Monday, August 3, 2015

[PINNED POST] Wise words from City Manager Michael Bornstein from City work session on 7/30/15 vis-à-vis ITN process and beyond

[Proceed to the 2:00 mark in the video below for Bornstein's wise words.]

Watch and listen to this short video from the meeting on the ITN/Casino complex proposals. I hope this can serve as a wake-up call:
"Somehow just asking the question is taboo and I think that's what I keep hearing from people. Don't ask the question what is possible in this city. Don't ask the question about what is possible, be it the beach, be it the road infrastructure. . ."—City Manager Michael Bornstein

Sunday, August 2, 2015

François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire), 1694–1778, writer, historian, and philosopher known for his wit:

"I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it."
Click here for more information on Voltaire.

Former Lake Worth Comm. Suzanne Mulvehill and her PAC wins big: opens door for selling Ag Reserve land to developers

Then-Commissioner Mulvehill (seated, center) with gathered friends and supporters at her last commission meeting in November 2012. Former Commissioner Cara Jennings was there (back row, left side with Annabeth Karson and JoAnn Golden) and present Commissioner Chris McVoy (beaming man in white shirt).
Below is a photoshop by Tom McGow of Mulvehill in May, 2010:
This is a classic photoshop of Suzanne Mulvehill by Tom McGow in May, 2010. Back then she was a strident environmentalist and proponent of community gardens in Lake Worth. 
It's hard to believe that former Lake Worth Commissioner Suzanne Mulvehill, the champion of resiliency, sustainability, anti-development, etc. while a city commissioner in Lake Worth is now Chair of the Forced to Farm PAC that is organized to sell off land in the Ag Reserve. It's news like this that makes my head hurt.

Drew Martin and the Sierra Club, from the looks of it thus far, are one of the big losers in this battle. (Wayne Washington at the Post has this article on the subject.)
Here is the Forced to Farm website. When you go through the site you learn there are many misconceptions about the Ag Reserve, like this one:
You might remember Suzanne Mulvehill from when she worked to "save" the Lake Worth Casino building which was 94% demolished.

Tri-Rail adds its first bike car and a SkyBike spotted in Lake Worth

Click title for link to a Sun-Sentinel article about the addition of a 14 bike train car to the Tri-Rail fleet. While there is just one car now, more are expected and eventually will expand to when every fourth car in a train will be a designated bike car. There will be passenger seating in the cars as well. This is very exciting as it greatly improves bike accessibility. Combining biking and Tri-Rail trips is already popular. 

Check out this part of the article:
     Until now, passengers bringing bikes on board have had access to only two bicycle straps per car. But at times there have been as many as 41 bikes on a single train, making it difficult for passengers to manuever at rush hour.
     "Bike racks have become a necessary amenity," said Tri-Rail spokeswoman Bonnie Arnold.
     Some passengers use the bikes at either the start or final leg of their commute, while others are leisure riders using the combination of the train and bike to explore South Florida. Bikes are especially popular with students who ride Tri-Rail to Boca Raton, then bike a short distance across Interstate 95 to Florida Atlantic University.
And in other bike-related news, I saw a West Palm Beach SkyBike at the Lake Worth Beach yesterday. So, those bikes are getting around and it is not even tourist season. Something to think about.

[PINNED POST] The Obtuse Blogger (TOB) at the podium in Lake Worth City Commission meeting, 7/30/2015

Proceed to watch TOB in action below, to the music "Flight of the Bumble Bee".

Kudos to Fox29/WFLX and reporter Chris Stewart

Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news

Reporter Chris Stewart deserves kudos for getting the story right vis-à-vis the recent PBSO shooting by a deputy in suburban Lake Worth. And Angela Rozier at ABC25/WPBF also deserves kudos for correcting the original version of her segment which gave the location as "Lake Worth". It was changed to "near Lake Worth".

Note that the shooting was also near Atlantis, Greenacres, Palm Springs, and other municipalities but we'll take what we can get.

West Palm Beach "SkyBike" Ad on YouTube

Playlist of all video segments from the City Commission work session on the ITN proposals related to the Casino building

These go as far as the battery in the camera lasted, which was until about 9 o'clock. It is missing two or three of the last public comments and responses, and then the summary comments from the City Commission.

