Monday, January 23, 2017

Storms that went through City of Lake Worth last night. How did our Electric Utility do?


A text message from Commissioner Andy Amoroso:

144 out. team out at 4:40 am. power back up fast.

Now contrast that with the Promised Lands of Palm Beach Gardens and the Town of Jupiter, news from reporter Susan Salisbury at the Post.

Hello.

That big cloud of dust is The Palm Beach Post backpedalling. Remember that article about the Gulfsteam Hotel on January 17th?

The reaction to this news article in the Post was swift, both from the public and City government as well. The City of Lake Worth shouldn’t have to demand quality news reporting.

For the background on the “backpedalling” at the Post, use this link.

Premise:
It’s the fault of Code Enforcement that the Gulfstream Hotel still sits vacant.
Absolutely False. This is what happens when reporters and editors try to explain complex stories using simple narratives.

Premise:
Reporters and editors aren’t given the time and resources to verify the facts.
Absolutely True. It’s not the press’ job to pick winners and losers. There are only 50 days left until election day in Lake Worth. Elected leaders deserve accountability. But so do former elected’s as well. However, there won’t be enough “time and resources” to verify those facts.

Remember. Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, and commissioners Andy Amoroso and Ryan Maier ARE NOT UP FOR RE-ELECTION.

But Commissioner Chris McVoy is.

He deserves the tough questions too. But he doesn’t get those. For some reason McVoy gets a “free pass”. For example, you’ll never hear a question concerning McVoy’s observations about the Socialist Party last year:

“Commissioner McVoy. Can you explain why you support Nicolás Maduro and the Socialist Party in Venezuela?” Or this: “Why would you bring up term limits when you’ve been a commissioner since 2010?” Or. . . “Why didn’t you come to the defense of Mayor Triolo when one of your supporters posted an image of her burning in effigy?”

Please spread the word:

The Bryant Park Neighborhood Assoc. will be hosting a candidate forum TONIGHT at 7:00.

Come and see District 2 candidates Omari Hardy, William Joseph, and Chris McVoy.

Location: The Beach Club located at the City’s municipal golf course, #1 7th Ave. North.

Chris McVoy is the incumbent, the sitting District 2 commissioner. He was first elected in 2010 succeeding Cara Jennings. At the City Commission meeting on January 10th McVoy brought up the topic of “term limits”. Just thought I would point that out.

Also note that ALL VOTERS in Lake Worth vote FOR ALL districts, not just the district you reside in.

Another historic hotel: “April 1, 1965, was a day of sadness and nostalgia for many as the grand old hotel breathed its last.”

The overwhelming (?) heights vote” in 2013. Note the not so ‘overwhelming’ voter turnout. All these years later, thanks in large part to former Commissioner JoAnn Golden and her frivolous lawsuit, our Gulfstream Hotel has a looming “day of sadness”.

The Gulfsteam Hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places. Is that protection from demolition? No. And do you remember the Pennsylvania Hotel in West Palm Beach? My father visited over the holidays and he brought with him a box of old postcards. Here is one about a “grand old hotel breathed its last”:

From Sagas of the Shire: Recalling the Wendell Hotel: “From early afternoon into that evening, some of the hotel’s most faithful regulars gathered in the lounge to say their farewells.” 

Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD: Keep our LOCAL politics about our LOCAL issues. “Keep It Local!”

Lake Worth, if you didn’t know, is just one of 39 cities in Palm Beach County. With under 40,000 residents and about 6 square miles it does stand out in a very big way: The City has more than its share of difficult problems to address. And it doesn’t help matters when one City commissioner in particular tries over and over again to distract the community.

It’s true. Lake Worth elections can be very entertaining for the rest of Palm Beach County, especially the skill and political savvy displayed by some elected’s to skirt, duck, or otherwise avoid the actual issues the City has to deal with. 

