Thursday, December 18, 2014

Coming to a door near you? "It makes our job easier" from 2012

The issues have moved on. Some haven't.

From the Town of Palm Beach - Midtown Beach has reopened

Midtown Beach has reopened. Per Assistant Manager Tom Bradford, the water samples taken yesterday were found to be of satisfactory quality, therefore, the beach has opened back up.

Don't forget the Evening on the Avenues tomorrow night...

Don't forget the Evening on the Avenues tomorrow, Friday at 6:00. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet all the peeps as they drop by the NAPC and find out more about our/your City.

City of Boca Raton routinely uses Twitter...

Greenpeace, EarthFirst!, and controlling the message

Greenpeace really stepped into the public relations nightmare with this stunt. This is on top of their other recent PR dilemma when one of their executive directors was found to be flying 250 miles to work. Not exactly the kind of carbon footprint a high level exec at Greenpeace wants to claim for himself.

Now we have this, an absolute mess for Greenpeace, the title of the news article says it all: 

Greenpeace May Have Permanently Damaged An Ancient, Sacred Site. Now What? 

Here is an excerpt from the article in ClimateProgress:
This [damaging a Peruvian cultural site] is the dispute that has preoccupied climate and environmental advocates since it was discovered last week that Greenpeace had trespassed on to the world-renowned Nazca Lines to lay a bright yellow banner urging a switch to renewable energy. The combination of banner-plus-Peruvian World Heritage site was meant to draw attention to the U.N. climate talks being held in nearby Lima. But the stunt backfired, and Peruvian officials say the activists’ footprints permanently damaged the area surrounding the ancient hummingbird geoglyph.

Along with riling the Peruvian government (which has pledged to file criminal charges against the offending activists) and damaging the site, the situation has drawn a rift between environmentalists.
Certainly, what our EarthFirst!ers did on November 7th wasn't nearly as bad as Greenpeace, but it still was a PR disaster for EF!. Here is the story about the "battery in the lake". There are about a thousand ways to disable a vehicle. Why they chose to remove the battery and throw the battery into the lake is anyone's guess. The Palm Beach Post actually posted a picture of this, courtesy of the Palm Beach Gardens police department. Oooops. 

This is all about controlling the message. It will take a very long time for Greenpeace to recover from this ill-advised stunt done on an international stage.

Peek-a-boo, I see you...

From AnnaMaria's blog...12/18

Click here for a great story about a new Habitat for Humanity/CRA house dedication here in Lake Worth, this one in Royal Poinciana. There have been 41 such houses built in Lake Worth and 184 in the county.

Holy War? Really??

"Free speech gone wild!" said Liz Quirantes at Channel 12 (Ch12, WPEC) on Monday. Liz Quirantes is the anchor at Ch12 who did the leadup to Israel Balderas' immensely important story on "free speech" here in Lake Worth.
I didn't think it was possible for Mr. Balderas to top the poor taste of his fellow reporter at Ch12, Kathleen Walter, but he did. On the very night preceding the Lake Worth Holiday Parade Ch12 and Kathleen Walter reported on a non-story concerning a Deerfield Beach blogger and his 'Satanist' invocation at a city commission meeting that may not happen for months, if at all. You can read about that here.  This image was from the report - nice juxtaposition of a Christmas tree along with "Prayer to Satan?"
Here is a screen grab of Israel Balderas and his latest story:
A "Holy War" in Lake Worth, Mr. Balderas? Maybe just a tiny bit of exaggeration and inflammatory? When you Wiki "Holy War" this is one of the items that turn up. In the era of ISIS and the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is it appropriate, Mr. Balderas, to do a story about a Satanist in Deerfield Beach and a Boca Raton pastor and refer to it as a "Holy War" in Lake Worth? Are we trying to stoke the flames of hate, Mr. Balderas? 

Really now, are the ratings at Ch12 that bad? 

Channel 5, WPTV, has a much superior news program than WPEC. I couldn't imagine a reporter at Ch5 News referring to a "Holy War" in Lake Worth. It wouldn't be responsible or ethical. The folks at Ch12 have no such reservations.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lynn on the need to fill our prisons with college students...

Library Raffle Winners Collect Prizes!

Everything was Frozen at the City’s Tree Lighting event on Friday evening, December 12.  Andy Amoroso, Lake Worth City Commissioner, and Cindy Ansell, Children’s Librarian at Lake Worth Library, teamed up to help the children make their own Olaf the snowman or Sven the reindeer to take home.

While the children put on stickers and pasted antlers, parents entered their names in the raffle to win baskets full of special treats. The winners were: Karina Cortez, age 5, and Juan Sanchez (in photo), age 10, who live in Lake Worth.  Both winners have siblings who were as excited as the winners were when they picked up the baskets at the Library. 

Shooting in suburban Lake Worth

Sadly, a man was shot early this morning, and we all wish for his quick and speedy recovery.

Somebody at Channel 5 (WPTV) did their research and discovered that Crest Drive is just a stone's throw from Lake Worth, however not in the city limits of the City of Lake Worth. Thank you folks at Channel 5. Crest Drive is located in suburban Lake Worth, of course. 
Channel 12 (WPEC) and Channel 25 (WPBF) haven't reported on the incident yet.

More about panhandling

From the Sun Sentinel, a story about panhandling from road medians. County lawyers are drafting a proposed law now. From the article by Andy Reid:
In a new bid to curb roadside panhandling, Palm Beach County may evict everyone collecting money from road medians.

County commissioners through the years have shied away from outlawing panhandling at busy intersections because of concerns that they would also have to oust community fundraisers or risk a court challenge.

But on Tuesday, the commission agreed to consider a new proposal to keep everyone – from those holding a "Will work for food sign" to firefighters asking drivers to fill a boot with money for charity – from collecting money from just the medians of county roads.

That would still allow people to ask for money while standing on sidewalks or elsewhere at intersections.

Fane Lozman's case went to the jury; result returned quickly

Jane Musgrave of the Post has this story about Fane Lozman's lawsuit against the city of Riviera Beach. Yesterday, Jane Musgrave wrote this about the Lozman trial, just as it was going to the jury. From the article:
Since 2006, Lozman attended 121 council meetings and spoke 296 times, Bedard [attorney Ben Bedard] told jurors. “Does that sound like someone whose First Amendment rights are being impeded?” he asked.

