Sunday, February 7, 2016

News from the little City of Lake Worth's South Palm Park Neighborhood Assoc.

South Palm Park (SPP) is one of many neighborhood associations in Lake Worth and they've scheduled a debate for TOMORROW (2/8):
If you want to learn more, here is where you can find more information:
  • Date/time: Monday, February 8th at 7:00
  • Location: The Beach Club at the City's golf course, 1 (one) 7th Ave North
  • Everyone is invited
  • For the SPP website use this link
  • For more information: Contact SPP President Maryann Polizzi at: maryannpolizzi@icloud.com

[A look back to August 4th, 2014] From Herman Robinson (Installment One): Why you should vote "Yes" for the LW2020 Bond

 [Note: The LW2020 Bond failed by 25 votes on August 26th, 2014, and you can learn why using this link. Continue reading the blog post below from August 4th, 2014. Now you can understand why so many neighborhoods and communities look the way they do.]

Mr. Herman Robinson, the Chair of the Lake Worth YES PAC, supporting the City's LW2020 Bond Vote this August 26, wrote a letter to me supporting the City's Plan. He titled the letter, "We are WORTH it!" I am going to post Herman's letter in two segments. This is the first segment (for the second segment use this link):

"We are WORTH it!", by Herman Robinson

The City of Lake Worth is finally facing up to the reality of long-deferred maintenance on our hidden assets: water and sewer pipes, drains and road infrastructure, as well as the equally long-deferred maintenance of visible assets as sidewalks, street lighting and streetscapes. To remain a viable community, all of our publicly-owned infrastructure must be repaired and brought up to modern standards, the sooner the better. Estimated cost: $63.5 million for the roads and about $20 million for water utility pipes, which the city already has.

The majority of involved citizens in Lake Worth do not take exception to the necessity of these repairs. However, there are some who disapprove of funding a maintenance plan that is beyond our annual budget limitations. Objections to the plan and funding options are:

1. This maintenance work should have been done before, it doesn't make sense to do it now.
2. There is a connection between other of the City's issues (utilities, rate of home ownership, etc.) and funding strategies for deteriorated infrastructure.
3. Our current City government is incapable of proper spending and completion of any projects.

To each of these objections, I answer:

1. Compare the City's maintenance needs to dental work, for example, "I know I should have had that filling done years ago but I didn't. Now I need bridgework and a plate." Repairs are always more expensive (and painful) the longer you wait.
2. The City does have many issues to address; each is interrelated with the other. Good stewardship and sound planning is to move forward and accomplish what can be done. Success in one area will form the foundation of future endeavors. Old, crumbling infrastructure leads backwards and will make future endeavors impossible.
3. It is easy to point fingers and complain about the flaws of government; mistakes will be made. Unless these mistakes are of the malicious or egregious sort, to deny your government the ability to maintain the public's assets is perverse. Our community cannot become paralyzed because people and results are not always perfect.

Paid Political Advertisement Paid for By Lake Worth Yes P.A.C., 114 Ocean Breeze St., Lake Worth, FL 33460

Fun at the Lake Worth Municipal Pool!

Lake Worth Mayor Triolo on the bright future for the City despite setbacks and disappointments along the way

This is a Pinned Post all day.* Please scroll down for new content. Thank You for visiting my blog, Wes.

"I believe in Lake Worth and I believe in my fellow citizens. That same level of faith and trust is now something we are truly seeing demonstrated in the various projects across the City. After years of nothing, literally ZERO dollars, and then a few smaller investments, something has changed and the refilling of our City with new residents and businesses is occurring. . . . It is resulting in businesses opening which is reversing a trend started back in the 80’s when businesses began leaving the City and never returned. It is also creating much needed taxable valuation so we can become financially sustainable for the first time in years." Quote by Lake Worth Mayor Pam Triolo at her State of the City Address on Thursday, January 28th, 2016. 

The Gulf Stream hotel has been shuttered for a very long time. When open once again for visitors the impact will be tremendous. Lawsuits to stop any progress in Lake Worth, an oft-used tactic, has reared its head once again and another lawsuit is being employed to stop the hotel from re-opening. No doubt, had the 2014 "LW2020" Bond Vote been approved a way would have been found to file a lawsuit against that result too. The "LW2020" bond failed by only 25 votes, hence why streets like 2nd Ave South and many others have to be constantly patched instead of replaced.