If you’ve been following this blog you know Commissioner McVoy is trying hard to find an issue to run on. McVoy was first elected in 2010 and one of his tactics to get re-elected is to hang on the backs of the majority and their successes, not his own. Why? Because he doesn’t have any or very few at most. Leadership is not part of McVoy’s skill set.

However, one of the ways McVoy tries to distract the community is to bring up issues like “sea level rise” (SLR), comparing Lake Worth to much larger cities like Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Hoboken, NJ. It’s no secret Lake Worth is not to scale of those cities..

Although a very important and timely topic many in Lake Worth have been very concerned that SLR is being used as a “wedge issue to distract the community from things like our crumbling roads and potholes, street lighting, and public safety. In 2014 this tactic did work when McVoy campaigned against the LW2020 bond to fix our roads. By just 25 votes that referendum failed.

Anyhow, now there’s this from a reader of this blog, something discovered on the City’s Wikipedia page* that was just recently added:
“The [Lake Worth] pier is home to a tide gauge with a sporadic history, showing an above average rate of sea level rise.[18]”
Here is footnote 18:
“Mean Sea Level Trend 8722670 Lake Worth Pier”. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 30, 2016. [emphasis added]
Hmmm. Would this be the lead-up to another lecture by McVoy at a future City Commission meeting? Maybe tomorrow? Stay tuned. However, for some perspective about the image below cited on the City’s Wikipedia page:
3.56 millimeters = 0.1401575 inches
The following image is from this website:

McVoy has a PhD and he reminds people all the time about that. But if SLR is brought up as an issue again can he stick to the “Imperial system” of inches for everyone to understand, instead of using the metric system?

*Please take note: If you visit the City’s Wikipedia page on a frequent basis always look at the very bottom of the page for a line like this: “This page was last modified on 9 January 2017, at 02:07.” That way you know when the page was last updated.

The Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) and remember the topic of mangroves along Lake Worth’s Intracoastal?

Too often the TCRPC, a crucially important and vital organization, is used as a stage by some at public comment to get false and very misleading information “into the record” about the City of Lake Worth, e.g., the mangroves along our Intracoastal. More on that below. 

Last Friday, January 20th, was the meeting of the TCRPC. The next meeting is on February 17th. Below is an interesting item from last January’s agenda. If the topic of Everglades restoration is of interest to you there was this item up for discussion, “Update on the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan by Lieutenant Colonel Reynolds, Army Corps of Engineers”:

Council has requested regular updates on implementation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). The CERP provides a framework and guide to restore, protect, and preserve south Florida’s natural ecosystem while improving water supplies and maintaining flood protection. [emphasis added]

[and. . .]

Council staff has invited the Corps [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] to make a presentation related to the current status of CERP projects. Staff has also requested an update on current projects or studies underway to increase surface water storage around Lake Okeechobee, specifically the Western Everglades Restoration Project, the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Study, and the nearly completed Kissimmee River Restoration Project.

To learn more about the crucial role of the TCRPC use this link. Lake Worth Commissioner Ryan Maier is the City’s liaison to this crucial board.* Several times the public comment portion of council meetings has been used as a stage for providing false and misleading information about Lake Worth.

For example, below is public comment† made at the TCRPC last year by Drew Martin (click on image to enlarge):

These minutes from the TCRPC include completely false and “moderately correct” information.

In the comments made by Drew Martin is a moderately correct statement and a completely false statement. First, correcting the absolutely false statement by Martin: The City of Lake Worth DID NOT remove any mangroves from along golf course shoreline. The mangrove removal was done by the County using a County permit.

Next about the City of Lake Worth stopping a “600-foot planting of mangroves along Bryant Park”. This planting was addressed during the County’s “Living Shoreline” project. When it was proposed to plant mangroves along the seawall. Neighborhood groups and others objected because it would obstruct the view of the Intracoastal by those who reside near the park and visitors as well.

Aerial view of Lake Worth municipal golf course, 1973. Note “gaps” along shoreline for a view of the Intracoastal waterway.

