• VIDEO & E-NEWS: This Week in Palm Beach - September 21, 2018
  • Testa's Site Emerging into Royal Poinciana Palm Beach
  • UPDATE: New Storms Popping Up
  • Port of Palm Beach Seeks to Cutoff Part of Peanut Island for Bigger Ships
  • Big School Tax Hike Referendum on the Ballot – Civic Association Forum to Explain

 

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VIDEO & E-NEWS: This Week in Palm Beach - September 21, 2018
Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. September 21, 2018 edition.
UPDATE: New Storms Popping Up
New storms are popping up. We may be past the peak of the Hurricane Season but it's not over yet. See maps below:
Port of Palm Beach Seeks to Cutoff Part of Peanut Island for Bigger Ships
By Michele Dargan, Special to the Civic Association -- The Port of Palm Beach Commission met Thursday to discuss cutting off the southern end of Peanut Island to make the Port’s turning basin bigger – and allow larger ships to navigate into the Port docks.
Big School Tax Hike Referendum on the Ballot – Civic Association Forum to Explain
By Michele Dargan, Special for the Civic Association -- The Civic Association will present an Election Forum to help voters understand the November ballot issues, including the school Tax Referendum, at 10 a.m. Oct. 22 at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the Sea.
Intracoastal Dredging Project from Town Docks to Peanut Island
By: R. Michael Brown, Civic Association Communications Director -- The Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) plans to dredge the Intracoastal Waterway between the Port of Palm Beach to the Town of Palm Beach Docks to a depth of -12 feet at average low tide depth.
This Week in Palm Beach 9-14-2018
Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. September 14, 2018 edition. Click Here To See Original Full E-Newsletter
Traffic Alert: Former President George Bush in Town on Friday
Former President George W. Bush will be in Palm Beach for a Friday evening reception 9/14/2018. Expect a motorcade along with the usual Secret Service protection detail for the president. The location or exact time have not been released. 
VIDEO & E-NEWS: This Week in Palm Beach - September 7, 2018
Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. September 7, 2018 edition.
Top Stories
VIDEO & E-NEWS: This Week in Palm Beach - September 21, 2018
Posted by Stephan Nilson
Published: Saturday, 22 September 2018 16:03

Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. September 21, 2018 edition.

This Week in Palm Beach - September 21, 2018To subscribe to This Week in Palm Beach and receive it in your inbox, CLICK HERE

Civic Association News Video [4:53]

 

 

 

 

 

Top Stories
UPDATE: New Storms Popping Up
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Saturday, 22 September 2018 13:02

New storms are popping up. We may be past the peak of the Hurricane Season but it's not over yet. See maps below:

 

Grab map to move it to see more. Move day and time to see the future.

See the animation above at https://www.windy.com

cone graphic

NHC Details
https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/cyclones/

The period between Aug. 20 and Oct. 10 accounts for 60 percent of all Atlantic Basin hurricanes and 75 percent of all major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger) in that basin, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach, a tropical scientist at Colorado State University.

HurricanePeakGraph

 

Top Stories
Port of Palm Beach Seeks to Cutoff Part of Peanut Island for Bigger Ships
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Saturday, 22 September 2018 12:25

By Michele Dargan, Special to the Civic Association -- The Port of Palm Beach Commission met Thursday to discuss cutting off the southern end of Peanut Island to make the Port’s turning basin bigger – and allow larger ships to navigate into the Port docks.

Objections were raised by the Save Our Inlet Coalition; Lisa Interlandi, an Everglades Law Center attorney; the Palm Beach Civic Association; environmentalists, and others.

Environmentalist Jim Barry told Port of Palm Beach Commissioners that cutting off a 10-foot portion of Peanut Island, known as Area D, would have multiple negative environmental effects. Among them: erosion, destruction of sea grass, turbidity and the possibility of an underlying reef.

Lisa Interlandi, attorney for the Everglades Law Center, said they raised these issues four years ago and none of these issues have been addressed or analyzed. She also urged that they not use an environmental impact statement from four years ago, because it is outdated.

Executive Director Manuel Almira said the two cruise ships have difficulty navigating into and out of the narrow channel and it is a safety concern.