You can learn more how that happened in the last paragraph below. By the way, did you receive something like this in the mail?
A mailer you received has the information on where to vote on election day.
Many people who live between Dixie Hwy. and I-95 were directed to the wrong polling location. Many of them got frustrated and went home. Don't make the same mistake next time.
The mailer will look like this with the address of your polling location.
If you're new to the City or just want that pothole in front of your home fixed you can read why the "LW2020" failed by just a few votes.
*A 'Pinned Post' is kept at (or near) the top of the blog.
†Check back later for the full text of the mayor's speech.

News from Jan Sjostrom, the Arts Editor at the Palm Beach Daily News (aka, the Shiny Sheet)

Below are two excerpts from this article in the Shiny Sheet about a very important Palm Beach County (PBC) County Commission meeting this Tuesday (2/9) concerning a one-cent sales tax increase to fund the arts, culture, schools, and other priorities:
     If passed, consumers could shell out more than $1.3 billion over 10 years to improve aging roads, bridges, schools and other publicly owned facilities, update school technology and finance the cultural building boom that’s on the horizon. The tax increase would end in 10 years or whenever the projects are paid for.
     The county commission will consider Tuesday joining the school district, cities and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County in asking voters for a one-cent hike. It also will look at other means of financing more than $712 million in projects deferred during the recession, including a solo half-cent increase or bond. The commission must approve county sales tax referendums before they’re put on the ballot.
[and. . .]
     According to a recent study commissioned by the council, cultural groups plan to add more than 700,000 square feet of facilities in the next 10 years. “They are bursting at the seams,” council chief Rena Blades said.
     The council is asking for nearly nearly $190 million for 26 cultural building projects, plus an additional $38 million for projects that might qualify in the future.
And in other arts news, do you know where the new Cultural Concierge for PBC is located? It's in downtown Lake Worth at the Cultural Council.

If passed, consumers could shell out more than $1.3 billion over 10 years to improve aging roads, bridges, schools and other publicly owned facilities, update school technology and finance the cultural building boom that’s on the horizon. The tax increase would end in 10 years or whenever the projects are paid for.
The county commission will consider Tuesday joining the school district, cities and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County in asking voters for a one-cent hike. It also will look at other means of financing more than $712 million in projects deferred during the recession, including a solo half-cent increase or bond. The commission must approve county sales tax referendums before they’re put on the ballot.

Good news about Brightline and future Coastal Link in Lake Worth (and note that Comm. Maier DOES NOT "sit" on the TCRPC)

There's real good news about the future of transit in Lake Worth (below) but first to clear up something very important. Commissioner Ryan Maier said the following at the City Commission meeting on Feb. 2nd:
"I sit on the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council [TCRPC]. I've spoken about that many times." [quote made at the 8:50–9:00 mark in the video below]
Commissioner Maier is the City's liaison to the TCRPC. He is not a sitting member and has no formal role; he sits with the rest of the public at meetings there. Use this link to see all the members of the TCRPC and the list of alternates also. The next meeting, if you're interested, is on February 19th.

On the discussion that followed at the City Commission about Brightline (formerly All Aboard Florida) the vote taken was 5-0 to support rail transit going forward. You see, bipartisanship is possible here in Lake Worth. Mayor Pam Triolo, Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell, Commissioners Andy Amoroso, Ryan Maier and even Chris McVoy all agreed on "WHAT IS POSSIBLE" and the bright future that the soon-to-be passenger rail project, Brightline, presents for city's like Lake Worth.

Another topic of discussion was the future "Coastal Link":
The Coastal Link will follow the Brightline service and link all of the coastal cities in Palm Beach County together. For instance, you'll be able to take the train from Lake Worth to West Palm Beach and then take Brightline to Disney, for example, or if you wish go to Ft. Lauderdale/Miami.

