Time to talk about POLITICS! I wrote this for my newsletter, it is a bit of a rant and I understand that it doesn’t paint the full picture, but nobody is talking about this so I feel it’s important to put it out there. I hope in the future to write more about this, if you have any questions or comments, you know how to find me.
Have you ever looked at the condition of the road outside your house and thought to yourself “Maybe I should run for a seat in City government”. Guess what? This is your chance.
In March of 2019 the City of West Palm Beach votes for a new Mayor and three commission seats. The deadline to file with the City Clerk is Tuesday, January 8th.
Here is how it works: In West Palm Beach we have five commission districts and City Commissioners have two year terms. On the odd years Commissioners from districts 2 and 4 are elected, and on the even years Commissioners from districts 1, 3 and 5 are elected. 2019 is an odd year, so District 2 and District 4 are up for re-election. Because Commissioner Paula Ryan is running for Mayor the downtown district (District 3) is up for re-election.
They say “all politics are local” and the job of the City Commission is hugely important: setting the policy that will determine the future of the City of West Palm Beach. It’s a part-time job and pays $35,000/year.
Commissioners are voted on by everyone in the city (not just those in their district) and they vote on decisions that affect everyone in the city. So even if your district is not up for re-election, whoever becomes commissioner for the other districts will be making decisions that directly affect you and your district.
Here is a sad fact about our local politics. More often than not City Commission elections are not contested. This means that only one person is running and they automatically are elected and won’t even appear on the ballot on Election Day.
Question: When was the last time we had an contested election in District 3 (Downtown)? Answer: 2008
Let that settle in… you go on facebook, and see people truly concerned about the issues downtown and the plight of our northwest historic neighborhood. For the last 10 years nobody has stepped up and said “I am going to challenge how things are being done” and thrown their hat into the ring.
Thankfully, this year it looks like we will have a race for our Downtown (District 3) commission seat. But as it stands now, districts 2 and 4 will go uncontested.
People are always encouraging you to “Get Out & VOTE!”, but if you live in a district which won’t have an election because only one person is running, then if you want to see change come to your neighborhood don’t sit on the sidelines of democracy! Get Out and Run for City Commission!
To be clear, I’m not throwing shade at our commissioners. They have my full respect. It is often a thankless job, they stepped up to do the job. What I’m saying is that in the City of West Palm Beach we should have more people (YOU) who want to join our city commission, bring new ideas and vision to the table, and have an active role in how our great City is governed.
We should never have an uncontested election in West Palm Beach.
Don’t get me wrong, as soon as you show interest people will give you many reasons why you shouldn’t run. It takes too much time, it’s too expensive, nobody votes in municipal elections, politics are too dirty, you have no experience.
First off, nobody has more experience than you when they get started. Secondly, the only reason why West Palm Beach politics are dirty/expensive and nobody votes, is because we have so few people who are willing to run! An active democracy, bringing new people and new ideas into City Hall will solve so many of the issues that we’re seeing today.
So… If you care deeply about your community, if you have a vision for what you want for the City of West Palm Beach, if you have friends and neighbors who will support you, if you are willing to spend your evenings and weekends knocking on doors and spreading your ideas, then you should run for City Commission.
If you live in districts 2, 3 & 4 you have until noon January 8th to qualify for the March election. If you’re in districts 1 & 5 you have a whole year to think about it 🙂
If you’re even considering it, stop by City Hall and talk to the City Clerk and they will walk you through everything you need to do to get started.
Here it is! The ultimate list of New Years Eve events in Downtown West Palm Beach. Please call any venue you want to go to and make reservations.
There will be no Fireworks on the waterfront this year – Sandi, our 600 ton sand tree will be lit up with it’s unique holiday light show until midnight.
If I missed your party, or you need me to update something please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or text me at 561 809 8507
Share and tell your friends.
New Years Eve 2019 on the 500 Block
5 VENUES • ONE PRICE Hullabaloo, Kapow, Respectable Street, Lost Weekend & Voltaire! WE ALWAYS MAKE NEW YEARS EVE EASY!
No Velvet Ropes.
No Fancy Pants stuff.
Just us ringing in the New Year together!
We have a couple of options on New Year’s Eve to accommodate everyone’s plans!
