Mary Lindsey on the Resource Center
Date: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 @ 06:41:42 EST
Topic: Opinion


Candidate Mary Lindsey on the Resource Center

Illegals demonstrating

The editors of the Palm Beach Post published their endorsement of the proposed Day Labor Center on September 1st. This is my response which did not appear in the paper. The Commission will meet tonight, Sept. 2 at 6 pm to vote on the matter. Please attend and make your feelings about this important issue known.

Re: lead editorial, "Don't blame Lake Worth, Labor center is solution for immigrant workers"

Your editorial position - "that Lake Worth should do what Jupiter and Loxahatchee Groves have done: Provide a safe place for day laborers to meet people who want to hire them" overlooks the simple fact that the proposal before our Commission is vastly different than what was implemented by our neighbors to the north and west.

Neither of those cities proposed to vacate 65 percent of the only city-owned recreation facility available for more than 200 city blocks. Both of those cities worked hard to line up non-profit organizations with the interest and financing in place to operate their centers. Each of those cities made considerable effort to hear and answer neighboring residents concerns. And finally, the Residents of Jupiter and Loxahatchee Groves enjoy millage rates of 2.5 percent and 1.5 percent respectively, as opposed to Lake Worth tax payers who labor under a millage burden of 7.3 percent.

Lake Worth Residents are facing severe cuts in sanitation services, drastic reductions in life saving operations at our beach, the elimination of 33% of our fire/rescue fleet and the further delay of necessary capital improvement projects in our electric, water and sewer systems. Unpaved city streets will remain unpaved yet another year. As Lake Worth approaches its' Centennial, even our City Museum is threatened with closure. Lake Worth just signed a contract with Palm Beach County Sheriff's office to provide police services primarily because of our inability to fund Police pension obligations and our inability to recruit or retain additional officers.

The pool of documented City of Lake Worth employees was diminished last year by 42 positions and faces even more lay-offs, terminations, and job eliminations this year, further reducing the services Lake Worth taxpayers will receive from our City. None of these hardworking, underpaid city employees enjoyed the benefit of new job placement or re-training to assist them and their families. Free services to assist and assimilate Lake Worth's undocumented non-citizens are currently provided in another city owned building right across the street from the proposed day labor/resource center. If any shared use should be considered, perhaps our officials should think about locating our Code Enforcement offices there in the heart of the city's blight and chronic code violations instead of paying market rent to house Code Enforcement off city property.

The only traffic hazard along Lake and Lucerne Avenue is the lack of vehicles coming to work or shop in our downtown and the harassment of those few who make the attempt. Forty-two percent of our retail space is vacant and no one is beating down the doors to our building department for permits or new business licenses. The number of free lance job seekers has diminished as our local landscape and construction industry struggles to survive. The number of thugs and thieves who prey on the undocumented has increased, attracting a new dangerous element of concern for the few home-owners left in surrounding neighborhoods.

The consortium of non-profits solicited by Commissioner Jennings to run the center has failed to materialize a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the specific responsibilities each will provide. Funding for operations of the center remains elusive and no financial statements from any of the proposed service providers has been forthcoming despite repeated requests. Furthermore, supporters of the proposal have dismissed legitimate questions about the center financing with charges of racism and "white middle class nativism, vigilantism and bigotry."

Lake Worth would do well to emulate the officials of Jupiter and Loxahatchee Groves by first addressing one of the highest millage rates in Palm Beach County, offering essential city services that measure up to that rate before they squander limited city resources on social services that benefit the minority at the considerable expense of the majority.

Mary Lindsey, Candidate for Commissioner District 2
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Mary Lindsey for Commissioner District 2





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