The trial is unusual for many reasons. For starters, Lozman, a former Marine who made millions by inventing a financial tracking software program, is representing himself. Further, it isn’t often someone sues a city for First Amendment violations much less is afforded a month-long trial.

To illustrate the complex issues swirling around the case, it took U.S. District Judge Daniel Hurley nearly three hours to explain the legal aspects of the case to the jury of six men and two women — a process that usually takes about 45 minutes. After the lengthy jury instructions consumed most of the afternoon, jurors elected to return today [12/16] to begin deliberations.
The lawsuit by Mr. Lozman is about the First Amendment and free speech in a city government setting. For those of you unfamiliar with city commission meetings there are two types of public comment. The first is near the beginning of the meeting where the public gets to comment on anything not on the meetings agenda that day. And then there is comment opportunity after each item on the agenda. In Lake Worth for instance, when you enter the commission chambers you'll find these blue cards: 

In the excerpt above Jane Musgrave wrote that Mr. Lozman "attended 121 council meetings and spoke 296 times."

I have been to a Riviera Beach City Commission meeting representing a client on a zoning matter many years ago, but have never witnessed Mr. Lozman commenting at their meetings. I have however had Mr. Lozman as a guest on my podcast High Noon in Lake Worth. During our talk, Mr. Lozman came across as reasonable and highly intelligent, although some in Riviera Beach would disagree with my assessment. 

The reason I note the unusually high number of public comments by Mr. Lozman is that we had our own issue with "free speech" here in Lake Worth. In Lake Worth we have our own gregarious gadfly, Mr. Timm. I don't have a count of Mr. Timm's public comments at Lake Worth city commission meetings but suspect Mr. Timm may have Mr. Lozman beat in the public comment count. He offers some observations that are worthwhile, others maybe not as much, but he still has the right to his two minutes on any agenda item on which he wishes to speak.

There are some in Lake Worth who believe Mr. Timm's First Amendment rights were violated. Watch Mr. Timm here and I'll explain why this is not the case at all.
After watching the video please refer back to the comment card above with the rules for public comment. One such rule is this: "The result of inappropriate outbursts or interruptions will be immediate removal from the meeting escorted by a Police Officer."

Mr. Timm was commenting on an agenda item. Mayor Pam Triolo explicitly explained that only comments about the voting experience that day, August 26th, would be permitted. The result of the vote was not the agenda. The mayor made that very clear at the outset of the agenda item.

My point here is this, the First Amendment and the right of Free Speech is not all-encompassing. There are guidelines on free speech. From Jane Musgrave's article she quotes the Riviera Beach attorney Ben Bedard:
“He [Fane Lozman] wants to fight. He wants to debate. He wants to create a disturbance,” Bedard said, offering commentary to a video that showed one heated exchange between Lozman and council members. “It’s his conduct that’s causing the issue, not the viewpoint he’s expressing.”

Lucente, Specal Planning and Zoning Board meeting tonight

Tonight at 6:00 the Planning & Zoning board is having a Special Meeting. The meeting is held at city hall (7 North Dixie Highway); you can go in person if you want or watch the meeting online. One of the items under discussion is the plan for that large empty lot southeast of our downtown Publix. On the link above, starting on page 11, is the proposal to build 23 townhomes called the Lucenté. Here from the city's pdf is an image of the proposed buildings:
Great location. The Great Recession seems to be over and we are starting to see voids filled and our property tax value increase.

Town of Palm Beach Advisory

Midtown Beach is closed today due to high levels of bacteria.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"I saw it on the Internet, so it must be true."

It may be, but some perspective is necessary. On Friday, 12/12/14, this item appeared on a local Facebook page called, Lake Worth Community:
The penalty referenced is for a second degree misdemeanor, the same penalty one would get, in theory, for riding a bike or skateboard on a sidewalk in the city. Those signs were at the beach, but came down when the city realized that they were confusing and actually directed bikes to areas that were unsafe. One example would be encouraging bikes to ride behind cars parked, facing in, at a 90 degree angle. So, some common sense was applied there. 

It sounds like we need some additional common sense to be applied in this area. Some seem to have a problem with "profane language" being banned from the Lake Worth Pier and the Snook Islands recreational area. There are already decorum standards for City Commission meetings. You can find those here on the city's website. The standards appear below:
Those commenting on Lake Worth Community are referencing a website posted on April 5, 2012, almost three years ago. Three years ago does not qualify as "new." The Internet can breed people that become experts when it comes to embellishment. For instance, read this warning posted on Lake Worth Community to evacuate the City due to the coming controlled burn at one of the city's vacant homes

So let's simmer down about the implications of what is actually going on here. Research actually takes time and effort. The Palm Beach County Park rules, that would apply to John Prince Park, are more restrictive than even Lake Worth's rules:
Sec. 21-39. - Noise. (Ord. No. 04-022, § 24, 8-17-04): No person shall make such loud, excessive, unnecessary noise so as to create a nuisance in any county park. Noise shall be considered a nuisance where it produces actual physical discomfort and annoyance to persons of ordinary sensibilities.
When you're dealing with other local sources on the Internet, and that includes blogs, including some comments left on this one, and Facebook pages along with other sources, it's important to remember that many times hype trumps fact. For example, here are two excerpts from comments on Lake Worth Community's 'profanity' rules post (I will not identify the poster):
Lake Worth City Hall's obsessed with behavior modification, just like all authoritarian regimes are.
Huh? And then there is this:
Are these the new rules for Lake Worth, N. Korea, and they got posted here by accident? I didn't know there was a Lake Worth in N. Korea.
So we're to conclude, from a 3-year-old website, that our City of Lake Worth is now an "authoritarian" regime and akin to a North Korean city government? Here's some North Korean propaganda, let's compare and contrast.
Lake Worth is a medium-sized  municipality in Palm Beach County. There are 38 municipalities in Palm Beach County. For those of you who see Lake Worth, a City of just over 35,000, as a crucial link in some grand conspiracy...I say, "some perspective is in order". 