On the subject of bipartisanship the city manager had a few words about that last year. The video below was taken at the extreme height of debate last year concerning the City's failed Casino business plan at the beach. Focus on what the city manager says starting at the 2:00 mark:
"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 [Lake Worth]. Don't ask the question about what is possible, be it the beach, be it the road infrastructure. . ."—City Manager Michael Bornstein
Yes, every now and then cooler heads and reasonableness prevail and the City moves forward. Little by little. Don't get frustrated or down on LDub especially if you read the papers and watch TV news. Wonderful and exciting things are happening in Lake Worth now and into the future.

Unfortunately, at the City Commission meeting on February 2nd (following you know what) you had to hang around almost to the very end of the meeting to hear good news. I'm glad I was there to videotape this discussion/vote about Brightline and the Coastal Link.

As always, Thank You! for visiting my blog.

An election season trick in Lake Worth: The City's Golf Course cannot and will not be sold

Were you recently shown 'at the door' (or heard of) a sketch of a site plan for condos along the Lake Worth Golf Course? If so, that is an election-season pitch that gets pulled out of the bag of tricks prior to each election cycle in Lake Worth. The last one to deliver that pitch with a big splash was Margaret Menge last year in her now-defunct, always-free, delivered-for-free tabloid.

The truth is the Lake Worth Golf Course is deed-restricted and cannot be sold—the people who donated the land to the City made sure of that:
Spread the word to your friends and neighbors. If someone, like say a former Lake Worth commissioner, shows you a sketch of condos on the golf course you can say, "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire".
Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein and Mayor Pam Triolo with a recent award for the City's Municipal Golf Course.

Get ready to be really ticked off—"Are you looking for sober homes to rent? I have a list!"

[The blog post below was originally posted on January 9th and is still generating a tremendous amount of interest. Share this with others you know who are concerned about the situation with sober homes in Lake Worth.]

This post appeared in the Craigslist "apts/housing for rent" category from a realtor in Palm Beach County:
Here is the title and text from the ad:
$3500 / 4br - 2300ft2 - Are You Looking for Sober Homes to Rent? I have a list! Furnished! (Lake Worth)*
If you are looking to run a sober home but are having a difficult time finding a willing homeowner, I can help! I have several options available that are either ready now, or being renovated and will be available in the upcoming week. Homes will be fully furnished and move in ready!!
Please fee free to call, text, or email me at anytime at show contact info XXXXXXX XXXXXX with XXXXXX Realty.
[X'd out name and realtor]
I'm sure a lot of people are not going to be thrilled to see this and sorry to start off your day this way. However, if we're ever going to solve this problem with sober homes everybody has to be involved; and that includes the realtors.

*"Lake Worth" likely includes all 9 Zip Codes, most of which is unincorporated Palm Beach County.

This about sums up the latest kerfuffle created by the press about Lake Worth. . .from Facebook

Did you hear about a "curfew" in Lake Worth? And what is a 'kerfuffle'?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The "overwhelming" heights vote in 2013 that wasn't overwhelming and the "lies at the door"

At the bottom of this post is a video and Lake Worth's city attorney, Glen Torcivia, explains why that 'heights vote' in 2013 was declared "null and void". And let us not forget that allowable height was lowered throughout the downtown between Dixie and Federal Hwy. Nothing in the future can be built over 45 feet in this area. That is true east of Federal too, unless a new building is a hotel of at least 50 rooms or part of a mixed-use project that has at least 50 rooms.

You can read more that and about the "overwhelming" voter turnout that wasn't using this link. The facts are straightforward and clear about that matter. But what I want to focus on are the "lies at the door" that pushed a few more votes into the "Yes" side and why we're in the position we are as a City right now vis-à-vis the Gulfstream hotel project and the renovation. Oh, and yes, another lawsuit was filed to try, once again, to scuttle an important project from moving forward in this City.

Check out the following images that were used to persuade people to vote "Yes" in 2013 to limit heights in downtown Lake Worth:
Prior to the 2013 'heights vote' the public was shown images like this with large 'box' buildings showing how the downtown would look if they didn't vote to limit heights. Note the caption below image.
Another image used to frighten and confuse the voters.
Again, another one. This one showing 'white box buildings' where neighborhoods are now. There are many other images just like this one shown 'at the door' prior to the 'heights' vote in 2013.
It's also important to realize what the existing height of the historic Gulfstream Hotel is. The building was built in 1925.
To the building's flat roof, it is 72 feet high with an additional 3 feet or so added to the parapet wall. The top of the "Penthouse" or elevator shaft is 92 feet. The diagram above is from a 2012 application to install a cellphone antenna. 

