NO on 30 Million Bond.

Who doesn’t want decent parks for kids to play in, somewhere to take the family for a picnic or just enjoy the outdoors. I know I do. Do I trust James and the City Commissioners to make this happen? I do not. Why? History tells us why.  Walk with me down memory lane.

Joel Davis was the mayor in 2000 when residents voted for 20 million dollar bond  for park upgrades throughout the city. Residents voted for the bond.  The repayment of that bond expires Sept.2020.    In 20 years what improvements have been made?

12/2/2019  The City Commission approved Ordinance No.4884-19 for approval of bonds in the amount of 30 million dollars for the improvement of City parks and recreational facilities.  What’s the difference between 2000 and 2020? Actually 10 million dollars along with the same promises which didn’t happen the first time voters approved the bond.  Do you remember?

In November 2016, Palm Beach County voters approved raising the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent. This 1-cent sales tax increase took effect January 1, 2017
“On November 8th, Palm Beach County voters decided to enact a one-cent sales tax to pay for needed improvements to public infrastructure, parks, and public”   Below is the City website with information the city wanted voters to know how their taxes were spent.  if you take the time tp open the link you will see the message   Page Not Found.  https://www.wpb.org/News-Video/Archive-News/Penny-Sales-Tax-Projects-in-West-Palm-Beach

Now James, who has no problem with his hands in taxpayers pockets wants another 30 million dollars with another promise to improve parks.  What park improvements were made from the penny sales tax in the past 3 years?  We have new parklets, which the city considers “parks”  So what’s a parklet?  Here’s the description.  “a small seating area or green space created as a public amenity on or alongside a sidewalk, especially in a former roadside parking space.”  In other words plant a bush or tree and place a bench next to it and there you have a parklet.  I imagine this is a fortune in upkeep.

On Jan. 28 I attended a meeting of the Northshore Association with Board President Carl Flick leading the meeting. For those of you who haven’t heard of Carl he is extremely knowledgeable, does his homework and is a wealth of information on the history of his neighborhood, which he has lived for 30 years, and includes Currie Park. He mentioned at the meeting when the bond  in 2000  was suggested that one million dollars was to be spent in Currie Park. He then told the group 100,000.00 was spent. Not much changed in 20 years. Currie Park is to receive millions more if this passes.

Recreational Parks is anywhere a ball field is located including baseball and soccer.  Are you aware permits are required to play in these parks?  So parents are paying their share of the 2000 bond, and pay again if their kids use the facilities. How much money has been collected, and where were the dollars used? We’ll never know.
Now Former Mayor Muoio is involved opening a PAC to pay for the flyers and yard signs that will be seen all over the city urging voters to approve the referendum. The City wants this 30 million and will move heaven and earth to once again dip into your pockets.

A reader reminded me that a majority of the residents are millennials (under 40) and they will vote yes not knowing the history of the previous bond and broken promises of City Leaders, who in my opinion are not capable of handling taxpayer dollars. Remember the 7.9 million dollar no bid contract given to a drinking buddy of James?

The following referendum question will also be on the ballot on March 17, 2020.
CITY OF WEST PALM BEACH GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS FOR PARKS, RECREATIONAL FACILITIES AND NATURAL AREAS

To improve public health and protect natural areas and public green space by renovating parks and recreational facilities including playgrounds, safety features, upgraded efficient lighting, park trails, sports courts, athletic fields, community centers and improved accessibility to amenities, shall West Palm Beach issue general obligation bonds not exceeding $30,000,000, bearing maximum lawful interest rates, maturing within 30 years of their issuance, payable from ad valorem taxes, with independent annual audits and citizen oversight?
FOR BONDS            ______
AGAINST BONDS  _____

I don’t believe the dollars will be audited annually, and if there is citizen oversight they will be citizens hand picked by the mayor like all committees are. Citizens who will do the mayors bidding.

 

2020 Election Off To A Bad Start!

I had a phone call from a reader asking if I received a telephone poll questioner from Christine Lambert campaign.  I did not, but was told some of the questions asked.

I personally find it totally irresponsible that her poll included his young children and former wife. The candidate must approve all mailers and information sent to voters. Is she not aware his children will eventually have access to this material? Parents will talk about it over the dinner table. Their kids will ask who their talking about and they may say Mr. Sylvester, don’t you go to school with his kids? There it is. Shame on you Mrs. Lambert.