If anyone in Lake Worth, a resident or non-resident, would walk up and down the Snook Island floating dock yelling George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words and a Sheriff deputy appeared you could be arrested and charged with violating Florida Statute 877.03 which states:
Breach of the peace; disorderly conduct.—Whoever commits such acts as are of a nature to corrupt the public morals, or outrage the sense of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them, or engages in brawling or fighting, or engages in such conduct as to constitute a breach of the peace or disorderly conduct, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Lake Worth's rule prohibiting "profane language" seems a reminder to park visitors to engage in proper conduct and to not "outrage the sense of public decency". Something most citizens would consider common sense. 
As far as the invocation issue, we can now report that the video views are less frequent and the hysteria over that issue seems to be calming down. I think that the perspective of time will allow us to see what happened there with a little more wisdom and understanding.

Holiday Parade Award Recipients...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! The Holiday Parade Award Winners have been Announced -- Just in from Juan Ruiz, Leisure Services Director for the City of Lake Worth:

"Just wanted to say 'Thank YOU' to all of the participants in this year’s parade, it was the biggest and best parade in the 49 year history! I’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback and everyone’s looking forward to next year’s 50th Anniversary parade. Next year will be bigger and better as we further develop the program."

"Attached are the results for the different categories as judged by the parade judges. The trophies can be picked up at the Osborne Community Center at 1699 Wingfield Street just south of 12th Avenue S. Monday- Friday 9:00am-5:00pm. Questions regarding the pick-up please contact Nicola Bohannon at 533-7363."

1st Place Adult Float ~ Tuppens Marine
2nd Place Adult Float~ Able Plumbing

1st Place Youth Float ~ Academy for Positive Learning
2nd Place Youth Float ~ For The Children, Inc.

1st Place Decorated Vehicle ~ Adam Raizin
2nd Place Decorated Vehicle ~ Dave's Last Resort

1st Place High School Band ~ Cardinal Newman
2nd Place High School Band ~ John I. Leonard 

1st Place Middle School Band ~ LC Swain
2nd Place Middle School Band ~ Roosevelt

1st Place Performing Group ~ Wellington High Majorettes
2nd Place Performing Group ~ Civil Air Patrol 

Best in Parade Overall ~ Cardinal Newman Marching Band

Mango Groves NA December Meeting update

Hello All-

Mango Groves will not be having a regular meeting this month, but will instead be manning the Beer Tent at Evening on the Avenue, on Friday, Dec 19th from 5-10p, the last for 2014! If you would like to stop by, please do so. If you are able to help out for a bit, we would appreciate the extra effort! Happy Holidays to all!

Please note we are still accepting nominations for elections in January for Executive Officers and Board Members. If you would like to nominate anyone, or yourself, please contact us!

Mango Groves Neighborhood Association

Interesting. The economics of the West Palm Beach/Palm Beach County land deal for baseball stadium

Flagler County building cottages for "eco-tourism" in 1,200 acre preserve

Flagler County just approved building cottages to promote "eco-tourism". There are some that will think it ironic building structures in a pristine preserve to increase tourism. From FlagerLive, here is an excerpt from the article:
Nine months after granting approval for the concept, the Flagler County Commission on Monday gave its administration the go-ahead to start building three air-conditioned tourism cottages at the Princess Place Preserve, along Pellicer Creek, as the first step in a plan to build several more and foster a new kind of eco-tourism in one of the state’s most pristine areas. A 1988 voter referendum adding a surtax to buy environmentally sensitive land enabled the county to buy and preserve the 1,600-acre Princess Place preserve in perpetuity.

Some commissioners were concerned about the cottages’ footprint, location and effect on their surroundings.  Some of those details were not available Monday. But County Administrator Craig Coffey, who is driving the project, said the cottages’ impact will be limited.

This happened yesterday. Pedestrian hit, killed by train in Lake Worth

Click title for link to WPTV story. Unfortunately, this is not the first time for this sort of accident. We are still short on details.

The Post Editorial on the Briger Tract and EarthFirst!

Trust me, dear readers, you wouldn't want to be Panagioti Tsolkas, Cara Jennings, or frankly anyone in EarthFirst! (EF) this week. Or for the foreseeable future for that matter. Remember there was a time when Randy Schultz ran the editorial board at the Palm Beach Post and Willy Howard was the staff writer for Lake Worth. Back then, the peeps at EF could usually count on the Post for support. Times were good most of the time. Here is a piece on Ms. Jennings from that period. Interestingly, it refers to her not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, something that she was known for. In light of the recent invocation kerfuffle, it helps put things in perspective.

However that was then and this is now. EF as you may know has protested several times the development of the Briger Tract in Palm Beach Gardens. The Briger Tract, with its (possible) green indigo snakes and tortoises is and always was the distraction from the actual story: EF's effort to rid much of Scripps and the biotech industry from here in south Florida. The Post editorial board came out strongly in yesterday's paper and detailed the entire story about Scripps and Briger succinctly. I strongly encourage all my readers to read the editorial. Here are two short excerpts:

There are gopher tortoises, which can be relocated, and possibly — based on the excitement of snake-sniffing dogs sent by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — endangered Eastern indigo snakes.

Hearing the pleas of the Earth First! protesters, it’s easy to forget that building on Briger was deemed among the most environmentally friendly of options for the biotech city intended to be anchored by The Scripps Research Institute.
These [plans by Scripps, the Kolter Group, Florida Crystals, et al.] are all positive developments for a piece of land that’s bisected by a highway and surrounded by malls and homes. It’s much more positive than building a sprawling development 10 miles from everything else in the county, a development that encroaches on the northern edge of the Everglades.

Though it’s easy to forget, it’s ultimately the compromise plan for Briger that has managed to put the Earth — and people — first.

The gem you'll get in the printed edition of the paper as opposed to the online editorial is a lovely picture of EF's Lynne Purvis, Lake Worth resident and part of the tribe.

Also in the editorial, the online edition, is a link to the Post's Tony Doris story about the plans for the Briger Tract

What's lost on some, and what EF hopes to capitalize on by causing confusion, is the Briger/Scripps story is not new by any means. The Briger/Scripps story is old news, more than 10 years old now. EF is engaged in a form of social media 'monkeywrenching' (misinformation and disinformation) going so far as to accuse the Palm Beach Gardens police of abuses which never happened. In ratcheting up the hysteria and hyperbole EF hopes to gain support and, of course, dollars. 