Now back to the golf course: The mangroves were removed because they were planted in the wrong place by volunteers. Along the golf course “windows” or “gaps” are needed for the public to see the water and enjoy the view. Why have a golf course next to the Intracoastal if you can’t see the water? Defeats the purpose of having a golf course with a “view of the water” does it not?

Commissioner Maier’s role as liaison is to make sure the TCRPC has accurate information about what is happening in Lake Worth and also to report, accurately, what happens at these meetings when he gives his update at the City Commission meeting. He’s had several opportunities to correct the record vis-à-vis the mangroves but he’s chosen not to do so.

*Commissioner Maier is not seeking re-election. A new liaison to the TCRPC will be chosen following the elections next March by the City Commission.
You can see this for yourself using this link to the minutes of the TCRPC. Scroll down to the February 5th, 2016, meeting and click on “Minutes”. The comments appear on page 20.

Palm Beach Post editor Rick Christie: “A few quick takeaways from 2016 election”.

Rick Christie is “The Editor” with the big office at the Post, not to be confused with the rank and file who have a title “editor” on their ID badge. Below are two excerpts from this blog post posted soon after last year’s November elections, from a commentary by Christie titled, “Words to remember. Copy & paste, send to the printer, and worthy of framing”:


“Lake Worth is poised for some major upgrades following residents’ approval — by a whopping 69 percent [emphasis added] — of a $40 million road repair bond; and a little help from the sales tax hike.” . . .

     “But the other reason city residents may soon be dancing in those repaired streets is because of the penny increase in the sales tax. Part of the proceeds — about $540 million — over the next decade will be split among the county’s 39 municipalities.
     That could be another $10 million toward roads, parks and other infrastructure repair in the city. While officials in cities like Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton snubbed the sales tax largesse, Lake Worth did no such thing. And residents should reap the benefits.


And don’t forget the observations from the Post editorial board from back in 2014 about how badly a previous City commission neglected the needs of so many neighborhoods, “[T]his is a testament. . .”:

Remember. It was left to the majority elected in 2012 to put this City back on track. While the roads in the City crumbled the previous administration wasted millions of dollars on “shiny objects”.

Awaiting the return of ‘Mr. Snarky’ to Lake Worth bringing his one and only issue that matters: the homeless.

What happened to Mr. Snarky? October of last year passed, then November, December, 2017 arrived. . . and no Mr. Snarky. You can draw your own conclusions why Mr. Snarky bailed on Lake Worth. Hope you enjoy this blog post last moved near the top of the blog last November:

It shouldn’t be too long now before ‘Mr. Snarky’ (learn about Mr. Snarky below) returns to Lake Worth. He’ll remind us again why letting the homeless populate our downtown Cultural Plaza and parks for the Winter is a good idea and why we’re all such terrible people for not caring enough. And peeing in public is OK too. We should all learn to be more tolerant of people urinating and defecating in front of your children, Mr. Snarky will tell us.

Mr. Snarky will already have his friends here to help him: former commissioners (see video), ‘concerned’ citizens, ‘advocates’, reporters, editors, and even satirists too. From newsrooms and offices filled with plush, comfortable armchairs we’ll be told we’re not doing enough and we need to do more for the homeless. Sure, streets and potholes are important. Sidewalks too for the children to walk to school. And public safety, of course, is a priority. But all these issues don’t rise to the level of importance of homelessness the ‘advocates’ will tell us again.

“You have to do more”, Mr. Snarky and his friends will say:
Mr. Snarky, et al., will say our City government and elected leaders like Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, and Commissioner Amoroso hate homeless people. We’ll be told, “They say they care”, and then we’ll be reminded, “It's not enough”. This drama all played out in Lake Worth earlier this year leading up to the March [2016] elections much like it did in Ft. Lauderdale in 2014/2015.

