. If costs have been sustained (about $6.6 million a day) then the total now would be $1.05 billion.

Micah Zenko at the Council on Foreign Relations runs the numbers from available data and comes up with $1.1 billion.

Read about it at The Daily Beast and see shocking video that has been circulating world-wide below.

The Left Media -

Credit to Lucianne.Com

Another reason why I am addicted to Fox News
where it IS
Fair and Balanced.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

This is What it's all about, Folks

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Lake Worth $1.45 million Slush Fund

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The City is mailing out a lot of letters lately. The next to come, is the fire assessment that the City Manager and the Commission passed to make sure, they say, that we all pay our "fair" share. The City Manager is really ticked off that our property values dropped so much that some of us are not paying any tax for services. She has convinced the commission that we all out here are the problem when in fact the City is not living within a budget. They want to spend more than they make. Someone must have been looking at Obama's methodology.

All you commissioners who keep spouting the company line on this, please let us know why you continue to be sucked into the city manager's claim that is really only about blowing smoke? She just wants the cash. Since you did get sucked in, demand a line item in the budget for this money. Do not allow it to be dumped into the general fund so we never can track it.

Use and Occupancy Letter sent out to Property Owners

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After reading the letter that was sent out to the residents and property owners by William Waters' Department for Community Sustainability, I didn't think it was that bad. This is one of the times lately that I feel the commission might have over-reacted just a bit to something staff has done and a problem that staff was trying to correct.

If it had been set up in bullet points rather than a long, officious letter, it might not have been confusing to some. No one likes to read, long onerous looking letters. The problem, if any, was the design rather than the content. Probably if the second paragraph began, "If your property is a rental, an inspection...
Next, a big box might be good to check off if the property is NOT a rental. The property owner should fill out the form so that the information can be entered into a database whether he rents his property or not. The entire fee schedule was provided for the type of rental property as well as a return envelope.

It was clear to me as stated in the first paragraph, " If your property is currently rented or leased and you have not obtained the required Use and Occupancy and Business tax Receipt, please complete the application on the reverse side and submit payment according to the charts.

The complaints from the Commission this past Tuesday were:

Waterman: It went out to every property owner in the city. No where in the letter does it say what not to do if your property is not a rental. Wasteful. Someone should have reviewed this before it went out. Well, how else are you going to know who is renting or who is not unless you send it out to all? People have been cheating the system for years.

Maxwell: "It is the worst piece of government in action I have ever seen...shoddy work."

Golden: Says that the letter is not well written.

Stanton: "I am responsible. Give me a chance before the crucifiction."

Some resident spoke, a retired vet whose wife is disabled. He was given notice to evict by his slum landlord who received the letter. This is most unfortunate but it is exactly this type of landlord that the city is targeting.

Casino Tenants and our Beach Park

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Vito, NYPD Pizza

I guess the star of the evening, at least in my mind, was Commissioner McVoy. He has not forgotten what we petitioned for several years ago and what the people told him then. We want to keep our beach a beach; we do not want further commercialization of our beach park. Rachel Waterman also had a good understanding of what the people have always said that they wanted.

I have never been happy with the idea of Johnny Longboats there especially wanting to take the upstairs restaurant space as well. A sports type bar is not what I envision for our new building costing $6 million and designed to our 1922 elegant Casino. As several of the public mentioned last night, we asked for a restaurant for fine or upscale dining on the second level. We have never wanted a business to take over our Casino and dictate hours of operation. We never wanted early morning closing hours. It is our property.

I went to the beach lease meeting with the expectation that the Commission would be signing the beach leases and throwing out NYPD Pizza and Lake Worth Beach Tee Shirt Company. It was an upsetting thought as these two companies have been at our beach casino for 17 years and 25 years. They have proven that they could have a successful business by the sheer fact of longevity.

The real estate broker, Snitkin, as well as the City of Lake Worth were the culprits, the ones who put the wrench in the wheel. Snitkin brought 3 other pizza companies to the table for consideration. This never should have happened as NYPD had right of first refusal and the City Commission had already accepted their Letters of Intent. The City Staff nixed it with a bad recommendation (due to paranoia as previously stated in another blog) because they were sometimes late in paying their rent. The NYPD shop was late over the past 32 months due to the uncertainty of the entire casino situation. Everyone was operating there never knowing if the building was going to be condemned the next day. He got slow on his rent during that time but subsequently paid everything in full as he did for the prior 15 years.

I can well understand why the City wants to be extra careful as to whom rents in our Casino. It must be a business that can make money, afford the rents and the City has to feel comfortable that they can do so as the building must pay for itself. If just one store defaults on a lease, it could cost us dearly. As Scott Maxwell said, this has to operate as a business. But these two long time tenants have already proven they have sustainability.

Attorney Tom Connick with Barry Freedman

Barry at Lake Worth Tee is asking for one exclusive because his business is 100% with "name-drop" merchandise. He wants anything with the words, "Palm Beach," "Lake Worth," "Florida," and "Lake Worth Casino" to be his exclusive.

The Fox Surf Shop, on the other hand, wants to encroach upon the merchandise usually associated with a typical and classic tee-shirt shop. Fox has asked for ten exclusives that consist of clothing with name-drops that the owner says is 30% of his business, gifts, ladies and junior beachwear, sandals and shoes, jewelry, beach accessories, swim-wear, sunglasses and hats, surfboards and surf accessories (that one is definitely reasonable) and souveniers. Barry's has asked for one exclusive that is 100% of his business.

It's no wonder that the two owners could come to zero compromise on exclusivity. Fox wants to sell and have an exclusive on everything under the sun including surfboards that should be his main business and Barry just wants to sell his name-drop merchandise as he always has. Vice Mayor Mulvehill was correct when she suggested several times that each have only one exclusive.

The City Staff once again gave Barry's a poor recommendation in order to solve the "problem" not considering the circumstances or his long tenure at our beach, a repeat of the NYPD situation.

The brokerage firm of Anderson and Carr was represented by Robert Banting who has served as president and managing partner of Anderson & Carr since 1994 and Paul Snitkin, head of sales and leasing for the firm. I have to say, in spite of their top reputation, these two were the most negative brokers I have encountered in quite some time. Banting actually said that they can't rent the 2nd floor level--no one wants to be there.

This is ocean front property and will be a brand new building. Other very successful restaurants are in buildings on upper or roof levels. It certainly can be done and it just takes a broker willing to do the job and earn that 7% real estate commission to find the client. They didn't even have to find Johnny Longboats. That sweet deal fell in their laps. They and the City really do not want to look further. The City Staff would rather give Longboats what they ask: lower rents; no escalation during the 10 year lease and a closing time of 2am. This is the time to find that tenant so that the building can be built to accommodate that upstairs entrance whether it is an extra elevator or staircase as Chris McVoy said.

Nothing was voted on last night. The Commission asked Anderson & Carr to discuss the business model with Johnny Longboats as they had long left and had not made a formal presentation--no visuals, no menu, no back-ups and it was felt that their vision for our community is not what we want as it does not represent the character and flavor of our beach park. It was also stated that there must be a balance of hours, personal guarantees and possible additional security deposits.

I am happy that we had a Commission that stood up for what was right and not what staff pushed on us.