The Post's online edition has a link to the EF site, the EarthFirst! Journal. If you would like to help out EF you can do so by bidding on an item(s) in their auction! The auction ends today so act fast. I'm considering a bid on two items myself. Perfect timing for your holiday giving and consuming.

Ultimately, what the Post editorial addresses is this key question: The Palm Beach County population and business community is growing and where do we want these people to be? West of the Turnpike or east of the Turnpike? That is the question. 

For Panagiotti Tsolkas and EF they will not come to the table. For them the goal is simple: to get Scripps out of Florida. Period. In their writings of late they have taken on an angry tone and are not accepting defeat. What exactly does that mean for the future? Only they know that and I am not expecting a news conference by EF any time soon detailing their plans. Will EF employ a diversity of tactics? Expect more from this group in the coming year.

Walkable West Palm Beach Blog - Thanks for the mention!

One of my bi-weekly, thrice-weekly blogs to read is Walkable West Palm Beach (WWPB).  It's fun to go through their archives. Recently, I read this gem on WWPB about Donald Shoup, the author of “The High Cost of Free Parking”. You see folks, your free parking in downtown Lake Worth comes at a very high price. Free is not free. Just because you're not paying to park doesn't mean somebody else isn't picking up the tab. Here is the video I did last year when Dr. Shoup was in Delray Beach.

If you're like me and know who Jeff Speck is, desire a walkable/bikeable city, and think FDOT's 12' wide car lanes are a crime against humanity than I would strongly suggest you go to the WWPB blog. Here's the series of videos which I took last May when Mr. Speck gave his initial report to the West Palm Beach City Commission.
Just the other day when I visited WWPB, its author Jesse Bailey, was promoting my podcast from last December with Joe Minicozzi. Some of you old-timers in West Palm Beach will remember Mr. Minicozzi. 

Mr. Bailey did an excellent job of highlighting the topics Mr. Minicozzi and yours truly discussed:
  • How the Convention Center could have been better designed to show respect for the adjacent Grandview Heights neighborhood
  • Imagine getting off the plane at PBI and taking a ferry directly from PBI Airport to the convention center and downtown. It could have happened, if not for the county crushing the plan
  • The economic harm of arbitrarily giving away development rights, and the need for a consistent, non-political framework to guide development decisions
  • Chapel by the Lake site
  • Why the focus on density and height is misplaced. It’s about design.
  • How our downtown areas and urban places are our true economic engines, bringing in a tax yield that is orders of magnitude higher than suburban sprawl or big box development
Our Lake Worth downtown and our Lake Worth Park of Commerce are indeed "economic engines". 

Soon I hope to have Mr. Bailey as a guest on my podcast, High Noon in Lake Worth. High on my list of topics to discuss with Mr. Bailey are "one-way pairs" like our Lake Worth Lake and Lucerne Avenues. 

I appreciate Mr. Bailey promoting my podcast with Mr. Minicozzi and hope our talk added positively to the debate.  Be sure to visit his blog. As usual, you will discover that our two cities have more in common than we know.

Monday, December 15, 2014

We are a republic, after all...

Image from the Tom McGow archives, used with permission. 

State Senator Clemens at Kiwanis - Tuesday, December 16

Florida State Senator Jeff Clemens will speak at the Kiwanis Club breakfast meeting on Tuesday, December 16 to give us a legislative update and discuss issues relevant to the future of our City. All are welcome. Too Jays. Downtown Lake Worth. 8AM. You can order coffee or breakfast off of the regular menu.

Former Congressman Mark Foley getting some good press...

“I think I’m a fortunate person. I think God blessed me abundantly in ways that I can never measure, and I’ve had a very fortunate life,” he said. “I’ve virtually bounced back from any challenge thrown my way — Layne’s passing, my dad’s death, loss of job. These all are things I would rather have not experienced but they are part of life’s journey, so I don’t look at it as lucky."
Quote by Mark Foley in this week's Florida Weekly. This story about Mark Foley is a very long read and encourage everyone to read it. It's nice to be reminded during the holiday season about the power of redemption and recovery after overcoming life's challenges.

New Bike Trail network in Lansing, Michigan

This is from where I was born and raised. The region worked together to link various trails along rivers and streams, through park land and other areas to provide a dedicated bike/pedestrian way. When I lived there and worked as a planner for the city of East Lansing, the prospect of this "River Trail" was just being talked about. Almost 30 years later, all the parts have come together in an integrated system. This video is a narrated trip through part of the trail.

It also represents a fairly professional video prepared by a local government given newly available technology.
Join Lansing's Parks Director, Brett Kaschinske and Chief Operating Officer, Chad Gamble on a little mid-day adventure as they explore the newly created South Lansing pathway extension. You will also hear various pathway and park updates from the likes of Officer Bob Merritt, Kevin Shaw and Brett Kaschinske himself.

Palm Beach County reconsiders $135 million baseball stadium deal

Seems that this project is stuck in the same rut that it was before. Now, West Palm Beach is saying "come all offers" on the piece of land they were ready to see for a development project. This is perplexing County officials. And, reading the article, another stake has been placed in the heart of John Prince Park being a suitable location. The search continues! They will be talking about this at Tuesday's County Commission meeting. Click title for link.
County Mayor Shelley Vana said she opposes trading land as proposed, but said she is willing to continue talks with the city to try to reach a deal.
"We put everything up [that] we are going to do," Vana said. "West Palm Beach keeps giving us moving targets."
In response to the revived proposal for a potential land swap with the county, city officials issued a statement saying they are continuing talks with competing developers and that the county is also welcome to submit a proposal.
"Our position that we will not give away taxpayer land for free to build a baseball facility remains unchanged," the city's statement said.

Town of Palm Beach - Traffic Advisory - Flagler Memorial Bridge

Flagler Memorial (North) Bridge
The eastbound lane will be closed on the Flagler Memorial Bridge Thursday, Dec. 18 through Tuesday morning, Dec. 23, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., for bridge foundation work on the southeast side of the bridge. Flaggers will guide eastbound and westbound traffic across the bridge alternately. Drivers should expect delays and seek alternate routes if possible.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Lynn and Dee: Bringing us together...

