Observer Corps- October 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.”

 

Meetings are open to everyone and are generally held the last Thursday of the month at 1:00 pm at the Compass Center in Lake Worth.

 

If you don’t see your area listed, please consider reporting on your meeting for the Observer Corps.

 

Patty Whitehill let us know about some turnover in Delray Beach.

  • The Mayor is not seeking re-election.
  • Two commissioners will be running for mayor.
  • The City Manager position is also turning over.

 

Jupiter Town Council Meeting was reported on by Katie Gettinger.

  • Health insurance for town employees was reviewed, and after learning that the town is spending more than budgeted on healthcare, the council voted to have the employees start paying co-pays and deductibles.
  • Body camera pros and cons were discussed, including that it takes time to find footage for freedom of information requests, there are storage and technology issues, and if a tazer is activated, every camera in a 30’ radius turns on automatically.
  • Jupiter High School was briefly discussed.  It is at 114% capacity.

 

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

 

  • Crime is down 13.7%.  And 50% of housing units in Lake Worth are rentals.  Thirty to forty cameras will be set up around town.

 

  • There was a long presentation on a comprehensive plan for the canal that goes east to west in the area.  There was some talk about a boat lift – who will pay for it, and who will be responsible for maintenance and security.
  • Jeff Clemens spoke about a bill he was working on to address sea level rise.
  • The city is working on guidelines for architectural preservation.

 

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

  • The charter review committee presented their recommendations for changes to the charter.  The council voted to make each change it’s own item on the ballot, which will be voted on in March 2018.  One proposed change would increase council positions being term-limited to two terms that last three years to three terms that last three years.  Another change would let former council members who have been off the council for a term (3 years) to run again.  Finally, instead of needing to get 50% + 1 of the vote, candidates can win just be getting more votes than anyone else in their race.
  • Approved the second reading of a medical marijuana dispensary ban in the city.

 

Palm Beach County Commissioners Meeting was reported on by Joyce Smookler, Patty Whitehill, and Barbra Katz:

  • The commissioners were given an Irma update.
  • The Max Planck Institute is paying off, as PhD’s are migrating to the area, according to a comment from the public.
  • Another comment from the public came from a citizen worried about a state of emergency pending due to Puerto Ricans migrating to this area after Hurricane Maria.

 

The School Board meeting was reported on by Cindy Sheehan-Hartwell and Vivian Koppelfeld.

  • A settlement was approved for students who were molested, to the tune of $3.5 million.
  • PBC schools qualified for a “Schools of Hope” grant award, which will be used for “wrap around” services, like mental health and counseling services for students.
  • School board member Dr. Robinson recommended that Nelson Mandela’s book, “A long walk to freedom,” be required reading as part of black history curriculum.
  • The Showcase of schools had been held the night before this meeting, so much of the discussion centered on how happy everyone was at the success of the event.
  • A proposal to omit physical education during testing times was not approved.

 

Sami Alzofon gave us an update on the meetings of the housing task force.  The group will focus first on organization.  The focus will then shift toward working on the May 31, 2018 housing summit agenda.  Finally, the group would like to ask that housing become a LWV issue.

 

The next Observer Corps meeting will be Thursday, November 30th, at 1 p.m., at the Compass Community Center, 201 Dixie Highway, Lake Worth.