The Grand Celebration has enhanced navigation; while the second ship, Grand Classica – a larger vessel, does not and it’s more difficult for that ship to navigate in and out of the port, he said. “If we could cut back 10 feet, it would alleviate some of this pressure coming out and coming back in,” Mr. Almira said. Mr. Almira said they don’t have any grant money yet for this project.

Chairwoman Jean Enright said, “We’re one day going to have a major accident and that’s what I’m concerned about.”

PortAreaD w500

Top Stories
Big School Tax Hike Referendum on the Ballot – Civic Association Forum to Explain
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Saturday, 22 September 2018 11:49

By Michele Dargan, Special for the Civic Association -- The Civic Association will present an Election Forum to help voters understand the November ballot issues, including the school Tax Referendum, at 10 a.m. Oct. 22 at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the Sea.

The Countywide School Tax Referendum plus 12 Constitutional Amendments will appear on the ballot in addition to voting for a new governor, a senator, and other elected officials for the Nov. 6 Midterm Election.

The Civic Association Forum is to explain the ballot questions.

Guest speakers are Todd Bonlarron, Palm Beach County Assistant County Administrator, who will explain the 12 Constitutional Amendments, and Mike Burke, Chief Financial Officer of the Palm Beach County School District, who will explain the school Tax Referendum.

REGISTER FOR THE EVENT, CALL THE CIVIC ASSOCIATION: 561-837-7555

School Tax Referendum

Mr. Burke will present an explanation of why the school district will ask voter approval to levy an additional property tax of 1 mill. That’s $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value beginning on July 1, 2019 and ending on June 30, 2023.

As an example, property owners with $1 million worth of assessed value would pay an extra $1,000 to the school district.

The tax will add $200 million per year, for the next four years to the school district budget, and will be dedicated specifically to fund school safety equipment; hire additional school police and mental health professionals; fund arts, music, physical education, career and choice program teachers, and improve teacher pay.

“It’s a quality of life and a societal question,” Mr. Burke said. “Do you want to live in a society where kids have opportunities to get a good education – whether they go on to higher education or into the trades? An unemployed person will cost you much more in the long run. This is an investment in the economy and in our children. We want them to have productive lives and be productive citizens.”

The money will help fund the police officers and mental health professionals in every school as required by the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, passed by the state Legislature after the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland.

An independent finance committee will oversee the spending to ensure the money goes to the designated areas, Mr. Burke said.

Over the past several years, the state legislature has cut hundreds of millions from the district’s budget, including $180 million from this year’s budget, Mr. Burke said. There has been an existing school district tax in place of 25 cents per every $1,000 in taxable value for the past eight years, but that is expiring this year. Voters approved that tax in 2010 and again in 2014.

If the voters reject the Tax Referendum, 650 teacher positions in arts, music, physical education, career and technical education will have to be cut, Mr. Burke said.

The breakdown of where the money will go:

$50 million for arts, music, physical education, career and technical education teachers. Continue to fund over 650 Art, Music, PE, Health, Choice and Career education teachers. Ensure there are no cuts made to existing teaching staff levels.

$50 million for police officers and mental health professionals. Maintain a certified law enforcement officer in every school. Hire additional police officers and purchase additional safety equipment. Hire additional mental health professionals – school counselors, social workers and psychologists – to support the social and emotional well-being of student.

$100 million will provide retention supplements to teacher salaries – based on their experience - in an effort to retain quality teachers. Teachers with one to five years of experience would get a $1,000 annual supplement, six to nine years would get a $5,000 annual supplement, and teachers with 10 years and above would get a $10,000 annual supplement.

12 Constitutional Amendments

Mr. Bonlarron will explain the 12 Constitutional Amendments (see summaries below) at the Forum. He urges residents to come out and educate themselves on what a vote for or against those amendments will mean.

"These ballot questions deal with everything from gambling in the state of Florida to a prohibition on oil and gas drilling to the college and university system," Mr. Bonlarron said. "There are a wide range of issues. If you don't spend some time learning about them, the meanings might not be so obvious from reading the summaries on the ballot.”

"I'm going to lay out all sides of the issues," he said. "I'll tell you who's for it and who's against it; how it got on the ballot; what exactly it means and what it means to a voter. I want to give everyone the best opportunity to make the most informed decision that works best for them."