MSU students turn backs on George Will at commencement

Click title for link to a Detroit Free Press article. Are those that turned their backs during George Will's talk "un-American"? Would Commissioner McVoy think so? From the article:
As conservative columnist George Will spoke during today's graduation ceremony, 18 Michigan State University students — wearing green caps and gowns — stood with their backs to him.
Several in the crowd of thousands at MSU's Breslin Center also did the same. Others sat in their seats, holding up newspapers and pretending to read.
It was part of a protest surrounding inflammatory statements the Washington Post columnist and commentator has made discrediting the severity of college rape. Protest organizers said the university should have canceled his appearance because of those statements.

Voices of Pride Performance from World AIDS Day Observance at Compass

Excerpts from yesterday's reading of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"

The problems with protests...

Protests are not easy undertakings. They take coordination, many people, and it is always helpful to have a clear and concise message. There are even groups that hold workshops on how to put on successful "actions", as they are called in the trade. Eh hem.

For instance, even here in Lake Worth, our Lake Worth-based EarthFirst has exhibited a Keystone Cop approach to protests. Just in case you missed the "battery in the lake" you can read about it here. Even more curious is the EarthFirst protest scheduled for December 12th that was apparently cancelled with no public notification. It is true that if a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it, it doesn't make a noise. That is, as far as the media is concerned.

Now we enter the bizarre tale from Evan Rowe who is a professor of history at Broward College writing for the New Times. Professor Rowe writes an exceptionally long hand-wringing diatribe on why activists in Ft. Lauderdale can't get organized and shut down the annual Winterfest Boat Parade. Without further ado here are some excerpts from Professor Rowe:
The target selection of bridges was an improvement on previous actions, as was the highway shut down in miami [sic] but the ability to put up enough points to overwhelm police forces long enough to take, hold, and control private spaces for long enough time periods of time is the one of the next major tactical hurdles.
There has been some backlash to the protests as they have angered commuters. A Sun-Sentinel writer, Gary Stein, today dismissed the protestors [sic] for "being cute on social media" as he totally missed the bigger point of police aggression and injustice. He also condescendingly advised "don't be total slobs."
Actions that might disrupt the boat parade are viable defensive moves that can POTENTIALLY [emphasis added] send a symbolic message but use improved tactical actions. And while they are not yet at the level of daily or weekly workplace occupations or strikes against key capital targets, they do show an improvement in the defensive ability.
I would bet the good people of Ft. Lauderdale are interested in knowing a professor at Broward College was so determined to shut down the city. It is also illustrative that Professor Rowe laments the lack of a message by the protesters. Curiously, I found it difficult to discover a coherent message in the article by the Professor in the New Times. And so it goes...

Holiday Fun from Yesterday

Channel 12, Kathleen Walter - Poor taste never ready for prime time

Yesterday was the Lake Worth Holiday parade. This parade, along with the Street Painting Festival, are one of Lake Worth's signature events. Jodie Wagner at the Palm Beach Post wrote an excellent story about the parade you can read here. Here is an excerpt:
More than 5,000 spectators are expected to line downtown streets Saturday for the city’s annual holiday parade.

Featuring floats, antique cars, marching bands, twirlers and other performance groups, the 48th annual event promises plenty of family friendly fun, said Juan Ruiz, the city’s leisure services director.

“It’s probably our biggest event that provides a community bonding opportunity for everyone to come out and celebrate the holidays,” he said. “Parades in Lake Worth are really popular. They love parades in our town.”
This last Friday night, Kathleen Walter from Channel 12 came to Lake Worth to do a news story, something altogether different than the story by Jodie Wagner. Keep in mind the following day was the Lake Worth Holiday parade, however Kathleen Walter was determined to do a story on the controversial "invocation" issue in the City of Lake Worth. Remember, the atheist invocation by Preston Smith was 12 days ago. Not exactly what you would call "breaking news". A citizen in Deerfield Beach now wants to do a 'satanic' invocation in Lake Worth. [Note: Not reported by Kathleen Walter, Deerfield Beach has an invocation at their city commission meetings. Reverend Fulmore from the Church of the Living God gave the last invocation.]

This satanic 'invocation' could be months away, if it ever happens at all. From a news perspective, again, this story could be broadcast any time. I spoke with someone yesterday in the downtown who relayed their interaction with Kathleen Walter and her/his pleas for Channel 12 to do a positive story about Lake Worth and the Holiday Parade, to no avail. 

Instead Kathleen Walter reported this story on Lake Worth, the night before the Lake Worth Holiday Parade. We understand that she was trolling for a negative point-of-view during the evening. As part of Kathleen Walter's story she included the tree lighting ceremony from Friday night as a backdrop and here is the screen grab:
If you are not offended, you should be. If you are a resident of Lake Worth (or for that matter, a resident of Palm Beach County) I would strongly suggest you not watch Channel 12 news or communicate with anyone at Channel 12. For residents outside the City of Lake Worth know this: if this kind of offensive reporting could happen to our city, it could happen to yours too. 

Finally, Kathleen Walter has an impressive résumé. She knows how to do news reporting. Why shouldn't the City of Lake Worth get the same professional treatment she would give any other story? The City of Lake Worth deserves better.

If you make it to downtown West Palm Beach...

From Eliot Kleinberg at the West Palm Beat blog we have this about "parklets" in downtown West Palm Beach. How about this idea for downtown Lake Worth?
“Parklets” are in place again in downtown West Palm Beach.

Starting Thursday morning, local artists transformed a parking space at Rocco’s Tacos, 224 Clematis St., into a “street balcony.” It will stay there for a month, then move to Le Rendez-vous on Datura street and then to Field of Greens back on Clematis Street.

The mini-parks started in 2005 and have become popular in cities across the country. One in Oakland held bicycle racks and tables and chairs along with a row of planters. One in Vancouver, B.C., was surrounded by a wire fence and held blocks that served as benches. A San Francisco version held dining tables and was framed by a wood fence.
Two urban planner/artists are part of the team responsible for this placement. They are Sherryl Murriente and Beju Legobart.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pics of The Cat in the Hat at the Holiday Wonderland Festival

Reading "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Doctor Seuss.