Their mayor, Jack Seiler (D), also came under withering assault from the homeless ‘advocates’ and he was interviewed by WIOD’s Rick Sanchez about this. Use this link to hear that radio interview. The public was forced to watch all these theatrics, to the detriment of all their other issues that were also important, and then on February 10th, 2015, the voters got their chance to speak:
In the end, after all the drama and theatrics, the curtain drops and the voters have their one day to speak.

But why all the effort and focus on the just the homeless? There are government resources and so many volunteer/non-profit groups out there to help, right? Part of the reason for this is politics: to depress voter turnout. They want you to get disgusted and sick of the whole political process. Then what to do? Do the opposite.

Get excited about the political process to help fix ALL our problems and get friends and neighbors to get involved too. Don’t get distracted by the news media that always seems to gravitate to those with loud voices and protest signs—just laugh at them. They’re just a joke anyhow.

Now to Mr. Snarky (video below): He thought elected leaders from Lake Worth going to Tallahassee to get our slice of the pie from the legislature was a really bad idea. But he also told us Lake Worth should build our own homeless center to the tune of millions of dollars because:
“The last time I checked that [the Senator Philip D. Lewis Center] is in West Palm Beach.
Every other problem and issue in Lake Worth takes a back seat to the one issue that Mr. Snarky thinks is the most important. The City has and continues to do everything it can, with the limited resources available, to help the homeless. The private sector in contributing and so are groups like the Lord’s Place, Adopt-A-Family and many, many others. 

But that’s not enough for Mr. Snarky and his friends. The video below is Mr. Snarky at the Lake Worth City Commission meeting last January. The video is from the City’s website taken off a TV screen so the quality of the video is poor but you can close your eyes and clearly hear what he says. He wants more.

But your family and neighborhood also needs more too: Adequate street lighting, that missing fire hydrant and that pothole fixed, and a decent sidewalk for your child to get to school. Mr. Snarky doesn’t talk about that stuff. He doesn’t care.

The “environmental movement is stubbornly White” with racist history and biases, opines TruthOut writer

It’s been over a year since the following blog post got some so riled up. How much has changed within the environmental movement since then? The blog post below is from April 2015:

The following comes from an article by Olivia Aguilar at TruthOut titled, “Diversifying the Environmental Movement Isn’t Enough”:

     We have known for quite a while the environmental movement is stubbornly White. Most recently, Barbara Grady, of GreenBiz Group, noted that improvements are in the works, citing that the leaders of the EPA and NRDC were women of color. Unfortunately, this doesn’t address the elephant in the room.
     Environmentalists don’t have a diversity problem, they have an identity problem. And it’s rooted in a racist history and unchecked biases. [emphasis added]

It’s interesting that in the debate as to whether the state of Florida should spend over $1B+ to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee the discussion has mostly White people on one side of the argument and mostly White people on the other side. You don’t see many African-Americans or Hispanics, for example, on either side of the debate. In reality though, don’t they have as much at stake as anyone else?

When you go to websites of the Everglades Foundation, the Loxahatchee Sierra Club, or even more radical groups like EarthFirst!, they are mostly composed of White people although down on some staff levels you may see an African American or a person of color. Are you aware of any environmental groups that represent Florida demographically from the top down? The public wouldn’t tolerate an organization like PBSO, for example, having a leadership that’s overwhelmingly White. There would be outrage.

So this begs the question: what and whose interests do the environmentalists truly represent? It’s certainly not all of Florida and definitely not the demographic of our City of Lake Worth. Do I need to post the racial breakdown of South Florida?

Maybe soon we’ll see some major changes in the leadership at groups like the Loxahatchee Sierra Club, like an African American spokesperson for instance.

The Big Myth: JoAnn Golden’s ‘overwhelming support’ to stop a hotel from being built to 65′ next to the Gulfstream Hotel.

Just in case you missed this. With the Gulfstream Hotel back in the spotlight again it’s important to understand how we got here and the BIG MYTH that perpetuates all this nonsense. Already read this? Thank You for visiting and please scroll down.