The Community Election Forum is at 10 a.m. Oct. 22 at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the Sea, 141 S. County Rd. There will be complimentary valet parking. The Citizens’ Association is a sponsor. The forum is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, call the Civic Association reservation line: 561-837-7555.

Constitutional Ballot Summary

(Amendment 8 has been removed from the ballot by the state Supreme Court after a lawsuit from the League of Women Voters challenged the language as being misleading.)

No. 1. BALLOT TITLE: Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption BALLOT SUMMARY: Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to increase the homestead exemption by exempting the assessed valuation of homestead property greater than $100,000 and up to $125,000 for all levies other than school district levies. The amendment shall take effect January 1, 2019.

No. 2. BALLOT TITLE: Limitations on Property Tax Assessments BALLOT SUMMARY: Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to permanently retain provisions currently in effect, which limit property tax assessment increases on specified non-homestead real property, except for school district taxes, to 10 percent each year. If approved, the amendment removes the scheduled repeal of such provisions in 2019 and shall take effect January 1, 2019.

No. 3. BALLOT TITLE: Voter Control of Gambling in Florida BALLOT SUMMARY: This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to authorize expansion of casino gambling in Florida. It defines casino gambling and clarifies that this amendment does not conflict with federal law regarding state/tribal compacts.

No. 4. BALLOT TITLE: Voting Restoration Amendment BALLOT SUMMARY: This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the governor and cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis.

No. 5. BALLOT TITLE: Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees BALLOT SUMMARY: Prohibits the legislature from imposing, authorizing, or raising a state tax or fee except through legislation approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature in a bill containing no other subject. This proposal does not authorize a state tax or fee otherwise prohibited by the Constitution and does not apply to fees or taxes imposed or authorized to be imposed by a county, municipality, school board, or special district.

No. 6. BALLOT TITLE: Rights of Crime Victims; Judges (The last six amendments come from the Constitution Revision Commission. The commission chose to group different proposals together within some of the amendments. Voters must accept or reject the separate items together as a whole.) BALLOT SUMMARY: (Ties two separate items together). Creates constitutional rights for victims of crime; requires courts to facilitate victims’ rights; authorizes victims to enforce their rights throughout criminal and juvenile justice processes. Requires judges and hearing officers to independently interpret statutes and rules rather than deferring to government agency’s interpretation. Raises mandatory retirement age of state justices and judges from seventy to seventy-five years; deletes authorization to complete judicial term if one-half of term has been served by retirement age.

No. 7. BALLOT TITLE: First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities BALLOT SUMMARY: (Ties three separate items together). Grants mandatory payment of death benefits and waiver of certain educational expenses to qualifying survivors of certain first responders and military members who die performing official duties. Requires supermajority votes by university trustees and state university system board of governors to raise or impose all legislatively authorized fees if law requires approval by those bodies. Establishes existing state college system as constitutional entity; provides governance structure.

No. 9. BALLOT TITLE: Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces BALLOT SUMMARY: (Ties two different items together). Prohibits drilling for the exploration or extraction of oil and natural gas beneath all state-owned waters between the mean high-water line and the state’s outermost territorial boundaries. Would ban use of vapor-generating smoking devices in enclosed indoor workplaces.

No. 10. BALLOT TITLE: State and Local Government Structure and Operation BALLOT SUMMARY: (Ties four different items together). Requires legislature to retain Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Ensures election of sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court in all counties; removes county charters’ ability to abolish, change term, transfer duties, or eliminate election of these offices. Changes annual legislative session commencement date in even- numbered years from March to January; removes legislature’s authorization to fix another date. Creates office of domestic security and counterterrorism within department of law enforcement.

NO. 11. BALLOT TITLE: Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes BALLOT SUMMARY: (Ties two different items together). Would revise the Constitution to remove language that stops “aliens ineligible for citizenship” from owning property and other language approving a high-speed rail system. Deletes provision that amendment of a criminal statute will not affect prosecution or penalties for a crime committed before the amendment; retains current provision allowing prosecution of a crime committed before the repeal of a criminal statute.

No. 12. BALLOT TITLE: Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers BALLOT SUMMARY: It would prohibit public officials from lobbying both during their terms and for six years after they leave office, and restrict current public officials from using their office for personal gain. No. 13. BALLOT TITLE: Ends Dog Racing BALLOT SUMMARY: Phases out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020. Other gaming activities are not affected.