Traffic Alert from the Town of Palm Beach - re travel on the Lake Worth bridge

As a reminder, the annual Lake Worth parade is tonight and will affect traffic in the downtown Lake Worth area. The Lake Worth bridge will be open for vehicular traffic however motorists should expect delays from approximately 5 PM until 9 PM.

In the Cultural Plaza today before the parade!

About the Chapel-by-the-Lake site in West Palm Beach

This is an interesting story about a "rare, 3-judge panel" that was convened to settle the dispute over the Chapel-by-the-Lake site in West Palm Beach. Here is an excerpt from Eliot Kleinberg's piece in the Post:
Did West Palm Beach commissioners break their own rules in January when they green-lighted the controversial luxury condominium at the waterfront Chapel-by-the-Lake site? A rare 3-judge panel convened Friday to hear those arguments.

In one of two legal actions filed in February, the group Citizens for Thoughtful Growth asked that such a panel decide whether the approval was legal. The judges made no ruling Friday; one in favor of Citizens would send the project back to the planning board or the city commission, stopping construction, which already is underway. The chapel was bulldozed about Labor Day.
The issues stem from the question of whether the Planning Commission is advisory. After its review of the project, changes were made and the project never went back to the Planning Commission. Something similar happened here in Lake Worth way-back-when as the Lucerne condominium went through the Planning and Zoning/Historic Resource Preservation Board. The board approved a building with a public parking component and more interesting architectural features around the parapet at the top of the building. After those changes were made the project never made it back to the Planning Board. That's the basis for the argument here.

About the Artists Alley in Delray

Back on November 12th I posted a story about the Artists Alley in Delray Beach. As part of the post you'll find a YouTube video where I ask readers to focus intently on the 6:55 to 7:05 minute mark. From the Coastal Star there is an update on the Artists Alley. Many, including city leaders, are working to save the venue however the appraisal value of the property is very high: $4.2 million. Here is an excerpt from the Coastal Star:
Delray Beach might lose Artists Alley, the unique arts district that the mayor says “has been so important for the renaissance of this city.”
    Artists work in warehouse studios along the railroad tracks near Pineapple Grove. But the warehouses will be sold at a Feb. 23 foreclosure auction.
    The artists, fearing that a new owner will bulldoze their studios, have pleaded with the city for help.
    Mayor Cary Glickstein accepted the challenge at a Nov. 13 workshop, but the city can’t stop the auction.
    “We may get lucky with someone at the foreclosure who likes the property as it is,” Glickstein told commissioners. “But it is incumbent on us not to leave it to chance.”

New National Historic District in the works, from the Shiny Sheet

From Aleese Kopf at the Shiny Sheet we this story about a new historic district perhaps coming to Palm Beach:
The Town Council gave landmarks consultant Murphy Stillings permission Wednesday to continue work toward designating the area — bounded by Royal Poinciana Way, Bradley Place, Sunset Avenue and North County Road — as a historic district in the National Register of Historic Places.

In March, the council directed the consultant to initiate the process and study its feasibility. In the past eight months, Murphy Stillings completed a preliminary site investigation, which was approved by the state Division of Historical Resources, and a nomination application.

“The research is complete,” Planning, Zoning and Building Director John Page said Wednesday. “It essentially represents confirmation of the fact that a majority of the structures in the area are contributing and that the town can proceed forward with the likelihood that the national designation will occur.”

As of 8:45 a.m., this video has been seen 280,000 times

Friday, December 12, 2014

Archived edition of today's High Noon in Lake Worth episode with Commissioner Amoroso

Check Out Politics Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with High Noon in Lake Worth on BlogTalkRadio

This past Wednesday at the Lake Worth Beach...

Art Event on 12/20 - change of address from previous anouncement

Detroit - The Comeback City

 From the press packet: "With an energy and vitality that are hard to resist, Detroit is America’s great comeback city. In recent years, billions have been invested into revitalizing downtown Detroit. A transformed riverfront, bustling nightlife, diverse dining, championship sports teams and a packed lineup of festivals and events make metro Detroit an exciting destination. The newly remodeled and renovated Cobo Center has been transformed into a world-class convention and meeting center. Throughout the $279 million renovation, Cobo has been operating at 100 percent capacity and is ready to host your convention. Be a part America's great comeback city."

Exhibit opening next week in downtown

From the Rickie Report we have this:
“It’s A Dog’s Life” opens Friday, December 19, from 6-10 PM at the Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery, 15 South J Street in Downtown Lake Worth. 40 artists from all over Palm Beach County have contributed works ranging from sculpture, fused and stained glass, photography, painting, jewelry, pottery. Ornaments and artist made accessories. The event is free to the public. The reception will include treats for both humans and their pets.

More on the planned EF! protest today...

On Wednesday, 12/10, I posted some remarks on the Everglades EarthFirst! (EF) protest in Palm Beach Gardens later today (Friday). You can read that post here. Here is an image from EF promoting the event:
EF themselves promoted today's protest as a fun affair and encouraged entertainers and revelers to attend. Now things have taken a turn. The protest today by EF will likely be a contentious event and probably include some civil disobedience. If you were considering attending the protest, you might want to reconsider.

On Wednesday EF posted this story. In the first photograph you see EF leader Panagioti Tsolkas in the baseball cap. In another photograph they allegedly show an EF member trespassing on the Briger Tract. 

This is where "Fire Ant" at the Broward New Times becomes a significant character in the protest today by Panagioti Tsolkas and EF. On June 26, 2014 Fire Ant wrote the following article, Anarchists Claim Sabotage of Scripps Development: "We Spiked the Trees in the Briger Forest".

From the article:
In an effort to sabotage development of Briger Forest, the last major tract of undeveloped land along I-95 in Palm Beach County, an anonymous band of self-described anarchists claims to have booby-trapped "countless trees" in the area and to have vandalized the work of surveyors.
[and later...]
The tactic purportedly used in Briger, "tree spiking," involves hammering nails or metal rods into trees, either at the base, to damage chainsaws, or higher up, where they will destroy saw-mill equipment.