The city's video is up where you can see the end portion of the meeting.

What the city of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho can teach the little City of Lake Worth (and FDOT too)

Coeur d'Alene is larger than the City of Lake Worth. It's almost 3 times the size in land area and a population of 46,000. They have a very active 'complete streets' community trying to make the city more walkable and bikeable. They also have a similar problem Lake Worth has, namely a major street that separates the town and makes it very hard for people to cross. As I've noted before, Dixie Hwy functions more as a wall than a road for many in the City.

Motorists in the country have become accustomed to wide lanes, typically the 12' standard, which is fine for highways and turnpikes but completely unnecessary in (or through) a city downtown. The dilemma in Coeur d'Alene was how to add a bike lane to Sherman Ave, their main thoroughfare.

Chris Danley, of Vitruvian Planning of Boise, showed how with some simple chalk:
     Danley explained how the standard width of traffic lanes in usually 9 to 12 feet wide, but he illustrated that no more than 10 feet is needed per lane. He measured out 10 feet in a lane that was about 13 to 14 feet wide.
     A delivery truck approached the intersection right after that and fit comfortably within Danley's chalk lines.
     "People are already using just 10 feet of the lane," he said. "The wider you build them the faster they will go and use it all up."
He did that to illustrate there is enough room on Sherman Avenue to add bicycle lanes.
[emphasis added]
     Kelly, who is also a Coeur d'Alene Police officer, said that is important to the city of Coeur d'Alene because it has adopted a complete streets policy that requires all new road construction to take all users into account, such as bikes, pedestrians and mass transit, as well as automobiles.
You can read the entire article about Coeur d'Alene and their complete streets effort here.

The beginning of public comment from the ITN meeting (7/30/15)

The public comment begins and it is more interactive during this meeting than the typical City Commission meeting. Those commenting could ask questions and either the Commission or the respondents responded to most of them. In an odd comparison, Richard Stowe brought of a piece of forgotten history, at least for me, that dealt with the possible location of United Nations headquarters in Greenwich, Connecticut, rather than its ultimate location in New York City on the East River. He drew a parallel to what is proposed at our beach as an example of a community not wanting what someone else had decided for it. You can read about some of that history here.

Anderson and Carr's presentation from Thursday night (7/30/15)—Second floor restaurant, deli and ballroom management

This addresses the still vacant restaurant space on the second floor and a deli at the top of the stairs. The two would use the same kitchen. The proposal also includes management of the ballroom space.

[UPDATE] Palm Beach Post editorial board goes bananas; reader responds with Letter to Editor

[UPDATE: And another positive Letter to the Editor published about PBSO and Sheriff Bradshaw in the Post. Is Bradshaw's appeal to "be unsilent" resonating with the public? Read excerpt of letter at end of this post.]

First some background: Sheriff Bradshaw was unable to attend this year's PBA Annual Police Officer’s Ball so he uploaded a video for them. He made frank comments about what he thinks is feckless news reporting by NBC5/WPTV and The Palm Beach Post vis-à-vis the LINE OF FIRE: BULLETS, BADGES AND DEATH ON THE STREET!!! You can watch that video here

On Wednesday (7/29) the Post published an editorial which seemed more visceral than substantive about the video. Take for example the opening two paragraphs:
     Sheriff Ric Bradshaw seems to have found his inner Anger Translator.
     Videotaping a greeting to a recent gala of the Police Benevolent Association, Palm Beach County’s top law-enforcement officer let fly with a venting of spleen worthy of comic team Key & Peele’s “Luther” — the hot-headed alter ego of the cool, politically restrained President Barack Obama.
The next day the Post published a Letter to the Editor from Dave Matthews of Lake Worth putting everything in perspective. Mr. Matthews was a lieutenant in the disbanded Lake Worth PD at the time of the 2008 merge with PBSO.