$45 WELL Open Bar – Good at Hullabaloo, Kapow, Lost Weekend, Voltaire & Respectable’s.
$65 PREMIUM Open Bar – Good at Hullabaloo, Kapow, Lost Weekend, Voltaire & Respectable’s.
Just show up and pay a la carte! a/k/a “Pay as you go”; Buying a package is NOT required at all!
NO COVER charge at Hullabaloo, Kapow or Lost Weekend.
There is a separate COVER CHARGE at Voltaire & Respectable’s for their entertainment (live music & DJ’s) and can be purchased on their respective event pages.
See… No strings. Simple. Easy enough for even me to figure out and I’m just an Facebook page!
FINE PRINT: Open Bar is from 10pm – 2am Pre-sale ticket sales END at 4pm on 12/31 Gratuity is NOT included Purchasing a package is NOT required. You can also pay a cover at RSC and Voltaire and pay for drinks as you go!
Countdown to 2019 at Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar. Pop a bottle of Veuve Clicquot specially priced at $70 per bottle as the ball drops or toast to the New Year with one of Rocco’s Tacos signature margaritas. Open until 2 A.M., Rocco’s Tacos is the perfect spot to celebrate and dine on the last night of 2018. Featuring the restaurant’s signature authentic Mexican menu, guests may dine a la carte including Gaucho Platter and Seasfood Mocajete, a variety of tacos (perfect for everyone from meat-eaters to vegans) and guacamole prepared tableside. Soak in Rocco’s fun-loving atmosphere, and say salud to 2019.
+Complimentary Party Favors +Complimentary Tequila Toast at Midnight +Veuve – $70
We’re kicking off 2019 in style. Join us in your snazziest attire for a $45 10PM-1AM open bar. We’ll have our DJ spinning tunes, an a la carte dinner menu and food specials, an optional rare whiskey flight (including Pappy Van Winkle), plus a complimentary champagne toast!
We’ve worked hard and can’t wait to celebrate with you. Here’s to 2019 and many more years of good eating and drinking.
Banko Cantina New Years Eve Celebration – Complimentary Champagne Toast at Midnight
$20 General Admission Before 11 PM
$60 VIP Premium Open Bar From 8 PM – 10 PM
One (Liter) Tito’s Vodka & Two Bottles of Champagne – $650 One (Liter) Tito’s Vodka Liter & One Veuve Clicquot Champagne – $700 One Magnum Belvedere Vodka & One Magnum Veuve Clicquot Champagne – $960 Two Bottles of Tito’s Vodka (Liter) & One Dom Perignon Champagne – $1,150
6 Guests Maximum with Table Reservation Minimum. Additional Guests will have to purchase Tickets.
Dinner Package Available for 4 People – Preset Dinner Family Style Meal – Includes One Bottle Of Champagne for $260 –
Tax & Gratuity Included
114 SOUTH OLIVE AVE WEST PALM BEACH 33401 | FOR MORE INFO OR TABLE RESERVATION CALL 561-255-9380 OR 561-355-1399
Celebrate New Years Eve in style with all of your closest friends at The Pawn Shop West Palm Beach, general admission is only $25 which includes no line VIP entrance and a champagne toast at midnight, party favors included for every guest. In addition, we have a $50 premium open bar option from 9pm-12am which allows you to enjoy top shelf liquor and no line VIP entrance access. For table reservations call 561-833-6500 to secure a prime location for you to celebrate the New Year, tables are selling out quickly so please contact us so that we can make your reservation today.
Join us this New Year’s Eve for a celebration at The Butcher Shop!
$65 per person includes:
• Open Bar beginning at 8:30PM
• Bites of our famous dishes including, but not limited to: Hand-Made Sausages, Pierogies and Pretzels
• Chandon Champagne toast at Midnight
• DJ Friendly
We will be live streaming the ball drop from NYC’s Times Square and celebrating the entire night.
Are you a teenager with an idea for how you can make an impact within your community? Beginning August 1st, 2018 students who live in Palm Beach County or who are enrolled in 8th-12th grade within the county, can apply to become Finalists for the 4th year of the Philanthropy Tank program.
Philanthropy Tank fuels and inspires Palm Beach County’s next generation of change leaders. The program challenges, empowers and equips them to develop and execute sustainable initiatives and solutions to these problems. Philanthropist-Investors fund student initiatives, investing in their community projects. Through one-to-one mentoring, philanthropist-investors also fuel students’ desire, helping them execute initiatives while increasing their ability to make meaningful change.