Tree spiking has been controversial even within anarchist circles and has been specifically targeted by federal law.
EF just happens to be an organization that promotes the Anarchist political philosophy. Now imagine for a moment you are the police chief for Palm Beach Gardens, charged with protecting citizens and property within your city. You know EF members are Anarchists, Fire Ant wrote about Anarchists spiking trees which is an act of ecoterrorism, and EF is engaged in stopping 'destruction' of the Briger 'forest'. If you were in charge of the safety of a community would you be concerned about EF? Now add this information from Activist Facts

Let us revisit the post by EF I referenced above. In the very first sentence they write, "On Friday, December 5, over 50 activists gathered for a rally outside of the Briger Forest in Florida’s Palm Beach Gardens." The Palm Beach Post reported there were, "about 35". EF wrote, "Palm Beach Gardens police—many undercover—surrounded the protest, blocked traffic, followed vehicles, covertly filmed protesters, prohibited participants from accessing public roads, and used loudspeakers to shout their opinions and drown out the chants of the crowd." Here is the video from Channel 12 (WPEC). Do you see any evidence of such police activity? If there was, wouldn't Ch12 Chuck Weber mention something about that?

EF then refers to a 'preface' (which is not readily available that I could find) where they state, “this tactic [tree spiking] is not one that Everglades Earth First! would engage in.”

Just by coincidence I ran across this flyer in downtown Lake Worth in mid-October. Would this be a training session for EF and what we might expect later on today?

The Channel 5 segment from last night regarding the invocation issue...

Note: If the video doesn't show on the blog, click here for link to the Channel 5 website.
There is a little unfortunate editing that was done to this piece. Before saying that it was an unintended consequence of open government and living in a digital age, I said that the Commission did their job. They let this person, from whatever non-religious background he was coming from, access to the podium. Regardless whether they walked out or not, his message is being heard by a lot of people. The video is at about 225,000 views as of today.

We need to re-think the invocation part of our agendas and, at a minimum, switch to a moment of silence, if not drop the practice entirely. Check out this post where I quickly researched other Palm Beach County municipalities regarding their practices.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Doctor heal thyself...

New High Noon in Lake Worth program, 12/12/14 Commissioner Andy Amoroso

Join your host Wes Blackman as he welcomes District #3 Commissioner Andy Amoroso to the High Noon in Lake Worth studios. Commissioner Amoroso is back from his trip to Austin, Texas where he attended the 2014 National League of Cities conference. He will share what he learned during the various sessions he attended. He will also talk of other efforts he is undertaking to secure funding for infrastructure improvements and the like for Lake Worth.

Click title for link to live show between noon and 1 p.m. on Friday 12/12 or afterwards for an archived version of the show. Leave questions as comments below.

Interview today with Channel 5 reporter Charlie Keegan re Invocation issue

A reminder to be aware of crime this holiday season.

Robberies tend to increase around the holiday season and it is important for everyone to keep their eyes open to any unusual activity. The College Park neighborhood of Lake Worth recently started their own crime watch and has installed signs throughout the neighborhood. They have reported some very good results from the program. Calls to PBSO are up in the neighborhood and people are more aware of what is happening. This is from the College Park Facebook page:

The City of Lake Worth agreed to partner with our effort and has donated the labor to install the signs in the City’s rights of way. Volunteers from the neighborhood agreed to visit each home in College Park and distribute the information personally, neighbor to neighbor. The custom made College Park Crime Watch signs have been created and will be installed in September and October 2014 and information is on its way to each home in College Park.

Unfortunately, in another neighborhood in Lake Worth, the Residences of Lake Osborne (ROLO) neighborhood, we get reminded once again how important it is to keep your eyes open and report any suspicious activity. Check out the account of the incident in the ROLO blog. Crime is not limited to any corner of the city. It can happen anywhere.

Good advice from one of our active neighborhood associations.

Remember everyone, if you see something suspicious, call PBSO at 561-688-3400.

Holiday Parade this Saturday!

"Escape to the sun: Florida’s Delray Beach a tropical paradise day and night"

From the Boston Herald Travel section comes this feature on Delray Beach. From the rather effusive article:
But you don’t need all that to enjoy Delray Beach, because every day — and night — offers fun. The abundance of restaurants give the city an Upper East Side feel. Outdoor cafe areas are what you first see at most restaurants, but inside you find an equally happening scene, with DJs, live music and more. There’s upscale yet affordable, as well as eateries families, singles or romantics can savor. You can start your evening with a cocktail, then dinner, and then shift seamlessly into a nightlife scene, all in the same area. And there’s not a single chain restaurant or store on the strip. It’s all Delray homegrown.

Helen Keller

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

Mayor Triolo on Channel 25 about last week's invocation...

Click here for story and video.

Here is a link to a Sun-Sentinel editorial article calling for the elimination of "divisive city invocations." It's behind a paywall, so you might not be able to see it. And it was the subject of Glenn Beck's radio show yesterday.

As of December 11 at 9 a.m., the total view count of the video is around 167,000.

I understand that the Palm Beach Post is working on a story.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Memories, misty watercolored memories

Bike thief strikes twice in Lake Worth, police say

Click title for link to story. This was the guy they were looking for who stole bikes from the Lucerne. PBSO at work.

Worth the read considering the focus on last week's Commission meeting invocation.

Click here for link to a Detroit Free Press article which tells of a situation surrounding the selection of George Will as a commencement speaker. There are those in the campus community that are concerned about the conservative columnist's appearance and his apparent cavalier attitude toward sexual abuse on college campuses. There is even an alternative commencement being planned for people "not comfortable" with sitting through his talk. Excerpts from the article:
So far, more than 700 people have R.S.V.P.'d to protest MSU commencement Saturday morning at the Breslin Center. Other events are also planned throughout the week, including a rally Wednesday in front of the Hannah Administration Building in which protestors say they will deliver petitions seeking his removal from the list of speakers.
One faculty member, Assistant Sociology Professor Stephanie Nawyn, said his appearance sends a bad message in light of an ongoing federal investigation into MSU's handling of sexual assault cases. The Department of Education has two open Title IX compliance cases against MSU for assault reports made in July 2011 and February this year.
"I am concerned, as are other faculty, that bringing an individual to our campus that has publicly invalidated and dismissed the traumatic experiences that some of our graduates have had sends an inaccurate message to our students," Nawyn said in an email. "Will is not just giving a speech; he is part of one of the biggest days of our graduates' lives, and I want that day to include messages that the Spartan community respects and treasures all of our students."
Nawyn is among a group of faculty who are organizing a second or alternate alternative graduation ceremony for students who are not comfortable sitting through Will's appearance. Details of the ceremony were not yet finalized as of Tuesday afternoon.
Would Commissioner McVoy think that this form of protest is an "un-American" act?