First, before JoAnn Golden’s ‘overwhelming support’ in the community is debunked, to learn the facts about building heights in Downtown Lake Worth use this link:
Within the 12 block hotel district east of Federal Hwy, the limit is 45′ with one exception: Only a hotel of 50 rooms or more can go to the 65′ allowed in the Charter.
For example, that would be the block where our historic Gulfstream Hotel is located:

Can you see that little white dot? That’s the block where the Gulfstream Hotel sits. Per the Charter, a hotel can be built up to 65′ there, now a vacant lot with some derelict structures.

So, how much community support does JoAnn Golden have here in Lake Worth? For example, let’s take a look back when she was still a sitting commissioner:

In 2011 JoAnn Golden got clobbered by then-citizen Andy Amoroso, who continues as a City Commissioner to the present day.

Now let’s go to forward to the ‘overwhelming’ heights vote in 2013. The votes “Yes” are to limit building heights:

Doesn’t look so very overwhelming, does it? Also note the voter turnout. So much for “rallying the troops” to limit building height in our Downtown.

Remember, it was the so-called heights vote in 2013 that the state legislature deemed to be “null and void” (City Attorney Glen Torcivia explains this quite well in a video, use this link).

Then in 2015 these red & white signs (illegal per City Code) started popping up around Lake Worth and believe it or not, some still do to this day:

This is one version of the SRS sign. Can you guess who still has one of these signs up? You guessed right. 

You see, the story goes “at the door” if a hotel gets built to 65′ that would set the stage for the “vultures” to steal our BEACH! Silly. Now do you see how all this nonsense comes together? And sadly, this nonsense has been going on for 4 years now.

Remember this?
Just one piece of propaganda used to confuse voters into voting “Yes” to limit building heights.

Almost there. Twenty-three more to reach 3,000 YouTube views: School Board member Erica Whitfield.


UPDATE: Erica has broken the 3,000 mark! Only the 3rd time ever on my Lake Worth YouTube channel. To see that video for yourself please scroll down. But first. . .

If the schools in the City of Lake Worth are important to you strongly encourage watching the video below. But first, FYI (since it’s election season AGAIN!), if you’re running for elected office and think an endorsement from your “Paper of Record” is a big trophy along the way. . . think again:

Despite not getting that Post endorsement in 2014. . .

And you may be interested in reading the latest news from the Post’s Andrew Marra, charter schools aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Below is a look back to December 2015 when Erica Whitfield gave a presentation to the Lake Worth City Commission. Take special note when Whitfield talks about the data she received from the school district about “Lake Worth” schools. Apparently, the people in charge of collecting data didn’t even know where the City of Lake Worth is; they relied on Zip Codes instead of looking at a map.

Hopefully, under the leadership of Dr. Avossa, that problem has been corrected as well. Hope you enjoy this video:Please note: To subscribe to my Lake Worth YouTube channel use this link and then click on the red “Subscribe” button at the top of the page. Subscribers get an email when new videos have been uploaded.

Come out and meet Herman Robinson. Candidate for Open Seat* in District 4 in Lake Worth.

Save the Date: Wednesday, January 25th, from 5:00–7:00 (click on image to enlarge):
Herman is running to fill the open seat in District 4. Would you like a yard sign to show your support for Herman? Call 561-651-1499. Send Herman an email at: votehermanrobinson@gmail.com

*Commissioner Ryan Maier is not seeking re-election. He dropped out of the race last December.

Once again, if you plan on making public comment at the City Commission meeting. . .

. . . the time limit is two (2) minutes. When you hear a little bell your time is up. Please be respectful to the mayor and return to your seat. 


The next City Commission meeting is tomorrow, Tuesday, January 24th at 6:00.

Over and over again some of the public have to be reminded about the 2-minute limit and yet, over and over again people still get either perturbed or confused when that little bell rings. The lesson here is prepare your remarks ahead of time and use a timer (most cell phones have timers).