Students are making an impact in the health & human services, education & youth development, women & girls and community development sectors. The fundamental aims of Philanthropy Tank are to help shape students’ leadership paths and, through their creative solutions, address and improve social issues in our community. To date, Philanthropy Tank has:
Generated more than $300,000 in grants for 57 student entrepreneurs for 26 projects
Inspired more than 500 students to get in clubs that support Philanthropy Tank programs
Impacted more than 200,000 people in our community.
Last year’s Finalists included projects focusing on literacy, clothing and food distribution for those in need, music promotion and computer programming classes for kids, among others.
A total of $100,000 of project funding was awarded. Applications for year 4 of the program open on August 1st and will close on November 4th.
I have never arrived in Ft. Lauderdale (or Miami) in a good mood. I95 has a way of sucking all the energy out of you. So when I was invited by the team at VisitLauderdale to do some sightseeing I jumped at the opportunity.
Of course, I tweeted the whole way in one epic thread.
I would like to say that the 43-minute train trip was uneventful, except that sitting in the chair behind me was the former US Ambassador to Hungary and founder of the Susan G. Komen foundation, Nancy Brinker. I introduced myself and she was incredibly gracious, and LOVED the Brightline, said she “wouldn’t travel any other way“. We chatted for a couple minutes and took a picture and before we knew it, we had arrived in Ft. Lauderdale.
We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale and jumped on the SunTrolley, a low-stress hop-on, hop-off transit system that links up Ft. Lauderdale. Grab the app, find a trolley on one of the 7 lines, wave for it to stop, pay $1/trip or $3 for the day and you’re off. We headed to Las Olas.
First official stop of the day was Louie Bossi, the Italian destination restaurant. Meatballs, pasta, pizza, craft cocktails, freshly brewed beers and desserts, with beautiful indoor seating and a piazza to enjoy in the back. The place was packed.
To work off some of these calories we jumped on the CycleParty and took a tour of historic old Ft. Lauderdale. The CycleParty is a 15-seat human-pedaled party bike. You can enjoy them in West Palm Beach as well as Wynwood and other locations. As we peddled around we heard the stories of the original settlers, drove by the Historic Stranahan House Museum, and saw the New River. We also made a pitstop at the Royal Pig pub.
Having taken a train, trolley, and CycleParty, it was time for the water-taxi part of our adventure. This was provided by the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi. A day-pass is $28, happy hour (after 5) is $18 (with 2 for 1 drinks), and you can get a month pass for $49. Sounds like a deal to me.
Next stop was a short walk from where we disembarked from the water taxi. We enjoyed the Rooftop of Township. Perfect view for seeing all the impressive development that is happening in this area of Ft. Lauderdale. We went downstairs for some pretzels and beer cheese. So good.
Back on the trolley (it’s about 5pm at this point) for a quick visit to FAT Village to check out their ART Walk.
FAT Village bills itself as “Downtown Fort Lauderdale’s creative enclave” and their monthly ART Walk includes “Open Galleries showcasing new art exhibits, local artists and artisans selling gifts and goods, and a variety of food and entertainment.” It reminds me of Wynwood 7 or 8 years ago, before everyone discovered it. Very cool!
By this time we were exhausted and hopped back on the trolley to catch the 7:45 back to West Palm Beach. I was too tired to notice any celebrities on the train, but I did bump into some of neighbors who live a street away from us in the South End of West Palm Beach. We pulled back into our home station right on time at 8:25.
Here are some notes:
Downtown Ft. Lauderdale is surprisingly walkable. We took various modes of transportation, but a similar trip could have very easily been accomplished on foot. An alternative to doing the entire trip on foot is to plan your trip so that you walk on the way out, then uber back to the station at the end. You don’t want to miss your train.
The Brightline connects South Florida culturally. We have so much going on in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, that people who aren’t exposed to them have no idea are going on. Arts, history, architecture, music. Having our downtown linked through Brightline provides easy access to all of this, and will help grow the smaller/underground arts and culture scene throughout South Florida.
