Observer Corps- April Monthly Reports

by Katie Gettinger

The purpose of the Observer Corps is two-fold:

  • to observe public meetings and report important issues to the LWV
  • to be seen by elected officials because “We matter and we are watching you.”

So many decisions that impact our day-to-day lives are made at the local level.  And while the newspaper reports the highlights, and the TV news reports on these stories (if they have interesting video to show), some of us need more!  If you like going to public meetings, consider joining our group. We are the “boots on the ground.” We go to public meetings and then discuss what we saw.  It is so interesting to compare notes – and this month’s meeting was very interesting. A comparison was made of Legislative Wrap-Up reports by a couple of representatives, and the differences were comical.  Join us for our next meeting, May 24th, 1:00 pm at the Compass Center in Lake Worth.

 

Delray was reported on by Andrea Weiss.

After Publix’s proposal to receive land and then someday build a store in an area of Delray that needs development was rejected by the CRA, the newly elected city commission disbanded the CRA board and will assume their tasks.  No plan was given as to how they will do that.

 

The Lake Worth City Commissioners Meeting was reported on by Claire Miller.

“Greenways,” are abandoned alleys and roads that will be planted with vegetation to clean them up a bit.

Lori Berman gave a legislative wrap-up of the latest Florida House of Representatives session.  She spoke about how $150 million was allocated for charter school repairs, and $15 million was allocated for public schools.

Palm Beach County voted not to arm teachers.

Car sales taxes can now go to charter schools.

 

West Palm Beach was reported on by Paul Goldberg.

Not much was of interest to the LWV.  A Fair Housing plan was filed, in case some money comes back to the Sadowski fund, but it isn’t likely.

 

Palm Beach Gardens City Council Meeting was reported on by Katie Gettinger.

FL House Representative Rick Roth presented a legislative wrap-up.  He said there was much deliberation about the impacts of hurricane Irma, and budget deliberations were about to start when the shooting in Parkland happened.  He also spoke about bills that the city asked for that he sponsored. He was able to secure $250,000 for a stormwater program, but $750,000 to harden city hall was vetoed.

There was an award presentation to a couple of ladies who saved a woman using the Pulse Point App, which sends out an alarm when 9-1-1 is called.  People who have had CPR training who happen to be in the area of an emergency are alerted that someone nearby needs CPR. A woman got such an alert and was able to perform CPR at the business next door until paramedics arrived.

 

As an aside, Nancy Ballen let us know about her work with the voter registration committee.  She has been going to high schools in her area and registering students to vote.  Thank you!

 

Cindy Sheehan Hartwell reported on the School Board Meeting.

There was a presentation on a report by an expert on school safety that recommends a sensor at schools that has a fairly low cost.

Office Depot is giving thousands of dollars worth of school supplies to needy students.

PBC school board member Karen Brill wants everyone to know how many people don’t know about the Holocaust.

Students in the area were polled and the result was that they would rather meet with school administrators about safety than walk off campus for demonstrations urging school safety.

 

Sammy Alzofon provided an update on Housing.

The Housing Task Force’s county-wide final report is due at the end of June.  Additionally, the LWV’s issue group on housing is putting together a presentation with the Speaker’s Bureau, that will be available soon.  If anyone would like to request this presentation in their area, please contact the Speaker’s Bureau to schedule an event.