 

Top Stories
Intracoastal Dredging Project from Town Docks to Peanut Island
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Wednesday, 19 September 2018 11:16

By: R. Michael Brown, Civic Association Communications Director -- The Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) plans to dredge the Intracoastal Waterway between the Port of Palm Beach to the Town of Palm Beach Docks to a depth of -12 feet at average low tide depth.

IntracoastalDredgeProject w300Approximately 90,000 cubic yards of material will be removed from the Intracoastal bottom along the 4.5 mile route.

The permit states that the "material should be dredged via the use of either a mechanical or hydraulic dredge to remove all material from the dredge template. Dredged material should be offloaded at a District-owned ±17-acre dredged material management area (DMMA) located on the north end of Peanut Island."

The plans show that the project will start at the Port of Palm Beach and proceed south. After bids are received by FIND and the project is awarded, the dredging company will have 180 days to complete the project.

In addition, there is an old 5-inch AT&T abandoned conduit that lies within the Intracoastal Waterway channel bottom that will be removed.

The District is holding a mandatory pre-bid meeting for dredging contractors at 11:00 AM, September 20, 2018 at the project site at Riviera Beach City Marina located at 200 E 13th Street; Riviera Beach, FL 33404.

Maintenance dredging bids are being recived at FIND at its offices in Jupiter, Florida until 2 PM, October 4, and then the bids will be publicly opened.

usaceDredge w600

 

Top Stories
This Week in Palm Beach 9-14-2018
Posted by Stephan Nilson
Published: Friday, 14 September 2018 12:11

Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. September 14, 2018 edition.

Click Here To See Original Full E-Newsletter

OkeechobeeCorridor3DAerial w600To subscribe to This Week in Palm Beach and receive it in your inbox, CLICK HERE

UPDATE
MEETING CANCELLED:

Tuesday, September 25, 9:30 AM
Planning and Zoning Commission Meeting

Town Council Chambers

 

 

 

 

 

Presidential Visists
Traffic Alert: Former President George Bush in Town on Friday
Posted by R. Michael Brown
Published: Thursday, 13 September 2018 15:49

Former President George W. Bush will be in Palm Beach for a Friday evening reception 9/14/2018. Expect a motorcade along with the usual Secret Service protection detail for the president. The location or exact time have not been released. 

Top Stories
VIDEO & E-NEWS: This Week in Palm Beach - September 7, 2018
Posted by Stephan Nilson
Published: Friday, 07 September 2018 16:15

Get the news that is important to you in This Week in Palm Beach. September 7, 2018 edition.

This Week in Palm Beach - September 7, 2018To subscribe to This Week in Palm Beach and receive it in your inbox, CLICK HERE

Civic Association News Video [3:10]

 

 

 

 

 

By Michele Dargan, Special for the Civic Association -- The town’s underfunded pensions, undergrounding project, and beach renourishment were the reoccurring themes from the two Town Council candidates Thursday during the Palm Beach Civic Association Community Forum.

Town Council candidates Lew Crampton and Harris Fried gave an overview of why they should be elected and spoke about their positions on various town issues during the forum.

Stay tuned for videos and gallery of photos of the event!

More than 170 people packed the Parish Hall at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea to hear the candidates. Mr. Fried and Mr. Crampton are running in the March 13 election for the seat vacated by Council President Richard Kleid, who decided not to run again.

Councilwomen Maggie Zeidman and Bobbie Lindsay, who were reelected to the council unopposed, also spoke. They outlined some of their past successes and looked forward to resolving upcoming issues before the town.

Town Manager Kirk Blouin, who took over that job on Feb. 13, spoke about his plans in his new position. Mr. Blouin has worked in the police department since 1989, most recently as director of public safety. Mr. Blouin said his vision is to maintain or increase the level of service; while reducing costs and increasing revenue. His biggest challenge is to “break through the status quo.” He said he will also be looking at “new strategies for undergrounding and beach renourishment.”

Civic Association Chairman and CEO Bob Wright welcomed everyone. He thanked Mayor Gail Coniglio for her leadership and the Town Council members for their service to the town.