Today I received a flyer from Stephen Sylvester’s campaign referring to the telephone poll. Below are excerpts from his flyer. The entire flyer can be read below. 

“Last night, City Commissioner Christina Lambert’s re-election campaign team launched a “Push Poll” and began calling registered voters in West Palm Beach.
It is an early indication of the type of negative campaign Mrs. Lambert plans to run.
The poll was full of outright lies and attempts to mislead voters with half-truths and misinformation.
Even worse, the poll asks questions about Stephen Sylvester’s ex-wife and his minor children.
With this email, I am publicly calling upon Christina Lambert to pull her offensive poll from the field and issue a public apology to my children and me for her reprehensible actions.
West Palm Beach deserves a city commissioner who holds themselves to the highest standards.  Mrs. Lambert’s race to the bottom is truly disappointing.”
https://mailchi.mp/d805074f2b8b/meet-city-commission-candidate-stephen-sylvester-6199921

Lambert’s  political consultant Cornerstone Solutions, run by Rick Asnani, apparently intends to run her campaign along the same lines he did 2 years ago when she challenged former Commissioner Shanon Materio with half truths and outright lies. Materio didn’t take it lying down, but fought back with a lawsuit, and so far she has won them all. Walk back with me 2 years ago, and below are the hi-lights from the PB Post. Entire story below:

WEST PALM BEACH -” An appeals court has denied political consultant Rick Asnani’s effort to shoot down a defamation suit by ex-city commissioner Shanon Materio for a mailer she said contributed to her loss to Christina Lambert in 2018.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled Oct. 30 that Asnani and affiliated organizations Cornerstone Solutions Florida and WPB Residents for Integrity in Government failed to show Materio’s suit caused irreparable harm, as required to declare it a SLAPP suit.

SLAPP is an acronym for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. Florida law bans such suits, considering them baseless efforts to intimidate or silence critics and hinder free speech.

A circuit court judge in March denied Asnani’s motions for dismissal or summary judgment, though, and ordered the firms to pay Materio’s legal fees.
The appellate court now also has denied his anti-SLAPP motion.

Commissioner Lambert declined comment.”
https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20191105/new-court-denies-political-consultantrsquos-move-to-kill-shanon-materio-suit-over-campaign-flyer

The campaign 2 years earlier was ‘dirty” to say the least. When Cornerstone was found to have violated campaign laws they were fined a whopping $950.00. With fines so low, and millions at stake for developers no wonder their repeating history. Below is an excerpt from the PB Post.  Entire story can be read below.

” A nonprofit run by political consultant Rick Asnani has been fined $950 for failing to register as a political committee that should have filed campaign treasurer reports with the state.

Last June, former West Palm Beach City Commissioner Shanon Materio filed complaints with the Florida Elections Commission against three nonprofits she said Asnani ran as shell corporations to collect campaign donations anonymously.
The FEC dismissed the allegations against two of the nonprofits, which channeled money against Materio’s run for re-election versus victor Christina Lambert. But in a Consent Final Order released Tuesday, Asnani’s Taxpayers for American Jobs, Inc. acknowledged the state could prove that the nonprofit operated as an unregistered political committee that deliberately failed to file required campaign treasurers’ reports.

Materio on Tuesday called for an end to loopholes that allow anonymous contributions.
“Asnani and his Cornerstone companies have been doing this for years,” she said. “These entities are not formed for greater transparency for voters and the public but just the opposite.
https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20190522/west-palm-consultant-asnanis-political-committee-fined-for-elections-violations

 

Related Property: The Flats at Rosemary Square

When residents become frustrated with city officials we have the right to appear before them and have 3 minutes to express our grievances. Most of the time it doesn’t help and turns out to be a waste of time. What do you do? You write about it, and that does help.

I was made aware of a new website written by a concerned citizen and he writes about Rosemary Square formally City Place and he tells of “The Flats at Rosemary Square” a review written by residents who live there and he posted pictures to make his point. I hope you take the time to read his story  below and I feel his frustration when he writes about a building  that constantly floods, apartments full of mold and mildew, a fire alarm that goes off day and night, and other problems with possible stealing of electricity and water.  He writes:

“As a current tenant I feel it is my duty to warn other potential renters about why they should not rent from The Flats at Rosemary Square in West Palm Beach, Florida.