Earth First is having a protest on Friday!

Are you ready for a protest? Not a regular protest but one with entertainment and frivolity. Do you know how to walk in stilts, juggle, enjoy elf suits, are you into the "furry" subculture, and trained in the use of noisemakers? And lastly, do you like Christmas songs? How's this Christmas song from our friends at Earth First:
Tis’ the Season to Save the Tortoise (Fa La La La)
O’ Briger Trees (How Lovely Are Thou Needles)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Blockade
Kolter Got Ran Over By ______
Rocking Around the Briger Trees
The Twelve Days of Protest
Earth First! is Coming to Town
Silent Night, Scripps Ain’t Right
On December 5th, Earth First (EF) staged a protest in Palm Beach Gardens to 'save' the Briger Forest. This Friday, December 12th, they are having their second protest. As you'll discover in the following information, EF's effort is way too little way too late. Our Lake Worth friends and EF leaders/organizers Cara Jennings and Panagioti Tsolkas are actually FOUR YEARS TOO LATE to the debate about the Briger Tract. (The Broward New Times, one of the pro-media outlets for EF, didn't even bother to report on the protest on 12/5.) This is what Palm Beach Post reporter Tony Doris wrote about the Briger Tract on 12/6:
And on Thursday [12/4/14], several years after Scripps launched in earnest, the Palm Beach Gardens City Council gave Briger a key go-ahead, approving the plat map that draws lines through the property designating the project’s boundaries, roadways on its east side, drainage, buffers and other essentials for development.

The approval was “ministerial,” in the words of [Palm Beach Gardens] city Planning Director Natalie Crowley, in that the council approved the overall development in 2010. But it represented a milestone for the undertaking, as The Kolter Group’s heavy equipment begins to fell trees to create construction access roads that will turn into boulevards and byways for a massive mix of residential and commercial activity.
Not only is the Briger Tract being developed, just South of the Briger Tract is a new major interchange proposed off of I-95 as reported by Joe Capozzi at the Post. This interchange would link Central Boulevard with Donald Ross Road to the north.

The EF protest may in fact resemble an Irish Wake more than a traditional radical protest, don't you think? If you've never been to an Irish Wake you have no idea what you're missing.

But it's not my place to be the downer here. The EF protest should be fun and entertaining for most of those involved. That is if you don't mind being on the FDLE, FBI, and PBSO watchlist.


Parking is complicated so PAY ATTENTION:
  • From I-95 take the Donald Ross Road Exit and go east. Make a left (North) onto Central Blvd.
  • At the roundabout follow signs to Main Street. Public parking is plentiful.
  • Have your car parked by 4:00 and a shuttle will take you to the protest location. 
  • Be respectful. Do not obstruct private and pubic access. Thank you!
Unsure or confused? Text “BRIGER” TO 84576. Note, service charges may apply. Contact your cell phone company for further information.

Note: the protest starts at 4:30 and ends at 6:30. You can protest and then spend the rest of the night telling all your friends about how radical you are! How cool is that! Get out your costume and practice. Not much time is left. Don't forget to say hello to Cara and Peter.

Atheist Requests to Do Satanic Invocation at Lake Worth Commission Meeting

This article from the Broward New Times is not as fair as the one featured in the following post. It gives an update on what has happened since last Tuesday. We are not out of the woods yet. Click title for link.

Fair and balanced reporting from the New Times on the invocation story...

lt took a week before the New Times' Chris Joseph chimed in on the video I took of the atheist invocation by Preston Smith on December 2nd. It's odd that we haven't heard from Fire Ant, aka Steve Ellman in a while, and this is a Lake Worth story. Is he off the beat or off the paper? The last post by him at the New Times was on November 7th. That's over a month ago. I hope that, whatever the reason for the absence, he is o.k.

Here are some interesting takeaway's from the story by Chris Joseph...
[Lake Worth] Mayor Tirolo [sic, the mayors last name is "Triolo"], hadn't addressed the walkout until Monday, when she spoke to WPTV.

"I didn't leave because Mr. Smith is an atheist; I left because of his alleged tweet," she said.

The tweet Tirolo [sic] referenced was from July, when Smith tweeted out an offensive interpretation of a biblical Scripture from Deuteronomy. Smith sent the tweet to a Chicago Tea Party activist named C. Steven Tucker after he wrote a blog post calling for Obama's impeachment.

You can see a screen grab of the tweet below, which has since been deleted from Smith's account:
Now, here comes some news. In a random act of journalism by Chris Joseph at the New Times, we get some information I haven't heard anywhere else. Here it is in the third paragraph of the excerpt below:
"Free speech works both ways," Triolo said about her walking out. "You can say what you want, and I can choose to leave."

Commissioner Christopher McVoy stayed for Smith's invocation and called his fellow commissioners' walking out "un-American."

Smith was granted permission to do the invocation back in July. He chose a date in December because it was during the Christmas holidays.
So, now we actually see the "tweet" by Preston Smith and we learn that Preston Smith specifically wanted a date in December closer to the Christmas holiday season. And for some reason the city accommodated his request and this is going to be a bigger issue now due to the holiday season. Clearly, Mr. Smith pursued this opportunity with a zeal and a clear strategy in mind. It would be interesting to know how Mr. Smith was initially introduced to Lake Worth. Could fingers be pointed at some usual suspects?

The bell has been rung. So, now we have to deal with its aftermath. As of this morning, the video from the meeting has gotten over 43,000 hits and is being picked up by national news sites.