Here is the letter from Mr. Matthew's titled, "Only the bad guys run from police":

     Yes, we are the ones with lights and sirens, speeding at the risk of our own lives, to a shooting between rival gang members, to bring it to an end before another criminal gets murdered. (We protect criminals, too.) [emphasis added]
     Yet some people think that we should wait to see what Mr. Bad Guy is pulling out of his pocket or waistband — right after we told him to “Stop moving and show me your hands!” while I’m pointing my .40-caliber Glock at him. No ordinary law-abiding citizen with any sense would make a move like that against a person who makes his or her living carrying a gun in the first place. The only people who do that are bad guys.
     Bad guys are easily identified when we police officers start to approach a citizen who’s standing on a corner, doing apparently nothing, in a high-crime area; when he looks directly at us and recognizes us as the police, because of those uniforms we wear, along with that badge on our chest and that car with “Police” on it; and then runs.
     That, folks, is a bad guy, and that’s why the police run after him. It’s our job to find out why he ran.
     And if, in the process, he grabs for an object from his pocket or waistband when we catch up to him, you’re telling me I should wait to see what it is before I shoot, after I just told him, “Let me see your hands!”? The saying goes, “I’d rather be judged by 12 than buried by six.”

On an entirely different topic, Lawrence Mower at The Palm Beach Post had something nice to say about PBSO on Twitter recently:
UPDATE: Here is Priscilla Dodge's letter that appeared in the Post on 8/1:

Hats off to Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw for standing up to critics of his agency and his deputies’ handling of deadly police encounters. Without the support of the public, the media and our elected officials, the situation turns into what we recently saw in Baltimore — police officers afraid to enforce the law — and things can deteriorate very rapidly.

[and. . .]

Bradshaw is right: It’s time for the citizens of our county to “be unsilent.”

'Journalist/editor' Margaret Menge's "New York attitude" and unethical, unprofessional reporting of woman's death in Lake Worth, FL

[Below is another example in a long line of Margaret Menge's unprofessional and unethical 'news' stories; next up, her terrible treatment of Mr. Erilas' untimely death.]

From a story by Brian Montopoli at CBS News on November 30, 2005 titled, "The Community Meets The Cosmopolitan";
A story Monday [Link no longer works] in the Boston Phoenix by Mark Jurkowitz shined some light on the issue. It's the tale of a reporter named Margaret Menge, who had contributed to U.S. News & World Report, the New York Press, and the New York Observer, and who took a job a few months ago at the Union Leader, in Manchester, New Hampshire. Eight weeks later, she was asked to resign. She told Jurkowitz that the managing editor for news told her that she came to the paper "with a New York attitude. We do community journalism here."
[later in the article. . .]
     Spending some time at a small town media outlet might, if nothing else, temper in an ambitious reporter some of the condescension that Rosen [New York University Associate Professor of Journalism Jay Rosen] says infects the cosmopolitan media. "Elite journalists want to believe that their counterparts in Des Moines or Oxford, Ohio are under pressure to print good news," he says. But Rosen says it's more complicated than that. He dismisses such an attitude as the "sentimental, self-flattering view of the elite."
     "In somewhere like Birmingham or whatever it's hard to think of yourself as not a part of the community," he says. "When you are in that situation the journalism you do and can do and want to do is just different. And to describe that as good news versus bad news or boosterism versus truthtelling is just a load of crap."
Consider this synopsis of Margaret Menge's career in "community journalism":
  • 2005: asked to resign from community newspaper in New Hampshire
  • 2007: forced out of job at community newspaper in New York State
  • 2010: details unclear but she left community newspaper in Key West, FL, on not the best of terms
  • 2012: starts short-lived "community blog" in Lake Worth, FL
  • 2015: starts her own "community newspaper" in Lake Worth, FL
This is how Community Journalism is defined in Wikipedia:

At the Emerging Mind of Community Journalism conference, participants created a list characterizing community journalism: community journalism is intimate, caring, and personal; it reflects the community and tells its stories; and it embraces a leadership role.
     “If you want more of a definition, I’m afraid it’s like when someone asked Louie Armstrong for a definition of jazz. The great Satchmo is reputed to have replied something like this: ‘Man, if you have to ask, it won’t do me any good to try to explain.’ You know community journalism when you see it; it is the heartbeat of American journalism, journalism in its natural state.” –Jock Lauterer
Now come to the line I don't want to cross but will, reluctantly. There's no better way to prove Margaret Menge is NOT a 'community journalist', nor a caring journalist and nor a caring resident in our City of Lake Worth: I'm referring to the terribly sad incident that happened to a young lady on Tuesday, March 10th.