When you enter the Commission chambers there are blue cards which you fill out to address the Commission. On the back of that card are instructions and the first one is, “Time limit to address the commission on any agenda item: 2 minutes.”

Be polite when the bell rings. If you haven’t finished your comment, hand your card to City Manager Bornstein and ask him to have it entered into the record. Your card will be given to the City Clerk.

For examples of public comment at Commission meetings (scroll down for the video to see for yourself) is this bullet list from a meeting last year:
  • From the start until after the 9:00 mark business owners displeased about the new ordinance restricting alcohol sales after 10:00 p.m. line up to speak. Read about all that using this link.
  • At 9:30 Maryann Polizzi compliments work done by the code department, PBSO, and other City staff.
  • Greg Rice begins his comments at 11:45 on mosquito control and his concerns about what he sees happening in the Cultural Plaza lately. If you didn’t know Mr. Rice has a short dog he keeps on a short leash.
  • At 14:30 Peggy Fisher brings up the issue of unpaid campaign fines from March 2015. The Lake Worth Herald reported on this news about Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD, and Fisher says, “it’s been 546 days”. Read about that using this link.
  • Mayor Pam Triolo at 16:25 has to remind the next speaker you can say what you want at public comment, “as long as it fits within two minutes”.
Lastly, become a subscriber to my YouTube channel. You’ll receive an email when new videos have been uploaded. To do that use this link and click the red “Subscribe” button.

As always, Thank You for visiting my Lake Worth blog. Hope this video help you in your preparation to make a comment(s) at the upcoming Commission meeting:

Sunday, January 22, 2017

From Post reporter Kevin Thompson: “Why you’ll find this Lake Worth reporter at RaceTrac [in the Town of Palm Springs] a lot”.

Does anyone remember the last time there was any news about Greenacres in the print edition of The Palm Beach Post? Kevin Thompson is the beat reporter for the City of Greenacres as well. By area and population that City is nearly the same size as Lake Worth. But of course, for reasons unknown, the focus in almost totally on the City of Lake Worth.

For example, tomorrow (every Monday) is the Post’s LWVVSMCPE, a weekly print edition special report, each and every Monday about Lake Worth.

Also like the City of Lake Worth, the City of Greenacres has elections coming up on March 14th. To this point there has not been one single item in the Post about that. For any news on that you need to pick up The Lake Worth Herald. So. Do you live in Greenacres and want to know why your news is being ignored? Below is contact information for the Post reporter, Kevin Thompson, tasked with covering your city.
 
Remember “IN FOCUS: LAKE WORTH”? This RaceTrac isn’t in Lake Worth. It’s located in Palm Springs.

There’s more information to help the good people of Greenacres as well: Do you know about the “5 Tips” to get your community event, business, or service noticed in the Post? Use this link to learn more. The expert at the Post, Business Editor Antonio Fins writes,

“. . . the trick is reaching to the right journalist.”

Anyhow, here is the latest from beat reporter Thompson about the new RaceTrac convenience store in Palm Springs:

“I hang out at RaceTrac a lot because it’s a good, clean, and inviting place to plug in my laptop when I’m working in and around Lake Worth, [emphasis added] something I’m now doing four days a week — a new mandate from our editors to fully embed ourselves in the communities we cover.”

“. . . fully embed ourselves in the communities we cover.”? If you live in Greenacres and are scratching your head right about now, well, join the club. Anyhow, below is the contact information to contact your beat reporter. Good Luck!
  • Email: kthompson@pbpost.com
  • 561-820-4573

If it’s true the media’s role is “The Fourth Estate”. . .

. . . serving a vitally important function between the government and the public, there to report on important news for communities and decision-makers in Palm Beach County, then why has this news gone unreported in the local media thus far? News from 4 days ago, January 18th:

Found this news anywhere? If so, look in the right-hand column for my contact information and will post it on this blog.