You Really Had To Be There

On Jan.29,2018 I attended the WPB City Commission meeting because of an e-mail I received concerning “Flagler Shores” and it rang a bell with me due to an article I had read the previous day in the PB Post. The story written by Alexandra Clough “Foes of Flagler Shore rally opposition.” was well written and informative.

When I approached the room outside the City Commission Chambers I encounter 10-15 people and everyone confused about the procedure to be allowed to voice their opinion on the city’s Flagler Shores experiment. I was asked if I was for or against the project, and my honest answer was I didn’t know enough about it to be for or against. Second question was did I know how to fill out the card? Pointing to the comment card I explained they were to sign their name here, and place the item no. here. Third question what was the item No? I picked up the agenda which contained 21 items and started reading. Arrived at #21 and thought hell I missed it, and started looking again, when the City Clerk came by and I asked her what the item # was. She replied Flagler Shores was not on the agenda. By now there are 20-25 folks waiting for answer’s when they heard the clerks response, they looked at me and I said it wasn’t on the agenda so the commissioners would not discuss it tonight. Do you have any idea how loud 25 people can groan in disappointment?

Now I’m thinking what was the e-mail I received concerning the project if it wasn’t on the agenda. At that point God slapped me on the back of my head, and whispered “General Comment” People started to leave when I said they all had 3 minutes to comment on any issue not on the agenda. The folks that had ripped up their cards thinking they wouldn’t be heard grabbed new cards and started over and people just kept coming.

Mayor Muoio made a point of reading the Civility & Decorum statement which in part reads “Unauthorized remarks from the audience, stamping of the feet, whistles, yells and similar demonstrations are strictly prohibited.” (I assume this also includes clapping)

The mayor recognized they were there to discuss Flagler Shores and wondered out loud why, when it wasn’t on the agenda. Well guess what happened? A hand full of people all at once attempted to answer her question. That’s when my giggles started. They stopped when the mayor pointed at them and asked if they wanted to be removed from the room.
She told the group the road would be reopened on 3/1/18 and they would have their 4 lanes back. Audience clapped, and the mayor thanked them. She also said the city intended to “Redesign” Flagler and after the road was reopened the engineers would come in and start the planning process, and the city will decide if it will be made permanent. The Boat Show and Sunfest will be the first to let the city know their needs. A meeting would be scheduled and residences input would be welcome. The audience claps, and the mayor thanked them again and I’m thinking Boat Show & Sunfest, aren’t they businesses? Think about it, needs of business vs. residents. Oh Oh.

Mayor Muoio had the cards in front of her and she said when I call your name please step up to the podium. People started walking to the podium and she repeated “when I call your name”
I had the impression many of the residents have never attended a city meeting and were confused about the procedure and the mayor may have shown a little more patience with them, but honestly it was funny. Roberts Rule of Order went out the window.

I listened to a few speakers who were very professional, spent their time wisely and when they said something profound the audience started clapping, the clock kept running and they lost valuable speaking time. Mayor Muoio brought this to their attention, but it did continue.
One speaker brought with her a petition signed by 650 residents living along Flagler, who are opposed to the road closing and redesign.

By the time I left the meeting I had an understanding of the problem and residents complaints and decided to drive down Flagler and see for myself.
Flagler Drive is a 4 lane road running North & South with a medium strip in between The city has closed a section of Flagler eliminating 2 driving lanes on the east, and made two way traffic on the west side.
It appears the city wants to permanently remove the two eastern lanes and sidewalk and grass it in.
While I was driving I saw people on the sidewalk walking dogs, people strolling or sitting on the seawall looking at the water, and many, many barriers stopping people from driving by.

Mayor Muoio wants more people in the downtown area to do more walking and bike riding, and leave their cars at home to help with the traffic problems. There seems to be more cars than road, and the city helped create the problem allowing developers to build 20 & 30 story condo’s and office buildings along the waterfront.
The day Ford introduced the Model T Americans have had love affairs with their cars and trucks and will not give them up–ever.
This is going to be another battle between residents, businesses and city government. I told the residents if they lost the battle they could still have the last word. I told the woman that arrived at city hall with 650 names on the petition to march them and others down to the polling booth and vote their commissioner out of office. Time will tell.

Just Tell The Truth–Please

This story is one example of why American’s have a problem trusting government. They lie! Not everyone with a government job lies, but enough do so we become suspicious of them all. Here’s my story.

I live in Spencer Lakes which is located on the corner of 45th.& Village Blvd. There are 187 homes and most residents are a 2 car family, and if their children live with them add more cars to the equation.

Village Blvd. is a four lane road and many children exit the development on Keats Grove walking across 4 lanes of traffic heading for Palm Beach Lakes High School. There are hundreds of cars exiting and entering the development daily.
Village Boulevard is a race track, and the police have been present where they have ticketed 40 speeders between the hours of 6:30 to 9:30 AM; and they are still ticketing speeders. Ongoing since May.