We all need to be on the same page when it comes to saving this historic hotel on the National Register of Historic Places. Filing vanity and politically charged lawsuits is not how to get the hotel open again. A lawsuit might fill a few wallets and maybe that's all it's intended to do. Hopefully, the voters will come to understand what is happening and how they're being manipulated and vote accordingly on March 15th.

For more on the "null and void" heights vote in 2013, City Attorney Glen Torcivia explains what happened quite concisely and succinctly:

Political signs being vandalized in Lake Worth—But whatever you do, don't get angry! Call 561-398-8340

Spread the Word! Lake Worth Commissioner Amoroso's political signs are being vandalized and part of the reason is to make you angry. Don't get angry. Call Commissioner Amoroso at 561-398-8340 and tell him you want another of his signs. And if this kind of tactic does disturb you grab your checkbook and read this information.

There are several tactics the Anarchists in Lake Worth employ. They steal signs or cut the metal supports and there are other methods they use as well. One of the ways you can look at this is the Anarchists see Commissioner Amoroso as a real threat and they are trying to damage his campaign for re-election. That means he is being truly effective. His challenger, by the way, is Frank McAlonan.

Stealing and vandalizing political signs from private property is a CRIME.

If you had a political sign in your yard and it was stolen or vandalized you can also call the PBSO non-emergency number 561-688-3400 to report it. Whoever stole your political sign trespassed on your property and is disrespecting your right to Free Speech.

Add Some/Take Some: An Abstractions Show soon in the little City of Lake Worth (Opening Party on Feb. 27th)

Stay tuned for more information on this upcoming show in Lake Worth by ArtsUnited, LuLa, and the Armory Arts Annex:
For more information contact Emily Theodossakos, the Marketing and Program Manager, at 561-493-2550. She also can be reached at (copy & paste) etheodossakos@lakeworth.org

You can also ask about new murals and street signs that are being talked about!

The Post's Carlos Frias, "What is the real truth behind our obsession with conspiracy theories?" [And the debate happening now in Lake Worth]

This is a real interesting article that appears in the Post today (D section, front page). The reporter, Carlos Frias, interviews University of Florida professor Mark Fenster who wrote this book about conspiracy theories. The article deals with the return of "The X-Files", the JFK assassination, and the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings, etc.

The article ends with this:
     Conspiracy theories are as popular as ever.
     "It never dies," Johnson[*] said. "I wish people would lose their enthusiasm about them."
 *Keith Johnson, the spokesman for the HONR Network.
"Conspiracy theories" are very popular on a smaller scale too, such as the little City of Lake Worth. There are things that happened here and are happening now that some would have you believe are silly and should not be believed. Like the Anarchist Ryan Hartman that is challenging the vice mayor of Lake Worth, Scott Maxwell. Hartman's been stepping away from that, or at least distancing himself from the Anarchists, and before too long maybe he'll be an Anarchist in the tradition of George Washington or some other iconic American. With 38 days to go before election day (as of 2/6), with some help from the press blowing the wind in the sails for Hartman, anything can happen.

If you've been paying attention to this blog lately, and throughout the years, I've chronicled the Anarchists, former Commissioner Cara Jennings, Panagioti Tsolkas, and all the 'merry-making' at Everglades EarthFirst!. For anyone to claim they haven't had a significant impact on how the City of Lake Worth is today is myth-making. Just the fact that an Anarchist is running for a commission seat again is proof of that.

Interestingly, some podcasts recently have become available and they've been getting a lot of attention, both on this blog and they're also on some Facebook pages as well. When you listen to the videos (recordings) many get the sense they're not actually podcasts at all, not like an interview as one is accustomed to, but actually performances where the speaker is reading from a script. When you listen see if you can pick up on that and take note of the dramatic heavy breaths taken throughout, it's hard not to notice. Is this a new 'conspiracy theory' in Lake Worth? Not at all. Just an observation. Encourage everyone to listen for yourself and draw you own conclusions.

