Don’t Shoot the Messenger

…messengers don’t set the agendas, they only pass them along. Please take up any displeasure with your town staff and commission.

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This Wednesday, November 2nd, the CRA Board will hold a meeting at 6:30 p.m. before the Town of Lake Park holds the commission meeting at 7:00.

Here is a link to the CRA Board Meeting 11/2/11

Please peruse this agenda. There will be a vote on some prior minutes and then, most likely, a push to approve the budget and renew property, casualty and liability insurance. Then they move on to the Sheriff’s contract with CRA.

After that they get to the real deal…


A $40,000 grant discussion (and possible action) for Don Ramons Baja Grill, Cantina and Tequila Bar

This is the deal our Town Manager (aka: CRA Executive Director) and the CRA Economic Development Director have been quietly discussing behind closed doors for some time since well before they decided to close the Gallery. The agenda states that Jennifer Spicer has been in conversations about this with the owner for over two years. Well, then. The Town Manager (I mean CRA Executive Director), stated at the last meeting something to the effect that she could not divulge details about the proposed restaurant because of the ongoing negotiations regarding the deal.

The discussion at the meeting tonight will, no doubt, entail working some more of that CRA “magic” we heard about at the last CRA Board meeting. It’s some kind of magic alright, but it looks more like hocus pocus in another one of this town’s perpetual games of government “gimme”. The CRA and the Town of Lake Park are moving ahead regarding their desire to offer a grant for Don Ramons to open a new spin-off restaurant on Park Avenue… $40,000 worth. According to the town manager (CRA Executive Director), the money become available when something else fell through. Oh, well, then. Wasn’t that convenient.

Tax Payer Funded Bar

Really? Is it necessary for a successful restauranteur to be given our tax payer money to employ what they suggest will be 10 people? Is it the job of we, the tax payers, to try and create 10 jobs? And do you not suppose the owner might already have his sights set on certain individuals for many of the positions as it is before ever setting up shop? How many jobs in Lake Park do you suppose will actually be available to residents if this goes through? Furthermore, why should government money (read MY MONEY) go to funding a business, let alone a bar/restaurant? This is not the job of town government.

From the looks of things, this does not seem to be the first bar/restaurant to receive tax payer money in some form from the CRA and the town of Lake Park and to be invited/encouraged to do so. Frankly I find this picking and choosing by town administration of what businesses will make their way into town disconcerting.

And it’s also interesting that our town doesn’t want churches in the CRA district and so keeps them out by way of zoning regulations (a very handy tool in a town’s arsenal), yet they welcome bars and then even offer them OUR MONEY to help them set up shop. What THE heck!  Good one, Lake Park.

Why can’t a successful restauranteur create jobs without the CRA waving dollar bills and fistfuls of them in their face? I would dare say it’s not that they can’t create their establishment here without that cash, (of course they can, their brand/track record proves it) but why would they? Why would anyone? If someone can get their hands on “free” money to pad their pockets with because there is a pipeline to it through the CRA and the CDC and because they are encouraged to do so by the power of the Town Manager’s (CRA Executive Director’s) position and those of her employees who serve at her pleasure, you can bet there will be no shortage of people trying to get their hands on it. I wonder what it takes to be those chosen by this group to receive a chunk of that stash? Interesting that the details of this bar/restaurant plan are just being brought to light now, right before they are ready to discuss and act on it during a half hour meeting which is already more than crammed full with agenda items. Will this be another of those “Hurry up, don’t-waste-time-thinking-or-discussing-this – – just vote!” meetings? I guess we’ll just have to watch and find out.

I think it would be interesting to have a comprehensive list of all the grant recipients in this town through the town, the CRA and the CDC for the past, say five or so years and see how many are still in business and to what and to whom all that money has gone. I think it would paint an intriguing picture that many in town are otherwise blind to.

All of this and more will be discussed in a half hour.

Right.

Aside from all of this, they also state that they intend to do that FULL REVIEW of the CRA plans and goals that Mr. Rumsey requested a month ago. How full of a review would they be able to do in a half hour even without any of the other discussions and decisions they have put on the agenda?

Well, buckle up those safety belts kids; looks like the town of Lake Park is going to take you on another wild ride tomorrow night.

This one is called the “Mind Eraser”…seems appropriate.

If you have any energy left to keep watch on other town business, here is a link to the Agenda for the 11/02/11 Meeting (town commission)

This agenda is loaded with documents relating to issues that were not resolved at the last meeting. However, please take time to sift through this carefully. There is also new information and some final votes to be taken on issues previously discussed.

  • Under tab 12, the job description for the Recreation Director is being modified.
  • Tab 13: Earl Stewart Trailer
  • Tab 14:  Parking Decal Fee
  • Tab 15: Adult Arcades/Internet Cafes
  • Tab 16: The collective bargaining agreement with the unionized employees including their insurance benefits and other items through 2014. (Please read this section. Can someone give me any good reason why Lake Park allows a public union to operate in our town?)
  • Tab 17: Tri-Rail Letter of Support by the Mayor, back for another push to get through.
  • Tab 18: Application by Harry Welsh of 1 Mainstreet Met, LLC, from Palm Beach who wants to host a combination flea market, craft fair and green market on Sundays from 11-4 from November to May. Concerns by staff include parking issues/valet service, roads would have to stay open, debris. The staff is concerned with how this will affect the image of the area and the inability to schedule additional events on Sundays between November and May. They provide their conditions for approval. (listed in the agenda)

The meeting is Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. following the CRA Board Meeting which begins at 6:30.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Better make sure to be there though.

There’s no telling what you might miss if you aren’t.

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