This property is owned by Related Group and is managed by TRG Management Company.
The fact that this website even has to exist is a testament to the lack of interest of the management of this property.

I made many attempts to resolve my concerns with the on-site management, the district manager, and the TRG group who is the property manager, but the same issues continue to happen week after week, and month after month.

Sadly, I am not the only one who feels this way. There are many reviews on the internet warning people to stay away from this rental property. Also, I have spoken to many current tenants, all who have their own unresolved issues and concerns with this property.”

Here is our story…
https://theflatsatrosemarysquare.com/?gclid=CjwKCAiA6vXwBRBKEiwAYE7iS9I_GQi2qKSkVkkfT1Jsxihh1kwLrqp6J-MXvxo7FoNiHLTV3aWSrBoCVdYQAvD_BwE

If that isn’t enough reason to be grateful you don’t rent an apartment at The Flats, here is 1 more story concerning Related and Condo’s they sold.

“Their condos were missing a room — so they’re suing real estate giant Related Group The biggest real estate developer in Miami-Dade has been accused of stiffing customers who bought condominiums marketed as “one bedroom + den” in size — but the den never showed up.

Read more below:”
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/real-estate-news/article232733807.html#storylink=cpy

This is the same Related that City Commissioners unanimously voted (1/13/2020)  allowing another 21 story building containing 325 additional rental apts.

Story written by PB Post reporter Tony Doris on the City Commission meeting held 1/13.2020.

“City say’s “yes” to 21-story apartment tower site plan on Rosemary Square ex-Macy’s site.”

Read the story below:

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20200114/city-says-yes-to-21-story-apartment-tower-site-plan-on-rosemary-square-ex-macys-site

Three items on the City Commission Agenda for Jan. 13, 2020

#5. “Resolution No. 10-20 establishing the salary and other compensation for the City Administrator and amending the pay grade information for the City Administrator job classification. Based on Ms. Johnson’s extensive qualifications and experience, the Mayor is recommending to the Commission a starting salary of $249,000 for consideration, which is within the General Management Salary Rate Schedule for the City Administrator Pay Grade, GM20 ($174,303-$261,454).  Upon successful completion of a six (6) month probationary period, Ms. Johnson’s salary will increase by 5% to $261,450, also within the current salary rate schedule. Ms. Johnson’s current salary as Interim City Administrator is $220,000.”
In my opinion as soon as Jeff Green  left the city James should have appointed Ms. Johnson as City Administrator, and I’m happy he finally made the move. I am not in favor of James suggesting Ms. Johnson reach the top of the pay grade in less than a year. I would suggest her salary of $220,000.00/year, and a 5% increase in 2021.  If the Commissioner’s pass this Resolution they should start every employee at the top of their pay grade.  The President of the US earns $400,000.00/year.

 

#7.” Public Hearing and First Reading of Ordinance No. 4868-19 approving the Real Property Lease Management Policy for the purposes of providing a framework governing the leasing and rental decisions of real property owned by the City of West Palm Beach.”
The City owns property at  401 N Flagler Dr; and the PBC Property Appraiser has appraised the property at $12,050,272.00. The city, for years has rented the building to  Dennis Grady, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce for $1.00/year. The Chamber is joined at the hip with Related and Grady appears at Commission meeting and declares his Board of Directors had a meeting and voted unanimously to approve Related projects. Quid pro quo?  “Favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something.”

 

#8. “Public Hearing of Resolution No. 362-19: Regarding a request by Harvey Oyer of Shutts & Bowen LLP, on behalf of CityPlace Retail, LLC, for the approval of a Level III Site Plan Review within the CityPlace Development of Regional Impact (DRI) to construct a 21-story mixed use building containing 325 residential units, approximately 34,000 square feet of retail and approximately 57,000 square feet of office at 575 South Rosemary Avenue.”
Publix and Macy’s  are known as anchor site’s meaning it is a  “draw tenant”, or “key tenant.” When a Publix is built it draws other stores to the shopping center. Well both stores are gone from CityPlace and the City Commissioners will vote tonight to replace Macy’s, a 5 story building with a 21 story building with 325 residential units.

If a unit is rented  to a couple we are looking at approximately 650 additional cars + office and retail traffic.  The residents of WPB are concerned about the gridlock and amount of cars on the road. The city solution? Approve every project coming down the pike. This may turn out to be no problem at all if residents and shoppers ride a bike to get around Rosemary Square. My guess, the Commissioners will approve the 21 story building. Lambert and Shoaf need the endorsement of the Chamber of Commerce for re-election in 2020.

