Spinach Anyone?

You might be needing it…
Popeye the Sailor is a fictional cartoon character created by Elzie Crisler Segar and is well known by many as a comic strip character and a television cartoon character as well as having made it to the big screen. In the cartoons, Popeye would fight to the finish when he ate his spinach. During that fight, he was often up against Bluto, who would try to gain the affections of Popeye’s beloved Olive Oyl. She was fickle though, and she was also the only one Popeye ever allowed to trounce him. The bad guys would be routed, but it was always a nail-biter as to whether Popeye would be able to find, reach and open the can to eat his spinach in time. Once he did, he was able to tap the power he needed to overcome.

So break out a can of spinach and let’s do our best to overcome what Lake Park STAFF are throwing our way through this week’s Agenda.

RUSH Resolution authorizing the Mayor to sign and submit the grant application for the 2011 Florida Department of Law Enforcement Grant.

This grant has come about because according to an application our town submitted, there have been high crime rates in our downtown area. This contradicts the many times we have been told by town and CRA staff that our downtown is perfectly safe and a welcome and wonderful place for businesses to set up shop. Which is it? More and more we are finding that statements made by town staff change with by the week. Political expediency anyone?

This new application for funds relates to the Eyes on Park grant. I guess Eyes on Park is now in need of more support before it’s even been implemented. Crime is up according to this section of the agenda and the town feels the need for some more of that fantastical grant money to make everything better. And they’re in luck! There seems to be a neverending stream of grant money to be had for just the right ever-needy town willing to spend countless hours jumping through hoops. Can any of you even imagine the amount of time our town staff and our mayor spend to procure these funds? Isn’t it interesting too that no matter how much they get, along with all the taxes and assessments we pay, we are still as needy as ever? Sounds to me like our town has a spending and management problem, not a revenue problem!

The acceptance of this new grant will, of course, require some conditions be met. The letter on page 44 and 45 tells how many new stipulations we must meet and how much more paperwork, etc. must be done so we can receive this grant. There is a link provided there that takes you to the requirements and instructions at the fdle site. How much in concessions and conditional chains will it cost us to get the measly $5,459 the town staff wants now through this grant?

At the time that Eyes on Park was voted on, questions were raised about the monitoring of the cameras and the cost to the town above the costs provided in the original grant award. All was well, we were assured by those pressing to vote this through. Now the town seems to be changing their tune, asking for MORE money to thwart crime (AGAIN, this in an area we have been told time and again is so very safe and to which they are encouraging FOOT TRAFFIC with their sustainable development plans). In addition, the town wants to move the monitoring equipment to Public Works so the cameras can be routinely monitored. Huh? Something sounds off here. (See the bottom of page 49 and top of page 50.)

Section 2 Problem Identification –

This is a MUST READ – enjoy the contradictions and eye openers here. We already received $42,416 in grant money for this project. This tells how the additional grant money will help entice mass transit stops and possibly a train station into the downtown to (wait for it…) help bring foot traffic customers into the area. (page 49) Wow! It’s all sure coming together…now isn’t it? Sustainable development, here we come! Thanks Mr. Mayor, Commissioners Rumsey and Stevens. Thanks a whole lot for taking us down this road by your vote to follow the Town Manager’s and the County’s recommendation to have a train station in our town. Do these people never think about the repercussions to residents that will come about because of their many votes to give the town manager whatever she recommends? More importantly, do they care?

Who is the subgrantee organization mentioned in section 4?

I’ve had time to read this more carefully, and it looks like our town is the subgrantee organization and all funds will go through the chief financial officer of our town.

The application presented is for Funding assistance. The application tells us that this strategy provides the opportunity to substantially reduce system operating costs, bring about long term savings (why do I doubt this?) in project expansions and to increase the monitored areas of the community. What?! Long term savings on expansions? I thought they told us that the only reason we got this grant in the first place was because it was available at the time and we figured we could use it as long as it lasted. Now it sounds like it is merely part of a larger plan. Now they are looking to expand this surveillance? Do you see why some of us have a trust problem with this town leadership?

Now we must consider that our neighborhoods will also one day be monitored by town STAFF!  I suppose I should begin my preparations for big brother to come and set up shop on my street, in my front yard, in my living room, and on and on… keeping watch over me night and day now too?! Where does it end? Can you say “creepy“?

Take a deep breath, another bite of spinach and continue…

Fund Balance Policy

This is about fund balance reporting and government fund definitions. – Please read it all and try to make some sense of what is going on with this item.

Fuel Reader Management and Fuel Purchase Agreement

I haven’t had time to delve into this yet, hopefully later today. There is quite a bit to read and consider for this week. I am telling you, it’s a lot to do to keep up, but with this overloaded agenda, there is bound to be a lot of information buried in here that we should know! READ ON!

Interlocal agreement between Palm Beach County and the city of Palm Beach Gardens, The town of Jupiter, the Town of Mangonia Park, The town of Lake Park, and the City of Riviera Beach creating a bioscience Land Protection Advisory

This relates to protecting lands set aside for bioscience. Here we go again with the BIOSCIENCE. One of those things that makes me say “hmmm”. If you pay attention to the REAL news, (and I do not mean the mainstream support system for progressives because it’s highly unlikely they’ll tell you about these stories), you may have read about the biodefense no-bid contract for billions of dollars that the Obama administration awarded to a company with deep ties to the unions recently. Biosciences seems to be the next big money and power funnel. It looks from here like our town STAFF is looking to make sure, along with the county, that they have themselves perched right next to that funnel at all times and perhaps set up a direct pipeline to some of the cash that’ll no doubt be flowing through that funnel freely and right toward them in the future.

Read all of this and pay attention to the section: Authority of the Board

Section D-1

Read this whole proposal and think about what this section means in relation to the proposal.

In section 3, this proposal lets us know that our town’s Comprehensive Plan must be changed to reflect what goes on with this bioscience interlocal agreement. (What are they setting into place with this?) It states that this agreement supersedes all other agreements, etc. relating to this. It will remain in force until March 14, 2016 if passed, meaning that if it is voted through, it will be in place for 5 years. Something to consider.

So again, we’d all better be eating our spinach and get in shape for another marathon meeting tomorrow. Lake Park may be small, but the administration continues to make strong arm pushes to pursue BIG things: BIG bureaucracy, BIG and complicated revenue streams that are difficult to follow, BIG spending and BIG government that will affect you in a BIG way. Can you say, “big mess”?