Observer Corps March Reports

By Joyce Smookler and Carol Stender, CoChairs

Observer Corps

Observer Corps members (left to right) Carol Stender, Arlene Ustin, Nancy Ballen, Joyce Smookler, and Patty Whitehill pause for a photo op before observing the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners meeting.


The Observer Corps continues to monitor  meetings throughout the county.  Our ranks have grown to a healthy size, but the need for Observers is never satisfied. A few members have stepped up to coordinate coverage of some cities.  Clare Miller has agreed to coordinate coverage of Lake Worth, Sheila Jaffe will coordinate Boca Raton, and Cindy Sheehan-Hartwell will coordinate the city of West Palm Beach.

Two League members received recognition at the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners Meeting in March.

  • Debra Chandler was appointed to the Citizens Oversight Committee.
  • Karen Wilkerson was recognized twice. Once for her efforts with the Palm Beach County Ethics Committee and, then again, for Women’s Month.


Reports from March Meetings

School Board

No Report


  • An Environmental Issue came up in regards to a group called PACE, which is a funding program for home improvements to make homes more energy efficient, including heating, air conditioning, windows, and solar panels. Instead of a loan the monies would be refunded through the homeowners’ tax bill at 8 ½ %. Commissioners were concerned about the vetting of those qualifying for the program, which is designed to primarily serve a higher-risk socio-economic group. There would be a distinct possibility of losing one’s home through this program AND in the case of bankruptcy, the tax bill would be paid first.  Therefore, PACE providers would risk nothing.  ALL the risk would be taken on by the homeowner and the county. Lots of concerns were expressed.
    • Diedre McNab from LWVFL has been notified of this issue.
    • More discussion will be on the agenda at the April 4th PBCBCC meeting.

City of Boynton Beach

  • Commissioners are working with a concerned citizen to acquire and maintain mangroves along the intracoastal adjacent to a new riverwalk area.
  • Rezoning ordinances passed to allow for Multi-Use High Intensity structures to be developed at Ocean One. Concerns were brought up about parking problems.

Boca Raton

No Report


  • Discussions continued on the problems of Sober Homes
  • Western parts of the city have been underserved and the need to address infrastructure problems increases


  • A question of non-partisan rules regarding publications was brought up.
  • Concern was expressed about two bills that will allow Walmart and other companies to sell liquor amongst other groceries. Council will monitor the law.
  • Council is concerned that costs incurred due to the Florida High Speed Rail Safety Act NOT become Jupiter’s responsibility, but should be paid by the rail companies.

Lake Worth

  • City laid out the time table for road improvements. The bond to pay for improvements to roads was authorized in November, but will not be finalized until all design and engineering is completed.
  • Moratorium on medical marijuana sales until clearer guidelines are set by the state.