Below are recent changes made at CityPlace (Rosemary Square) Owner, Related, WPB.
Blue Martini CityPlace has closed it’s doors. This is a problem for the city. Blue Martini, affectionally called “Little City Hall”  is where Mayor James, City Administrator Jeff Green, Police Chief Frank Adderley, Assistant Chief Richard Morris, City Commissioner Peduzzi and the famous Willie Perez, friend of the Mayor and PSC’s Senior Regional Director who received the no bid contract of nearly 8 million dollars. The city waste so much of taxpayer dollars I wouldn’t be surprised if they purchased the “Table of Corruption” and moved it to the real City Hall where they could meet and reminisce about the good old days.

Recent changes to Cityplace.
Lucky Brand Jeans closed it’s doors right before Christmas.
Diva Duck Tours has moved to the Palm Beach Outlets Mall by Forever21 because of construction and parking problems.
The Cheesecake Factory will no longer validate parking for the garages on weekends due to the new $5.00 flat rate.
LA Fitness will continue to validate garage parking.
Parking was free for the first 80 min. then $1.00/hr.
The valet rate has increased from $8 to $12.

Double click to enlarge picture.

April 2020 Recall of Keith James

The 2019 Florida Statutes: Chapter 100
SYNOPIS

100.361
Recall Petition

Petition shall contain the name of the person sought to be recalled and a statement of grounds for recall.  (see below)

In a municipality or district of 25,000 or more registered electors, the petition shall be signed by 5  percent of the total number of registered electors of the municipality or district as of the preceding municipal  election whichever is greater.

The Supervisor of Election provided a breakdown of voters:
As of November 2019.  There are 71,508 registered voters in the city of West Palm Beach.
3575 signatures needed for Recall.  (5% of 71,508)

All signatures shall be obtained within 30 days and filed all at the same time no later than 30 days after the date on which the first signature is obtained on the petition.

Each signature is to be witnessed at the time of signing to verify that the witness saw each person sign the petition.

All signed petition forms shall be filed at the same time with the Clerk of the municipality, (West Palm Beach).

Recall:

“Any member of the governing body of a municipality, may be removed from office by the electors of the municipality.” “This – is called a RECALL!”

A recall cannot begin until the targeted official has served at least one-fourth of his term in office. Mayor Keith James will have served one-fourth of his term this April! We can then RECALL Mayor Keith James.

Grounds for Recall:
One of the Grounds for a recall is Malfeasance:
Definition of malfeasance:
Wrong doing or misconduct by a public official!

We will be moving towards a RECALL of Mayor Keith James based on his Malfeasance:

Items to be Included:

1. Mayor Keith James Circumvented the City Bid Process guaranteeing a contract for 7.8 million to his friend -Willie Perez, Regional Director of Professional Security Consultants. The community was outraged, but Your texts to your friend Willie Perez, Which have been made public stated , that you were comfortable with the decision and were moving forward, Even though Mr. Perez  has been reported in several media outlets as sending graphic sexual photos to city staffers.

2. Mayor Keith James Attempted to push through Commission  on Consent, a Pay-off of $180,000 as Hush Money to silence the Sex Scandals which prevail in City Hall. Consent Items, are normally used for Non-controversial agenda items that need no discussion, thankfully the commissioners stopped this – and pulled the item off of consent– not blessing this Hush Money Pay-off by our Mayor.

3.  It is alleged that some of the participants involved in this sex scandal, are from the highest ranking city employees.

4.  Mayor Keith James your City Manager, Mr. Jeff Greene and members of the Mayor’s Blue Martini Cigar Club,(which included the awardee of the 7.8 million dollar contract, Mr. Perez) have been accused of sexual harassment; ménage a trois with several city employees ; even rape; but yet by the public admission of the City Attorney no inquiry or investigation was undertaken  by City Administration, much less any  law enforcement investigations were conducted.

5. It was not until Rep. Matt Willhite wrote a letter to the Governor asking for an independent investigation- that any of these matters were discussed to be investigated by an independent agency.

Be assured come April, we will be ready.

complete Florida Statute  chapter 100.361

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0100-0199/0100/Sections/0100.361.html