The video below begins with Hartman at a recent City Commission meeting and the Podcast begins at the 2:00 mark; a question follows below the podcast. Enjoy!

Now to the question, is Hartman an Anarchist or not? Or is he just one of those harmless, cuddly Anarchists that no one should worry about voting for?

The NAPC is hosting "The Great Taste of Lake Worth" this year—the night prior to the annual Street Painting Festival

The Street Painting Festival follows the next day; both Saturday and Sunday.
"The Lake Worth Neighborhood Association Presidents Council (NAPC; also on Facebook) is proudly hosting The Great Taste of Lake Worth special event on Friday, Feb. 19, from 6–10 p.m., rain or shine! If that date seems familiar that’s because that’s the night before the Fabulous Street Painting Festival weekend, held Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 20 and 21."

[and. . .]

"Tickets are $25 and include an identifying wristband, a map with all the participating merchants locations. Ticket holders will also receive a $5 discount on the Great Taste of Lake Worth T-shirts, available at the regular price of $15 for everyone else. T-shirts will be sold at the NAPC Great Taste Check in tent, located at the intersection of K Street and Lake Avenue."

Will Lake Worth's unique 'two main streets' make it to the print edition soon? Or did Lake and Lucerne avenues get forgotten?

An article about a child painted on a mural made the print edition and so did many stories about curtailing hours in City parks to keep the public spaces safer. But the Post's beat reporter for Lake Worth has had an article ready for the print edition that made the online edition on January 24th. This would really be "news" for a lot of people and is what can be called a 'teachable moment'.

The news by Thompson for those who have been paying close attention over the years isn't really new. The issue of Lake Worth's "two Main Streets" has been talked about for at least ten years, maybe longer. If you didn't know roads such as Dixie Hwy., Federal Hwy., Lake Ave., and Lucerne Ave. are not owned by the City of Lake Worth. This will be big news for a lot of people. What makes Lake Worth special is that unlike most cities that have "a main street" this City has two: Lake and Lucerne avenues. However, the City has little say about what happens on these avenues except to make suggestions and hope the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT) will listen.

Ultimately, FDOT doesn't have to answer to Lake Worth or even Palm Beach County. They have to protect the interests of all the citizens and taxpayers of Florida who have paid taxes to maintain these roads for many decades. And the other thing to remember is nothing happens very fast at FDOT. When it comes to bureaucracies and going through channels and doing things exactly by the book FDOT sets a very high standard.

Many believe, including myself and a lot of other people, it would be a real good idea for the City of Lake Worth to take over control of Lake and Lucerne avenues. If it did happen it wouldn't happen any time soon. The process would be very complicated and will take a very long time. This will become a public topic of discussion especially since the City's Street Painting Festival is coming up shortly and Lake/Lucerne avenues will be closed to traffic for a weekend.

Here are two excerpts from the article by Thompson that might make it to the print edition tomorrow:
     The city, however, wants the department [FDOT] to upgrade and repair them [Lake and Lucerne avenues] first, a project that could cost more than $3 million, according to City Manager Michael Bornstein.
     “We want those two roads to be almost like new,” Bornstein said. “We don’t have the money to completely rebuild them. We can’t even fix our own streets.”
     Jamie Brown, the city’s public services director, said portions of the road are cracking and need to be resurfaced.
     “From A Street to A1A, we want to see the entire Lake and Lucerne avenues resurfaced, with fresh striping and fresh asphalt,” Brown said. “There’s a disconnect on what they’re willing to provide and what we’re willing to accept.” [emphasis added]
[and. . .]
     “For us, it’s just as important for us to have people come downtown, get out of their cars and have pedestrian and bicycle access,” he [City Manager Bornstein] said. “It’s not about rushing people from point A to point B in cars. How you manage that right of way is important to us.”
     But not a top priority, considering the city has so many other issues to address, Bornstein pointed out.“I’ll wait them out,” he said, referring to FDOT.
It will be refreshing to see this article about Lake Worth in print.