Brightline is for everyone. On the way there we traveled with Palm Beach royalty, and the way back we traveled with young families. People like to push back on alternative transportation saying things like “why take a train when our cars work just fine”. If the number of people coming in and out of the station on a Saturday morning is an indication of the acceptance of this new(ish) form of South Florida transportation I’d say we’re on the right track.
Finally, I have talked a lot of crap about Miami and Ft. Lauderdale over the years. It turns out that I just really don’t like I95. The cities themselves aren’t that bad, I just need a Carefree / Carfree way of getting there.. Also I’ve got to do some sort of juice cleanse because I ate waay too much over the weekend. Send suggestions to email@example.com.
Matt is Auditioning for the coveted position as the Brightline Mascot
Head on over to Dramaworks on the 200 block of Clematis Street before August 5th and enjoy the ensemble cast perform Woody Guthrie’s American Song. Every word written by the folk singer and champion of social justice Woody Guthrie.
Each of the actors play multiple instruments, often playing more than one instrument at the same time, and are backed up by the hugely talented and local Lubben Brothers.
The performance and casting of the Lubben Brothers was so spectacular that SouthFlorida.com wrote “In the 20 years that ‘Woody Guthrie’s American Song’ has been performed, it is hard to imagine a more perfect union than the one formed onstage between the words and music of the iconic dreamer and the remarkable musicianship and humble idealism of West Palm Beach’s Lubben Brothers.”
Lubben Brothers playing at the West Palm Beach Brewery
The reviews are in and the show is a MUST SEE.
Palm Beach Daily News writes:“If you’re a fan of 20th century protest troubadour Woody Guthrie you’re bound to love Palm Beach Dramaworks’ production of Woody Guthrie’s American Song. But even if you’re not, this high-energy show is likely to charm you.”
Even West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio got a review in on her facebook page: “Last night we saw Woody Guthrie’s American Song at Dramaworks. What an amazing show. The musicians were incredibly talented and the songs as relevant today as they were in the 30’s and 40’s.”
Get Out South Florida writes: “I cried at the end when the entire cast sang ‘This Land is Your Land’….more timely than ever. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is some bluegrass or country music show. Woody Guthrie’s American Song is about the America we all love…and a fitting end to an incredible season at Palm Beach Dramaworks.”
Palm’s West Monthly’s Robert Hagelstein rounds it up nicely in his great review. “The simplicity and the beauty of the music evoke those of gospel songs and hymns. It is astounding what Guthrie could do musically with just a few chords, songs sometimes just a variation on the others. His heart-rending words take flight in this production.”
The City’s certified taxable property values increased $879 million, or 7.98%, to reach $11,894,514,378
New construction projects added to the tax roll amounted to $89.5 million.
Maintained millage rate at 8.3465 mills levied on every $1,000 in taxable property value.
Fire Department increased $4.4 million due to one new position, employee raises, increased pension costs, and costs for sixteen Firefighters no longer funded through grants, and overtime for events offset by revenue.
Police Department increased $0.2 million due to employee raises, lease payments on police vehicles, and costs for ten Police Officers no longer funded by a grant. The increases were offset by a reduction of expenditures due to twenty fewer mandatory retirement payouts.
Mayor’s Office increased $1.4 million due to two new positions, employee raises, a student intern program, strategic initiatives, and economic development to support job creation and emphasize business expansion and retention.
Parks and Recreation increased $1.1 million due to four new positions, employee raises, Youth Empowerment Center programs, capital funding for a new bus, two dump trucks, five new vehicles and a boat dock downtown for use by Police and Fire departments.
Public Works increased $0.8 million due to additional Heavy Equipment leases, offset by $0.4 million additional revenue from garbage, recycling and hauling fees.
General Government decreased $(2.9) million due to a reduction of $(4) million in transfers for capital projects, reduction of $(2) million for contingency funding, $(1.6) million reduction for Fire Chapter 175 pension contribution, and increases of $1.1 million for a one-time contribution to the City’s self insurance fund for estimated costs of claims. An increase of $3.5 million for Police Pension Bond 2016A Principal and Interest, $0.5 million increase for Capital Bond payments were also included.
The City utilized a $2.5 million carryover from FY 2017 to balance FY 2018.
A net of thirty-six new Full-Time Equivalent (FTE’s) positions were added to the General Fund bringing the total General Fund employees to 1,100.