5/24/17 I sent an e-mail, and included pictures, to Assistant City Manager Scott Kelly detailing the problem residents were having leaving the development.
Driving North on Village drivers enter a curve and many don’t realize/care they are approaching an intersection where a traffic light exists, and they blow right through the red light endangering exiting residents.

6/5/17 Mr. Scott responded he was forwarding my e-mail to “our Transportation Engineer for consideration.” Uyen Dang is the city’s Transportation Engineer.

6/6/17 I forward the entire package including the pictures, previously sent to Mr. Kelly to Uyen Dang. Then I wait for a response. FYI. My computer confirmed Uyen opened my e-mail the day she received it and the IT department can also confirm.

8/10/17 Over two months later another e-mail to Uyen asking for update. Received no response.

8/30/17 Sent another e-mail asking when she is going to respond to me, with a Cc to Mayor Muoio.

8/31/17 Uyen responded with an apology “I apologize for my delay in response, this e-mail was in my spam mail box for quite a while.” The hell it was, she opened it on 6/6/17; and who doesn’t check their spam folder for over 2 months? That was the 1st. lie.
She continues “Our speed study shows that the 85th Percentile of speed on this roadway is traveling at 42MPH and is consistent with the 40 MPH posted speed.”
I don’t care what her speed study shows. Check with the police department who issued the speeding tickets.
Then she recommends “Advanced Warning Flasher” which along with a flashing light has a sign stating
“Be prepared to stop.” We will coordinate with PBC to get this system installed”

8/31/17 E-mail from Uyen to PBC “We would like to request a quote from you to install this system at Village and Shiloh NB and SB.”
OK now were getting somewhere.

10/6/17 I e-mailed Uyen asking for an update. No response

10/12/17 Another e-mail asking for update and included a Cc to Mayor Muoio.
10/12/17 Uyen responds “The request was sent to PBC Traffic. We are waiting for them to respond and give us a quote. I don’t have a status because the ball is not in our court. Thank you for your patience.” (ever hear of follow up?) She responds when mayor is Cc’d a copy of the e-mail.
10/12/17 I respond “Thank you for responding. Can you give me a time frame when you will follow up with the county to see if progress is being made”
10/12/17 Uyen responds “I can give them a call tomorrow and see where were at” That message was the last I heard from Uyen, and the 2nd.lie

11/13/2017 I sent a PRR (public records request) to the city clerk requesting all correspondence between the city and county regarding the “Advanced Warning Flasher” Below is the response dated 4 days after my PRR request. Notice Kelly Cc on e-mail.

Re: TRANSFER: Public Records Request Khanh Uyen Dang to: Kevin C Volbrecht 11/17/2017 01:43 PM
Cc: Erik Ferguson, Hazeline Carson, Jomekeyia McNeil, Scott D Kelly

Kevin,
We had a teleconference with the County to request flashing lights to be installed on Village Blvd. The outcome of the meeting was for the County to add this work request in their list. The County to perform a traffic study at that location to determine if flashing lights warrants. Once the study is complete, they will send us an estimate for us to issue a PO. At this time, we do not have anything to provide for the PRR.
Thank you,
Uyen Dang, PE Engineering Services 401 Clematis Street, 4th Floor P.O. Box 3366 West Palm Beach, FL 33402

11/20/17 I attended the City Commission meeting where I had 3 minutes to explain what you have read so far just giving dates and hi-lites. Of course I didn’t have time to finish.
When I was leaving the meeting Scott Kelly spoke to me and said “the sign was approved.” I repeated it was approved. He said “yes,” now all we have to do is find the money.” 3rd. lie.

What did I do? I talked to many of my neighbors and told them the city came through for us and the project was approved. It was a feel good moment knowing they and their children would finally have a fighting chance leaving the development. I was lied too and passed the lie onto my neighbors.

11/30/17 While attending the Internal Audit meeting I saw Scott in the mezzanine, and he said “Good morning Sandy”
I responded with: “Scott you lied to me about the light being approved”
He responded with: ” I don’t know what your talking about.”and raced into the meeting room like I had leprosy. I followed him in and took my seat. That was the 4th. lie.
He sat for approximately 5 min. and left the meeting room not to return.

So finishing this story my conclusion is:
Uyen Dang, PE Engineering Services, fails to follow up with projects and ignores e-mails.
Scott Kelly, who oversees the dept. can’t be trusted because he also lies and fails to supervise employees. The city can do better!

Brightline We told you, You didn’t listen.

Brightline Train Speeds to 80 MPH

Every city along the route held meetings including WPB. Residents appeared before the commission with their opinions both pro and con.  Residents were concerned with 2 issues noise and safety. The powers to be were concerned with insuring the train made a stop in WPB. It does.

Let’s talk safety:

If you recall the horrific accident that occurred in Seattle when the train derailed, left the tracks, went down the embankment killing 3 and injuring over 80. The data recorder had the train traveling 80 MPH in a 30 MPH zone while approaching a curve.