He also thanked Mr. Kleid for his 13 years of service on the Town Council, including three years as council president.

The Civic Association does not endorse candidates, Mr. Wright said. Instead, the Civic Association creates programs to help voters make their own informed decisions, he said.

Mr. Wright gave brief biographies of the candidates.

Full Civic Association Video of the Forum [1:13:55]

Mr. Crampton is president and CEO of the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. He is a South End resident who is vice chairman of the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission and is the former chairman of the Citizens Association of Palm Beach.

Mr. Fried is an international lawyer and investment banker who lives in Midtown. He is a former chairman and member of the town’s Code Enforcement Board.

Mr. Fried said that the town cannot continue to put $5.4 million per year, for 15 years, to fix the $100 million underfunded pension problem. Mr. Fried said he wants to work with the pension board to resolve it.

Mr. Fried called the undergrounding project “a fiasco.” He said undergrounding in the North End is “seriously scary” and the town doesn’t even know the total cost. He said the town should “review it, reconsider it, and renegotiate it.” He said the town can stop the project at any time.

The shore protection plan isn’t working, Mr. Fried said.

“There is much more we should be doing and more value we should be getting for the $10 million we’re spending,” he said. Last year, we had a net loss of sand on the beach. In Midtown, we put $17 million worth of sand on the beach and the next year it all washed away. That doesn’t seem like a sound way to manage the shore protection problem.”

Mr. Crampton countered, saying he doesn’t favor paying $5.4 million per year, indefinitely, into the pensions. That process has to stop when the town reaches “the safe zone” of 80 percent,” he said. There are global solutions to the pension crisis, he said.
Mr. Crampton said the solution is monetizing town assets like town-owned land in other municipalities as well as the town docks. He also said that recommendations contained in the Comprehensive Review of Town Operations report can cut spending, increase revenue, and help fund the pensions.

Holding up a photo of a fire caused by a downed line in the South End, Mr. Crampton said undergrounding is safer, more reliable, protects against mold, and, when completed, will be a benefit to the entire town. If the undergrounding project stops after Phase I, the town will lose the 25 percent subsidy it’s getting from FPL. If the town stopped it and started it again, it would cost much more money, Mr. Crampton said.

If we stop the undergrounding project, there will be a divided town, Mr. Crampton said.

“All of the South End would be completed with undergrounding and only a portion of the North End, which really wants it, will have undergrounding,” Mr. Crampton said. “One town is not just a slogan. One town is the North End supporting the South End with sand and the South End supporting the North End with construction of pump stations and undergrounding.”

“Seventy percent of the sand we put on our beaches in 1990 is still there,” Mr. Crampton said. “That major investment that we made is still paying off. It comes and goes during the summer and the winter, but it does come back, and it does benefit.”
Mr. Fried said that a brochure Mr. Crampton sent out early in the campaign said the pension solution is to continue to pay the $5.4 million each year.

“Now, you’re saying there are other solutions,” Mr. Fried said. “In November of last year, Lew said that undergrounding should have a Plan B. Now he’s in favor? I really don’t know.”

Ned Barnes, president of the Civic Association, asked both candidates, “Why should voters choose you and not your opponent?

Mr. Fried: “It boils down to, ‘who do you trust?’ I’ve been told all my life that developing trust amongst people is a critical thing. People, who know me well, know that I’m a straight shooter. I’m not a politician. I’m not going to tell people one thing one day and something else the next. I’m going to analyze and use the capabilities I have as a well-trained lawyer to build consensus and make sensible decisions. I’m not going to be an either/or type of person. I’m going to understand the issues. I’ll tell you what I think and substantiate the issues.”

Mr. Crampton: “My campaign slogan is ‘Respect Tradition. Manage Change.’ And that is the challenge to all of us in this town. You can’t come in and think you’re going to turn things around. You have to realize what came before, and I do. I’ve displayed to you that I have abilities to cope with changing situations and get the job done. I would like to have this job, but I need your vote to secure it. If you think I’m the right person to do a great job for you, I want your vote. And I want you to come to me afterward and tell me if I’m doing well or not. You’ll find I’m a good listener and an effective doer. Those are two key attributes for this position.”


Photos by Capehart

 

Civc Association Community Election Forum


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