There were many things happening that day in the City (it was Election Day) including a rumor that something terrible had happened at the Lucerne building early that morning. I received several calls and the details began to emerge: a young lady had fallen from the building and passed away. It was truly shocking to many people, myself included.

What no one expected was a story to appear in Margaret Menge's 'community newspaper' above-the-fold, on the front page, which included a picture of the family's condo highlighted with a white circle. It takes a truly thoughtless, uncaring mind to do such a thing to a grieving family. My heart truly grieves for their loss and for the terrible treatment they received from Ms. Menge. She published this story on Friday, March 13 in Vol. 1, Issue 9 of her newspaper.

I did research on the subject of journalism and how suicide (or if it's believed a suicide occurred) should be reported by a professional journalist: There is no ambiguity: when an incident such as this occurs and the person is not a public figure then the grieving family trumps the public's right to know. Period.
Menge published this picture of the deceased woman holding her child on the front page of here tabloid. I obscured the names and faces.
In other words, what Ms. Menge did was absolutely wrong by any standard of professional journalism. And it's absolutely not subject matter that should appear in any responsible Community Newspaper.

And it gets worse.

One week later, on March 20th, in Ms. Menge's Vol. 1, Issue 10, she continues this maltreatment of the grieving family in her editorial page. She published this correspondence with Teri Barbera, PBSO media relations:
     "I [Margaret Menge] need something that says what happened, to whom, where, when. . . This cannot be withheld under Chapter 119 F.S. Not in any other state, either."
While the family was still grieving their loss, Ms. Menge was trolling for a story. Is this what you call "community journalism" or a fascination with the macabre?

Here are FIVE HEADLINES in a true community newspaper here in Lake Worth, The Lake Worth Herald (its One Hundred & third Year, Issue 12):
  • LW Lifeguards...LW Heroes
  • Hudson Holding’s Principal Steven Michael Addresses Bryant Park Neighborhood Assn.
  • Pride Fest Celebration This Weekend In LW
  • FDOT To Begin Stormwater Improvement Project In LW
  • Part 3 Birthday Cake Castle - Red Cross Designers’ Show House 
In conclusion I offer this quote:
     "SPJ’s Code of Ethics tells journalists that they have an obligation to report the truth. They also have an obligation in minimizing the harm that’s done in the pursuit of that truth. When it comes to suicides, a careful and deliberate moral reasoning needs to take place aside from the First Amendment right to report.
     Families don’t care about your rights when they are grieving. That’s why compassionate and responsible journalism is necessary and why cautious deliberation is needed."

—Kevin Z. Smith, Deputy Director, The Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Continuation of Hudson Holdings presentation from Thursday night's City Commission work session

Representatives from Hudson Holdings went first and then Anderson and Carr made their presentation. That is in a separate video coming soon.

West Palm officials picked for Denmark livable cities program

Click title for link to an article by Tony Doris of the Palm Beach Post about a significant honor given to the city of West Palm Beach. Mayor Jeri Muoio and Downtown Development Authority Director Raphael Clemente have been invited to the 8 80 Cities program in Copenhagen, Denmark. The conference will take place in September. The group is paying their airfare and expenses for those invited to attend. This is recognition that West Palm Beach is doing things right in making a walkable and bikeable community.

Here is a snippet from the article:
     West Palm Beach and the other cities were chosen based on what they’ve already been doing to encourage walking and biking and to improve parks and other public spaces, said de la Pena, who was among five people on the selection committee.
     Clemente, who did the city’s five-minute presentation, had to convince the panel that the city and its officials could build on what they’d done. The city has been implementing a series of road changes to encourage walking and biking, recently started a bike-sharing program and redesigned its waterfront several years ago.
     Other cities chosen for the trip are: Miami; Tallahassee; Macon and Columbus, Ga.; Gulfport, Miss.; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit; Akron, Ohio; Lexington, Ky.; Grand Forks, N.D.; and San Jose and Long Beach, Calif.
Check out this video from the 8 80 Cities group:
8-80 Cities is a non-profit organization based in Toronto, Canada. They are dedicated to contributing to the transformation of cities into places where people can walk, bike, access public transit and visit vibrant parks and public places. Their approach is to engage people and communities across multiple sectors to inspire the creation of cities that are easily accessible, safe and enjoyable for all.