This train was not equipped with a safety device called “positive train control” which is technology that can automatically slow or stop a train. Sounds like excellent technology.

For years regulators have requested the device be installed on all trains. What is wrong with these regulators, don’t they know that would be expensive and hurt the bottom line? Here is how I imagine the conversation went.

(Lobbyist for RR.) Good morning Senator Numnuts, how are you this fine day?

Senator Numnuts:  I’m good how about yourself, what can I do for you?

Lobbyist:  Were having a little problem with the regulators concerning the installation of a positive train control, and were hoping you can assist us by pushing it out for a year. By the way don’t you have an election coming up?

Senator Numnuts:  “Well, as a matter of fact I am running for re-election.

Lobbyist: I thought so. Don’t let me go without writing you a check. So can you help us out with the regulators so we can postpone upgrades for a year.

Senator Numnuts:  Only for a year, sure I can help you with that, what can go wrong in a year? Don’t forget the check for my campaign.  Senator Numnuts was re-elected.

The above conversation continued and the technology has been extended for years at the behest of the industry. The Brightline in Florida will be equipped with automatic train control a similar technology that monitors the train’s speed and notifies the engineer if the locomotive is going too fast. Why can’t we have the upgrade that slows and stops the train automatically? Was the check bigger than expected?

With the horrific train accident in Seattle I imagine extensions are finished. Unfortunately death and injuries have a tendency to open eyes, and get attention.

Noise Control

On a recent trip to city hall I was stopped at the lights waiting for the Brightline test ride to pass. I can’t possible describe the intensity of the train whistle and my heart goes out to the residents who reside along the track corridor who will listen to 4 trains hourly, from early morning to late evening and as many as 16 round trips daily.

So with all I have written, I have one question. Who allowed the permits to be issued before the safety devices were in place, and there was no train whistle as promised.

No devices, no permits, no permits train stays parked.

 

 

Who is Deyshia Hargrave?

Veering away from city politics for this story which absolutely infuriated me.

Deyshia Hargrave who won “Teacher of the Year” award is a language arts teacher in Louisiana, who had the audacity to appear before the School Board and voice her objection to approving a new contract for superintendent Jerome Puyau which included a $38,000 raise.

She is quoted as saying:
“I have a serious issue with a superintendent or any person of leadership getting any type of raise. I feel like it’s a slap in the face to all the teachers, cafeteria workers and any other support staff we have. We work very hard, with very little, to maintain the salaries we have.”

After Ms. Hargrave’s comments, board president Anthony Fontana ruled that she was out of order and warned her that the public comment section was not a question-and-answer session. (These arrogant,elected officials truly believe they don’t answer to the lowly public. I mean really, who the hell are we to question their authority?)

When the board ultimately voted to approve superintendent Jerome Puyau new contract with the $38,000 raise Ms. Hargrave raised her hand, was recognized, stood once again and spoke on the issue of teachers raises. (Teachers in Louisiana have not had a pay increase in a decade, a decade, that’s 10 years without a raise. Thank God bread, milk and tuna prices haven’t increased over the years.)

After Ms. Hargrave began asking more questions about the raise, she was interrupted by Mr. Fontana the school board president, saying that her question was not related to the agenda which was the superintendent’s new contract, and a number of teachers in attendance shouted in unison “with a raise.”

OK Here is where it really get’s interesting.

In my opinion when Ms. Hargrave was interrupted by School Board President Lord Fontana, that was the signal for her removal and a city marshal approached her and warned, “you are going to leave or I am going to remove you. Take your things and go.” while he is trying to remove her Superintendent Puyou is addressing her, but the cop pay’s no attention. In the video it appears Ms. Hargrave picked up her purse and started to leave.

When she and the cop were out of sight in the hallway Ms. Hargrave could be heard shouting “What are you doing, your hurting me.” The video shows her on the ground and the cop placing her hands behind her back while applying handcuffs then she was placed under arrest, and later bonded out of jail.

If you see the video the cop is well over 6′ and she looks like she may reach 4′. The unidentified cop is a prime example of why people distrust cops and paint them with the same brush. He sure showed her, smart enough not to throw her on the floor where folks could see what was happening but in the hallway with no one watching. Oops, is that a camera up there? Hell of a way to treat “Teacher of the year.”

The school board members aren’t making comments but Ike Funderburk, city attorney and prosecutor viewed the video made this statement: “I have reviewed the video and I am not going to approve any charges against the teacher, I talked with the attorney for the school board, and they do not wish to pursue any charges against the teacher.”
Ya think?

OK teachers who spend more time with our children than some parents do are not receiving the respect they deserve from the children they oversee, can’t go a week without hearing of a teacher attacked by a child, parents refusing to back them, my Johnny/Janie wouldn’t do that and the total lack of respect by the Louisiana school board and a city marshal. You have to wonder why they choose teaching as a profession.
I hope she sues and receives enough money her great, great grandchildren will be set for life. When a politician have to pay out–then they get it.
Bless them all

PS
Just read the school board has received death threats.